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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 22nd Aug 2023 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

US doughnut brand set for UK debut later this year as it targets 25 sites here by 2026: US doughnut brand Duck Donuts is set to make its UK debut later this year ahead of wider plans to open 25 sites here by the end of 2026, Propel has learned. Founded in 2006 in Duck, North Carolina, by Russ DiGilio and Robin Griffith, it has since expanded to 100-plus locations in the US and more than 130 worldwide in five different countries – offering made-to-order doughnuts, other baked goods and a range of beverages. Duck Donuts began exploring the UK market last year when it visited a franchising expo in London and is now set to make Belfast in Northern Ireland its entry point, with an opening later in 2023. “We have signed our first area development for Northern Ireland, with the first location set to open later this year in Belfast area,” global development lead Marcel Portman told Propel. “We have plans to grow in the UK with area developers that have a territory for five to eight stores. All major cities are a target, with London having three to four area developers. Our target is to have 25 units in the next 24 months. As well as 130-plus stores in five countries, Duck Donuts has ten additional countries signed and under developments. The ‘Ducks Donuts difference’ is the fresh, made-to-order doughnuts in a vanilla cake base, with regional and national flavours added to the menu.” Originally from Delaware, DiGilio and Griffith met while working in the care industry. Prior to launching the first Ducks Donuts store in 2007, the town from which it took its name had no doughnut shops. Its first franchise location opened in 2013, in Williamsburg, Virginia. Its first overseas location opened in Puerto Rico in June 2020, which was followed a few months later by a Dubai store. Although the Dubai store later closed, Duck Donuts has also expanded to Canada, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The company will be visiting the British Franchise Association show at NEC Birmingham in October in order to sign up potential UK franchisees. Its offer includes a £50,000 area franchise fee and an investment ranging from a minimum of £250,000 to a maximum of £300,000. Initial training is provided in the US for franchisees, as well as in-country training for all staff prior to opening, while a UK regional office will support operations and growth. Duck Donuts will feature in the next 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.

Industry News:

Host of franchise operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-site Companies: A host of franchise operators are among the 62 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released on Friday (25 August), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Essex McDonald’s franchisee PJT Restaurants, which was founded by managing director Peter Tassell and operates three sites. Also added this month is Chesterfield flavoured tea franchise Boba Shack, which is co-owned by Steve Smith and Philip Price and operates sites in Chesterfield, Doncaster, Sheffield’s Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre and Mansfield’s Four Seasons shopping centre. In addition, KK Foods SW, which is a franchisee for Slim Chickens in the south west and has so far opened three sites under the brand, will be featured. Meanwhile, Kbeverage, which is owned by Alok and Kavina Yadav and operates 42 Starbucks franchises, including 15 drive-thrus, is included. Premium subscribers will also receive a 4,000-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 2,943 companies. Premium subscribers also receive access to five other databases: 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. Premium subscribers have now received the new 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 features 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. 
Heartwood Collection people director to speak at Propel Talent & Training Conference, open for bookings: Heartwood Collection people director Helen Melvin will speak 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. Melvin will discuss the challenges of recruiting and retaining high-class chefs. 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

Propel appoints Phil Pemberton as new director of communication and premium services: Propel has appointed Phil Pemberton as its new director of communication and premium services. Pemberton was part of the team that launched Restaurant magazine and was subsequently deputy editor of The Drinks Business before working in a senior role at a marketing agency. He went on to lead the communication and membership team at Equity, the actors’ trade union, and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM), part of the Royal College of Physicians. He was instrumental in securing the government’s £1.57bn arts funding package during the covid pandemic while at Equity and successfully lobbied for the inclusion of occupational health provision in the most recent budget as part of his role at FOM. Paul Charity, managing director of Propel, said: “Phil is a massively experienced journalist and communications professional. I enjoyed working with him in the past at William Reed and he will improve our public-facing profile and drive forward our Premium offering. I could not be more pleased he is joining us.” Pemberton, who started in his new role of director of communication and premium services today, added: “I am really excited to be working within the hospitality sector again. It is such an important industry and I aim to build on the fantastic work of the Propel team to highlight the many benefits of membership.”

