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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 23rd Jun 2023 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Wingstop UK strengthens pipeline as it targets 40-sites and £60m-plus revenue by year end: Lemon Pepper Holdings, which is rolling out Wingstop across the UK, has further strengthened its openings pipeline as its looks to reach 40 sites and a revenue of more than £60m by the end of this year, Propel has learned. Wingstop will open its 35th UK site on Monday (26 June) at Grey’s Brewery Yard, Chelmsford. Additionally, new Wingstop restaurants will be opening this year in Islington, replacing the former Mother Clucker site in Upper Street, and in Birmingham New Street, directly adjacent to KFC. The launch in Birmingham, Wingstop’s third location in the city, comes as data recently released by Deliveroo found spicy Korean wings from Wingstop was the most popular dish in the city. In addition to these new openings, it is understood Wingstop is also in discussions to bring restaurants to Southampton, Hounslow, Edinburgh and Glasgow this year. An opening in Wood Green, at The Mall, has also been secured. Wingstop has already opened restaurants this year in Beckton and Cardiff, alongside delivery-only locations in Glasgow and Enfield, taking its store count to 34. Propel understands Lemon Pepper Holdings expects to exceed 40 locations by year end and surpass £60m in revenue. Last month, Michael Skipworth, president and chief executive of Wingstop, said the brand’s UK site economics are at levels comparable with its domestic business. Skipworth said: “We’re making great progress in our international markets, where we see an opportunity to open more than 3,000 restaurants. Our UK market, which serves as a playbook for future market launches, continues to expand average unit volumes past $2m (£1.59m), while unit economics are at levels comparable with our domestic business.” Wingstop UK features in the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage, which is available to Premium subscribers. It is the first database where full profiles of 693 of the UK’s top food and beverage operators are available in one place. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, 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. 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:  

Zero Carbon Forum founder Mark Chapman to speak at Propel summer conference and party, three free places per company for operators: Mark Chapman, founder of Zero Carbon Forum, 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. Chapman will talk to Olivia FitzGerald, chief sales and marketing officer at Zonal, about how sector companies are saving money as they drive to achieve net zero. Three free places per company for operators can be claimed. A room can also be booked for the evening. For more details, email
Host of pub operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A host of pub operators are among the 16 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday (30 June), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Morgan Pub Collective, the multi-site operator led by Richard Morgan, which currently has 11 sites in its portfolio. Also added this month is the Bart & Taylor Collection, led by Andrew Taylor, which operates the Adam & Eve pub in Alnwick, Northumberland, and the Mr Fox pub in Surrey Street, Croydon. In addition, Freespirit Pub Co, the Midlands pub company led by former British Institute of Innkeeping licensee of the year Mark Higgs, which operates six sites, will be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 1,300-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. The database now features 2,869 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database on Friday, 7 July, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 2,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: 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. In this week’s Premium Opinion, which will be sent to subscribers today (Friday, 23 June) at 5pm, Wingett talks to Five Guys UK chief executive John Eckbert on the eve of the better burger brand’s tenth anniversary of entering the market here, its journey so far and what comes next. Meanwhile, Paul Flatters, co-founder and chief executive of insights firm Trajectory, discusses trust in leadership and whether the hospitality sector can avoid “greedflation” contagion.
Chancellor ‘must direct banks to adopt flexible approach to business borrowing and repayments’: UKHospitality has urged chancellor Jeremy Hunt to direct banks to adopt a flexible approach to business borrowing and repayments. The trade body wants Hunt to represent the views of businesses during his critical talks with banks today (Friday, 23 June), saying with the right economic conditions, hospitality has the potential to grow its economic value by £29bn by 2027. In the worst-case scenario, it could contract by £4bn, but it said flexibility by government and banks on repayment terms, including covid loans, are a critical part of avoiding that. “Hospitality has a proven record of delivering growth and creating jobs, and we want to achieve that £29bn economic boost by 2027,” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholl said. “However, steep increases in interest rates will quickly stifle growth and squash that potential. Hospitality has significant levels of business borrowing, including £10bn alone from the pandemic, and it is a worrying situation if businesses have no choice but to prioritise loan repayments over business investment. Combined with other cost pressures across energy, food and drink, this is quickly becoming a ticking time-bomb that needs urgent attention. A direction from the chancellor to banks to adopt a flexible approach to business borrowing and repayments would be a lifeline for many and should be a top priority during his talks with major lenders.”
