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Mon 20th Feb 2023 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Krispy Kreme confirms UK launch plans for Insomnia Cookies brand: Krispy Kreme, which is owned by European investment company JAB Holdings, has confirmed it is to launch its late-night bakery brand Insomnia Cookies into the UK. Last August, Propel revealed that Krispy Kreme had set up a new company, Insomnia Cookies UK, which counts Caroline Wüllrich and Emma Colquhoun, Krispy Kreme UK’s chief financial officer and chief marketing officer respectively, as directors. It is understood that the debut UK site for Insomnia Cookies will open in Manchester. The company has applied to open a site under the Insomnia Cookies brand in the city’s Royal Exchange in Cross Street. Krispy Kreme acquired a majority stake in Insomnia Cookies, which specialises in the late-night delivery of warm baked goods, at the end of 2018. Insomnia Cookies was founded in 2003 by University of Pennsylvania student Seth Berkowitz. Its stores, which stay open and deliver until 3am, are often situated near college campuses, helping it cater to late-night revellers. It has 231 locations across the US, where it sells cookies, brownies and cold milk. Speaking after the Insomnia Cookies brand experienced 24% revenue growth in its Q4, Krispy Kreme’s chief executive Michael J. Tattersfield said. “We are focused on accelerating Insomnia’s growth as we grow from our current 231 shops today to a total addressable market of more than 4,000 locations, with the goal to eventually ramp up to nearly 100 new cookie shops per year. We truly believe Insomnia Cookies will be the next Krispy Kreme, and we plan to expand globally this year into the UK and Canada.”

Industry News:

Oowee Diner and Oowee Vegan co-founder Verity Foss to speak at first Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2023, three free places per company for operators: Verity Foss, co-founder of Oowee Diner and Oowee Vegan, will be among the speakers at the first Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2023. The conference takes place on Thursday, 23 March, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London’s Kensington, and is open for bookings. The all-day conference will focus on “challenges and opportunities”. Foss will discuss developing both vegan concepts, the role delivery has played in their growth and standing out in an ever-growing and evolving category. Operators can book up to three free places per company by emailing

Propel Premium subscribers to receive three updated databases in a week: Propel Premium subscribers are to receive three updated databases in the space of a week. The next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies will be released on Monday, 27 February, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, will feature 18 new multi-site companies, taking the total to 2,769. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. Meanwhile, the next edition of the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will be sent to Premium subscribers next Tuesday (28 February). It is the first database where full profiles of 650 of the UK’s top food and beverage operators are available in one place. There are 46 updated entries, while 16 new companies have been added. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database merges Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database on Friday, 3 March, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 5,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Government to give supermarket vouchers for increasing their daily step count and eating well: Supermarket vouchers will be given to the public for increasing their daily step count and eating well, through a new government app. The Better Health: Rewards app is free to download for all over-18s living in Wolverhampton in a first-of-its-kind pilot, reports The Telegraph. Users will be given free fitness trackers, which will link to the app to follow their physical activity. Over 20 weeks, participants collect points for completing personalised goals – such as increasing their step count or eating more fruit and vegetables – which they can exchange for rewards including cinema tickets, clothes or food vouchers. The government has given £3m of funding for the incentives, which users will be given if they meet weekly challenges and improve their diet and physical activity. Supermarkets and retailers are participating in the scheme, along with gyms and leisure centres. The app was announced by Boris Johnson in July 2021 as part of his radical plans to tackle the obesity crisis. The launch was originally set for January 2022 but got delayed. The pilot is being delivered by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities in partnership with Wolverhampton City Council, and was spearheaded by Sir Keith Mills, who pioneered the Nectar rewards programme. An evaluation team will review the impact of the pilot on people’s diet and exercise and provide a report in early 2024, from which the government will consider a wider rollout. The value of the points users are awarded for completing challenges will depend on the group they are allocated to when signing up to the app. As they use the app, they can build up points to redeem on a range of rewards.

