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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 25th Jul 2023 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Transactional activity in pub sector driven by independent market, pubco refinancings may unlock market further: The independent market drove deal activity in the first half of 2023, with an increase in demand for leasehold pubs, according to a mid-year report from leading sector advisors Christie & Co. According to the report, the UK pub sector remained resilient in the first six months of the year due to the sector’s solid headline performance. There was strong interest for quality assets, with the expectation that as some of the pressures and headwinds begin to ease, normal conditions will return. The report found that 80% of transactional activity was driven by the independent market, while from a historic low level of stock at the start of the year, instructions picked up by 19%. At the same time, there was an increased demand for leasehold pubs (6% increase in deals compared to the same period in 2022), and that cash is king, making up 86% of all offers accepted. Consequently, the average time to complete a deal from “offer accepted” to “completion” has reduced by 22%. The report notes that while the business has been “very active in the franchising market”, the wider restaurant market remains tough, particularly for leasehold opportunities, with high street and leisure parks the worst hit. Looking ahead, Christie & Co said it maintains “a positive outlook for the UK pub and restaurant markets in the second half of 2023, having observed the sector’s ability to withstand headwinds time and time again over the past few years”. It also predicts that many pubcos will be required to refinance in the coming months, which may unlock the market and create more deal opportunities. It said: “Private equity players have been keeping their powder dry for these opportunities, so we may start to see some larger deals later in the year.” Stephen Owens, managing director of Pubs & Restaurants at Christie & Co, said: “While the pub and restaurant sector has been forced to deal with cost headwinds and rising interest rates, headline trading performance has held up reasonably well, which has helped to retain buyer appetite. Buyers are also taking advantage of more properties coming to the market, with strong activity levels in the leasehold market in particular. The lack of significant distress has helped keep pricing reasonably strong, although rising interest rates has tempered this to some degree. We are optimistic that we will start to see more deal opportunities over the coming months once market conditions improve.”

Industry News:

Gail’s to speak at Propel Talent & Training Conference, open for bookings: Oli Cavaliero, group head of talent at Gail’s, will be among the speakers at the Propel Talent & Training Conference. The all-day conference takes place on Tuesday, 3 October at One Moorgate Place in London and is open for bookings. Cavaliero will talk about Gail’s recruitment campaign based around enjoying working in hospitality while having a work-life balance, called “The Early Bird Never Works Late”. The conference will showcase examples of outstanding people culture among companies within the sector and how the industry is attracting talent. For the full speaker schedule, click here. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for operators and £395 plus VAT for suppliers and can be booked by emailing
Three days to go before release of updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, 17 businesses being added: A total of 17 new multi-site companies, operating 52 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday (28 July), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes regional café operators, growing restaurant brands, and expanding experiential concepts. Premium subscribers will also receive a 1,300-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. The database now features 2,883 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database on Friday, 4 August, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 4,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Propel will next month launch the UK Food and Beverage Franchisee Database – the first time that profiles of 100 of the top food and beverage franchisees have been available in one place in the UK. The go-to database, which features many of the big franchise operators running Costa Coffee, McDonald’s and Domino’s sites, brings together a wealth of information on an increasingly important part of the market, and the first edition will feature more than 32,000 words of content. The sixth major database exclusive to Premium subscribers, it will be sent out bi-monthly, including new entries and updates to existing entries. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around the company’s background, site numbers and board make-up. 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 being given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. They 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.