UKHospitality – fresh rail strikes ‘hammer blow’ for sector as it enters peak summer season: Fresh rail strikes have been announced in what UKHospitality described as a “hammer blow” to the sector as it enters the peak summer season. The Rail, Maritime and Transport union said its 20,000 members working across 14 train operating companies would walk out on 20, 22 and 29 July. The Open Championship is taking place at Royal Liverpool from 16-23 July, while fans attending the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford and the fifth Test at The Oval could also face disruption. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This fresh set of rail strikes will be a hammer blow for hospitality businesses entering the peak summer season. Venues will have been gearing up for bumper sales as schools break up for summer holidays and major sporting events, such as the Ashes and the Open, attract thousands of fans. Strike disruption over the past year has already cost the hospitality sector £3.25bn in lost sales. Businesses, workers and consumers all lose out and confidence in our critical transport network is taking a fatal blow. It is imperative the government, rail companies and unions reignite negotiations and get back round the table as a matter of urgency. Sectors like hospitality continue to be collateral damage in this dispute and I would urge all parties to reach a resolution to avoid further damage to the economy.”
Sector cycle ride initiative raise more than £400,000: A fundraising drive from the debut Pedalling 2 Pubs ride has exceeded £75,000, bringing the total money raised from this year’s Pedalling for Pubs and Pedalling 2 Pubs campaigns to more than £400,000. The combined fundraising total will be split between The Licensed Trade Charity and Only A Pavement Away. The sum was raised by professionals across the industry, taking part in the two rides, with 26 fundraisers tackling more than 450km of hills and challenging terrain in Sri Lanka for Pedalling for Pubs in April and 50 other fundraisers cycling across the Yorkshire Wolds countryside over three days in June. Supporting partners and sponsors include KAM, Greene King, Wireless Social, Airship/Toggle, Punch Pubs & Co, Marston’s and Fleet Street. The 2023 total has surpassed the 2022 total by more than £125,000. Fundraisers are set to cycle across Kenya for Pedalling for Pubs 2024, while organisers have confirmed Pedalling 2 Pubs will return for a second year.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a food wholesale brand that has ventured into the UK and is looking for a head of sales. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will be responsible for the sales managers and be instrumental in providing strategies and support in the day-to-day sales of the business. You will have a network of contacts for both on-trade and off-trade venues and be fully able to negotiate, budget and manage existing clients. The role will also involve driving new business for the company and ensuring targets are exceeded for the wholesale group. The position comes with development into a sales director role for experienced and driven candidates.” The salary is up to £65,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email

Company News:

Arc Inspirations appoints new CFO and promotes Laura Lewis to marketing director: Arc Inspirations, the Martin Wolstencroft-led business, has appointed Ciara Allen as its new chief financial officer and promoted Laura Lewis to marketing director. Allan, who will join the business in September, brings a wealth of experience operating in privately owned and private equity-backed businesses across a multitude of sectors. Having previously led the sale of Cooplands Bakery to EG Group, and more recently supporting shareholders on the asset sale of the Woven Group, Allen joins amid a transformational period of growth for Arc Inspirations – as the company looks to expand its footprint, funded by a £19m investment from BGF. She replaces Tim Knockton, who leaves Arc Inspirations to pursue opportunities outside of the group. In addition, after three years with Arc as head of marketing, Lewis has been promoted to the board as marketing director as the team gears up for its next stage of growth, with the group set to develop and open at least four flagship venues over the next 12 months. Wolstencroft said: “Ciara has vast experience as a chief financial officer and as a leader who has defined and driven the financial strategy of highly successful businesses, including working with BGF, and I have no doubt she will be a great asset to Arc during what is a very exciting period of growth for the business. Laura’s promotion is richly deserved. Since joining us, she has built a great team and shown an unrelenting dedication and commitment to Arc. Tim played a key role in helping Arc navigate the challenges of the pandemic and in securing investment from BGF, and we wish him well for the future.” Arc operates 19 premium bars across the Midlands and the north of England, under the brands of Banyan Bar & Kitchen, Box and Manahatta, and has an ambition to open 50 sites by 2030.
