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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 11th Jul 2023 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Pizza Pilgrims seeing ‘exponential growth in every single pizzeria’, builds regional pipeline: Gavin Smith, managing director at Pizza Pilgrims, the London based pizzeria brand, has told Propel the business is witnessing “exponential growth in every single pizzeria”, with sales up 22% in the last 12 weeks versus 2022. It comes as the 22-strong company said it had a “strong year of trading”in the 12 months to 26 June 2022, with sales of £21,012,364 (2021: £11,699,027) and Ebitda of £1.1m, up 56% on the previous year. Pre-tax losses stood at £333,768 (2021: £290,117) in a year when it opened two new sites. Smith said: “After Christmas and Omicron we saw a rapid movement in volumes. We were encouraged by year-end and we were really bullish. We put quite a chunky budget in for this year, which ended June 2022. We beat our sales budget by £1.5m. We’ve seen exponential growth in every single pizzeria. In the last 12 weeks, we are at 22% sales growth, 17% covers year on year, like-for-like, excluding the impact of new openings. If you look across the week, we are seeing more of that growth Monday to Thursday than we are seeing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So, we’ve got a bit more resilience in that time slot across the week. Non eating-in revenue (including delivery and click and collect) is pretty much the same, around 19% of our overall sales. Around 16% of that is coming from Deliveroo. Just Eat for Business is also in solid growth.” This week sees the launch of the company’s new innovative menu, which is heavily influenced by the founders’ latest Italian pilgrimage to Napoli. Pizza Pilgrims opened its latest site, in Queens Park, last week, and is now looking to further build its openings pipeline both in and outside the capital. Smith said: “When we were only operating in Oxford, the challenge was in demonstrating the relevance of Pizza Pilgrims outside of London, but having opened in Brighton, Cambridge and Nottingham, we can see that picture clearer now. They are all trading well ahead of expectation, growing and being very well received locally. We are also looking for interesting sites in cities such as Bristol, Cardiff and Edinburgh, and we have just confirmed a location in Leeds, which we hope to open later this year.” Propel understands that the business is also in talks on a site in the Battersea Power Station development, Paddington Square and Kings Cross. It will also invest over £1m this financial year in refurbishing some of its existing sites. At the same time, the business has strengthened its operations team with the recent appointment of Clive Watkins, formerly of Wahaca, Bill’s and Bob & Bert, as its new regional managing partner.

Industry News:

Sponsored message – hospitality specific ‘refer-a-friend’ mechanic launched by Toggle: Toggle, the hospitality commerce platform, has launched its referral campaign mechanic – “Toggle Champions”. The booster means hospitality operators can build campaigns that incentivise their best customers (or influencers, team members or local businesses) to encourage their friends, family and followers to visit your venue for the first time. This is all managed, tracked, issued and redeemed through the Toggle platform. “Toggle Champions” is available half-price until 31 August thanks to Toggle’s latest campaign: “The Booster Brigade”. Those attending the Social Media for Profit masterclass on Thursday, 20 July can witness a live demo during the event, as well as trialling it themselves straight after, at The Libertine – drinks sponsored by Toggle. Read all about Champions and how to book a demo here. If you have a sponsored message you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email
CGA’s Karl Chessell to speak at Propel summer conference and party, three free places per company for operators: Karl Chessell, director at CGA Nielsen, 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. Chessell will set out the current eating and drinking-out landscape, the key trends of the year and what will shape the next 12 months. Three free places per company for operators can be claimed. A room can also be booked for the evening. For more details, email
Latest Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector companies’ profit outstripping losses by £511m, up from £60m last month: The next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which will be sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (14 July), shows the profit being made by sector companies is now outstripping losses by £511m. The Blue Book shows the total profit of the 745 companies in the list is £3,272,517,901 and losses are £2,761,785,504. Last month, the Blue Book showed sector companies’ profit outstripping losses by £60m – the first time this has happened since the covid pandemic. The Blue Book is updated each month and ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Premium subscribers are also to receive access to all the videos from last month’s Propel Multi-Club Conference featuring the sector’s finest female leaders and entrepreneurs. Premium subscribers will be sent 11 videos on Friday (14 July) at 9am, where female sector leaders share the lessons they have learned and moving forward. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.
