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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 31st May 2023 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Subway reports UK and Ireland like-for-like sales up 10.5% in first quarter, unveils biggest menu overhaul in 25 years to include chef-inspired creations: Subway has reported like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland were up 10.5% in the first quarter of 2023 compared with the previous year. Digital sales increased 0.9% in the period, following the previous year’s strong performance, with sales overall more than tripling since pre-covid. Kicking off the second quarter, in April, the brand also achieved its second highest weekly average unit volume (AUV) in the UK and Ireland on record, with the highest AUV week achieved in November 2022. Subway generated sales of $1.03bn in 2022. It comes as the business revealed the biggest overhaul of its menu in the UK and Ireland since its arrival almost 25 years ago, with the launch of its Subway Series menu. As part of its ongoing global business transformation journey, the menu will be available across more than 2,300 restaurants in the UK and Ireland and provides guests with two ways to experience Subway. Guests can now choose from 15 chef-inspired creations or continue to create their own custom-made sandwich or salad. “In developing the new menu, guests told us they wanted food tailored to their lifestyle,” said Nigel Doughty, managing director, UK and Ireland. “In order to meet that need, we’ve evolved our menu and are putting the power back into the hands of guests, so that there are now two ways to Subway – created by us or created by you. We know there is sometimes consumer fatigue when it comes to ordering quick service food.” Mike Kehoe, EMEA president of Subway, added: “Our continued impressive performance demonstrates that our efforts to build a better Subway and win back the hearts and minds of sandwich lovers around the globe is working. With strong sales momentum across our restaurants and a refreshed focus on strategic brand growth, there has never been a more exciting time to be part of the Subway brand.” Subway said customers can expect to see ongoing menu innovation, improved ingredients, and digital enhancements rolled out in key markets around the world in the coming months.

Industry News:

Two days to go before next edition of The New Openings Database release, to show details on 121 new sites, 5,600-word report included: The next edition of The New Openings Database will show the details of 121 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday (2 June), 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 growing restaurant and café brands, niche cuisine, and expanding experiential concepts. Premium subscribers will also receive a 5,600-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 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.

Brunning & Price named UK’s top pub operator by new PubTrack survey: Brunning & Price, the gastropub operation owned by The Restaurant Group, has been named the UK’s top pub operator by a new PubTrack survey from CGA by NIQ. PubTrack measures the performance of the UK’s top pub groups across a wide range of key metrics such as recommendation, revisit and satisfaction, with insight from around 10,000 demographically representative consumers. Brunning & Price came out as top operator based on a combination of revisit, recommend and satisfaction scores – followed by McMullen & Sons, Brakspear, Daniel Thwaites and Everards in the top five. Brunning & Price also tops the rankings in specific metrics including net promoter scores, where it is joined in the top three by Everards and McMullen & Sons. On the likelihood to revisit metric, it is followed by McMullen & Sons and JD Wetherspoon, while Daniel Thwaites and Everards rank behind it in second and third on the likelihood to recommend to friends and family metric. On the satisfaction metric, Brunning & Price is second to St Austell, with Brakspear in third. In terms of value for money, Wetherspoon comfortably leads the rankings, followed by Amber Taverns and Camerons, while those which score highest on PubTrack’s good service metric are Wells & Co, Wellington and Camerons. CGA client business partner Danielle Rowlands said: “We’re thrilled to be rolling out our PubTrack service and providing pub operators with the most comprehensive and accurate suite of metrics ever seen in Britain. They reveal what consumers really think about the pubs they use and unlock the doors to better reputation, greater loyalty and higher sales. With the pub market so competitive and spending under such pressure, it’s never been more important to know precisely what guests want.”
