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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 7th Sep 2023 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Food inflation in hospitality slows slightly as retail prices begin to fall: Inflation as measured by the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index fell marginally to 21.7% year-on-year in July. Despite the slight fall of 0.9 percentage points, inflation remains only just below the Index’s previous peak of 22.9% in December 2022. The latest Index also reports a month-on-month increase of 0.7% in contrast to supermarkets, where prices fell by 0.4% between June and July. It also reveals some signs that some foodservice prices are starting to ease. The fish category recorded a 0.8% fall, its first month-on-month drop since July 2022. Dairy prices remained stable, and the month-on-month increase in the vegetables category slowed by half, from 3.2% in June to 1.6% in July. While the cost of global food commodities increased by 1.3% in July, the UN FAO Commodity Index remains 11.8% below its value in the corresponding month in 2022. Brent crude oil prices and major currency rates remained stable throughout July. However, inflation is falling more slowly in the category of food products, where processed items dominate and manufacturers remain exposed to high inflationary inputs including energy and labour. Many of these products are also imported and have accrued additional costs from post-Brexit trading arrangements. Shaun Allen, chief executive of Prestige Purchasing, said: “Food and drink supply into hospitality has been slower to react to falling input costs than the retail sector. We are confident that over the remainder of the year inflation will begin to ease at our kitchen doors, but both buyers and suppliers will need to play their part in curbing the continually rising costs that threaten the existence of so many of our sector’s brilliant operators.” James Ashurst, client director at CGA by NIQ, added: “Businesses will be relieved to see a slight easing of inflation in July, and there are some welcome early signs of relief in key spending areas for both operators and consumers. However, with inflation still topping 20%, trading conditions remain extremely challenging.”

Industry News:

Next Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows 754 largest sector companies turning over total of £51.2bn, up from £50.6bn last month: The next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which will be sent to Premium subscribers tomorrow (Friday, 8 September) shows 754 of the largest sector companies are turning over a total of £51.2bn – up from £50.6bn the previous month. A total of 514 companies are making a profit while 240 are making a loss. The profit being made by sector companies is now outstripping losses by £1.34bn. The Blue Book shows the total profit of the 754 companies in the list is £3,471,432,286 and losses are £2,135,077,847. 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 Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database; the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisee Database. 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com 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.
 
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 kai.kirkman@propelinfo.com.
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a business that offer hospitality solutions underpinned by modern technology. It is looking for someone to work alongside investors and founders to build a finance division and support future planning as the company looks to grow before achieving an exit in three or four years. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “The role would suit an innovative and creative thinker who is looking for an autonomous position where they can impact the direction of the business. You will have a hands-on committed attitude, be open minded, and have experience with various funding models, investor stakeholder relations, system set up, and proven growth experience. Experience across tech would be desirable.” The salary is up to £150,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email hollie@corecruitment.com.
 

Company News:

TRG seeing ‘real volume growth’ with all parts of business ‘firing on all cylinders’: Andy Hornby, chief executive of The Restaurant Group (TRG), has told Propel the company is seeing “real volume growth” with all parts of the business “firing on all cylinders”. Speaking following TRG’s interim results, where the business reported revenue for the half year was up 10% to £467.4m, Hornby also said “most of the heavy lifting has now been done” in its leisure division, leaving it with 76 “high quality” sites. “We said we would let our numbers do the talking and I think that’s what we’ve done,” he added. “What is most pleasing is the performance right across the group, and also the increase in our customer satisfaction scores. We’re seeing real volume growth and we’re also capturing new custom as well. Customers are being discerning when it comes to spending, but the overall like-for-like performance is very pleasing. Younger and older consumers appear to be going out more. The squeezed middle is the family segment, which has been hit the most by the cost-of-living crisis. Looking at the sales run rate, which has been up 9% in Wagamama and 10% in the pubs division, there is some price in that, but a decent chunk of it is down to volume.” Hornby said its star performer during the period had been its concessions business, where it operates “some great businesses in great locations”. “Of course travel passenger numbers are well up on last year, but we’re really good at operating high-scale casual dining operations, and I think the numbers reflect that,” he added. “At the airports, dwell time has also increased, and I think people are arriving earlier because of it taking longer to check in, and also some of the uncertainty caused by strike action.” Hornby said the first opening for Barburrito under its ownership, in Brighton, is expected to be in the first quarter of 2024. He added the brand’s performance was as expected, with its airport sites in particular being “very strong”, while the rail strikes has affected trade at its London Paddington site. Hornby said he expected food price inflation to be between 10% and 11% by the end of the year, which he believes will drop to between 3% and 5% in 2024. “I’m more confident in that than I was six months ago, and I think that’s coming through with the forward pricing from suppliers,” he added. “But that is still 5% on top of what we are paying now, so it’s still putting pressure on margins.” Looking ahead, he said: “All the parts of the business are firing on all cylinders, and I think we’re just about there with the rationalisation of the leisure estate. We are making excellent progress on our medium-term plan and encouraged by our performance so far in 2023.” 
 
