Story of the Day:
Exclusive – FB Taverns acquires Camerons’ tenanted pub division: FB Taverns, the pub vehicle backed by high-net-worth individual Alexander Embiricos, the co-founder of the US-based virtual office provider Remotion, has grown its fledgling estate to more than 40 pubs with the acquisition of Camerons Brewery’s tenanted pubs division, Propel has learned. The business, which was founded in 2022 with the intention of growing a business primarily focused on wet-led community pubs, has acquired 27 pubs spread across the north east for an undisclosed sum. The pubs in the package are understood to include the Top House in Stanley, the Mill House in Hartlepool, the Lambton Arms in South Shields and the King’s Head in Bishops Auckland. Propel revealed in February that FB Taverns had acquired six tenanted and two managed pubs from Tadcaster Pub Company. The company, which is working with management partner LT Management, acquired seven sites from Admiral Taverns last June. Talking earlier this year, FB Taverns co-founder James Maizels, who was previously at Deutsche Bank, said: “We continue to actively look for sites with the intention of continuing to grow our portfolio.” Propel revealed last November that Camerons had placed the majority of its 43-strong franchise/leased and tenanted estate on the market. The north east brewer and pub operator said the disposal of its tenanted estate was part of a strategic move to support growth across its brewery and managed pub division. Following the disposal, Camerons will continue to operate 47 pubs across the UK, including its flagship Head of Steam brand. It said that under FB Taverns’ ownership, its former tenanted sites will remain as pubs and will continue to support their local communities. Camerons remaining pub estate ranges from city centre venues to restaurant and accommodation-based outlets. This includes the Head of Steam brand, which the business acquired in 2013, and the Urban Country Pubs brand formed in July 2016 following the purchase of seven venues from Leeds Brewery. Chris Soley, chief executive at Camerons Brewery, said: “The disposal of our tenanted pubs provides a strong platform for us to focus on investment for growth within both our brewing facility and managed pub estate. We are delighted to have completed the transaction with FB Taverns who are focused on supporting the further development of community pubs. We wish the licensees all the best for the future and would like to thank them for their contributions while working with Camerons.” Simon Johnson of CBRE acted on behalf of Camerons.
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Heydon Mizon to speak at Propel summer conference and party, three free places per company for operators:
Heydon Mizon, joint managing director of Hertfordshire brewer and retailer McMullen, 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. Mizon will talk about how the business is keeping the pub relevant to new generations of consumers, and the challenges and opportunities of being a regional operator. 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.
Three days to go before next edition of The New Openings Database release, to show details of more than 50 new sites, 3,000-word report included:
The next edition of The New Openings Database
will show the details of more than 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 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.
Consumers more likely to visit inclusive pubs and bars: Pubs and bars that demonstrate they are inclusive and will not tolerate discrimination are more likely to be visited by the majority of consumers, new data has found. The research was commissioned by Heineken UK and Stonegate Group, who are next week holding an industry-wide event to facilitate discussions and share best practice on how pubs and bars can be more inclusive. Their study found about 60% of people are more likely to visit pubs that are inclusive, with this number jumping to 73% for people from ethnic minorities. It further jumps to 76% for people who identify as LGBTQIA+ and 82% for people who have accessibility needs. However, it showed discrimination still takes place, with 45% of LGBTQIA+ people having experienced some kind of discrimination, and 34% not feeling able to be their true selves in a pub or bar. Will Rice, interim on-trade sales director for Heineken UK, said: “Pubs and bars are so important to the fabric of UK society, and it’s so important people feel comfortable and welcomed in their surroundings. Across the country, fantastic work is being done in the UK on-trade, and it’s important we, as an industry, build on this momentum, to continue to make pubs and bars a safe destination.” Sarah Miller, business unit director at Stonegate Group, added: “We’re hosting this event to bring people together, learn and share ideas – so the on-trade can continue to be inclusive all year round, not just during Pride month. We also recognise that people working in LGBTQIA+ bars are usually busy working during Pride, and we wanted to put on an event to both thank and celebrate with them.” The event takes place on Tuesday, 11 July at Rupert Street, Soho, from 6.30pm. For more details, email email@example.com.
