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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 16th Mar 2023 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Carl’s Jr sees room for upwards of 300 UK sites: Tim Lowther, general manager for Carl’s Jr in Europe, has told Propel the business believes the UK has room for upwards of 300 sites under the US burger brand over the next ten to 15 years. Earlier this week, Propel revealed the brand, which was founded in 1941 and has an international footprint of 1,000-plus sites in 40 countries, has begun working with Christie & Co to launch and roll out here. On launching in the UK, Lowther, who previously worked for McDonald’s, Shake Shack and Five Guys, said: “In terms of timeline, we’ll do it when it's right and we’ve got the right partners to work with. We’ve met over the last couple of years a number of partners that haven’t been quite right. We are an 82-year-old brand and we’ve grown quite significantly internationally. We have 1,050 sites with another circa 100 to add to that before the end of this year. We’re growing at a pace and that’s reflected in our European business. One target (in the UK) is those multi-unit, multi-brand operators. In an ideal world, I would love to master franchise the UK market, but you have to have a dose of realism, and that realism says we think the UK has room for upwards of 300 of these sites over the next ten to 15 years. To get to that kind of a number we’ve got to look at the right partners that have sufficient capacity to be open at pace, because really you want to get to ten to 20 sites as quickly as you can to sustain the supply chain model. So, it will probably be a mixture of master franchisees and regional ones.” When it comes to whether the UK’s burger market is already overcrowded, Lowther, who is working with Thomas Kremer, Carl’s Jr vice-president, international development EMEA, on the UK launch, said: “We are fast food, so when you look at the burger market and say right, who’s in the fast-food space of hamburgers? Once you get McDonald’s and Burger King out of the way, there isn’t much else, and so that’s the space we’re targeting. We own the quality space, but we’re not trying to be premium. We’re quality burgers without pushing into that better burger market, where you can get into problems. From a guest perspective, they expect a premium offer, but then you have to price it accordingly, and that suddenly puts you into the casual dining market rather than the fast-food market. We call ourselves quick service restaurant-plus. We’ve always wanted to launch in the UK but the conditions haven’t been quite right in the last couple of years, and covid also slowed those plans down.” 
 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – introducing the must-have collection of trending food-to-go recipes with Mexi-Go: With customisation on menus increasing by nearly 40% year-on-year and 80% of people saying they would choose a Mexican dish when eating out, there is a newly-launched solution that taps into these two burgeoning trends. Mexi-Go – a contemporary ready-to-go solution from Mexican out-of-home food provider, Santa Maria – helps caterers easily create customisable, exciting dishes. Providing recipes based around classic Mexican hand-held dishes such as taquitos, tacos and burritos, Mexi-Go’s mix-and-match style of recipes make it easy for operators to create simple, streamlined menus that give consumers the choice they desire. Santa Maria’s taste creator, Barney MacAdam, said: “One of the most popular street food dishes is the taco. Hard or soft, tacos are incredibly versatile. From classics such as slow-cooked birria beef to twists on old favourites such as Mexi-Go’s cheeseburger taco. Burritos are also popular, coming second only to the burger. Our recipes tantalise taste buds with on-trend world flavours, from fish and chips to Korean barbecue chicken, and our Plant Power Burrito is a real hit with vegans and vegetarians.” Alongside the recipes, operators also have access to insights, tips on how to drive revenue, culinary hacks, digital assets and imagery, which is all free to download and use here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com.

Latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage to feature 42 updated entries and seven new companies, released tomorrow: The latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will feature 42 updated entries and seven new companies when it is released to Premium subscribers tomorrow (Friday, 17 March). This month’s edition includes 654 companies and more than 170,000 words of content. 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com 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.
 