Wienerschnitzel eyeing UK launch: Wienerschnitzel, the largest hotdog quick service restaurant (QSR) brand in the US with more than 320 locations there, is looking to launch in the UK. Having appeared at the International Franchise Exhibition in London earlier this year, it will exhibit at the National Franchise Exhibition in Birmingham next month as it seeks partners to roll out the concept over here. “Wienerschnitzel, the world’s largest hot dog chain, is searching for international partners to go global,” the business said. “Founded in 1961 by John Galardi in southern California, Wienerschnitzel has become the world’s largest hot dog chain, serving more than 120 million hot dogs per year. Now, the family-owned restaurant chain is ready to expand its successful business model internationally and take the hot dog global. Thanks to its strong operating practices and committed leadership team, franchisees experienced record-high sales despite the challenges of the recent pandemic. Its flexible store designs, superior training, strong leadership and consumer demand make it an attractive opportunity for investors and QSR operators.” The brand’s offer includes chilli dogs, corn dogs, chilli cheese fries, drinks and soft serve desserts. “In a world filled with hamburgers, pizza and chicken options, the hot dog is a unique and tasty choice,” said Werner Glass, head of international franchise development for Wienerschnitzel. “Hot dogs are a universally loved food, and owning a Wienerschnitzel franchise offers a highly differentiated business in an already crowded market.” Franchise investments range between £20,000 and £50,000 and it is looking to recruit area development partners with experience in QSR operations, access to prime commercial real estate and the capital required to develop their market. Founder Galardi died in 2012, with his ex-wife, Cynthia Galardi-Culpepper, who was previously a silent partner, taking over as chief executive. In 2015, the company signed a franchise agreement with International Food Concepts to open Wienerschnitzel locations in Panama.
 
Boojum opens first site since Azzurri Group acquisition, actively seeking new sites ahead of planned UK expansion: Belfast-based burrito chain Boojum will next month open its first new site since being acquired by Azzurri Group and is actively seeking new sites ahead of its planned UK expansion. Propel revealed in June that Azzurri Group, the ASK Italian, Zizzi and Coco Di Mama operator, was entering the Mexican-themed fast-casual restaurant market by acquired a controlling interest in Boojum from Renatus Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum. It is looking to help the David Maxwell-led business grow both in Ireland and Great Britain, where it hopes to make its debut before the end of this year. Boojum first opened in Belfast in 2007, and in 2015 it was acquired by the Maxwell brothers – David and Andrew – in partnership with Renatus. “Happy to announce the opening of our new store in Liffey Valley this October!” said Maxwell. “This will be our eighth store in Dublin, 15th overall in Ireland, and the first new opening post our new partnership with the Azzurri Group. Our Irish pipeline is looking very interesting for the next 18 months beyond Liffey. We’re not hanging about on our British expansion either and are actively seeking new sites. More updates coming soon!” As well as eight Dublin sites, Boojum has four in Belfast and one each in Limerick, Galway and Cork.
 
