Story of the Day:
Bavarian-based brewer and operator plans UK launch:
Paulaner Franchise & Consulting, a subsidiary of Paulaner, the Bavarian brewery established in 1634 in Munich, is looking to launch its restaurant and bar concepts in the UK, Propel has learned. The original Paulaner Bräuhaus opened in Munich in 1989, and the business has grown to circa 40 sites, with venues as far afield as Singapore, Shanghai, Indonesia and Azerbaijan, along with seven sites across Germany. The business has teamed up with property adviser Christie & Co as it looks to secure a number of “ambitious hospitality entrepreneurs” or investment groups that can open up to ten sites throughout the UK in the next few years. With a focus on serving traditional food and beer “in a great atmosphere”, Paulaner said its restaurants offer an authentic Bavarian hospitality experience. There are three restaurant types – the Bräuhaus with its on-site micro-brewery; the Wirtshaus where the focus is on the menu matched with Paulaner beer; and the Bierhaus, the traditional Bavarian pub. For the UK market, Paulaner Franchise is looking for franchise partners with the capability to invest in high traffic locations in major towns and cities in the UK. The expansion is supported by a full complement of expert brewers, architects, designers, marketing and operations team. Lars Eckart, managing director of Paulaner Franchise, said: “We are convinced we can achieve great success with our Paulaner breweries and pubs in the UK. The market is ready for us. Paulaner stands for outstanding beer culture, brewed in accordance with the German Purity Law. We now want to bring this centuries-old craft of brewing closer to British beer lovers. Our aim is to ignite enthusiasm for genuine, traditional Bavarian beer in the UK, while ensuring the highest standards of quality. Alongside our exquisite beer offering, our Bavarian food will provide an authentic gastronomic experience.” Hans Neumaier, director business development at Paulaner Franchise, added: “We have been successful in the UK market for years with our excellent Munich beer. Now we want to bring authentic Bavarian gastronomy to the UK. We bring brewing expertise and a well-thought-out franchise concept, and in Christie & Co we have a partner with excellent knowledge of the property and franchise market.” Simon Chaplin, senior director – pubs, restaurants and franchise at Christie & Co, said: “Offering a unique combination of traditional and modern Bavarian lifestyle, the brand has a proven customer appeal, and a franchise model that works for both sides.” Propel will next week 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.
Dame Karen Jones to speak at Propel Talent & Training Conference, open for bookings:
Dame Karen Jones, chair of Hawksmoor and Mowgli, 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. Dame Karen will talk to James McLuckie, group chief learning officer at Mapal, about what the sector does right when it comes to finding and nurturing talent, and also what it could do better. 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.
Next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book to feature updated figures for 67 companies:
The next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book
will feature updated figures for 67 companies. Premium subscribers will receive the next edition of the Blue Book tomorrow (Friday, 11 August), at midday. It now features 745 companies that are turning over a total of £50.6bn. A total of 509 companies are making a profit while 236 are making a loss. The profit being made by sector companies is now outstripping losses by £1.33bn. The Blue Book shows the total profit of the 745 companies in the list is £3,272,517,901 and losses are £2,761,785,504. The Blue Book is updated each month and ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Premium subscribers also receive access to five other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database
, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database
; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book
; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database
; and the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage
. This month, Propel will 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 will be released on Wednesday, 16 August and 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. 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.