BrewDog appoints John Graham as new CEO of US operations: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has appointed John Graham, formerly of Dutch Bros Coffee, as chief executive of its US operations. The business said Graham brings with him considerable experience in senior roles across the hospitality and fast-moving consumer goods sectors. He joins BrewDog USA from the 786-strong Dutch Bros Coffee chain, where he has served as its chief marketing officer since 2020. Prior to this, Graham was the chief executive of Triton Strategy Partners and chief marketing officer at Align Technology and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. He also spent 15 years at Johnson & Johnson. BrewDog said Graham brings his “proven track record in driving revenue, profitability, brand equity, market share and employee engagement” to his new role. Graham replaces Jason Block, who stepped down as chief executive of BrewDog’s US operation after three and a half years in the role in April. Block was the third head of the company’s US business since it launched its operations in central Ohio in 2016. James Watt, co-founder and chief executive of BrewDog, said: “I am delighted John is joining us to lead BrewDog USA into its next phase of growth. We have built a fantastic platform in the States, but we are still very much at the beginning of our US journey and see massive potential to capitalise on the continued shift towards high quality craft beer. John brings with him a superb skill set, proven experience and an obvious passion for craft beer. I would also like to thank Jason for his massive contribution to BrewDog over the past four years. BrewDog USA has doubled in size under his leadership, and we wish him every success in his future endeavours.” 
Nimax Theatres secures new £15m loan facility and pays off £5m CBILS loan, returns to profit as shows ‘perform beyond expectations’: Nimax Theatres – owners and operators of West End venues including the Palace, Lyric, Apollo, Garrick, Vaudeville and Duchess – has secured a new £15m loan facility and paid off its £5m Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loan in the process. It comes as the business returned to profit in the year ending 2 October 2022, as its show “performed beyond expectations”. A £1,749,789 pre-tax loss in 2021 turned into a £8,557,097 profit. This was almost back to the profit reported in the last full year before the pandemic, ending 29 September 2019, of £8,603,470. Turnover rose by 288% to £31,942,755 from £8,235,950 in 2021 and exceeded the £29,969,821 reported in 2019. Director Lounica Burns, in her statement accompanying the accounts, said: “A major aspect of the strong performance was the successful run of shows in the year in all the theatres and with five main shows playing for almost the whole of the year, resulting in only three dark weeks. The gradual returning of visitors to the West End during summer, coupled with good demand for the Nimax shows, helped maintain strong levels of advance bookings and cash reserves during the year.” At the year-end, shareholders’ funds were £43,993,766 (2021: £37,283,111). It received £335,595 in government grants (2021: £2,356,416). Shows that “performed well ahead of expectations in terms of attendances, box office, ticketing revenues and retail spend” included The Play That Goes Wrong, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, SIX, Get Up Stand Up! and The Drifters Girl. An extensive programme of restoration included a seven-week programme of works to the balcony level of the Apollo, including additional toilets and a new bar.
Whitbread CEO – we are looking through two lenses to optimise F&B offering: Dominic Paul, chief executive of Whitbread, has refused to comment on whether the business is looking to dispose of circa 250 of its restaurants but said it is looking at its food and beverage estate “through two lenses” as it seeks to optimise its offer. Paul was speaking after the business reported its food and beverage sales in the first quarter were up 10% versus FY2023. When asked about reports the business was exploring options for part of its restaurant estate, Paul said: “We have multiple different ways we deliver food and beverage to our customers. We’ve got a solus offering, which is our restaurants within the physical space of the hotel, and that’s about half of our estate, so just over 400 in the UK. We’ve got branded restaurants, which are generally buildings adjacent to our hotels, such as Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, and that’s about 400-450. And then we have a subset of hotels that have got breakfast rooms where we deliver breakfasts for our guests. What we said before is food and beverage is important for our guests, particularly breakfast. If we look at our brand positioning, once a customer has chosen Premier Inn, it is generally due to location and price, both areas in which we are exceptionally strong in the marketplace. And are then three key things that differentiate our product – the first thing is the warm and friendly team, the second thing is a fantastic night’s sleep, and the third is a great breakfast. What we’re looking at doing is how we optimise the delivery of that food and beverage for our guests, and we’re looking at everything through two lenses. Any changes we do make will be through a returns lens because we think change will actually increase returns over time. The second thing is protecting the guest experience, and that’s what we’re working through at the moment. This has been one of the underpinnings of our successful performance.” Analyst Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor, added: “In the face of significant disruption, Whitbread continued to expand its footprint during the pandemic, and the benefits of this long-term strategy are on show. Even the company’s bars and restaurants business is in fine fettle, and with rumours circulating that a significant chunk of this part of the business is up for sale, shareholders will be looking on with interest and hoping for a decent price.” Mitchells & Butlers and Greene King have been tipped as suitors for the circa 250-strong restaurant package.
