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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 10th May 2023 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Exclusive – Urban Pubs & Bars appoints Chris Hill as new MD: London operator Urban Pubs & Bars has appointed Chris Hill, the former chief executive of New World Trading Company (NWTC) and RedCat Pub Company, as its new managing director, Propel has learned. Hill stepped down as chief executive of RedCat, the investment vehicle from ex-Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand, last September, after overseeing the company’s growth from zero sites to 128. Hill spent seven years as chief executive of the multi-award winning NWTC. During his tenure, Hill, who becomes managing director of Urban Pubs & Bars and Salt Yard Group, grew NWTC from three sites and two brands to 28 sites across seven brands. Nick Pring and Malc Heap, who founded the now 40-strong Urban Pubs & Bars in 2014, told Propel they had no intention of moving away from the business but “the current demands of building it are going to require additional leadership among the senior team”. They said: “Chris joins us at a very exciting time, as we look to start expanding outside of London and continue to snap up opportunities within London. The business is now growing at a faster rate than ever before and we welcome Chris’s experience in helping the senior team to navigate the challenges that this rate of growth will bring. The turbulence in the wider economy continues to create opportunities for well-run companies like ours and it is important we have the structure in place to grab these opportunities when they come. With the expansion outside of London there will inevitably be increased demand on the senior team and it is important that we keep focused on the existing estate and all the wonderful businesses that we already have. Running the business and growing the business are both full time jobs and now we have additional headcount to help us do this.” Earlier this week, Propel reported Urban Pubs & Bars had returned to profit in the year ending 1 May 2022 as it forecast sales rising to £60m by the end of FY24. The company said current like-for-like sales are up 13% compared with last year and 12% compared with 2019. Looking ahead, the group has forecast sales of £60m in the year to 30 April 2024, driven by investing in new sites and refurbishing existing ones. Group Ebitda is forecast to rise at a more modest rate due to absorbing higher costs like food, energy and employee wages. Despite these cost pressures, Heap said the business was “well placed to ride the storm” following a “transformational year” in which the business entered into a partnership with Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual to accelerate expansion. 
 

Industry News:

Finance panel to feature at Propel Multi-Club Conference featuring all-female line-up of leaders: A finance panel discussing how women can progress in finance and investment in the sector will feature 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. 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. The panel will include Lizzie Ryan-Podbury, partner at Imbiba; Vic Stewart, chief financial officer at the Alchemist Bar and Restaurant and co-founder of the Six Percent Club; Linda Nguyenova, investor at BGF; and Claire Catlin, chief financial officer at Moto Hospitality. 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.

Latest Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector companies making collective loss of £254m, improvement on loss of £497m last month: The next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which will be sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (12 May), shows sector companies are making a collective loss of £254m – an improvement on the loss of £497m the previous month. The Blue Book shows the total profit of the 723 companies in the list is £2,704,975,523 and losses are 2,958,555,125. The Blue Book is updated each month and ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage; 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 £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.

Over-55s wield most influence when deciding where to eat and drink: Consumers aged 55 and over are the key decision makers when it comes to choosing which hospitality venues to visit, according to the latest GO Technology report from hospitality tech provider Zonal and insight firm CGA by NIQ. The survey of more than 5,000 UK adults shows that 40% of ‘influencers’ are aged over 55 – nearly double the number under 25 years old (21%). The majority of consumers (61%) admit they are either solely or sometimes influenced by others when choosing whether to go out and the choice of venue. When it comes to influencing which venues consumers visit, factors such as proximity to home (47%), value for money (35%) and serving a customer’s favourite food or drink (26%) come out on top. The most important sources of information when it comes to venue recommendations are recommendations from friends, families and colleagues (56%); a combination of sources (27%); the press (26%); friends’ recommendations on social media (25%); and social media via brands, reviews or bloggers (21%).

