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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 7th Jun 2023 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Reynish – 500 stores ‘a good number’ for Gong Cha here, opportunity throughout as UK ‘ripe for franchising’: Paul Reynish, global chief executive of Gong Cha, has said 500 stores is “a good number” for the fast-growing bubble tea brand here, and the UK is “ripe for franchising”. The UK-headquartered brand, which has a global presence of more than 2,000 stores, currently has 13 sites over here – its latest opening in April, in Brighton – and is aiming for 21 by the end of 2023. “When it comes to demand, I think 500 stores is a good number, and there’s no reason why we can’t get there with the Gong Cha model,” Reynish told Sky News. “We have different kinds of models around the world, but we think the UK is ripe for franchising. It’s a really popular vehicle for investment and we are working with some really great partners to roll out the brand. We have a partner already who has 13 stores, and they’re going to grow with us, but there’s more opportunity. People tend to think of bubble tea in terms of Asian consumers, but we’re really finding a broad cross section of people enjoying the product. What we’re moving towards is the daily ritual – coffee has done that and we’re breaking through with tea. The coffee business is very saturated, and I think people are looking for change and variety.” Reynish has previously held senior roles with Burger King, Subway, Dunkin’ Brands and Five Guys, and said the “opportunity” for scale” attracted him to Gong Cha when he joined a year ago. “Last year we opened 245 net new stores, grew by 25% in revenue and created 2,000 jobs,” he said. “We’re really proud of that and will keep up that momentum in future years. Not many brands have gone from east to west, and at Gong Cha we have the chance to do that. Our franchisees are profitable and customer demand is strengthening. We will open in the Middle East this year; we have France and the Netherlands opening just before the summer; and we’ll probably enter Thailand by the third of fourth quarter – we will be aggressively developing this year.” Gong Cha 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.

Industry News:

Sponsored message – make profitable pricing decisions while maintaining a strong value proposition: Pricing is one of the most important processes for your business and a critical driver of financial performance. The current economic environment elevates the importance of pricing as a profit lever and careful consideration is required to ensure restaurants remain competitive while providing value to their customers. Pearson Ham Group (PHG), a pricing consultancy focused on helping restaurants achieve lasting competitive advantage through better pricing, has recently launched a market pricing dashboard to help restaurant operators understand competitor pricing, market position and consumer brand value perception. A spokesperson said: “The dashboard combines in-depth competitor pricing (site/product level) and robust consumer research, generating invaluable insights when planning new menus, price changes and understanding restaurants’ performance. The dashboard evaluates and compares pricing strategies across brands, highlights competitor’s menu architecture, spots key trends/pricing changes over time, shows how customers perceive prices and the impact on purchasing behaviour and much more. Menu pricing data covers all key players and surveys thousands of individuals to capture consumer value and pricing perceptions. PHG’s restaurant pricing team is led by Ines Llerena del Blanco, who has more than 20 years’ of restaurant pricing experience providing advice to senior management of restaurant chains across the US and Europe.” Get in touch to find out how PHG can help your brand or click here. If you have a sponsored message you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email

Next edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows 736 largest sector companies turning over total of £46.2bn, up from £43.4bn last month: The next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which will be sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (9 June), shows 736 of the largest sector companies are turning over a total of £46.2bn – up from £43.4bn the previous month. A total of 493 companies are making a profit while 243 are making a loss. Sector companies are making a collective profit for the first time since covid. The Blue Book shows the total profit of the 736 companies in the list is £2,834,963,916 and losses are £2,774,327,505. 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 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.