Walsall considering measures allowing blanket ban on sale of alcohol between midnight and 6am: Walsall’s licensing committee is considering measures allowing a blanket ban on the sale of alcohol between midnight and 6am. It has taken preliminary steps towards the implementation of an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) – the only exemption to which are sales to residents through room service or mini bars in hotels. If adopted, an EMRO can apply to specific areas or single streets, and specific days or certain times of the year. Specialist licensing solicitors John Gaunt & Partners said it is aware of only two other licensing areas that have formerly considered adopting an EMRO. Neither of them – in Blackpool in 2014 and Hartlepool in 2017 – were adopted. The initial consideration will take place at a meeting of the Walsall Licensing Committee on Wednesday, 22 February. The report to the committee follows the death of a local man, Bailey Atkinson, who was killed in the early hours of the morning in the town centre three weeks ago. “While the incident happened in the town centre during the night time economy hours and the investigation is ongoing, at this stage, no fault is being apportioned to any licensed premises within the town,” the report said. “It has, however, brought into focus the safety of all those living, working and visiting the town, and a consideration of what more can be done to safeguard customers, businesses and, indeed, public services. One such consideration is whether additional controls can be placed upon licensed premises to close earlier, for example, 2am.” It goes on to recommend a further report is brought to the committee, with data and evidence to determine if an EMRO is appropriate.

Delivery and takeaway sales slip in January as consumers tighten spending: January’s delivery and takeaway sales at Britain’s top managed restaurant groups were 2% down on January 2022, CGA by NielsenIQ’s latest Hospitality at Home Tracker shows. It continues a plateauing of the ordering-in market that has now seen year-on-year sales drop for 15 months in a row. January’s delivery volumes fell by 12% as some consumers reduced the frequency of their orders, but spent more when they did so. Nevertheless, the tracker said that delivery and takeaway sales remain substantially ahead of pre-covid-19 levels, after lockdowns “cemented them in consumer habits”. Combined, they accounted for 17p in every pound spent with managed restaurant groups in January 2023. Karl Chessell, CGA’s hospitality operators and food director said: “The levelling out of delivery and takeaway sales since late 2021 has been a double-edged sword for restaurant operators. Positively, it shows that many consumers have returned to their pre-covid-19 habits, replacing deliveries with the special experiences that only eating out can provide. But it also indicates that other consumers are reining in their spending as household bills continue to soar. With business costs so high as well, and third-party delivery platforms taking a large slice of sales, protecting already thin profit margins will be a challenge throughout 2023.”

Weekday live music makes pub tills sing: Pub landlords are increasingly using live music to counter the impact of rising costs while keeping their locals at the heart of the community, new research suggests. Although live gigs in pubs and bars are nothing new, The Times reports figures from CGA by NielsenIQ and GigRealm, a music booking platform, that suggest the number of venues hiring musicians is up by 82% on pre-pandemic levels. The rise is partly thanks to the introduction of music on days other than weekends, which is helping licensed premises engage with new audiences, many of whom now prefer to go out locally rather than taking a train into town, especially with the threat of train strikes. Since 2019, the number of music bookings made by pubs and bars has almost doubled from 8.8 to 16 a year. Feedback from venues booking through GigRealm indicates that sales on music nights can jump by as much as 150%, with a typical cost to the landlord or operator of about £225. In a recent survey by CGA and GigRealm, 78% of consumers said they were more likely to visit a pub or bar if it offered live music, while 73% were likely to stay in a venue longer and spend more. Tom Brady, co-founder and chief executive of GigRealm, said music was providing a lifeline to pubs at a time of stress on the high street. “The pubs and bars we work with have discovered a wave of demand from people for more than just food and drink,” he added.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is supporting a restaurant brand operating causal family restaurant concepts that is looking to appoint a new chief operations officer. Based in north London, the position would be ideal for an established executive level operator. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “Consequently, the business is searching for an individual with in-depth, casual dining knowledge from restaurants and an understanding of franchise partnerships. You will have experience in casual dining or the food and beverage service sector in a group role. You will have a strong understanding of openings, acquisitions and rebranding projects; understanding of raising capital and expansion; expertise in franchise partnerships; excellent proven experience in a business going through growth or change; and finally, significant experience in a business with responsibility of turnover exceeding £50m.” The salary is up to £140,000. For more information, email