Evening Standard – one of country’s most expensive restaurants drops food prices by a third as top chefs look to adapt: One of the country’s most expensive restaurants has dropped its food prices by a third as top chefs look to adapt to the cost-of-living crisis, reports the Evening Standard. The JKS Restaurants-owned two Michelin-star Kitchen Table, at 70 Charlotte Street in London’s Fitzrovia, previously charged £300 per head for its tasting menu, with a compulsory “minimum £150 contribution to spend on the evening”. The tasting menu, which includes up to 20 courses, now costs £200, with the wine flight changed to £160 but now optional, with people being told they can “choose their drinks on the evening”. Launched in 2012, the restaurant is led by chef James Knappett, who has worked in Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant at Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, as well as Per Se in New York and Noma in Copenhagen. The drop in price marks a broader trend in the UK’s restaurant industry as chefs adapt to the cost-of-living crisis, said the Standard, with Jason Atherton cutting prices at his one Michelin-star Mayfair restaurant Pollen Street Social in April. The tasting menu went from £185 to £145, while wine by the glass now start at £7.50, where none were below £10 before. “We’ve been hit by what’s going on in the UK and we wanted to adapt to serve middle earners – regular customers who you have to think about if you want to be successful,” Atherton said. “Bills are up for everyone, and people are going out less. Everyone is looking at prices. The situation today is a bump in the road and if we want to survive, we must act.” Tom Kerridge,who is behind two-star pub The Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, previously offered à la carte with dishes at varying price points but has now brought in a blanket cost of £155 for three courses or £49.50 for a set course lunch. He added: “The hospitality industry is adept at changing with the times and you can see restaurants and pubs being creative with their menus, using more affordable cuts of meat and fish to keep costs low.”
UKHospitality backs Scottish government decision to delay calorie labelling implementation: UKHospitality has backed the Scottish government’s decision to delay implementing mandatory calorie labelling in the country. Holyrood’s consultation on the matter saw 36% of organisations saying they did not know how long it would take for businesses to prepare for implementation. Some 25% stated that they felt it would take two years to prepare for the legislation coming into force, 18% said 12 months and 16% said 18 months. UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson said: “I’m pleased the Scottish government has listened to the concerns of UKHospitality Scotland and delayed the introduction of mandatory calorie labelling. The planned introduction was additional red-tape that hospitality businesses scarcely need and would have come with enormous cost. The implementation of calorie labelling in England is costing affected businesses, on average, £20,000 per year, and it was crucial that was avoided in Scotland. With customer preference on this issue incredibly variable and a lack of evidence that calorie labelling makes a meaningful difference, it’s no surprise that the vast majority are opposed to its introduction. I would urge the Scottish government to permanently drop this policy and focus on reducing red tape for businesses, not increasing it.” 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a hospitality pub/bar and restaurant business with 20 sites that is looking for a head of operations within the M25. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “The company has a growth strategy for the next few years and this role will involve managing an established team. You will take responsibility for all aspects of business operations and strategy – the operations team would report into you. The ideal candidate will have a strong background at head of operations or operations director level. You will treat the business as your own. Ideally, you will have excellent proven experience in the pubs, bars or restaurants industry with management of a team of area managers and/or operations managers.” The salary is up to £135,000 and the position is based in the London/M25 region. For more information, email

Company News:

Putt Putt Noodle offering franchisees more than £1m in funding contributions as focus turns to north west, partners with You Me Sushi: The team behind crazy golf concept Putt Putt Noodle is offering “the right franchisees” more than £1m in funding contributions for five “prime retail” sites, set to open this year, Propel has learned. We Do Play, which is also behind trampolining brand Flip Out, is also now focusing its expansion of Putt Putt Noodle – which is set to this week open its third site, in Telford – on the north west. Its debut site opened in Norwich in December 2021, followed by its second site, in Poole, earlier this month. Locations in Bedford, Basingstoke, Colchester and central London are also among those in the pipeline. “Capitalising on our ‘risk-taking’ during lockdown, Putt Putt Noodle has five more prime retail sites set to open in the second half of 2023,” the company said. “Competitive, all-inclusive leisure has shown consistent growth across the UK and Europe over the past decade. With franchise opportunities and funding packages available across the UK, Putt Putt Noodle is looking for multi-site franchisees, particularly in the north west of England.” Chief executive Elliott Shuttleworth added: “Our mission right now is to capitalise on the incredible leases we signed up to during lockdown. We always had faith that consumer demand for socialising would return. Ostensibly, it’s back stronger than ever.” Shuttleworth also revealed the concept has partnered with You Me Sushi, the London restaurant and takeaway concept, to lead the food offering at its venues. “In recent years, leisure operators have started to partner with premium food concepts to further enhance customer experience,” the company said. “Putt Putt Noodle has partnered with You Me Sushi, to bolster its own offering and put this eastern Asian experience in a class of its own.” In January, Shuttleworth told Propel he is eyeing 40 Putt Putt Noodles and 20 more Flip Outs by 2026, as well as launching Guacabowlé, a new Mexican bowling concept, this year. Telford and Poole are both due to become joint Putt Putt Noodle and Flip Out sites, while “supercentres” are also planned in Liverpool and London. Putt Putt Noodle 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 to upgrade your subscription.

