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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 3rd Jul 2023 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Bloomberg – HMRC objects to Prezzo’s restructuring plan: HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is objecting to the restructuring plan from Prezzo, the Cain International-backed Italian dining group, arguing that it is being used to avoid paying tax that the business owes. Bloomberg reports that a judge is due to decide this week whether the plan should go ahead and ignore claims from the likes of HMRC, which is owed more than £11m, using a process called a cram down. “The company is essentially trading to the detriment of HMRC,” Charlotte Cooke, a lawyer acting for the tax authority, said in a filing. “The court should not sanction this non-payment of tax.” The tax authority has objected to a number of similar restructuring plans in recent years, with varying levels of success. HMRC successfully challenged the restructuring proposed by the Nasmyth Group and Great Annual Savings Company earlier this year. Prezzo’s secured lenders, who get paid first in a restructuring, are owed around £24m, but Prezzo’s advisors at FRP Advisory think the business is unlikely to be worth more than £14m. That leaves very little left over for the likes of the taxman. The vast majority of the secured debt is held by Prezzo’s parent company. Around £32m owed to landlords would also be compromised. Landlords have objected to other such plans and seen their dissent ignored by judges, including last Thursday in a ruling that saw Fitness First granted permission to enter into a restructuring. Prezzo declined to comment. Prezzo features in the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage, 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, 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. 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:

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

Four days to go before the next edition of The New Openings Database release, to show details of over 50 new sites, 3,000-word report included: The next edition of The New Openings Database will show the details of over 50 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday, 7 July, at midday, including which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location, and there will also be a website link to the businesses. The database is published on a monthly basis, and the next edition features growing restaurant and bakery brands, niche cuisine, and expanding experiential concepts. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database; and the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

NTIA and Sacha Lord begin legal challenge government on drug testing at festivals: The Night Time Industries Association and Sacha Lord, the Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, have written to the Home Office demanding a judicial review into its decision to ban on-site pop-up labs to test drugs at festivals. They have accused home secretary Suella Braverman of “putting lives at risk” after her department did a dramatic U-turn and demanded licences to test drugs at all festivals. The Home Office had announced last month that on-site drugs testing at music festivals would require a controlled drugs licence, and that testing must take place at a named, permanent premises. In a letter to the Home Office, the NTIA and Lord demanded the decision be immediately reversed and the previously agreed arrangement for drug testing be restarted. NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “The Home Office must reverse their decision and consider the true impact of withdrawing a practice which has been operating safely in some regions for over ten years, with the full knowledge and support of the police and local authorities. The festivals and events sector work extremely hard to ensure festival goers are kept safe, and rely heavily on back of house drug testing as a vital part of the overarching harm reduction strategy. Without this facility, we are putting people's lives at risk.” Lord added: “The Home Office must put an end to this reckless disregard for the safety of festival goers and reinstate the existing Memorandum of Understanding with immediate effect. The industry works tirelessly to ensure we do everything possible to safeguard the public. If the Home Office continues not to support us in this vital work, we will be left with no other choice but to call for a full investigation and consultation.”

Hospitality Rising scoops major customer engagement and experience award: Sector recruitment campaign Hospitality Rising has scooped the Marketing Society Best Customer Engagement and Experience Award 2023. The award recognises organisations that have demonstrated “remarkable innovation, creativity, and dedication in engaging and delighting customers”. Throughout its journey, Hospitality Rising has attracted more than 100,000 job applications while adopting innovative strategies and technologies to bolster the industry. Mark McCulloch, founder of Hospitality Rising and campaign director, said: “This award further solidifies Hospitality Rising's position as a trailblazer in the industry, setting new benchmarks for customer-centricity and redefining the boundaries of excellence.” Hospitality Rising’s inaugural campaign, “Rise Fast, Work Young”, has gone from strength to strength since it was launched last October. Supported by some of the world’s most successful hospitality leaders and best-loved chefs, it aims to entice new recruits by showcasing the opportunities and promise that come with a career in hospitality. The targeted social media-led campaign uses long-term branding building to drive awareness and change perceptions of working in hospitality, while also offering supporters unlimited job postings on its careers website. McCulloch added: “This movement is all making the industry a better place for all, including creating an environment that supports young people and gives them the confidence to be the best they can be.” Businesses looking to join can register their interest by emailing