Company News:

The Chesterford Group opens fifth Pret site, builds pipeline: The Chesterford Group (TCG), whose subsidiary brand Joy Brands was named one of the three UK Pret A Manger franchise launch partners, has opened its fifth site under the brand, with a further four in legals, Propel has learned. The James Lipscombe-led business opened a 50-cover Pret at the end of last week on Bishop’s Stortford high street. In June 2021, TCG won the franchise rights for Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex, and last year purchased four existing Pret shops – two in Cambridge and one in Chelmsford and St Albans. The Bishop’s Stortford-based business told Propel it had legals agreed on a further four Pret shops, which will be opening across the three counties by the end of the summer. Aside from Pret, TCG is one of the largest independently owned fish and chip shop chains in the country, owning the award-winning brands Churchill’s, Fishnchickn and Bankers. Across its portfolio of brands, the business has 45 locations and employs around 850 people. Propel understands the business is set to purchase an existing fish and chip restaurant, in as-yet-unnamed location, which should see completion by the end of March. Lipscombe, TCG chief executive, said: “We are delighted to bring organic coffee and freshly prepared natural food to Bishop’s Stortford, which is also my home town! We will be serving our iconic menu of sandwiches, baguettes, salads, wraps, hot soups and much more, all freshly made by our passionate kitchen team in our onsite kitchen every morning. We have some exciting expansion plans this year and we will be looking to bring Pret to more Towns across Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex. Our journey with Pret started in the Summer of 2021, when we won the right to be one of the three franchise launch partners for the UK. We are now proud to be operating five Pret shops and creating local jobs for passionate people.”

Red’s True Barbecue shutters two sites: Tokyo Industries-owned smokehouse brand Red’s True Barbecue has shuttered two of its restaurants. The brand, which was founded by James Douglas and Scott Munro, has closed the sites in Nottingham’s Queen Street and Manchester’s Lloyd Street. Last year, Voodoo Doll, the company behind the Mojo Bars business, secured the former Red’s True Barbecue site in Liverpool’s Hanover Street. A message on the note outside the Nottingham restaurant reads: “Sorry for the inconvenience, but due to business costs and the cost-of-living crisis Red’s True BBQ will be closing for the unseeable future. Thank you to everyone that has been with us over the years, it has been an absolute pleasure!” It leaves the business with four sites in partnership with BrewDog – in Headingley, Bradford, Hull and Huddersfield, plus its original site in Call Lane, Leeds.

Chick-fil-A opens ‘Brake Room’ for food delivery drivers: US fast food chain Chick-fil-A has opened a temporary break room in New York City to cater for food delivery drivers. The pop-up room, fittingly called The Brake Room, which will run until 13 April, will offer respite for food delivery drivers to warm up, charge their phone and grab a cup of coffee during the city’s cold winter months. The free space, which is located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, will allow workers access to bathrooms, bike storage, outlets for phone chargers, seating and Wi-Fi. Chick-fil-A said workers can enter the room by “showing proof of a delivery within the past week via an eligible third-party food delivery app”, such as DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub, Postmates or Seamless. Jared Caldwell, a Chick-fil-A restaurant owner in New York City, said: “In metro areas like New York City, we see the same food delivery workers come through nearly every day of the week, several times a day, and how taking an extra second to warm up between deliveries or offering a glass of water helps to fuel them on for their shift. The food delivery community helps to power our businesses, and this is just our small way of showing appreciation for all they do.” New York City has an estimated 65,000 food delivery drivers workers alone, while the fast food chain reported that the highest number of food deliveries across the city took place during the winter months of 2022.

