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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 13th Jun 2023 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

New concept aiming to become ‘McDonald’s of the Chinese fast-food industry’ set to make debut with ‘England’s first drive-thru Chinese takeaway’: A new concept aiming to become the “McDonald’s of the Chinese fast-food industry” is set to make its restaurant debut with “England’s first drive-thru Chinese takeaway”. Wiyo, which stands for “what is your order” will launch its first site on Saturday (17 June), in Warrington’s School Street. It claims the site will be England’s first drive-thru Chinese takeaway. A similar concept has been developed by Waka Asian Fusion in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Wiyo co-owner Leon Freeman said the business is actively seeking franchises in other areas as it hopes to take the business national. “The goal is to make Wiyo the McDonald’s of the Chinese fast food industry,” he said. “We’re already looking at franchises in Manchester, Liverpool, Essex and hope to make this national.” Freeman said he spent five years developing the concept with his business partners and hoped to make Chinese food “more convenient for the masses”. He, co-owner Sally Gallagher and Dominic Freeman came up with the idea around a kitchen table in 2018 and developed their menu with a leading Chinese chef before finding the perfect site for their business four years later. The plans were almost derailed in January when Freeman was hospitalised with sepsis when a cut leg became infected, leading to it being amputated, but he continued working on the project from his hospital bed and completed it once discharged, reports The Daily Star. “The aim is to make Chinese takeaway food quicker and more convenient for the masses,” Freeman said. “Considering how popular Chinese food is in England, we were confused as to why no one had developed the concept before now.” Diners get a choice of ordering three different meal options – with a single dish and drink costing £7, two and a drink priced at £9, and three with a drink going for £11. It also offers a series of Chinese and non-Chinese side dishes, such as battered spring rolls and chicken nuggets, costing between £3 to £4. It follows the launch of the UK’s first Indian drive-thru earlier this year, from street food cafe franchise Chaiiwala in partnership with EG Group, in Bolton, Greater Manchester. In April, Chaiiwala international business director Simon Hooper told Propel it would be looking at launching further drive-thru locations.

Industry News:

Sponsored message – HEINEKEN UK launches Old Mout Pineapple & Raspberry on draught: HEINEKEN UK has launched Old Mout Pineapple & Raspberry on draught. Old Mout’s Pineapple & Raspberry flavour already is the number one exotic premium flavoured cider in the market, and has now launched in the new format to continue to drive growth across flavoured draught cider in the on-trade. After the successful debut of Old Mout Berries & Cherries on draught, which has since delivered £12,000 per tap, the new offering is the next step in the brand’s ambitions to delivering “thirst quenching, tasty cider”. Rachel Holms, cider brands director at HEINEKEN UK, said: “Old Mout is famous for its exotic flavours among cider drinkers and is known for offering something a little different. By making Old Mout Pineapple & Raspberry available on draught, as well as bottles, we are broadening the accessibility of the hugely popular flavour. With 38% of Generation Z and Y cider drinkers looking for new and premium flavoured options, this launch will appeal to younger drinkers looking for different flavours on draught. Premium flavoured cider is also the second biggest cider segment (after mainstream apple) and accounts for 25% of category value.” To find out how to stock Old Mout Pineapple & Raspberry on draught, click here. If you have a sponsored message you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email
Paula MacKenzie to speak at Propel summer conference and party, three free places per company for operators: Paula MacKenzie, chief executive of PizzaExpress, will be among the speakers at the Propel Multi-Club Conference and summer party on Wednesday, 6 September, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Oxford Belfry. The all-day conference will focus on “new directions” and will be followed in the evening by the summer party, with a barbecue and five hours of live music, including a three-hour set from the famous house band at Piano Works. MacKenzie will talk to Propel group editor Mark Wingett about taking the helm at the iconic casual dining brand, the challenges and opportunities her first year in the role have provided, evolving its offer and team, and her thoughts on the wider sector. Three free places per company for operators can be claimed. A room can also be booked for the evening. For more details, email
Latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage to feature more than 180,000 words of content: The latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will feature more than 180,000 words of content when it is released to Premium subscribers on Friday (16 June). The database now features 693 companies, and this month’s edition includes 13 new additions and 40 updated entries. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database merges Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £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 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.

