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Mon 13th Mar 2023 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Sessions set to launch Manchester food hall in early 2024: Sessions, the growth platform for food brands and food hall concept operator led by former Deliveroo managing director Dan Warne, is set to open a new site in Manchester early next year, Propel has learned. The company will operate a 30,000 square-foot food hall in the Shipyard scheme, which forms part of the ongoing regeneration of the city’s St John’s district. It will be the company’s second landmark site after Brighton’s Shelter Hall. The 12-kitchen ‘Shipyard’, on the River Irwell, will be the “food and beverage heartbeat of the new St John’s development” and promises to offer a “blend of the best independent talent from the northwest, with some of the world’s most exciting brands”. Warne said: “It is always our desire at Sessions to find the most exciting talent and concepts and anchor them in dynamic physical environments. The Shipyard represents expansion into a new region, via a scheme that represents a cultural heartbeat for the community. We hope to incubate some of the top talent from the area and give them national and international reach via our network, while introducing some of the most interesting concepts from around the world to the people of Manchester.” Mike Ingall of developers Allied London, added: “We have already established tech and media incubators, and Sessions at Shipyard will be a unique proposition focused on food and entertainment. It will be a great asset and opportunity for Manchester’s independent food operators to create and grow within a UK network.” Last month, Propel revealed that Sessions is looking to more than double its delivery estate in 2023 to 300 kitchens. In addition to running its own operated sites, the Imbiba-backed Sessions partners with pub, hotel and restaurant operators to licence leading brands for eat-in and delivery. The company, which currently operates out of circa 120 kitchens, said it is now actively seeking “premium operators interested in licensing brands” following its recent partnerships with Kew Green, Fullers, and Penta Hotels. The company launched its debut food hall, Shelter Hall, in Brighton, in 2020. Last year, the business opened its Neighbourhood concept in London’s Islington and raised $10m (£7.4m) to fuel its expansion plans. It is looking to actively engage on new sites with landlords and developers, following the significant success of Shelter Hall and Neighbourhood. Jake Bernstone, of Stonebrook London, acted on the Manchester deal. 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Mast-Jägermeister UK launches business-to-business portal for trade customers: Mast-Jägermeister UK has launched a digital business-to-business portal, Klub Jägermeister, to offer its on-trade customers free sales support, alongside spirits education and practical resources to drive revenue. The Klub Jägermeister website will be run on assigned credit, which can be exchanged for POS. Ben Errington, trade marketing manager, said: “The in-venue visibility management platform and digital asset hub will support venues to drive incremental category sales and provide assets to promote Jägermeister’s perfect serve, an ice-cold shot chilled to minus 18C poured into a branded, green, frosted shot glass. Outlet membership will be tiered based on the type of bar, demographic and typical volume sales. This will allow operators to access suitable resources for specific occasions, offering hints and tips on how to maximise their shot category and Jägermeister sales. The new website will enable users to access Jägermeister’s latest innovative equipment, with links to purchase. By using branded tap machines, operators can increase the rate of Jägermeister shot sales by an average of 20%. In addition to the point of sale, operators can access informative videos on training, product information and sales advice focusing on the ice cold shot opportunity for Jägermeister and Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee to demonstrate how versatile both variants are.” Operators can register here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email

Nisha Katona to speak at first Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2023, three free places per company for operators: Nisha Katona, founder of Mowgli, 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”. Katona will speak to Propel group editor Mark Wingett about the next stage of the brand’s growth, opening in London, putting people at the core of the business, and her hopes and fears for the sector. Operators can book up to three free places per company by emailing

Latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage featuring 654 companies to be released on Friday: The latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will be published for Premium subscribers on Friday (17 March). The database now features 654 companies and this month’s edition includes 42 updated entries. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database, which will be updated monthly, merges Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; 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 are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Hornby – I don’t think the casual dining industry will ever be quite as big as it was: The chief executive of The Restaurant Group (TRG), the owner of Wagamama, has said chain restaurants will never be as ubiquitous as they were pre-pandemic, but insisted they will not disappear from Britain’s high streets altogether. Andy Hornby, chief executive of TRG, which owns the Japanese chain, told The Telegraph: “I don’t think the [casual dining] industry will ever be quite as big as it was.” However, he brushed off suggestions that mid-market restaurants would disappear altogether because of the cost-of-living crisis. Hornby said people were still “prepared to spend money on good quality food and drink” as he argued that “good performing, well-run food and drink operators do have a good future in this country.” TRG announced last week it would close 35 loss-making eateries, mainly Frankie & Benny’s. The brand has suffered disproportionately because of the kind of diners it attracts, Hornby said, telling The Telegraph its typical customers were “probably a family of four working incredibly hard that has been hit very hard by the cost-of-living crisis.” However, Hornby said Wagamama was doing well. “What has actually happened is demand has held up better than people thought, but the cost inflation pressures have hurt people’s margins,” he added. “It’s all cash flow issues, and those for many operators won’t go away. I have got huge sympathy for a lot of very hard-working people who set up businesses [based on] one set of operating margins, and the inflationary pressures that have come through is just so different than what it was.” He said there are signs inflation is beginning to ease, which could potentially restore some consumer confidence. Analysts encouraged by TRG’s strategic plans – see Company News.

Carlsberg Marston’s aims to use 100% regenerative barley across all UK beer brands: Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company is working with British farmers to step up use of regenerative barley. The brewer has launched a series of pilot projects to test its viability and help reduce carbon footprints, promote biodiversity, pay farmers fairly and achieve 100% sustainable agriculture by 2040. The three pilots will take place in the UK, Finland and France under Carlsberg’s Towards Net Zero and Beyond programme. In the UK, Carlsberg Marston’s and multinational food processor Archer-Daniels Midland have signed up the first 23 farmers to grow around 7,000 tonnes of regenerative barley during 2023, starting the transition to 100% regenerative barley for the Carlsberg Danish Pilsner by 2027. All other UK-brewed brands – including Banks’s, Marston’s Pedigree, Wainwright, Shipyard pale Ale, Carlsberg Export and Hobgoblin – are aiming to follow suit by 2031. Laurence Cox, sustainability lead at Carlsberg Marston’s, said: “We’re excited to support British farmers to ensure our barley continues to be sourced from UK farmers for our UK-brewed brands, and going forward, using regenerative techniques.”

UK cod sales fall behind pollock for first time: UK cod sales have fallen behind pollock for first time, according to an industry expert. UK sales of cod in the 12 months to January were some 55,400 metric tons, putting them behind Alaska pollock for the first time, which hit sales of 56,199 metric tons, reports the Daily Mail. Details of the shift in eating habits came from Andrew Allchurch, procurement director at Young’s Seafood’s parent company Sofina, speaking at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum in Bergen, Norway. He said: “The cost-of-living crisis has seen a boost for pollock products. Total whitefish has been entirely supported by the growth of Alaska pollock. Cod, in particular, is seeing significant year-on-year volume declines.” Mr Allchurch added that the industry needs to move away from the traditional eating of big cod fillets covered in batter or breadcrumbs, saying younger people prefer bite-sized portions.

Job of the Day: COREcruitment is working with a global hospitality business which operates wide and varied operations and a variety of service offers. It is seeking a sales director with an understanding, love and appreciation of hospitality with, ideally, a background in food operations. The candidate will be comfortable with all elements of the sales tender process, but moreover, building and cultivating strong client relationships. The salary for the position is up to £120,000 and based in London. For more information on the role, please contact

Company News:

Lake – positive response to early conversations around European launch, to make airport debut: Jon Lake, managing director of Chopstix Noodle Bar, the UK’s largest Asian quick service restaurant (QSR) brand, has told Propel the business has received a positive response in terms of early conversations around launching in Europe. Lake said: “When we’ve reached out to a few people overseas, they know about the brand, which is really encouraging. The response has been positive in terms of some early conversations. We have got meetings in a couple of territories over the coming months, and we’ll see what happens. We’re not counting our chickens, but when you look around Europe in particular, it is similar to the UK in the sense that KFC, Burger King and McDonald’s, all the big boys are there, but there’s not really an Asian QSR brand of any scale. So that’s the potential we see, and now that we’ve got some scale in the UK we want to leverage that overseas, but we must keep it simple.” The business took its overall estate to 127 sites last week with the acquisition of the 27-strong Chozen Noodle business for an undisclosed fee. Building on the company’s already strong presence in service stations, the acquisition of Chozen took the group’s presence at motorway service areas to 53 sites. It is understood the deal makes the company the second biggest QSR brand on UK roadsides behind Burger King. It will further enhance its transport hub credentials later this year with its debut site at an airport, when it opens at Luton airport. Lake said: “Transport sites work well for us. We’ve also recently opened near Brixton station and in Canary Wharf and are moving ahead with some others. We serve people in a minute, it’s quick, it’s recognisable, it’s something familiar, it’s comfort food and we are relevant to a lot of demographics for a lot of occasions.” It is also set to expand its partnership with holiday park operator Haven after the success of its initial trial site in Scotland. The business launched its first holiday park location in partnership with Haven, at Craig Tara Park in Ayrshire, last year. It is understood to be one of the most successful food and beverage concessions Haven operates, and two more sites will open with the holiday park operator later this year, with more to follow. Lake told Propel: “The trial site has gone well. Haven recognises the food, the environment and its demographic are a very good mix.”