Starbucks loses court challenge against order to rehire union supporters: A US appeal court has rejected Starbucks’ challenge to a ruling requiring the company to rehire seven employees at a Memphis, Tennessee, store who were allegedly fired for supporting a union. The Guardian reported the decision by the Ohio-based sixth US circuit court of appeal is the first from an appeal court involving a nationwide campaign that has seen workers at more than 300 Starbucks locations vote to unionise since late 2021. A three-judge panel said by firing the workers last year, Starbucks likely discouraged other employees from exercising their rights under US labour law. “Fear of retaliation will exist unless the ‘Memphis seven’, apparently terminated for their union support, are reinstated,” circuit judge Danny Boggs wrote for the court. The decision could embolden the National Labor Relations Board, which enforces US labour law, to use the courts to aggressively police Starbucks’ labour practices as they also come under scrutiny from shareholders and the US Congress. Starbucks and the labour board, which had sought the order reinstating the workers, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Starbucks last year said it had rehired the seven employees to comply with a judge’s order, but still pursued the appeal. The company was union-free for decades.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with an established and growing bar group in London that is seeking a senior digital growth marketing manager. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will be reporting to the sales and marketing director to deliver a compelling digital acquisition strategy across the group. You'll lead the digital marketing team in designing and implementing a digital marketing strategy to grow awareness, consideration, and conversion of all of the venues through driving guest visits and loyalty rates via the CRM system (emails and auto-journeys) and revisit rates through management of guest experience.” The salary is up to £70,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email email@example.com.
Second round bids due for D&D London: Second round bids are due on Friday (11 August) for D&D London, which owns and operates circa 40 restaurants across the UK and internationally, with circa ten parties believed to have shown interest in the business, Propel has learned. As previously revealed by Propel, first round bids for D&D were due to be submitted on 21 July. Interested parties in D&D are understood to include co-founder and former chief executive Des Gunewardena, who is thought to still own a circa 14% stake in the company. A group of private investors, which are believed to have engaged Simon Wilkinson, ex-chief executive of Byron and La Tasca, to help them, are also believed to be involved in the process. Wilkinson began his career in five-star hotels and fine dining. It is thought serial sector investors the Handa family are also currently running the rule over the business. The sales process, which goes under the name Project Sandon, is being overseen by advisory firm Interpath. In June, Propel revealed that private equity firm LDC had exited its investment in D&D after a decade of supporting the company. LDC transferred shareholder control in D&D to Beechbrook Capital. Beechbrook has been “committed investors” in D&D since 2017, when it provided a mezzanine loan to part-refinance LDC’s and the management’s shareholder loans. Interpath, which had previously been advising D&D, was then reappointed to sound out the market as the business seeks further investment to support its transformation plan. Gunewardena left the company to pursue other ventures last September. Earlier this summer, D&D closed its Plateau restaurant in London’s Canary Wharf, citing covid’s “major impact on the corporate market”. Earlier this year, D&D ceased trading four of its UK sites – East 59th (Leeds), Klosterhaus (Bristol) and Avenue and Radici (London). Klosterhaus, East 59th and Avenue were included in the seven sites Propel revealed D&D had placed on the market last November.
Fireaway founder invests in burger and cookies concepts: Mario Aleppo, the founder of fast-pizza brand Fireaway, which last month opened its 150th site, has invested in burger concept Five Akhi’s and the West Bakes Cookies business, Propel has learned. Aleppo, who launched Fireaway in south London in 2017, told Propel the investments would help toward rolling out both concepts across the UK. Fully halal burger brand Five Akhi’s opened its second site in Milton Keynes’ Darin Court in June. The business, which was launched in 2021, opened its debut site in the town’s Peartree Bridge. The latest launch was under a new express format for the business. With “iconic, 28-day aged, medium rare angus beef burgers”, the company said its “remarkable menu…is simple” with a “focus on delivering the best flavour in each dish”. West Bakes Cookies was launched as an online bakery business focused on New York-style cookies by Surrey-based husband and wife team Lewis and Yaz West. It also operates a site in Sutton. Last month, Aleppo told Propel that Fireaway 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 launch a site in the Spanish capital, Madrid, 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. The brand secured investment from six new backers in October last year and plans to have 500 sites within the next five years.