The Alchemist eyes transport hub debut, confirms June opening for third Scottish site: Bar and restaurant brand The Alchemist is set to make its debut at a transport hub as it lines up two further London venues and has confirmed a June opening for its third Scottish site. The two London sites, which are at “busy transport hubs”, are currently in legals but with planned openings late in 2023 and early 2024, and will take the number of sites in the capital to seven. It has also confirmed a June opening for its third Scottish site, and second in Edinburgh, at 51 George Street. The venue – which will open on Friday, 9 June – will lean more towards The Alchemist’s late-night offering, “with a prominent island bar mirroring two high floor to ceiling rooms with feature roof lightwells”. The return to UK expansion follows the recent opening of the brand’s first overseas bar, in Berlin, Germany. “We’ve really enjoyed the project of creating and delivering our first international venue and believe that the Berlin site will be the first of many in Germany in time,” said chief executive Simon Potts. “We remain committed to and excited by the idea of further expansion in the UK and look forward to opening the doors at Edinburgh George Street. Our experience in Scotland has been fantastic and trading has been consistently positive north of the border. Despite the well documented challenges for the sector, we are pleased and proud that our offer continues to resonate with our consumers, and we remain confident in our sensible growth plans. We’re in advanced legals on two fabulous sites in central London, which we expect to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2023 and first quarter of 2024 respectively.”
Eggs-centred concept Yolk launches £1.75m fundraise to support London expansion: Eggs-centred concept Yolk has launched a £1.75m fundraise to support the next stage of its expansion across London. The Nick Philpott-led business, which launched its first site in 2018, has now grown to five profitable locations and is due to open three more in the second half of 2023. It has raised £2.2m to date and is in the process of raising the new sum in Series A funding, with investors on the Growthdeck platform allocated up to £1.3m. “Since opening its first outlet at New Street Square in the City of London in late 2018, Yolk has grown average monthly revenues per outlet to more than £60,000 and achieved profitability across all sites,” the company said in its Growthdeck pitch. “Having successfully navigated the covid-19 pandemic, Yolk is positioned to capitalise on a disrupted market: rents have fallen, prime sites are available and more established chains remain on the defensive. While initially focusing on the day trade for office workers, the company’s flexible model can be adapted to different location and customer-types, with extended opening hours and a new dinner menu helping to broaden Yolk’s appeal. Yolk also utilises the kitchens in existing outlets to cater to both office and home delivery markets through its own and third-party delivery platforms.” It added: “The Yolk team are driven by their belief that UK consumers are poorly served by the usual grab-and-go food chains, whose offerings lack flavour, quality and excitement. Yolk is aiming to disrupt the monotony of the UK grab-and-go food scene, offering a range of premium sandwiches, hot food, baked goods and coffee using high-quality ingredients – without the premium price tag.” Philpott told the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Summit in January that Yolk was planning a 25-strong estate by 2025.
Italian gelato brand Amorino set to open in Cambridge: Italian gelato brand Amorino is set to open in Cambridge for its third regional UK site and 21st altogether. The brand, which has more than 200 outlets in 18 different countries, has taken a former mobile phone repair shop on Market Street. It follows a recent opening in Windsor as Amorino, which has 18 London locations, looks to grow outside of the capital. Its other regional site is in Leeds. The UK master rights for Amorino are owned by Hubert Attali, who is aided by franchise director Roman Aslamzada. “It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I announce our upcoming expansion into the historic city of Cambridge this July,” Aslamzadeh said. “We are delighted to bring you Amorino Cambridge, offering our renowned selection of appealing gelatos and desserts that have become synonymous with our brand. The city's rich history and vibrant community make it an ideal location for us to introduce our unique offerings and connect with even more customers. This new store opening is a significant milestone in our journey as we work towards our goal of reaching 50 stores in the UK by 2025.” The brand said earlier this year that it is targeting 30 UK sites by the end of 2023 as it grows towards a planned estate of 50 by 2025.
