Story of the Day:
The Big Table Group appoints Lisa Gibbons MD of Las Iguanas: The Big Table Group, operator of the Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Banana Tree and Amalfi concepts, has appointed Lisa Gibbons as managing director of its 50-strong Las Iguanas brand following a review of internal and external candidates, Propel has learned. Gibbons, who has over 20 years’ experience in the sector, started her career in operational roles at Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) before joining The Big Table Group in 2011 as an operations manager for its Café Rouge brand. In 2016, she moved across to Bella Italia as operations director and was then appointed to brand director in 2019. In September last year, Big Table Group restructured its business to “ensure greater focus on brand performance”, and Gibbons took on the role of managing director (portfolio brands), responsible for Cafe Rouge, Amalfi and the group’s concessions and franchise restaurants, including its Center Parcs partnerships. Since the restructure, Alan Morgan, chief executive of Big Table Group, has also held the role of managing director Las Iguanas. Morgan will now return to focus solely on his responsibilities as chief executive of the overall business. At the same time, Greg Gibbons will lead the Café Rouge team, John Baker will lead the group’s Amalfi and franchised sites in addition to his role as Bella Italia managing director, and Anne Chow will continue to lead Banana Tree. Morgan said: “I’m delighted to be promoting Lisa to the role of Las Iguanas managing director. She has overseen substantial performance improvement of the Center Parcs and franchise businesses over the last year as well as steering Café Rouge through some challenging times, and more recently, supporting the conversion of some sites to Banana Tree. Our decision last year to realign our business into a structure that was more focused on our individual brands has proven to be successful, and I have no doubt that this change has played a significant part in helping us to drive great performance across the group, despite the many challenges our industry has faced over the last 12 months. As our business is now in a strong position to grow for the future, my time and focus is required to be fully in the chief executive role to lead that, so now is the right time for Lisa to step into the role of managing director Las Iguanas.” Gibbons, who will take up her new role at the end of this month, added: “Las Iguanas is an amazing brand with a unique offering and I can’t wait to get started. There’s a huge appetite for the brand across the UK and I’m really excited to contribute to the continued growth of the business over the next few years.”
Asma Khan to speak at Propel Talent & Training Conference, open for bookings:
Indian-born British chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Asma Khan, of Darjeeling Express, 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. Khan will talk to James Hacon about the journey to opening her first restaurant, operating an all-female brigade of talented amateur chefs, paying everyone equally and what hospitality means to her. 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 email@example.com.
One day 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 tomorrow (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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Joe Lewis surrenders to US authorities on insider trading charges: Joe Lewis, Mitchells & Butlers’ (M&B) largest shareholder and owner of Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, has surrendered to US authorities in New York after being accused of insider trading. The 86-year-old billionaire real estate investor was charged on Tuesday with 19 counts, including securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud and make false statements, over multiple instances of alleged insider trading. One of Britain’s richest men, Lewis is accused of tipping off employees, two of his private pilots, associates, friends and romantic interests with non-public information about companies in which he had invested, and lending some of them hundreds of thousands of dollars to trade on the knowledge. According to the indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, Lewis and his associates were collectively able to make millions of dollars using the “stolen” information, which included favourable results from clinical trials. If convicted of the criminal charges, Lewis could be jailed for decades. Lewis’s lawyer, David Zornow of Skadden Arps, said: “The government has made an egregious error in judgment in charging Mr Lewis, an 86-year-old man of impeccable integrity and prodigious accomplishment. Mr Lewis has come to the US voluntarily to answer these ill-conceived charges and we will defend him vigorously in court.”
Trade bodies welcome gambling white paper consultation: Trade bodies UKHospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) have welcomed the government’s consultation into its gambling white paper. The process will look at how to conduct financial risk checks for problem gambling and at what level stake limits should be set for people playing online slot games. The move is the next step of the white paper to update gambling rules for the smartphone era and protect those at risk of gambling harm. The measures on which views are sought include the use of debit card payments on machines and player protections to promote responsible gaming, all of which will help future proof the gaming offer in pubs. In a joint statement, UKHospitality and the BBPA said: “This consultation is a welcome step towards a much-needed review of issues that could protect the longevity of safe and enjoyable gaming in pubs. UKH and BBPA work closely on gaming issues and our joint group will feed in via the associations, no doubt with one voice and unanimity.”
