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Thu 23rd Feb 2023 - Update: Wingstop, Boxpark founder launches venture capital fund
Wingstop CEO – UK business is the blueprint for our overseas growth strategy: Michael Skipworth, president and chief executive of Wingstop, has said the brand’s UK business is the blueprint for its overseas growth strategy. Talking after the brand’s fourth-quarter update, Skipworth said: “The UK business is something we kind of referred to as a textbook deployment of our strategy, where we focus on that little bit more affluent, digitally-savvy consumer. It’s also obviously a market where there’s a strong delivery business. And so, we’ve taken that criteria and used that to target which markets we go to and prioritise for growth. So, if you think about our first openings in Toronto or us opening in January in Seoul, South Korea, I think both of those markets really speak for how well they fit that strategy. And it’s showing up in the results early on. We’re seeing some really strong volumes, which make us feel like there’s a similar opportunity in those markets as we have found in the UK. Our Canadian market is already pacing ahead of its development schedule. We opened our Korean market in mid-January and are pleased with the pipeline of sites. Both markets showcase the opportunity for Wingstop brand globally, following our successful playbook from the UK market, where the restaurant count is now 28 and average unit volumes are above $2m (£1.66m).” Earlier this month, Lemon Pepper Holdings, which is rolling out Wingstop across the UK, reported it saw average weekly sales exceed £1m at the end of 2022. It has also secured its first standalone unit on a retail park – the former Bella Italia at Gallions Reach Retail Park in Beckton, east London. The 100-plus cover restaurant was acquired off-market and is expected to open late March/early April. Last year, the business opened 11 new locations and saw more than 2.2 million customers served across the country. Lemon Pepper Holdings said it expects to exceed 2022 development numbers, with several new locations already secured for the year, including a site in Wood Green. Propel understands Lemon Pepper Holdings is currently in talks on its first site in Wales, in Cardiff.

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.

Boxpark founder launches venture capital fund to back entrepreneurs: Boxpark founder Roger Wade has launched a venture capital fund. Wade has launched BoxFund, which specialises in SEIS and EIS investments, and “backs people and ideas, not spreadsheets”. BoxFund also collaborates with other funds and co-invests. The website states: “Boxfund specialises in early stage SEIS/EIS investment. Our chief executive, Roger Wade, has more than 30 years operational experience in consumer brands. Specialising in setting up businesses that come from an idea, developing an idea into a viable business and preparing the business for exit. Roger believes great businesses start with the combination of people and ideas. He works with them, offering his knowledge, guidance and support throughout the journey. He is a creative entrepreneur and believes all brands should be special. He identifies those special brands/projects and adds values to them. He is passionate about people, ideas, and thinking outside the box!” So far, the business has invested in Boxpark as well as job sharing platform, Roleshare, and Sticks, a corporate retreat business specialising in offering environmental, social and governance training and team building in countryside environments. In April last year, Wade stepped down as chief executive of Boxpark, the business he founded more than a decade previously, and handed over the reins to Simon Champion, who was then managing director. Wade remains with the business as brand consultant and a non-executive director. In 2021, Wade sold a majority stake in Boxpark to private equity firm Lloyds Development Capital. He remains Boxpark’s second-largest shareholder, with 25% of the company.

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