BrewDog boss – freezing duty on pints is worthless if you can’t afford to heat your premises: James Watt, chief executive of Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, has branded chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s spring Budget “underwhelming” and said: “Freezing duty on pints is worthless if you can’t afford to heat your premises”. The chancellor delivered an economic plan that was met with dismay by much of the industry. While there was a freeze on duty for draught beer, there was a deafening silence on pleas for further business support with rocketing energy bills. “I kept an eye on the Budget waiting for the good news for a stricken hospitality sector from the chancellor, but quite frankly, it was underwhelming,” said Watt. “The increase in draught relief is a step in the right direction, but quite frankly, it’s small change compared with rampant inflation, escalating production costs and savagely crippling energy bills. Freezing duty on pints is worthless if you can’t afford to heat your premises. The brutal fact is, if we had increased the price of our beer in line with how our energy bills have sky-rocketed, the cost of a pint of Punk IPA would be almost £30. Our scale and diversification mean we are perhaps more resilient than most, but even we still had to close some bars and put others on hold. From next month, there is much less generous support for businesses’ energy costs, so more pain for the wider sector looks inevitable this year. Sadly, many fantastic bars, pubs and restaurants that our vital to our community and our economy are going to be fall by the wayside in 2023.” Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of brewer and retailer Greene King, added: “We are pleased to see that the chancellor has listened to the pub industry and increased the relief on draught beer. However, the devil is in the detail, and we are concerned the extended draught relief will still not mitigate the challenging headwinds UK pubs face.” British Institute of Innkeeping chief executive Steve Alton said: “Without further support from government, Ofgem must now step in urgently to tackle the energy suppliers holding our sector hostage with sky high standing charges and energy prices that will, in many cases, be three to four times that of 2021 rates. The freeze on duty rates in the short term, and the increase on draught relief from 5% to 9.2% in the summer, will be welcome, if felt directly by pubs. The positive steps taken by government to support families with enhanced childcare support, a freeze on fuel duty and other measures may provide some confidence to allow consumer spending to rise, but for the immediate future, pubs will be facing significant trading challenges.” Jon Collins, chief executive of LIVE, the voice of the UK’s live music and entertainment business, added: “The government has missed a golden opportunity to support the hardest hit in our sector. The UK’s live music industry is of huge economic importance, but without government intervention, the sector will continue to struggle to reach its full potential. The failure to reinstate a 5% rate of VAT on tickets in line with international comparisons, and fulfil the prime minister’s campaign promise to cut business rates, will cause unnecessary damage to a sector that has a footprint in every city and town across the country.”

Delivery and takeaway sales drop again in February: Delivery and takeaway sales at Britain’s top managed restaurant groups fell year-on-year for the 16th month in a row in February, the new Hospitality at Home Tracker from CGA by Nielsen IQ shows. Combined sales were 5.9% behind February 2022, as some consumers reduced their spending and others opted to eat out rather than order in. The 9.9% drop in the value of deliveries was steeper than the 7.6% decline in takeaway and click and collect sales. The volume of delivery orders fell even more sharply, by 13.3%, a reflection of consumers reducing the frequency of their orders but spending more on them because of rising prices. Despite the extended decline, delivery and takeaway sales are still well ahead of levels seen before the start of the pandemic. They accounted for 17p in every pound spent with the managed restaurant groups contributing to the Hospitality at Home Tracker in February. Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “After booming during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, delivery and takeaway sales have dropped year-on-year in every month of 2022 and 2023. This is an encouraging sign that consumers have returned eagerly to restaurants since restrictions eased, but it also reflects the still-tightening squeeze on consumers’ discretionary incomes. Our research consistently shows that people want to prioritise the affordable treats of restaurant meals, and their spending will hopefully increase when household bills and inflation come down. In the meantime, we can expect more softening in the at-home market.”
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a luxury restaurant group looking for a chief operations officer to help steer the business on its new growth path. As well as operating restaurants in the UK and overseas, the company is also looking at developing the retail arm of the business and is also seeking someone with an understanding of franchise operations A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “The company has significant funding for growth. This role sits at the epicentre of the business, reporting directly to the founder, developing the restaurants and working with partners to develop their brands. You will be working with an experienced team of direct reports while carving your stamp in the business.” The base salary is up to £250,000. For more information, email stuart@corecruitment.com
 
Licensing update: John Gaunt & Partners licensing solicitors has just published its latest licensing update. This month it includes some news on the confirmation of extended licensing hours for the King’s coronation. Next week, the company will be at both Pub23 and the Propel Multi-Club Conference and will be available to answer any questions on licensing. The full update can be accessed here.
 