Industry has steep hill to climb to make transition to a low-carbon economy: The hospitality industry has a steep hill to climb to make the transition to a low-carbon economy, according to a new industry report from the Race to Net Zero collaborative. The sector is responsible for up to 15% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Of 42 hospitality leaders surveyed, 59.5% said net zero is central to how they want to do business, and a further 33% said it was important to their business. More than 40% want to see more collaboration across the industry to meet the challenges, while 30% want more government funding in the form of schemes, grants or tax incentives, and 10% want more regulation. The report also highlighted that a significant amount of emissions reductions can be achieved by implementing quick wins like energy efficiency and waste reduction. Hamish Stoddart, founder of Peach Pubs and architect of the Race to Net Zero collaborative group, said: “I opened my first pub shortly after the world’s scientists concluded climate change was man-made. Twenty years later, emissions are continuing to rise. The UK government has set a net zero target for 2050, so the question is not if hospitality must go net zero, but when. There are some bold hospitality businesses pushing forward, but we need to do much more, more quickly. This is a commercial opportunity for the industry to cut costs, attract customers and protect against future regulation. We must take that opportunity.”
Majority of diners looking to support small independent restaurants, survey reveals: A majority of diners surveyed in a new study said they are looking to support small independent restaurants during the cost-of-living crisis. American Express asked 2,000 UK consumers about their visits to independent restaurants, bistros and cafes over the last 12 months, and 72% said the frequency of their visits had either stayed the same or increased. A further 19% said they plan on visiting new independent restaurants local to them in the coming weeks, while 26% said they eat out at such places two or three times a month. Meanwhile, 61% said they chose to visit such venues to show support for small businesses during tough economic times, while 59% said they enjoy the personalised service. Dan Edelman, general manager UK merchant services at American Express, said: “Independent restaurants and other hospitality venues are undoubtedly facing pressures, so as we enter the busy summer trading period, it’s really encouraging to see that, where they can, many people continue to support these small businesses and enjoy positive experiences.” It comes as American Express continues its support of independent restaurant owners across London through a grants programme, now in its second year. Six eligible restaurants will receive £11,500 each to help them boost their business, such as enhancing digital capabilities or revitalising their dining spaces.
Rare Restaurants’ free meal offer taken up by more than 5,000 NHS workers: Rare Restaurants – the operators of Gaucho, M and Crane Tap in the UK – has seen its offer of a free meal taken up by more than 5,000 NHS workers. The 23-strong restaurant group made the offer to celebrate 75 years of the health service. It invited NHS workers across the country to eat for free on Wednesday (5 July) as any of its circa 18 Gaucho restaurants nationwide, or its two M restaurants, in the City and Canary Wharf. Guests can enjoy up to three courses from the set menus, available for both bookings and walk-ins from 12pm to 6.30pm, by showing an NHS ID card. It follows the group providing more than 1,000 meals a week to NHS workers during the pandemic and hosting a dinner of appreciation for more than 300 nurses and doctors. “At Gaucho and M Restaurants, we are delighted to celebrate NHS workers with this gesture,” said chief executive Martin Williams. “Restaurants, when at their best, are an integral part of the community, and thus, we are proud to support our amazing NHS heroes, and hope other restaurants will follow suit to do the same.”
