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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 31st Jul 2023 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Food prices in hospitality surge again as supermarket prices ease: Inflation as measured by the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index rose again to 22.6% year-on-year in June, close to the record high of 22.9% in December 2022. In sharp contrast to supermarkets, where prices increased by just 0.4% during June, month-on-month inflation in the index was more than five times higher at 2.2%. The large difference is caused by a complex mix of factors, CGA said. Retail food markets are more consolidated than hospitality, with the top ten supermarkets owning 75% of the market, and are able to exploit their scale with sophisticated contracting and controlled distribution. In addition, the government has threatened supermarkets with price caps if inflation does not fall. Conversely, hospitality buys primarily through multiple wholesalers, which dissipates scale, creates diverse ranging and has less contractual price protection. Upstream cost improvements can also take longer to feed through and are subject to continued volatility, such as the recent failure of the UK grain corridor arrangements. Suppliers, squeezed by rising costs and smaller margins, will also be seeking some respite as their inbound costs ease, CGA said. Costs of global food commodities continued their downward trend in June, averaging 23.4% below the peak reached in March 2022. However, conditions for producers in the UK continue to be less benign, with farming input costs such as energy, feed and fertiliser remaining high and near-full employment levels, tightening the labour market. Climate vulnerability on imported foods, rising interest rates and additional costs of post-Brexit trade all continue to feed through into prices. Shaun Allen, chief executive of Prestige Purchasing, said: “Food prices in the UK hospitality sector continue to increase at around 2% per month. This rate of increase is likely to be close to a tipping point, where deflationary factors should start to compensate for the currently dominant inflationary pressures. The exact timing of this tipping point though remains uncertain whilst the factors described above remain volatile.” James Ashurst, client director at CGA by NIQ, added: “Alongside relentless pressure on energy bills, labour costs and consumers’ discretionary spending, it leaves some businesses extremely vulnerable through no fault of their own. Sales remain solid and people remain eager to eat and drink out when they can, but trading conditions are going to be tough for some time to come.”

Industry News:

Operators to share how they are evolving the people experience using data during panel session at Propel Talent & Training Conference, open for bookings: Operators will share how they are evolving the people experience through the use of data during a panel session 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. The panel will feature Phil Eeles, co-founder of Honest Burgers; Emma Reynolds, co-founder of Tonkotsu; Sunaina Sethi, co-founder and people director at JKS; Will Fraser, ex-Saracens/England rugby player (who will talk about his work in creating cultures through data); and Matt Grimshaw, founder of people experience platform Youda. 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

Cluster of London bar operators to feature in the next edition of The New Openings Database, 6,000-word report included: A cluster of London bar operators will feature in the next edition of The New Openings Database. The database will show the details of 108 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday (4 August), at midday, including which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location, and there will also be a website link to the businesses. The database is published on a monthly basis, and the next edition features Yuma Hashemi, former head chef of London’s The Chancery, who operates sharing plates concept Tehran Berlin in London, and is now preparing to open a wine bar called Emmanuelle just over the road from the restaurant, at number 5a. Also added this month is Lucy Wong, from The Breakfast Group, the Eric Yu-founded restaurant and bar company, which is described as an “eclectic underground cocktail bar with a hidden outdoor terrace in the heart of central London”. In addition, Young’s, which has opened a new wine bar called The Bishop’s Vaults, in London’s Swedeland Court, will be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 6,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database; and the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage. 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. 