Company News:

Bone Daddies MD – central London seems to be bouncing back: Steve Hill, the new managing director of Bone Daddies Group – which comprises the eponymous ramen restaurants Shack-Fuyu and Flesh & Buns – has told Propel that the business is “delighted with trade levels over the last six months as central London seems to be bouncing back”. Propel revealed earlier this week that Hill, who joined the Bone Daddies Group as operations director in October 2018, having previously held similar senior operations roles with the Jamie Oliver Group, Novus and TGI Fridays, had been promoted to managing director. He said: “We have been delighted with trade levels over the last six months as central London seems to be bouncing back. While there are still the headwinds to the industry that we are all aware of, we are excited about the future. Our newest ramen bar in Kensington is performing well and gaining momentum each week, and we have another site that will be announced soon. We are still privately owned at present, and our short-term expansion strategy is being funded by a combination of organically generated cash flow and our banking facility with Investec.” Hill’s appointment as managing director follows the recent retirement of Demetri Tomazos, co-founder of both the Bone Daddies and Flesh & Buns brands alongside Ross Shonhan, who left the company in March 2020. The Bone Daddies Group employs more than 400 staff and comprises seven Bone Daddies’ ramen bar sites in Soho, Old Street, Bond Street, Victoria, Richmond, Bermondsey and Kensington; two Flesh & Buns’ izakaya sites in Covent Garden and Oxford Circus; and stand-alone restaurant Shackfuyu in Soho. Propel also understands that Gregg Kantor, co-founder of Flyp, the UK tech start-up that has built a platform for property sales, and Ami-Leigh Kantor, formerly of Investec, have recently joined the business as directors. Bone Daddies features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book. Its turnover of £10,993,919 is the 415th 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.
 
The Big Table Group begins roll out of pasta delivery concept Super Nonna: The Big Table Group, the operator of Las Iguanas, Banana Tree, Bella Italia and Café Rouge, has begun the roll out of its new pasta delivery brand Super Nonna after it made a “very encouraging” start, Propel has learned. Propel revealed in January that the Alan Morgan-led business had begun a trial of the delivery brand out of five sites. It has now expanded that to a further 18 sites across England and Scotland, with the brand operating out of its Las Iguanas and Bella Italia sites in places including Edinburgh, Chester, Coventry, Ealing, Reading and Brighton. A Big Table Group spokesperson told Propel: “It’s early days, but we are very encouraged by the start that Super Nonna has had. We’re testing it out in a range of locations, and so far, the feedback has been great.” The delivery concept, which is available through UberEats, Just Eat and Deliveroo, offers pasta dishes like creamy carbonara, Nonna’s famous meatballs, simply bolognese and a chicken Kyiv special, with prices ranging from £7.25 to £9.50. There is also a selection of specials including mac ‘n’ cheese (£9.25), feta pasta (£8.75), sides, desserts and drinks. Propel understands that Daniel Land, the co-founder of Italian food-to-go brand Coco di Mama, has been working on the concept. Propel revealed last year that Land was working with Big Table Group on its pasta delivery options. Land founded Coco Di Mama in 2011 with Jeremy Sanders. The business grew to six sites in London before it was acquired by Azzurri Group, the Zizzi and ASK Italian owner, in 2015 for an undisclosed sum. Land left the business two years later. 
 
Mazi team preparing for ‘global expansion’: Adrien Carre and Christina Mouratoglou, the husband-and-wife team behind Greek restaurant Mazi in Notting Hill, are preparing for “global expansion” as they seek to grow their concept overseas. Carre and Mouratoglou opened Mazi in Hillgate Street in 2012, using “seasonal produce from sustainable sources” to “show the rest of the world how innovative, tasty and refined Greek food can be”. In 2019, they added bistro and cocktail bar Suzi Tros, also in Hillgate Street, and that same year made their international debut with Mazi Abu Dhabi, on the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. It is now seeking further overseas expansion and has partnered with sector consultancy firm TGP International to explore opportunities. “As a company that values the importance of offering unique culinary experiences, we couldn’t be more excited to work with Mazi, whose interactive and innovative approach to dining has earned it an international following,” TGP said. “Our team will be working closely with Mazi to assist with its global expansion plans, as well as to provide advisory and project management services to ensure its unique concept is brought to life in the best way possible. With a strong emphasis on seasonal produce and a mission to change people’s perception of Greek food, Mazi has quickly become one of the most established restaurants in London. We’re honoured to have the opportunity to partner with it and bring its vision to even more people around the world.”