Job of the Day: COREcruitment is working with a luxury estate in the Cotswolds looking for a hotel operations manager. Duties will involve the overall responsibility for customer management and day-to-day operation of the hotel while ensuring consistent standards of service are maintained. You will contribute to the profitability of the hotel through the monitoring of revenue and budgets, management of the team and maintaining effective cost controls. You will also create an environment where the team are motivated and encouraged to maximise sales. The salary is up to £70,000 plus bonuses and based in the Cotswolds. At least two years’ experience in a similar position will be required. For more information, contact 

Company News:

Urban Pubs & Bars set for transport hub debut: London operator Urban Pubs & Bars is set to make its transport hub debut, with an opening at Waterloo train station. Propel understands that Urban Pubs & Bars will open The Victory, which will feature a “premium pub offer”, in the ex-Sports Bar & Grill site plus an adjoining unit, on the first floor in the station’s concourse. It will be the group’s first project with Network Rail. Last week, Propel revealed Urban Pubs & Bars was to further strengthen its presence in the capital with an opening in Putney. It secured the circa 12,000 square-foot, ex-Revolution site in Upper Richmond Road, which closed last month, for an opening later this year. Last month, Propel revealed Urban Pubs & Bars had appointed Chris Hill, the former chief executive of New World Trading Company and RedCat Pub Company, as its new managing director, to aid the circa 40-strong group’s further expansion both inside and outside London. Nick Pring and Malc Heap, who founded 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”.
Hugh Knowles steps down as Puttshack UK MD: Hugh Knowles has stepped down as managing director of Puttshack UK after two and half years in the role, Propel understands. Knowles joined the indoor mini golf experience concept in July 2018, from the Burhill Group, owner of Adventure Leisure, where he was development and operations director. He began as commercial director at Puttshack UK, then moved to chief development officer, before becoming UK managing director in November 2020. It is thought the UK business, which comprises sites in London’s Bank and White City, plus venues in Watford and Lakeside, is being currently led by the brand’s US team, which is overseen by chief executive Joe Vrankin. Last October, Puttshack completed a growth capital round of $150m (£135.9m) from funds managed by BlackRock and continued support from Promethean Investments. The company said the new funding would support its “rapid growth strategy in the US, bringing its cutting-edge and high-energy experience to more cities across the nation”. Puttshack first launched in 2018 with the opening of its first site in London. Currently, the business has eight sites in the US, with a further 11 in its openings pipeline, including sites in Dallas, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia and Scottsdale. 
Imbiba-backed Ninja Warrior UK operator reports best ever quarter, plans new locations and concepts: Imbiba-backed Ninja Warrior UK operator Leisure TV Rights (LTR) has reported its best ever quarter, with sales up more than 40%, and is planning new locations and concepts. LTR, which is headed up by former Wagamama UK operations director and Côte Brasserie managing director Lisa Buckley, posted revenue of more than £3m for the three months from 1 February to 30 April 2023. This smashed the company’s previous best quarter by 41%, which it said highlighted “the level of growth and development LTR is continuing to experience”. LTR currently operates four Ninja Warrior UK adventure parks, launching its latest, in Bristol, in December 2022. This site has gone on to post sales of more than £2m since it opened, making it the fastest growing and best performing park on LTR’s books. “We’re incredibly pleased with our recent sales figures as they reflect all of the hard work that our brilliant team has put into developing our world-class entertainment offer,” Buckley said. “Despite the ongoing challenges that continue to plague the wider sector, we’re very confident that the months ahead are set to be really exciting for us, and we can’t wait to build upon what we’ve already achieved this year.” LTR was founded by entrepreneur Mike Anderson, who also owns and operates Innovation Leisure, a specialist leisure venue building company that has designed and supplied the activity equipment for every Ninja Warrior UK centre. Following the backing from Imbiba, which was secured in March 2022, his objective is to bring more venues under the LTR umbrella, expand into new markets and develop the in-venue food and beverage offerings to help boost dwell time and improve overall guest experiences. LTR also operates Ninja Warrior UK sites in Leeds, Walsall and Liverpool, with further locations and concepts planned.
