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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 2nd May 2023 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

JKS and Caprice Holdings to launch sites in Saudi Arabia: JKS Restaurants is to launch a site under its Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Gymkhana concept in the Middle East. The company will launch the new restaurant in Via Riyadh, a new luxury shopping and entertainment opening this month in the capital of Saudi Arabia. It will open under a joint venture with the Middle East-based hospitality group Cool Inc. The original Gymkhana site opened in London’s Mayfair in 2013. Last week, the restaurant launched its own retail range, Gymkhana Fine Foods, which features restaurant-quality cooking sauces, marinades and chutneys. Talking to Propel in January, Jyotin Sethi, co-founder of JKS Restaurants, said the international expansion opportunity for the business is “real” and it had had early-stage conversations about launching its brands in Asia and the US. The business opened its first overseas site, in Qatar, at the start of November. Sethi said the site, which opened under its Sri Lankan brand Hoppers in Doha, had started well. He said: “The international opportunity is real. We’re taking it seriously and looking at approaching it largely, initially on a licensing basis, but taking that decision by brand by brand, territory by territory. Our immediate focus is on the Middle East, but there are early-stage conversations on other parts of the world, Asia and the US. The most developed is the Middle East, so there will be a couple more of our brands that open up international locations in 2023.” At the same time, the Richard Caring-backed Caprice Holdings is set to open two restaurants at the Via Riyadh scheme under its Sexy Fish and Scott’s brands. Propel understands that food market Mercato is also in talks to open at the centre.
 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – hotels, restaurants and pubs growing in popularity for weddings among today’s couples: According to The UK Wedding Report 2023 by global wedding planning app Bridebook, hotels were the most popular venue type in 2022, hosting a quarter of all weddings. The report showed couples are increasingly taking advantage of midweek availability in restaurants and hotels to meet their budget requirements. Among 2022 weddings that took place at restaurants, 33% took place between Monday and Thursday, which was the highest proportion of weekday weddings across all venue types. The findings also revealed 38% of couples who booked a restaurant venue and 49% of couples who booked a hotel venue had a total wedding budget of £10,000-£20,000; the average cost of a wedding at a restaurant has increased by £1,031 year on year; and with couples’ number one concern being to stay within budget, pubs and restaurants are in a competitive position being 30% less expensive than the average venue cost. You can download the full report here. Young’s, Mercure Hotels and Macdonalds Hotels & Resorts are among the growing hospitality partners using Bridebook to secure new wedding bookings, save time, and stay informed on their local market. Visit Bridebook Business to learn more. If you have a sponsored message you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com.

Black Sheep Brewery CEO among speakers at Propel Multi-Club Conference featuring all-female line-up of leaders: Charlene Lyons, chief executive of Black Sheep Brewery, will be among the speakers at the second Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2023, which takes place on Thursday, 29 June, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London’s Kensington. Lyons will discuss her role as chief executive, the challenges she’s faced and her guiding principles for being an inspirational leader. The all-day conference, which is organised in conjunction with Ann Elliott, will feature an all-female line-up of sector leaders on learning lessons from the pandemic and moving forward. More than 300 people have already booked a place. Multi-site operators can book up to three free places each by emailing paul.charity@propelinfo.com.
 
Number of experiential concepts to feature in the next edition of The New Openings Database, 4,000-word report included: A number of experiential concepts will feature in the next edition of The New Openings Database. The database will show the details of 90 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday, 5 May, at midday, including which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location, and there will also be a website link to the businesses. The database is published on a monthly basis, and the next edition features boutique bowling company Lane7, led by Tim Wilks, which has opened a new site in Bath’s Saw Close, and a new site under its family entertainment centre concept, Level X, in Middlesbrough’s Captain Cook Square. Also added this month is Clays, the indoor interactive clay shooting experience concept, which opened its second site, in Canary Wharf’s West India Quay. Meanwhile, mini-golf bar and restaurant concept Par 59, which is led by football star Gareth Bale and Welsh independent entertainment brand The Depot, has opened a site in Bristol’s Millennium Promenade. Premium subscribers will also receive a 4,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database; and the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. 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.
 