Contract caterers’ second quarter sales up year-on-year as cost challenges bite: Contract caterers’ sales in the second quarter of 2023 finished 18.5% above the same period in 2022, the latest Contract Catering Tracker from CGA by NIQ and Bidfood reveals. Another positive performing quarter reflects the sector’s recovery from the pandemic and consumers’ return to workplaces and venues served by contract caterers, it said. Caterers’ sales in the private sector were also up 20.4% year-on-year. However, the figures represent a drop in growth experienced in the first quarter of 2023, reaching 30%, recorded by the Tracker for the total market. With inflation and cost challenges affecting much of the sector and putting strain on trading conditions, growth is modest in real terms. The tracker also shows the number of units served by contract caterers has increased by more than 500 since June last year, and over 2,000 compared to the first quarter of 2023, as momentum continues to steadily build. Karl Chessell, CGA’s director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Demand for the sector remains high and the increasing number of outlets open for catering is positive. We are hopeful the positive trend to continue through the remainder of the year, but trading conditions will continue to remain challenging for some time.” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “These latest figures demonstrate really positive momentum in contract catering, with a significant uptick in the number of units being served by caterers as workplaces continue to ramp up the number of people returning to the office. The impact of inflation on real-terms growth is the other side of this debate, where growth is not accelerating at the same pace of sales.”

Crazy golf site numbers up 25% since pandemic: The number of crazy golf sites in the UK has grown 25% since the pandemic, reflecting the growing post-covid trend for immersive experiences. According to figures from Richard Gottfried, curator of the “world’s first” Crazy Golf Museum, the UK is now home to more than 1,200 courses, with 320 opening or announced since May 2020. It is also double the amount there was in 2006, when Gottfried started on a mission to visit every crazy golf course in the UK – he has so far visited 983 and played at 568 (others were shut, out of season or abandoned). “It’s become mainstream,” Gottfried told The Guardian. “When we started playing crazy golf it was seen as a bit quirky, now there’s a competition circuit. The original list had 600 courses – it looked like a fun, tickable list. But fast forward to 2023 and we’re still seeing courses, playing courses, visiting courses. There was a fear that the boom could be over, but if anything, there are more courses opening up post-lockdown, and we're still in the boom.” The likes of Swingers, Puttshack, Junkyard Golf and Boom Battle Bar have all helped bring what was once a seaside experience to the high street, with openings in former department stores offering cocktails, DJs and street food. Matt Grech-Smith, the co-founder of Swingers, said the business he set up with Jeremy Simmonds became “like a runaway train” after they tested the concept with a few pop-ups. After opening two London venues, they exported the concept to the US, with courses in New York and Washington and others opening in Las Vegas and Dubai. “There isn’t really a crazy golf tradition in the US in the same way there is here,” he added. “They have mini golf and it’s quite literal – they take golf courses and shrink them down. They tend to cater more for the purist who really wants to work on their stroke. It’s such a simple concept and it’s also very democratic – you don’t need previous experience and you don’t need to be good at sport. And we don’t purposely design for it, but it's helped that our courses are very photogenic – Instagram and TikTok are definitely things people think about when they go out.”

Coffee replaces tea as UK’s favourite drink: Britain’s love affair with tea may be over as coffee has taken over as the nation’s favourite drink, a new study shows. Some 63% of consumers said they regularly drank coffee, with 59% regularly having tea, according to the Statista Global Consumer Survey, which had 2,400 respondents. Researchers at Kantar recently found that shoppers bought more than 533 million packs of coffee in the supermarkets over the year to March 2023, compared with 287 million packs of tea. Aidy Smith, a food and drinks expert, told The Sunday Times: “The truth is, tea is becoming outdated. While the country does clearly still embrace it, coffee just has an added dash of excitement. There’s also so much you can do with coffee. The ability to serve it in so many ways with so many flavour variations and with such creativity has led to it being embraced on such a high level. I mean, what’s the equivalent of latte art with tea? Tea bag art? I don’t think so. In the same way that people become obsessed with wines from a particular region, taste or style, we’re seeing the same love and devotion when it comes to coffee with people looking for single origin, estate beans and flavour profiles. If you think about tasting notes with tea, people kind of laugh it off as it being snooty, but with coffee they are genuinely interested and pick out specific beans based on the flavour profiles — exactly how they would if they were choosing a bottle of wine from a store.”