Manchester diner and takeaway concept set to open four new sites as franchise programme ‘gathers pace’, looking to sell company-owned restaurant and first franchise site: Manchester diner and takeaway concept Luckys is set to open four new sites as its franchise programme “gathers pace”. It is also looking to sell a company-owned restaurant in Stockport and its first franchise site, in Openshaw, as it focuses on its franchise roll out. Luckys was established in 2018 by Hasan Habib and currently operates a diner in Oldham as well as the Stockport restaurant and Openshaw takeaway. “With the growth of Luckys through its franchise programme gathering pace and announcements expected shortly about sites in Derby, Bristol, Milton Keynes and east London, a number of exciting opportunities have arisen in the Manchester area,” said franchise consultant Paul Tough, of Franchise Options. “The Stockport diner/takeaway opened in the autumn of 2021, and this managed site has gone from strength to strength under the careful eye of the founders. But with the prime focus now being on its franchise programme, Luckys is now seeking to sell. The business turns over in excess of £15,000 per week with above average profits and is a great opportunity for a new franchisee to come in and take a fully trading and profitable unit. Our first franchisee opened the Openshaw takeaway in March 2023 as the first site in a five-store development plan, but an exciting opportunity has become available in another area of the city and the franchisee is seeking to sell the unit in order to help fund a major development of another Luckys diner/takeaway. Just six months in, this unit is already turning over in excess of £12,000 per week from a thriving takeaway and delivery business. In both cases, a new franchisee will be able to hit the ground running with fully trading stores, well kitted out and with great operational teams. We would expect a franchisee to pay a discounted franchise fee of £5,000 to cover their full training and induction into the business, but their major investment will be in the property.” Luckys offers burgers, grilled chicken, waffles, shakes and desserts. Luckys 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.
 
Big Fang Collective to launch new karaoke concept this month, in Liverpool: Big Fang Collective, the Imbiba-backed entertainment venue operator that owns the Golf Fang brand, will launch its new immersive karaoke concept, Big Fang Karaoke, later this month, in Liverpool. The new site will open on Friday, 29 September at 29-31 Parliament Street, next to the company’s Big Fang Golf site in the city. In collaboration with Asahi, it will offer four karaoke rooms, which cater for between four and 25 guests, as well as private rooms for parties. Drinks that “pay homage to the iconic synthwave and glitchwave culture” will include ice cold “Smoking Cryo” shots and self-pour “Nitro Serve” cocktails. “We’re excited to be launching our flagship Big Fang Karaoke venue in Liverpool, especially as it’s where Golf Fang first launched in 2016,” the business said. “Big Fang Karaoke celebrates the era of neon dreams and retro futurism, where the boundaries of technology were pushed and creativity knew no bounds. Asahi is known for its beyond expected and futuristic outlook, so we harnessed these values, gave them a Big Fang twist and created a concept that we’re all very proud to be part of.” Big Fang Collective, which was founded by Kip Piper and Daniel Bolger, said in May that it is planning six more sites by 2025.
 
Greene King introduces new flexible working policy and enhanced family leave: Brewer and retailer Greene King has introduced a new flexible working policy and enhanced its family leave to help team members balance their work/life commitments and support those who are growing their families. It comes ahead of new employment legislation coming into force next year that gives employees the right to request flexible working from their first day in the job, and increases the statutory requests in any 12-month period from one to two. Following on from Greene King’s enhanced maternity policy in 2022, there are new and improved policies for paternity leave, adoptive leave, compassionate leave, emergency leave and support for team members called up for jury service. This includes additional paid time-off for up to five antenatal or adoption appointments and enhanced maternity leave for team members looking to adopt. Compassionate leave and emergency leave for dependents will now include paid time off for up to five days and an additional day to attend a funeral. Andrew Bush, chief people and transformation officer at Greene King, said: “Our company prides itself on its people and they are at the heart of our success. It is right for us to recognise how people’s lives change throughout their careers and at different life stages, and we are pleased to offer such a wide level of support. We cannot predict when things will happen in people’s lives, but, as a good employer, we can support them when it’s needed.”
 