Eight Pizza Hut stores formerly owned by Leicester multi-unit franchisee sold through pre-pack administration: Eight Pizza Hut stores formerly owned by multi-unit franchisee Ali Mubarak’s Leicester-based Sania Group have been sold through a pre-pack administration. Situl Raithatha, of Springfields Advisory, was appointed administrator of Sania (PH) on 28 April 2023, and of a connected company, Sania, on 18 May 2023. The companies operated 15 Pizza Hut, You Me Sushi and German Doner Kebab sites across England and Wales but hit cash flow difficulties and, after exploring its options, sought an accelerated sale processes. Among the eight Pizza Hut sites sold were one in Banbury, which was Mubarak’s first unit when Sania started out as a single-site operation in 2013. The other sites sold were in Bicester, Cheltenham, Marston, Nuneaton, Reading, Bridgend and Swansea. Sites in Cheltenham, Abingdon and Oxford were closed, while a further four restaurants had closed before the appointment of administrators. “The sale of the Sania businesses has delivered the best outcome for the various stakeholders,” Raithatha said. “The businesses had expanded quickly, and due to a combination of market conditions, level of finance costs and other factors, they came under significant financial difficulties.” Nicolas Burquier, managing director of Pizza Hut UK & Europe, added: “Responding to an ever-shifting consumer landscape and to meet Pizza Hut’s growth ambitions in the UK, our business and operating models are evolving. As a result, there will be some changes across our UK franchise estate, particularly any with franchisees struggling to manage costs.” At the start of 2022, Sania Group operated 16 restaurants and employed 400 staff and announced plans to diversify its portfolio by bringing Italian coffee house brand Cafe Barbera to the UK. Mubarak, a former KFC area manager who has spent more than a decade with the company, founded the group in 2013 with Karl Nason.
Bear to open seventh site: Midlands cafe bar concept Bear is to open its seventh site, in Hockley, Nottingham. The new location, set to open this summer, will be situated in Carlton Street, in the heart of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter. It has taken on the site that once housed both “hidden bar” Boilermaker and coffee shop Braze, before later becoming all-day coffee and cocktails concept Boca Lima. Craig Bunting, co-founder of Bear, said: “We couldn’t be happier to join the dynamic scene of Hockley and finally bring Bear to Nottingham. Bear was born in the Midlands, so investing in such an iconic spot in the city was a natural and fitting next step for us.” The new Bear site will offer speciality coffee, seasonal fresh food, hand-crafted cocktails, wine and craft beer as well as its newly launched evenings’ concept, Later at Bear. Available from 5pm every evening, the Later at Bear menu will feature fully stacked smash burgers, taco trays and loaded fries. Bear’s estate stretches across Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire, with its latest opening coming in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, in March. The previous month, Bunting told Propel the business has “global potential” after closing a private equity fundraise to help it open new stores. Boilermaker, Braze and Boca Lima were all operated by Nigel Garlick, who also runs craft beer bar Junkyard and beer cafe The Kilpin in Nottingham.
Black Sheep Coffee secures fifth Manchester site: Speciality coffee shop operator Black Sheep Coffee has secured a site at Manchester Arndale for its fifth site in the city. The company is opening a 4,187 square-foot unit in Market Street after agreeing a 20-year lease with Arndale owner, Global Mutual. Eirik Holth and Gabriel Shohet, co-founders of Black Sheep Coffee, said: “Manchester was our first city outside London and is a special place in the Black Sheep journey. We’re thrilled to open our fifth store in this incredible city.” Black Sheep Coffee recently signed for a site in Basingstoke as the brand continues its rapid UK expansion. It has a further 15 sites confirmed for its openings pipeline in the UK, including sites in London – Waterloo and Smarts Place – and units in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Warrington, Cardiff and Colchester. It is also set to open a site at Luton airport. The business also has ambitions in the US, with its debut store in the States set to open in Dallas this spring and plans for at least six more openings there in the short-term.