Lifestyle brand RH boss – ‘we are blurring the lines between home and hospitality’, looking for Cotswolds guesthouse site: Gary Friedman, the chairman and chief executive of US luxury lifestyle brand RH, has said his business is “blurring the lines between home and hospitality”. RH, formerly known as Restoration Hardware, will on Friday (9 June) open its first store outside the States, RH England, at the 73-acre Aynho Park stately home in Oxfordshire. As well as selling luxury furniture and homeware, it will feature five separate food and beverage concepts – The Orangery restaurant, The Loggia pizza terrace and wine bar, The Tea Salon, The Wine Lounge and The Juicery. All of these influences feed into the brand’s retail concept of “a curated world of luxury living, travel, dining and design services”, developed around high-end “galleries”. The Aynho Park opening is part of a new growth chapter for the business, and an overall strategy to “climb the luxury mountain”. “We’re trying to build the first multi-category, fully integrated luxury home brand in the world,” Friedman told the Financial Times. “We’ve been at it for 22 years now and we’ve reached a tipping point. It’s very hard to reposition a brand because it’s like repositioning a human – it’s not a job for the faint of heart. We blur the lines between residential and retail and home and hospitality. If you’re going to invite someone into your home, you are going to need to offer them something to eat and drink.” Friedman is also understood to be looking at properties in the Cotswolds for his next RH Guesthouse. The business launched a hotel concept in New York in September 2022, with a hospitality offering where customers can also charter a luxury yacht or rent a private jet. “We have to be careful how we go because if you dislocate too many customers, you’re in trouble,” he added. “We’re in a good position but at a point where we say, ‘where the air gets thinner, the odds get slimmer’, so we stick to our values.” Friedman made his name as president of home décor brand Pottery Barn, which he took from a $50m to a $1bn-plus business, and has similarly transformed the fortunes of Restoration Hardware, which he rebranded RH in 2012 when it was floated on the New York Stock Exchange. When Friedman joined the company 22 years ago, “it had a $20m market cap and was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy”. As of 2022, it employed 6,200 people and recorded revenues of $3.59bn – although this represents a 4.48% decline year-on-year.
May sees modest sector sales uplift led by food-focused sites, growth ‘lower than expected’: Hospitality sales saw a slight uplift of 2.7% in May compared with the same month last year, according to data from S4labour, the people, productivity and payroll system. It said the overall increase was driven by food-focused sites, which were up 5.7% compared with last year, while sales in drink-focused sites were down 0.9%. Chris Welham, chief customer officer at S4labour, said: “May marks the second positive month in a row. However, with warmer weather and three bank holidays, growth is lower than operators would have expected and falls below the rate of inflation. Dry weather and longer weekends seem to have encouraged more at-home drinking, rather than spending in pubs.” The data also suggests the growth was split relatively evenly between London and outside the capital, with a 3.1% and 2.7% like-for-like increase respectively. 

Consumers maintain healthy appetite for hospitality despite cost-of-living crisis: Consumer demand for Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants has stayed robust during months of rising household bills, new research from CGA by NIQ reveals. Its monthly Cost of Living Pulse shows two in five (40%) consumers went out to eat and drink at least weekly in April 2023. This figure is unchanged from March and down by only two percentage points from six months ago. More than nine in ten (94%) consumers went out at least once in April – one percentage point more than in March, and two points more than the level of six months earlier. Just under a quarter (24%) of consumers said they went out more frequently than usual in April – just one percentage point down from six months ago. While 43% said they went out less often than they usually would, this figure is unchanged from October 2022. CGA said this group is dominated by consumers who were already lower-frequency users of the on-trade while the important core of regular visitors have maintained or increased their trips out. Meanwhile, two in five (39%) consumers said they would prioritise visits to pubs, bars and restaurants if their disposable income were to be cut further – a significantly higher number than those who would protect their spending in areas including clothing (28%), home improvements (27%) or international holidays (27%). The survey results are in line with CGA sales data with Britain’s leading managed groups having reported like-for-like growth of 6.9% in April 2023 – a seventh consecutive month of year-on-year increases. However, with growth well below the current high rate of inflation, sales remain down in real terms. 
