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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 23rd Feb 2023 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Foodservice price inflation falls for first time since September 2021 but still above 20%: Foodservice price inflation fell slightly to 22.0% in January, the new edition of the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index has revealed. While only a small change from the index’s record high of 22.9% in December, it marks the first drop in inflation since September 2021. However, all categories of the index remain in double-digit inflation, with oils and fats recording the highest level of year-on-year increase at 42.2%, while milk, cheese and eggs continued to rise quickly at 37.7%. Vegetable prices are also feeling inflationary pressures, having increased month-on-month by more than 3.5% for three months in a row. The three major upstream influencers on the price of food – oil, exchange rates and commodity markets – are now more stable than in 2022. The UN FAO Food Price Index of food commodities averaged 131.2 points in January 2023 – down by 1.1 points from December, marking a tenth consecutive month of decline. However, energy costs continue to be at extremely high levels against a background of a tightening of government support, and higher labour costs within supply chains show few signs of easing. A significant reduction in food and drink prices is only likely to begin with an end to the conflict in Ukraine, so the outlook for 2023 therefore remains volatile, the index warned. Prestige Purchasing chief executive Shaun Allen said: “We expect to see inflation easing slowly over the course of 2023 as commodity pricing and prior year impacts kick in. Slowing consumer demand within the sector will also impact hospitality sector sales volumes, which should also help to ease supplier prices. Energy and labour costs remain a significant challenge however, so the rate of inflation decline may be slow for some time yet.”

Industry News:

Chaiiwala founder Sohail Ali to speak at first Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2023, three free places per company for operators: Sohail Ali, founder of street food cafe franchise Chaiiwala, 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”. Ali will discuss the concept’s creation, its expansion in the UK and internationally, the size of the opportunity and its move into the drive-thru category. Operators can book up to three free places per company by emailing
Propel Premium subscribers to receive three updated databases next week: Propel Premium subscribers are to receive three updated databases next 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 21 new multi-site companies, including a number of hotel operators, taking the total to 2,789. 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. It features more than 170,000 words of content, including 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 6,300-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 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.
Greene King tells NFU closer collaboration vital to reduce emissions: Brewer and retailer Greene King’s sustainability leader has told the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) that it’s vital for the hospitality industry and farmers to work collaboratively together to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Assad Malic, chief communications and sustainability officer at the pub operator and brewer, addressed delegates at the NFU’s conference this week in Birmingham. The theme of the conference is “Feeding a Changing World”, and it is a first for a pub company and brewer to address the event. Last week, Greene King’s target to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 received approval from the Science Based Targets initiative, and Malic explained how the company would be setting about achieving this ambitious target in the years ahead. Addressing the conference, he said it was crucial the hospitality industry worked alongside UK farmers in reducing emissions through regenerative farming methods so the country as a whole could reduce its nationwide emissions. He said: “We have to work collaboratively, not just within our sectors but across multiple sectors from agriculture, through supply chain to hospitality and retail. We can’t expect farming to solve the problem for us all alone.” He also called on the government to work at pace to unblock bureaucracy and provide regulatory support so farmers and businesses can accelerate the changes needed to build resilience through sustainable practices into the UK’s food system.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an established premium pub group in London looking for a head of talent and development. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “The ideal candidate will have a strong background in learning and development and a passion for hospitality. This is a London based role but travel across the south of England will be required. You will define, develop and implement the learning and development strategy and continually evaluate and take ownership of all training/learning activities, materials and processes to ensure the right learning happens consistently with the right people at the right time. As a senior leader in the business, you will focus on how the goals of the company and people team can be achieved, with open communication and consistent collaboration with other senior leaders.” The salary is up to £70,000. For more information, email

Company News:

Honest Burgers CEO – we’re performing strongly, having invested in value: Frank Hayes, chief executive of Honest Burgers, the Active Partners-backed business, has told Propel the circa 40-strong company is “performing strongly” and beginning to again look at expansion opportunities. Hayes, who completed the reshaping of the brand’s management team last summer, said the company is seeing strong sales momentum. He told Propel: “We’ve been steadily building momentum since last summer. We were worried this might cool off in January as consumers recover from high activity levels in the lead-in to Christmas, but it has continued through January and into February. We’re currently up 30% in sales versus last year with even stronger transaction growth, as we didn’t take any pricing last year and benefited from VAT this time last year. Clearly this comparison is affected by Omicron last year, but we’re even up on delivery sales. We think the growth is a combination of stronger operations plus a deliberate investment in value, recognising the reality that our customers would be feeling the cost-of-living pressures. Not only did we avoid taking pricing, but we also launched our new entry level burger, the Smashed burger, last October. It’s a fantastic quality product, based on our smashed patty, at a price of £8.50 for a burger and rosemary chips, and is also a slightly lighter eat, which we think makes particular sense as a weekday lunch option. Customers have responded positively, and it immediately hit a significant share of our sales mix and added to the existing growth we were seeing. This growth has obviously been helpful and important, particularly as we face into another wave of cost increases.” The business recently opened a delivery kitchen with Jacuna in Norbury, south London, with a further unit set to come online in Canary Wharf. In terms of restaurant expansion, Hayes said: “Our shareholders continue to be very supportive and we’re now beginning to look at growing again.” It comes as the business reported turnover for the year to 26 January 2022 increased 40% to £38,222,326 (2021: £27,322,592), with Ebitda at £1,660,933 (2021: £1,114,682), while pre-tax losses stood at £6,215,972 (2021: £3,185,261).