US juice bar aiming for eight UK sites by end of 2023, English debut set for next month ahead of planned European expansion: US juice bar brand Smoothie Factory is aiming to have eight UK sites open by the end of 2023 and will make its English debut next month ahead of planned European expansion. The American franchise brand, established in 1996 by US Olympic athlete James Villasana, has more than 120 stores in 20 countries and opened its first UK store last year, in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. It will follow that with a second Northern Ireland site this month before switching its attention to England for an opening in London in April. Three further UK stores are also at development stage, ahead of planned expansion further into Europe. “Smoothie Factory continues to rapidly expand internationally, and we’re delighted to now be able to offer master franchise opportunities across Europe,” the company said. “With our first flagship store now firmly established in Belfast, our expansion into the UK and Ireland is well and truly underway. We have another site opening in Northern Ireland in March, another in London in April and plans for a further five by the end of the year, from Edinburgh to Bournemouth. Our focus is also on expansion into northern, western and southern Europe with ‘sub master country’ opportunities in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands starting from £75,000.” Propel reported in November that Smoothie Factory was aiming for an eventual UK estate of 25 sites and that its 2023 pipeline would include two London sites, one in the east of the capital and one in the west. Smoothie Factory 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. Updated every two months, the database is available exclusively to Premium subscribers. 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.
 
Spanish restaurant group Los Reyes del Mango confirms plans for UK launch: Barcelona-based restaurant group Los Reyes del Mango has confirmed it will make its international debut in May, having secured a site within London’s Chelsea Barracks. The group, which is also behind Terraza Martinez and Frankie Gallo Cha Cha Cha in Barcelona, will open The Campaner on Tuesday, 2 May. Created by founder Mar Martin, The Campaner will offer “relaxed all-day dining with Barcelona soul in a beautiful new landmark building”. The Campaner, meaning ‘bell ringer’, takes its name from the Catalan tradition of the town bell ringer announcing important events by ringing the bell of the local church. The company said: “The Campaner will be imbued with the spirit of Barcelona, but this won't be a typical, traditional Spanish restaurant. The Campaner will offer a varied menu of simple, seasonal dishes that are firmly rooted in the finest local ingredients, featuring produce from the UK's best suppliers as well as fresh herbs and vegetables harvested directly from the kitchen gardens outside the restaurant.”
 
Slim Chickens franchisee to open Crawley site: JRK Restaurants, which is a franchisee for Slim Chickens in the south east of England, is to open a fourth site under the US brand, in Crawley. The company, which already operates Slim Chickens sites in Bournemouth, Brighton and Southampton, will open at the Crawley Leisure Park scheme. The new unit, which opens next month, will feature a layby area for deliveries. JRK is also set to aid the roll out of Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, in the UK, with a first site under the new agreement set to launch in Portsmouth. It is thought JRK is planning to open more than 25 units in the next three years across the UK with the different brands it represents. The business is understood to be working with Abban Magos, of Colliers, on its expansion plans and is looking for more sites in the south east of England, with a particular interest in Bournemouth, Basingstoke and Southampton, for Wendy’s and Slim Chickens.
 
Dodo Pizza closes Brighton and Coventry sites: Dodo Pizza has shuttered two of its four sites in the UK, in Brighton and Coventry. The closures of the sites leaves the business, which was founded in 2011 and has more than 510 pizzerias in 12 countries across Europe, Asia, and the US, with sites in Leamington Spa and Walsall. The site in Brighton’s York Place closed earlier this month, while the brand’s site in Coventry’s Fairfax Street closed last month. On its UK operation, a Dodo Pizza spokesperson said the situation was a "work in progress". He said: “Brighton has closed; this was mainly for operations reasons due to the street becoming ‘buses only’, which has made delivery really challenging. In due course, we would like to find an alternative location in Brighton.”
 
Chopstix opens Bracknell site as it looks to grow into ‘true household name’: Fast growing quick service restaurant brand Chopstix has opened a site in Bracknell, Berkshire. The outlet, located in The Lexicon shopping centre, is owned and operated by the company and continues a period of rapid growth for the business. Earlier this month, the company acquired competitor Chozen Noodle Bar, adding 27 motorway service area restaurants to the Chopstix Group estate. Last year, the company opened 15 equity stores, and expansion through both company-owned and franchised sites is set to continue through 2023. Managing director Jon Lake said: “The growth we have achieved over the last 12 months has been remarkable and a testament to the hard work of our teams in identifying new locations with high potential, such as Bracknell, and by perfecting our operational processes, so that new sites are delivering payback on investment at an industry-leading speed. The business proposition is now in a place where we believe we can scale at pace and grow the brand into a true household name.” Chopstix has set its sights on becoming the largest pan-Asian quick service restaurant brand on the continent, ramping up its growth trajectory this year with further site openings in the pipeline, building on the 26 new restaurants launched in 2022.
 