Fresh rail strikes set to cause further disruption this week: Two transport unions launch a new wave of rail strikes this week in a long-running dispute with the train operators and government. Drivers’ union Aslef will bring large parts of the network to a standstill when its members stage a one-day strike on Friday (12 May), before the RMT union walks out for 24 hours on Saturday (13 May). The strikes will be the first nationwide walkouts since early February and have dashed hopes for an imminent deal to end a bitter dispute that has dragged on for almost a year. Aslef plans to hold further one-day walkouts on Wednesday, 31 May and Saturday, 3 June. An Aslef ban on drivers working overtime will also cause additional delays and cancellations from 15-20 May as well as this Saturday and Thursday, 1 June. Both unions turned down offers from train companies and announced renewed industrial action at the end of last month. The RMT rejected a 9% pay rise over two years in its dispute with 14 train companies, while Aslef called its 8% offer from 16 companies “risible”. The government, which sets the industry’s finances, has suggested the offers on the table are “best and final” proposals, leaving the two sides deadlocked. Union leaders have said the offers on the table do not properly account for runaway inflation, let alone the impact of sweeping reforms proposed alongside the pay offers, including major changes to working practices, reports The Financial Times.

Energy suppliers urged to renegotiate fixed contracts with smaller businesses: Energy suppliers should renegotiate fixed contracts with smaller UK businesses to reflect the sharp drop in wholesale prices in recent months or thousands of companies will struggle to stay afloat, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned. The trade body, which represents 150,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK, said thousands of companies signed fixed contracts in the second half of last year when energy prices were at their peak. But since then, wholesale natural gas prices have fallen more than 80%, and the government has sharply reduced support for businesses, despite many companies being stuck on higher-cost fixed deals. The FSB has called on the government and energy regulator Ofgem to support what they call a move to “blend and extend” contracts, warning that 93,000 businesses faced closure or cutbacks because of the size of their energy bills, reports The Financial Times. The FSB added any company that signed a contract in the second half of last year should be allowed to renegotiate its energy supply contract if the price it was paying was higher than during the winter months when more generous government support was in place. The government said contract negotiations were “ultimately a matter for suppliers and their customers” but added it was holding “regular discussions with them and Ofgem to make sure businesses get a fair deal”. Ofgem said while it could not “unpick private contracts”, it wanted “to see commercially sensible solutions that help non-domestic customers”, adding it had recently written to suppliers asking them “to show flexibility”. “We will continue to press suppliers on this, while we review the regulation of the non-domestic market more broadly,” it added.

Resilient economy lifts optimism among company bosses: Bosses in Britain are the most upbeat about the outlook for their businesses since before the mini-Budget last September as the economy and consumer activity have held up better than they had feared. Business leaders grew increasingly pessimistic in the autumn and winter as the political and economic instability caused by then chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget speech damaged confidence in the strength of the economy. But the UK has so far managed to avoid recession, confounding forecasters’ predictions from the end of last year, when most were convinced that a downturn was around the corner. Consumer confidence has started to rebound from record lows during the winter and confidence among business leaders is following suit, albeit from a low base, reports The Times. The optimism index from accountancy firm BDO climbed back to 98.22 in April, and although that remains shy of the 106.75 recorded this time a year ago, it marks the highest reading since last August. Any score above 95 is considered positive. BDO said optimism had been boosted by “stronger-than-expected consumer activity”, as well as a strong showing from the services sector, which encompasses retail, financial and leisure companies. There are signs that inflation is starting to become less of a problem for businesses, with BDO’s inflation index dropping to its lowest for 18 months as both input and consumer price pressures subside. There had been worries that the slowdown in the economy would cause a wave of job losses, but employment has remained strong. BDO’s employment index rose for the third month in a row in April.