Ponti’s owner and ex-Le Pain Quotidien MD launch coffee shop concept, plan further openings: Stefano Ispani, owner and operator of Ponti’s Restaurants, and Steven Whibley, former director at Gail’s and Le Pain Quotidien, have launched “new generation of coffee shop” concept, Caffe Italia, and plan further openings. Propel revealed last month that the pair, under the Casa del Caffe umbrella, were in talks to open the first site under the concept in London’s Notting Hill. It has now opened at 30-23 Westbourne Grove, having partnered with Lavazza to offer its premium La Reserva de Tierra range. There is also a variety of hot chocolate, loose-leaf tea and plant lattes to compliment the coffee menu, alongside Italian specialties such as shakerato, caffe frappes and gelato frappes. Bakery items such as cornetti, tiramisu, organic pane pugliese and piped cannoli are also available, as well as a range of ciabatta, toasted focaccia sandwiches and gelato, while an aperitvo menu is served from 3pm. Whibley said: “We are delighted to open Caffe Italia in Westbourne Grove and hope the local community enjoys our take on the modern Italian coffee shop. Caffe Italia plans further ‘cafetterias’ – our name for our cafes – but all in good time. We have built Caffe Italia to be sustainable from its foundations, and for us, sustainable growth is about achieving a continuous high-quality experience for our guests and our teams. Only when we are giving ‘la dolce vita’ every day will we look to grow a little bigger.” Whibley has held director roles at Gail’s and Le Pain Quotidien and was managing director of Le Pain Quotidien UK until 2021. Ispani’s family, meanwhile, has been running Italian cafes, restaurants and ice cream outlets for 60 years in London and remains Lavazza’s longest serving catering client.
Thai Square owner sees turnover rise but remain below pre-covid levels: Catering UK, owner of the ten-outlet Thai Square restaurant chain, saw its turnover rise but fell to a loss for the year ending 30 June 2022. Turnover was up from £4,712,311 in 2021 to £10,593,842. This compares with £13,438,583 in the last full year before the pandemic (ending 30 June 2019). The business reported a pre-tax loss of £2,940,589 compared with a profit of £1,425,124 the previous year after an exceptional item of £5,591,950 "after the directors concluded the amounts owed to group undertakings no longer represented a fair picture of the state of the company's affairs and as such repayment of the amounts across the group was waived". (2019: profit of £701,294). Ebitda rose from £1,516,639 in 2021 to £2,729,910 following the reopening of all sites after the pandemic. However, Ebitda as a percentage of turnover fell from 32% in 2021 to 26%, “primarily being squeezed by rising staff costs due to the shortage of labour”, said director Haim Danous. He added gross profit margins remained steady at 81%, the same as in 2021. The company received £169,735 in government grants (2021: £2,026,369) and £212,263 in insurance claims (2021: £120,070). No dividends were paid (2021: nil). The company has combated recruitment issues and rising costs by offering staff all service charges collected, applying to the Home Office to become a sponsor of skilled workers from abroad and fixing its utilities until October next year. Danous added: “Management has continued to review its cost base, and the vigorous cost cutting programme that was implemented during the 2020-21 financial year has continued into 2021-22. The business is growing nicely, and if staff can be retained and attracted, we are hopeful of an even more profitable year in 2022-23. The company expects to continue to trade profitably from existing sites and will look to extend the existing estate as and when opportunities arise.”