Wendy’s CEO – UK business has been growing like-for-like sales really nicely: Todd Penegor, chief executive of Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, has said the brand’s UK business has been “growing like-for-like sales really nicely”. Penegor, who was talking after the company reported its second quarter update, said the business had also seen “improvements in our UK restaurant margin” during the period. Gunther Plosch, Wendy’s chief financial officer, said the company was “really happy” with the progress it was making in the UK, where it currently operates 17 restaurants. On the performance in the UK, he said: “We are now trending towards an average unit value of about $1.9m (£1.49m) in the second quarter. We have improved our profitability by about 500 basis points. Unfortunately, we had catch-up accounting to do of expenses from prior year that depressed our profitability in consolidation a little bit. We do absolutely expect that we are sequentially improving. There's a good amount of interest from franchisees to further build out restaurants, and we expect to have 40 restaurants in the UK by the end of this year.” Wendy’s has so far approved six franchisees, who will take on territories including Scotland and Wales. It has further openings lined up in Portsmouth, Guildford, Peterborough and Cambridge. At the same time, the company said it had signed a new master franchise agreement with Flynn Restaurant Group to build 200 Wendy's restaurants in Australia through to 2034, through a mix of equity stores and sub-franchise partners. Flynn currently operates nearly 200 Wendy's sites in the US.
Berkeley Inns reports like-for-likes up circa 12% in current financial year but cost pressures ‘making significant dent in profitability’: Howard Thacker, chief executive of Berkeley Inns, the award-winning gastropub operator, has told Propel that like-for-like sales are up around 12% in its current financial year, but cost pressures “have made a significant dent in profitability”. Thacker said: “Our energy costs multiplied six times, staffing costs have risen significantly, and both food and drink costs have risen dramatically putting pressure on margins. This with significant expenditure on the new London sites will result in a minimal profit this financial year. Fortunately, we have a strong balance sheet and little to no debt.” Berkeley Inns, which was established in November 2014 and also operates three sites in Derbyshire – the Horseshoes in Long Lane Village; The Cow in Dalbury Lees; and the Bluebell Inn in Kirk Langley – made its London debut in May with the opening of The Knights Templar in Chancery Lane, which has been rebranded to The Last Judgment, and followed that up with the launch of The Rugby Tavern in Bloomsbury in July. Thacker said: “The two sites in London have started well although it’s very early days. Wet sales are strong, with food sales building a little slower than expected, but both sites should move into profitability in September/October. We are very happy with the staff teams we’ve built in London. The renovations and product generally have turned out very well and the public reception has been fabulous.” At the time of the purchase of what is now The Last Judgment, Thacker told Propel its initial aim was to have six sites in the capital by the end of 2024. Updating on the plans, he said: “Opportunities for further London sites in our desired area are few and far between, and four more sites before the end of next year may be a tough target, but we’ll be actively looking in the new year.” Thacker spoke after Berkeley Inns reported turnover increased to £6,790,231 for the year ending 31 October 2022 compared with £4,686,287 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was up to £3,137,442 from £6,141 the year before due to £3,493,621 profit on sale of assets. Dividends of £499,362 were paid (2021: nil).
Dubai multi-brand operator looking to launch fried chicken concept in UK: Dubai multi-brand operator Yolk Brands is looking to launch its fried chicken concept, BonBird, in the UK. Led by Dorset-born former chef Stephen Flawith, Yolk Brands is also behind gourmet burger brand Pickl, which has 12 locations in the UAE and a franchised site in Bahrain. Earlier this year, it acquired gourmet deli and cafe brand 1796, which has five sites in Dubai and the UAE, and speciality coffee roaster The Climbing Goat, which has two sites in Dubai. BonBird has one site open in Dubai, with four more to follow by the end of 2023, and has forecast five more openings in the region in 2024. It is now looking for a franchise partner to bring it to the UK, preferably master or area developers taking on a minimum of ten sites each.
Tokyo Industries to open new site in Hull following £750,000 grant: Bar and nightclub operator Tokyo Industries is set to open a new site in Hull. The Aaron Mellor-led business has received a grant of £750,000 to bring a new late-night bar and restaurant to the city centre. The funding is from cash awarded to Hull City Council in 2021 by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Iron Lilies will occupy the former Virgin Megastore on level two of Princes Quay shopping centre. Cllr Paul Drake-Davis, Hull City Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “Levelling Up Funding has already helped to bring huge improvements and unlock great potential in our city centre. This is a significant investment to what is an exciting project that will provide a boost to Princes Quay and the wider area’s evening economy.” Tokyo Industries operates circa 50 bars, clubs and venues in the UK, plus several international sites.