New Deliveroo feature lets customers top-up takeaways with grocery items: Deliveroo is launching a new feature to let customers top up their takeaway orders with grocery items. Following a successful trial in London, the new add-on feature will be rolled out across the country by the end of the year. The company said the new feature has been developed in response to customer demand, with many Deliveroo customers placing a second order within minutes of their first. Under the new functionality, once a customer places their order with a restaurant, the order tracker page will allow them to add additional items from a nearby Deliveroo grocery partner within the next ten minutes. Carlo Mocci, chief business officer at Deliveroo, said: “We are passionate about creating the ultimate food experience for our customers and now, through our cutting-edge tech, they can create their perfect takeaway order. Be it combining their favourite restaurant dishes with prepping for the day ahead with tomorrow's breakfast snacks, or making sure they have snacks and popcorn to get them through movie night, the new top-up feature lets us deliver that great food experience all at once.”

More than three-quarters of Brits intend to visit hospitality venues this Bank Holiday weekend: More than three-quarters of Brits intend to visit hospitality venues this Bank Holiday weekend, spending an average of £138.55 per head, new research has found. Finance broker Charles & Dean surveyed 2,000 UK consumers and found that in spite of the cost-of-living crisis, 77% of Brits aged 16 or over will head to hospitality venues over the long weekend. Consumers estimate they will spend, on average, £138.55 each at venue, with demand highest among those aged 16-24 (£171.07 per hea). Average estimated spend varies by region, with London (£200.83), the north east (£165.02) and Northern Ireland (£159.01) leading the way. Tom Perkins, director and co-founder at Charles & Dean, said: “While we’re seeing a general trend towards financial cutbacks amid the cost-of-living crisis, it seems people are keen to take full advantage of the late summer bank holiday. The onus is on hospitality venues to do all they can to capture this demand and think about what they can put in place to make their bank holiday offering as appealing as possible.”

Robot chef firm sold in pre-pack administration as ‘once-soaring valuations for food technology businesses crumple’: A start-up that made robot chefs and attracted millions in investment from Ocado has been sold in a pre-pack administration for just £350,000, reports The Telegraph. Karakuri, founded by Barney Wragg in 2018, developed a robotic arm for serving noodles, which had undergone trials with Nando’s. The start-up raised £13m from Ocado and First Minute Capital, while Future Fund, a start-up rescue vehicle launched by Rishi Sunak during the pandemic, also provided investment. However, the firm collapsed into administration in June after it failed to raise external funding to expand, burning through £3.3m in 2022 as venture investment dried up. RSM was appointed as administrator and a pre-pack deal was agreed with Henny Penny, a supplier to KFC and Wendy's, in July. Under the deal, prototypes from Karakuri have been sold to the US kitchen equipment company. Damian Webb, a partner at RSM, said: “Karakuri explored all available options to secure the available funding to take it to profitability. Regrettably, the current economic landscape undermined these efforts.” It comes as once-soaring valuations for food technology businesses have crumpled, the newspaper said. Zume, a US start-up that built a robotic pizza oven, collapsed earlier this year after raising $500m (£393m) from investors. Satis AI, a kitchen technology company founded by Mo Khodadadi that raised money from UK venture fund MMC and uses cameras above chefs' workstations to monitor dishes being put together, has also filed notice of plans to appoint administrators.