UKHospitality puts name to open letter challenging Ofgem to take ‘immediate action’ on hidden energy charges: UKHospitality has joined seven other trade associations in putting its name to an open letter that challenges Ofgem to take “immediate action” on hidden energy charges. The letter has been organised by not-for-profit energy consultancy Box Power CIC, which stated the businesses they represent are being taken advantage of by energy brokers. Also putting their name to the letter are Care England, the British Retail Consortium, the Federation of Independent Retailers, the Association of Convenience Stores, British Independent Retailers’ Association, the Independent Care Group and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. The signatories said unscrupulous brokers are taking advantage of businesses who can ill-afford it, leading to higher prices for customers. While legislation for greater transparency has already been introduced for micro businesses under supplier licence conditions, they said the regulator has “abandoned” other firms and organisations. The letter states: “We do not agree that larger businesses are able to look after their own interests, and that just because this is a long-standing arrangement, it should continue, or that Ofgem are best placed looking at issues affecting micro businesses only.” Box Power CIC chief executive Corin Dalby said it will bypass Ofgem and seek help from the government if the regulator fails to act. He added: “Rogue brokers are adding excessive commissions, and all the while, it is the end user who is paying for it. Not only that, but now businesses are incurring even higher energy prices, some brokers are adding even higher fees because they think they can get away with it. This is an extra burden on businesses at exactly the point they can least afford it. We refuse to stand by and allow this to continue and will do all we can to ensure this is brought to a stop.”
New pub finder app launches in London: A new free pub finder app, “Pub Club”, has launched, aiming to “revolutionise the way people search for their ideal pub experience”. The app was conceived last year by “new-to-London” friends Tom Ireland-Life and Freddie Bermingham when flat sharing in Wandsworth and already has 350-plus pubs across south and west London. The founders’ ambition is to grow this footprint to cover around 2,000 pubs across the capital by the end of 2023, with further UK coverage in the following year. Users can select pub attributes using filters in the app, ranging from affordability to wheelchair accessibility, and from beer garden availability to cocktail and music offerings, with many more options in between. Pub Club said it benefits pub owners by helping to market their establishments, menus and entertainment. Pubs can also track the number of views their pub is getting through the app and the number of people scanning their QR code at the pub, and respond to reviews from their customers. There is also a promotional section of the app, known as “The Chalkboard”, where pub landlords and managers can advertise events such as live music, comedy nights and drink offers within a chosen radius. 
Nominations open for Be Inclusive Hospitality Spotlight Awards: Nominations are open for the Be Inclusive Hospitality Spotlight Awards, which take place on Monday, 16 October at M in Threadneedle Street, London. The awards will celebrate exceptional achievements by individuals and businesses from black, Asian, and ethnic minority backgrounds working within the hospitality, food and drink sectors. The 2022 winners included Sierra Leonean chef Maria Bradford; The Dodo Micropub in Hanwell, west London; Old Spitalfields market-based Dumpling Shack Group; and Ayesha Kalaji of Glastonbury bar/restaurant Queen of Cups. The categories for the 2023 awards are: chef of the year, pastry chef of the year, African food, Caribbean food, east and south east Asian food, south Asian food, Middle Eastern food, bar/pub of the year, drinks professional of the year, writer of the year, head office impact, rising star and brand of the year. In addition, two people’s choice awards – person and restaurant of the year – will be decided by calculating the most nominated person and restaurant, respectively. Nominations will close on Friday, 4 August and the shortlist will be published on Monday, 21 August. Lorraine Copes, founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality, said: “Last year, I can only describe as a wonderful exploration and celebration of extraordinary, yet often underserved, individuals and businesses up and down the country. The high number of nominations meant our network and community grew tenfold, and I look forward to building upon this for the 2023 awards.”