Analysts encouraged by The Restaurant Group’s strategic plans: A number of sector analysts have reacted favourably to The Restaurant Group’s (TRG) recent up trading update and its plans to dispose of 35 sites from its leisure division, alongside a three-year plan to reduce debt and improve margins. The update came after Oasis Management, the Hong Kong hedge fund that owns a 6.5% stake in TRG, agitated for more significant change, which led to speculation that the Andy Hornby-led company could look at disposing of its pubs or concession businesses. According to Citigroup, the Wagamama owner has “organic recovery potential”. It said: “We continue to have a positive outlook; aside from the speculation over potential disposals triggered by activist Oasis Management. We see the combination of recent dine-in growth in pubs and Wagamama and the mid-term margin accretion plan as highlighting the organic recovery potential. We are more constructive for 2023 demand than previously, reflecting January industry data and management comments. We also are encouraged by the mid-term margin targets; we estimate that 100 basis points (bps) alone is covered by concessions volume recovery and mix (leisure exits and pubs/Wagamama growth), with the remainder sourced from the 450bps labour and F&B cost recovery, and further procurement/overhead savings.” Analysts at Investec said: “The solid FY22 and a strong like-for-like year to date bode well for FY23E. Beyond that, TRG has highlighted a credible action plan for significant de-leveraging and Ebitda margin improvement by FY25E, to be achieved through volume and pricing management, cost efficiencies and portfolio mix. On our upgraded numbers (still arguably on the conservative side), we see significant upside potential for the shares – and no need for asset disposals for this to materialise.” Shore Capital said: “We have long argued that TRG’s constituent parts are worth materially more than the market capitalisation. At 7-8x post-overhead Ebitda (a similar multiple to Loungers), Wagamama could be worth up to £500m, concessions circa £100m (1x revenue) and Brunning & Price at £200m (8-10x site Ebitda), we would value the group at double the current share price.” Some analysts shared the view that bigger disposals could crystallise greater value. Douglas Jack, at Peel Hunt, said that in his sum-of-the parts valuation, “selling all but Wagamama and buying back shares could net a value of at least 92p a share”.

Gail’s CEO – people are constantly asking us to move into their locality, algorithm tells us where to go: Gail’s chief executive Tom Molnar has said people are constantly asking the brand to move into their locality, but that new site locations are decided initially through an algorithm. The brand, which has grown to more than 100 sites since being founded in the 1990s by Yael (Gail) Mejia, last month opened its first UK site in the north. The Manchester Evening News reported queues snaking out of the door of 46 Water Lane in Wilmslow as it opened its doors for the first time. Further northern sites are due to follow in King Street, Manchester, and Shaw Road, Altrincham, in the coming months. In terms of deciding where to set up shop next, Molnar, who joined the business in the early 2000s, told the Daily Mail that it’s “half maths, half art”. He said an algorithm shows how people in each postcode behave, after which it’s down to “meeting local people, listening to the emails, finding the right site”. It’s a huge compliment, he adds, that people constantly ask him for a Gail’s in their locality. Although Molnar insists the company have no “typical customer” in mind, the brand has become associated with well-heeled clientele and well-to-do areas. For many, the newspaper said, having a Gail’s nearby is a sign of “gentrification” and that “you’ve made it". As Dominic Agace, chief executive of Winkworth estate agents, says: “Gail's marks an area as a prime property market.” When he first joined the business, Molnar said it was kept alive by London-based French, Italian and German customers, but that Brits have now come around to sourdough bread and cinnamon buns. “The public is much more aware of food,” said Molnar says. “We had been trained to think all food is the same, but it’s really not. The ingredients you put in and the people who take care of it produce a completely different outcome. Coffee isn’t just coffee anymore and beer isn’t just beer – and the same is true for bread.” Molnar, who said he visits at least one Gail’s every day for a double espresso, said the brand’s fandom peaked when one customer FedExed loaves to his daughter in New York twice a week. “I love that excitement, but the air miles scared me,” he added. “I suggested there might be decent bakeries in New York!”