London luxury gelato brand Snowflake overfunding on £500,000 fundraise: London luxury gelato brand Snowflake has hit its £500,000 fundraising target with almost three weeks left and is now overfunding. The company, which is led by Asad Khan and founded in 2012, launched the campaign on Crowdcube to support its expansion plans. It has so far raised £500,158 from 99 investors with 20 days left. Investors are being offered 3.74% equity, giving it a pre-money valuation of £12,873,363. The company currently operates nine sites, in London and Manchester, plus franchises in both Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and has also held residencies at Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Bicester Village. It reported group revenue of £3.6m in 2022, up 74% on 2021, with Ebitda of £4,000-plus. The company said: “As we grow beyond London to the north of the UK and continue our international expansion, we are excited to be on Crowdcube for the first time, raising funds to support our vision. Our investors will help us continue our expansion, invest in marketing and upgrade our in-store experience.”
 
Shake Shack to open first south London site for 14th location overall: US better burger brand Shake Shack is set to travel south of the River Thames for the first time for its 14th UK venue. The new Shack will be located in the former Barclays site at 188 Clapham High Street, opposite Clapham Common. Ahead of the opening, Shake Shack is collaborating with south London artist Michael Parkin for a piece of artwork on the building’s exterior, inspired by the local area. Shake Shack classics including the signature ShackBurger, crinkle-cut fries, flat-top dogs, ShackMeister Ale and hand-spun shakes will be available, in addition to special menu items unique to Clapham. The brand already has nine sites in the capital, which will become ten when it opens in the former AllSaints site in Camden High Street shortly. Shake Shack also has sites in Cardiff, Gatwick airport’s North Terminal and Lakeside in Essex, as well as ten delivery kitchens.
 
JKS Restaurants offers £9.60 off food at Arcade as strike action again hits rail and tube network: JKS Restaurants – led by Karam, Jyotin and Sunaina Sethi – is offering customers £9.60 off food at its Arcade Food Hall in London’s Tottenham Court Road this week as strike action again hits the rail and tube network. Customers are able to redeem the offer by producing the “Arcade Travelcard”. It stated: “A zone 1-3 London travelcard will set you back £9.60. But this week, with train and tube strikes all around, we're giving you £9.60 in credit to spend at Arcade. Show the Arcade travelcard to our team to redeem £9.60 off all food today until Friday.” The offer is available from 11.30am-close and does not apply to Plaza Khao Gaeng or the Omakase experience. JKS reopened Arcade Food Hall in April last year and plans to open a second venue, at Battersea Power Station.
 
Papa John’s opens new sites in Essex and Oxfordshire: Papa John’s has opened two new sites, in Essex and Oxfordshire. The franchise business has opened at 68 High Street in Maldon and 3 Newbury Street in Wantage, creating 30 jobs. It follow recent store launches in South Shields, Hailsham, Biggleswade, Stowmarket, Consett, Burntwood in Staffordshire and Frome. Amit Pancholi, director of business development at Papa John’s UK, said: “We’ve kicked off the first few months of 2023 as we mean to go on, with more new store openings. It’s key for us to be where our customers are, to offer them the most convenient way to enjoy our delicious Papa John's pizza. Like our other stores across the UK, Maldon and Wantage offer collection or delivery.” Last week, Propel revealed Papa John’s had passed £100m in turnover in the UK for first time. The business reported revenue of £102,339,000 for the year to 26 December 2021, and also passed the 500-store mark. The company is welcoming applications from potential franchisees interested in running multi-unit stores and also works with “non-traditional” venues such as sports stadiums, leisure parks and holiday resorts to offer flexible franchise opportunities. 
 
Whitbread to open second Premier Inn hotel in Dublin city centre as it targets 4,000 rooms across Ireland: Whitbread will open a second Premier Inn hotel in Dublin city centre as it targets 4,000 rooms across Ireland. The ten-storey, 113-bedroom, hotel in Gloucester Street South will open on Monday (20 March) and gives the company a presence in the south of the Irish capital. Matt Gent, development manager for Premier Inn in Ireland, said: “The new hotel kicks off an exciting year ahead for Premier Inn in Ireland. It is the first of four new Premier Inn hotels we are on track to open in Dublin and Cork city centres this financial year as we work towards our target of 4,000 Premier Inn rooms across Ireland.” Premier Inn opened its first hotel in Dublin city centre at South Great Georges Street in November 2021. It has also operates a 213-bedroom hotel at Swords, close to Dublin airport. Elsewhere in the city, new Premier Inn hotels are being constructed at The Liberties (151 bedrooms) and North Docklands (262 bedrooms) and a 187-bedroom Premier Inn is also being built in Cork city centre, which is scheduled to open in December 2023. Premier Inn, which currently offers 83,000 rooms across the UK, is currently looking for new locations across Dublin and in Galway, Kildare, Killarney and Limerick.
 