Job of the Day: COREcruitment is working with a hospitality, travel company that has unique destinations throughout the world. It is looking to find a head of business intelligence with a background in hotels/resorts/travel, who has a passion for the industry and great experience in the sector. Candidates can only be currently based in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, Spain or Mexico due to employment law. The salary is up to £160,000 and it would be a remote role. For more information, please contact

Company News:

EL&N appoints Sergio Lopez as new chief executive: Cafe and lifestyle brand EL&N, the 32-strong London-based business, has appointed Sergio Lopez as its new chief executive. Lopez is the founder and chief executive of the Dubai-based consultancy company Pangolin. He co-founded and co-owned Bull & Roo Hospitality and Investment and previously had a stint at Jones the Grocer. Later this week, EL&N will make its debut in South Africa. The business will open a site at the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg on Thursday (24 August). The new site will take EL&N’s global presence to ten countries and represent its third new market this year following debuts in Bahrain and Malaysia. Propel revealed earlier this month that the business is seeking an investment partner to aid its ambition to grow to 200-plus sites globally over the next five years. The company said it was exploring the potential to raise capital “through divestment of equity” in its holding group. The business, which was founded by Alexandra Miller in 2017, expects to grow organically throughout 2023-24 by investing in its existing product range, and by developing new products and opening new sites.

Banana Tree to make Midlands debut: Banana Tree, the fast-casual pan-Asian brand owned by the Big Table Group, is to make its debut in the Midlands later this month with an opening in Birmingham. The 13-strong brand will open on the former Café Rouge site in the city’s Bullring scheme. Big Table Group, the operator of Las Iguanas and Bella Italia, has so far converted Café Rouge sites in Covent Garden, The O2, Haywards Heath and Reigate to the Banana Tree brand. Propel understands further conversions of the Café Rouge sites in Windsor and Henley-on-Thames to Banana Trees are also lined up for later this year. The Alan Morgan-led, Epiris-backed business acquired the then nine-strong Banana Tree business in September last year. It paid a total consideration of £8.6m for the Banana Tree business, which was satisfied by the payment of £5.5m in cash on completion, as well as “directly attributable costs” of £300,000. Further consideration of £2.8m is payable subject to the achievement of certain performance targets of the acquired business 12 to 36 months post-acquisition. Propel understands of the £5.5m already paid towards the deal, it includes £2.5m of cash in the Banana Tree business that Big Table Group had to acquire.

Seven Bro7hers overfunding, confirms 11 Central plans, eyes London opening: Manchester brewer and retailer Seven Bro7hers has begun overfunding after already breaking through its crowdfunding target of £250,000. The business – founded in 2014 by McAvoy brothers Guy, Keith, Luke, Daniel, Nathan, Kit and Greg – returned to crowdfunding platform Crowdcube at the start of the month, looking to raise £250,000 to support its expansion plans, including the opening of new bars. It has currently raised £307,669 from 358 investors, with 15 days of the campaign still to go. Seven Bro7thers is offering 2.5% equity in return for the investment, giving the business a pre-money valuation of £12m. Seven Bro7thers operates five bars and is due to open two more venues in 2023. The company plans to use the funds to open further sites, expand production and build a team to help the company secure a new home. The business has previously raised more than £1m on Crowdcube during two separate crowdfunding campaigns in 2019 and 2020. It comes as the business confirmed it will open a new bar and microbrewery at the upcoming new Central Bay development in Salford’s MediaCity. Named 11 Central after the families’ seven brothers and four sisters, the bar will offer visitors a mix of drink, food, live music, bar games and waterside views from the terrace, as well as gin making classes. Keith McAvoy, chief executive of Seven Bro7hers, said: “It’s an exciting time for us as we take our bar offering to a new level and create a diverse, theatre-led experience. To date, we have had great success in the beerhouse space, and 11 Central gives us the opportunity to build an entertainment hub for the quays – the chance to work on a brand-new concept.” At the same time, when it comes to further expansion, the business has said it plans to open in the capital. Replying to a question on future expansion on Crowdcude, the business said: “Manchester is our heartland of course, but we are planning to open a Beerhouse in London. Part of our strategy is to roll out more venues across the country.”

