Story of the Day:
Döner Shack acquires three restaurants and several territories from franchisees as ‘wrong to force them into ambitious development in current climate’:
Sanjeev Sanghera, founder of Berlin fast casual kebab concept Döner Shack, has completed the acquisition of three restaurants and several territories from its franchisees as it focus on company-owned expansion in the current climate. Sanghera said it would be wrong to force ambitious development on franchisees “knowing returns are much slower than anticipated”. He said: “We have completed the purchase of three Döner Shack restaurants and several territories back from our franchisees in Glasgow, Leicester and London. It was by far one of the most difficult periods in my entire business journey as there were so many moving parts but I’m delighted to take control. With the unprecedented current economic situation, it was the right decision to continue an equity expansion until the market is looking more favourable. Franchisees are right to be cautious when margins are tight and interest rates are rising so it would be wrong to force ambitious development knowing that returns are much slower than anticipated. I would like to thank our franchise partners immensely for their support. We have been planning some significant changes to our menu and brand for a few months as well as a number of new openings and a few delivery kitchens to reach more customers. All will be revealed soon!” Döner Shack operates five UK restaurants and it is also set to take its first steps into the US and European markets this year, with Sanghera targeting a US debut location “in the coming months”. Döner Shack 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 210 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to upgrade your subscription.
Bill’s MD Tom James joins speaker line-up at Propel summer conference and party, three free places per company for operators:
Tom James, managing director of Bill’s, the Richard Caring-backed restaurant group, has been added to the line-up of speakers at the Propel Multi-Club Conference and summer party on Wednesday, 6 September, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Oxford Belfry. James will talk about evolving the all-day dining concept and how ramping up engagement across the brand’s teams has led to an uptick in performance and NPS scores. 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. Three free places per company for operators can be claimed. A room can also be booked for the evening. For more details, email email@example.com.
Updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies released today, 16 businesses being added:
A total of 16 new multi-site companies, operating 99 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released today (Friday, 30 June), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database,
which is produced in association with Virgate, includes regional pub operators, growing restaurant brands, and expanding franchise operators. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Propel Premium, which will be sent to subscribers today at 5pm, he talks to St Austell Brewery chief executive Kevin Georgel
about the company’s three phases to growth, pays tribute to outgoing Young’s chairman Stephen Goodyear
and continues his interview with Five Guys UK chief executive John Eckbert.
Prestige Purchasing founder – we are entering a new phase that could see demand for hospitality decline: Prestige Purchasing founder David Read has warned we are “entering a new phase” that could see demand for hospitality decline. Right now, he said, the consensus among forecasters is the end point of the existing cycle of interest rate increases will be 5.75% in September. However, he adds, there is no guarantee the position on this will not deteriorate again if inflation fails to improve. “So, what does all this mean for hospitality?” Read asks, writing exclusively in Propel’s Friday Opinion. “Just six months ago the mood was rather bleak, with concerns the cost-of-living crisis would inflict deep pain on the sector. Instead, protected by their fixed rate mortgages and the energy bills relief scheme, diners shrugged off their woes and volumes held up well into the new year. For most of our sector’s businesses, food, labour and energy costs were rising, but most restaurants found the opportunity to salvage some margin by controlling menu ranging, pushing back on suppliers and increasing selling prices. We may be entering a new phase in the second half of this year. With 1.4 million fixed rate mortgages coming to an end in 2023, and a similar number in 2024, the average household may see around £350 in additional mortgage payments per month. With inflation still high, it feels likely that we will see a demand decline, perhaps even of the scale we feared at the beginning of the year, restricting our ability to raise prices to counteract continuing high inflation on our own costs. Let’s not forget our diners learned how to entertain themselves at home out of necessity during the pandemic, and a different set of necessities could equally reshape their habits now. The new phase I refer to above is likely to see both tightening demand and constantly rising costs. The pressure on operators to innovate to succeed will continue – new demand generation, impeccable quality/service, selling price management and cost efficiency will be the dials used by successful hospitality businesses, with the highest scorers emerging as winners.” Read will share more of his thoughts in this week’s Friday Opinion, which will be published today (Friday, 30 June) at 11am.