Festival and event ticket sales back to 2019 levels, pricing out Generation Z damaging for industry: Festival and event ticket sales are back to 2019 levels but pricing out Generation Z will be damaging for the industry, Hugo Campbell, co-founder of London-based event booking marketplace Togather has warned. “Ticket sales for events this year are now similar to where they were in 2019,” Campbell told Propel. “We saw record sales immediately after the pandemic, with people going for any ticket they possibly could, and last year was strong too, with more certain events looking to take advantage of the boom but not selling out as people started looking for quality. Some smaller boutique festivals working year-to-year were unable to get financial support and went under, while there are still some great challenger festivals around, but it’s much harder for them to come through now. Prices at festivals have risen across the board, and there’s a slightly older dynamic going to festivals, and Gen Z are missing out on those formational festival experiences. Gen Z showed a lot of appetite for going to festivals pre-pandemic but that has dropped, largely due to the cost-of-living crisis. Older attendances may not be in the best long-term interests of the industry and restricting young people from these experiences at such a formative age is damaging.” Campbell added: “Peoples’ tolerance for low-quality events has dropped, they want their experience to be far more individual and special. There’s a much higher desire for quality across the board, but that doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. People want to go to events and festivals which reflect who they are as a person.” Founded in 2017, Togather rebranded from Feast It last month, having raised $8.5m in investment round to help fund its growth.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a wholesale services business that has a diverse group of members, made up of on-trade, foodservice and retail, which is seeking a category controller. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will be responsible for managing category and store layouts, supporting supplier negotiations, and developing initiatives to improve compliance. This is a fantastic opportunity to join a market-leading business that can offer genuine opportunities for progression and involvement in key business decisions to develop your skills and grow.” The salary is up to £55,000 plus benefits and the position is based in South Yorkshire. For more information, email

Company News:

PizzaLuxe keen to do more travel hub sites, airport location ‘performing well and doing good numbers’: PizzaLuxe, the Paul Goodale-led premium fast casual concept, has told Propel it is keen to do more travel hub sites but is moving away from roadside locations. The brand, launched as a market stall by former Harrod’s director of restaurants and kitchens Goodale in 2011, made its franchise debut in 2018 when it partnered with transport hub foodservice specialist SSP for a site at Manchester airport. It moved into the roadside arena in 2021, through a partnership with Extra Motorway Service Area Group, opening service station sites in Peterborough and Cambridge. “The airport business went really well until covid meant an unplanned pause,” Goodale told Propel. “At the same time, it was the lockdowns that caused us to look at doing the motorway services sites in the Midlands, and they were a bit more of a wildcard. Travel was a specific requirement of the backing that we picked up with Edition Capital, but clearly there wasn’t too much travel going on at the time. We looked around and thought motorway services would be fairly covid-proof, so that’s why we did those sites. Moving forwards, and now we’ve got the airport back on track with a lot of pent-up demand in that sector – as evidenced by SSP’s recent results – we’ve been performing well and enjoying good numbers. We get great feedback, very strong customer satisfaction scores and SSP has been a great supporter. If we’re looking at the future, it makes sense to look for similar locations. We are serving up great, fresh food, and the simplicity and quality really makes PizzaLuxe stand out in a travel environment. If we can get more sites in airports and rail in the future, then great.” PizzaLuxe currently operates four company-owned and two franchised sites and is also running a summer pop-up in London’s Covent Garden, as part of its franchise expansion strategy. “The idea for the pop-up was to give us a showcase in London for the summer period, and it’s been great,” said Goodale. “The business started out as a pop-up years ago, and we got the Leeds site off the back of that, so it’s a good way of testing the water and developing the brand. Covent Garden is a triple-A location, and I can’t think of anywhere better to trade in Britain when it’s sunny. We’ve only got 25 seats on an outdoor terrace, and nothing indoors, so it is entirely weather dependent. In terms of taking permanent sites in town, I am looking around but wary. The broader economic and trading environment is uncertain and challenging.”