Pub entrepreneur Michael Cannon passes away: Michael Cannon, the serial pub entrepreneur who formed Magic Pub Company and turned around the likes of Morrell’s of Oxford and US chain Fuddruckers, has passed away aged 84. Cannon initially made his fortune in the pub trade when he sold Weymouth-based Devenish Brewery to Greenalls for £26m in 1993. The following year he formed the Magic Pub Company, taking a 50% stake. Three years later, he sold his share of the business to Greene King for £70m. He then moved to the US, where he bought and turned around the 230-strong Fuddruckers hamburger chain. Cannon, an ex-Berni Inn chef, took over Morrell’s of Oxford in September 1998 and again turned the business around. He was bought out by Greene King for a second time in the summer of 2002. His final pub venture was the acquisition of the Dorchester-based Eldridge Pope pub chain for £40m in 2005. There, he again tackled a series of problems, including selling its Toad high-street bars and merging them with the Que Pasa bar chain, which he already owned. Two years later, he sold the company’s 153 pubs to Marston’s for £155m. One industry peer described Cannon to Propel as a “forgotten hero” of the sector. All at Propel send their prayers and best wishes to Cannon’s family.
Welsh independent pub and restaurant added to Michelin Guide just eight months after opening, one of ten new entries: Welsh independent pub and restaurant Hiraeth has been added to the Michelin Guide just eight months after opening. It comes hot on the heels of it being added to The Good Food Guide earlier this month and receiving two AA Rosettes in May. The venue, in the village of Cowbridge, offers an ever-changing taster menu, classic Sunday lunches and a comfort food menu. It is run by chefs Lewis Dwyer, who has previously worked in several award-winning independent sites in South Wales, and Andy Aston, who spent the last few years working as head chef at Llanerch Vineyard. The duo raised more than £30,000 in crowdfunding to help cover the set-up costs. Aston said: “We really wanted the food to be the hero of what we’re doing here, so to be recognised by AA, The Good Food Guide and Michelin within a matter of weeks is amazing and tells us that we must be doing something right! We never wanted this place to be about stuffy fine dining and white tablecloths – this is a pub after all, with a 400-year history of being part of the community – so we’re not into dress codes or any of that, just all about good food.” Hiraeth is one of ten new entries into the Michelin Guide for July. Among the others is AO in Southampton, which offers an eight-course tasting menu, and Saltie Girl in London’s Mayfair, which said it takes advantage of a “new craze” for tinned fish. Also new to the guide are Forge in Middleton Tyas, Furna in Brighton, Leftfield in Edinburgh, Montagu’s Mews in Bath, Purnell’s Cafe & Bistro in Coventry, The Chandlers Arms in Epwell and The Orangery in Huworth-on-Tees.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an established multi-site retail business that is looking for someone to oversee its stores in the south west. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will have previous experience in a multi-site, fast paced business and have a passion for people development. You will work with key stakeholders to build organisation and people capability; support the development of people strategies and activities; influence, advise and coach managers to pursue courses of action that are in accordance with good employment practice; and partner with the talent acquisition team and regional managers to ensure effective workforce planning is undertaken across all regions.” The salary is up to £60,000 plus bonus and car and the position is based in Bristol. For more information, email email@example.com.
Andrea – simplifying food offer has helped drive sales:
Andrew Andrea, chief executive of Marston’s, has told Propel that the company’s strategy of simplifying its food offer has helped drive sales, and that “doing less to a much higher standard absolutely resonates with the customer”. The company reported that like-for-like sales for the 42-week period were up 10.7% versus FY202 and said that both drink sales and food sales have been strong, demonstrating the "steadfast trading resilience of our predominantly community pub estate”. Andrea told Propel: “The fact that we simplified the whole food offer has definitely helped. We’re not Michelin-starred restaurants. What is pasta in a pub? I is doing a great lasagne. Don’t try to be things you’re not. Doing less to a much higher standard absolutely resonates with the customer, but that doesn’t mean you compromise on that food quality. We see that through our food quality guest scores – even though the consumer is squeezed, we are certainly not seeing any trends towards trading down. Premium longer continues to be in demand – San Miguel and Birra Moretti are outselling our standard lagers, for example, and people are trading up from an entry point burger to the more premium burger. We relaunched our ‘Rhythm of The Week’ offer with £1 to trade up to a premium drink, and the penetration of that is well over a third of people saying they want the premium drink, and once they have traded up, they stay with that drink for the rest of the evening. We’re not trying to be the cheapest and we’re not playing in that sort of gastro end of the market, and as such, we can just focus on delivering that great consistent experience, and it seems to be paying dividends.” The business said the input cost environment was also looking a little bit more positive. Andrea said: “Food inflation is starting to ease and energy will be lower next year than this year. The strategy of simplification means we are taking actions now to drive efficiency through our business because we’re doing fewer things better, and therefore we can be smarter about how we spend cash. I think that’s really important because it means that the business becomes even more resilient should there be any further shocks or disruptions in the market, which we may still get. If there is a consumer downturn, we’re pretty well placed to mitigate it. We need to also add that historically in consumer downturns, pubs ride those waves pretty well because we’re still an affordable treat.” Marston’s features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book. Its turnover of £799,600,000 in the year to 3 October 2022 is the 11th highest in the database. Its pre-tax profit of £163,400,000 is the highest in the database. The Blue Book ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to upgrade your subscription.