Almost half of food delivery orders arrive cold: Almost half (48%) of all food delivery orders arrive cold, according to new research. The findings by London premium food delivery service Supper also found three in ten (29%) complain of poor food quality, while a similar number (30%) have received the wrong order and almost half (46%) have had their food order cancelled. According to the data, one in five UK residents order at least one meal a week, channelling more than £220m into the UK’s economy each and every week. When it comes to what’s important in food delivery, respondents reported temperature (65%) and quality (84%) are the key factors. Just 43% of Londoners said their food arrives hot, compared with 73% of Scots. With 18% of British people admitting to often being disappointed by their order, half (50%) said they would pay more for better quality options and to guarantee their food arrives hot, every time. Philip Mostyn, chief operating officer at Supper London, said: “It is disappointing to see that such poor standards persist when it comes to food delivery across the country, and even more so in London. Bad service and cold food quite simply should not be the norm.”
UK drinkers moderating in the summer at similar numbers to ‘Dry January’, one in three pub and restaurant visits now alcohol-free: UK drinkers are now moderating in the summer at similar numbers to “Dry January”, according to a new industry report. The “2023 Low and No: The Customer Perspective” report produced by research consultancy KAM in partnership with alcohol-free beer brand Lucky Saint looks at changing drinking habits across the UK, with the clearest indication yet that moderation has gone mainstream in the UK. Moderation of alcohol is now a year-round habit for UK adults, the report found. This year for the first time, there will be as many UK adults moderating this summer as there are during January, famous as the month of the year where millions of drinkers in the UK cut down their alcohol consumption. The report also showed more than one in three pub and restaurant visits are now alcohol-free. A significant fall in the number of UK adults consuming alcohol at least once a week was reported, with the figure at 76.9% – down from 90% in 2022. Within the 18 to 24 age group the figure has fallen fastest, from 91% in 2022 down to 72% this year. This coincides with a whole raft of new consumers entering the low and no category in the last year, with 19% of UK adults trying low and no alcohol beer for the first time.
UKHospitality Scotland – independent review board will hopefully result in better regulation for sector businesses: Action on regulations and non-domestic rates, as well as closer collaboration with companies on Scottish government policy, are key recommendations of the New Deal for Business Group, which has submitted its report to the first minister. The creation of a new independent review board to oversee regulations will be taken forward, in response to requests from business to help government work more closely with industry. In response, UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson said: “It’s been refreshing to see such renewed engagement with the business community by the Scottish government in recent months and many of the recommendations published underscore this positive approach. It’s my hope this review board will result in better regulation for hospitality businesses and will avoid the myriad of issues we experienced with the deposit return scheme. There has already been evidence of this new approach in the Scottish government’s engagement with hospitality on the visitor levy. However, concerns remain on plans for charges on single-use cups and restrictions to alcohol promotion and marketing. Recommendations to keep reforms to non-domestic rates under review is a good start but we need to see reform actively implemented, to bring the system up to speed with the modern economy. Only by doing that can we unlock vital additional investment from our businesses. I’m hopeful this level of engagement with the hospitality sector will continue and that together we can realise the potential hospitality offers in terms of economic growth, job creation and rejuvenating local communities and high streets.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a business that is seeking a general manager to oversee a museum, restaurant and kitchen that is opening. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “Due to the history of this venue the successful candidate must be fluent in Afrikaans. The main duties will include building and managing a team across multiple departments, being point of contact for customers and employees, management of the site maintenance and museum instillations, developing and implementing business models and plans, full management of suppliers, and running the museum and the site budget. You will have extensive knowledge of South African history and be on hand to resolve issues in a calm and strategic manner.” The salary for the position is up to £80,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email email@example.com.