Aqua Restaurants Group HR director – we must give employees the same experiences we give guests: Claire Clarke, HR director at Hong Kong-based Aqua Restaurant Group, which operates several venues in London, has said sector businesses must strive to give their employees the same experiences they give to guests. “People are the biggest value that a business has,” Clarke told the Propel Women’s Conference. “I had a chat with our business manager, and he said it costs next to nothing to retain someone, but thousands to rehire and retrain. We’re in hospitality, we make sure our best experience is second to none, but more often than not we don’t apply the same experience to our employees. The random acts of kindness – the little shot of Limoncello we give our guests at the end of the meal without a second thought – the same should apply to our teams. Just saying thank you doesn’t cost anything. Simply giving our teams the tools to do their job and making sure they’re paid on time and correctly. Really simple things like letting them know they’re valued and creating career pathways and a culture of inclusivity.” Expanding further on the sector’s recruitment crisis, Clarke said businesses should not treat youngsters any differently, even if they’re only in it for the short term. “We’ve got to be agile enough to think that Generation Z won’t stay in a business for 18 months or two years, so how can we create an environment where they can flourish and know that it might be a stepping stone?” she added. “Hospitality can be a breeding ground for such talent. They will still be our customers at the end of the day, they might leave as employees but will still be guests. Give them the opportunities to grow in the business but still accept they are going to leave.” Propel revealed last month that the David Yeo-led Aqua Restaurant Group is planning to launch a restaurant called Luci in The Yard’s development, in Covent Garden. It will a sixth opening in London for the group alongside Shiro, Aqua Shard, Hutong, Aqua Kyoto and Aqua Nueva. Clarke’s presentation will be among the videos from the Propel Multi-Club Conference that Premium subscribers will be given exclusive access to on Friday (14 July) at 9am. 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.
Total number of UK breweries increases slightly in second quarter: The total number of UK breweries rose very slightly in the second quarter of 2023, according to new figures. Covering the period from the start of April to the end of June, the Society of Independent Breweries’ (SIBA) Brewery Tracker showed the net brewery number across the UK grew by two over that period. “Seeing the net brewery number rise across the UK is not only a sign that confidence in the sector remains, but that the demand for quality locally made beer continues to rise,” said SIBA chief executive Andy Slee. “However, there has been a significant number of brewery closures and change of ownership, with some consolidation and buyouts alongside new businesses opening. So, while modest growth is ahead of expectations and common perception, it’s not quite the overly positive picture that the headline figures paint.” The south east saw the largest increase in brewery numbers (three), with the Midlands and the east of England also in growth (both up by two), and Wales saw numbers increase by one. The north west, west of England and south west saw no net change in brewery numbers, whereas Scotland had the largest decrease (three), followed by Northern Ireland (two) and the north east (one).