Firehouse Subs eyes EMEA international expansion: Restaurant Brands International (RBI) – the owner of Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons – has said its Firehouse Subs business will be expanding in key growth countries across EMEA, APAC and Latin America. It comes as Firehouse Subs opened its first restaurant in Switzerland and announced the signing of a development agreement to launch in Mexico later this year, marking the beginning of the brand’s global expansion plans. In November 2021, RBI entered into an agreement to acquire US brand Firehouse Subs for $1bn (£740m). Firehouse Subs has circa 1,200 sites. Earlier this year, Propel revealed RBI was eyeing a launch in the UK for Firehouse Subs. Propel understands officials from RBI have visited the UK recently to explore the opportunity of launching Firehouse Subs here, including talking to sector experts about the market and sounding out possible franchisees. RBI has also trademarked the Firehouse Subs name for use in the UK. RBI said the first Firehouse Subs restaurant in Switzerland will be used as a showcase for future international developments. The brand said it had conducted research in several high-priority markets to understand guests’ profiles and provide local relevance. This will be reflected in the menu, image and overall guest experience. David Shear, president – international at RBI, said: “Sandwiches represent one of the top food occasions for consumers across markets. With its differentiated product offering and strong brand heritage, we are confident Firehouse Subs can achieve tremendous growth internationally.” Canadian coffee concept Tim Hortons made its UK debut, in Glasgow, in the summer of 2017 and now operates circa 65 sites here. Popeyes made its UK debut in November 2021, in Stratford. It currently operates circa 30 sites here and expects to open 20 restaurants in 2023.
Mission Mars strengthens Rudy’s openings pipeline: Mission Mars has further added to its openings pipeline for its Rudy’s pizza Napoletana brand in London and the north east. As previously reported by Propel, Rudy’s, which made its London debut in spring 2021, in Wardour Street, Soho, has secured sites in Montacute Yards, in Shoreditch High Street, and in Tottenham Court Road, for openings in the capital. Propel now understands the 19-strong brand has also lined up an opening on the former Carluccio’s site in Spitalfields, for an opening later this year. At the same time, it is believed to be close to securing a site in Durham city centre. Mission Mars recently opened its third Birmingham site under its Rudy’s brand, on the former Hawkshead Taphouse at 77 High Street, Harborne. It has also lined up an opening in the old Midlands Bank site in Nottingham’s Victoria Street. As part of its three-year plan, Mission Mars is looking to open six to eight Rudy’s sites per year. Joshua Rose, of Raven Rose, acts for Mission Mars. Rudy’s has also announced the return of its bake-at-home pizzas, which are now available for nationwide delivery. Neal Bates, managing director of Rudy’s, said: “During lockdown, our bake at home pizza range was incredibly popular, and we were so grateful to our friends across the country who supported us. Bake at home was rested while we reopened our pizzerias. Since then, we have been regularly asked when the bake at home pizzas would be available again, so recently we have built our Rudy’s home delivery kitchen in our pizzeria in Portland Street, Manchester.”
Nottingham McDonald’s franchisee falls to loss as costs escalate: McDonald’s franchisee Finix Restaurants, based in Nottingham and operated by Fiona Nicholls, has reported turnover was up slightly to £20,224,111 for the year ending 31 December 2022 compared with £20,141,568 the year before. The business made a pre-tax loss of £144,088 compared with a profit of £1,495,854 the previous year as costs escalated. In her report accompanying the accounts, Nicholls said: “The trading environment in which the company operates will continue to be challenging but we remain optimistic regarding future trading and are committed to continuing the company's reinvestment programme. The company has continued to invest in the business and in the development and training of its employees, as well as continued investment in IT and store equipment.” The business did not receive any government grants (2021: £46,494). A dividend of £40,000 was paid (2021: £40,000). Nicholls started as a trainee business manager with McDonald’s in 1987 and worker her way up the company before becoming a franchisee in 2016.