Company News:

Jamie Oliver franchisee in India raises funds to grow to 100 sites, eyes other brands: International Market Management (IMM), the franchisee for Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group in India, has raised funds to grow its estate to 100 sites in the country. Earlier this year, IMM, which is led by Jasper Reid, exited its investment in the Wendy’s brand to Rebel Foods after successfully building the brand to 90 locations across the country. The proceeds from that deal are to be used to fund a casual dining platform, which IMM sees as having the higher potential versus quick service restaurants. At the same time, Propel understands IMM has raised money in the UK and India to fund a large-scale expansion of Jamie Oliver-inspired concepts in India. The business is currently the largest Jamie’s operator in the world and the leader in India in western/pizzeria casual dining. It operates 34 restaurants across ten cities. It has also recently signed a strategic partnership with leading Indian chain store Fabindia, which has 360 locations, to roll out Jamie’s Cafe across the country. Reid told Propel: “The plan is to get to 100 sites – a combination of Jamie’s Kitchen (£10 a head); Jamie’s Pizzeria (£5 a head); Jamie’s Cafe (£4 a head) and Jamie’s Diner, a delivery-only offer (for now). Basically, a suite of casual/fast casual concepts to cater to the fast-growing Indian middle class and to target various price points and market segments. IMM investors are very bullish on the Indian market, especially in the casual/fast casual space (higher margin, lower capex, superior return on capital employed, decades of like-for-like growth to come – like the US in the 1960s or the UK in the 1980s). India’s economy is forecast to be the same size as the US economy by 2050 but with five times as many people and a median age of 32, the largest consumption of mobile data on earth and largest social media base. We are also looking at other brands, especially those experienced in international markets with the ability to develop markets over the long haul. We are the leader in India in working with international food and beverage brands. We have a team of 400 people and operate a modern Indian business with international standards. We are in the process of applying for B-Corp status and very driven by giving back. During covid, the business fed 35,000 migrants every day while the restaurants were closed to the public.”

US doughnut concept Duck Donuts signs deal to make UK debut: Duck Donuts, the US doughnut concept, has signed a franchise deal to make its debut in the UK, in Northern Ireland. The business currently operates four international and 126 franchise locations across 24 US states and Puerto Rico. In its second quarter update, the business said it had secured 11 franchise agreements for a total of 20 shops and one food trailer. Two of the recent deals include international area development agreements. This includes an agreement to bring four shops to Northern Ireland, the brand’s first European agreement. Eric Lavinder, Duck Donuts chief development officer, said: “The signing of the franchise agreements is a testament to the appeal of Duck Donuts’ made-to-order doughnuts and commitment to providing an exceptional customer experience. With our warm and inviting atmosphere and delicious doughnuts, we are confident we will continue to captivate the interest of future small business owners both in the US and abroad.” Duck Donuts opened its first sites in 2007 in the beach resort towns of Duck and Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, the company began franchising in 2013.

Dubai-based hospitality company Addmind to make UK debut, in Knightsbridge: Addmind Hospitality, the Dubai-based restaurant and bar operator, is to make its UK debut after securing a site in London’s Knightsbridge. The business, which was founded by chief executive Tony Habre in 2021, has secured a flagship rooftop restaurant space at the K1 development in Basil Street for its Japanese concept, Clap. Propel understands Addmind has also secured a 1,600 square-foot ground floor space to operate a Japanese café. Both are expected to open in November. Habre said: “We can’t wait to share the unique Clap experience.” Addmind opened its first bar in Beirut in 2001 and has since expanded to more than 20 brands, with a portfolio of venues spanning the Middle East. It currently operates three sites under the Clap concept – in Dubai, Beirut and Riyadh. Its other brands include White Club, Bazaar, Iris, Bar Du Port, La Mezcaleria and Sucre. It is now looking to expand further into Europe. Kit Alexander, of Etch, and Michael Webb, of Distrkt, acted on the Knightsbridge deal.