Boost Juice Bars reports trading remains strong despite cost pressures, full-year turnover exceeds pre-pandemic levels: Boost Juice Bars has said the business is still trading strongly despite the challenges of inflation and supply chain price increases. Parent company TD4 Brands reported revenue increased 82% to £13,939,737 for the year ending 28 September 2022 compared with £7,659,865 the previous year. Turnover also exceeded the £12,008,335 reported for the year ending 28 September 2019 – the last full year before the covid pandemic. Ebitda before exceptional items increased to £1,891,829 (2021: £1,493,660). Pre-tax profit was down to £1,470,961 from £5,377,437 the year before. In their report accompanying the accounts, the director stated: “Results have been strong across the estate, with the majority of stores returning to pre-pandemic levels with the noticeable exception of Liverpool Street station, which was much slower to pick up trade due to central London commuters and visitors not returning in high levels straight away. This has since continued to pick up and is now beginning to perform to pre-pandemic levels of trade. A new Shake Lab store was also opening during the year. Challenges of supply post-covid have eased in terms of availability of products, however the challenge is now inflation and price increases in supply. Despite these challenges, the business continues to trade strongly and supply is negotiated to mitigate these cost increases where possible.” During the year, the company agreed share buy-backs with several long-standing shareholders at a total cost of circa £1.4m. The business, which operates circa 30 sites, did not receive any government grants (2021: £1,478,206). No dividend was paid (2021: nil).
Greene King launches new gender identity policy: Brewer and retailer Greene King has launched its new gender identity policy. It offers support and reassurance for LGBTQ+ team members who are transitioning at work or who identify as a different identity to which they were born. Line managers will also receive guidance on how they can support team members before, during and after they transition. To help fellow team members to understand the issues affecting the community, the policy demonstrates how they can become allies to support their LGBTQ+ colleagues, such as including pronouns on their email addresses and signatures, to not only show support and respect for the gender identity of others but also as a way to help remove assumptions around a person’s gender. This is the latest initiative that Greene King’s award-winning LGBTQ+ employee-led inclusion group, The Village Greene, has supported the company with. It follows research conducted by Greene King, which revealed less than a third of Brits (28%) feel their workplace adequately supports the LGBTQ+ community. In a list of ways that employers can support the community, having a dedicated gender identity policy (25%) was voted second, after the use of pronouns (30%). Andrew Bush, Greene King’s chief people and transformation officer, said: “This is another step in our journey towards everyday inclusion, where we want our team members to feel welcome and comfortable to be their true authentic selves at work, and valued for their contribution regardless of their gender identity.”
Veeno set to open tenth site in September, two more to follow: Italian wine bar business Veeno is set to open its tenth site in September, in Milton Keynes. Works started this week on the unit in the city’s The Hub destination. It will be followed by further sites in Epping in Essex and Middlesbrough, as the franchise concept looks to evolve into more prominent and larger stores. Veeno was founded in 2013 by Nino Caruso and takes inspiration from his family’s vineyard in Sicily. It was acquired out of administration by Rodrigue Trouillet in 2019. It also currently operates in Banbury, Bristol, Chester, Edinburgh, Leeds, Leicester, Reading, Reigate and Stratford-upon-Avon.
I am Doner reveals talks taking place to open in airports and universities as it scoops national award: I am Doner, the award-winning better kebab brand backed by Think Hospitality, has revealed it is in talks to open sites in airports and universities as it picked up a national award. I am Doner scooped the Editor’s Choice award at the annual QSR Media Awards, held in London. The accolade is decided by the editorial bench of QSR media, in recognition of outstanding achievements over the course of the year. Over the past 12 months, I am Döner has continued its growth both nationally and internationally through its growing franchise programme. The brand has five operating stores in the UK and Dubai, with additional stores scheduled to open in Windsor, Liverpool and London by the end of the year, with a major international franchise partnership soon to be announced. Founder Paul Baron said: “It has been a busy year for us so far with more exciting news to share very soon. We are thrilled to be working with some of the best franchise partners to help our brand scale so successfully.”