Costa Coffee opens debut US transport hub site: Costa Coffee, the Coca-Cola Company-owned chain, has opened its first site in a US transport hub as part of its expansion in the States. In August last year, the company launched its first physical Costa site at the Coda Tech Square, in midtown Atlanta. It has now opened its fifth site in the US, but its first site outside Atlanta and in a US transport hub. The coffee brand has teamed up with HMSHost to open a site at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s brand-new North Satellite Terminal. The company said the “new innovative store has four ways to experience Costa” – full service, grab and go, self-order kiosks and a ‘smart café section – where “hot and iced espresso drinks are served 24/7”. Last August, Coca-Cola told Propel it was taking a “disciplined approach” to expanding Costa in the US. Up to last summer, the company, which acquired the circa 4,000-strong Costa from Whitbread in a near-£4bn deal in 2018, had launched the coffee brand in the US as a retail range. However, last year saw it start the roll out of physical sites under the Costa brand in the US, starting with two sites in Atlanta. Last week, the business opened its fourth Costa store in Atlanta, featuring a speakeasy style entrance, with consumers entering through an English phone booth. The business said: “The aesthetic and branding include subtle and not-so-subtle hints to Costa’s British origins, as well as to its Atlanta present.”

Loungers to add to coastal presence with Paignton opening: Café bar operator Loungers is to add to its presence in coastal towns with an opening in Paignton, Devon. The Nick Collins-led business, which earlier this year said its coastal-based sites were performing 25% better than average, has secured the ex-Harvester site in the town’s Eastern Esplanade. The seafront site will reopen under the group’s Lounge concept, under the name Costero Lounge. Last month, the company said it was anticipating a record year at its seaside venues, with 26 of Loungers’ 235 sites based in coastal areas, including 24 Lounges and two Cosy Clubs. The company business was “booming even in the winter” and resorts such as Clacton-on-Sea, Weston-super-Mare and Mumbles were “thriving again”. It said seven of the company’s ten best performing sites were based at the seaside, with Llandudno and Mumbles being “the standouts”. Earlier this month, Loungers opened its 197th Lounge, and 235th site overall, in the coastal town of Deal. Acordo Lounge is located in a former M&Co in the middle of the town’s High Street and is the company’s second Lounge opening in Kent. David Muslin, of Ecliptic, at acted on the Paignton deal. 

Taiwanese bubble tea brand looking to expand UK estate through franchising: Taiwanese bubble tea brand The Alley is looking to expand its UK estate through franchising. Since launching here in 2019 with a store in Holborn, it has opened five further London locations – in Mayfair, Camden, Hammersmith, Westfield Stratford and Westfield White City. Globally, it has more than 600 stores in countries including France, Germany, Italy, the US, Canada, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. It recently joined the British Franchising Association (BFA) and will exhibit at the National Franchise Exhibition in Birmingham in October. “Successfully establishing six stunning stores in London showcases the brand’s steady growth and overwhelming reception from UK consumers,” the company said. “As we continue to make our mark in the UK, this partnership (with the BFA) solidifies The Alley’s commitment to expanding its franchise presence within the UK market. As The Alley forges ahead on this journey, it aims to bring its exceptional beverage offerings and unique brand experience to even more communities across the UK. The bubble tea market in the UK has recently witnessed an exceptional surge in popularity, and as an emerging cultural phenomenon, bubble tea shops have proliferated across major UK cities. Its youthful appeal, Instagram-worthy aesthetics and refreshing taste have made it a favourite among millennials and Generation Z, redefining the country’s beverage landscape.”

TRG lines up Barburrito opening in Brighton: The Restaurant Group (TRG), the owner of Wagamama and Brunning & Price, is lining up an opening for its Barburrito brand in Brighton. Propel understands that the Andy Hornby-led company plans to open at 62 North Street later this year. Last July, TRG acquired the then 16-strong burrito bar chain for £7m, with an initial expansion plan to double the existing estate over the next four years. Late last year, it opened the first site under the Barburrito brand, since it acquired the business, in Aberdeen’s Union Square. Barburrito previously operated on the site in the town’s shopping centre but closed it two and a half years ago as part of a wider restructure of the business.