Former McDonald’s UK franchisees targeting chain of Farmer Boys franchises in US: Former McDonald’s UK franchisees Leeza and Leila Brazier are targeting a chain of Farmer Boys franchises in America, as they prepare to launch their second restaurant under the US better burger brand. The mother-and-daughter team are set to launch their second site under the Farmer Boys brand, which has more than 100 locations in California, Nevada and Arizona. The site in Perris, California, will follow their debut opening in Gardena, also in California, in 2018 – the same year they sold their McDonald’s business. Mum Leeza said she started out taking over her brother-in-law’s fish business in Belgium, running it for 14 years and branching out into poultry. “As the euro started to come in, the markets changed and we experienced a 30% loss overnight,” she told Nation’s Restaurant News. “In 2000, we decided to apply [to be franchisees for] McDonald’s, and within two days, the company got on the phone to me and said, ‘we need to see you in London.’ I ended up [training at] one of the busiest McDonald’s stores in the UK, we were making a million pounds a week. We took over a store in June when my daughter, who was born in 1994, was around four or five. Then, later on, when we got into Farmer Boys in 2018, she was quite a bit older at 24. I ended up selling my McDonald’s restaurants and using that cash to start our business. It actually took us two years to get our visas.” Brazier added: “Before we started, we had this dream of seven Farmer Boys restaurants. McDonald’s is a lease you own on licence for ten years, you don’t actually own anything apart from that lease and second hand equipment. Here though, you have the option to buy everything. So, for me, it was a good way of investing. For Leila to take over my business in England wasn’t a good investment so she’s joined me here. She’s part of the business, she’s a franchisee in her own right. We’re trying to bring Farmer Boys into the 21st century with technology and a drive-thru. If it wasn’t for covid, we’d probably be on store three by now. I think if I can open three, four or five in the Gardena area, that’d be great, but we’ll see how it goes.”
Artfarm plans to bring its Farm Shop concept to London’s Mayfair: Artfarm, the independent hospitality business run by former Fortnum & Mason chief executive Ewan Venters, is planning to open a site under its Farm Shop concept in London’s Mayfair. Propel understands that the business, which is behind the venues such as Roth Bar & Grill in Somerset and The Audley in Mayfair, plans to open the new site at 64 South Audley Street later this autumn. Located over two floors, Farm Shop will sell meat, wine, cider, honey and foraged ingredients from the group’s 1,000-acre farm in Somerset, alongside products from selected farmers, growers and makers from the south west. Featuring a dedicated butchery counter, deli, cheese room and wine cellar, customers will also be able to purchase charcuterie, cheese and wine to eat in and take-away. The first Farm Shop opened at Durslade Farm in Bruton, Somerset, in 2020. Earlier this year, it was awarded Specialist Butcher’s Shop of the Year. Last August, ArtFarm acquired the Groucho Club in London, and has since talked about expanding the concept internationally.
World’s largest indoor go karting chain plans UK launch: K1 Speed, the world's largest indoor go kart racing chain, is planning to launch in the UK. Founded in 2003 by American racing driver Boris Said and Susan Danglard, the business operates circa 70 sites across seven countries and 23 US states. It has now begun working with Savills to try to secure a flagship site in London. K1 Speed is understood to be looking for sites that are 40,000 square-foot-plus in size. K1 Speed, which opened its first go-kart track outside San Diego, California, said it “offers a unique upscale entertainment concept for casual consumers, racing enthusiasts, and corporate or group events”. Chief executive David Danglard said: “The gold rush of go kart racing is now. K1 Speed provides the masses with an authentic experience that's both affordable and accessible.” The business also operates sites in Canada, Mexico, Italy, China, France and Italy.
Domino’s franchisee reports fall in turnover and profit as trading conditions ‘remain challenging’: Domino’s Pizza franchisee Santio has reported turnover fell to £270,586,873 for the year ending 30 September 2022 compared with £277,163,604 the year before as trading conditions ‘remained challenging”. Pre-tax profit was down to £491,596 from £509,871 the previous year. Average gross profit margin achieved during the period was 10.5% (2021: 7.8%), “which was in line with the directors expectations”. Shareholders’ funds stood at £2.3m (2021: £0.8m). In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The franchisee continually looks to acquire new stores for growth. Trading conditions are expected to remain challenging but the directors remain confident the business will continue to deliver profitable future growth.” The business, which employs 6,200 people, received no government grants (2021: £10,000). No dividend was paid. (2021: nil). The business began trading in July 2018. The agreement in place with Domino's operates on an annual 12-month contract period. A party may give three months’ notice at any time to end the agreement with effect from the end of the next agreed term.