Subway franchisee opens first Oodles stores as concept makes north east debut, signs multi-unit deal for three more: Subway franchisee Sharaz Rasul has opened his first Oodles stores as the Indo-Chinese concept makes its north east debut and has signed a multi-unit deal for three more. The new store has opened in the former Marie Curie Cancer Care shop at 55 Grainger Street, in the grade II-listed Chaucer Buildings in Newcastle. The company said: “Oodles proudly announces the grand opening of our newest location in Newcastle, marking a significant milestone in our brand’s growth. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Sharaz Rasul for placing his trust in Oodles and warmly welcome him and his team to the Oodles family. Sharaz brings a wealth of experience with a background in owning world-renowned franchises like Subway, making his food and beverage expertise a valuable addition to our brand. Sharaz has agreed to a multi-unit development agreement of four stores, starting with the first store in the city of Newcastle. And that’s not all. Scotland, get ready! Oodles is coming your way next, with an exciting new opening on the horizon.” Newcastle is so far the furthest north the concept has gone, but next up will be its Scottish debut, where it will share the former Sainsbury’s supermarket at 206 Union Street with a Heavenly Desserts store. The 37-strong Oodles also had stores in Northampton, Elephant & Castle in south London, Glasgow and two more in Birmingham in its pipeline.
Scottish hospitality group reports trade picking up after ‘disappointing start’ to current financial year, £3.6m hotel sale to reduce bank borrowings and fund capital projects: Scottish hospitality group Costley & Costley has said trade is picking up after a “disappointing start” to the current financial year. The group operates two hotels, two inns and a patisserie in Ayrshire. In his statement accompanying the accounts for the year ending 30 September 2022, director William Costley said: “The group is aware of a disappointing start to the 2022-23 year, which is off the back of a slowdown after the immediate post-pandemic period, as well as the effects of the cost-of-living crisis on consumers. Trading has been slower, but as is always the case, business has now picked up as we enter the busy wedding season. The restaurants across the Costley sites are well established and will continue to generate a steady revenue stream for the group.” During the year, the group sold one of its smaller venues that had not reopened post-covid, helping it post a positive cash flow of £1.6m, reducing bank borrowings significantly. Post year-end it has sold a further venue, with the £3.6m generated again reducing bank borrowings and funding some significant capital projects. “The directors now have the group in a very positive position and will continue to explore options to expand and renovate the flagship venues, and consider the position of the remaining smaller properties,” Costley added. It comes as the group reports turnover of £8,258,604 for the period, up from £5,350,201 in 2021. For the year ending 30 September 2019 – the last full year before the pandemic – the business turned over £9,609,836. Costley said with two venues remaining closed, this represented a return to pre-pandemic levels of turnover. He said the group benefited from “a strong wedding market that is catching up from delays and cancellations during the pandemic”, and that restaurant turnover has also improved. Pre-tax profit fell from £1,120,797 in 2021 to £1,031,804 (2019: loss of £135,909). The company received £41,500 in government grants compared with £1,516,845 in 2021.