Marston’s 61-strong pub package has a combined value of circa £37m: The 61-strong portfolio of freehold pubs placed on the market by Marston’s last week has a combined total value of circa £37m, Propel understands. Propel revealed last week that Marston’s had placed the portfolio on the market through Christie & Co. The assets are a selection of Marston’s non-core properties, including a mix of leased, tenanted, retail and managed pubs, and are understood to be being marketed under the project name “Project Aramis”. The pubs are spread across England and Wales, with a high proportion located in the Midlands. They include the White Lion in Wigan (guide price £1,750,000), Admirals Table in Bridgwater (£1,250,000) and the Firebug in Leicester (£1,650,000). It is thought the package will attract interest from the likes of Red Oak Taverns, the national pub operator founded by Aaron Brown and Mark Grunnell in 2011, and Valiant Pub Company, the Gerry Carroll-led business. Both companies have acquired pubs from Marston’s over the past 12 months. Marston’s features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book. Its turnover of £799,600,000 is the tenth highest in the database. Its pre-tax profit of £163,400,000 is the highest in the database. The Blue Book ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. 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.

The Avocado Show secures second UK site: The Avocado Show restaurant franchise has secured its second site in the UK, in London’s Covent Garden, Propel has learned. The concept, which made its UK debut in Princes Street in the capital in 2021, is understood to have secured the ex-Benito’s Hat site in New Row. The brand has taken the assignment of the existing ten-year lease on the 1,350 square-foot site for an undisclosed premium. Avocado Show currently also has three restaurants in Holland and one each in Brussels, Madrid and Stuttgart. Founded by Ron Simpson and Julien Zaal, the restaurant serves sustainable avocado-based dishes. In 2020, it said it had signed on 19 franchise locations in the UK and Europe, with the possibility of sites in Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, Guildford and Brighton. The sale of the New Row site leaves Benito’s Hat with one site, in Oxford’s Westgate scheme. Earlier this year, Karamay Uyghur Kitchen, which specialises in cuisine from Western China, secured the former Benito’s Hat in Great Castle Street, near Oxford Street. MKR Property acted on behalf of Benito’s Hat. The Mexican brand, which underwent a restructure in 2020 that saw half of the business acquired out of administration, was placed on the market last autumn. The Avocado Show features in the Propel UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK available exclusively to Premium subscribers. The database is updated every two months. 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.

Red Engine eyes Manchester launch for Electric Shuffle brand: Red Engine, the team behind Flight Club, is planning to launch its Electric Shuffle concept in Manchester. Propel understands the Steve Moore-led business has applied to open on the existing Evans Cycles site in the city’s Deansgate area. Evans Cycles is set to move to a new location in the city. Last November, Moore told Propel that the business hoped to have another Electric Shuffle location to announce in 2023 – “we’re looking at Birmingham and Manchester, so probably one of those.” The company currently operates two sites in London under its shuffleboard concept, plus a regional site in Leeds, and two sites in the US, in Austin and Dallas. Red Engine plans to open two sites in Scotland – in Glasgow and Edinburgh – this autumn, under its Flight Club brand.

Zambrero builds UK openings pipeline: Zambrero, Australia’s largest Mexican quick-service franchise, which received £143m in equity financing to open more restaurants in Britain and Ireland earlier this year, has added two new sites to its openings pipeline. The business, which currently operates five sites in London and the south of England, has lined up openings in Cambridge and Reading. It will open in a unit formerly occupied by travel agents STA Travel in Cambridge’s Sidney Street and take on the former William Hill site in Reading’s Queen Victoria Street. Zambrero was founded in Canberra in 2005 by Sam Prince, a Scottish-born doctor, with the idea of using the profits to support humanitarian causes. The chain donates a meal to the developing world for every one bought through its Plate 4 Plate initiative. It has grown to become the biggest Mexican restaurant group in Australia and the eighth largest globally, with 250 sites in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland and the US. The brand, which is led in the UK by chief executive Emily The, opened its debut UK site in Kentish Town in 2021.