Roxy Leisure confirms November opening for third Liverpool site: Roxy Leisure, the operator of the Roxy Lanes and Roxy Ball Room concepts, has confirmed its third site in Liverpool will open in November. Roxy Lanes Liverpool School Lane will focus on ten pin bowling alongside American pool, shuffleboard, ice-free curling, tech darts, karaoke, beer pong and more. It will add to the company’s Roxy Ball Room Hanover Street and Cavern Quarter locations, which are both over-18s only, while the new Roxy Lanes will be open to under-18s during selected times. There will also be an updated food menu featuring premium Italian focaccia pizza and signature drinks. The Roxy Leisure group currently has 17 sites across the UK and said the Liverpool launch is part of its “extensive expansion plans”. Commercial manager Joel Mitchell said: “Since opening our first Roxy venue in Liverpool in Hanover Street in 2016, both of our Roxy Ball Room venues have become fixtures in the city’s buzzing hospitality scene, so we’re excited to be opening our first Roxy Lanes concept in the city. Not only will Roxy Lanes Liverpool feature ten pin bowling and a range of exciting activities, but it will also be family-friendly during selected times.” The business is understood to be targeting 19 sites by the end of the year, followed by five more in 2024.
 
Lancashire holiday resort reports record Ebitda following strong recovery: Lancashire holiday resort Ribby Hall Village has reported record Ebitda following a strong recovery from covid in the year ending 31 December 2022. It reported Ebitda of £7,118,000 for the period, up from £6,030,000 in 2021. This was off turnover of £36,772,000 (2021: £25,868,000) and a pre-tax profit of £5,367,000 (2021: £4,412,000). This compares with turnover of £28,039,000, Ebitda of £3,167,000 and a pre-tax profit of £1,440,000 in the last full year before covid, ending 31 December 2019. It received no government grants compared with £1,398,000 in 2021. No dividends were paid (2021: nil). Director Paul Harrison, in his statement accompanying the accounts, said: “The directors are pleased by the resilience of the business and its staff to meet the challenges this period has brought and are pleased with the recovery of the business over the course of 2022. The company achieved a best-ever Ebitda and an increase in turnover of 42.2%.” Employee numbers grew from 534 in 2021 to more than 700, and the company aims to pay “in excess” of the National Living Wage. Work is also under way on several developments expected to increase profits at the 120-acre holiday resort on the outskirts of Blackpool, including Reeds Bay, which features a group of luxury lodges, a lake and boat house.
 
Birmingham operator set to open fifth site for Indian street food concept: Birmingham operator Hasnain Siddiqui is set to open the fifth site for his Indian street food concept, Chai Green. It has lined up an opening in London Road, Sheffield, although an opening date has not yet been confirmed. Siddiqui opened his debut Chai Green site in Alum Rock, Birmingham, in 2020, followed by a second site in the city, in Stratford Road, in October 2022. Then came a first franchise site and first outside of Birmingham, in Cardiff’s Albany Road, in December 2022, before he returned to Birmingham for its fourth location and third in the city, at 27 Coleshill Road in Hodge Hill, in June. Further stores in London, Glasgow and Slough are also in the pipeline. Siddiqui told Propel in February that he plans to grow his business – which he founded as a tribute to his late father – to 30 UK sites, followed by an overseas roll-out. Chai Green’s breakfast menu ranges from an English fry-up to a classic Pakistani desi breakfast, featuring a masala omelette with channa, keema or masala beans, and paratha, fluffy puri or toast, plus a cup of house chai. Dishes also include Asian-inspired bagels, samosas, shawarma wraps, sandwiches, street burgers and its signature curry bowls. There is a children’s menu and a range of sweet treats, plus a variety of chai tea and bubble tea.
 