Tomahawk Steakhouse operator reopens Chester venue under Rio Brazilian concept, acquires former Piccolino site in York: North east operator Howard Eggleston, who owns the Tomahawk Steakhouse brand, has reopened his Chester venue with Rodrigo Grassi under their Rio Brazilian concept and acquired the former Piccolino site in York, Propel has learned. Eggleston closed the Tomahawk Steakhouse in Chester’s Bridge Street in March to convert it to his Rio Brazilian brand, headed up by Grassi. It has now reopened, with the 120-cover restaurant, which has created 30 jobs, seeing 700 people come through the doors on its opening weekend. Eggleston and Grassi are now planning to open another Rio Brazilian in the former Piccolino unit overlooking the river in York’s Bridge Street. It has just signed for the 150-cover site, which will create 50 jobs, and plans an opening later this year. “Seeing the results we have had with what Rio offers customers in our most recent locations, we hope it will be a busy site that will make a good turnover,” a group spokeswoman told Propel. The group now operates 11 Tomahawk Steakhouse and six Rio Brazilian locations, with a site also secured for a Rio Brazilian in Sunderland. Propel revealed earlier this month that Eggleston had also closed his Tomahawk Steakhouse in Ponteland, Northumberland, in preparation for a new “big name” concept.
Adventure Leisure to open second Bunkers site as it gears up for Mr Mulligans launch in Bristol: Adventure Leisure, a subsidiary of Burhill Group (BGL), is to open the second venue under its Bunkers concept, in Romford, east London. It comes as Adventure Leisure gears up to launch its Mr Mulligans venue in Bristol this weekend. The openings will take BGL’s leisure venue portfolio to 28 venues, with additional sites lined up for 2024 and beyond. Work has begun on the Bunkers venue, which will based at The Brewery in Romford. Set to open in the autumn, the Bunkers site will span 20,000 square feet and represent an investment of more than £1.5m. It is set to become Adventure Leisure’s largest indoor venue and will host two 12-hole crazy golf courses as well as activities such as axe throwing, pool, shuffleboard, beer pong, classic arcade games and virtual reality zones. There will be a new food menu and full bar serving innovative cocktails and drinks. Located in Cribbs Causeway’s The Venue, Mulligans Bristol will be the 15th Mulligans venue operated by BGL. Totalling more than 14,000 square feet, the venue will have two 12-hole crazy golf courses, electro-darts, shuffleboard and pool, alongside a bar and food menu. BGL chief executive Colin Mayes said: “Growth and quality are a core part of our values and mindset at BGL. I am thrilled to be driving intensive growth under the Adventure Leisure brands. We are committed to providing the public with incredible venues to spend time with friends, family and loved ones.” Adventure Leisure also operates sites under the Ninja Warrior and Total Ninja concepts along with a golf range.
Arcade announces line-up for Battersea Power Station site: Food-hall operator and brand incubator Arcade has confirmed the line-up for its new opening in the restored Battersea Power Station next month. The venue will house a 500-cover food hall, three restaurants, two bars and a private dining room. There will be 13 different cuisines served in the food hall, made up of existing and new concepts, as well as two bars, Tap Room and ABC Bar. Tap Room will offer cocktails using locally sourced ingredients and a host of beer from international and south London breweries, while ABC Bar will offer a concise menu of the world’s most famous cocktails. The food line-up, which is curated in partnership with JKS Restaurants, will include new concepts such as Phed Power – fiery stir fries and salads from Isan in Thailand; Siu SiuCantonese – comfort food inspired by the roast meat restaurants of Hong Kong; and Leccami Gelato – authentic Italian gelato. Existing brands include Indian fast food concept Hero, Japanese sushi concept Sushi Kamon, Nepali street food concept Tipan Tapan and Middle Eastern shawarma kitchen Shatta & Toum. Completing the line-up are three restaurants – Manna, a US-style smash burger and fried chicken joint; Solis – a new grilled chicken and steak concept from the team behind TĀ TĀ Eatery; and Taiwanese BAO. Cokey Sulkin, chief operating officer of Arcade, said: “We aim to create a drinking and dining destination to attract Londoners and international guests alike, via global cuisines and seamless technology, in the historic Battersea Power Station.”