Sector trade bodies call for urgent government intervention on unfair energy costs and contracts: Sector trade bodies have jointly written to the government urging it to support hospitality businesses on the brink of collapse from the energy crisis. In their letter to energy minister Amanda Solloway, UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping said its members have faced a raft of business-critical challenges, with 50% being forced into contracts between July and December 2022, in an uncompetitive market when energy prices were at their highest. It added that Ofgem, the industry regulator, has investigated evidence from hundreds of pubs and hospitality businesses, showing the unfair nature and length of contracts, sky high standing charges and management fees, and aggressive sales tactics by some energy suppliers, but the action taken so far has been “too little, and for many, will be far too late”. A spokesperson for the trade bodies stated: “Following any meaningful government support tailing off at the end of March, operators now face bills between three and four times higher than in 2021, locked into contracts that are destroying their otherwise viable and vibrant businesses. We have been engaging with government ministers and officials, as well as Ofgem, for more than a year now. Domestic customers have been protected to some extent, but small businesses supporting families and communities have been left exposed to untenable costs and contracts, threatening livelihoods the length and breadth of the UK. Ofgem’s limited powers leave it unable to intervene in contracts between these suppliers and hospitality businesses. We are calling urgently on government to step in and take action to save essential community hubs and thousands of jobs from being lost forever.”
 
Temporary licensing restrictions should be made permanent to allow sector to invest and grow, say trade bodies: Temporary licensing restrictions introduced during the pandemic to give businesses more freedom in the way they trade should be made permanent to allow the sector to invest and grow, sector trade bodies have said. The government is consulting on regulatory easements to the Licensing Act 2003, which include selling alcohol for takeaway without the need for an amended licence and an increase in the amount of temporary events notices a licensed premise operator can have. The consultation follows the extension of the easements in 2021 and 2022, and UKHospitality said the current temporary arrangements should form part of wider efforts to deregulate licensing and support the hospitality sector. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “They have enabled venues to generate additional income, increase footfall in local areas and support the growth of communities, so it should be a no-brainer to make them permanent. I hope this is just the start and that regulation ripe for change is looked at as a priority, in particular removing the costly and outdated requirement to advertise licensing applications in local newspapers.” Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, added: “Previous extensions suggest the government has seen the benefits to business, and with more than two years with little to no issue, we hope it will once again recognise the added value they bring to our sector by making them permanent with no additional cost, helping our industry to invest and grow.”
 
UK top European country for hotel transactions in 2022, London top European city: The UK was the top European country for hotel transactions in 2022, with London the top European city, according to the annual HVS European Hotel Transaction Report. The UK generated €3.5bn in total asset activity in the year, which was 27% of the total in Europe but 25% down on 2021. London generated €1,755m, which was 49% of the UK total, but 33% less than the year before. In terms of single assets, the UK again came out on top as the most liquid market in Europe, with 22% of the market share at €1.9bn, but down 32% on 2021. Total UK portfolio volume was €1.6bn for the year, with London again seeing more activity than any other European city, contributing €560m, although this was 53% less than in 2021. London accounted for 35% of UK portfolio transactions compared to 62% in 2021. Overall, hotel transactions across Europe failed to show the recovery expected as confidence was hit increases in energy and food costs, a rise in overall inflation and higher interest rates following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Looking ahead, the outlook is improving, and hotel trading fundamentals remain solid across many markets,” said Matthias Hecht, senior associate at HVS Hodges Ward Elliott. “As inflation reduces, pricing expectations will change, reducing some of the bid-ask spread in the market. While access to financing through high-street lenders remains subdued, alternative financing options are on the rise, servicing some of the demand in the sector.”
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a luxury country hotel and estate in the UK that is seeking a general manager. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will be responsible for a smooth running of all the food and beverage outlets along with the private events, manage and train staff to the highest level, work closely with all departments to ensure the best results are met, and assume responsibility of the operations and financial results. You must have working in a similar luxury venue, with a strong understanding of operations, forecasting and budgets, high level of customer service, have a ‘can-do’ attitude and be willing to go the extra mile. Strong knowledge and a passion for food and drink will be necessary.” The salary is up to £80,000 (depending on experience) plus bonus. For more information, email ed@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Amber Taverns looking to open up to 16 new sites a year, net sales at £96m: Amber Taverns, the wet-led, freehold community pub operator, is bucking a national trend of closures by acquiring locals that are close to calling last orders or are already boarded up. The Times reports that with net sales of about £96m and underlying earnings of £20m, the 165-strong group is looking open 14 to 16 pubs a year. Recent openings include sites in Shrewsbury, Brighouse, Ashton-under-Lyne and Skegness. Its formula involves investing in the fabric of the pub and putting in Sky and BT televised sports and entertainment channels. The estate is almost completely freehold and the pubs are run under a hybrid “operator-managed” business model that is a cross between a managed pub and a tenancy. Under this system, the publican — half the managers are women — sets up a company to run the pub and staffs it, receiving an 18% slice of net turnover. With the pubs turning over £500,000 to £600,000 a year, the publican receives about £90,000 to £100,000, from which they pay the staff. They keep the rest and live over the pub. James Baer, Amber’s chief executive, told the newspaper that the group was bouncing back from the pandemic, with like-for-like sales up 12% since the start of the financial year in February and 6% ahead compared with pre-pandemic levels. He said: “During the pandemic, some of our customers passed away, some got used to drinking at home and maybe some were put off from going to the pub by hysterical government announcements on covid. But since then, there’s been a realisation that people have missed going to the pub. They want social interaction.” Last April, Propel revealed the business had appointed Sapient Corporate Finance to help it review its options. 