BloomsYard lines up sixth opening: BloomsYard – the cafe wine bar concept from Bharti Radix, ex-finance director of Draft House, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group and Petersham Nurseries – is to open its sixth site, in the City. The business – which operates sites in Marble Arch, Liverpool Street and Regents Place in the capital – is set to open a new site at 1 Finsbury Avenue. Radix launched BloomsYard in the Upper Mall at Watford’s Intu shopping centre in 2020. In 2021, the business made its London debut after securing a site at 100 Liverpool Street, where it operates the cafe in the reception area of the development. It also operates a site at Watford station. On the pace of expansion, Radix told Propel: “When I came up with the idea of BloomsYard during lockdown one I wrote a plan (as expected from any finance professional!) That plan said two sites a year for five years. I seem to be sticking to that plan at the moment as we opened our first site three years ago in September. That feels comfortable at the moment.”
East Midlands burrito franchise set to double UK estate as it eyes international expansion: East Midlands burrito franchise Plan Burrito is set to double its UK estate with a pipeline of openings, as it also eyes international expansion. The concept, which was founded in Loughborough by former design engineer Stephen Hopper in 2015 after finding himself disappointed at high street Tex-Mex offerings, currently has seven sites and is lining up an eighth, at 21 Timber Hill in Norwich. It has seen rapid growth in 2023, opening four sites in as many months between April and July – in Ramsgate, Leamington Spa, Guilford and Hitchin. “I opened my first store in 2015 and haven’t looked back,” Hopper told Which Franchise. “I realised the only way to make Plan Burrito a national brand was to go down the franchise route, with our first franchise opening in May 2022. We currently have eight stores across the UK with a further eight in the pipeline. We are expanding rapidly but controlled, and we’ll also look to grow internationally by way of master licence agreements. Our franchise package is very affordable, and our operations are very simple, so labour costs are very low, and our property requirements are very versatile, so we can fit in most size units. Other similar businesses are not franchise models, and we believe Plan Burrito to be the only one growing by way of franchise in the UK at present. We maintained profit through the pandemic as our stores can operate on as little as one staff member, and we saw a rise on all delivery platforms.”
Boom Bap Burger plans central London opening: Boom Bap Burger, the concept founded by Steve Bagatti and Anthony Gaughan, is planning to make its debut in central London. The business, which opened its debut bricks and mortar site in Bethnal Green, east London, at the start of 2020, is understood to have lined up an opening at 29-30 Leadenhall Market. Boom Bap Burger, whose tagline is “flippin’ meats, droppin’ beats”, offers burgers made from grass-fed Scottish beef that has been aged on the bone for 28 days. It also serves specialty cocktails to a backdrop of hip-hop, soul, funk and live music. The concept also operates a site at Tooting Market.
EG Group opens flagship Cinnabon site in Newcastle: Roadside and forecourt operator EG Group has opened a flagship store in Newcastle for US bakery brand Cinnabon. EG Group, which is the master franchisee of the US bakery brand in the UK, has opened its latest site in Grainger Street. Mohammed Tayab, food and beverage director – Europe at EG Group, said: “The opening of our new state-of-the-art Newcastle flagship store will bring Cinnabon’s ooey-gooey goodness to even more people across the UK. Situated in yet another fantastic location, our in-house kitchen means guests will be able to enjoy freshly baked treats in the warmth and world-class hospitality of Cinnabon.” In the spring, EG Group opened a flagship store in London for Cinnabon, on the lower ground floor at Westfield Stratford. EG Group now operates 23 Cinnabon stores in the UK. EG Group, which also owns Leon, signed a deal in late-2020 to roll out 150 sites under the US bakery brand across the UK over the next five years.