Kaleido to open flagship restaurant in London’s Soho: Healthy food concept Kaleido, which specialises in salad rolls, is opening a flagship restaurant in London’s Soho. The outlet will launch at 10 Kingly Street on Tuesday (27 June). The 270-square-foot site will feature the concept’s first on-site rolling station for visitors to see the making of its rice paper salad rolls. The menu will consist of ten flavour combinations and half will be vegetarian or vegan, such as feta and pesto and sweet potato and tahini. Customers will also be able to choose between four freshly made dip flavours to accompany their rolls: peanut, tahini, sweet chilli and lemon. The restaurant opening follows Kaleido having started out with a pop-up kiosk in Kingly Street. Co-founder Laura Mimoun said: “Opening and upsizing to a new permanent location where it all started is a dream come true, and to have it join the Kingly Court collective makes this milestone even more special.” Founded in 2017, Kaleido has locations in Harrods, St Pancras, Canary Wharf and St Paul’s in London, as well as a newly opened branch in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It plans to grow its estate to 25 sites by 2025.
Doughnut brand Project D hits £400,000 fundraising target to support expansion: Derbyshire doughnut brand Project D has hit its £400,000 fundraising target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to support its expansion plans. The business was founded by three former school friends – Max Poynton, Matthew Bond and Jacob Watts – in 2018, selling thousands of homemade doughnuts weekly via pop-up events and at shopping centre kiosks. It now employs more than 120 staff and produces more than 50,000 doughnuts each week at its 11,000 square-foot bakery in Spondon. It is now gearing up to open its first bricks and mortar location, in Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre, and Propel revealed this week it will be followed by outlets in Liverpool and York. Project D launched its £400,000 fundraise, offering 4.06% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £9,740,250. So far, it has raised more than £412,000 from in excess of 650 investors, with five days of the campaign remaining. Project D has a goal of reaching £12m in turnover within the next three years, more than four times its current annual turnover of £2.6m. 
Sussex operator secures fifth pub with Greene King following £230,000 investment: Sussex operator Matt Short has secured his fifth pub with Greene King following a £230,000 investment from the brewer and retailer. The Sussex Yeoman in Brighton has reopened and will now be operated by Short, whose other pubs with Greene King Pub Partners including O’Connor’s in Worthing and The Spanish Lady in Saltdean. The pub had previously been run by another Greene King Pub Partners tenant for 18 years, who made the decision to retire at the end of 2022. The new investment includes refurbishments to the private accommodation above the pub, the kitchen and the pub’s trading areas. Short said: “As an operator always looking at new opportunities to grow, I am delighted to have taken on the Sussex Yeoman. The pub will be a proper community local appealing to everyone.” Dan Robinson, managing director of Greene King Pub Partners, added: “Our investment in The Sussex Yeoman has given this community local a new lease of life. Matt is an experienced operator who knows the local market well and I am delighted to be continuing our successful partnership with him.”
Two more operators join line-up at Gloucester Food Dock: Two more operators have joined the line-up at Gloucester Food Dock, the new £3.5m waterfront dining destination in the city. Hetty’s Place and Maneki Ramen are the latest additions to the scheme, which will house up to 15 businesses. Hetty’s Place will be an evolution of Henrietta Kitt’s first café at her Brownie Bakery in Morelands Match Factory in the city. As well as her signature brownies, the menu will also offer American-style grilled cheese sandwiches and an all-day brunch. Maneki Ramen, meanwhile, will offer the flavours of Japan from chef Pete Dovaston, whose brainchild of a ramen shop was born under the railway arches in Worcester. His latest venture will offer a variety of traditionally made noodle bowls, including its signature Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen, triple fried karaage chicken donburi and crispy duck yaki soba. Among the other eight operators already announced for the scheme, which is being developed by Ladybellegate Estates, are London burger restaurant Chuck and wood-fired artisan pizza business, Bella Mia. 
JD Wetherspoon to close Ferndown pub: JD Wetherspoon is to close its pub in Ferndown, Dorset. The company has decided not to renew its lease on The Nighjar, in Victoria Road, when it expires in September and added it will offer jobs to staff in surrounding pubs. The 7,000 square-foot building is being advertised to let by Fleurets. A Wetherspoon spokesperson told the Daily Echo: “At this stage, there is no final closure date for the pub.” 