Pitcher – no need for further estate consolidation as customers love the product, introduces £2.99 meal deal promotion at Revolution: Revolution Bars Group chief executive Rob Pitcher has told Propel there is no need for the business to further consolidate its estate and added: “We have the product – now we are trying to make it affordable.” Speaking following the company’s full-year trading update where the business reported like-for-like sales were down 8.7% on pre-covid levels, Pitcher said it had introduced a summer promotion at its Revolution sites offering main meals for £2.99. Dishes include an Asian salad, 12-inch margherita pizza, burger and chips, crispy chicken wrap and chips and fish and chips. “Guest satisfaction scores are at the highest level they have been, so we know customers love the product,” Pitcher said. “The issue is the cost-of-living crisis has hit the younger generation – our main customer base at Revolution – the hardest so they can’t afford to access us as much as they like. Therefore, we have to make it more accessible for them. We’re doing that by lowering price and improving guest experience. One of those initiatives is the £2.99 deal on main dishes – that makes us better value than McDonald’s. Because we have a great product, we are confident as the economic situation improves, those guests will return more frequently. In the meantime, it’s about giving them a helping hand. We don’t see any need for further consolidation of the estate. We sold Revolution in Putney to Urban Pubs & Bars because we got an offer that was too good to refuse – it’s as simple as that.” Meanwhile, the 21-strong Peach Pubs has continued to trade strongly and in line with expectations at acquisition, with full-year like-for-like sales up 14% ahead of pre-covid levels. Pitcher said as the pubs have an older and more affluent customer base, they have not been affected as much by the cost-of-living crisis. Despite the robust performance, Pitcher said it would only push the button on expansion when the time was right. “Would I like us to have twice as many Peach sites now as we do then? Of course,” he added. “We bought Peach to balance the group and we have managed to do that. With that and the work we have done with the core brands, it means we are in a much stronger position than in 2018.” Pitcher said its “community market” concept Founders & Co, which was launched in Swansea in 2021, is going from “strength to strength” and is aiming to open a second site in due course. “We think the concept has national potential for sure,” Pitcher added. Meanwhile, Pitcher admitted there is still “work to be done” on Playhouse – the group’s first foray into competitive socialising, which opened in the former Revolution site in Northampton in November 2021. “It’s not taken off as quickly as we hoped and we won’t be rolling it out anytime soon,” he added.
Adam Breeden steps down from State of Play Hospitality board: Adam Breeden, the co-founder of All Star Lanes, Hijingo, Bounce, Flight Club and Puttshack, has resigned from the board of State of Play Hospitality, Propel has learned. Breeden founded what was originally Bounce Leisure ten years ago. It became State of Play Hospitality in March 2021 and currently owns and operates Bounce in the UK and its sister brand AceBounce in the US, as well as operating Flight Club under licence from Red Engine in the US. Last year, Breeden signed a global agreement with Formula One to launch and roll out his new immersive, state-of-the-art racing simulation concept F1 Arcade. The debut site opened at the One New Change scheme in London’s St Paul’s last November and a second UK site will occupy an 11,000 square-foot unit at Two Chamberlain Square at Paradise Birmingham. Earlier this year, Kindred Concepts, the parent company of F1 Arcade, announced it had secured its first site in the US. The venue will launch in Boston’s Seaport district in March 2024 and the business is targeting more than 20 permanent sites in the US in the next five years. Breeden told Propel: “It’s been ten years since I founded what was originally Bounce Leisure and the business has moved on to a very different one from when I was at the helm, but more importantly, I have been increasingly needing to create more bandwidth to devote time to the opportunities I am focusing on outside of State of Play, including F1 Arcade.”