Cineworld yet to receive any firm offers for whole group: Shares in Cineworld slumped on Wednesday (22 February) after it emerged the cinema chain has yet to receive any firm offers for the whole business. According to reports, Cineworld’s bankruptcy attorney, Joshua Sussberg, said in a hearing that the company’s outreach to 40 potential buyers had led to “many” offers for the rest-of-world assets, but only “some strategic interest” in the entire company. Sussberg said the group, which owns the Regal cinema chain in the US and Cineworld and Picturehouse in the UK and Ireland, did not receive any all-cash bids, and no bid came anywhere near the $6bn of secured indebtedness on the company’s balance sheet. The company's shares were down 13% at 3.89p in mid-afternoon trading. The final deadline for a bid is set for 10 April. In January, the company said it would focus on a sale of the group as a whole rather than individual assets, months after it filed for US bankruptcy protection in its bid to restructure debt and strengthen its balance sheet.
Love Churros secures seconds overseas franchise partner, eyes further foreign expansion: London urban dessert experience Love Churros has secured a second overseas franchise partner and is eyeing further foreign expansion. The company, founded in 2015 by former professional footballer Jake Nicholson, has UK locations in Brixton, Shoreditch, Croydon and Lakeside, and last summer opened its first overseas site, in Saudi Arabia. It now has two sites in Riyadh and is set for further expansion across the region. “Pleased to announce we have just completed on our master license franchise partnership to open multiple Love Churros across the UAE region over the next ten years,” Nicholson said. “This is a huge milestone for the brand. A special thank you to Daniel Shand-Roger and Malindi Freeman, who have worked closely with me on completing this UAE partnership. We have a few more countries to announce this year, so stay tuned.”
Vaulkhard Group appoints Craig Bell as new finance director: North east leisure firm Vaulkhard Group has appointed Craig Bell, formerly of Red’s True Barbecue, as its new finance director, Propel has learned. Bell was previously finance director at Red’s, The Apartment Group and the Ladhar Group. He also had a brief stint last year as interim finance director at Popeyes UK. Bell also previously spent more than a year and a half as chief executive of The Naked Deli business, and is the founder of the Leeds-based quick service restaurant kebab concept Sqew. As well as 16 pubs and bars, Vaulkhard also operates several Blakes Coffee & Kitchen and Central Bean coffee shop sites.
Treetop Adventure Golf set to open fifth venue following £2.5m investment, more sites in pipeline: Discovery Adventure Golf, a partnership between former Goldman Sachs entrepreneur Elizabeth Stanway and experienced leisure operator Chris Richards, is set to open its fifth Treetop Adventure Golf site following a £2.5m investment. The immersive play operator has signed a 25-year lease for a 17,500 square-foot site at Metrocentre, Gateshead, due to open this summer. It will feature two indoor 18-hole mini golf courses as well as a bonus 19th hole, offering all players the chance to win a free round. There will also be tropical cocktails and mocktails and coffees available from The Thirsty Toucan and Jungle Buzz Café, both featuring offerings from local suppliers. Stanway said: “We’re excited to bring our extraordinary and immersive world to life at the Metrocentre. We believe everyone should have access to wonder and play in their lives. Everyone’s welcome at Treetop – we create joyful places that bring people together and where everyone can be themselves. We can’t wait for our guests to start making treasured memories together at the Metrocentre.” The group also operates Treetop Adventure Golf sites in Cardiff, Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham, with more sites in the pipeline.