Urban Pubs & Bars confirms transport hub debut with Waterloo station opening: London operator Urban Pubs & Bars has confirmed it will make its transport hub debut, with an opening at Waterloo train station. As revealed by Propel earlier this month, 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. The opening of the 5,080 square-foot site in mid-September will take the company’s portfolio to 41 pubs, bars and restaurants in the capital. Managing director Chris Hill said: “As well as being our first venture into transport hubs, The Victory at London Waterloo is ideally located to capture customers looking to enjoy London’s Southbank as well as popular landmarks including the BFI IMAX and the London Eye.” Hamish Kiernan, commercial director, property for Network Rail, added: “The Victory will deliver a new and vibrant offer for customers as we elevate our retail and restaurant mix.”
Cineworld announces confirmation of plan of reorganisation: Cineworld has announced the United States Bankruptcy Court for the southern district of Texas, Houston division has confirmed its third amended joint chapter 11 plan of reorganisation. It said this paves the way for the business to implement its restructuring plan and to successfully emerge from its Chapter 11 cases. Cineworld said it continues to expect to emerge from the Chapter 11 cases in July. Among other things, the plan involves the release of about $4.53bn of the group's funded indebtedness, the execution of a fully backstopped rights offering to raise gross proceeds of $800m and the provision of $1.46bn in new debt financing. As announced this week, it is envisaged Cineworld Group (and not any of the operating companies or subsidiaries in the rest of the group) would, subject to an order of the court in England, enter into administration shortly prior to the emergence of the group Chapter 11 companies from their Chapter 11 cases. As previously announced, given the level of existing debt that is proposed to be released under the plan, there will not be any recovery for holders of Cineworld's existing equity interests. Mooky Greidinger, chief executive of Cineworld, said: “The confirmation of our plan of reorganisation is a significant milestone as Cineworld moves towards emerging from this process in a strong financial position and with a more resilient capital structure. Cineworld remains focused on refining and growing our global business and cinemas for our guests around the world and delivering the most immersive and cutting-edge cinema experiences.” A newly incorporated company will become the sole owner of the group upon emergence from the Chapter 11 cases. In accordance with the terms of this, a new board of directors will be appointed as of the effective date of the plan, which is expected to include Eric Foss as chairman. Foss served as chief executive of Aramark from 2012 and as chairman and chief executive from 2015 until his retirement in 2019. Prior to Aramark he was chief executive of Pepsi Beverages Company and chairman and chief executive of The Pepsi Bottling Group. Cineworld continues to operate its global business and cinemas as usual without interruption.
Staycity reports corporate business back to pre-pandemic levels: Aparthotel operator Staycity has reported its corporate business is back to pre-pandemic levels, with like-for-like occupancies for Tuesday and Wednesday nights back to 2019 levels in the year to date. In June 2023, Tuesday and Wednesday room nights are showing a 10% increase on June 2019. In addition the group’s managed business segment has seen a like-for-like rise of 93% on room nights in the year to date. “It’s fantastic to see our business travellers return, albeit with different needs and booking patterns,” said Staycity chief commercial officer Paula Mullaney. “For example, our corporate guests are no longer willing to share apartments. They are also looking for separate work desks to dining tables to support working from the apartment. The length of stay has increased by 35% from 2.3 days to 3.1 days on average, suggesting that when they are travelling, they are fitting more in. The booking window has also changed with business travellers’ booking in the eight-14 day window increasing by 86% versus 2019.” Business demand and feedback has prompted Staycity to introduce a new room type – a large studio at 24 square metres, which in time will become 40% of the company’s property inventory. It aims to appeal to corporate guests with more storage space and a dedicated area to work in alongside a fully fitted kitchen. Staycity operates 6,000 keys across its Staycity Aparthotel and Wilde brands with a total of 32 properties. The company is expected to reach a turnover in 2023 of €230m, up from €202m in 2022. The group has properties in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK and has new developments opening over the next 18 months in Amsterdam in The Netherlands and Lisbon and Porto in Portugal.