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a luxury group that is looking for a chief operating officer. The business is about to open three sites in London following some key growth areas for the company and is seeking a chief operations officer to help steer the business on this new path. The company operates restaurant, bars, events spaces and co-working hubs. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “The chief operating officer will sit at the epicentre of the business, reporting directly to the company’s founder, developing the venues, and working with partners to develop the brands.” The salary is up to £180,000 and the position is based in central London. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stem & Glory acquired by founder in pre-pack administration for £15,000: Plant-based restaurant concept Stem & Glory has been acquired by its founder, Louise Palmer-Masterton, in a pre-pack administration for £15,000, Propel has learned. The deal involves Stem & Glory’s assets and its site in Cambridge with its two London venues – in St Barts and Liverpool Street – having closed and all staff made redundant. A total of £5,000 was paid on completion of the deal, with the remaining £10,000 deferred until November. A statement of administrators proposal by David Taylor and Paul Ellison, of KRE Corporate Recovery, showed for the year to 31 February 2023 that Stem & Glory turned over £1,289,218, with an Ebit loss of £739,937. The business had total liabilities of £1,634,878, with net assets of minus £381,753. The report showed with its sites in Cambridge and St Bart’s trading “extremely well and seeing a good level of profit”, Palmer-Masterton signed an agreement to lease the venue in Liverpool Street in July 2021. She put together another crowdfund for the site, having raised £517,000 on Crowdcube in 2018 and additional investment during covid. However, at the end of 2021, the Omicron variant of covid saw the Cambridge and St Bart’s sites “take a substantial hit”. In April 2022, the crowdfund for the Liverpool Street site began, and although it raised more than £500,000, “in reality, with all that was about to happen, it needed to raise double that”. The cost of the Liverpool Street site increased by more than expected, while energy and food costs soared. The business had been awarded a £500,000 recovery loan by the Greater London Investment fund (GLIF) to help cover the additional project costs at Liverpool Street. The first tranche of £250,000 was drawn down in July 2022, but when it came to draw down the second tranche, GLIF would not award it as the business performance was below that predicted in the forecasts. The report stated: “Bearing in mind the business was really still recovering from the covid era when these additional pressures arose, the additional cost escalations were too much to bear. By April 2023, in spite of ongoing investor interest, it became clear that investment wouldn’t land in time to meet urgent commitments, and unfortunately, the directors could not see a way to continue.”
Snowfox Group appoints Carl Webber as new UK retail director: Snowfox Group, which also owns the YO!, Panku, Bento and Taiko brands, has appointed Carl Webber, formerly of PizzaExpress and JD Wetherspoon, as its new UK retail director, Propel understands. Webber joins Snowfox, which was acquired by Japanese foodservice company Zensho Holdings in a deal valued at $621m (£494.5m), last month after nearly a decade at PizzaExpress, including the past eight years as a regional operations director. He also previously spent more than eight years at JD Wetherspoon, including five years as a regional operations director. Last month, YO! opened its 300th in-store sushi kiosk with Tesco in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, with plans to add a further 35 sites this year. Over recent weeks, Tesco kiosks have also opened in Brislington, Taunton, Ludlow and Holyhead. The business also operates circa 125 kiosks under its Panku brand within Asda stores.
Market Taverns adds Putney Village pub to its estate: Market Taverns, the privately owned pub company operating pubs across London, has secured its latest site, in Putney Village. The Richard Peachment-led, 12-strong business has acquired The Spencer on Putney Common for a £275,000 premium, with a passing rent of £120,000 per annum. The company also operates the likes of the Lady Ottoline in Bloomsbury, The Perseverance in Holborn and The Carpenter's Arms in Marylebone. Paul Tallentyre of Davis Coffer Lyons acted on the Putney deal.
PizzaExpress launches new delivery platform: PizzaExpress, the Paula MacKenzie-led business, has launched a new delivery platform, PizzaExpress Delivers, exclusive to Uber Eats, which it said represents the next stage of its omnichannel growth. The roll-out follows a successful trial at selected Pizzerias earlier this year. It follows the expansion of delivery at the brand last year, with the business launching on both Uber Eats and Just Eat. The business said the strategic expansion has allowed it to reach new customers, with some PizzaExpress sites doubling their delivery volumes in recent months. The company said: “To support delivery growth through the new partnerships and through PizzaExpress Delivers, the brand continues to optimise its 360-plus restaurants for delivery – from introducing a market-leading order integration and menu management software, to adding new hatches for a seamless driver collection. The team is also operating a number of trials – including extended pizzeria opening hours for late night pizza deliveries and ‘create your own’ pizzas.” Tom Hatcher, PizzaExpress delivery and collection director, added: “Launching PizzaExpress Delivers marks the extension of our omnichannel proposition, where we have led the casual dining market for many years, serving customers across dine in, retail, collection and delivery.”