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a luxury five-star country property in Essex that is seeking an operations manager. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will manage the profitability of the hotel along with hitting targets; implement a clear five-star service strategy; develop, and recruit a fantastic and motivated team; and oversee the day-to-day running of the property. It is essential your background includes working in five-star or luxury hotels, you are passionate about food and beverage, have a strong financial acumen and have exceptional communication skills and a hands-on operational approach.” The salary is up to £65,000 and the position is based in Essex. For more information, email

Company News:

Jeremy King confirms plans to open Hyde Park restaurant, eyes West End return: Jeremy King, co-founder of Corbin & King, has confirmed he is to make a return to the capital’s dining scene, with an opening in Hyde Park. As revealed by Propel earlier this week, King will open a restaurant at the new Park Modern development on the corner of Bayswater Road and Queensway, opposite the now being rebuilt entry to Kensington Palace Gardens. The circa 6,000 square-foot restaurant will be known as “The Park” and King, who has recently up new companies – Park Restaurant Holdings and Park Restaurant Trading – said it will be “very much within the grand cafés and brasseries mould that I love so much, but it is, however, very much of the early 21st century rather than 20th”. The Park will open early spring 2024. King said: “London remains in a state of flux and I carefully considered several options before deciding to start with The Park. It won’t, however, be my only project, and hopefully it won’t be long before I am bringing you news of a return to the West End as well.” King left Corbin & King last April after Minor International acquired 100% of the business when it was placed into administration, having held a 74% share since 2017. The acquisition saw King leave the business, which changed its name to The Wolseley Hospitality Group last summer. He said: “While the last thing I wanted to do was lose the restaurants, and indeed walk away from my extraordinary staff and colleagues without so much as a goodbye, it might also have been, in retrospect, the best thing that could happen to me – although it was impossible to deduce that at the time. I still tear up when I reflect on just how supportive, caring and concerned both customers and staff were in my time of need. So, moving on, I can confirm I am getting back in the saddle – or perhaps more precisely, getting the hacking jacket tailored and building the stable.” King said he hoped that those who will come to his new restaurant would “experience the benefits of my enforced sojourn and what I have learnt in my time away”. He added: “I am determined to be a better restaurateur, employer and friend.”
Doubts surround future of Pelicana brand in the UK: The future of South Korean fried chicken brand Pelicana in the UK has been placed in doubt after its parent company here was placed into liquidation and its two sites temporarily closed. The brand made its UK debut in Hammersmith Broadway shopping centre in April 2021, while a second site opened in Angel Central last year. The concept was launched in the UK by Wasabi founder Dong Hyum Kim, who acquired the UK franchise rights to the South Korean fried chicken brand. Pelicana is South Korea’s leading fried chicken brand, serving its signature seasoned fried chicken in more than 1,800 stores across Asia, Australia and the US. Kim continues to operate two sites in London, under Pelicana’s sister brand Myungrang Hot Dog, in Angel Central and in Wimbledon. 
Pub People Company accelerates expansion plans, strengthens management team: Midlands pub company Pub People Company has accelerated its expansion plans by making several freehold acquisitions, boosted investment into its existing business and bolstered its management team. The business, which is led by Andrew Crawford and backed by Downing, said it had increased the size of its pubs’ freehold estate by circa 50% to 30 pubs. This includes an acquisition of a portfolio of five pubs last month, from one of the UK’s largest tied pub landlords, which the group had operated on a tied-leasehold basis for more than ten years. The company said it has several other freehold acquisitions in the pipeline. In May, Downing also provided the funds to refinance the group’s bank debt from NatWest. Pub People Company said Downing has set aside a “significant amount of capital for further acquisitions and investment”, with no near to medium-term requirement to raise funding from third-party lenders. It said: “Despite a substantial number of pubs being available in the market, the group is focused on acquisitions where it believes it can deploy capital investment to rejuvenate underinvested or undermanaged pubs to achieve minimum net weekly sales of £10,000. The group has continued to trade strongly, with year-to-date revenues and Ebitda ahead of the business plan and the recently acquired pubs trading ahead of their initial expectations.” The business, in which Downing became a majority shareholder last September, also confirmed the appointment of Sarah Strachan, formerly of Punch Pubs, as its new chief financial officer. Pub People said it is also “accelerating the deployment of investment into its existing business”, including pub refurbishments, a new financial reporting system at its Derbyshire head office and installing a new EPoS solution across the estate. Crawford said: “The recent acquisitions and investment underlines our commitment to expanding our high-quality estate of pubs. I am excited to progress our discussions for further acquisitions in the coming months, which will support the group’s bid to become a market leader in its chosen regions.” Gautam Chhabra, Investment director at Downing, added: “We are committed to substantially increasing the size of the group’s freehold estate and geographical footprint.”