Brewhouse & Kitchen reports success of work experience programme for young people: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the UK’s largest brewpub group, has reported success of a work experience programme aimed at young people, having reached out to 100 schools and colleges within the local catchment of its 23-strong estate. Following engagement with education providers, career leaders and parents of students to actively promote the hospitality sector and career opportunities, Brewhouse & Kitchen has more than 40 students completing work experience across its brewpubs, with many of these students securing future employment with them. People director Jody Bennett said: “Our work experience programme give students opportunity to learn about all the different aspects of our business and provides them with level 2 food safety and health and safety qualifications, as well as a job for the future. This programme is a great addition to our apprenticeship offer, where we currently have 7% of our workforce on an apprenticeship.” Chief executive Kris Gumbrell added: “Our fantastic industry has a reputation issue driven out of a misplaced perception about working conditions, pay and opportunities. To overcome these challenges, we have to reach out to our communities, schools and very importantly parents to show that we can provide great opportunities for young people from all kinds of backgrounds and academic ability. More than 100,000 young people leave school every year with no formal qualifications, and at the other end of the academic spectrum more and more young people are seeking credible, paid alternatives to higher education through higher level apprenticeships. We have worked hard at Brewhouse & Kitchen to provide 12 core apprenticeships and are open to offering more.”
Z Hotels secures £15m loan for refinancing and to support growth: Hotel company Z Hotels has secured a £15m loan from OakNorth to refinance an existing loan and support its future growth ambitions. Founded by Bev King, Z Hotels launched its “compact luxury” accommodation model in London with the opening of Z Soho in 2011 and now operates 14 sites. The business initially secured bespoke funding from OakNorth in 2018 to support its expansion of new sites across central London – in Covent Garden, Holborn, and Tottenham Court Road. The latest facility will be used to refinance its current loan facilities and fund the construction of an additional 20 rooms at its Piccadilly location, taking its total number of rooms to 132, in addition to being used to develop new lift facilities and a new ground floor cafe. King said: “Since our launch 12 years ago, the focus of our brand has continued to be very simple – offer consumers a chain of hotels that are positioned in central locations, with reasonable room rates, that come with modern and stylish designs and high-quality features throughout. With this latest facility, we look forward to further growing the Z Hotels brand across the UK, while also expanding our site at Piccadilly.” Deepesh Thakrar, senior director, debt finance at OakNorth, added: “Z Hotels’ unique proposition has enabled it to build a broad and diverse portfolio in a relatively short space of time and achieve incredibly high occupancy consistently throughout the year. Further to this, Z Hotel’s resilience to the covid pandemic has been exceptional, with the business now exceeding pre-covid trading levels. We’re thrilled to once again have the opportunity to support a best-in-class team.”
Family-run hotel group reports ‘positive’ trading in 2023 as full-year revenue exceeds pre-pandemic levels: Webb Hotel Group, a collection of family-owned and run properties in the West Midlands, Staffordshire and Gloucestershire, has said trading has been positive in 2023 as it reported full-year revenue exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Turnover increased to £11,270,907 for the year ending 31 December 2022 compared with £7,445,536 the year before. Revenue also exceeded the £10,749,165 reported for the year ending 31 December 2019 – the last full year before the pandemic. Pre-tax profit was up to £653,897 from £530,226 the previous year (2019: profit of £665,583). In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “It was clear that people had money to spend and wanted experiences so we worked incredibly hard on our marketing and introduced new concepts and packages to encourage visits. We also benefited from weddings and dinners that had been postponed from the previous couple of years moving into 2022. As a result we had a very good year with a substantial increase in turnover and good control of wages and margins. There was a fairly large increase in expenses particularly in the latter part of the year when we saw the first signs of increases in the cost of living, particularly in food. 2023 has started with some challenges particularly the increase in expenses. Turnover has increased positively but wages are showing a large increase and we are working hard to control these elements.” The business received government grants of £25,700 (2021: £793,887). A dividend of £270,160 was paid (2021: £185,085).