Healthy bowl concept Atis adds click-and-collect store to Eccleston Yards site: Healthy bowl concept Atis has added a click-and-collect store to its existing site in London’s Eccleston Yards. The company, which earlier this spring opened its fifth site in the capital, at the Borough Yards scheme, said that due to the “ever-growing demand for its salads”, it has decided to dedicate a whole store to Deliveroo and click-and-collect orders. Atis, which was launched by husband-and-wife team Phil Honer and Eleanor Warder, with operations director, Connor Arnette, in Shoreditch in 2019, also operates sites in Canary Wharf and Notting Hill.
Napoleons owner reports turnover and profit well above pre-pandemic levels: A&S Leisure Group, owner of casino operator Napoleons, has reported turnover and profits well above pre-pandemic levels in the year ending 30 September 2022. Turnover more than doubled from £17,654,473 in 2021 to £40,423,222. This compares with £26,7165,312 in the last full year before the pandemic, ending 30 September 2019. Of the 2022 figure, £33,794,394 came from casino gross gaming yield, with £3,240,434 coming from racing income and £3,387,854 from “other turnover”. The family-owned group also operates Sheffield Sports Stadium and Players Club UK. Pre-tax profit shot up from £154,656 in 2021 to £10,155,529 (2019: £2,101,847). It received £35,440 in government grants (2021: £4,446,959) and £28,980 in other grants (2021: £29,953). Dividends of £1m were paid (2021: nil). Administrative costs rose from £7,509,093 to £12,013,647, while the group has net assets of £45m. The company said: “While the directors are confident of the company’s future, the current state of the UK economy will put pressure on business results. However, the group has strong cash reserves to act as a cushion against any deterioration in the trading position, and efforts continue to reduce costs wherever possible. The directors expect the 2023 year to continue the significantly improved performance observed in 2022.”
Golf club concept Pitch eyes Canary Wharf opening: Golf club concept Pitch is eyeing a third opening in London, in Canary Wharf. The business, which opened its second site in the capital last April, in Soho, plans to open a site under the WeWork site at 30 Churchill Place. Pitch, which is the brainchild of friends and golf professionals Elliot Godfrey and Chris Ingham, secured a site at 8-14 Meard Street for its second venue. Pitch was launched in London’s Bishopsgate more than four years ago, complete with state-of-the-art golf technology. In 2021, the business told Propel the opening of its second site would form the first phase of a rapid expansion across London, with a view to opening multiple sites over the next two years across the capital. Players have the choice of playing more than 60 of the world’s most popular golf courses, including classic venues such as Wentworth and Royal Troon.
Ready Burger closes crowdfunding campaign after raising more than £290,000: Ready Burger, the plant-based restaurant concept founded by boxer Anthony Joshua’s former personal chef Adam Clark, has closed its crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube after raising more than £290,000 as it looks to open a new flagship site. The business was aiming to raise £250,000, offering 3.5% equity, with a pre-money valuation of £6,902,385. The campaign has now closed after raising £291,460 from 255 investors. Last week, the business revealed it was closing in on a second London site and looking to expand through franchising following interest from overseas. Last year, Ready Burger converted its only site in London’s Crouch End into a dark kitchen. Advisors to the business include Nick Ayerst, who is chief executive of Comptoir Group, and was managing director of TRG Concessions and Leon; and Jasper Reid, the founder of IMM, which advises brands on international expansion and owns the Jamie Oliver restaurant chains in India. Jonathan Dockrell, formerly of EAT, Deliveroo, Camille Thai and Itsu, is working with the business as a consultant operations director.