US pizza restaurant introduces rapid pizza vending machine: A Cincinnati pizza restaurant has introduced a vending machine that dispenses hot pizzas made with homemade ingredients in three minutes. Mac’s Pizza Pub Clifton is testing out its latest design that is expected to spread throughout the city by the end of the week. The machines not only serve fresh pizzas but also wings, cheesecake, cookies and merchandise. The restaurant advertised its latest invention on Facebook days before several are expected to launch throughout the neighbourhood, and eventually to the University of Cincinnati campus by the autumn, reports The Daily Mail. Mac Ryan, the shop owner, told WPCO that when it comes to the machine’s many offerings, “the sky is the limit”. Ryan has been working on perfecting the machine since the pandemic and now hopes it will serve as a 24-hour destination for late-night snackers, especially students. He hopes to eventually see them at airports, breweries and other locations scattered throughout the US city.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a company that has just purchased four new pubs across eastern England and is looking to bring in a new operations manager into its growing business. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “The business will be adding more pubs in 2024. The operations manager will oversee all front of house and back of house operations across its growing pub business with a strong mix of wet and dry sales. These sites are premium pubs, mostly food led. The ideal candidate will come from a pub background with experience in sites hitting revenue of £25,000 to £70,000 weekly and have managed an area with up to five or six venues. The operations manager will take responsibility for ensuring the smooth running of the day-to-day operations, driving the general managers, and motivating, coaching, and mentoring the team and improving standards and processes but also overseeing new openings and helping to move the business forward. The company is looking for someone with exceptional team leadership and project management experiences to enhance guests’ and customers’ journey, someone passionate about the trade and the hospitality industry.” The salary for the position is up to £75,000 plus bonus. For more information, email stuart@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Marston’s places ten investment sites on market: Marston’s, the Andrew Andrea-led pub company, has placed ten investment sites on the market, Propel understands. It is thought Marston’s has appointed Savills to market the freehold investment sites, which are spread across the Midlands and Wales. The sites include the Bakery Inn, in Malvern, which has a guide price of £630,000 (£175/square foot) reflecting a 7% net initial yield (NIY); the George & Dragon in Meaford, Staffordshire, which has a guide price of £590,000 (£104/square foot) reflecting a 7% NIY; the White Hart in Calow, Derbyshire, which has a guide price of £785,000 (£135/square foot) reflecting a 7% NIY; The Sportsman in Leicester, which has a guide price of £590,000 (£121/square foot) reflecting a 7% NIY; The Wheatsheaf Inn in Wrexham, which has a guide price of £590,000 (£112/square foot) reflecting a 7% NIY; and the Golden Hind in Birmingham, which has a guide price of £775,000 (£100/square foot) reflecting a 6.75% NIY.

Gordon Ramsay teams up with Reef: Gordon Ramsay Restaurants has launched its first site in partnership with dark kitchens operator Reef, Propel has learned. Gordon Ramsay Restaurants has launched its Street Burger brand out of Reef’s site in London’s Kentish Town, for delivery or pick up. The business currently operates 11 Street Burger sites, having recently added the concept to its Bread Street Kitchen site in Ealing. The site, which has been on the market, has recently been rebranded from Bread Street Café to Bread Street Kitchen & Bar, and features a “Street Pizza X Street Burger collaboration”. In March, the company reopened the Pizza East business in London’s Shoreditch, which it acquired earlier this year. 

The Coffee House appoints new ops director, lines up two new openings: North west independent coffee shop The Coffee House has appointed Russell Simpson, formerly of natural fast food brand Leon, as its new operations director, Propel has learned. Simpson stepped down as the EG Group-owned Leon’s operations director at the end of 2022. Simpson had been with the business since summer 2015, and its operations director for the past two and a half years. He joins the 13-strong The Coffee House as it lines up two new openings. The company, which was founded in 2011 in the village of Lymm by Chris and Stephen Shelmerdine, has lined up an opening in Kirkby town centre. The venue will launch this summer in two of the newly built units, occupying 1,668 square feet in Telegraph Way, and will include an outdoor seating area. This will be its second site in the borough of Knowsley, having opened in Huyton village centre in 2019. The business also plans to open in Skelmersdale later this month. Last November, co-founder Chris Shelmerdine said the then 12-strong business was looking to double its estate in the next three years.