A Curious Group of Hotels acquires Brighton site for fourth venue: Hotel company A Curious Group of Hotels has acquired Drakes Hotel in Brighton for an undisclosed sum. The hotel is based in Marine Parade, overlooking the sea and Brighton Pier. A Curious Group of Hotels was founded by Peter and Jessica Frankopan, who wanted to curate a group of hotels with “dynamic interior design and a level of authenticity that would see them succeeding for many years to come”. Andy Boardman, group director of A Curious Group of Hotels, said: “We are delighted to add Drakes to our family and look forward to working with the team to take the hotel on to the next step of its journey.” A Curious Group of Hotels also operates sites in London, Paris and Amsterdam. Fleurets acted on the Drakes deal.
London restaurateur to open second Italian venue: Restaurateur Nima Safei, who is behind Italian restaurant 40 Dean Street, is to open a sister site in London’s Soho. Safei will launch 64 Old Compton Street on Monday (3 July). It will serve a “simple, appealing menu of classic Italian dishes, affordably priced”. The menu will be divided into three sections: cold, fritti and baked; pizzas and salads; and pasta, risotto and oven. Dishes will include pizza ‘nduja, sausage meat and buffalo mozzarella; and linguine tiger prawns, courgettes, garlic, chillies and white wine. All pasta will be made fresh in-house every day, as will the stone-baked pizzas. Drinks will feature cocktails, and a short Italian and French wine list. Safei said: “Since 2009 the wonderful people of Soho have taken 40 Dean Street to their hearts and many treat it like an extension of their home, office or hotel. But we were having to turn too many people away, so opening 64 Old Compton Street literally round the corner felt like the perfect solution. Despite their close proximity, they’re very much their own restaurants with their own personalities.”
Tokyo Industries looking to revive Red’s True Barbecue in Nottingham by changing licensing regulations: Bar and nightclub operator Tokyo Industries is looking to revive its Red True Barbecue site in Nottingham by changing its licensing regulations. The site in Queen Street, which opened in 2015, shut in February this year “for the unseeable future” due to business costs and the cost-of-living crisis. Now Tokyo Industries is looking to “reopen the site but pivot the business” to guarantee its future, reports Nottinghamshire Live. Should the city council approve its licensing application, the venue will be able to serve drinks to non-dining customers for the first time. The restaurant’s previous licence stipulated that customers could only be served if they were visiting for a meal. Red’s True Barbecue has venues in Bradford, Headingley, Huddersfield, Hull and Leeds. Styling itself as an “authentic American smokehouse”, Red’s True Barbecue offers a range of smoked meat, burgers, wings, rubs and dips and some plant-based options.
Young’s receives top three-star Food Made Good rating from SRA: Young’s has been awarded the top three-star Food Made Good rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. With more than 220 pubs in its portfolio, Young’s was applauded for its seasonal menus that highlight the best of British produce, with an emphasis on the majority of its ingredients sourced from local British suppliers. Other areas highlighted include the reduction of food waste, with 334,325 litres of cooking oil recycled for biodiesel across the group, and its focus on renewable energy, with 100% of electricity coming from renewable sources, plus the trial and rollout of solar panels and electric vehicle charging points across a number of the pubs. Young’s said the accreditation marks its continued progress in its roadmap towards a sustainable future, from reducing its carbon footprint across its estate and supplier chain to supporting its local communities.