Bowland Inns & Hotels seeks to return to acquisition trail, turnover approaching pre-pandemic levels: Lancashire hotel, pub and restaurant operator Bowland Inns & Hotels has said it is seeking a return to the acquisition trail, as it reported turnover approaching pre-pandemic levels for the six months to 31 May 2022. Turnover for the six months was £10,358,000 compared to £14,393,826 in the 18 months to 28 November 2021, and to £18,738 859 in the last full year before the pandemic (ending 31 May 2019). Pre-tax profits were £363,109 compared to £9,095,289 in the 18 months to 28 November 2021, and a loss of £1,964,218 in the year to 31 May 2019. Ebitda was £1,762,060 compared to minus £410,282 in the 18 months to 28 November 2021, and £867,247 in the year to 31 May 2019. It received £55,350 in government grants compared to £1,497,480 in 2021. The group’s 12-month period to May 2020 was extended to 18 months to enable better visibility of the full impact of the pandemic. The group then accounted for a 12-month period to November 2021 before returning to a May period-end at May 2022. As previously reported, the group completed a refinance of its banking facilities in the period. NatWest term debt (£13.3m) and CBIL (£1.6m) were replaced with an £18m term loan from Barclays. Alongside this is an additional £8m accordion to assist with the group’s future acquisitions and growth plans. Director James Warburton, in his statement accompanying the accounts, said: “The six months to May 2022 showed a significant improvement in performance of the group compared to the same period ended 31 May 2019. Although our results for the period are extremely positive and represent a record for the trading period, they could have been significantly better and the board are extremely positive about the businesses and their future potential. The immediate goal of the group is to continue to maximise the profitability of the existing estate and maintain our post- pandemic recovery as much as possible. In addition, we envisage eventually pursuing the growth and acquisition strategy we were planning to follow pre-pandemic.”
South London sustainable coffee concept set to expand into city centre: South London sustainable coffee concept Perks & White is set to expand into the city centre with an opening in Piccadilly Circus. It will next Tuesday (28 February) open in St James’s Market, the brand’s first central London shop, offering specialist coffee, sweet pastries and a range of breakfast and lunch options prepared daily on-site. It currently operates two sites within Herne Hill Station, one within Tulse Hill Station and a Sunday-only slot at the City & Country Farmer’s Market in Herne Hill. Co-founder Jason Perks said: “We are thrilled to be expanding Perks & White into central London. Our south London customers tell us how much they love the quality of the coffee and atmosphere we have built.” Co-founder Dickon White added: “It has been nine months of planning to get to where we are, a process made all the more enjoyable by working with our trusted suppliers to ensure the quality of what we have built in south London is maintained in St James’s Market.” Perks & White has a long-standing partnership with independent West Norwood roasters, Volcano Coffee Works. Among the food offerings will be fresh sourdough sandwiches and superfood salads.
Wafflemeister lands first UK retail deal: Wafflemeister, the Belgian waffle operator, has landed its first ever UK retail deal, with Waitrose. Wafflemeister’s Belgian waffles (£2.10 for 5 x 50g), Chocolate Coated Belgian Waffles (£2.10 for 5 x 55g) and Toasting Waffles (£1.90 for 4 x 2 x 25g) will be available in selected Waitrose stores nationwide. This follows the brand’s success in the wholesale and foodservice markets, with presence across the education, healthcare and hospitality sectors. The company also has more than 35 branded outlets across the UK in locations such as Alton Towers, Legoland, Oxford Street and Thorpe Park. Rikos Leong-Son, co-chief executive of Wafflemeister, said: “We’re thrilled to have secured our first major retail listing in Waitrose following the success of the product in foodservice. Ultimately, we want everyone to be able to buy our waffles, and this entry into retail is the start of the journey to delivering that.” 
Platform to open two venues this year, further expansion inside and outside London planned for 2024 and 2025: Gaming restaurant/bar concept Platform will open two new venues this year, with further expansion both inside and outside of London planned for 2024 and 2025. It comes as the concept, co-founded by Tomaso Portunato, Nicolò Portunato and Lucas Weintraub, confirmed a March opening for its Canary Wharf site. Propel revealed in October that the Platform, which opened its debut site in 2019 in Shoreditch, had secured the former Wanyoo site in Canary Wharf Shopping Centre for its second venue. The 4,780 square-foot site will open at Unit 40, 1 Crossrail Place, on Saturday, 25 March, offering “a unique competitive socialising experience, complemented by an impressive food and drink offering, including creative cocktails inspired by retro games”. Set over two floors, it will accommodate up to 250 guests in 24 immersive console gaming booths, each kitted out with ninth-generation consoles. Each semi-private booth will feature futuristic interiors for experienced gamers and novices alike, with the choice between current-generation consoles and top-tier multiplayer games. The addition of service buttons in each booth will allow guests to order food and drink at their table, with the menu including pizzas alongside new items. The co-founders said: “We’re thrilled to bring our unique and immersive, new gaming experience to the vibrant community of Canary Wharf. Platform Canary Wharf will be a hub for local gamers and non-gamers alike, offering a space to socialise, compete, and have fun surrounded by top-tier food and drinks.”