McDonald’s makes changes to rewards scheme with more free food on offer: McDonald’s has made a change to its rewards scheme, with more free food now on offer. The company has introduced a new points milestone and on it are four customer favourites: the McMuffin, McSpicy, double quarter pounder with cheese and the McCrispy. These items are all now available when customers reach 5,500 points. In addition to this, the existing rewards levels have been made more generous. Along with previous items, customers can now also redeem a regular cold soft drink, an apple pie or a Filet-O-Fish when collecting points via the McDonald’s app. Customers who are opted in to MyMcDonald’s Rewards and order and pay through the app will automatically earn points on their order, including through delivery. When customers reach 1,500 points, they can choose between menu items including small fries, a hash brown, a regular cold soft drink or a side salad. With 2,500 points, a double cheeseburger, Vegetable Deluxe or apple pie is available and when 4,000 points is hit, customers can choose between menu favourites like six chicken McNuggets, a Big Mac or a Filet-O-Fish. There is also an option for customers to donate the cash equivalent of their points to charity.
PubLove reports ‘strong trading’ with like-for-like sales up 27% as it actively seeks pipeline opportunities: PubLove, the hostel-pub company founded by Ben Stackhouse, has reported “strong trading”, with current like-for-like sales up almost 27%, as it actively seeks pipeline opportunities, Propel has learned. It also said it will continue to be supported by its joint venture partners, Stonegate. “Current trading is strong and we’re confident this will continue,” Stackhouse said. “We’re currently trading up 26.7% like-for-like in the year to date, driven by a buoyant accommodation market and healthy food and beverage sales growth. This increase in sales and some good margin improvements are helping to offset some of the cost pressure pain, but obviously we’re not immune to the current huge cost of doing business. Overall, we remain positive about our offer and place in the market and we are actively hunting for pipeline opportunities within our Stonegate joint venture partnership.” It comes as PubLove returned to profit in the year ending 30 September 2022. It turned a £849,000 pre-tax loss in 2021 into a profit of £215,000 during the period. Revenue rose from £2,014,000 in 2021 to £5,757,000. The company received £32,000 in government grants (2021: £288,000) while nets liabilities were £3,576,000 (2021: £3,733,000). No dividends were paid (2021: nil).
Oak Taverns refinances after securing £2.5m loan: Multi-site operator Oak Taverns has refinanced after securing a new £2.5m bank loan. The 14-strong business secured the new financing package from Cynergy Bank, with the deal secured against eight of its pubs based around Oxfordshire. Cynergy Bank said the deal enabled Oak Taverns to refinance across the estate and replenish funds from an earlier acquisition. The new financing package also provides a commitment of further funding to grow the company “in line with its business plan and aspirations”. The loan was structured over a five-year term, with an initial 12-month interest-only period followed by a 24-year repayment profile. Simon Collinson, director of Oak Taverns, said: “We completed a refinance across the estate that has put us in a great position to grow our 32-year-old family business. We are in the hospitality industry where relationships with our customers and team is key to our success. In our experience Cynergy Bank holds the same values.” Thomas Wallace, relationship manager, Cynergy Bank, added: “The customer has a growth plan in place, which they are working towards and the bank is excited to help it with this project.”
Vapiano closes Edinburgh restaurant: Vapiano, which is owned by the Mario C Bauer-led consortium Love & Food Restaurant Holdings, has closed its Edinburgh restaurant – five years after opening near Princes Street. The restaurant, on South St David Street, was the only Scottish location remaining after the Glasgow branch closed three years ago after 13 months of trade. The reasons for its closure are unclear but the building has been covered up and a message has been printed on the shop front to inform customers, reports the Edinburgh News. It reads: “We’d like to thank everyone who has joined us for our fresh pasta and pizza over the last five years. It’s been an absolute pleasure to welcome you in. Until next time, Team Vapiano.” The restaurant closed for more than 18 months during covid and reopened in September 2021. In December 2022, Vapiano opened what was then its sixth UK restaurant, at 50 Eastbourne Terrace in Paddington, London. It also operates several delivery kitchens in London.