Pho opens Milton Keynes site: Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho has opened a site in Milton Keynes. The 4,133 square-foot restaurant in centre:mk seats about 100 customers, offering healthy Vietnamese food prepared from scratch each day. Dishes include phở noodle soup, aromatic curries, rice bowls and wok-fried rice and noodles, plus light salads and homemade spring rolls with peanut sauce for dipping. The menu also features freshly prepared juice, homemade lemonade with a spicy twist and Vietnamese coffee and beer. Stephen Wall, co-founder at Pho, said: “We’re excited to showcase the delicious food of Vietnam to the centre’s visitors.” FMX Urban Property Advisors and CBRE acted for centre:mk.
Tampopo opens second London site: Pan-Asian restaurant business Tampopo has opened its second site in London, in Wimbledon. The David Fox-led business has launched the venue at 27-39 Hartfield Road. The 726 square-metre ground floor and mezzanine site has about 175 covers, including 40 on an outside terrace. Fox said: “This is a significant project for Tampopo, with an extension of our successful brand into this new space. The atmosphere, welcome and hospitality will be familiar to our regular guests, and we hope they’ll love the updates we’ve made to our menus and find the new interior as exciting and inviting as we do.” Fox told Propel in April the business is looking at further opportunities and had the funding in place to secure another site this year, if the right one came along. The business currently operates four sites in Manchester and the East Street by Tampopo restaurant in London’s Fitzrovia.
Mission Mars to open third Rudy’s site in Birmingham next week: Mission Mars will open its third Birmingham site under its Rudy’s Pizza Napoletana brand next Saturday (7 July). It will open in the former Hawkshead Taphouse at 77 High Street, Harborne. Louis Symeonides, general manager of Rudy’s Harborne said: “We’re really looking forward to bringing Rudy’s Pizza to Harborne’s bustling high street. Since our initial announcement we’ve been welcomed with open arms by the local community.” As part of its three-year plan, Mission Mars is looking to open six to eight Rudy’s sites per year. It currently operates 17 Rudy’s locations and has several others in legals. It is also set to open a new hospitality academy and relaunch its bake-at-home business at its new Portland Street site in Manchester, which opened in May.
Alex Gauthier to open new restaurant next week: Vegan chef and restaurateur Alexis Gauthier will open his new restaurant next week. The space – situated next to the British Film Institute office in Stephen Street, off Tottenham Court Road – features a large open kitchen, booth seating and two terraces. Occupying it will be Studio Gauthier, a new Gauthier Soho-led concept, offering cutting-edge, fine-dining tasting menus, which will launch on Monday (3 July). Studio Gauthier is the first time the Gauthier name has been used in a dining concept other than his Soho restaurant in Romilly Street. It’s 100% plant-based and will include dishes such as wild garlic and rocket focaccia with aigo boulido, barbecued loin of kohlrabi, and cucumber samphire and sea broth. It will join 123V Bakery, which opened earlier this month and is a cafe/patisserie-led continuation of the plant-based concept launched at Fenwick Bond Street in 2021. Situated at the front of the premises, 123V Bakery offers coffee, pastries and house-made bread from the Gauthier Soho bread selection, while at lunchtime there are premium soft focaccia and sourdough sandwiches alongside a daily-changing bottomless salad station.
QHotels introduces new sustainability policy: QHotels, which has a portfolio of more than 20 hotels and resorts across the UK, has introduced a new sustainability programme. This will include establishing a sustainable procurement and purchasing policy, supporting local environmental initiatives and appointing “green champions” in all hotels to promote best practices. It will build on practices already in place such as expanding electric car charging points, reducing the use of paper and single-use plastics and implementing waste reduction and recycling. Phillip Gardner, commercial director at The QHotels Collection, said: “We understand the scale of our operations and the environmental impact that comes with it. We will regularly review our promises, set new targets and make fresh commitments to continually improve our impact on the environment. We are committed to driving positive change by engaging employees, guests, suppliers and investors in our collective mission.” QHotels operates 14 individual hotels and resorts as well as two Delta by Marriotts, three Double Tree by Hiltons and a single Mercure branded site.