Newly reopened Burger King branch in Swindon to trial restaurant layout improvements, temporary drive-thru-only pod a ‘big success’: A newly reopened Burger King branch in Swindon is set to trial a series of restaurant layout improvements for the business. The site, in the town’s Queens Drive, has opened its doors once more almost two years to the day after it burnt down in an accidental fire, in June 2021. Since the blaze, the fast food chain has been rebuilding the restaurant from the ground up, including some “exciting modernisations” which it will look to roll out further. “Almost two years to the day since the Swindon unit burnt down, we opened the new restaurant this week,” said Lisa Aspinall, head of new restaurant openings at Burger King UK. “The construction team have been in collaboration with our RBI colleagues, operations, planners and contractors as well as the landlord and many other parties to design a whole new look unit. This has incorporated a brand new look and feel internally and externally. Some of the exciting trials and changes in this unit include table service, a new use and position of our digital menu boards, new counter layout alongside a dedicated delivery collection area and a double digital drive-thru lane. This unit trials and showcases many of the items internally and externally that will form the new and exciting inclusive experience and customer journey going forward. This project has been a fantastic collaboration across all departments and it was really special watching it all come together and finally open our doors.” During the time that the restaurant was closed, a temporary pod operated at the site, offering drive-thru only. “This pod was a drive-thru-only operation and was a big success in its 18 month occupancy,” Apsinall added. “To put this in context, this whole pod unit is smaller than most of the kitchens in our existing estate. So, well done to the operational team, led by Nishad Gopal, for managing this from this unit.”

Wingstop secures Southampton site: Lemon Pepper Holdings, which is rolling out Wingstop across the UK, has added a site in Southampton to its 2023 openings pipeline. Propel understands that the business has taken on the ex-Bok Shop site in the West Quay scheme. Propel revealed last month that Lemon Pepper Holdings had further strengthened its openings pipeline as it looks to reach 40 sites and a revenue of more than £60m by the end of this year. Wingstop recently opened its 35th UK site, at Grey's Brewery Yard in Chelmsford, and new restaurants will also be opening this year in Islington's Upper Street, Birmingham's New Street and London’s Wood Green. It is understood to also be in discussions to bring restaurants to Hounslow, Edinburgh and Glasgow this year.

Gainford Group reports 78% sales growth for its hospitality operations: North east leisure operator Gainford Group, which also runs 12 care homes, has reported 78% sales growth for its hospitality operations in the year ending 31 December 2022. The group, which operates five hotels and nine bars and restaurants in Newcastle and Bradford, reported turnover of £47,330,031 for the period, up from £36,234,437 in 2021. This compares with £35,923,140 in the last full year before covid, ending 31 December 2019. Of the 2022 figure, £22,027,205 came from its hotels and bars (2021: £12,405,128) and £25,302,826 from its care homes (2021: £23,838,309). “Post covid, 2022 was a successful year of recovery and growth,” director Imran Khaliq said in his statement accompanying the accounts. “The hospitality operations outperformed the care homes operations. The hospitality trade growth trajectory was 78% in revenue as compared with the care homes growth of 6%. The operations have been growing organically in 2022 as compared with using the covid government support available in 2021.” Pre-tax profit dipped from £7,867,083 in 2021 to £6,425,610. (2019: £4,258,817) but no government grants were received compared with £1,354,792 in 2021. “The business has seen a major escalation in costs due to high inflation this year, resulting in increased energy prices, food and labour costs,” Khalid said. “Despite all of this, the company has managed risks effectively and, through different pricing, costing and marketing strategies, responded very well. The improved financial results are a credit to the management team and the operational staff of the business.” No dividends were paid (2021: £24,244.00). At the year-end, the company had net assets of £111,142,584 (2021: £106,140,603). The company has £3.75m of the £5m borrowed through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme left to pay (2021: £4.75m), with the final instalment due in September 2026.