Buns from Home appoints Rebecca Rose as people director, opens eighth site: London independent bakery business Buns from Home has appointed Rebecca Rose, formerly of Nightcap and Various Eateries, as its new people director, Propel has learned. Rose stepped down as group people director at Nightcap, the owner of The Cocktail Club, the Adventure Bar Group and the Barrio Familia group of bars, at the end of last year, after less than 12 months with the business. Rose joined the listed bar group after more than four and a half years as people director at Various Eateries, the Coppa Club and Noci operator. She was also previously head of learning development at The Breakfast Club and head of academy at Itsu. She joins Buns from Home after it recently opened its eighth site in the capital, just three years after its launch. The business, which started out as a pandemic project for west Londoner Barney Goff, opened its latest site at the end of last month, at 166 Piccadilly just across from the Burlington Arcade.

Chaiiwala secures Brighton site: Street food cafe franchise Chaiiwala has secured a site in Brighton. The company has acquired the lease of 142 Western Road. The premises was a former bank, then post office and still has the old safe in the basement. The property is now being refurbished ahead of opening in June. At the Propel Multi-Club Conference in March, Simon Hooper, international business director of Chaiiwala, said it is “conservatively” looking at 500 stores in the UK on top of its current 85-strong estate, including more drive-thru locations. Flude Property Consultants acted on the Brighton deal. Chaiiwala features in the Propel UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and is available exclusively to Premium subscribers. The database is updated every two months and the latest version features 200 businesses. 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.
 
92 Degrees makes Scottish debut: Independent coffee roaster 92 Degrees has opened its first site in Scotland. The company, which operates sites in Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, London and Southport, has acquired the former Henderson’s vegetarian cafe at 92 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, for is 11th site. Henderson’s closed in 2020 after nearly 60 years in business, and the building has lay vacant since. Last autumn, 92 Degrees, which was founded in 2014, opened a unit in Spinningfields for its third Manchester site. The opening marked part of the next stage of the brand’s nationwide growth plans, which will see it open another eight sites after securing £1.4m of private investment last June. 
 
Drinks wholesaler LWC reports robust recovery as revenue exceeds £500m: Independent drinks wholesaler LWC Drinks has pushed revenue past the £500m mark and more than doubled profits after emerging strongly from two pandemic-hit years. Established in 1979, LWC Drinks now employs about 1,200 employees and is the largest independent drinks wholesaler in the UK. In the year to 30 September 2022, the business increased turnover to £529,871,260 compared with £248,982,420 the previous year. Pre-tax profit climbed to £28,235,590 from £12,015,001 the year before. After its 2020 and 2021 results were materially impacted by the covid pandemic, LWC said in a business review accompanying the results that it was delighted with its recovery. During lockdown, the company took action to ensure it was well-placed post-pandemic, moving to a new, larger head office in Chadderton and opening new sites in Washington and Stockton to replace smaller units. The moves added more than 300,000 square foot to the warehouse space available to LWC. As the business recovered, it also paid off two loans totalling £24.5m saving it £1.1m in interest payments in the current financial year.

Lina Stores confirms Clapham site: Delicatessen brand Lina Stores has confirmed it will open a site in London’s Clapham this June. As revealed by Propel last September, Lina Stores, which currently operates five restaurants and delicatessens in London, will open on the former St Clair restaurant site at 22 The Pavement. The 80-cover neighbourhood restaurant will bring its “signature antipasti, beloved pasta dishes and indulgent dolci to south London for the first time”. Masha Rener, head chef of Lina Stores, said: "We are excited to bring Lina Stores to Clapham Common this June for our first restaurant south of the river. With its tight-knit local community, Clapham is the perfect neighbourhood for our first restaurant in south London.” In March, the White Rabbit Projects-backed company opened its second site in Japan. The company, which opened its first site outside the UK in Shibuya, Tokyo, in the summer of 2021, opened a second site in the Japanese capital, in the district of Nihonbashi Muromachi. Jake Bernstone, of Stonebrook London, acted on the Clapham deal.