Portuguese pastelaria concept Santa Nata plans Borough opening: Portuguese pastelaria concept Santa Nata, which made its UK debut in 2019 with the launch of two sites in Covent Garden, is to open a third site in London, near London Bridge. The business, which opened its first regional UK site last October, in Oxford, will open later this summer in the Borough Yards scheme. The company, which also operates sites in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, made its regional debut at 7 Cornmarket Street. The business is working with Seeds Consulting on its expansion plans, with a target of 25-plus UK locations over the next three years, mainly via franchising, and to expand overseas in partnership with qualified multi-unit franchisees. The concept focuses on pastel de nata – a Portuguese pastry with egg custard filling – and also offers Portuguese cherry liqueur ginjinha port and an espresso known as bica. Co-founder Francisco Oliveira’s family have been baking since 1900 and own seven bakeries in Portugal. Distrkt represents Borough Yards.
Wendy’s UK franchisee plans Leeds opening: Square Burger, which is from the team behind the Papas Fish & Chips business, has lined up a third opening under its franchise agreement with Wendy’s, in Leeds. At the end of last year, Wendy’s opened its first traditional franchise site in the UK, in Sheffield, in partnership with Square Burger. A second site under the agreement has subsequently opened in Lincoln’s High Street. The business now plans to open on the former Samsung unit on Briggate, in Leeds. Wendy’s currently operates 15 restaurant sites in the UK, with further franchise openings lined up in Portsmouth, Guildford, Peterborough and Cambridge. Last month, Wendy’s confirmed it is set to open a site at the Ram Jam Services in Rutland on the A1(M) through franchisee Blank Table. Wendy’s has so far approved six franchisees, who will take on territories including Scotland and Wales.
Phil Howard set to open second Notto site: Michelin-starred London chef Phil Howard is set to open a second site under his pasta bar concept Notto. Howard – who is behind Elystan Street, Church Road, and Kitchen W8 – launched Notto in London’s Piccadilly in November 2022, having changed its name from Otto following a legal issue. The venture, with business partner Julian Dyer of Pots & Co, was a first bricks and mortar site for the concept, having initially launched as an online delivery service in May 2021. Howard is now planning to open a second site, due to launch later this year at 4 Henrietta Street in Covent Garden. It will have a similar layout to the first site, with a bar and high tables at the front and a more traditional restaurant at the back, reports Hot Dinners.
Scottish hotel operator sees pre-tax profit jump to £5m as business bounces back from covid: RAD Hotels, which operates eight hotels in Scotland, has reported turnover increased 158% to £23,341,072 for the year ending 30 June 2022 compared with £9,039,505 the previous year. The company, owned by Robert and Vivien Kyle, saw pre-tax profit rise to £4,988,734 from £825,741 the year before. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “We were strategically placed to take advantage of the pent-up customer demand for leisure discretionary spend on accommodation and hospitality and to cater for the accumulation of weddings and events, which had been postponed during the pandemic. The endeavours of our highly motivated and professional weddings and events departments in retaining and rescheduling came to fruition in the year under consideration and has created a very healthy order book for the next two to three years. The company was able to make the most of the support provided by VAT reductions and local authority rates relief for hospitality to recover lost ground and grow the business through its operations in the hotels and leisure resorts market.” Since the year end, the business has added the Brig O’Doon Hotel in Alloway for £3.6m and the Fairfield Hotel in Ayr for £2.1m to its portfolio. It also operates the Lochside House Hotel, New Cumnock; The Royal Hotel, Cumnock; The Carlton Hotel, Prestwick; Dalmeny Park Hotel, Glasgow; Hetland Hall, Dumfries; and The Radstone Hotel, Larknall. The business is also in talks to acquire another unnamed site and has set aside £4m for various developments within the estate. The company received government grants of £13,241 (2021: £357,940). No dividend was paid (2021: nil).