Trade associations call for urgent action to stop small firms being wiped out by energy costs: A group of trade associations, including the British Beer & Pub Association and Federation of Small Businesses, have called for urgent action to stop small firms being wiped out by energy costs. They have written to Angus MacNeil, chair of the newly formed cross-party energy security and net zero committee, urging it to convene an urgent inquiry into supplier behaviour. In a joint statement, a representative for the organisations said: “Business owners across the country are feeling powerless at the hands of energy suppliers. They have seen energy bills rise exponentially in the past year, and despite heading into warmer months, this pain is set to continue. Some businesses had little or no choice but to lock into extremely costly contracts at the height of the energy crisis and many will be paying over the odds for the next 12 months and beyond. These local businesses are well-loved assets, central pillars in their neighbourhoods. We are urging the committee to use its powers to recognise this crisis as a real tangible threat to the existence of businesses across the country and convene an urgent inquiry into the conduct of suppliers.”
Marston’s revealed as top UK pub company in PCA survey of tied tenants: Marston’s, the Andrew Andrea-led pub company, has been revealed as the top UK pub company in a Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) survey of tied tenants. For its latest annual tied tenants Survey, the PCA spoke to a record 1,206 tied pub tenants on their relationships with the UK’s top six pub companies. The data showed tenants at Marston’s have the highest overall satisfaction rates at 85%, a 12 percentage point increase on last year. This is followed by Greene King (75%, up 8% year-on-year), Admiral (75%, down 5% year-on-year), Punch (60%, up 13% year-on-year), Star Pubs & Bars (55%, down 5% year-on-year), and Stonegate (50%, down 9% year-on-year). The survey indicates 62% of tenants are happy with the relationship they have with their pub company, a figure unchanged from last year, while 19% are actively unsatisfied. Typically, tenants with a tied lease agreement are least satisfied (56%), while tied tenancies, franchises and other similar types of agreements are leaving tenants more satisfied (67%). Tenants at Marston’s have the highest levels of satisfaction with their agreement (79%). A clear majority (86%) of respondents whose tenancies started in the last two years found the information they received from their pubco to be useful, including 94% of Marston’s tenants and 92% of Greene King tenants, meaning the better prepared tenants are from the outset, the higher the likelihood that they will be satisfied in the longer term. 
UKHospitality calls for proposed short-term lets registration scheme to be mandatory: UKHospitality has called for the government’s proposed short-term lets registration scheme to be made mandatory. Downing Street is currently holding a consultation on the matter, reflecting the fact “the guest accommodation sector has changed significantly over the last 15 years”, which “in particular has led to an increase in the short-term letting of residential premises”. UKHospitality wants to bring short-term lets up to the standard of the majority of the visitor accommodation sector and subject to the same standards as hotels and other venues across health and safety protections. “The two-tier accommodation sector we currently have in place unfairly punishes hotels that follow some of the highest standards of health, safety and accessibility in the world, and it’s essential that short-term lets are brought up to standard,” said chief executive Kate Nicholls. “For the registration scheme to be a success, it needs to be mandatory and universal, preventing any loopholes being exploited and ensuring the majority of short-term lets in operation are covered. The introduction of this scheme will represent a significant step-change for the accommodation sector and will significantly bolster the reputation of our sector.”
BrewDog co-founder gives all five finalists in unicorn business funding competition share of £1m: James Watt, co-founder and chief executive of Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, has given all five finalists in his unicorn business funding competition a share of his £1m investment. Watt had initially planned to back three start-ups in his search for the next billion-dollar business, but having been so impressed by the quality of the final five, will now inject a minimum of £150,000 to help propel each finalist on their way to their intended unicorn status. A further £4m is also up for grabs, should the winning businesses reach particular milestones. Shopping app Basket and eco-shampoo and conditioner brand Tallow & Ash both received £250,000, while insect-based foods business Yum Bug took home £200,000. There was also £150,000 each for tech protection company Mous and skincare treatment brand Uncouth. Watt said. “What’s really exciting is members of the public can now invest in these businesses too. Each of the winning companies are available on Crowdcube, where people can invest pound-for-pound on the same terms as me. This isn’t a competition where you just sit back and watch other people make money, the public can get involved too.”