Urban Pubs & Bars takes on Albion & East site: London operator Urban Pubs & Bars has further increased its presence in the capital after securing a site from Albion & East, the Imbiba-backed London bar group, in Crouch End. The circa 40-strong business acquired the Allora Hall site in Park Road, and earlier this month reopened it as The Fox at Crouch End – a “modern British pub and kitchen serving a range of premium craft beer alongside quality British and international food”. Last October, the Nick Pring-led business took its estate to 40 sites with the acquisition of three pubs from ZX Ventures, the innovation incubator within AB InBev, for an undisclosed sum. The business acquired the Queens Head (formerly the Goose Island site in Shoreditch), the Monarchy in Camden (where Camden Town brewery began its journey as a small start-up) and The Horseshoe in Hampstead. The business said reaching the 40-strong estate point marked it out as “a major player, building success in the highly competitive sector”.

Pret signs agreement to launch in Qatar: Pret A Manger has struck an agreement to launch in Qatar, Propel understands. The JAB Holdings-owned brand, through its partnership in the Middle East with One PM Franchising, has signed an agreement with Al Mana Holding to open in the country. Pret signed a deal with Kuwait-based franchise group One PM Franchising to further expand in the Middle East at the end of 2021. Last October, the brand opened its first site in Kuwait. Pret said the opening, at the Al Hamra Business Tower, marked a “major milestone” in the global brand’s expansion in the Middle East. Opening in Kuwait continued Pret’s plan to double the size of its business in the next five years and follows international openings in Canada and Ireland, with further openings in India, Israel, Spain and Portugal in the pipeline.

Oodles Chinese aiming to open ten stores in first quarter of 2023: Indo-Chinese concept Oodles Chinese has said it is aiming to open ten new stores in the first quarter of 2023. The franchise brand currently has 36 stores, opening its most recent in December, in Preston. This after it said, in September, that it was targeting having 100 sites open by 2025. One of the new stores is understood to be in Glasgow, as the company ramps up its expansion in Scotland. “We are delighted to be working with whichfranchise to promote Oodles across the UK,” the company wrote on LinkedIn. “With ten stores in development due to open by the end of quarter one in 2023, it is an exciting time to get on board. We welcome applications from individuals or groups with a successful track record in business, no QSR experience is required.”

Greene King hits 30-site mark for Hive pubs: Brewer and retailer Greene King has hit the 30-site mark for its Hive pubs brand. It comes with the opening of The Essex Skipper, in Frinton, Essex, which has undergone a £400,000 transformation to become the latest addition to the portfolio. It is run by franchisees the Clarke family, consisting of Peter, his daughter Louise and his granddaughter Rosie Clarke. The family has strong links to the local area and experience of running pubs. As with all Hive Pubs, sport is a key part of the offering and the pub will feature Sky Sports and BT Sport subscriptions to show all the major events. In line with the Hive Pubs branded concept, it will serve a menu of pub classics curated by the food team at Greene King, and a range of standard and premium range drinks including alcohol-free options. Aimed at those with experience of running a pub, the Hive Pubs franchise agreement gives licensees a ready-to-trade pub for £5,000 ingoing cost. Franchisees get a minimum guaranteed income of £20,000 as well as a percentage of food and drink sales and a share of the profits in their pub. Wayne Shurvinton, managing director, Partnerships & Ventures at Greene King, said: “Reaching 30 Hive Pub openings is another huge milestone for us. I am excited for both the future of the Essex Skipper and the continued rollout of Hive in 2023.”

Clermont Hotel Group promotes Gavin Taylor to CEO as it prepares for strong investment across portfolio: Clermont Hotel Group has promoted Gavin Taylor to chief executive, as it prepares for strong investment across its portfolio in the coming months. Taylor joined the business, which rebranded from Greater London Hospitality last autumn, as chief financial officer in 2019. He led the group’s finance, procurement and IT functions through a period of significant change – with the impact of covid-19 and continued cost-of-living crisis affecting the ways in which people work and spend in the travel, hotel and leisure industries. In his new role, Taylor aims to strengthen the group and take it to its next stage as it gears up for future growth. The group has a strong plan for more investment across its portfolio in the coming months, following an initial £18m refurbishment of The Clermont properties in Charing Cross and Victoria. Taylor said: “The past four years have been incredibly rewarding as we’ve seen the group go from strength to strength. It’s a great honour to have the opportunity to take the reins as chief executive and lead our team on this exciting next step in the Clermont Hotel Group journey. I very much look forward to continuing to ensure we deliver extraordinary experiences and services for our guests across our portfolio of 17 hotels in London.”