Last orders for takeaway pub pints as covid rules expire: The government has decided to call time on covid-era licensing rules that made it easier for pubs in England and Wales to sell takeaway drinks. Landlords were given permission in 2020 to serve customers in the street through hatches when they were forced to close their premises by covid laws. The move was extended twice during the pandemic. BBC News reported the Home Office has decided to wind up the initiative on 30 September. The government has decided from that date pubs with an on-site licence will need a licence change from their local council to do takeaway sales. UKHospitality said the “practical” covid-era relaxations had helped some businesses to boost sales. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This decision will raise questions among hospitality businesses about how serious the government is about reducing red tape for businesses.” The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said the “disappointing” decision would force pubs to go through a “lengthy application and approval processes” to keep takeaway sales. BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: "We need government to support our pubs and allow them to diversify and innovate, not hold them back with more red tape and unnecessary regulation.” Explaining the decision, the Home Office said it had canvassed opinion from local councils, residents' groups and drinks retailers – and the majority of respondents favoured returning to the pre-covid rules. The department said it will encourage councils to treat applications as a minor licence change, a quicker and cheaper process, to minimise “transition costs" for existing licence holders. Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association said there was no guarantee that councils would agree to handle all applications in this way. He told the BBC the changes would also leave premises with “little time” to apply for licence changes before the 30 September cut-off. He said he was “slightly bemused" as to why the government had ditched the covid-era regime, adding it had helped licensed premises create a “more cosmopolitan or cafe-style” social environment. 

UK wine and spirit producers braced for new post-Brexit alcohol duty: Suppliers and makers have warned alcohol duty changes on Tuesday (1 August) will hit sales of stronger drinks or trigger “drinkflation”. The FT reported that according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, which represents more than 300 companies, 80% of the wine consumed in the UK is bought in supermarkets and smaller retailers. At present, the duty on a bottle of wine with an alcohol percentage by volume of 15% or less is £2.23. From 1 August, thanks to an easement that will end in February 2025, still and sparkling wine with an ABV of between 11.5% and 14.5% will be taxed an extra 44p, the rate for a bottle with 12.5% ABV. Wine stronger than 14.5% ABV will pay a sliding scale of duty: the levy on a bottle of port with 20% ABV, for example, will jump from £2.98 now to £4.28. Still wine under 11.5% ABV, which make up 12% of total wine produced, will see duty reduce. Many brewers have in recent months lowered the alcohol in their beer to avoid being hit by higher duty, while others have launched new low-alcohol products. Carlsberg has cut the ABV of its Danish Pilsner brand from 3.8% to 3.4%, while Greene King has trimmed the ABV of its Old Speckled Hen from 5% to 4.8%. Adnams chief executive Andy Wood said the Suffolk-based brewer had launched Lighthouse, a 3.4% ABV pale ale, which will be unaffected by the new rules because it falls into the lowest band for alcohol content. “It’s good for us in that we’re not paying so much duty, but there are benefits in it for consumers too,” said Wood. He added the company’s 0.5% ABV beer, Ghost Ship, was its second-best seller, and older and younger consumers alike were cutting their alcohol intake. 

Jeremy Clarkson linked with operating local Stonegate pub: Jeremy Clarkson has been linked with operating a pub in a Cotswolds village. The Oxford Mail reported that Hawkstone Brewery, which was launched by the TV presenter two years ago, is thought to be looking to run the Coach & Horses in Bourton-on-the-Water. The pub, which is on the A429 Stow Road in Bourton, just around the corner from the brewery, has been looking for a landlord. It is currently listed as a “retail partnership tenancy” by Stonegate Group, which said it is looking for an “innovative and skilful publican”. Earlier this year, Clarkson lodged an appeal over West Oxfordshire District Council’s enforcement action for opening a restaurant at his Diddly Squat farm without planning permission. However, the council decided not to allow the addition of a restaurant at the farm. 

COREcruitment launches NED survey: COREcruitment is inviting non-executive directors, board members and chairpersons to participate in a short survey focused on the role of non-executive directors and their impact on organisations. It said the purpose of the survey is to gather information about the current practices, challenges, and responsibilities related to non-executive directors across the service industry. A spokesperson said: “By participating, you will contribute to a better understanding of the evolving role of non-executive directors and help shape the future of corporate governance.” To complete the survey, click here. 