Pearmain Pubs returns to acquisition trail: Pearmain Pubs has returned to the acquisition trail by securing The Brickmakers Arms in the Surrey village of Windlesham. Agent Fleurets brokered the purchase of the leasehold interest from Elephant Inns and acquisition of the freehold from Stonegate Group for Pearmain. Founded in 2008 by Richard Brown and Anthony Hancock, Pearmain grew pre-covid to eight sites before selling five to London pub operator Young’s in March 2020, in a deal understood to be valued at circa £30m. This left it with The Red Lion in Horsell, The Old Plough in Stoke D’Abernon and The Three Horseshoes in Laleham. Brown said: “We are delighted to welcome the Brickmakers Arms and are very confident it will be a successful addition, being a great geographical fit to our existing business.” Fleurets director James Davies added: “This was a complicated deal, with a simultaneous acquisition of the leasehold interest and acquisition of the freehold from Stonegate. The process was completed confidentially with all parties working collaboratively to make the deal happen.”
West End private members’ club sees losses increase after spending more than £500,000 on agency staff: Oriental Club, the private members’ club in London’s West End, has revealed it spent more than £500,000 on agency staff last year as it struggled with staff shortages. It comes as the business reported turnover increased to £5,147,913 for the year ending 31 December 2022 compared with £3,908,902 the previous year. Pre-tax losses at the club, which has more than 2,600 members, rose to £575,842 from £88,815 the year before, mostly as a result of the spend on agency staff. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Throughout 2022, the number of full-time equivalent staff team members was significantly below optimal levels; and employment related costs represented the highest administrative expenses and year-on-year increases. The agency costs of £500,026 (2021 £222,476) were particularly unwelcome. Agency staff were having to be deployed in most departments across the club, with the consequent and regrettable difference in service quality and member experience. Recruitment costs were also high at £44,209 (2021: £24,125). The club did manage to emerge from a low point towards the end of the year when, aided by around a dozen team members returning, a renewed, more virtuous cycle commenced. At the time of writing [4 May 2023], the club has been successful in its application to the Home Office for a skilled worker immigration sponsor licence, which will be of significant value in the future recruitment strategy. The club has emerged from the blight of the pandemic trading environment sooner and with more vigour than previously expected, with the added benefit of relative efficiencies which it will endeavour to maintain. The staffing and therefore qualitive proposition is back to near peak levels of performance and, with the evolution of the food and beverage offer, the club aims to be an increasingly attractive proposition.” The company drew down £719,376 from the investment portfolio to pay for an overhaul of the building’s Victorian water system, which had left 12 of the bedrooms unusable. The business did not receive any government grants (2021: £151,183).
Company behind virtual shooting range and cocktail bar Point Blank put into liquidation: The company behind virtual shooting range and cocktail bar Point Blank has been put into liquidation. Trigger Happy UK, which trades as Point Blank in Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool, is being liquidated with a deficit of more than £600,000. The company appointed Craig Johns and James Fish, of Cowgill Holloway Business Recovery, in Bolton, as joint liquidators on 4 May. Following the start of the creditors’ voluntary liquidation process, a statement of affairs was filed at Companies House for Trigger Happy UK, which shows the firm is being liquidated with a total deficit of £636,705. It also showed the business has £76,040 available for preferential creditors, but a deficit of £531,142 in terms of cash owed to second preferential creditors, including HM Revenue & Customs, which is owed £204,055 in VAT and £403,126 in PAYE and national insurance contributions. Unsecured creditors include trade and expense creditors who are owed £99,301 but there are no assets available to pay them, the document said.