Bowland Inns & Hotels reports strong trading in 2023 with Ebitda 75% up on pre-covid levels: Lancashire hotel, pub and restaurant operator Bowland Inns & Hotels has reported strong trading since the beginning of 2023, with Ebitda tracking 75% up on the last financial year pre-covid. It comes as the company’s multi-site venue, Holmes Mill in Clitheroe, was named Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure Business of the Year at the Lancashire Business View’s Red Rose Awards 2023. The converted cotton mill opened in 2015 and is home to Bowland Brewery and Bowland Beer Hall, a food hall, a duckpin bowling alley, a 39-bedroom hotel, a bistro restaurant, an Everyman Cinema and 13,000 square feet of serviced office space. It is one of nine hospitality and leisure venues in the Bowlands portfolio, with more set to following last year’s £26m bank loan to refinance its debt and support future acquisitions. The group made its first acquisition since 2015 in December when it reached a lease agreement with the trustees of the Downham Estate for the Assheton Arms in Downham, Lancashire, which has now reopened under its new owners. Further announcements regarding the pub are expected in the coming months.

Tommy Banks to open pub with rooms in North Yorkshire: Michelin-starred chef Tommy Banks is to open a pub with rooms in North Yorkshire. The new venture is close to his Michelin-starred restaurant The Black Swan. The team is busy working on a refresh of the historic site, which will open in the spring with a state-of-the-art kitchen, dining room and bar area that will offer drinks including the Tommy Banks Group’s Banks Brothers canned wine. The food-focused pub will use grown and reared produce from the family’s farm in Oldstead and include a number of rooms. 

Turtle Bay to open restaurant in Blackpool this summer: Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay is to open a site in Blackpool this summer. The 3,800 square-foot restaurant and bar will open on the ground floor of The Brook Group-owned newly restored Forshaws Hotel in Talbot Square. Nick Crossley, chief executive of Turtle Bay, said: “We’re coming to Blackpool. We’ve been working together with the council for some time and are delighted to bring our Caribbean good times to Blackpool’s iconic promenade.” Darren Oxley, development director of The Brook Group, added: “Turtle Bay is the first tenant in the repurposed lower floors of The Forshaw’s Hotel following significant investment and continues our relationship with it, being a tenant in one of our Sheffield properties. We are now looking to secure other tenants for the remaining units, to re-establish the venue as a leisure destination in the Talbot Square and Promenade area of the town.” At the end of last year, Crossley told Propel he sees a runway of 120-plus UK openings for the Piper-backed brand.

Swingers launches third US site: Swingers, the crazy golf brand owned by Competitive Socialising, has launched its third US site. The concept, founded in 2014 by Jeremy Simmonds and Matt Grech-Smith, has opened at Navy Yard in Washington DC’s Ballpark District. The venue has more than 23,000 square feet of space, spanning two floors and three nine-hole courses, as well as multiple cocktail bars and a gourmet street food offering. It also features a classic English pub called The Swingers Arms. Last year, Swingers, which operates two London venues – in the West End and City – said it plans to open two more sites in 2023 and five locations in 2024 and 2025, taking the company to 17 sites.

Searcys launches new range of staff benefits: Restaurateur and events caterer Searcys has launched a new range of employee benefits as part of its recruitment, training and retention strategy. In residence across 20-plus venues in London and Bath, Searcys has reviewed its employee benefit scheme to introduce new and improved perks, aimed to nurture and grow staff within the business. The new benefits include enhanced maternity and paternity payments, which run alongside benefits including up to 38 days of annual leave and a 50% discount on food across Searcys venues. All 1,100 team members have access to a round-the-clock employee assistance programme, alongside in-house mental health first aiders, the option for Bupa medical cover and access to gym discounts and a cycle to work scheme. Denise Allen, people director at Searcys, said: “Our ambition is to become the best place to work in the hospitality industry, and with our business growing, we have put a particular emphasis on ensuring that we look after, nurture and develop our people so that they are given all the opportunity to grow with us. The launch of our enhanced benefits package is an important step in our long-term retention strategy.”