SSP Group extends London City airport contract by seven years, set to introduce new concepts: SSP Group, the operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, has seen its contract with London City airport extended by seven years, which will also see the opening of some new concepts. As part of a £12m upgrade of the airport’s departure lounge, SSP will introduce its upmarket multicultural culinary concept Hithes into an airport setting for the first time. Offering city pub dining and modern London brasserie, its dishes will include “Notting Hill Jerk Chicken” and “Best of Brick Lane Chicken Tikka Masala”. Juniper & Co will offer a menu of classically British and specialty food items with a focus on local provenance. These include the Juniper Burger, with fondue Sussex Charmer cheese, and London cured smoked salmon with free range poached eggs on English muffins. Fresh-to-go concept Soul & Grain will offer vegetarian and vegan options plus coffee, using local suppliers and recyclable packaging wherever possible. Kari Daniels, chief executive of SSP UK & Ireland, said: “SSP has a long-standing relationship with London City airport spanning 20 years. We’re delighted to be bringing new concepts to its passengers and have worked in close partnership with the airport to deliver a truly London experience.”
Caprice Holdings confirms Sexy Fish to launch in Manchester this autumn: Serial sector investor Richard Caring has confirmed he will open a third site under his high-end Sexy Fish concept, in Manchester, this autumn, complete with the “largest Champagne collection in the country”. The 200-cover restaurant, from the group behind The Ivy chain of restaurants, Caprice Holdings, will open in Spinningfields, where Armani previously operated a 15,000 square-foot store. Sexy Fish’s original Mayfair location opened in 2015, with a further site subsequently opening in Miami two years ago. The Manchester restaurant will also house the largest Champagne collection in the country (with 75 different references), a selection of the world’s top vintages from leading estates and a sake wine selection. The venue will also feature a private dining room, The Tropical Reef Room, with an aquarium filled with a “magical cacophony of exotic fish”. Caring said: “Myself and the entire company are excited to bring Sexy Fish to the vibrant and amazing city of Manchester this autumn. Caprice Holdings as a company has an affinity with the city, and we believe Sexy Fish will be loved and enjoyed by the people of Manchester.” Caprice Holdings is also set to open a Sexy Fish at the Via Riyadh scheme, Saudi Arabia, following the recent opening of a Scott’s site there.
Gin company Jim & Tonic to open rum distillery, cocktail bar and event space at Stratford scheme: Sustainable urban gin company, Jim & Tonic, is expanding its offer at Sugar House Island in London’s Stratford by opening its first rum distillery, cocktail bar and event space. The company has taken 4,000 square feet at the scheme, where it will join its flagship gin distillery, bar and headquarters that opened last year. The Rum House will feature a cocktail bar on the ground floor, which will offer a regular programme of screenings and public events, a private events space for up to 150 people on the first floor and an open-plan roof terrace bar on the top floor. James Mark, founder and head distiller at Jim & Tonic, said: “Since its inception in 2016, Jim & Tonic has evolved from one man with a van bringing quality gin and its serves to the masses to a multi-faceted company comprising spirit production, event services and venue management. With the move of our corporate headquarters to Sugar House Island, we sought to establish a single brand house that epitomises everything our brand is about. Within this, The Rum House will be the shining star and showcase everything Jim & Tonic stands for – sustainable, urban, innovative and fun.” CF Commercial and GCW are acting retail and leisure leasing agent for Sugar House Island.
Aqua Restaurants Group confirms new ‘Italian dining bakery’ will open next week: Hong Kong-based Aqua Restaurant Group, the David Yeo-founded business that operates a portfolio of restaurants across the globe, has confirmed its new “Italian dining bakery” in London’s West End will open next week. Propel revealed in June that Aqua was planning to launch Luci, set over two floors in The Yard’s development in Covent Garden. Opening on Tuesday (15 August), it will feature a long ground-floor “bancone” counter offering a selection of “al forno” baked goods, freshly made on the premises and changing to reflect the time of day. These include Italian viennoiserie and freshly baked bread accompanied with Luci’s own-roasted coffee for breakfast, followed by a selection of thin focaccia Genovese ciabatta and wood-fired pizzas by the slice from midday. Homemade gelato, sorbet and cakes will be available all day, while in the afternoon and into the evening, there will be pasta and other Italian classics accompanied by Italian wine and cocktails. It will be the sixth opening in London for Aqua, which also operates Shiro, Aqua Shard, Hutong, Aqua Kyoto and Aqua Nueva in the capital.