Fat Hippo launches restaurant in London’s West End, eyes three more openings in 2023: Better burger brand Fat Hippo has opened its new restaurant in London’s West End. The 100-cover venue on Wardour Street in Soho is the group’s second London location after its Shoreditch premises, and it is aiming to add a further three to its 12-strong portfolio this year. These will include sites in Edinburgh (opening Friday, 7 July) and Bath before the end of the year, and more to follow in 2024, with the business also linked to openings in Chester and Reading. “Being in central London is an exciting step for the Fat Hippo brand, and the reception we’ve had has been everything we could have asked for,” founder Michael Phillips told BDaily. “There’s obviously a lot of competition in this part of the capital, but we’re confident that the quality of our menu, the breadth of options available to customers across a wide range of demographics and the competitive pricing strategy we offer will enable our Soho restaurant to compete and succeed. After a very successful 2022, we’re now delivering the next phase of a growth strategy that will see us make another step change in our nationwide operations. Our focus remains very much on controlled growth, and we’re also very selective in terms of the cities and spaces we consider for our new restaurants, rather than simply opening anywhere and everywhere. Taking our workforce towards 600 people by the end of the year is a big achievement for a business that started with a single small venue in north east England, but we know that there’s a lot more potential in the brand to be realised in 2024 and beyond.”
Coffee#1 opens store in Godalming: Coffee#1, the Caffe Nero-owned brand, has opened its 113th site, in Godalming, Surrey. The outlet has launched at 53-55 High Street. Operating stores mainly across Wales, the south west and the Midlands, Coffee#1 is the fourth largest coffee shop brand in the country.
Tate Modern set to open new all-day cafe and bar: Tate Modern will open Corner, a new all-day café and bar with an outdoor summer terrace, on Friday, 7 July. For the first time, the 220-cover space will offer visitors a place for an evening drink on the riverside, while regular evening events and activities will take place. An all-year-round programme of music, film, games, reading, architecture tours, life drawing and gastro-led events will include opportunities to meet food partners, brewers, chefs and experts in wine, cider and cocktails. Located alongside Corner, Tate Draw will allow visitors of all ages to create their own works of art using digital sketch pads, with the finished drawing able be projected on to the walls of the gallery, saved to phones or printed onto t-shirts. Hamish Anderson, chief executive of Tate Enterprises, said: “Corner at Tate Modern connects art with food and drink alongside a rich, diverse programme of events and will welcome all. As with everything Tate Eats does, all profits go to supporting the gallery and helping care for the national collection of art.”
Bundobust opens in Birmingham: Bundobust, the Indian street food and craft beer concept, has opened in Birmingham for its fifth site. The 120-cover outlet at 38 Bennetts Hill is the latest to be opened by Bradford entrepreneurs, chef Mayur Patel and craft beer bar owner Marko Husak, who founded the business in 2014. They have signed a 15-year lease for the grade II-listed building, with the venue split across two floors and featuring communal bar seating as well as semi-private spaces. It joins the group’s existing restaurants in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester Piccadilly, plus the Bundobust Brewery in Oxford Street, Manchester. The company now employs more than 120 people across its five locations. Husak said: “We’re excited to be opening in Birmingham, a city with a rich history of south Asian culture. We think with Bundobust’s approach to Indian street food and brewery fresh beer we can add something unique to complement Birmingham’s already fantastic food and drink scene.”
Team behind trio of London Greek restaurants to open new seafood concept next month: The team behind a trio of Greek restaurants in London will open a new seafood concept in the capital next month. Andreas Labridis and Nikos Roussos – the co-owners and brains behind Opso, Ino and Pittabun – will open Kima in Marylebone on Tuesday, 25 July. The restaurant will centre around fresh seafood and day boat fish, drawing inspiration from the Greek seas and fin-to-gill cooking. Kima, meaning wave in Greek, will be situated opposite Opso in Paddington Street, where the duo first showcased their modern Greek food. At the entrance to the 30-cover space will be a fish counter displaying the catch of the day, from where diners can choose the seafood to become the focus of their personally tailored menu. Alongside the seafood offering will be selected cuts of meat, while dishes will change daily according to availability. Roussos said: “We are thrilled to present a new perspective on fin-to-gill eating with Kima, and to be bringing a new seafood focused restaurant to London.”

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