Wingstop secures standalone site in Glasgow: Lemon Pepper Holdings, which is rolling out Wingstop across the UK, has secured its second standalone site in Scotland, in Glasgow. The business, which recently opened its 35th UK site, at Grey’s Brewery Yard in Chelmsford, has secured a site adjacent to Nando’s at the St Enoch Shopping Centre in Glasgow’s city centre. The brand, which already operates out of a Deliveroo Editions site in Glasgow, also operates a restaurant at the St James Quarter scheme in Edinburgh. Earlier this month, Propel revealed that the business had added a site in Southampton to its 2023 openings pipeline. It 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. 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 and Edinburgh this year.
Team behind Chuck & Blade and Square Peg concepts lines up new sites: The team behind the Kent-based Chuck & Blade and Square Peg concepts has lined up new openings for both. Chuck & Blade, which was founded by Alex Hatzidakis and David Luck as a pop-up in Medway in 2020, has opened its fourth site, in Ramsgate. The burger concept, which already has sites in Rochester, Canterbury and Tunbridge Wells, has opened on the former site of PizzaExpress near Ramsgate Harbour, overlooking the seafront. It is also set to open a further site under the concept, which is described as offering “the juiciest, filthiest, handmade burgers in Kent”, in The Beacon scheme in Eastbourne. At the start of the year, Hatzidakis and Luck opened the first site under their new pizza concept, Square Peg, in Canterbury. A second site under the concept is lined up to also open at The Beacon.
Danish espresso bar concept Hagen opens debut site in the City: Danish espresso bar concept Hagen has opens its debut site in the City, and its tenth overall in London, at the Royal Exchange. The business, which is led by founder Tim Schroeder, has opened at 14-15 Royal Exchange. Propel reported last month that Hagen is to continue its expansion in London with an opening near London Bridge. The company, which also recently opened sites in Knightsbridge and Fitzrovia, has signed to open a site later this summer in the Borough Yards scheme. Born out of Copenhagen and founded in London, Hagen focuses on creating hygge (Danish for “comfortable conviviality”) spaces and serving premium specialty coffee in London’s affluent locations. The business is understood to be looking at further site opportunities in the capital for openings this year. George Collison, of Savills, acts for Hagen.
Gong Cha opens 2,000th store as 11 sites launch in 24-hour period: Gong Cha, the fast-growing bubble tea brand headquartered in the UK, has opened its 2,000th store after launching 11 sites in ten markets around the globe in 24 hours. The business opened two outlets in Australia along with stores in New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Canada, Mexico and the USA. In the last two years, the group has opened more than 450 net new stores, while like-for-like sales increased 6.2% in 2022. As previously reported, Gong Cha is executing an ambitious international expansion strategy that is targeting the opening of a new store every day in 2023. By the turn of the decade, the group is aiming to fulfil its vision to grow to more than 10,000 stores, with a significant proportion of the new openings coming from Europe.
YiFang to join Borough Yards line up: Taiwanese fruit tea concept YiFang is set to open its 25th site in the UK after securing a site near London Bridge. The concept is set to join the food and beverage line-up at the Borough Yards development later this summer. The brand, which has more than 600 stores globally, was brought to the UK in 2017 by Po-Kai Wang of sector management and development platform PKWG. It will open its latest store, in the City of London’s Leadenhall Market, this month. Aside from London, it also operates sites in Brighton, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Cambridge and Newcastle. Distrkt represents Borough Yards.
Former London operators acquire second pub with Shepherd Neame: Former London operators Tom Gravett and Renata Peret have acquired their second pub with Kent brewer and retailer Shepherd Neame. The couple, who took on The Three Mariners just before Christmas in 2021 after moving to Kent, have now secured the lease on The George Inn in Newnham. The pair have been running pubs for more than 20 years, with their first venture together the Rat & Parrot in Hampstead, north London. Peret previously managed various Mayfair venues including the Maddox Club, while Gravett’s experience includes managing Café de Paris and The Last Days of Decadence in Shoreditch. They said they were not actively looking for a second pub but were taken by The George having gone for dinner there shortly before the tenancy became available. Gravett said: “We are looking forward to breathing life back into it and making it a relaxed environment with a strong slant towards using local produce.” Peret added: “We love the energy The George has. The George and The Three Mariners will be equally as important to us – they are both our babies!” They pair will introduce an à la carte menu at The George when it reopens tomorrow (Wednesday, 26 July) and are looking to introduce events such as open-air cinema evenings and quiz nights. Shepherd Neame’s director of tenanted pub operations, Greg Wallis, said: “We are delighted that Tom and Renny are taking on a second of our tenanted pubs. They have been superb licensees since taking over The Three Mariners and their natural enthusiasm and energy creates a warm, welcoming environment.”