Ever So Sensible Restaurants acquires first freehold, looks to follow suit with rest of estate: East Midlands independent restaurant group Ever So Sensible Restaurants has made its first freehold acquisition, with the help of a £700,000 Lloyds Bank loan, and now plans to follow suit with the rest if its estate. The business has purchased the freehold of the Duke William Hotel in Lincoln, which it has operated for six years, in a deal that it said will act as a template for future acquisitions of its other nine leased buildings. As well as this, the group is also looking to acquire new locations. Established in 2009, Ever So Sensible Restaurants operates nine other food-led venues across Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire, all of which are “currently trading well”. The Duke William, located in the centre of the historic Bailgate in Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter, has nine ensuite rooms and an adjacent cottage, and the group is exploring expanding its accommodation options through the purchase of nearby properties. Chris Bulaitis, managing director at Ever So Sensible Restaurants, said: “With Lloyds Bank’s support, we are now the proud owners of this beautiful historic building, which we have completely refurbished and transformed into a high-end local destination. With our ownership of the building now secure, we’re looking forward to a busy summer at the Duke William, as well as looking into opportunities to expand our footprint, both locally and through the acquisition of further venues in the East Midlands.” The group employs more than 200 staff across its venues and plans to invest further in its team with enhanced training and development programmes, which include butchery courses, brewery training and gin distilling.

Five Guys workers urged to give ‘extra scoop’ of fries for customer satisfaction: Workers at better burger brand Five Guys have been urged to give an “extra scoop” of fries to keep customers satisfied. LADBible reported servers will pour an extra portion of fries into the paper bags containing a meal so customers leave feeling they have been given more food for the money they spent. Speaking to Food Republic, Chad Murrell, one of the sons of Five Guys founder Jerry Murrell, said: “I won’t name names, but other restaurants just don’t give a satisfying amount of fries. We always give an extra scoop. I say load ‘em up and make sure they get their money’s worth. [Some] people complain they get too many fries, I just tell them to make hash browns with the leftovers. I teach my managers that if people aren’t complaining, then you’re not giving them enough.”

Italian food hall to launch at the Gantry hotel: Italian grocer specialist Grappelli is to launch a food hall at The Gantry Hotel, in London’s Stratford, later this month (25 May). With a capacity of 40, the outlet will boast a range of fresh fruit, vegetables and meats. It will also feature a plethora of award-winning deli products that will sit alongside premium Italian cheese, charcuterie, groceries, baked goods, pasta and fine wines. The hall will be open to both hotel guests and the general public. Founder Alessandro Grappelli said: “The whole Grappelli team and I are really excited to work alongside The Gantry on this new venture. We pride ourselves in the research that goes into selecting our products and hope that this will be reflected in the customer experience.” 

Global Brands reports record financial year: Drinks manufacturer and distributor Global Brands has reported a record financial year, with a 26.6% increase in turnover to £84,365,000 in the year ending 30 September 2022 (2021: £66,628,000). It was a sixth consecutive year of growth for the business – driven by record international growth, successful new product launches and canned cocktail and ready-to-drink (RTD) sales. International business passed £5m for the first time in the company’s history, increasing by 50%. Pre-tax profit also grew from £6,488,000 in 2021 to £7,525,000. It received no government grants (2021: £1,021,000). Dividends of £272,000 were paid (2021: £244,000). Founder Steve Perez said turnover has almost doubled over the last five years. He added: “We’ve recently purchased the trademarks for Hooch, Hooper’s and Reef from Molson Coors, and have lots of exciting new products in the pipeline. We’re now the biggest supplier of branded canned cocktails in the UK off-trade, and the biggest supplier of RTDs into the on-trade. Franklin & Sons is now the second biggest premium tonic in the UK on-trade, and we’ve seen fantastic growth for the brand in the UK and especially internationally, in markets in Asia, through Europe, and from our newly opened office in the USA. While economic conditions have been challenging in the six months since we’ve published our accounts, especially in regard to energy and raw material costs, we’re confident going forward that the company will continue its momentum in the next financial year.” A £2m expansion of the Global Brands distribution centre was also recently completed, increasing storage capacity from 30 million to 40 million products.