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a company that is behind a new social entertainment concept opening in spring 2024 that is looking for a general manager. The site will split over two floors, including a 220-cover restaurant, 22 entertaining spaces, a bar and a terrace that will bring the full capacity to about 400 covers. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will be managing a large team up to 30. This position would really suit someone who has managed complex venues with an element of entertainment, social gaming/group activities and also managed a restaurant/bar. The major revenue for the venue is the bookings for entertainment. The business is forecasting the operations to take around £11m. You would have full autonomy over the P&L and be expected to look at all commercial revenue streams while inspiring and leading a team over the bar, restaurant, rooms, and events space. The business is preferably looking for someone who has new opening experience. This is the first launch for the company’s UK operations and be its biggest site to date.” The salary is up to £100,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email

Company News:

Little Dessert Shop aims to hit 50-site landmark by end of 2023 as its sets out roadmap to UK estate of 150-200: West Midlands dessert franchise Little Dessert Shop (LDS) has said it is aiming to hit the 50-site landmark by end of 2023 as its sets out a roadmap to an eventual UK estate of 150-200 locations. The company, founded in 2014 by Mu’azzam Ali and launched the following year in Wolverhampton, currently has 44 sites. Two more – in Woking (Surrey) and Wilmslow Road (Manchester) – are in the latter stages of construction. “Furthermore, LDS has several confirmed locations ready to undergo construction, alongside overwhelming interest from further franchises, giving the brand a very realistic prospect of hitting the big 50 by the end of 2023,” Kamran Hussain, head of franchising for parent company MSZ Brands, told Propel. “LDS has stores across the UK, with strongholds in areas such as the Midlands, London, and Lancashire, with imminent and substantial expansion plans to open further stores in Scotland, Wales, more rural areas of England and to attack the market in Ireland. This demonstrates unrestricted growth and potential within the UK and global markets, with the aim to hit 150-200 stores in the UK alone, and an ultimate goal to venture into the international market. One of the key factors that sets LDS apart is the in-house bakery, as having full control over the production process ensures every store receives consistently excellent products.” LDS’ expansion has been driven by a franchise model that was launched the same year it opened its first shop, and the brand is part of the British Franchise Association. Hussain said it supports franchisees through proven systems that streamline store operations, as well as “a robust social media presence, brand innovation, creative marketing and a comprehensive support network”. It has also added a “ghost kitchen” model to its franchise offer to cater for smaller budgets. MSZ Brands also operates better burger concept Betsy’s, which has branches in Hanley (Stoke-on-Trent) and Wednesfield (Wolverhampton). The latter site opened earlier this year, with Ali saying he was already planning to open more locations. Little Dessert Shop features in the Propel UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and is available exclusively to Premium subscribers. The database is updated every two months and the latest version features 210 businesses. 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.

Knoops secures £6m of new funding to aid growth: Luxury hot chocolate shop Knoops has secured a multimillion-pound loan from a wealthy French aristocrat to aid its expansion plans. The Evening Standard reported the 11-strong business has secured a £6m debt financing arrangement led by Eléonore de Lubersac, the granddaughter of banking tycoon Raoul de Lubersac and great-granddaughter of northern French aristocrat and politician Guy de Lubersac. Another recent major investor in the company is Konstantin von Schweinitz, a polo-playing investment banker and a member of the German aristocratic von Schweinitz family. He is the grandson of former German navy rear admiral Hans-Hermann Graf von Schweinitz und Krayn. The business plans to open more than 120 sites in the UK, and 3,000 sites globally within the next seven years. The company’s opening in Cross Street, Manchester, earlier this year was its biggest so far. A new site in Notting Hill is set to open in August, while an opening in Bath is also planned. Earlier this month, the business appointed executive chairman William Gordon-Harris as its new chief executive. Propel understands John Egan, who has managed fashion brands such as Duke + Dexter, Warehouse and Dune London, has recently joined the business as its new chairman. Gordon-Harris said: “Knoops confirms the placement of a £6m facility to enable the continued growth that has seen the business quadruple in size in the last two years. This debt funding aligns with our strategy to begin the international aspects of our ambition and follow our plan to create the new Starbucks for quality barista hot and cold chocolate drinks. We are delighted to have accepted a few limited new investors into the company, where they add industry and other strategic benefits.” Founder Jens Knoop told the Standard the chain’s later opening times – its Covent Garden site is open until 10.30pm on weeknights – was helping it attract a wider customer base that conventional coffee shops were missing out on. He said: “We are getting the post-theatre crowd or the after-restaurant crowd who want a hot chocolate on a chilly night. There is an appetite for something new -- this is about adding something to the culinary scene.”