Bao to open further noodle shop concept site at Battersea: London operator Bao – which was founded by Shing Tat Chung, Erchen Chang and Wai Ting Chung, and is backed by JKS Restaurants – is to open a further site under its noodle shop concept later this month (17 July), at the Battersea Power Station scheme. Overlooking the high-ceilinged Turbine Hall A, Bao Battersea, the brand’s sixth site, will offer bowls of Taiwanese noodle soup seven days a week, along with a line-up of brand new dishes exclusive to the restaurant. The restaurant can seat 78 diners, with ten further diners in a private KTV room which can be booked for karaoke parties, with decor inspired by the old Power Station control panels. The site will also serve a kids’ set menu for the very first time, and will deliver its noodle dishes for the very first time from the new site. Co-founder Chang said: “As we all have backgrounds in art and design, it feels very special to be opening Bao Battersea in such an iconic building. The menu reflects the comforting soup bowls that we grew up with in Taiwan, along with some exciting new dishes that we’ve been working on behind the scenes.”
Vegan Shack closes crowdfunding campaign after raising almost £200,000: Vegan Shack has closed its crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube, to help it develop delivery kitchens and “test new cities”, after raising almost £200,000. The concept has two stores – in Manchester and London – with £104,000 revenue in the year to date (February to April 2023) and positive Ebitda of £21,000. This compares with £272,000 revenue in FY22, up 23% on FY21, and Ebitda of £25,500. It was offering investors on Crowdcube 11.39% equity, giving it a pre-money valuation of £1.4m. The campaign has now closed after raising £199,327.70 from 220 investors. The company said: “From humble beginnings as a side hustle – and all while fully bootstrapped – we’ve opened stores in Manchester and London and have sales via UberEats, Deliveroo, in-store and through our own site, and amassed almost 20,000 Instagram followers. We also have an 82% repeat order rate for delivery and collection and rave reviews from our customers. We’re now set to build on our success and shake up the fast-food industry with delivery kitchens and testing new cities.”
The Stock Exchange Hotel closes its Schofield brothers’ brasserie after just four months: The Stock Exchange Hotel, the Manchester city centre hotel owned by Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, has closed its British brasserie from the Schofield brothers, Stock Market Grill, after just four months. The restaurant, from Joe and Daniel Schofield, opened in March, replacing the Bull & Bear, the restaurant from Tom Kerridge that previously operated there. In a statement, Stock Market Grill said: “Stock Exchange Hotel has taken the decision to close the doors to Stock Market Grill. The restaurant will, however, continue to serve breakfast and in-room dining to all overnight guests. In the meantime, the focus will be on Sterling, the premium cocktail bar located in The Vault at the Stock Exchange Hotel. The team is continuing to develop the Sterling concept and its offering.” The restaurant had opened with head chef Joshua Reed-Cooper, who had previously worked at Michelin-star restaurant Mana in Manchester, at the helm alongside wine expert James Brandwood. Joe Schofield said at the time of the launch: “This will be our first restaurant venture, but we do have 20 years’ experience in world class restaurants during that time. We’ve got a great relationship with the hotel, when we were having conversations about opening a restaurant it felt natural and it felt organic, and we’ve put together a concept that we’re really excited about.”
Edinburgh’s The Caledonian Hotel acquired in £85m deal: The Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh has been bought in a deal worth £85m. The 241-bedroom property, known as the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, has been acquired by Henderson Park, a private real estate investment fund manager, in tandem with Klarent Hospitality, a hotel operator and asset manager. Since it was formed in 2016, London-based Henderson Park has invested $14bn in real estate assets across Europe in sectors such as hospitality, retail, offices and student housing, reports The Times. Many of the hotel assets Henderson Park acquires are either managed or franchised by Hilton Worldwide. These include the Hilton Metropole hotels in Birmingham and London, the latter of which is one of Britain’s biggest hotels with 1,059 rooms. The Caledonian, in Princes Street, becomes the third Edinburgh hotel in the Hilton portfolio of Henderson Park and Klarent. It follows the purchase of the Carlton in North Bridge and the DoubleTree Edinburgh Airport as part of a collection of 12 hotels with 2,424 rooms in November 2021. The Caledonian Hotel was acquired from Twenty Fourteen Holdings, which is based in Abu Dhabi and is part of Yusuff Ali’s LuLu Group International. The Indian billionaire bought the hotel from Goldman Sachs in 2018, for the same £85m price tag. The hotel has been part of the Hilton chain since 2000 and was relaunched under the American group’s super-luxury Waldorf Astoria brand in 2012 after a £24m upgrade.