New Forest Hotels refinances and clears overdraft after turning first profit in seven years: New Forest Hotels has refinanced and cleared its overdraft after turning a first profit in seven years. The company, which operates five hotels and a country pub in southern England, reported a pre-tax profit of £1,414,669 for the year ending 31 December 2021, its first profit since 2014. This compares to a pre-tax loss of £1,483,138 in 2020. Turnover was £6,663141 compared to £4,122,860 in 2020. In the last year before the pandemic, ending 31 December 2019, it reported revenue of £9,294,043. The company received £777,102 in government grants (2020: £791,324) and no dividends were paid. Since the year-end, the business has renegotiated its lending facilities, both with an existing and a new funder, meaning it will no longer need to use the overdraft facilities it has in previous years. It has also put Moorhill House up for sale, is “attracting interest from third parties” and “confident of a sale in the next 12 months”. In his statement accompanying the accounts, director Garry Baldwin said the focus going into 2023 is consolidation following the effects of the pandemic. He said: “The business has planning consent approved to future growth within the current business levels. The directors are seeking to improve on staff retention rates through training, motivation and team building. The company is trying new and innovative ways of encouraging customers to make bookings direct rather than via online tour agencies in an attempt to reduce the spend on booking commissions.” 

Knoops to open latest London shop next month, followed by first northern site in April: Luxury hot chocolate shop Knoops will open its latest London store, and ninth overall, in Knightsbridge next month. The flagship store, opposite Harrods on Brompton Road, will open on Friday, 3 March. This will be quickly followed by its first northern site, and tenth overall, opening in Manchester in April. It follows the opening of the brand’s first regional store, in Cambridge, in November. Chief executive Tori Nunn told Propel in May that Knoops is aiming for 100 UK stores by 2027, with Bath and St Albans also in its pipeline. Meanwhile, Knoops founder Jens Knoop said the café chain’s later opening times – its Covent Garden site is open until 10.30pm on weeknights – is helping it attract a wider customer base that conventional coffee shops were missing out on. “We are getting the post-theatre crowd or the after-restaurant crowd who want a hot chocolate on a chilly night,” he told the Evening Standard. “There is an appetite for something new – this is about adding something to the culinary scene. There is a broad interest in our chocolate from all cultures and age groups – we’re offering comfort, escapism and something for everybody.”

Jeremy Clarkson lodges appeal over enforcement action taken to close restaurant at Diddly Squat Farm: Jeremy Clarkson has lodged an appeal over West Oxfordshire District Council’s enforcement action for opening a restaurant at his Diddly Squat Farm without planning permission. Clarkson has also appealed after the council refused planning permission for an extension to the car park at the farm. It comes following scenes featured in the second series of Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon Prime Video that showed the former Top Gear star clashing with the council. In the episode, Clarkson storms out of a council meeting after numerous councillors voted against the planning permission being granted. Diddly Squat Farm is located in the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which means it is subject to tighter planning restrictions than other areas of the country. Liam Walker, a Conservative member of Oxfordshire County Council, revealed Clarkson has now appealed against both decisions. Walker tweeted: “All is not over yet… @JeremyClarkson has lodged an appeal against West Oxfordshire District Council for both farm shop car park extension and the enforcement notice for opening a restaurant without planning. The planning inspector will conduct the hearing in March.” The council told the Oxford Mail: “We understand the planning process shown in season two of Clarkson’s Farm can seem obstructive and people will be confused by the planning decisions at Diddly Squat Farm. As with any other planning authority, we have a legal responsibility to make sure planning laws and policies are followed correctly by everyone to manage development and protect local communities and the environment.”