Heavenly Desserts opens in Leamington Spa: Dessert restaurant franchise Heavenly Desserts has opened a new restaurant in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. The 63-cover venue in the former Mountain Warehouse retail store at 102 The Parade is the brand’s 49th site across the UK. Yousif Aslam, managing director at Heavenly Desserts, said: “Opening our latest dessert restaurant in Leamington Spa is a fantastic achievement for the team as we inch towards the incredible milestone of 50 stores across the UK. The area is beautiful, and our new store is no exception – we really wanted to create a space that would fit in with the regency architecture and broad boulevards, which would look at home in the heart of the town. Our unique menu has something for every dessert connoisseur – from our signature mocktails to our recent dessert tapas tasting menu, which allows guests to sample a wide variety of options.” Heavenly Desserts has further openings in Hull, Tooting, Milton Keynes, Manchester and Slough in the pipeline.

Yorkshire KFC and Taco Bell franchisee closes two underperforming stores to help ‘eradicate operating losses’: Yorkshire KFC and Taco Bell franchisee Fieldrose has closed two underperforming stores as it seeks to “eradicate” its operating losses. The business saw an operating profit of £11,503,694 turn into a loss of £2,725,891 in the year ending 30 September 2022. A pre-tax profit of £10,706,961 in 2021 turned into a loss of £3,625,215. Director Bharat Patel, in his report accompanying the accounts, said: “Two further stores have closed post year-end as a result of poor performance, which it is hoped will eradicate some of the operating losses. There continues to be an appetite to invest further in profitable stores and expand on the emerging brands.” Turnover increased, however, from £90,080,324 in 2021 to £98,430,026. The company received no government or local authority grants compared to £2,357,633 in 2021. Store staff numbers increased from 2,246 to 2,987.

Wagamama opens at Merry Hill shopping centre, looking to launch in Northampton: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group-owned brand, has opened a new restaurant at the Merry Hill shopping centre in the West Midlands. The 4,000 square-foot venue, on the Upper Mall, has 140 covers and has created 60 jobs, bringing Wagamama’s total number of UK restaurants to 158. The venue serves the brand’s new summer menu which includes koyo bowls and the vegan “chicken” kare lomen, with 50% of the dishes being plant-based. JLL and Time Retail Partners represented Merry Hill. It comes as the brand looks to open its first restaurant in Northampton. The company has submitted plans to West Northamptonshire Council to open in the former Firejacks unit in the town’s Sixfields destination, reports the Northampton Chronicle. 

ExCeL London hotel reports strong recovery as it returns to profit, increase in average day rates to above pre-pandemic levels expected to continue: ADCG Hotels, which operates a hotel at London’s ExCeL centre, has reported a strong recovery post covid as it returned to profit in the year ending 31 December 2022. The company turned a £596,000 pre-tax loss in 2021 into a £1,499,000 profit. This compares with a £2,245,000 profit in the last year before covid, ending 31 December 2019. Turnover increased from £4,620,000 in 2021 to £11,654,000, which exceeded pre-pandemic levels (2019: £11,597,000). In his statement accompanying the accounts, director Jeremy Rees said: “Following on from the disruption caused by the Omicron variant in the first quarter of 2022, which led to the postponement of events at the exhibition centre to later in the year, occupancy levels and room rates recovered strongly. The occupancy rate is expected to remain consistent with the rate from the second quarter of 2022 onwards in 2023, supported by a strong events pipeline at ExCeL London and an expected increase in the number of traveller numbers as business travel demand increases. Average day rates recovered strongly in 2022 to above pre-pandemic levels and this trend is expected to continue.” The company said to mitigate the risk of events being cancelled at the ExCeL, it looks to enter into long-term contracts with key corporate customers and attract national and international “transient” travellers. It has also implemented incentive plans and a training programme to retain and motivate key staff. The company received no government grants (2021: £208,000). No dividends were recommended, while in 2021, the directors declared an interim dividend of £6m settled by the issuance of shares. The company had total assets of £33.8m at the year-end (2021: £32.2m) and a cash balance of £4.7m (2021: £2.4m).