Dirty Bones promotes Richard Downs to MD: US comfort food and cocktails brand Dirty Bones has promoted Richard Downs, formerly of Yumpingo, The Restaurant Group (TRG) and Casual Dining Group, to managing director. Downs joined Dirty Bones at the start of last year as its operations director from Yumpingo, where he spent a year as its enterprise sales director. Previous to that, he was international concessions director at TRG Concessions and spent more than 11 years at the Casual Dining Group, including a stint as its director of franchising and business development. Propel revealed in June that half of the six-strong Dirty Bones business had been acquired in a pre-pack administration process for a total consideration of circa £600,000. Propel reported in April that the team behind the US comfort food and cocktails brand was assessing its options for the business. Founded in 2013, Dirty Bones operated four London sites – in Carnaby, Shoreditch, Soho and Kensington – and one in Oxford, plus Dirty Vegan at The Balcony in Westfield, London, which had closed. A new company set up by the original shareholders, including Hero Brands and early investors Hard Yards Global, acquired the sites in Soho, Carnaby and Oxford, with the others closed before the administration process began. Last July, Hero Brands – which is behind German Doner Kebab, Choppaluna and Island Poké – invested in Dirty Bones to drive its UK growth. Hero Brands said using its extensive franchising knowledge and network, talks will continue with key franchise partners regarding new Dirty Bones locations as there is still considerable interest in the brand.
Fireaway opens 150th UK site, stores under construction in four countries: Fast pizza brand Fireaway, the Mario Aleppo-led business, has opened its 150th site in the UK, near Dover, six years after its launch, as it begins the construction of debut sites in four countries, including Dubai. The business, which launched in south London in 2017, opened its 149th site earlier this week, in London’s Victoria. It has now followed this with an opening in a new unit next to a BP petrol station and McDonald’s in Whitfield, near Dover. Aleppo told Propel that the business is on track to have 175 sites open by the end of 2023 and said stores were under construction in Turkey, Spain, Portugal and Dubai. The site in Turkey, in Istanbul, is due to open in September. The business is also set to open a site in Madrid, Spain, with an opening scheduled for October. Fireaway made its international debut with a site in Amsterdam last spring, while master franchisees have also been signed up in India, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and France. Last month, the brand increased its presence in Northern Ireland with an opening in Belfast’s Lisburn Road, as part of the country’s biggest independent halal food court. The brand secured investment from six new backers in October last year and plans to have 500 sites within the next five years.
White Rabbit Projects to launch restaurant, bar and café venue at new Ember Locke opening: White Rabbit Projects, the restaurant investment and advisory service founded by former Soho House Group commercial director Chris Miller, is to launch a new venue at the first London site for lifestyle aparthotel brand Locke. Launched in Kensington, Ember Locke is the aparthotel operator’s sixth property in London and 13th Locke to date. Spread across eight floors, the property comprises 121 apartments alongside food and beverage destination EVE; providing a coffee shop, bar and restaurant which sits amongst co-working space, meeting room and large garden. It will open under the guidance of White Rabbit Projects in September. Eric Jafari, chief development officer and creative director at Locke, said: “We’re very excited to be opening our first property in west London, in an ideal neighbourhood for Locke. This part of west London has long captured the attention of leisure and business travellers alike. You have some of the city’s best museums and shopping locations on your doorstep, and in the last few years, the area has had a real spotlight on it, with some of the best restaurants in London opening here.”
Pret A Manger franchise grows south coast estate: Iceking, the Pret A Manger franchisee for Kent and Sussex, has grown its estate with two new sites. The business, which was founded in 2000 by the Mouralidarane family and is also a KFC franchisee, took on five Pret sites in the region last year. The sites comprise the Pret stores in Brighton’s East Street and North Street, Brighton station, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. It has now opened a site in Montague Street, Worthing. Propel understands the business has also signed on the former Gerry Weber site in Chichester’s East Street, which will see it make a return to the town later this year. Earlier this month, Pret said that more than half (55%) of its new shops that have opened since January 2022 have been outside of London. It said this shift is reflected in Pret’s growing weekend trade. Sales on weekends have increased by 271% since 2021, with more than 70% of Pret shops now open on the weekends, up 85% on 2021.