Former Oakman Group FD joins Ralph Trustees: Koula Achillea, who earlier this year stepped down as finance director at Oakman Group, has joined family-owned hotel operator Ralph Trustees, as its new group commercial director. Achillea, formerly of Butlin’s and Warner Leisure Hotels, stepped down from Oakman in March, after three years with the business, to pursue “new career opportunities”. She previously spent almost six years as finance director at Butlin’s. Ralph Trustees owns The Grove hotel in Chandler's Cross, Hertfordshire, and the Athenaeum in London. Last March, holiday park operator Bourne Leisure bought the Runnymede on Thames hotel in Egham, Surrey, from Ralph Trustees for an undisclosed sum.

Company behind Welsh whisky distillery reports turnover and profit boost: The company behind Welsh whisky distillery Penderyn has reported a turnover and profit boost as it continuing its trend of annual growth. In the year to 31 August 2022, turnover at The Welsh Whisky Company rose to £19,684,492 compared with £18,285,820 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was up to £1,447,409 compared with £1,000,760 the year before. Penderyn Single Malt Whisky continues to be the main focus. Penderyn Distillery produces single malt whisky and spirits in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales. The company opened its second distillery and visitor centre in Llandudno in May 2021, and the facility and tourism attraction has experienced “significant growth” in its first full year of trading. The company’s third distillery and visitor centre is due to be opened in 2023 in Swansea, “increasing opportunities for brand growth and distilling”. In their report accompanying the results, the directors said the support of the firm's founders will enable the investment in building maturing whisky stock to continue. They added the company’s commitment to innovation in whisky maturation and blending and branding will enable new products to be developed and launched. The directors have focused on broadening the company’s customer base by increasing exports. New importers have been appointed for the US and China and additional investment channelled to brand building in established markets in France, Germany, Japan and others.

Preferred buyer identified by administrators for Southport hotel: A preferred buyer has been identified by the administrators of a four-star hotel in Southport. The companies behind Waterfront Southport Hotel, which used to be called Bliss Hotel, went into administration in October last year. Paul Davies and Sandra Mundy, of advisory firm James Cowper Kreston, were appointed by Waterfront Southport Properties and Waterfront Hotels (Southport) to oversee the process. The hotel, which is located on Southport’s waterfront next to the planned £73m Marine Lakes Events Centre, was put on the market at the end of September. It has remained trading since the companies entered administration. The property includes 131 bedrooms and penthouses, a lounge bar, restaurant, roof garden, gym, conferencing and events space, as well as secure underground car parking for 120 cars. In December 2022, it was revealed Waterfront Southport Properties owed £18.2m to its creditors when it entered administration. At the start of this year, the hotel was forced to change its name after a former boss demanded £20,000 a month. Now, in a newly filed document with Companies House, the administrators have confirmed a preferred buyer has been identified for Waterfront Southport Properties. It said: “We have a preferred buyer for the property who wishes to also redevelop the unoccupied building adjacent to the main hotel but remain at an early stage in the process as we discuss the potential assignment of the lease with the freehold owner.” The unoccupied building had been used by brewer and retailer Greene King until the company moved out in December 2022.

The Grill at The Dorchester set to relaunch with new breakfast offering and a break in tradition: The Grill at The Dorchester is set to relaunch with a new breakfast offering and break in tradition. Rebranded The Grill by Tom Booton, it will be the first time in the restaurant’s 92-year history that a chef’s name has appeared above the door. Booton became The Grill’s youngest head chef when, aged 26, he landed the role in 2019. Booton will oversee the launch of a new daily breakfast service from Thursday, 18 May, featuring dishes such as truffled egg and soldiers; The Grill’s take on a full English; Arnold Bennett omelette; and Booton’s bacon, cheesy sauce and fried egg baked pastry. He will also introduce a snacks menu, including Welsh lamb belly and cuttlefish skewers, and a selection of small plates to share, from Cornish dressed crab tart to white pudding on brioche. Large plates will include “All the Chicken”, served in a variety of ways, while among the desserts will be a baked apple tart with cider and Cornish Yarg. Adam Nevin will step up from sous chef to head chef, while Mattia Marcelli will oversee operations as general manager.

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