200 Degrees to return to home city of Nottingham for 20th site: Coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees, which is backed by Foresight, is set to return to its home city of Nottingham for its 20th site. It is planning to open its landmark location in West Bridgford, which will also be its first to feature a roof terrace. It will be the Nottingham-based business’ fourth location in the city, following those at Flying Horse Walk, Carrington Street and Milton Street. Rob Darby, chief executive at 200 Degrees, said: “Nottingham is where it all began for 200 Degrees and the success of our three city shops – particularly Milton Street, which opened last summer – has been phenomenal. We’ve had our sights set on West Bridgford for a long time as it’s where our co-founder Tom and I have made our home. It’s also the location of our Meadow Lane roast house, which provides all the coffee we need for our 20-shop estate, eight barista schools, wholesale partners and online coffee customers. We’ve often been asked when we’d be setting up shop in West Bridgford, so we’re looking forward to serving some of our long-time 200 Degrees supporters a little closer to home.” It follows the opening of 200 Degrees’ 19th store at the weekend, in the former Patisserie Valerie premises in Bridge Street, Chester.
Siblings to launch permanent site for Spanish tortilla restaurant concept, plans further sites: Siblings Gabriel Larraz and Marta Verdu are opening a permanent site for their Spanish tortilla restaurant Broken Eggs. Larraz and Verdu launched the concept last year as delivery-only, with a dark kitchen in central London. Now they are opening the restaurant in Foley Street, Fitzrovia, on Monday, 12 June. The Spanish tortillas will be offered alongside starters, salads, cheese and charcuterie. Larraz told Propel the business plans to open further sites if Fitzrovia works out. The siblings launched Broken Eggs “to give people a way to connect with each other through food, and to make people feel like they are home”. Larraz said: “Tortillas are a modest dish, but they are also very playful and versatile. You can have them any time of the day and it can be something as casual as grabbing a slice and making a sandwich.” Ben Weinberg, of Stonebrook London, acted for Broken Eggs, and Freddie Brett, of RIB, acted on behalf of the landlord.
Nibble hits 1,000 influencer collaborations, appoints Dan Brookman as non-executive director: Nibble, the influencer marketing platform that connects hospitality businesses with social media content creators, has set up more than 1,000 influencer collaborations, while appointing sector technology leader Dan Brookman as non-executive director. Nibble streamlines the influencer marketing process by matching venues and influencers based on style, location and audience demographic, while providing measurable data and analytics tied to return on investment. Brookman is chief executive of Airship, the hospitality CRM, and sister company Toggle, the hospitality commerce platform, which were acquired by Zonal in October 2022. Brookman has invested in Nibble and joins as non-executive director. He said: “The influencer or creator (as they are now more known) impact is set to grow exponentially over the coming years. It will undoubtedly form part of a marketeers mix of channels when reaching new customers. It’s an exciting time to invest in new technology that offers hospitality operators solutions in an increasingly complicated digital world.” Nibble has a database of 16,000-plus influencers in the UK. While it currently focuses on London, it plans to launch in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol and Brighton in the coming months. Michael Radley, co-founder of Nibble, said: “We designed Nibble to help hospitality brands find the right influencers, handle the communication with their teams, and provide the data and analytics marketers have come to expect. Dan joins at an incredibly exciting time and brings such a deep understanding of the customer journey and its impact on visit frequency and revenue.”
Multiple Michelin-starred French chef Yannick Alléno to make UK debut in July: Multiple Michelin-starred French chef Yannick Alléno will make his UK debut in July. As reported by Propel in November, Alléno will open the restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in London’s Mayfair. Pavyllon London – which launches on Saturday, 1 July – will focus on modern French cuisine and techniques but also taking inspiration from London and British produce. Located in a freshly designed space, the restaurant will offer an ever-changing menu, with dishes including "Badaboum'' organic egg with Osciètre caviar and sorrel and Salish smoked salt; and brioche-crusted sea bass quenelles with “Billy by” emulsion and mussels. The wine offering will come from some of the world’s best vineyards alongside family-owned chateaus, with a significant selection available by the glass. Alléno said: “Pavyllon London is an embodiment of my lifelong dream to redefine French dining," said Alléno. “It combines my family's bistro-running legacy with my passion for culinary innovation. At Pavyllon London, we look forward to welcoming our guests into the heart of the action, creating interactive, less formal dining, centred around countertop seating and simply great food.” Alléno has 15 Michelin stars across his 14 restaurants, including three at his Le 1947 restaurant at Cheval Blanc in Courchevel. His three restaurants in Pavillon Ledoyen hold six stars – three at Alléno Paris, two at L’Abysse and one at Pavyllon – making it the most star-rated independent establishment in the world.