Middle East-based steakhouse concept Swiss Butter makes UK debut: Swiss Butter, the Middle East-based steakhouse concept, has opened its debut UK site, in London’s Holborn. As previously flagged up by Propel, Swiss Butter, which was founded in 2017 by Eddy Massaad, has opened on the former PizzaExpress site at 114-118 Southampton Row. Swiss Butter currently operates seven restaurants across the UAE – three in Beirut, three in Dubai and one in Riyadh. The concept is based on a choice of three mains: beef filet, chicken or salmon, “all smothered in its secret Swiss butter sauce” made up of 33 herbs and spices. Louie Gazdar, of Davis Coffer Lyons, and Theo Benedyk, of Lewis Craig, acted on behalf of the landlord in the Southampton Row deal, while Samuel May at May & Company acted on behalf of the vendor.

Rosa’s Thai plans Edinburgh opening: Rosa’s Thai, which is backed by TriSpan, is planning to securs its second site in Scotland with an opening in Edinburgh. The Gavin Adair-led brand is understood to have lined up an opening in the city’s Frederick Street. The 37-strong business, which recently opened in Oxford, will make its Scottish debut next month with an opening on the former Cote site in Glasgow’s West Nile Street. Last month, Propel revealed the business had secured the ex-Cabana site in Westfield. It has also secured an opening in Guildford for later this year, and a site in Reading, as it looks to open eight locations in 2023.

Greene King lines up Esher site for Crafted Pubs concept: Brewer and retailer Greene King has lined up a site in Esher, Surrey, for the latest opening under its fledgling Crafted Pubs premium format. Propel understands the Nick Mackenzie-led pub company is to convert the Prince of Wales, which is currently a Chef & Brewer, in West End village part of Esher, into the format. Earlier this year, it reopened the Cart & Horses site in the village of Kings Worthy, near Winchester, as a Crafted Pub site. Greene King operates a handful of sites under the Crafted concept, which it launched in 2021 after investing a six-figure sum in transforming former Chef & Brewer pub The Boat, in Catherine De Barnes, near Solihull, into the format. Further openings under the Crafted concept have followed in Wokingham, Sutton Coldfield and Dorking. Meanwhile, Greene King Pub Partners, the company’s leased, tenanted and franchise division, has made it to the finals of the 2023 BFA HSBC British Franchise Awards. The company established its pub franchise agreement and Hive Pubs concept almost two years ago, and has since grown to 35 sites. Penny Baldwin, franchise operations director for Greene King Pub Partners, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have reached the finals of these awards, which recognise the close relationships we hold with our franchise partners and the unrivalled support we provide them. As a growing franchise operation, we remain committed to upholding the highest standards for our franchisees.”

Korean food and culture hub concept Oseyo plans Midlands debut: Korean food and culture hub concept Oseyo is planning to make its debut in the Midlands, with an opening in Birmingham. The business, which operates eight sites in London, is understood to be planning to open at 15a New Street, in the Ladywood area of Birmingham, near to the entrance to the Bullring Shopping Centre. Last week, Propel revealed the business is set to open a second site in Manchester, at the Arndale Centre. The company, which operates a site in Cambridge, already has a venue in Manchester’s Oxford Road. At the same time, it is understood the business has lined up a site in Guildford’s North Street, for an opening later this year. The concept features traditional Korean cuisine, a fresh ingredients section and a Korean pancake station as well as non-food items including Korean cosmetics, K-pop albums, stationery and Korean household appliances.

Peter Lloyd opens second Sticky Mango site, third to follow next month: Chef Peter Lloyd has opened his second Sticky Mango site, in the former D&D Cantina del Ponte at 36c Shad Thames in London, with a third to follow in Islington next month. It follows the opening of the debut site for Lloyd’s south east Asian concept in 2016, on London’s South Bank, which offers a menu influenced by Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and other countries in the region. Dishes include Som Tam, a Thai green papaya salad served in a traditional Thai pestle and mortar, and Vietnamese Cha Ca La Vong, a fish dish found only in Hanoi. The venue has 100 covers (200 standing), including a dedicated sushi bar with room for ten bar stools, and a Blossom Island in the centre of the restaurant, which can accommodate up to 18 guests. The outside terrace will offer a further 50 guests panoramic views across Tower Bridge. Lloyd said: “In this most incredible Tower Bridge location, there is an opportunity to share the beauty of Sticky Mango with a wider audience. Throughout the year, I want to focus on the stunning food from different south east Asian regions – in particular Vietnam and Indonesia, which are both fascinating culinary destination.”