Maven Leisure to open at Islington’s Angel Central for fourth site: Maven Leisure, the venture from ETM Group’s co-founder Ed Martin, chief financial officer Landen Prescott Brann and non-executive chairman Graham Turner, has secured its fourth site. The company has agreed a deal with CBRE Investment Management to launch Northwood at Angel Central, as it continues its expansion across London. Set to open in September, Northwood will cover 3,600 square feet on the first floor. Martin said: “We’re excited about opening Northwood, Islington’s first dedicated sports bar. The area has been on our radar for quite some time now as it’s a borough full of bustling young professionals and families, which suits the demographic for our premium sports pubs and kitchens. The space at Angel Central will ensure we’re front and centre with a range of visitors come day or night.” Maven Leisure dealt direct, while CBRE and Colliers act for Angel Central. Maven Leisure also operates Beechwood Sports Pub & Kitchen in Principal Place, rooftop bar and restaurant Wagtail in King William Street and Goldwood Sports Pub and Kitchen in Old Jewry Street.
Chopstix strengthens Haven franchise partnership with two new openings: Fast growing quick service restaurant (QSR) brand Chopstix has expanded its franchise partnership with holiday park operator Haven with the opening of two new sites. The openings at Presthaven, North Wales, and Haggerston Castle, Northumberland, follow the launch of the first Chopstix site with Haven last summer at Craig Tara in Ayrshire. Craig Tara quickly became one of the strongest performing Chopstix sites in Scotland, and the unit’s immediate popularity has influenced the decision to open these two new sites. Chopstix and Haven said they are eager to explore additional roll outs. As with Craig Tara, full management of the Presthaven and Haggerston Castle sites is overseen by Haven, with all team members undergoing a full Chopstix induction. Expansion through both company-operated locations and franchisees has been decisive in driving Chopstix’s growth trajectory. Already the largest Asian-inspired QSR brand in the UK, the company has set its sights on becoming the largest Asian QSR on the continent, with expansion expected to ramp-up exponentially over the next five years, with the long-term ambition of the founders, Sam Elia and Menashe Sadik, to reach 500 sites. Sadik said “The first six months of trading at Craig Tara showed how significant the appetite for Chopstix noodles is among Haven guests, and how well the brand works in this format. This early success has given us the impetus to accelerate expansion with Haven, and I’m delighted we’re now in a position to launch two new sites at the Presthaven and Haggerston Castle resorts, right as Haven enters its peak season. We’re excited to see how this partnership develops.”
Cambridgeshire and Essex McDonald’s franchisee falls to loss following ‘significant’ cost pressures despite turnover exceeding £60m: McDonalds franchisee AFA Restaurants, which operates a portfolio of restaurants across Cambridgeshire and Essex, has reported “significant” cost pressures resulted in the business making a pre-tax loss of £54,781 for the year ending 31 December 2022 compared with a profit of £4,702,886 the previous year. Turnover increased to £60,503,254 from £53,356,818 the year before. Gross profit margin was down to £65.31% from 70.10% the previous year. In his report accompanying the accounts, owner Ahmet Mustafa stated: “Despite an improvement in turnover, significant cost pressures have led to a fall in margins and a reduction in profit.” Net assets stood at £6.97m (20211: £7.30m). Dividends of £86,904 were paid (2021: £37,500). Mustafa worked his way up in McDonald’s before he became a franchisee in 2013.
Prezzo appoints Matthew Leggatt as new property director: Prezzo, the Cain International-backed Italian dining group, has appointed Matthew Leggatt, formerly of David Lloyd Leisure and Andrew Brownsword Hotels, as its new property director. Leggatt joins Prezzo after more than four and a half years as head of property maintenance at David Lloyd Leisure. Previous to that he spent more than three and a half years as group property manager at Andrew Brownsword Hotels. Last week, Prezzo received approval from the High Court for its restructuring plan, which it said “brings to an end the strategic reshaping of the business”. The group’s restructuring plan was approved by the Honourable Mr Justice Richard Smith, who concluded: “I am satisfied in all the circumstances of this case that the plan is a fair one.” The approval ends the strategic review the company announced this spring, which included the closure of 47 sites. Prezzo said it will allow the business to focus on securing a long-term, sustainable future across its now 97-strong restaurant estate. The company said the remaining sites have delivered “strong like-for-like sales in 2023”. The business said it is now “well positioned to cater to changing consumer habits”, with plans to continue its investment in menu excellence and range, “using high quality ingredients and the skill of talented chefs to deliver a menu that stands out in the casual dining market”.