Five Guys builds openings pipeline including new drive-thru sites: Better burger brand Five Guys UK is continuing to build its openings pipeline for this year and beyond, including two new potential drive-thru sites. The business, which recently opened its 159th site in the UK, on the Croft Retail Park, Bromborough, Wirral, has secured further openings for this year at Middlebrook Retail and Leisure Park in Bolton; on the former Handmade Burger Co site in The Waterfront scheme, Lincoln; at the West End Lane development in West Hampstead; and at Barton Mills, Bury St Edmunds, with the latter expected to be its second drive-thru in the UK. Propel understands that Five Guys has also signed up to open at the Cotswold Designer Outlet near Tewkesbury, which is set to open next year; for a drive-thru site at the Kingswood Leisure Park development in Hull; and for a potential drive-thru or restaurant in Leamington Spa. Last month, Propel reported that John Eckbert, chief executive of Five Guys UK, saw scope for a further 150 sites here, and a transport hub opening is the “last boundary that lies ahead” for the brand. The business, which marked its tenth anniversary in the UK on 4 July, still believes there is plenty of white space to go after in Britain, where this year it is again on track to open more than ten new sites.
Danieli Holdings’ Stack concept enters into joint venture with Newcastle United for fan zone: North east operator Danieli Group has entered into a joint venture through its Stack container leisure venue concept with Premier League side Newcastle United for a new fan zone at Strawberry Place in the city. An initial planning application has been lodged with Newcastle City Council, with a proposed fan zone to be constructed in two phases to extend the site over a ground floor and first floor. Built using repurposed shipping containers around a central plaza and main stage area, the new site will offer carefully curated events and attractions designed for families. The main stage, complete with a big screen, will be designed to deliver an immersive experience for live entertainment and broadcasting sporting events, while there will be six bars and ten street food units. Subject to planning and licensing being granted, it is hoped the fan zone will be open before the end of the year, with an initial lifespan of three years as the club explores potential uses for the site. The fan zone will complement recent development projects around the Strawberry Place site, which sits in the shadow of the stadium’s Gallowgate End. The land, which was recently acquired by the club, was previously a car park. Neill Winch, chief executive of Danieli Holdings, said: “We believe this development is going to be a huge asset, not just to the club and its amazing fans, but to the city as a whole. While Stack is now growing to become a national chain, the fact our very first venture was in Newcastle means it has a special place in our affections.” Stack was recently given the go-ahead for schemes in Carlisle, Middlesbrough, Durham and Bishop Auckland, with a further site in Lincoln under construction and plans lodged for a venue in Whitley Bay.
Former Gail’s ops manager confirms August opening for second Ollie’s House site: Oliver Norcliffe, a former operations manager at bakery and café concept Gail’s, has confirmed the second site for his Ollie’s House pan-Asian concept will open in August. Propel revealed last month that Norcliffe, who launched the concept on the former Cote site in Fulham Road, Chelsea, last year, had secured the ex-Megan’s site at 55-57 Parsons Green Lane, Parsons Green, for its second location. Open daily, it will offer “laid back dining and tropical Asian cuisine”. “Following the incredible reception of our first restaurant in Chelsea, we are excited to bring Ollie’s House to Parsons Green,” said Norcliffe. “Having lived in south west London for the past ten years, Parsons Green is an area that I know and love. It is quaint and neighbourly, just like the new Ollie’s House will be, which makes the location a great fit!” Megan’s, meanwhile, has said it will relocate its Parsons Green site to a new location and is in active negotiations for a much larger site nearby. Megan’s by the Green was the brand’s second restaurant when it opened in 2017, and the fast-growing cafe and deli concept has since opened a further 18 restaurants.
Ann Elliott joins advisory board of Growthdeck: Ann Elliott, former chief marketing officer of both Pizza Hut and Whitbread brand Beefeater, has joined the advisory board of private equity firm Growthdeck. Elliott, who has 35 years of marketing experience within the sector, also ran her own marketing agency for more than 20 years. She currently acts as a non-executive director for a wide range of sector businesses including salad bar chain Tossed, Italian restaurant group Gusto and pub and brewery business Hall & Woodhouse. She will use her expertise to help Growthdeck analyse potential investments and advise its investee companies on how to best implement their growth plans. Elliott said: “I am thrilled to be joining the advisory board of Growthdeck and helping the firm to grow further. I’m also really looking forward to being able to use my experience to help Growthdeck’s investee companies achieve their ambitions.” Ian Zant-Boer, chief executive of Growthdeck, added: “Ann’s extensive insight in brand building and marketing will bring significant value to Growthdeck and to our portfolio companies. We’re lucky to have someone with so much leisure sector expertise joining our team.” Growthdeck’s portfolio includes premium London bar group Maven Leisure and upscale Shoreditch bar and venue Bike Shed.