Vinegar Yard team set to open canalside Hackney pub with one of largest beer gardens in London: The team behind Vinegar Yard, the eating, drinking and arts space in London Bridge launched by Flat Iron Square founder Benj Scrimgeour, is set to open a new canalside pub in Hackney. Spanning the size of three football pitches and featuring one of London’s largest beer gardens, sitting adjacent to the Hackney Wick canal, Hackney Bridge will open later this month. It is the group’s largest development to date and will also feature an outdoor bar, with street food from independent traders. These include Filipino barbecue from Filigrilz, New York-style burgers from Bovine Burger, Neapolitan pizza from Made in Puglia and South Indian street food from Tamila – as well as drinks from local brands including on-site microbrewery Mammoth Beer. The outdoor space will host an extensive cultural programme over the summer months, including barbecue pop-ups from local chefs and live music events, plus an outdoor cinema for film screenings and sports events throughout the summer. It will also host a vintage market every Sunday and offer free public amenities, such as a basketball court, a community garden and an allotment, to local residents and food traders.
Sessions takes on food offering at Camden’s Roundhouse, Little Bao Boy first to launch: Sessions, the growth platform for food brands and food hall operator led by former Deliveroo managing director Dan Warne, has taken on the food offering at Camden’s Roundhouse venue, with bao bun concept Little Bao Boy the first to launch from its portfolio. Sessions will expand the food offering at the grade II-listed performing arts and concert venue and operate from its Roundhouse Bar + Cafe, on the ground floor. The partnership will allow Roundhouse to rotate the offering regularly and showcase other Sessions brands throughout the year. First to benefit is Leeds brand Little Bao Boy, which has already expanded across the capital with Sessions delivery kitchens. This will be second dine-in offer in the capital for the street food brand, from former investment banker James Ooi, following a pop-up at The Sun and 13 Cantons. Louis Haynes, head of strategic partnerships at Sessions, said: “Roundhouse is an iconic venue with a rich history, and I’m excited to introduce its clientele to our great brands.” Natalie McGann, senior commercial food and beverage manager at Roundhouse, added: “The Roundhouse has been through a food evolution since opening in 2006 and we are delighted to enter a new chapter with Sessions.” Little Bao Boy will be available for dine-in customers pre and post show from today (Tuesday, 13 June).
Badiani to open Balham site, first to offer made-to-order pasta: Italian gelato brand Badiani will open its latest UK site at the start of next month in London’s Balham, which will become the first of its sites to sell fresh, made-to-order pasta. The business, which operates ten sites in the UK, will open the site in Hildreth Street, on Thursday, 6 July. Massimo Franchi, Badiani’s chief executive, said: “This opening is a significant step in our expansion journey, and we are excited to introduce our award-winning gelato, and now, our made-to-order fresh pasta, to the Balham community.” Last month, Franchi told Propel the business plans to open a total of five new sites this year as it eyes an eventual UK estate of up to 40. The company recently opened its first regional site, at the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex, which was followed by one in Brighton at the end of last month. This is set to be followed by an opening in Westfield White City. Franchi told Propel: “We’re still a small company, so we’re not thinking about hundreds of shops, but in the London area about 20, and outside London another 20, more or less.” Founded in Florence in 1932, Badiani still has its original shop in the Italian city as well as two in Spain. It is opening three more Spanish stores this year – two in Barcelona and one in Costa Brava – and in July will enter its third international market with an opening in Japan. Richard Thomas, of Shelley Sandzer, acted on the Balham deal.
Caravan and leisure park operator sees turnover fall as trade drops off due to ‘economic uncertainty’: Shorewood Leisure Group, which operates seven caravan and leisure parks, has reported turnover fell to £19,417,491 for the year ending 31 December 2022 compared with £23,157,035 the year before as trade dropped off “due to the economic uncertainty”. Pre-tax profit was down to £1,947,202 from £4,677,635 the previous year due to ongoing investment in the sites. Ebitda dropped to £3.8m from £6m the year before. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “With ongoing investment in the group’s facilities, including the continued expansion of Witton Castle Country Park and a further park acquisition during the year, the directors anticipate maintaining the current trading levels and profitability.” The business received government grants of £48,310 (2021: £385,606). No dividend was paid (2021: nil). David Allison has ultimate control of the company, which was founded in 1989.