Stack & Still makes transport hub debut at Glasgow airport: Scottish pancake house brand Stack & Still has made its transport hub debut with an opening at Glasgow airport. The firm’s ninth branch follows the brand’s expansion south of the border after its 225-seater restaurant, just off London’s Leicester Square, opened in December 2022. Stack & Still, which was launched in 2018 by Paul Reynolds and Graham Swankie, aims to double in size during the next two years, including more locations in London. Before the opening, Reynolds said: “This will be our first travel operator partnership, and we’re actively exploring more opportunities across the UK as part of our expansion plans.” It comes after Reynolds told Propel last November that the business was looking at “four or five” openings in 2023, one or two of which would be in London.
German Doner Kebab has Bicester lease terminated: German Doner Kebab (GDK), owned by Hero Brands, has closed its store in Bicester after having its lease terminated by the landlord. The chain opened its site in the town’s Pioneer Square in November 2021, but it has now closed after the lease expired on 18 May, reports the Oxford Mail. A notice in the window read: “Take notice that the property has this day been taken into possession of the landlord by peaceable re-entry. The landlord is entitled to take possession under the terms of the lease and has now exercised its right. The lease has therefore been determined with immediate effect.” Propel reported earlier this month that GDK had opened its 150th store worldwide, as it aims for 400 globally by 2030. The landmark store, at 90-92 High Street in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, was also the brand’s 128th in the UK.
Eggless cake shop brand set to open eighth store: Eggless cake shop brand Cake House Bakery is set to open its eighth store. The Berkshire business, founded in 2019 by Rick Bhambra, is preparing to open in Chatham High Street, Kent. It also has two locations in Slough (Wexham and Farnham Road) and one each in Harrow, Southall, Gravesend, Hayes and Leicester. The company is also seeking franchise opportunities throughout the UK and offers packages from £118,000 plus VAT. It said: “Once the first Cake House Bakery store opened its doors, the feedback we received from our customers showed we had reached our goal. Our natural instinct was to open more stores and offer our delicious cakes to a wider geographical customer base.”
Kent cafe concept lodges plans for fourth site: Kent cafe concept Cafe Nucleus has lodged plans for its fourth site in the county. The proposals concern 35a High Street, Rainham, which was previously used as office space, reports Insider Media. A design and access statement submitted as part of the plans to Medway Council said: “The proposal enhances the existing town centre, encouraging a wider range of non-retail spaces within the current district centre. The proposal also enhances the economic and social role further by providing valuable employment opportunities to the locality.” Cafe Nucleus operates two sites in Chatham and one in Rochester.
Taco Bell set to open in former Frankie & Benny’s in Coventry: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell is set to open in a former Frankie & Benny’s unit in Coventry. The restaurant, at Unit 1 in Arena Shopping Park, Rowley’s Green, has been empty since 2020. A Taco Bell sign has now been spotted at the site, reports Coventry Live. It would be the first Taco Bell in Coventry.
Long-standing Northern Ireland bakery opens second outlet a year after being sold by founding family: A long-standing Northern Ireland bakery has opened its second outlet, a year after being sold by its founding family. The Corner Bakery, formerly the Corner Cake Shop, has stood at 4 Oldtown Street in Cookstown since being established by the Turkington family in 1951. It remained in the family until last year when Tim Turkington, grandson of founders Lily and David Turkington, sold the business to his friend, Martin Booth, who promised “significant investment”. Booth has now opened a second site, a 600 square-foot corner unit in Broad Street in Magherafelt, with seating for 24 diners and a deli counter. “Since I acquired Corner Bakery last year, we have increased production across all areas,” Booth told Insider Media. “For example, we currently sell more than half a million sausage rolls every year, and I can see this increasing to 900,000 by the end of 2023. And while we have opened this new outlet at a time when all businesses are facing challenging trading conditions, because we make all of our baked goods and dishes from scratch, it makes sense for us to scale up the business and maximise our production. We are in a unique position, in that we have more than 70 years of wonderful recipes and product ranges at the core of Corner Bakery, and while we will stay true to our heritage, we are growing the business and customer base through a unique and exciting business development and marketing strategy – which has seen us bring the bakery online, invest heavily in social media and sponsor high profile events.”

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