Collins – the property market is working more and more in our favour: Nick Collins, chief executive of café bar operator Loungers, has told Propel that the property market is working “more and more in our favour”. During FY23, the business opened 29 new sites, comprising 24 Lounges, four Cosy Clubs and its first roadside site under its new Brightside brand, taking its portfolio to a total of 222 sites at year end. Since then, it has opened a further Lounge in Altrincham. It said the FY23 cohort of sites have “traded well since opening and provide confidence as to the continuing strength of the pipeline”. It has a pipeline of around 35 sites for FY24. Collins told Propel: “We’ve never really struggled for sites, and that remains the case. I think we’re quite unique in that we typically convert former shops to Lounges and Cosy Clubs, that’s where the majority of our sites come from, but I think what we are seeing, and it’s just a continuation of a trend we’ve seen for the past two or three years, is the market is working more and more in our favour. We’ve talk about how excited we are about the pipeline and we really mean that. We look at the sites in our pipeline and we just know we’re going to trade with real confidence from those locations. We see it in our recent openings, we’re trading really, really well in our new openings.” On more opportunities coming up as the year progresses, Collins added: “In terms of looking at former restaurant sites – we secured two former Prezzos recently, and we will naturally look at anything that comes on the market – we are extremely choosy. I believe with our property director and his team, we have an in-depth knowledge of the UK now, and our target locations are second to none.”

Haché to focus on larger brasserie concept sites after disposing of Clapham site: Haché, the boutique burger brand owned by Jamie Barber and Ed Standring of The Hush Collection, has sold its Clapham site, which will allow the business to build on the success of its “Haché Brasserie” concept, Propel has learned. The company said the decision to exit the Clapham site comes in response to increasing consumer demand for more choice and flexibility and was prompted by the success of Haché Brasserie in Kingston, which was launched in 2019. It said that the success of the Kingston site has also led it to shift its focus towards larger sites, which better accommodate the all-day menu offering and a more ambient dining experience. It said: “The Clapham site was a small location and not suited to the expanded menu, and the company sees its sale as a positive step towards growth, with plans to open more Haché Brasserie restaurants in the future.” It comes after a new Haché Brasserie menu was launched in the group’s flagship riverside location, with starters such as Tuscan fried chicken and smoked salmon carpaccio and an all-day ‘eggs’ selection, offering the likes of a bacon and avocado eggs benedict. Standring, Haché’s chief executive, said: “We are pleased with the success of Haché Brasserie, which has been very well received by our customers. Jamie and I both have a wealth of experience in brasserie concepts, and we are confident that this expanded menu is the right direction to take the brand.” Propel understands that ramen restaurant group Tonkotsu, which is backed by YFM Equity Partners and chaired by Sarah Willingham, is to take on the Clapham site. Last month, Propel revealed the business, which was launched in Soho in 2012 by Ken Yamada and Emma Reynolds, is to strengthen its regional presence with an opening in Bristol. The new site in the city’s Baldwin Street, which will open later this year, will be the group’s third outside London and 17th overall.