Speciality coffee shop Kiss the Hippo opens fifth site: London speciality coffee shop Kiss the Hippo has opened its fifth site, and second in London’s Fitzrovia. It has opened at 36 Berners Street – joining its Fitzrovia flagship, at 51 Margaret Street – as well as others in Richmond, Shoreditch and King’s Cross. Founded by Can Eren in 2018, this month marks five years since the first Kiss the Hippo café opened, and in the years since, it has won the UK Barista championships three times. As a carbon negative company, Kiss the Hippo ethically sources its organic planet-friendly beans, roasts coffee at its own state-of-the-art London roastery and has a reforestation partnership with On A Mission. It also offers make-at-home coffee kits with compostable pods, coffee bags and equipment, plus a subscription service and home-brewing workshops.

Team behind Shu Xiangge launch Japanese barbecue concept in London’s Chinatown: The team behind Shu Xiangge and Skewer & Beer in London’s Chinatown have launched a new Japanese barbecue concept. High Yaki’s debut site, also in Chinatown, at 10 Newport Place, has 150 covers alongside a mezzanine level for private dining. Specialising in yakitori, yakiniku, and dry-aged wagyu, its menu of traditional Japanese cuisine with a western twist will be cooked in a “staircase barbecue” style. High Yaki director Leo Lu said: “As one of the world’s most dynamic and engaging dining scenes, Chinatown London is a ‘must-have’ location within an East Asian concept’s portfolio. Debuting High Yaki in such a prominent unit within the iconic Chinatown London is a moment we will never forget, and we are delighted to open the doors of our exciting new concept.” Dishes include wagyu beef tongue, wagyu nigiri and sashimi omakase, the chef’s special selection of fresh sashimi.
Former Le Cordon Bleu Paris alumni to bring Middle Eastern bakehouse concept to UK: Former Le Cordon Bleu Paris alumni Karim Bourgi is bringing his Middle Eastern bakehouse concept to the UK. Bourgi, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Paris in 2000 and managed the openings of Las Maison Du Chocolat Paris in Dubai and Kuwait, will open Kayu Bakehouse at 42 Curzon Street in London’s Mayfair in September, reports Hot Dinners. Bourgi, whose desserts and creations have earned him a significant social media following, also opened Hermes Cafe Paris in Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue. His signature pastries include Animation Citroen, with white chocolate, lemon zest crumble and lemon meringue mousse, and the Paris Brest, with choux pastry, hazelnut and almond praline and caramel. Bourgi currently operates Kayu Bakehouses in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia.
Indo-Iranian street food concept Chaakoo makes Edinburgh debut: Hunky Dory Dining Group has opened the debut site in Edinburgh for its Indo-Iranian, street food concept Chaakoo Bombay Café. As revealed by Propel last month, the concept has opened on the former Byron site in the city’s Lothian Road. Operations manager Iain Gallie said: “We’ve had a brilliant response about Chaakoo coming to Edinburgh, and we’re buzzing to bring our unique and authentic offering to Lothian Road. There’s already an amazing collection of Indian and Iranian restaurants in Edinburgh. We’re thrilled to be joining them – and adding our unique offering to the scene.” The Paul Sloan-led business opened the first Chaakoo in Glasgow’s St Vincent Street in 2016, and its second premises opened in 2019 in Glasgow’s West End. It also owns “Instagrammers’ favourite”, Panang, a small plates Thai restaurant in Glasgow city centre.
Chesterfield flavoured tea franchise opens fourth site: Chesterfield flavoured tea franchise Boba Shack has opened its fourth site, in Mansfield. The business, launched by Steve Smith and Philip Price, has units in Chesterfield, Doncaster and Sheffield’s Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre. It has now opened in Mansfield’s Four Seasons shopping centre, selling a range of flavoured drinks from fruit teas to milkshakes. Boba, or tapioca pearls, is included in all the drinks, with a variety of flavours available.