Team behind ‘Wimbledon 1980’ immersive tennis experience to launch new ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ boxing concept: The team behind the “Wimbledon Rematch 1980” immersive tennis experience is set to launch a new boxing theatrical event, “Rumble in the Jungle Rematch”, based around the famous 1974 bout between Mohammed Ali and George Foreman. Rematch – The Sporting Time Machine was founded in 2017 by Richard Ayers, chairman and former chief executive of digital sports consultancy Seven League. It launched “Wimbledon Rematch 1980” in 2019, using archive footage, live theatre, food and drink and immersive activities to transport guests back to an iconic year in the All England Championship’s recent history. “Rumble in the Jungle Rematch”, which launches in London in September, will look to do the same with Ali and Foreman’s epic fight in Zaire, using a cast of actors, live music, food and drink to create “authentic smells and tastes of the time”. Ayers said: “Sport has the power to inspire and unite people from all over the world and from different cultural backgrounds. Rumble in the Jungle was the greatest example of this, and following the success of Wimbledon Rematch 1980, we are thrilled to be reimagining one of the greatest moments in sporting history, from Ali’s trash talking to his pre-match speech to the feel of Zaire in 1974. It’s all backed by an incredible expert team that is excited to support bringing this story to life via a never-before-tried immersive experience.” Also on the team is creative director Miguel Torres, formerly of cinematic immersive experience company Secret Cinema, and music director Femi Temowo, who has worked with the likes of Amy Winehouse and George Benson. Joining them are writer Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, who directed the play For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy, and investor Trevor Beattie, owner of a large Muhammed Ali memorabilia collection.
Indian restaurateur to open new East Yorkshire venue: Indian restaurateur Mukesh Tirkoti is to open a new venue in East Yorkshire. Tirkoti, co-founder of Tapasya and owner of Ruthvika Spices and Kitchen, has acquired the premises of the former Medici restaurant in High Street in North Ferriby. A refurbishment of the property is underway, with the new restaurant set to open in September. Tirkoti said: “I was excited to see the venue has become available and jumped at the chance to bring the Indian fine dining experience to North Ferriby. Ruthvika already enjoys an excellent reputation among Indian cuisine aficionados. We have created something unique with a fine dining experience, from plant to plate the commitment of Ruthvika Spices & Kitchen is to source and serve the finest quality spices, direct from India. The best thing I can do for the restaurant is unleash chefs and kitchen support staff, giving them freedom and support to experiment and explore the huge range of ingredients and spice blends that haven’t even been thought possible in Indian cuisine.”
Greggs opens first London airport site and eighth in UK, twice the size of average store: Food-on-the-go retailer Greggs has opened its first London airport site and eighth in the UK. At 1,600 square feet, the unit is twice the size of a typical Greggs shop and is open 24 hours, creating 50 jobs. The company said the site, in Gatwick airport’s South Terminal, “represents a major milestone in Greggs’ expansion strategy, which focuses on extending beyond the high street to key transport hubs across the UK”. It is also a further step towards its goal of opening 150 net new shops in 2023, following a record 147 net new shop openings in 2022. Other 2023 openings in key transport hubs include Glasgow International airport, Cardiff airport, Shepherds Bush tube station and Canary Wharf station in London. Tony Rowson, property director at Greggs, said: “Driven by customer demand for convenient, great value and great-tasting products, we want Greggs to be accessible, wherever, whenever and however our customers need us. That’s why we are now focusing on growth in travel locations, so that we can continue to adapt to our customers’ needs and lifestyles and bring Greggs to more people. Our versatile shop formats, new digital channels and relationships with our franchise and wholesale partners have enabled us to adapt our offering and expand in many new locations such as supermarkets, shopping centres and key transport hubs, like Gatwick airport. This new shop is also indicative of the next generation of shop refits and will feature state-of-the-art design to ensure our customers have a brilliant experience when they visit us.”