Half of big companies to cut office desk space: Half of large companies plan to cut back on desk space in a sign that many bosses are giving up on attempts to lure staff back to the office. The Telegraph reported a survey of 350 multinational companies that together employ about ten million staff globally found 50% are planning to reduce their office footprint. Most are looking to cut between 10% and 20% of space. It comes as many workers continue to resist efforts to force them back in the office full-time. The survey, which was conducted by Knight Frank, found most bosses were now resigned to the fact that employees will work at least some of the week from home for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, 56% of large businesses have now permanently adopted a “hybrid” working style, where employees spend some days doing their jobs remotely. Just under a third of businesses are still committed to having people back in the office full-time, Knight Frank found. 
Deliveroo and restaurant partners offer free meals to LGBTQ+ community experiencing homelessness: Deliveroo, its restaurant partners and LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) have joined forces to provide free meals to members of the LGBTQ+ community who find themselves in a homeless or vulnerable situation. The trial begins this Pride month across ten restaurant sites in London, Brighton, and Bristol. When a member of the community experiencing homelessness says “I’m a friend of Dorothy”' or even just “Dorothy”, before ordering, it will unlock a free main meal as well as additional resources on how they can receive help. Five LGBTQ+ owned restaurants including The Athenian, Club Mexicana, Smashing Plates, Tonkotsu, and Bleecker Burger are the first to sign up to the initiative, which is being funded by Deliveroo and aims to support the rising numbers of LGBTQ+ homeless people in the UK. The move follows new data from AKT, revealing referrals have increased by 58% within the last three years. Previously, data from 2021 by AKT revealed 24% of homeless people identify as LGBTQ+, with 77% believing coming out to their parents was the main factor for their homelessness. Deliveroo and restaurants taking part will also encourage other customers to play an active part and make donations to AKT through in-restaurant posters, window stickers and QR codes. Lea Duchemin, co-lead of Deliveroo’s LGBTQ+ network, Deloveroo, said: “Food is what we do best, and helping feed people at their most vulnerable, in a supportive and safe space, and directing them towards vital information, could be a much needed lifeline.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a growing event management company in Manchester that is seeking a head of finance. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will oversee a team of four but this will grow over the next year or two. This position will have day-to-day responsibility for financial reporting and control for the bar business while working collaboratively with operational senior leadership to deliver commercial financial planning and leadership of the finance team group wide.” The salary is up to £60,000 and the position is based in Manchester. For more information, email

Company News: 

Pho strengthens openings pipeline, appoints new FD: Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho has strengthened its openings pipeline after securing new sites in Canterbury and Milton Keynes, Propel has learned. The 41-strong business, which is led by Patrick Marrinan, has secured the former Giraffe site in The Centre, Milton Keynes, and the former 7Bone Burger Co site in Burgate, Canterbury, for openings later this summer. The group, which is backed by TriSpan, most recently opened in London’s Borough and in February launched its new smaller format site in Canary Wharf. It is also thought to be in talks on a site in Glasgow and is reviewing several other potential locations across the country. The business has also appointed Wayne Dejager as its new finance director. Dejager was previously chief financial officer at Jollyes Pet Retail Superstore and finance director at Eurocarparts. He also spent two and a half years as managing director of Oakray, the heating and electrical company. Talking to Propel at the end of February, Marrinan said its new smaller format site at Canary Wharf could be a potential bridgehead into more expansion avenues for the brand. He said the business had five sites in legals, which will take the brand through to November and it was “looking to grow that pipeline for the new calendar year”. Marc Rogers, of MKR Property, worked on the Borough deal. 