Strong performance from Costa UK helps drive Coca-Cola’s second quarter sales: The Coca-Cola Company has reported a strong performance for its coffee segment in its second quarter, driven by increased sales for its Costa Coffee brand in the UK and China. The company, which acquired Costa for $5.4bn (£3.9bn) in 2018, said its coffee unit volume grew 5% in the three months to 30 June 2023, primarily driven by the strong performance of Costa in the UK and China. When talking about its global ventures arm, which includes Costa, the company said: “Net revenues grew 10%, and organic revenues (non-GAAP) grew 10%. Revenue performance benefited from the strong performance of Costa Coffee in the UK and China.” Coca-Cola reported its total revenue grew 6% to reach $12bn in the quarter. Costa is part of Coca-Cola's Global Ventures division – created in 2018 to maximise value from acquisitions and investments. The company operates circa 2,700 Costa sites in the UK and more than 12,800 Costa Express coffee machines.

Andrea – we have a continuous obsession about making sure we’re improving overall guest experience: Andrew Andrea, chief executive of Marston’s, has said the business has a continuous obsession about making sure it is improving overall guest experience, including its investment in outside areas. Andrea also touched on the role that the weather had played across its community-focused pub estate, with the business reporting a 10.9% increase in like-for-like sales in the 16 weeks to 22 July 2023. He told Propel: “It’s nothing new, sun shines, people go to pubs, when the weather's not so good, they don't. But I think that is much more pronounced now than I recall. When the conditions are right, people will go out and they will spend, but if it is terrible with rain, they just simply don't go out. They have got more things to do, like streaming content or getting food delivered to their homes. The important thing is when the sun does shine, you're well placed to take the money, as it were. We invested ahead of the curve in gardens, with several million spent on gardens ahead of the summer. So, when those conditions are right, people flock to the pub gardens, and they still love the Great British pub. We all – across the sector – did a lot to get outside areas in place, but one thing we needed to catch up on was replacing the bad furniture. Customers, when they go out, want a great experience, so having a shoddy garden bench, for example, is not acceptable. Now, if your furniture is well presented, good quality and a good standard versus other pubs, they're going to go to your pub. It’s about a continuous obsession about making sure you're improving that overall guest experience. And, of course, in many of our pubs, the gardens take up plenty of retail space.”

Young’s rebrands accommodation arm to Young’s Rooms: Young’s, the Simon Dodd-led pub company, has rebranded its accommodation business as Young’s Rooms, in line with the continued growth of its bedroom stock. The company said: “After a few chin-scratching-and-soul-searching weeks, we landed on Young’s Rooms as our name for the part of Young’s that invites sleepovers in pubs. Hotels are lovely and everything, but the word hotel doesn’t really capture the quirks of staying in a pub. It also makes you think of things we don’t necessarily have, like spas, gyms, huge where-do-I-sit receptions, and towels twisted into swan shapes (ok, that last one might only be in the Maldives, but you get the picture)!” Alongside the rebrand, Young’s has begun publishing its own newspaper called The Fold – as it looked at ways to “celebrate our bedrooms in all their grand-and-cosy-and-vintage-and-modern glory”. It said: “We liked The Fold as a name because papers are fold-y. But the true inspiration behind the name is the ram in our logo – a Dorset Horn ram, no less. In farming chat, a fold is where animals of the same breed are kept together. And we figure that our pubs (with rooms or not) are the same breed. A very eclectic bunch but the same breed.” The first edition includes recipes, competitions, old-school sleeping hacks, and a crossword. In the 53 weeks to 3 April 2023, Young’s reported its total accommodation sales were up 78%, while revpar stood at £71.40. During the period, the business added 59 bedrooms to its estate through acquisitions and investment. Since then, it has added another 26 bedrooms, with the recent acquisition of the 11-room White Hart in Chippenham; and the 149-cover, 15-room White Lion in Tenterden, from Marston’s. 