Gail’s to replace Costa in Radlett: Fast-growing bakery brand Gail’s is set to open in a former Costa Coffee unit in Radlett, Hertfordshire. It will be opening in Conway House, Watling Street, later this year, reports the Watford Observer. Gail’s has circa 110 sites in the UK but has recently been focusing on its expansion in the north west. Having made its regional debut earlier this year in Wilmslow, it has since opened in Altrincham, Manchester and Didsbury and applied to open a site in Knutsford. It has also begun to roll out its baked goods in Waitrose stores in the south east following a successful trial.

Wildes Group forecasts turnover to increase to £8.5m in 2023 as construction begins on Chester luxury hotel and spa: Hotel and spa operator the Wildes Group has begun the construction of its Chester luxury hotel and spa after spending an extra £2m on an enlarged project. The Bridge Street scheme, which was originally costed at £5m, was originally due to open in 2022 but pushed back to allow for an enhanced offering. “We have begun construction on the first fully branded five-star Wildes Hotel in Chester,” chief executive Paul Wildes said in an update in the group’s accounts for the year ending 31 March 2022. “The group will be investing more than £7m on this project, which has now significantly enlarged the total project size” and is expected to open in 2024. It comes as the group reported turnover of £7,775,893 for the period, up from £2,550,039 in 2021. For the year to 31 March 2020, when the final few weeks of trading were affected by the pandemic, it reported turnover of £3,425,024. Pre-tax losses narrowed from £1,430,849 in 2021 to £1,219,860 (2020: loss of £2,774,576). Wildes said he expects turnover to increase to £8.5m in 2023, and an operating loss of £641,284 to recover to a profit of £1.76m due to the ending of construction equipment leases taken out during the construction of the Hotel Van Dyk. He said fixed assets are now in excess of £30m “for the first time in the group’s history”, (2021: £26.1m), and he expects this to rise to £35m once the Chester development is completed. Net assets are £1.386m compared with £600,390 in 2021. He added: “We expect to end the 2024 financial year with an asset base worth more than £32m.” Since the year-end, it has disposed of one of its branded hotels, a Holiday Inn Express in Hoylake, and continues to operate another Holiday Inn Express, in Crewe. The group’s hospitality management company, Bluebell Hospitality, is also “exploring exciting opportunities to manage other hotels and restaurants on behalf of third parties”. The group received £224,450 in government grants compared with £1,147,983 in 2021.

Cornish Bakery set to open in Norwich: Growing independent chain The Cornish Bakery is set to open a new store in Norwich. It has received planning permission to convert the former O2 phone shop at 31 Castle Street, which has lain empty for two years, reports the Norwich Evening News. Cornish Bakery, which has circa 54 UK stores, will move the shop’s entrance from Castle Street to Arcade Street as part of the works. In February, Cornish Bakery founder Steve Grocutt told Propel the brand’s expansion will focus on the high street, with plans to open 15-plus new shops a year. It came after the business reported record profits and sales across tourist locations and strong recovery for its high street stores for the year ending 30 May 2022. It reported an Ebitda profit of £4.2m and a pre-tax profit of £3.1m. 