Fried chicken concept Buck’s Bar set to open second Edinburgh site and fifth overall: Glasgow American-style fried chicken restaurant Buck’s Bar is to open its second Edinburgh site and fifth overall. It is planning to open in the former La Rusticana site at 90 Hanover Street later this year. It comes just three months after the concept, which was founded by Michael Bergson in 2016, made its Edinburgh debut, at 32-34 Grindlay Street. The first Buck’s Bar opened in Glasgow’s West Regent Street in 2016, which was followed by an opening in the city’s Trongate in October 2019 and then in Cathcart Road in Glasgow’s southside in February 2022. The company pulled out of a fourth opening in Glasgow, in the city’s West End, last summer. Buck’s Bar specialises in buttermilk fried chicken, wings and huge burgers served on wooden trays.
Investment in Nottingham-based Tenpin site acquired for £5.7m: A UK-based private family office has acquired the freehold investment of the Tenpin site in Nottingham, for £5.7m. The circa 37,600 square-foot property is let to Tenpin Limited, one of the largest bowling brands in the UK, for a further 27 years and benefits from RPI-linked uplifts. The price of £5.7m reflected a net initial yield of 7.60%. Tenpin operates 49 sites, equating to approximately 1,100 lanes. Revenue for the year ending 1 January 2023 was £126.7m up from £56.9m (122%) in the 12 months prior. Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, which acted for the buyer, said “Tenpin are trading extremely well, as evidenced by their strong trading update, and their site in Nottingham is a top performer. Tenpin’s operating model has evolved in recent years from the traditional ten-pin bowl format to include multiple ancillary revenue avenues including food and beverage, escape rooms, arcades and karaoke. This is an example of how experiential leisure as a concept has developed to satisfy the ever-changing demands of the ever-demanding consumer. With respect to the market, the appetite for long let inflationary linked leisure investments remains robust, with assets that have good visibility on trade such as Nottingham, continuing to transact in strong locations”. Montagu Evans represented the vendor, an institutional investor.
Arc Inspirations to close all sites today to host company festival: Arc Inspirations, the Martin Wolstencroft-led business, will today (Tuesday, 4 July) close all its sites to host a company festival. All 19 sites under the Banyan Bar & Kitchen, BOX and Manahatta brands will shut to allow more than 1,000 team members to attend the first Arc in the Park. A main stage of live performances all day will include music from Urban Soul Family Gospel Choir, Gypsies of Bohemia, New York Brass Band, Kristix Drumming and Sweet on Sax. Team members will be able to choose from a range of street food options, a variety of drinks and enjoy an array of garden games and a silent disco. The event will also include the company’s annual Nobody Does It Better awards, which recognise unsung heroes in the business. Arc Inspirations co-founder and chief executive Martin Wolstencroft said: “As we continue to grow, it becomes more important than ever to attract and retain the best people, and we’re always looking at ways to incentivise and reward our people for their hard work. Arc in the Park will be the mother of all summer parties and I can’t wait to bring everybody together for a really special day.” Arc Inspirations posted record revenue and profits of £38.9m and £7.5m respectively for its most recent financial year (ending March 2022) and recently launched its largest BOX venue to date, in Brindleyplace, Birmingham. The company is planning to open at least four more sites in a “transformational” next 12 months including BOX in Nottingham and Manahatta in Newcastle, with an ambition to open 50 sites by 2030.