Derbyshire and Leicestershire McDonald’s franchisee reports turnover exceeds £100m for first time but escalating costs hit profitability leading to price review: McLean Restaurants, which operates 21 McDonald’s sites across Derbyshire and Leicestershire, has reported turnover exceeded £100m for the first time but escalating costs have hit profitability with the business set to review its prices. Revenue increased 3.3% to £101,144,211 for the year ending 31 December 2022 compared with £97,872,588 the year before. Pre-tax profit fell to £278,906 from £9,396,363 the previous year due to costs rising by almost £5m and government support schemes tailing off. Gross profit as a percentage of sales decreased 5.67% due to increased food costs. In her report accompanying the accounts, owner Sarah McLean stated: “Sales through digital channels, including McDelivery, mobile and self-order kiosks have increased during the year. However, food cost inflation is at its highest level in more than 40 years and energy costs have continued to increase, which has affected the financial performance of the company. Government support packages such as the 50% business rates relief in the retail and hospitality industry and rent assistance from the franchisor have helped soften the impact. The company will be reviewing its prices to reduce the impact of food cost inflation, while still offering great value and quality.” A dividend of £2.5m was paid (2021: £2.5m). McLean began working at McDonald’s after leaving university “because she loved the food” and worked her way up the company. After a restructuring that saw her role as a regional manager become redundant, she bought 19 restaurants in 2002 and became a franchisee. 

Trust Inns exceeds pre-pandemic levels of profitability: Pub company Trust Inns, which is owned by the family interests of the late Trevor Hemmings, exceeded pre-pandemic levels of profitability in the year ending 2 April 2023. It turned a pre-tax profit of £5,606,000 in 2022 into a profit of £8,931,000 during the period. This compares with a profit of £5,584,000 in the year ending 31 March 2020 when only the last few weeks were affected by the pandemic. Turnover rose from £33,895,000 in 2022 to £38,332,000 (2020: £39,636,000). It received no job retention scheme payments (2022: £56,000) and no dividends were paid (2022: nil). Bank loans at 2 April 2023 stood at £20m (2022: £20m) with repayment due in 2026. The new five-year banking facility the company entered into in September 2021 was not fully drawn at the end of the financial period. “The company has a sound financial base and sufficient financial resource to meet the requirements of the business,” said director Mark Widders. Trust Inns own more than 350 leased and tenanted pubs across the UK. Since the year-end, it has added the Fox Inn, in the Hampshire village of North Waltham, to its portfolio. 

Seafood Pub Co founder Joycelyn Neve joins Patch App UK as COO: Home services company Patch App UK has appointed Joycelyn Neve, former managing director of Seafood Pub Company, as its new chief operating officer. According to the Burnley Express, Neve, who will join Patch App UK on Tuesday (1 August), remains a shareholder and director of Seafood Pub Company, which she founded in 2011, and is currently part of the Oakman Group. Oakman acquired six pubs and the intellectual property of The Seafood Pub Company in early 2021. Since then, four sites have been added to the business. Neve joined Oakman as managing director of its new Seafood Pub division. Patch App UK secured a £200,000 investment last year and will shortly complete another raise, having secured investment from more than 50 individuals. It covers more than 100,000 houses across Lancashire and Yorkshire, and will roll out across the UK over the coming months.

The Breakfast Club opens debut travel hub location, at Gatwick airport: All-day dining concept The Breakfast Club has opened its debut travel hub location, at Gatwick airport. The restaurant, in partnership with SSP Group, the operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, has launched in the North Terminal. The restaurant offers signature dishes such as the pancake-based “The All American” and “The Full Monty” English fry-up, as well vegetarian and vegan options. SSP Group previously said it sees “significant scope” to open up more The Breakfast Club restaurants in airports in the future. The Breakfast Club was founded in 2005 and operates circa 20 sites.