Smoking Goat launches temporary chicken shop: London-based Thai barbecue restaurant Smoking Goat will transform into a central Thai style fried chicken spot for four weeks next month. From Friday, 3 March, to Sunday, 2 April, the Redchurch Street venue will offer new dishes like fried chicken marinated in fish sauce and coriander root, served with crispy garlic, Thai shallots and a menagerie of dipping sauces; and wok fried rice noodles with a gooey egg inner and crisp outer. Sitting alongside the new dishes will be a cocktail menu devised by Smoking Goat’s cocktail expert, Aurora Calamansari, including neon ice Thai teas with salted foam, lychee margaritas and mango negronis. In collaboration with winemaker Phillippe Weiss of La Petite Baigneuse, the team have also created their own low abv wine, while low intervention wine importers Ancestral will host a series of wine parties throughout the month, pairing their organic, biodynamic wines with the new dishes. Smoking Goat’s head chef Ben Curtis said: “After toying around with a number of ideas and being distracted by sweet braised pork knuckles and biryani rice whilst in Bangkok, we tried some incredible fried chicken and thought it would be fun to turn Smoking Goat into a chicken shop for a month.”

Cheshire hotel enters liquidation: A Cheshire hotel has entered liquidation after the impact of covid-19 lockdowns and increased competition impacted its trading. OPH Hotels, which runs the Paddington House Hotel in Warrington, has appointed Dow Schofield Watts Business Recovery to oversee the process. The company, which was established by sole director Deepak Handa in July 2017, never reopened to customers following the forced closures during the pandemic. Lisa Moxon, of Dow Schofield Watts Business Recovery, said: “Paddington House Hotel began to experience trading difficulties at the end of 2018 due to increased competition following the opening of a Premier Inn in Warrington town centre and the refurbishment of the nearby Holiday Inn. The situation was compounded in March 2020 by the pandemic. The director met with Dow Schofield Watts in late 2022 and the business has now been placed into creditor’s voluntary liquidation.”

Schnitzel Forever opens second site: Sausage specialist Schnitzel Forever has opened its second site, in London’s Hoxton. The former pop-up opened its debut site, in Stoke Newington’s Church Street, in 2021, offering veal, chicken, pork loin, seabass, halloumi and mushroom schnitzels alongside side dishes, desserts and soft drinks. It has now doubled up with an opening at 57 Pitfield Street in Hoxton, for walk-ins only, reports Hot Dinners.

Digbeth Dining Club to open in Dudley: Digbeth Dining Club has revealed it will open a permanent location in the Black Country following successful pop-up events during 2022. The Dockworks will be a canalside venue based at The Waterfront Marina in Brierley Hill, Dudley, adjacent to Merry Hill shopping centre. The venue will be in operation all year round from the spring, with rotating street food traders, independent food markets and regular live events. Jack Brabant, co-founder of Digbeth Dining Club, told the Express & Star: “Over the last 12 months, our pop-up Waterfront Dining Club has welcomed more than 3,000 people each Friday night, so we know the appetite for this sort of venue is definitely there. We really want this to be a flagship venue for us, like Herbert’s Yard is in Longbridge. Our aim is to really add to and enhance the fabric of Brierley Hill and the wider Dudley region.”

Nando’s set to open restaurant in Worthing: Nando’s is set to open a site in Worthing. The company is planning to launch the outlet in the West Sussex town’s Montague Centre, in the former Laura Ashley premises that has been empty since 2019. Nando’s has applied to Worthing Borough Council for a premises licence to permit the sale of alcohol. According to planning documents, Nando’s will operate the restaurant at ground and first-floor level, and it will feature an external seating area, reports The Argus.

Chinese food supplier to open second restaurant: Chinese food supplier Leo Jin, who supplies most of London’s Chinese restaurants as well as many more across the UK, China and Singapore, has opened his second restaurant. Lin, who operates Charco Charco Yakiniku at 83-93 Southampton Row in Holborn, has launched Charco Charco Hot Pot at 60 St Martins Lane in Covent Garden, reports Hot Dinners. Whereas his first venue serves Japanese yakiniku, sukiyaki, sashimi and sushi maki, the new one offers sushi and DIY hot pots. Spanning two floors, it has a ground-floor sushi bar and a 100-seater restaurant with a hot-pot burner on every table.

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