New oat-based concept set to open in London’s Notting Hill: New oat-based concept Oatis is set to open in London’s Notting Hill next month. Offering a range of sweet and savoury oat-based dishes and products to eat in or take away, the 36-cover café will use ingredients sourced from carefully chosen suppliers including Honest Oats, British Farmers and Innermost. Everything on the menu will be developed with recommended daily nutritional and fibre intakes in mind, with no hidden ingredients, and made to order fresh on site. Breakfast options will include a range of sweet oat bowls, smoothies, topped toasts, pancakes and smoothie blends, while at lunch, customers will be able to choose from a range of savoury bowls, salads or sandwiches, along with coffee and tea. Co-founder Ines Verniers said: “We are excited to launch our debut café in Notting Hill. We believe Oatis will be a fabulous addition to the diverse food and beverage scene.”
Papa John’s franchisee takes on five new sites to take estate to 25: Papa John’s franchisee Abid Hussain has taken on five new sites to take his estate to 25 restaurants in the south and Home Counties. He has just reopened stores in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Broadstone, Ferndown and Poole, featuring Papa John’s fresh new store design. A previous Papa John’s UK franchise owner of the year award winner, Hussain worked in advertising and marketing in London and was a web firm consultant before joining the company as a franchisee in 2016. “My marketing background has been helpful to grow my portfolio of stores,” he said. “However, my success wouldn’t be possible without my great team. I have area and store managers, and the extended team behind each of them ensures we deliver fabulous service and top-quality pizza every time.”
Kymel Trading acquires fourth site: North east operator Kymel Trading has acquired its fourth site. The company is now operating the Castle Inn in Bamburgh. Kymel Trading is also behind The Lord Crewe in Bamburgh as well as Spanish City in Whitley Bay and Trenchers fish restaurant in Whitby. Kyle Mackings, chief executive of Kymel Trading, said: “Since we began operating The Lord Crewe in late 2021, we have been actively seeking new ventures in the area. From its iconic castle to its award-winning beach, Bamburgh is undeniably one of the best destinations in the UK. The Castle Inn is just up the road from The Lord Crewe, and we’re excited about the plans we have in store for the business.”
London PR consultant opens sandwich and brunch spot in former Chelsea cabmen’s shelter: London PR consultant Melis Kurum has opened a sandwich and brunch spot in a former cabmen’s shelter in Chelsea that had fallen into disrepair. Kurum and business partner Cem Kemahli have launched Cafe Pier, named after the nearby Cadogen Pier. The shelter dates to 1910 but became surplus to requirements when the introduction of a red route meant black cabs could no longer stop there. It offers fresh pastries and breakfast toasties in the morning, followed by “top tier” sandwiches at lunchtime and brunches at weekends, with kitchen takeovers by up-and-coming chefs also planned. It is mainly takeaway, but there is also a 12-cover terrace overlooking the River Thames. “These shelters have so much history behind them,” the owners said. “We are thrilled to be finally opening so Londoners can once again enjoy this charming landmark.”
Belfast food hall featuring Fireaway and Wok&Go launches following £1.2m investment, plans more openings: A new Belfast food hall featuring fast pizza brand Fireaway and UK noodle bar brand Wok&Go has launched following a £1.2m investment, with plans in place for a future roll out. Foodies Belfast has opened in the former Danske Bank in Lisburn Road, with the 180-seater restaurant also housing new brands and Loranzo Coffee. is a Mexican restaurant offering peri peri chicken served in a choice of burgers, burritos, tacos and wraps, while Loranzo Coffee is a sandwich bar that opens for breakfast serving wraps, traybakes, sweet treats, smoothies and bubble tea. Patrick Kennedy, operations manager, said: “Belfast has seen an influx of new restaurants in recent years, but we wanted to offer up something unique. Our new focus is on swift service without sacrificing the flavour and quality of the food on offer. There are so many tantalising and mouth-watering choices, all under one roof. There are plans to expand the food hall concept beyond Lisburn Road and Belfast in the future. Watch this space.”