Chickpea Group exploring expansion outside of Wiltshire as ‘trading is strong and people are buying into what we're trying to do’: Chickpea Group co-founder Ethan Davids has told Propel the business is exploring expansion outside of its Wiltshire heartland as “trading is strong and people are buying into what we're trying to do”. The group last month opened its fifth pub with rooms – the 19th century The Queen’s Head in Broad Chalke – all based within Wiltshire. But Davids is now looking at sites “along the A303 line” – which stretches from Hampshire to Devon via Stonehenge. “Trading is strong and people are buying into what we're trying to do,” Davids, who founded the group with sibling Jordan Davids and business partner Tommy Tullis, said. “We’ve been having a look at a few opportunities these last few weeks – we’re looking at one in Somerset and a few in Hampshire. Growing along the A303 line would be operationally quite straightforward. We’re in a strong position at the moment to grow the business, with a few new projects in the pipeline. It’s been organic growth with no outside investors, and we grew a lot through covid.” Davids is also looking at a couple of sites to potentially add to his Great Boozers vehicle, which currently operates two pubs, in Bath and Salisbury. But he is unlikely to expand Nole, the two-site pizza concept that started as a lockdown project. “Nole we’re finding the most difficult as the margins on pizza are seasonal and there’s an upper limit to what you can charge,” Davids said. “With dairy and flour, you’re also battling a lot more factors than with running pubs.” Davids’ latest project, as previously reported, is Rude Giant Brew Co, which he has founded with Immersive Group co-owner Dave Hancock, former Sixpenny Brewery head of operations Lyall Dew, and former Blonde Brothers Brewery owner Joe Robinson. Based at Robinson’s Great Bathampton Farm in Wiltshire, it also has plans for a taproom and regular supper clubs. “We’ll start work on the taproom this summer and launch next spring,” Davids said. “The supper clubs will start with an autumn session, and we will showcase our beer in the cooking. This has always been a dream, and we’ve been looking for venues we can sell our beer exclusively. We shift so much beer, and people are so conscious of where it comes from now. The carbon footprint is lower this way, and we can use local produce and employ local people.”

Rosa’s Thai secures Oxford site: Rosa’s Thai, which is backed by TriSpan, has further added to its 2023 openings pipeline after securing a site in Oxford, Propel has learned. The Gavin Adair-led company is set to take on the Busaba site in the city’s George Street. The 32-strong company, which made its international debut in September in Dubai, has opened in Bath and Exeter in recent months. It recently secured the former Bill’s site in Leamington Spa for an opening later this year and is also set to take a unit at the Jackson’s Corner scheme in Reading. Busaba, the Thai chain founded by Alan Yau, which recently opened in the Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock, closed its Cardiff site in January. The Tnui Capital-backed business launched in Oxford at the end of 2021. The site features an immersive bar concept, described as a “naughty little sister” to the brand, called Ajia.

Three Joes secures Chichester site, trading year to date has been strong: Sourdough South, operators of the Three Joes sourdough pizza concept and The Stable brand, has secured a site in Chichester, Propel has learned. The Tim Hall-led business has signed a lease on the 4,000 square-foot former Lime Squeezy site in Chichester’s South Street for its Three Joes concept. It follows the group’s recently opened Three Joes site in Lincoln, which the company said was “exceeding all expectations”. Hall told Propel: “Chichester is the 15th sourdough pizza restaurant in our group and cements Sourdough South as the second largest sourdough pizza restaurant group in the UK after Franco Manca. Trading year to date has been strong and we are now well prepared for an extremely busy summer in the south west, and particularly in Cornwall. We have a few more openings up our sleeve and will be making further announcements shortly.”

Soho Coffee Co closes store in London’s Mayfair: Soho Coffee Co, the privately-owned coffee company, has closed its store in Grosvenor Street, in London’s Mayfair. The store, at 10 Grosvenor Street, opened in the summer of 2017. The company said: “This is a sad time for Soho. We have loved every minute of our time in Grosvenor Street, spending time with all of our fantastic customers, sharing and hearing their stories. From the bottom of all our hearts, we thank everyone for their loyalty. You can be sure of a smiley Soho welcome, wherever we meet again.” In February, Propel reported that the company’s parent group, BTC Hospitality, remained “fully committed” to supporting the brand as it explores new post-covid market opportunities. It came as Soho narrowed its pre-tax losses from £4,998,936 in 2021 to £3,020,355 in the year ending 30 January 2022, which compared with a loss of £3,579,484 in the last full year before covid, ending 26 January 2020. Turnover more than doubled from £4,224,357 in 2021 to £8,766,710 but remained behind the last pre-pandemic figure of £11,488,055 in 2020. In January, Penny Manuel stepped down as managing director at Soho to move to a position of advisor to the UK group board. Since then, Sam Shutt, who most recently oversaw the launch of German concept Extrawurst in the UK, has been appointed as BTC’s new chief executive.