Indian street food concept opens third site as north London shopping centre unveils new food centre: Indian street food concept Apna Adda has opens its third site, as The Mall Wood Green shopping centre in north London unveils its new food centre. The business, which also has sites in London’s Leicester Square and Goodge Street, has opened in The Bridge, located on the first floor at The Mall and featuring four different eateries and a large seating area. Apna Adda offers starters such as onion bhajis and chilli paneer, mains including biryani and curries and a range of kulfis sweet treats. Opening alongside Apna Adda is bakery and dessert concept Moodog, which has relocated to The Bridge from its original site in the shopping centre. It offers homemade paninis, hot dogs, sandwiches, toasties, hot drinks, milkshakes, ice creams and doughnuts. There is also south east Asian dishes such as beef rendang, spring rolls and various noodle dishes from Bowl at The Bridge, plus healthy salads, wraps, shawarma dishes, baba ganoush and Middle Eastern desserts from #Falafel & Shawarma.
Team behind Luca and trio from Secret Cinema open Thai-influenced pop-up: The team behind Clerkenwell Italian restaurant Luca and a trio from Secret Cinema, the cinematic immersive experience company, have opened their London Thai-influenced pop-up restaurant. Secret Cinema’s Tom Allott, Andrea Moccia and Sabrina Goreeba have partnered with Luca founders Johnny Smith and Daniel Willis for Outcrop, a restaurant and arts space at “creative hub” 180 The Strand. Its restaurant, run by AngloThai’s John Chantarasak, focuses on seasonal British meat, fish and vegetables and traditional rural Thai cooking practices. Dishes include violet artichoke tempura with yellow soybean and sugarcane vinegar; wild farmed flatbread with shrimp paste butter and Cornish shellfish; skate wing jungle curry; and Thai tea with burnt cream and Newlands Farm strawberries. Bar manager Rob Simpson, formerly of The Clove Club and Gymkhana, has curated a list of cocktails made from entirely British list ingredients, while Desiree Chantarasak, of AngloThai, has curated a list of low-intervention European wine, many served on tap by the glass or carafe. Initially launching for a three-month residency, which will include an arts and music programme, it has covers for up to 30 guests.
New Forest hotel refinancing as revenue increases but profit falls: New Forest hotel Chewton Glen, owned by global private investment group L+R Hotels, is in the process of refinancing as it reported increased revenue but a fall in profit for the year to 31 December 2022. Turnover was up 22% from £20,554,000 in 2021 to £24,997,000. Its pre-tax profit fell from £5,236,000 in 2021 to £4,705,000. As in 2021, both were up on pre-pandemic levels, with turnover of £19,171,076 and a profit of £3,604,502 reported in the last full year before covid, ending 31 December 2019. No government grants were received (2021: £1,029,000). No dividends were paid (2021: nil). Net assets increased from £28,202,000 to £32,648,000. Director Desmond Taljaard, in his statement accompanying the accounts, said the performance of the hotel has “continued to be very strong”. He said the company’s parent, CG Hotel Holding, holds a loan to which the company is guarantor, due for repayment this month. “The directors are currently in the process of refinancing,” he added. “The directors have a very strong relationship with the bank and expect to shortly refinance the loan.” Dating to the 18th century, Chewton Glen was bought by property magnate Ian Livingstone in 2006 and has since become one of many hotels owned by L+R, which Livingstone founded with his brother, Richard, in 1987.

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