Costa and Kaspa’s franchisee secures £1.3m to support growth plans and repay CBILS: Optimum Group, the company that operates circa 30 franchise sites in Merseyside under Costa Coffee, Kaspa’s and I am Doner, has secured £1.3m to fund new expansion opportunities and pay off its Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) borrowings. It comes as the business reported turnover increased to £9,533,144 for the year ending 31 August 2022 compared with £8,255,510 the previous year. Revenue was almost back to the £9,693,889 reported for the year ending 31 August 2019 – the last full year before the covid pandemic. Pre-tax profit fell to £374,023 from £1,560,804 the year before when the company received government grants of more than £1m (2019: profit of £283,119). In March this year, the company entered into an agreement with Virgin Bank for a £1.3m loan that enabled the business to pay off its two CBILS and to fund new expansion opportunities. In his report accompanying the accounts, chief executive David Connor stated: “We have begun refurbishing the Costa stores to franchise standard and are seeing results in sales. We continue to tighten controls and opportunities to save are being investigated.” A dividend of £42,450 was paid (2021: £30,000). In July last year, Optimum Group signed a multi-site franchise deal to take I am Doner to Merseyside and the Isle of Man with the first site opening in Liverpool in December last year.

Norfolk McDonald’s franchisee acquires three new sites: Norfolk McDonald’s franchisee K Foley has acquired three new sites, in King’s Lynn. The business is now operating the sites at 71 High Street in the town centre, 1 Campbells Meadow off Hardwick Road, and at Clenchwater Road in King’s Lynn West – takings its portfolio from 11 to 14 McDonald’s restaurants. Director Kevin Foley, while visiting one of his new sites, said: “The news is out! We've got three new restaurants in King's Lynn. This beauty is just one of the new family members that we have now added to our K Foley family tree. Met some great members of staff on my initial visits around the new additions. Really looking forward to working with the new teams and incorporating them into the family.” Following in the footsteps of his father, Terry, Kevin Foley is McDonald’s first UK-based second-generation franchisee. Terry began working at the Woolwich branch in London in the 1970s, where he would work alongside Paul Preston, former president and chief executive of McDonald’s UK. Terry was the first UK McDonald’s employee to be granted a franchise, opening his first store in central London in 1974. In the 1970s, he worked with the McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, to help establish the brand in Britain.

New restaurant and speakeasy cocktail bar Boha to open in Chelsea: Boho, a new restaurant and “1920s-style speakeasy cocktail bar with a Bohemian twist”, is set to open in London’s Chelsea. The concept is set to open on the former site of The Chelsea Lodge in the King’s Road later this year. It is understood that Jay Bradley, founder and chief executive of The Craft Irish Whiskey Co, hospitality entrepreneur Chase Hunter, and the founders of Prime Time Lager – Harvey Armstrong and Sam Holmes – are behind the new venture. The business said: “Our cuisine is a world class infusion of international cuisine with private dining experiences. Our cocktail bar provides an immersive experience with incredible DJs, creative mixologists and VIP table bottle service.”

Scottish fine dining restaurant in administration: The company behind the Brian Maule at Chardon d'Or fine dining restaurant in Glasgow has been placed into administration. The restaurant in West Regent Street was led by award-winning chef Brian Maule. The restaurant has 80 covers, as well as a private dining/function offering in the lower ground floor. Blair Nimmo and Alistair McAlinden, of Interpath Advisory, were appointed joint administrators to Le Chardon d'Or on Thursday (27 July).They said: “Like many other hospitality businesses, in recent times Chardon d'Or had battled hard in the face of relentless economic and trading headwinds. Soaring food and energy costs, the suspension of business rates relief, declining city centre footfall and consumer confidence dented by the cost-of-living crisis had a detrimental impact on cash flow and trading performance. The company operated its final restaurant service on 22 July and subsequently ceased to trade, after which the directors sought the appointment of the joint administrators. With no prospect of trade resuming, it is with regret the joint administrators have made all 21 employees redundant.” McAlinden said: "Brian has worked tirelessly to ensure Chardon D'or's market-leading reputation was maintained, even in the face of the most challenging trading and financial conditions in its 22-year history. Our immediate priority will be to provide assistance to employees, including providing them with the information necessary to make claims for redundancy pay from the Redundancy Payments Office.”