Paris Society eyes Mayfair opening: Paris Society, the French restaurant group led by Laurent de Gourcuff, is planning to open its second site in the UK, in London’s Mayfair. The business, which was founded in 2008 by De Gourcuff, made its UK debut in autumn 2020 with the opening of Louie on the ex-L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon site in Covent Garden. It now plans to open a four-floor restaurant and bar venue in Carlos Place. The business currently has a portfolio of circa 60 venues. In 2017, with investment from hospitality group, Accor, Paris Society began a new strategic development phase. In the past five years, it has opened a series of “internationally renowned ultra-premium and luxury lifestyle” dining brands such as CoCo, Girafe, Mūn, Gigi, and Maison Russe. In 2021, the group founded its global division, Paris Society International, with a strategic plan to deploy its brands and experiences in the “world’s gateway capitals and hotspot destinations”.

Artfarm appoints Jonno Forbes as operations director: Artfarm, the independent hospitality business run by former Fortnum & Mason chief executive Ewan Venters, has appointed Jonno Forbes, formerly of Caprice Holdings and the Fat Duck Group, as its new operations director. Forbes joins Artfarm after two years as a director at the Richard Caring-backed Caprice Holdings. Prior to that, he was group general manager at the Fat Duck Group for just over two years. Last month, Propel revealed that Artfarm is planning to open a site under its Farm Shop concept in London’s Mayfair. The business, which is behind the venues such as Roth Bar & Grill in Somerset and The Audley in Mayfair, plans to open the new site at 64 South Audley Street later this autumn. Located over two floors, Farm Shop will sell meat, wine, cider, honey and foraged ingredients from the group’s 1,000-acre farm in Somerset, alongside products from selected farmers, growers and makers from the south west. Featuring a dedicated butchery counter, deli, cheese room and wine cellar, customers will also be able to purchase charcuterie, cheese and wine to eat in and take-away. The first Farm Shop opened at Durslade Farm in Bruton, Somerset, in 2020. Last August, ArtFarm acquired the Groucho Club in London and has since talked about expanding the concept internationally.

Tom Kerridge confirms Chelsea plans for Butcher’s Tap & Grill opening: Chef Tom Kerridge has confirmed he is to bring his Butcher’s Tap & Grill concept to London’s Chelsea. As revealed earlier this spring by Propel, the chef will open his first pub site in the capital on the former Queens Head site in Tryon Street towards the end of this year. The chef said that following the success of The Butcher’s Tap & Grill in Marlow which opened in 2017, the opportunity to lease a 3,600 square-foot, two-storey Victorian property just around the corner from Sloane Square was “too good to turn down”. The 100-cover pub will predominately be wet led, with a British-centric menu of butcher-cuts, burgers, hot dogs and small bites all sourced from carefully selected producers including 28-day dry aged, grass-fed beef from HG Walter and Dovecote Farm, Blythburgh pork, Longland Farm Duck and Suffolk Texel lamb. A rotating roster of drinks will include Marlow favourite Rebellion Lager alongside some local London craft beers. The pub will be on two levels and will open for lunch all day and supper. It will serve a roast every Sunday and a takeaway service will offer classic burgers and hotdogs. Kerridge said: “We are delighted to have secured such a prestigious location for our second Butcher’s Tap & Grill. The pub will be a spin off from the original in that it is not a carbon copy of the Marlow pub. More emphasis will be placed on drinks than the bar in Chelsea and we will not offer a takeaway butcher’s service, but guests will be able to choose their cuts from the meat fridge. We very much want to be a local’s local.” Kerridge told Propel last year that the concept “might be something we look at rolling out”. The original Butcher’s Tap was as part of a joint venture with brewer and retailer Greene King. DCL and CDG Leisure acted on the Tryon Street deal.

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