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Tue 14th Mar 2023 - Update: Crosstown appoints CEO, Popeyes UK launches breakfast trial
Crosstown appoints Howard Ebison as new chief executive: Crosstown, the artisan doughnut and speciality coffee concept, has appointed Howard Ebison as its new chief executive. Ebison joins Crosstown, in which Foresight, the backer of Mowgli and Roxy Leisure, invested £3m last year, after more than three years at Hammerson, including a year as managing director asset management. Previous to that he had stints at Manchester Airport and MAG (Airports Group). Crosstown co-founder Adam Wills, who is stepping down as the 29-strong group’s chief executive, said: “One of the greatest challenges we have as a founder is making sure that we have the right leadership team in place as our companies grows. I know that my strength is bringing new ideas to market and then proving their viability and scalability. That is the part I enjoy most. Crosstown has now grown to the point that it needs an expert chief executive in place with a different set of skills to the one’s that I possess. So I am really proud to announce that we have managed to secure the services of Howard Ebison as the new chief executive at Crosstown. Howard will be looking to continue the growth that we have achieved over the last nine years, putting the additional structure and processes in place to allow the next phase of growth to be safe and profitable. I have had an amazing time at Crosstown over the last nine years and feel confident that we have a fantastic team to work alongside Howard for this next chapter. I will be retaining my seat on the board and looking to support the team in any way they require going forward. Thank you to all the staff, customers, suppliers, and supporters of Crosstown that have allowed my passion for creating great food to also be my livelihood.” Ebison said: “Taking over from a founder is a privilege and I’m thrilled to be joining the company. Thanks to Adam Wills and the team for such a warm welcome. I’m looking forward to working with the whole team to understand the business and help it move forwards into its next chapter.” Propel revealed earlier this year that Crosstown, which Wills founded by JP Then, had begun the search for a chief executive. Last month, it opened its fourth regional site in Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol. It followed an opening in Brighton in December, which added to sites in Cambridge and Oxford. At the same time, added to its London estate, with an opening in Shoreditch High Street overground station.

Latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage to feature more than 170,000 words of content: The latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will feature more than 170,000 words of content when it is released to 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.

Popeyes begins trialling breakfast offer in the UK: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick-service brand, has begun trialling a breakfast offer in the UK, at its sites in the Metrocentre, Gateshead and Oxford. From today (14 March), the business will be serving their brand-new “Big Breakfast Rolls (A sausage patty, egg, streaky bacon, and American cheese in a soft bun), a variety of sausage, bacon, egg and cheese muffins, hash browns and their famous Louisiana buttermilk biscuits served with cinnamon sugar or Nutella”. The full menu includes: a Big breakfast roll and bacon roll, double or single bacon, egg and cheese muffins, double or single sausage, egg and cheese muffins, hash browns & Cajun hash browns, cinnamon sugar buttermilk biscuits, buttermilk biscuit with Nutella, egg and cheese muffins, and tea and coffees, including lattes, flat whites, cappuccinos and more. Starting from £2.99, each item can be turned into a meal with a hash brown and regular drink. Neil Williamson, Popeyes UK chief operating officer, said: “I am delighted to announce our Metrocentre restaurant has been selected as one of the first two sites to trial our brand-new Breakfast menu. When we launched here last summer, our customers gave Popeyes® such a huge, warm welcome to the region and helped this to become one of our most successful launches to date. Because of this, we knew we wanted to involve them in our menu expansion and give them the chance to try Popeyes breakfast first. Most global brands that come across to the UK are keen to take over the south first and often don’t consider the north until years later. As a Geordie, I always wanted to establish Popeyes up north in the early stages of our UK expansion… and here we are again with the expansion of our menu to launch Popeyes breakfast.”

Call to relax the laws on Sunday trading to boost tourism: The government has been urged to relax laws governing Sunday trading hours in the West End and Knightsbridge in central London. The Times reports that Knightsbridge Partnership and the New West End Company say that Sunday trading laws make it difficult for the two areas of the capital to compete with rival international cities such as Milan, New York or Madrid. Both bodies say the “cost-free” measure of relaxing Sunday trading laws would help the areas to attract more tourists and “fully thrive”. Steven Medway, chief executive of Knightsbridge Partnership, said: “We are seeing the beginnings of a recovery from the pandemic, but there are signs of London slipping down the league table. Authorities in competitor markets like Paris and Milan have moved with the times in accommodating changing consumer habits and are experiencing faster growth relative to 2019 levels. We need a levelling of the playing field with those markets and revised Sunday trading rules would do just that.” Retailers in London have been urging the government to allow visitors from abroad again to claim back the 20% VAT levied on their purchases. This allowance was reintroduced in Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget last year, but was quickly scrapped by Jeremy Hunt.

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