Bagel Factory to make south of England debut with Southampton site: Grab-and-go brand Bagel Factory, which is owned by Cremonini Group, one of the largest European food operators, is set to open its debut site in the south of England. Bagel Factory has agreed a deal with Hammerson to open at Westquay in Southampton. The 770 square-foot venue in the food court will mark Bagel Factory’s third opening of 2023 and its 23rd overall. The business, which was acquired by the Cremonini Group in summer 2012 in a deal believed to be worth in the region of £2m, revealed plans earlier this year to more than double its estate by 2025.

Chelsea FC footballer partners with Inca co-founders for London Mexican restaurant: Chelsea FC footballer Hakim Ziyech has partnered with the co-founders of Inca in London’s Mayfair for a new Mexican restaurant in the capital. Taco Taco will open at 141 Commercial Street in Shoreditch on Wednesday, 26 July, reports Hot Dinners. Two of the co-founders are Damien Aiudi and Nathaneal Dadoun, who are part of the team behind Inca, while the other co-founder is Alex Peircy, who also works in property and recruitment. The tacos will come with all manner of toppings, including scrambled eggs and sautéed shrimp, with a focus on quality ingredients. There will also be takeaway items, a breakfast menu and an all-day menu, plus vegan and vegetarian options.
Tortilla confirms Northern Ireland debut plans: Tortilla, the UK’s largest fast-casual Mexican restaurant brand, has confirmed it will make its debut in Northern Ireland, in Belfast, this month. As revealed by Propel in January, the Richard Morris-led business, which also has an opening lined up in Bracknell for later this summer, will open a site in Belfast’s Arthur Square, near Victoria Square shopping centre, next Friday (21 July). Tortilla has secured a ground floor unit previously used by Google and shoe retailer Hotter, which has been vacant since October 2020. The restaurant will create up to 30 jobs. Morris said: “We’re thrilled to finally be opening in the city of Belfast. We’ve got a fantastic location in the city centre and a passionate team who embody the values of our friendly local brand. Tortilla exists to make life better with burritos, and the response we’ve had in the lead-up to opening has been overwhelmingly positive.” Tortilla operates more than 80 sites across the UK and through partnerships with SSP Group, Compass UK & Ireland, Growth Kitchens and Karma Kitchens. Internationally, it also operates in the Middle East, with ten stores in Dubai and Saudi Arabia under a franchise agreement. 
Forest Holidays reports seven-month profits higher than previous 12 months following sale to Sykes: Forest Holidays has reported seven-month profits higher than the previous 12 months following its sale to holiday property rental business Sykes Holiday Cottages. The holiday park operator, which operates 11 sites across England, Scotland and Wales, was sold to Forge Holiday Group, Sykes’ new parent brand, in April 2022. Forest Holidays has since realigned its accounting year and followed its last 12-month report, for the year ending 3 March 2022, with a seven-month report, for the period ending 30 September 2022. For the year ending 3 March 2022, turnover was £55,838,000 and pre-tax profit was £6,412,000, with Ebitda of £28,728,000. For the period ending 30 September 2022, turnover was £37,569,000 and pre-tax profit was £7,307,000, with Ebitda of £19,927,000. The company said its directors are satisfied with its trading performance and will continue to develop its existing activities. It added: “As part of the acquisition, Forest Holidays Group became part of the Forge Holiday Group, which has a UK cottage agency division, international division and a caravan division. As part of the acquisition of Forest Holiday Group, Forge Holiday Group undertook a refinancing, which has provided the group with additional long-term funding to facilitate growth through acquisition and developing current and new sites.”