Chestnut Group launches experience-led luxury lodges as it targets short-stay family market: East Anglian pub company Chestnut Group is targeting the short-stay family market with the introduction of lodges at The Weeping Willow in Barrow, Suffolk. The seven lodges, set back behind the pub, further the company’s commitment to creating experience-led destination pubs with rooms. Chief executive Philip Turner told Propel he expects the average stay to be two nights, and there had been more than 65 bookings in the first few days. “We’re targeting that family orientated market where people want to get away for a few nights, and during that time don’t want to cook,” he said. “In a new location, people are much more apprehensive about where they put their head down for the night than trying new food. We’ve therefore provided some luxury accommodation without the kitchen facilities that hopefully gives them that comfort and encourages them to use the pub to eat, drink and socialise.” The lodges also showcase Chestnut’ environmental credentials, with the construction methods supporting biodiversity and ensuring there was minimum disruption to surrounding habitats. They also offer a low-carbon stay, with energy saving systems recycled glass carafes and no single-use products. Turner added: “The past few years has been about consolidating our business by developing our existing sites further. We’ve added bedrooms to some of our existing sites and we’re stepping this up with the lodges. The Weeping Willow is a bit of a test bed, but if it goes well, we’ll look to roll it out further.” Turner also said most of its properties were now moving back to operating seven days a week instead of five as demand picks up, although trading during the May bank holidays “was not as substantial as everyone expected it to be”. 
Subway signs largest franchise agreement in brand’s history: Subway has signed the largest franchise agreement in its history, which will see it look to open 4,000 new sites in China over the next 20 years. The company has signed a deal with master franchisee Shanghai Fu-Rui-Shi Corporate Development (FRS), which is funded by a consortium of private investors including Asia Investment Capital. FRS will get exclusive rights to manage and develop all Subway locations in China. The 4,000 new restaurants would be a seven-fold increase in Subway’s current footprint in the country. Subway chief executive John Chidsey said: “This agreement is a significant milestone in Subway’s international growth strategy as we continue to focus on strategically expanding our footprint and maintaining our position as one of the world’s largest restaurant brands. China is a key market with significant long-term growth opportunity, and we look forward to bringing the Subway experience to even more guests in the region.” International expansion is a key growth strategy for the privately-owned US-based chain, which is in the midst of a turnaround plan that also relies on remodelled restaurants, updated menus and a new marketing campaign. Subway said its restaurants in mainland China, since coming out of the pandemic, had experienced positive sales momentum, driven by a strong digital strategy, as well as new menu items. The brand’s global comparable sales increased 12.1% in the first quarter. While it seeks to expand overseas, the company has been closing thousands of US locations amid a host of problems including over-expansion and discounts that eroded franchisees’ profits.
Vegan Shack launches £180,000 fundraise to help develop delivery kitchens and ‘test new cities’: Vegan Shack, the sister brand of wing-based concept Wing Shack, has launched a £180,000 fundraise to help it develop delivery kitchens and “test new cities”. It currently has two stores – in Manchester and London – with £104,000 revenue in the year to date (February to April 2023) and positive Ebitda of £21,000. This compares to £272,000 revenue in FY22, up 23% on FY21, and Ebitda of £25,500. It is offering investors on Crowdcube 11.39% equity, giving it a pre-money valuation of £1.4m. So far, 51 investors have raised £159,380, with 21 days left. The company said: “From humble beginnings as a side hustle – and all while fully bootstrapped – we’ve opened stores in Manchester and London and have sales via Uber Eats, Deliveroo, in-store and through our own site, and amassed almost 20,000 Instagram followers. We also have an 82% repeat order rate for delivery and collection and rave reviews from our customers. We’re now set to build on our success and shake up the fast-food industry with delivery kitchens and testing new cities. Vegan Shack is ready to rock the UK and is raising to open more stores.”
Slim Chickens franchisee lines up Portsmouth opening for Wendy’s: JRK Restaurants, which is a franchisee for Slim Chickens along the south coast of England, has lined up a further opening for Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, in Portsmouth. JRK is planning an opening in the former Burton unit in the city’s Commercial Road. Last month, Propel reported that JRK also planned to open a Wendy’s in Guildford’s Church Street. Propel revealed in February that JRK was set to also aid the roll out of Wendy’s in the UK. It is thought JRK is planning to open more than 25 units in the next three years across the UK with the different brands it represents. It has so far opened four Slim Chickens sites. At the end of last year, Wendy’s opened its first traditional franchise site in the UK, in Sheffield. Square Burger, which is from the team behind the Papas Fish & Chips business, has since opened a second site, in Lincoln’s High Street. Wendy’s has so far approved six franchisees, who will take on territories including Scotland and Wales.