BloomsYard lines up fifth site: BloomsYard – the cafe wine bar concept from Bharti Radix, ex-finance director of Draft House, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group and Petersham Nurseries – is to open its fifth site, in London’s Marble Arch. Propel understands BloomsYard, which operates sites in Liverpool Street and Regents Place in the capital, has taken the ex-Crussh unit on Bryanston Street for an opening later this year. The new site continues the company’s strong relationship with British Land. Radix said: “It is a smaller unit than the other Zone One sites but here we’ll push the corporate catering side of the business, where we provide food for meetings. We’ll do our usual specialty coffee, well-being tea and wine, of course! With a daily selection of bakery, as well as freshly made in-house, sandwiches and salads.” Radix launched BloomsYard in the Upper Mall at Watford’s Intu shopping centre in 2020. In 2021, the business made its London debut after securing a site at 100 Liverpool Street, where it operates the cafe in the reception area of the development.

Luxury hotel guide sold for £53m: The founders of Mr & Mrs Smith are set for a multimillion-pound payday after the accommodation platform and travel club, which is based in London, was sold to Hyatt Hotels for £53m. Tamara and James Lohan started the business 20 years ago as an online guidebook to hotels. The platform launched in 2003 and currently offers direct booking access to a collection of more than 1,500 boutique and luxury hotels worldwide, with more than a million members. Hyatt plans to integrate direct booking access to Mr and Mrs Smith properties through its website and World of Hyatt app. Mark Vondrasek, chief commercial officer, Hyatt, said: “Founders Tamara and James Lohan, alongside their impressive team, have built the ultimate global direct booking collection of truly unique stay experiences, including rooms located in treehouses, within caves and underwater suites. Importantly, we see a lot of synergy between our collective ethos of care, and we look forward to working together to bring our shared focus to new, memorable stay experiences for guests and World of Hyatt members – and introduce new guests to Hyatt hotels around the world.”

Sky News – Vue screens former Rank chief Birch for boardroom post: Vue International, the independent cinema giant, will this week name the former boss of Very, the online shopping group, to its board. Sky News writes that Henry Birch, who was also chief executive of casino operator Rank Group and William Hill Online, will join Vue as a non-executive director. Katrina Cliffe, a former American Express and Lloyds Banking Group executive, is also joining Vue’s board. The appointments come just months after the cinema operator hired Stella David, a former Bacardi-Martini executive, as its new chair, marking the end of a complex financial restructuring. One analyst said the new recruits pointed to Vue’s new owners having an eye on a medium-term exit either through a sale or stock market flotation. Vue recently completed a debt-for-equity swap which saw its long-standing pension fund shareholders replaced as the company’s owners. Vue operates more than 225 sites in nine countries, including the UK, Germany, Italy and Taiwan.

Award-winning chef Sean Forshaw takes on second Daniel Thwaites site: Award-winning chef Sean Forshaw has taken on his second pub with North west brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites. The Britannia in Oswaldtwistle reopened on 27 April with a fresh new look and food concept after undergoing a six-figure renovation. The company said the “authentic, quality-led food offering, which uses cooking over charcoal methods, focuses on high-end, locally-sourced meat, which is supplied by an award-winning, second-generation family butcher”. It follows a successful joint investment by Forshaw and his partner, Erika, in another Thwaites tenanted gastropub, The White Bull. Forshaw said: “After the huge success we’ve helped drive at The White Bull, we absolutely jumped on the opportunity to jointly invest in another scheme alongside Thwaites. This project will see The Britannia offer the Oswaldtwistle community an exciting new and innovative food offering, which we cannot wait to share with everyone when we welcome them back.” Andrew Buchanan, director of Pubs and Brewing at Daniel Thwaites, said: “Sean and Erika have achieved so much at The White Bull, so we’re thrilled to partner with them again for this exciting new chapter for The Britannia, where customers will find a completely re-vamped food menu.”