Award-winning musician YolanDa Brown to launch new London restaurant: Award-winning musician YolanDa Brown is to open an Afro-Caribbean restaurant in Islington Square this autumn. Brown managed within eight weeks to draw in £248,000 for her project — the highest amount received for a restaurant start-up on Kickstarter, anywhere in the world — which will be called Soul Mama. Brown is opening it in partnership with Adetokunbo “T” Oyelola, the entrepreneur and promoter best known for founding management company Black Grape Global. As well as aiming to serve “authentic tastes of Africa, the Caribbean and South America”, Soul Mama will lean heavily into Brown’s and Oyelola’s successful careers, with regular live music. The restaurant will also act as a wider community hub, with development grants offered to under-represented talent and larger live music events for more established names. Brown said: “Throughout my career I have always had to think out of the box, innovate, find creative ways to be heard and seen, change perspectives all for the dream. My dreams are big, to add joy, light and laughter to as many lives as possible using music, education, food and more.” Kickstarter chief executive Everette Taylor said of Soul Mama’s success: “We want to see more creators of colour thrive on the platform, and I’m hoping the success of these two incredible entrepreneurs will inspire more creators of colour and creators in the food/restaurant space to chase their dreams.”
Fitness brand Ultimate Performance opens new flagship London site: Fitness brand Ultimate Performance has opened its tenth UK gym and 22nd overall. A 5,095 square-foot space at 293 Fulham Road forms the brand’s flagship location, spanning two floors and a basement space. Founded in 2009, the brand also has five sites in the US, three in Asia, two in Dubai and one each in Australia and the Netherlands. It offers a no membership policy, booked time slots, one-on-one personal training, nutrition programs, round-the-clock diet support and stress management. Nick Mitchell, founder and chief executive, said: “I have a real affinity with London because it is where I opened my first gym and where I worked for many years. It’s Ultimate Performance’s spiritual home. We already have five very successful London gyms, and we know this area better than anyone. We know what makes our clientele tick. We know they are busy people, pushed for time, who want maximum return on their investment as quickly as possible. We’re excited to have this flagship gym location located here, and continue to build our brand in an established part of the capital.” Lyndon Yeomans LLP acted for Ultimate Performance, while Miles Commercial and Savills represented the Sloane Stanley Estate.
Two Magpies gears up for growth with opening of new central bakery: Suffolk bakery Two Magpies is gearing up for further expansion with the opening of a new central bakery in Walpole. With nine bakery/cafe sites across Norfolk and Suffolk, Two Magpies has grown exponentially in the last few years and it said this latest investment will allow it to further increase its output volumes for future growth. With two bakeries currently running in Halesworth and Darsham, the new Walpole site will eventually house both bakeries, with 20 staff moving location and a further ten recruited to man the new 11,000 square-foot bakery. “We’ve been planning this move for some time and it will make a huge difference to operations,” said Two Magpies owner and chief executive, Steve Magnall. “The new bakery will mean more space, more volume and a much greater control on output and efficiency across the production line. It will also reduce wasted miles as everything will be more centralised to serve our nine sites.” The operations from the Halesworth bakery have already been relocated to the new site, with Darsham following in due course. It’s been a busy year for Two Magpies, having opened two new Mini Magpie sites, in Beccles and Wells-Next-The-Sea, in the last six months.

De Nadas to open second London site next week: De Nadas, the pastry-based Argentinian concept from chef Nico Buyo and former Kerrang! magazine editor Ñako Martinez, will open its second site in London next week. As revealed by Propel last month, the new shop will launch in Rivington Street following its first empanadaría, which opened in Golborne Road last summer. The new site – which will welcome customers from Thursday, 20 July – will feature a small seating area and deli with homemade chimichurri and alfajores (shortbread biscuits), as well as Argentinian staples including Yerba Mate and Dulce De Leche. There will be 15 different shaped empanadas on offer with meat, vegetarian and plant-based fillings.

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