Rekom confirms autumn launch for second UK Proud Mary bar, in Swansea: Rekom UK, the Peter Marks-led nightclub operator, has confirmed the second UK bar for its Proud Mary concept will open this autumn, in Swansea. Rekom had initially hoped to debut Proud Mary in the UK in in the former Idols nightclub in Swansea’s Wind Street last year. Instead, it opened its first site 30 miles away in Cardiff, in the former Yard Bar in St Mary’s Street, in October 2022. The 600-capacity bar will “combine the fun and festivities” of a German bier hall and create up to 60 jobs. It will be the fourth Nordic bar Rekom has brought to the UK, with Heidi’s Bier Bar first opening in Cardiff and Birmingham. Two more Proud Mary bars and another Heidi’s are scheduled for launch later this year. The company said the new bar also reflects its “cluster strategy”, which is focused on “the development of key venue hubs in the UK’s major towns and cities”. Russell Quelch, executive director of Rekom UK, said: “We are delighted to be bringing our second Proud Mary to Swansea and are confident it will prove to be a similar hit to Cardiff. It’s such a great concept that people of all ages enjoy. We will be working around the clock to open as soon as we can this autumn. Proud Mary and Heidi’s have exceeded our expectations and we can’t wait to open more in the coming months and years. Part of their success is down to the unpretentious fun they bring – we know times are tough, but you can’t fail to have a good time once you cross the threshold of either a Proud Mary or Heidi’s.”
Hakassan owner to launch flagship restaurant in London’s Marylebone for first UK opening: Hakassan owner Tao Group Hospitality is set to launch a flagship restaurant in London’s Marylebone for its first UK opening. Lavo, which will offer “coastal Italian fare” as well as a more casual dining option and bars, will open this summer at The BoTree hotel – the latest London property from large scale independent hotel chain Preferred Hotels & Resorts. The 199-room BoTree, offering 30 suites, several bars and two restaurants, will be a sister venue to Covent Garden’s Middle Eight hotel and Westminster’s The Guardsman. “There are very few ground-up new luxury hotels in central London, so this will give The BoTree a unique positioning in the market,” Tao co-chief executive Noah Tepperberg told City AM. “As far as Tao Group Hospitality goes, this is our first opening in the UK, and we are excited to bring a new perspective on social dining from Lavo Ristorante’s sister venue in Los Angeles. We believe The BoTree will become a mainstay hotel for American travellers while in the UK, but the focus from day one will be to create a very neighbourhood friendly restaurant and bar.” New York-based Tao bought Hakkasan Group in April 2021. In April 2023, Mohari Hospitality, a global luxury real estate investment firm founded by online poker entrepreneur Mark Scheinberg, agreed to acquire Tao in a deal that values the business at $550m (£442.2m).
Esquires opens in Godalming and Southend: Esquires, the Cooks Coffee Company-owned business, has opened two new stores – in Godalming, Surrey; and Southend, Essex. It has opened at 110 High Street in Godalming and in Southend’s Victoria Shopping Centre to take its UK footprint to 53 stores. The Godalming site is located in an old bank, with the former vault having been transformed into a “captivating feature room”. The company said: “These openings mark another milestone in our journey of growth. We’re excited to forge ahead and bring the Esquires Coffee experience to more communities. With many new locations currently in development and coming soon, there’s plenty to look forward to. With 53 stores currently operating and numerous others in development, we are thrilled to expand our presence across the UK.”
De Nadas secures second London site: De Nadas, the new pastry-based Argentinian concept from chef Nico Buyo and former Kerrang! magazine editor Ñako Martinez, has secured its second site in London, Propel has learned. Launching on Rivington Street in July, the new shop follows the success of De Nadas’ first empanadaría on Golborne Road, Portobello, which opened last summer. The new site will feature a small seating area and deli with homemade chimichurri and alfajores (shortbread biscuits), as well as Argentinian staples including Yerba Mate and Dulce De Leche. Co-founder and operations director Martinez said: “We can’t wait to bring the power of the empanada to East London and make Shoreditch our second home! To open our second shop less than a year of opening the first is beyond what we hoped for.”