Bubba Oasis to double up with Clapham opening: All-day restaurant and bar concept Bubba Oasis is to open its second site, in London’s Clapham. The business, which is led by Rob Huysinga, the co-founder of the ice cream chain Pan 'n' Ice, has taken on the ex-Mommi site on Clapham High Street. Opening later this month, the 4,000 square-foot site will offer co-working space, a restaurant, bar and nightclub. The business launched its first site in 2021 in London’s Islington, on the former Vivo site at 57-58 Upper Street. Huysinga, who was named in the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator “30 Under 30” list in 2022, said: “Bubba Oasis is a welcoming club house that’s built for the community. Hot-desk by day and dance on the same table at night. We’re a versatile spot and we can’t wait to welcome Clapham with open arms.” Samuel Nassimi at CDG Leisure acted on behalf of the Mint Group on the Clapham Common deal.

Bedfordshire hotel and leisure centre reports record year for venues business: Bedfordshire hotel, conference facility and leisure centre Wyboston Lakes has reported a record-breaking year for its venues business in the year ending 31 December 2022. In her statement accompanying the accounts, director Julie Ireland said: “The board is pleased to report a strong performance for the year, with its core venues business exceeding pre-pandemic levels in both revenue and profit to produce a record-breaking year. During the year, the main conference and training venues generated their best conference and training performances to date, with sales up 49% on 2019 and up 79% on 2018. Profit was also well ahead of the 2019 total in these centres. The Landing Pad brand, encompassing flexible office space, performed well, with serviced office occupancy at more than 95%, and these are expected to grow strongly again in 2023. 2022 saw the introduction of Wyboston Venues Management, which enables us to support others via our consultancy, and this is forecast to grow into 2023. Our key KPI in 2022 and continuing into future years is our gross margin, which is back at a level not seen since 2010. Looking into 2023, our contracted bookings represent more than 50% of our 2023 budget, and that is greater than the total achievement in 2018. Bookings and prospects for 2024 and 2025 are also very strong.” Overall, the company reported revenue of £17,849,072, up from £9,879,556 in 2021. This compares with £21,915,828 in the last full year before the pandemic, ending 31 December 2019. Its pre-tax profit fell from £5,412,730 in 2021 to £1,600,560 although the 2021 figure included development property sales, without which it was a £560,000 loss. In 2019, it made a profit of £2,840,779. Dividends of £250,000 were paid during the year (2021: nil). The business has invested £10m in its facilities over the past five years and has a net asset worth of £41.55m, including a cash balance of £7.6m.

London craft sake brewery Kanpai to scale up with move to larger premises: London craft sake brewery Kanpai is to move to larger premises, in London Bridge. The space, in a railway arch in Druid Street, will allow Kanpai to expand its brewery “to take our sake production to new heights”. The premises will include a modern taproom bar with ten dedicated sake draft taps, seasonal Japanese cocktails, craft beer and Japanese spirits. Visitors will also be able to participate in brewery tours and tastings, and there will be an on-site kitchen serving Japanese small plates in a relaxed izakaya style. Co-founder Tom Wilson said: “This is a real milestone for the sake revolution. We can’t wait to showcase the artistry and complexity of sake brewing.” Kanpai’s move to London Bridge is scheduled to take place this summer. During the transition, its brewery and taproom will continue to operate from its current location in Peckham.

Staffordshire boutique spa destination exceeds pre-pandemic levels of profit and turnover: Staffordshire boutique spa destination Moddershall Oaks exceeded pre-pandemic levels of profit and turnover in the year ending 30 September 2022. School House Leisure, parent company of the venue, which includes a bar, restaurant, cafe and wellness centre, reported a pre-tax profit of £1,183,000, up from £473,862 in 2021. This compares with £446,611 in the last full year before the pandemic, ending 31 March 2019. Turnover increased from £2,738,296 in 2021 to £5,561,114 (2019: £4,090,605). Of the 2022 figure, £2,309,346 came from the spa, £1,147,088 from the wedding venue, £990,027 from the restaurant, £418,852 from accommodation, £328,269 from the deli and £252,681 from the gym among other income. It received £28,360 in government grants compared with £531,650 in 2021. It did not utilise the government’s job retention scheme and has repaid its borrowings through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme in full. Interim dividends of £172,829 were paid (2021: £155,553). Director Phillip Holland said: “Since the reopening, demand from customers has been very high both as a result of some backlog of commitments (such as weddings) that needed to be rescheduled, as well as the ‘staycation’ culture, and in our view, a sense that people needed to treat themselves and find their wellness again following the difficult global crisis.”