Crerar Hotels restructures at significant cost, turnover almost back to pre-pandemic levels: Scottish hotel operator Crerar Hotels said it has restructured the company at a significant cost, as it reported turnover almost back to pre-pandemic levels. In its accounts for the year ending 26 March 2022, the company, which operates eight luxury hotels in Scotland, reported turnover of £14,462,641. This compares to £5,490,719 in 2021 and £15,535,760 in the last full year before the pandemic (ending 28 March 2020). Pre-tax losses narrowed from £2,425,283 in 2021 to £495,177 (2020: loss of (£1,917,308). It received £494,253 in government grants (2021: £2,595,776). In his report accompanying the accounts, director Nigel Dearnley said: “Following corporate tax and legal advice, the shareholders approved on 8 June 2022 a company restructuring. The cost of this will not be insignificant, and will be shown as an exceptional item in the 2022/23 accounts.” Having loaned £2m from The Crerar Trust in October 2021 to invest in spas at the Loch Fyne and Golf View hotels, as well as refurbish the Deeside hotel, capex on the projects were reported as £629,000, £473,000 and £585,000 respectively. The works were completed at further cost during the year but will provide “further profit generating opportunities”. Extensive redevelopment of the Isle of Mull and Glencoe hotels, with period spends of £1.998m and £473,000 respectively, were completed during the year. Ongoing issues with labour and supply lines meant both projects overran into the summer of 2022 and impacted on their ability to fully trade. Total capex for the period was £4.725m, with a further £2m likely to be incurred in 2022/23. “These combined investments should put the business in a very strong position to take advantage of all the opportunities that arise over the course of the medium and longer term,” Dearnley added. “The aforementioned capital investments, along with unforeseen capex overspends due to significant upward price pressures, are likely to mean the business utilises a part of the overdraft facility in the forthcoming year. Trading for the forthcoming year is, however, expected to be strong, offset by a combination of delayed capex works through Ql and into Q2 and the implications of utility price pressures. The medium to long term performance of the business, however, remains extremely encouraging.” 
Fuller’s launches Panto in the Pub programme: Fuller’s has launched a Panto in the Pub programme, to run in 12 of its pubs this Easter. Following on from its large-scale performances, including Shakespeare in the Garden and Opera in the Garden, Fuller’s has partnered with The Bridge House Theatre Company for its performance of family-friendly Easter-themed pantomime, Mother Goose. It will run from 2-15 April in pubs across London and further afield – in Stockbridge, Havant, Liphook, Winchester, Elstead, Hindhead, Christchurch and Aston Clinton. Luke Adamson, artistic director of The Bridge House Theatre Company, said: “I’m delighted to be working with Fuller’s. I look forward to welcoming lots of families down to the pubs this Easter to see our latest bag of pantomime madness.”
EL&N confirms Manchester opening: High-class cafe brand EL&N, which made its UK regional debut in Scotland at the end of last year, has confirmed it is opening a second site outside London, in Manchester. Propel revealed last month that the business, which was founded in 2017 by Alexandra Miller, was set to take space in the city’s Circle Square development. It has now agreed a lease for a 2,150 square-foot site within the mall at Trafford Palazzo. Miller said: “The store design ties in all the classic EL&N interior elements along with some fresh new Instagram moments that we’ve never done before, Manchester, you’re in for a real treat.” EL&N, which stands for Eat, Live, and Nourish, currently operates 23 stores across Europe and the Middle East including ten in London, six in Saudi Arabia and two in Kuwait. It also has stores in Paris, Milan, Doha, and Dubai.