Wild Tavern founders to open second site for concept: George Bukhov-Weinstein and Ilya Demichev, the co-founders of Mediterranean restaurant Wild Tavern, are set to open a second site for the concept. The duo, who are also behind surf and turf restaurant group Burger & Lobster and steak chain Goodmans, opened the first Wild Tavern in Chelsea’s Elystan Street in December 2019. They are now gearing up to launch Wild Tavern Notting Hill in the former 202 brunch spot at 202 Westbourne Grove, reports Hot Dinners. Opening in early September, the 120-cover restaurant will include a conservatory and a terrace and offer the concept’s first breakfast menu. Last year, Bukhov-Weinstein and Demichev gave a new lease of life to the Belvedere restaurant in Abbotsbury Road, Holland Park, which was previously run by Marco Pierre White and Jimmy Lahoud.
East Midlands burrito franchise to open fourth site in as many months and seventh overall: East Midlands burrito franchise Plan Burrito is set to open its fourth site in as many months and seventh in total. The concept, which was founded by Stephen Hopper in 2015 after finding himself disappointed at the high street Tex-Mex offerings, is set to open within the Kids Brighthouse soft play centre in Ramsgate, Kent. Franchisees Jennifer and Shereen Sobia also own the soft play centre. “I looked at what the public wanted,” Jennifer told Kent Live. “Everyone loves the franchise’s food, so I decided to go for it. All the food is natural, fresh and authentic.” It comes after Plan Burrito last week opened site number six, at 5 Euston Place in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. This was hot on the heels of sites number five and four – at 15 Market Street in Guildford, Surrey, and 7 Sun Street in Hitchin, Hertfordshire – in June and May. The business also has sites in Loughborough, London’s Southampton Row, and in Whitburn, in the Scottish district of West Lothian.
Tonkotsu confirms Clapham opening details: Tonkotsu, which is backed by YFM Equity Partners and chaired by Sarah Willingham, has confirmed it will open in Clapham later this summer. As revealed by Propel earlier this spring, the business, which was founded in 2012 by Ken Yamada and Emma Reynolds, will open on the ex-Hache Burgers site in Clapham High Street. The new site, the brand’s 17th overall, will offer dine-in delivery through Deliveroo and takeaway via its own click and collect service. The brand has also lined up an opening in Bristol. The site in the city’s Baldwin Street, which will open later this year, will be the group’s third outside London. Yamada said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring our amazing ramen with freshly made noodles and bone broth to Clapham! It’s an area of London we love and have been looking in for the right property for Tonkotsu for a while.” Like its sister restaurants, Tonkotsu Clapham will also offer a range of smaller-sized ramen to give customers more choice of price point. The smaller size, of which a limited range has always been available as part of the lunch deal, has now been expanded to include all ramen on the menu and is available at any time of day or night.
Flintshire better burger concept opens third site: Flintshire better burger concept Hungry Cow has opened its third site, in Colwyn Bay. Hungry Cow, which is owned by Christy Goode, first opened in 2021, in Holyhead. It has since opened a second restaurant in Mold, and also has two “express kitchen” sites – in Llandudno and Prestatyn. Its third bricks and mortar location is at 43 Abergale Road in Colwyn Bay, in the former Virgilio’s takeaway site. Operating as dine-in, takeaway and delivery, it offers a range of cocktails, draught lager, Welsh craft ale, spirits and cider alongside its burgers, wings and loaded fries. Goode, from Flint, set up Hungry Cow after first renting pub kitchens at the George and Dragon in Flint and the Cross Foxes in Prestatyn, before opening his own restaurant.
London Chinese barbecue and karaoke concept set to open second site: London Chinese barbecue and karaoke concept Galaxy is set to open a second site. It currently operates at 211 Walworth Road in Elephant & Castle, offering karaoke alongside such dishes as spicy sea bass hot pot with cabbage and sweet potato vermicelli and potato slices; and grilled enoki mushroom wrapped in tofu skin. It will later this summer open a new site at 3 Appold Street, near Liverpool Street station, spanning two floors and featuring private rooms of various sizes. The set menu comes with a few parameters, such as the minimum spend depending on room size, and food will be served up until 1.30am, reports Hot Dinners. The drinks list will focus on spirits and a short wine selection, but will also offer tea and soft drinks.