Former The Palmerston baker set to open first solo bakery, in Edinburgh: Darcy Maher, former baker at The Palmerston restaurant and bakery in Edinburgh, is set to open her first solo bakery, also in the Scottish capital. Lannan will open its in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge in early July, offering a weekly-changing menu of Maher’s signature bakes, including custard slices, yum yums, dauphinois pastries, crème brûlée danishes, romana sandwiches and pies. Lannan will feature an open bakery, and although primarily offering food to go, there will be some outdoor benches under its awning. It also has a standalone shop attached to it, which Maher, who was part of the launch team at The Palmerston when it opened in 2021, has future plans for. The bakery is backed by James Snowdon and Lloyd Morse, of The Palmerston, as well as Chloe Black, of Edinburgh Butter Company.
It’s Bagels to open first bricks and mortar site: It’s Bagels, the New York-style bagel concept, will open its first bricks and mortar site this September, in London’s Primrose Hill. The concept, which is the brainchild of Dan Martensen, a fashion and portrait photographer, and Jack Ponting, head baker and pastry chef for Caravan restaurants, will open at 65 Regent’s Park Road. The pair debuted It’s Bagels at the Caravan Roastery, often selling out before lunchtime, and began a successful delivery service on Slerp. Both operations have now paused to make way for the launch of the Primrose Hill site. Martensen said: “Like most New Yorkers, for most of my life, great bagels have been part of my day to day. So, while I have huge respect for London’s east-end style bagels, I was disappointed not to be able to find a decent New York bagel anywhere when I moved to the UK a few years ago. Fast forward, and we’re over the moon that Londoners seem to love our remedy to that. We’re further astounded by our good fortune in securing the most perfect site to dispense our bagels in Primrose Hill.” 

Scottish chef Nick Nairn to launch new restaurant two years after devastating fire: Scottish chef Nick Nairn will open his new restaurant in Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, next month. Nairn’s will launch in Henderson Street, replacing Nick’s, which was destroyed in a fire in 2021. Nairn and his wife Julia have renovated the space that features an outdoor terrace. The restaurant will open on Friday, 14 July, offering a range of snacks, small and big plates plus sharing dishes. The daily changing menu will include the likes of monkfish cheek scampi with tartare sauce; venison agnolotti, with leek puree and game sauce; and roasted cauliflower with harissa, yoghurt and dukkha crumb. With a focus on well-being, Nairn has implemented a four-day working week and employed a dedicated person to develop and cook staff meals. Nairn said: “It’s been a long journey back to Bridge of Allan and we’re excited to return to our home town. The fire at this site was devastating, but it has given us the opportunity to think really hard about what we wanted to create at this site.” The husband-and-wife team also operate Nick Nairn Cook School and restaurant on the shores of the nearby Lake of Menteith, Nick’s at Port of Menteith, and The Kailyard by Nick Nairn restaurant at the Doubletree Hilton in Dunblane.

Team behind Notting Hill members’ club to open restaurant and bakery in Chelsea: The team behind the members’ club and restaurant Laylow in London’s Notting Hill is opening a new restaurant, bakery and deli concept in Chelsea. Lórian – which is set to open in Sloane Street on Monday, 26 June – will be led by head chef Emily Dobbs, who will be working in collaboration with Johnnie Collins, of 180 The Strand. Dobbs, fresh from stints at Petersham Nurseries and Ducksoup in Soho and known for her Sri Lankan-inspired cookery, will be in charge of an ever-changing menu at Lórian, “showcasing ingredients in their simplest form,” reports the Evening Standard. On the menu upon launch will be dishes including grilled homegrown greens with lemon and seeds; new potatoes and pumpkin seed romesco; and salt baked beetroot, horseradish and parsley. There will be seasonal salads on a takeaway counter, while bread, pastries and cakes will be overseen by Lauren Duncan, founder of the bakery Presto London. The concept is the creation of Taz Fustok and Jonathan Krauss, who built the Notting Hill club and restaurant Laylow.

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