The Depot opens new Cardiff site and unveils first raft of food court traders: The team behind Cardiff independent warehouse events venue The Depot has opened its new outdoor food court in the city and unveiled its first raft of traders. Tiger Yard has opened in the former Dr Who Experience in Currans Road, featuring six permanent shipping container kitchens and two purpose-built bars, kicking off an initial 12-week summer run. Using the shipping containers to create bars, kitchens, toilet blocks and seating areas, Tiger Yard can host 1,000 guests at a time. The first traders will be steaks and sides concept Fire & Flank, gourmet seafood brand The Rock & Scallop, authentic Greek street food from Meating Point, gourmet fried chicken business Dirty Bird and elevated tacos concept Terry’s Tacos. There will also be one guest trader taking over a sixth kitchen on a weekly basis. Peter Cro, director at The Depot Group, said: “We are committed to providing a vibrant, diverse, and memorable experience at Tiger Yard and can’t wait to bring something different, and independent, to Cardiff Bay, which has long been dominated by bigger chains.” It is a third move within Cardiff for The Depot, which started in 2014 as a pop-up in a warehouse in Dumballs Road. It first moved in 2019, to a larger site in Williams Way, and its latest site is larger still. It also partners with footballer Gareth Bale for the Par 59 mini-golf bar and restaurant concept.
Santoro brothers to launch better burger concept in London’s Soho this month: Brothers Alex and Oliver Santoro will launch their better burger concept in London’s Soho this month. The siblings, who are behind vegan fast food company Raw Imagination, will open Wonderland, which will offer both meat and vegan dishes, on Tuesday, 20 June. Located at 49 Old Compton Street, as well as burgers, it will offer a Korean chicken wing and a Jalapeño infused buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, alongside both Jersey dairy and dairy-free milkshakes and organic doughnuts. They have pledged to use separate friers, grills and work stations in the kitchen for the vegan and meat-based dishes. Alex said: “Our time in both the food and film industries really inspired us to create a space where everyone can enjoy themselves. Naturally, Soho was the perfect spot for Wonderland, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone!”
NQ64 opens in Shoreditch for biggest site to date: NQ64, the immersive retro arcade bar concept, has opened its new site in London’s Shoreditch. The venue in Old Street is the company’s biggest venue yet, with a capacity of up to 450, and its second site in London. It houses some new and rare arcade games, which all operate on tokens that can be purchased from the bar. All consoles within the venue are free to play. The site also offers a drinks list of craft beer, themed cocktails, wine, spirits, and sodas. It is the first in NQ64’s portfolio to serve food, and the menu is provided by Burgerism, which offers its premium smashed patty and fried chicken burgers, chicken wings and seasoned skin-on fries. Matt Robson, co-founder of NQ64, said: “The team has worked hard to make sure this is a cool space for drinking and eating, as well as playing retro arcades and consoles. As our biggest site to date, we’re excited to be able to bring Manchester legends, Burgerism, with us to keep our guests fuelled up for late-night partying and gaming.” The next opening for NQ64, which last month secured a new £10m facility from ThinCats to support its growth, will be in Bristol.
Team behind Luca and trio from Secret Cinema confirm July opening for London Thai-influenced pop-up: The team behind Clerkenwell Italian restaurant Luca and a trio from Secret Cinema, the cinematic immersive experience company, have confirmed their London Thai-influenced pop-up restaurant will open next month. Secret Cinema’s Tom Allott, Andrea Moccia and Sabrina Goreeba have partnered with Luca founders Johnny Smith and Daniel Willis for Outcrop, a restaurant and arts space that will open at “creative hub” 180 The Strand. Opening on Friday, July 7, its restaurant will be run by AngloThai’s John Chantarasak, with a focus on seasonal British vegetables and traditional rural Thai cooking practices. Initially launching for a three-month residency, which will include an arts and music programme, it will have covers for up to 30 guests.

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