South Indian cuisine concept opens in Derby for 14th site: South Indian cuisine concept Chennai Dosa has opened in Derby for its 14th site. It has opened in the former Manzo Steak & Grill site in London Road, which closed recently after four years of trading, reports the Derby Telegraph. Before Manzo, the unit was occupied by Hong Shing, which was one of the first Chinese restaurants in Derby but closed in 2015 after 40 years of trading. Chennai Dosa, which also specialises in Sri Lankan dishes, opened its first branch in 2003, in East Ham, East London. It also has sites in Birmingham, Coventry, Croydon, Manchester, Woking, New Malden, Leicester, Ipswich, Swindon, Wolverhampton, Stockport and Chelmsford.

Perthshire food hall, cafe and farm shop goes on the market: Perthshire food hall, cafe and farm shop The Crieff Food Company has gone on the market. Owner Jamie Landale, a local farm owner who has operated the company since inception in 2017, has instructed Christie & Co to market the business. He has decided to sell due to other business interests and feels the time is right to hand over to a new operator that can continue the business’ development. The food hall features an in-store butchery and cheese and deli counters, while the downstairs café and farm shop offers breakfast, lunch and sweet treats. Liam Bain, business agent at Christie & Co, said: “The Crieff Food Company offers a fantastic opportunity to acquire a multifaceted business still to reach full maturity. Expanding on the farm shop blueprint, its unique offering is already proving both successful and profitable and could look to be replicated at other sites throughout the country.”

Company behind Northern Ireland hotel reports turnover and profit exceeds pre-pandemic levels: The company behind the Manor House Country Hotel in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, has reported turnover increased to £5,865,601 for the year ending 30 September 2022 compared with £3,472,375 the year before. Revenue also exceeded the £5,098,116 reported for the year ending 30 September 2019 – the last full year before the pandemic. Pre-tax profit rose to £906,537 from £864,580 the previous year (2019: £370,965). In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “While 2023 is likely to be very challenging both because of increased competition and the general economic climate, early results are satisfactory.” The business received government grants of £20,000 (2021: £831,920). A dividend of £165,000 was paid (2021: £234,000).

Jesse Elias relaunches solo pizza venture under new name: Jesse Elias, former general manager at Yard Sale, has relaunched his solo pizza venture in Dalston, east London, under a new name. Elias launched Gordos in September 2020 but had to forfeit the lease after just five months. With the name not having been copyrighted, the landlord at the former Gordos site, at 533 Kingsland Road, reopened it under the Gordos name, reports Hot Dinners. Elias has now rebranded his new venue, which will open next month in the former Bao corner unit at Netil Market in Westgate Street, World Famous Gordos. In the intervening years, the concept has popped up at place such as Dalston Roof Park and TT Liquor, and collaborated with the likes of Hot4U, Rocks Oysters and Patty & Bun.

Gelato concept led by former Jamie’s Italian chief executive opens second Bristol site: Gelato concept Swoon, led by former Jamie’s Italian chief executive Simon Blagden, has opened its second site in Bristol. The concept, which already has a College Green location in the city, has now opened a smaller site at Whapping Wharf, offering soft serve ice cream and milkshakes. It has opened in two former shipping containers that used to be home to Oliver’s Ice Cream, reports Bristol 24/7. It is a sixth site for Swoon, which as well as its Bristol venues, also operates in Cardiff, Oxford, Bath and within the Selfridge’s food hall in London.

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