Fridays introduces cocktail masterclasses and all day two-for-one cocktails: Fridays has introduced in-store cocktail masterclasses and all day, every day two-for-one cocktails. Guests can join expert mixologists at all Fridays’ restaurants in England, Wales and Scotland for 90-minute masterclass session, learning how to recreate iconic cocktails. Available for a minimum of six guests, from £35 per person, as part of the deal they will also be able to enjoy sharing some Fridays food platters. The two-for-one cocktails deal, meanwhile, will be available at all Fridays restaurants in England and Wales. Rhiannon Scarlett, chief marketing officer at Fridays, said: “We are so excited to be celebrating our cocktail bar roots and American heritage with two fantastic new offerings that our guests can enjoy. We’ve been crafting iconic cocktails behind our bars for over 50 years, and we can’t wait for our guests to have a go!”
Zip World to launch giant blimp adventure in North Wales: Adventure tourism operator Zip World is to launch a giant blimp adventure next month. Its Rhyl-based Skyflyer balloon will take passengers 400 feet in the air to enjoy panoramic views over the coast of North Wales and beyond. The £2.5m project is being supported by partners Denbighshire Leisure, which operates Rhyl Pavilion and 1891 restaurant opposite the Skyflyer site. Zip World anticipates it will attract 50,000 visitors for the remainder of 2023, and then rising significantly to more than 100,000 annually thereafter. The viewing platform can carry up to 28 passengers at a time, with a total payload of 2,500kg. The maximum capacity is 112 passengers per hour, with each flight lasting around 15 minutes. Founder and chief executive of Zip World, Sean Taylor, said: “The design and innovative technology of Skyflyer allows the safe operation in winds of up to 40 knots – this was a game-changer for me in terms of both customer experience and commercial viability. Equally, the fact the operation only requires approximately a 160 square-metre footprint means we can operate in existing high footfall leisure developments as part of an overall tourism or leisure offer.” Zip World operates 23 adventure activities across multiple UK sites.
San Carlo secures new HQ: San Carlo Restaurant Group, the north west operator, is relocating more than 50 staff to a new UK headquarters in Manchester city centre. The company, which operates circa 25 sites, has signed a ten-year lease, with a five-year break, for part of the third floor of Arkwright House in Parsonage Gardens. San Carlo staff will soon leave Acresfield, in St Ann’s Square, and move to the new 6,200 square-foot space, to benefit from upgraded office facilities and additional workspace. Marcello Distefano, managing director of San Carlo, said: “We may have grown to be the UK’s largest independent family-owned restaurant group with restaurants worldwide, but our team are like part of the family and it’s important to us that we all feel at home. Arkwright House is a perfect fit for us, the office space has everything that we need to support our business development.” Colliers and Avison Young acted on behalf of the landlord.
The Coffee House to open 13th site: The Coffee House is set to open its 13th site, in Longton, Staffordshire. The family-owned company is launching the outlet in Longton Exchange, in the former BrightHouse premises. The Coffee House serves its own brand of roasted coffee as well as a range of hot food and drinks. Head of people Kimby Priestley told Stoke on Trent Live: “We chose Longton because we often look for forgotten high streets where there is a gap in the market, and hand pick where we want to go. What we want to do is add to the community and bring the community together.” The outlet is set to open in early March.
Glasgow operator Bow Hospitality to open steak restaurant for third site: Glasgow operator Bow Hospitality is to open a steak restaurant in the city for its third site. The Merchant Steakhouse is “coming soon” to Merchant City, taking over the former Canteen 58 unit in Ingram Street. The restaurant will serve “the highest quality Scottish meat and produce alongside a perfectly created cocktail and wine list offering”. Bow Hospitality is also behind Japanese restaurant Saki Maki and Mexican-inspired venue Mezcal in the city, reports the Glasgow Times.
Baggio Burger opens permanent home, in Walthamstow: Baggio Burger, which for several years has operated at markets and festivals across London, has opened its first permanent site. Having tested a vegan-only concept last year, Baggio Burger is offering its full range of Amalfi-coast-inspired Italian burgers from its new home in Chingford Road, Walthamstow. The menu includes the Zola burger – dry-aged British beef patty, mozzarella, homemade gorgonzola and parmesan sauce, house fig jam and rocket; and the Baggio Burger – dry-aged British beef patty, mozzarella, crispy Parma ham, homemade sun-dried tomato ketchup, pickles and rocket. Sides feature oregano or parmesan fries, plus there are specials, reports Hot Dinners.

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