Baltic Market to add La Bistrotheque concept to F&B line up: Baltic Market, Liverpool’s first street food market, is to add a new concept from chef Livia Alarcon to its food and beverage line up this month. From 3 May, La Bistroteca will join the plethora of kitchens at the market including Hafla Hafla, Little Furnace, Spice Thai, Christakis, Richie’s, Noso, Pattersons, Midnight Delivery and Press Bros. It will specialise in European bistro food which draws from Alarcon’s decade-long career so far. She became head chef of Maray at just 21 where she was featured in the Good Food Guide 2017 and 2018, as well as going on to be part of the BBC’s Chefs’ Brigade, travelling across six countries with Michelin Star chef Jason Atherton. La Bistroteca will be her first solo project. Since opening in June 2017, Baltic Market has welcomed more than 50 restaurants and in excess of 100 market traders, allowing small businesses, new concepts and independents to showcase their dishes. Alarcon said: “The Baltic Market is the perfect location for myself and La Bistroteca. I’ve always cooked for someone at the restaurants I’ve worked for, and now it’s my time to expand and share my dishes with a completely different crowd.”
 
Lyons Holiday Parks reports turnover and profit boost during ‘strong’ year: Lyons Holiday Parks, which operates 20 sites in north Wales and Cumbria, has reported turnover increased to £44,275,164 for the year ending 31 January 2022 compared with £27,122,145 the year before. Pre-tax profit was up to £15,614,798 from £11,166,409 the previous year. At the year-end, shareholders’ funds stood at £78,783,445 (2021: £71,278,903), including profit and loss reserves of £73,417,064 (2021: £65,992,537). In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The company’s performance for the year has again been strong despite competitive trading conditions at the start of the year due to covid-19.” The business received government grants of £237,570 (2021: £934,335). No dividend was paid (2021: nil).
 
SSP opens restaurant at San José Mineta International airport in partnership with American chef Jim Stump: UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist SSP Group has opened a new restaurant at San José Mineta International airport in the US in partnership with chef Jim Stump. Stump’s Kitchen + Taproom is the first of nine permanent concepts to be delivered by SSP America under its contract with the airport. The gastropub-style menu features the likes of a quinoa and kale salad and Stump’s trademark bolognese, while the drinks include craft beer, cocktails and wine. SSP America senior vice-president of business development and airport retention, Paul Loupakos said: “This is the first of the concepts we will develop here at San José Mineta, and we’re looking forward to a continued partnership with the airport team. Chef Jim Stump has been a fantastic partner and is a true culinary legend in the South Bay area.” Stump, along with his wife and co-owner, Angelique Shepherd, have added the airport site to their portfolio of five venues across the South Bay: The Table in San José; Shepherd & Sims in Los Gatos; Lamella, a tavern in Willow Glen; and Forthright Oyster Bar & Kitchen and Vespers, both in Campbell.
 
London nightclub The Cross to open debut restaurant next month: London nightclub The Cross will launch Wild, its debut restaurant, next month. The 55-cover restaurant will serve diners a carefully curated Mediterranean menu designed for sharing. Having built a reputation in the London dance music scene between 1993 and 2007, The Cross reopened after 15 years in its new guise in September 2022. Located on the first floor of the six-storey site, the restaurant will serve a produce-led, seasonally changing menu from head chef Luis Diego Loria Ortega, previously of Brasserie Blanc Threadneedle Street and The Ivy St John’s Wood. Dishes will include croquetas bravas filled with jamon Iberico and Monte Enebro goat’s cheese; grilled king prawns garnished with red chilli, garlic, parsley, anchovies and fresh lime; and roast hispi cabbage garnished with pomegranate, tahini, and hazelnut dukkah. The drinks menu will feature a full organic wine list as well as signature cocktails, which include the coconut margarita, pandan whisky sour and pecan pie old fashioned.
 
Leeds property let to Itsu sells for £2.5m: A Leeds property let to healthy eating food chain Itsu has sold for £2.5m. The site, on the corner of Commercial Street and Trinity Street, has been acquired by a private investor. The 6,500 square-foot building, which is spread across five storeys, was sold by a major UK fund manager that was advised by GV&Co, reports The Business Desk. Garry Howes, director of investment at GV&Co, said: “This is a landmark building on one of Leeds city centre’s busiest streets. It also benefits from a very popular tenant in Itsu, a long lease until 2032, and a fixed uplift in the rental income.”

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