Mediterranean operator to make London restaurant debut next month: Mediterranean operator Ivo Dimitrov, who owns several restaurants in Greece and Spain, is set to make his London restaurant debut next month. As previously reported, Dimitrov, who has lived in London for more than 20 years, will open Mediterranean concept Cavo at the new Tottenham Court Road Station development, The Outernet, in Denmark Street. The 11,300 square-foot open plan restaurant, which will be on the fourth floor, will now launch in April, and include a separate private dining room and an adjacent 1,300 square-foot rooftop terrace. Naples-born head chef Alberto Gargiulo, formerly of Cecconi’s Soho House and Pasta Evangelists, will oversee the menu. This will include the Mediterranean Seafood Celebration, made up of a selection of fresh oysters, seasonal seafood platters, fish and crustaceans, as well as four-course brunch menus for £65 per person. Guests can also opt for an “authentic Mediterranean barbeque experience” where their preferred cuts of meat – including rack of 28-day Lazio Lamb, Abbacchio Romano, and Pluma Iberico Pork – are grilled on Spanish coals. Drinks will include classic cocktails with a Mediterranean twist, Champagnes and wines sourced from around Europe. Dimitrov said: “We are very much inspired by the Mediterranean diet and eating culture, and Cavo is a manifestation of the passion, authenticity of Mediterranean people, cuisine and wine, all brought together for guests to enjoy in central London.”

Gino D’Acampo confirms April opening for new £2m upmarket Italian restaurant and bar in Leeds: Gino D’Acampo has confirmed his new £2m upmarket Italian restaurant and bar in Leeds will open next month. As previously reported, the chef will be launching the venue in the recently refurbished Leeds Marriott Hotel, on Boar Lane. The 160-seated open plan restaurant will now open on Monday, 10 April, offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and cocktails until late. It will feature an outdoor heated terrace, a cicchetti counter complete with a vast brass pizza oven, and a deli where guests can buy a wide selection of authentic Italian produce. Leading the kitchen will be head chef Emanuele Diana, producing a menu of classic Italian dishes with a focus on quality and provenance. Split into ten sections, guests will be able to enjoy a choice of cicchetti and sharing plates; antipasti; carpaccio and tartare; insalata; pasta and risotto; dal mare; bistecca; dalla terra; pizza Napoletana; and contorni dishes. There will also be vegan and vegetarian options and a separate dolci menu, while the drinks offer will feature an extensive list of classic and signature cocktails, Italian and international wines, Prosecco, Franciacorta, spirits and artisan beers. D’Acampo said: “I couldn’t be more pleased to announce my new premium Italian restaurant and bar will open in Leeds this April. I cannot wait to invite you to join me in experiencing it for yourself.” The opening marks the first of several new signings for owners, Gino D’Acampo Hotels & Leisure. Guests will also be invited to join D’Acampo’s loyalty and rewards app, Gino Rewards.

Libertine Burger to open third site later this month: Warwickshire independent restaurant group Libertine Burger will open its third site later this month. As previously reported, the business, which has restaurants in Leamington and Rugby, has secured the former Burger Priest unit in Bell Court, Stratford-upon-Avon. It will now open on Monday, 20 March, creating around 20 jobs. Founder Charles Harris said: “We’re delighted to be taking up our new home in thriving Bell Court. It’s a great place for us and we can’t wait to meet all our new neighbours and open our doors to our customers in Stratford-upon-Avon.” In February last year, Harris said he is planning a “national rollout” of Libertine Burger.

Time called on Cains beer brewing over royalties dispute: The brewing of Liverpool’s Cains beer has stopped due to a dispute over a royalties clause. Almost a year ago, it was announced the brew would make a return to bars around the city after leisure business Mikhail Hotels & Leisure Group struck a deal with brand owner, Terracotta Asset Management, to revive some of the most popular ales. Cains dates to 1850 and was revived in 2002 when brothers Sudarghara and Ajmail Dusanj bought the business. They introduced a range of around ten different brews, but the venture collapsed into administration in the financial crash of 2008. The Dusanj brothers bought back the brewery and eight of the original pubs, but brewing came to a halt again in 2013 and, despite plans to relaunch as a microbrewery, the brand had lay dormant. Production began in earnest once more in June last year following a deal between Mikhail, which has invested millions of pounds on the Cains Brewery redevelopment, and the Cains Brewing Company. But production has now been halted after lawyers were instructed in a row between the two parties over the interpretation of a royalty clause linked to beer production. A Mikhail spokesperson told The Business Desk: “We have stopped brewing, and the reason is because there is a royalty agreement in place. The royalty agreement has a definition, or a method of calculating what that royalty is. We disagree on the interpretation of that definition.” Terracotta Asset Management declined to comment.

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