The Gentlemen Baristas to open new roastery and experience centre this month: Coffee shop company The Gentlemen Baristas is opening a new state-of-the-art roastery and experience centre in London’s Stratford this month. The group said the aim of the site is to provide an inclusive environment for education and training for not only the business, but the entire coffee community. The 12,000 square-foot venue in Maryland Road means increased capacity, and is more than six times the size of the baristas’ former operation. A new 35kg Loring Roaster will improve batch efficiency, supplying wholesale coffee to Gentlemen Baristas’ nine coffee houses as well as businesses across the UK. The site will also have a designated event space, a cupping room and practice area set to be available to budding baristas where Roosa Jalonen, head of production, will continue to oversee sourcing, roasting and weekly cuppings. Co-founder Ed Parkes said: “The roastery is the heartbeat of our business so we’re creating an all new accessible and engaging open-house. Empowering people through education and training from farm to cup; this is a space for our team, friends, the coffee community and the general public – something London’s not seen before.”
 
Mano Mayfair to make return: Mano Mayfair, the Brazilian-fusion restaurant and bar, is returning to London’s Mayfair this month, with Michelin chef Rafa Gomes to head up and take over the kitchen. Mano first arrived on the scene in March last year in Heddon Street. The restaurant and bar will now reside in Mill Street, neighbouring the boutique nightclub Maddox. Mano – which will open on Friday, 31 March – will be split over two floors, with the main restaurant on the ground floor. The Lounge, which will be located on the lower ground floor, will open in the summer. The concept was created by Romain Fargette, who has owned restaurants, beach clubs and nightclubs on the French Riviera since he was 18, and entrepreneur Alexis Colletta. “I am thrilled to see Mano Mayfair return to London,” said Colletta. “It’s the answer to what the London nightlife scene is missing. We want to offer a memorable, all-round dining experience where guests can stay for a dance against a backdrop of house music and pulsating beats, before continuing their night at neighbouring nightclubs.” Gomes, the winner of Brazil’s MasterChef and owner of Michelin Bib restaurant Itacoa in Paris, has curated a menu of Brazilian fusion cuisine. Along with operating two Itacoa branches in Paris and Rio, Gomes also runs Rio-based Porquinho, a pork specialty restaurant. Most recently, he launched his fourth restaurant, Tiara, in Leblon, Rio.
 
London plant-based restaurant seeking permanent site in capital: Holy Carrot, the plant-based restaurant that opened in London’s Knightsbridge in June 2021, is seeking a permanent site in the capital. The brainchild of former Vogue producer Irina Linovich, the original Holy Carrot opened within wellness and beauty destination Urban Retreat, in London’s Knightsbridge. It also operated a six-month pop-up in Bicester Village last year, offering tea, coffee, pressed juice and smoothies alongside a menu of healthy breakfast, lunch and snack items. Richard Wassell, of twentyretail, is leading the search for suitable sites for a permanent home for the concept, with possible locations including Chelsea, Marylebone, Soho, Bloomsbury, Notting Hill and Islington. Attractive buildings with 2,500 square feet-plus of space, over a maximum of two floors and with outside seating, will be considered, both freehold and leasehold. All of Holy Carrot’s dishes are sourced from seasonal produce and free from preservatives, refined sugar, gluten and additives. There is also a tarot card botanical cocktail menu and a wine list that champions producers with a sustainable approach.
 
Team behind Oban coffee roastery to open second Glasgow cafe: The team behind Oban coffee roastery Hinba has its sights set on Glasgow’s southside as it prepares to open a second city location. Hinba, run by Ferg McCoss and Ness Achilles, opened its first Glasgow cafe in Dumbarton Road in May last year. Now, Hinba has revealed plans to launch in the former home of The Luchador and The Last Rodeo at 721 Pollokshaws Road, with work already well underway. As well as serving coffee, the space will transform into a wine bar and tasting menu restaurant at night through a partnership with West End neighbours Eighty Eight, reports The National.

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