Doughnotts opens tenth site: East Midlands doughnut concept Doughnotts has opened its tenth site, at the Derbion retail and leisure destination in Derby. It has launched a kiosk on level one of the shopping centre, offering a range of flavours including Lotus Biscoff, Red Velvet and Homer. The company was established by co-directors Wade Smith and Megan Scaddan in 2015. 

Boparan Restaurant Group to replace Carluccio’s with Slim Chickens in Bury St Edmunds: Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) will replace its former Carluccio’s site in Bury St Edmunds with a Slim Chickens. Both brands are operated by BRG. Slim Chickens, a US brand that BRG operates in the UK, will open in 4,500 square-foot site in the town’s Arc Shopping Centre on Thursday, 24 August. It will seat 89 inside and 40 outside and create 25 jobs. Josh Birbeck, head of marketing for Slim Chickens, said: “We are the fastest growing quick service restaurant chicken brand in the UK. We already have locations in major towns and cities across the UK, and we’re thrilled to add Bury St Edmunds to that list.” Carluccio’s ceased trading at the site in June. Earlier this month, Propel revealed that BRG is looking to expand Slims across Europe, and is looking to secure partners to open up new territories in France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany. BRG operates circa 40 sites under the brand in the UK, including under its The Restaurant Hubs format with Sainsbury’s.

Manchester restaurant to open third site after rebranding following court battle: Manchester restaurant Italiana Fifty Five is set to open a third site after rebranding following a recent court battle. It already has two sites in Manchester, one at Great Northern Warehouse and another in Liverpool Road, but has now unveiled plans to open a third restaurant in the former Croma site in Didsbury village. Pizza restaurant Croma shut in May following the closure of its city centre flagship in January 2022. Italiana Fifty Five rebranded from Cibo last month after it was sued by another restaurant group also using the name, which means “food” in Italian. The other Cibo, which has restaurants Cibo Hale and Cibo Wilmslow, claimed the chain were using the name without consent, while the bosses of the Cibo restaurants in Manchester claimed its sites opened long before the Hale and Wilmslow restaurants, reports the Manchester Evening News. At the time, the owners said: “While we have cherished the Cibo name and the brand we’ve built, we don’t consider the name to be of utmost importance. Our staff and customers are our focus and delivering exceptional service and quality food is what we need to get back to concentrating on. To avoid wasting any more time, we have made the decision to rebrand.” The Italiana Fifty Five restaurants offer a two-course lunch, while its à la carte menu features its “theatrical” tagliatelle reggiano, which sees penne pasta flambeed at the table with cream, parmesan, cognac and truffle oil.

Greenclose Hotels seeks to make business ‘more agile and efficient’ as turnover exceeds pre-pandemic levels but profit falls: Greenclose Hotels has said it is seeking to make the business “more agile and efficient” as it saw turnover exceed pre-pandemic levels but profit fall in the year to 31 October 2022. The company, which operates three four-star hotels alongside a yacht charter business and a retail outlet, reported turnover of £16,109,765 for the period, up from £10,468,241 in 2021. This compares with £15,548,389 in the last full year before covid, ending 31 October 2019. Its pre-tax profit dropped from £431,271 in 2021 to £190,211 in 2022 (2019: £553,139). Dividends of £350,000 were paid (2021: £340,000). Director John Leach, in his report accompanying the accounts, said: “The shortage of labour being felt across the hospitality industry, coupled with a highly inflationary economy, will continue, at least in the short term, to put pressure on the company’s cost base. Notwithstanding the above factors, revenues have the potential to be resilient. The residual benefit of the staycation impact of covid-19 may continue to generate upsides for businesses such as those operated by the company. In light of these and other future uncertainties, our continued focus is to make the businesses more agile, more flexible and more efficient in order to maximise profitability and cash reserves. Fortunately, prior to the impact of the pandemic, the company had already embarked on a major exercise to multi-skill and rationalise its valued workforce and challenge all of its major costs, and this journey will continue. This focus on efficiency, which we expect to have no negative impact on the guest experience, will help us maintain our market leading position into the future.” Greenclose owns The Montagu Arms Hotel along with Careys Manor & SenSpa, both in the New Forest, and the Imperial Hotel in Llandudno, North Wales.

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