Indian restaurant chain to expand outside of London once more: Indian restaurant concept Royal Nawaab is set to expand outside of London once more. It has confirmed that it will open its third site in the Stockport Pyramid site in Yew Street, in the Greater Manchester town, which has lay empty for more than five years. The company previously operated the Nawaab restaurant and banqueting in Levenshulme from 2003 until earlier this year, when it changed hands to Merzee. Nawaab, which has two other restaurants – in Perivale, west London and Ilford, east London – confirmed its plans to open the restaurant next year, subject to planning approval. In an Instagram post, Royal Nawaab said: “Unveiling the grandeur: New Royal Nawaab Manchester opening summer 2024. Until we open, visit our two branches in Perivale and Ilford.” The post featured alongside a video of the Stockport Pyramid telling followers “the icon is back”, reports the Manchester Evening News. The building was first constructed in 1992 as part of five planned pyramids in the area to create Manchester’s own “Valley of Kings” along the River Mersey. However, the Stockport Pyramid was the only one of the five to be built, and it was used by the Co-op as its call centre premises from 1995 to 2018.
 
Sheffield bar and restaurant owner set to open new venue: Sheffield bar and restaurant owner Steve Zsirai is set to open a new venue in the city. Zsirai is behind Tequila Bar in West Street and has also operated Italian restaurant Giorgio’s in Chesterfield for the past ten years. He is now set to open Grappa at 266 Glossop Road in Sheffield in the former Sinclairs department store, which closed in 2019 and was most recently occupied by burger restaurant So Famous. He has applied for a licence to allow Grappa to open until 2am Monday to Saturday, and until 1am on Sundays. Zsirai told the Sheffield Star his first restaurant management job was in West Street, at K-Pasa in the late 1990s, and he was also behind Viva Tequila in the Gleadless area of Sheffield around the same time. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 30-plus years in the trade, it’s the importance of providing customers with that holiday feeling and a sense of escapism,” he said. “I always treat my staff like my extended family – and I believe that same feeling should be passed on to our customers.” Zsirai said the flavours and culture of Campania, the Italian region his mother grew up in, will inspire the Grappa menu. There are plans for a rustic downstairs bar area and a more luxurious upstairs, 80-seater restaurant, connected by a mirrored staircase. Among the drinks on offer will be the Italian liqueur the restaurant takes its name from. “We’ll have more varieties and more opportunities to celebrate my home nation’s official liqueur than anywhere else in the UK,” Zsirai added.
 
Premium gym operator to open second London site: Premium gym operator 24N has agreed a deal for its second London site. The company will open the 11,000 square-foot venue at workplace and leisure destination Devonshire Square in the City. The flagship, 24N City, will be the company’s largest branch to-date and home to its widest choice of work-out equipment, alongside luxury amenities and a wide programme of classes and personal training options. Luis DeVera, chief executive of 24N, said: “This expansion marks a significant milestone for 24N. With its prime location among some of London’s greatest venues and attractions, and its complementary mix of restaurants, bars and brands, it was clear Devonshire Square was the perfect location for our largest flagship to-date.”
 
Northampton Indian restaurant operator set to open third site: Northampton Indian restaurant operator Suraj Pathak is set to open a third site. Pathak first opened Indian fine dining restaurant Mewar Haveli with Simon Fernandes in Wellingborough in 2014, before branching out into Indian tapas by opening Lagan in a former Post Office in Beeston, Nottingham, in 2018. He has now acquired the former Paris Bar & Restaurant site in Nottingham’s Lace Market for a second site under his Lagan concept and third overall. “I’m excited – I’ve been waiting for quite a long time to get to the city centre,” Pathak told Nottinghamshire Live. “The city venue will be similar, but it will be all-day dining, and we will also offer breakfast and lunch menus. I am hoping to open as soon as possible, but I’m realistically giving two months for the project.” Paris Bar & Restaurant closed in June after five years in Lace Market, three months after the closure of its sister restaurant, Petit Paris, in Kings Walk after 27 years. Both restaurants were operated by Antony Crossman and his nephew, executive chef James Crossman, whose 22-year kitchen career included a stint under Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, where he was part of a team that gained a Michelin star in 2002. The duo blamed rising costs and the cost-of-living crisis for the closures. 
 
Red Cole British Larder founder to open second site for wine bar and shop concept: Red Cole British Larder founder Chris Cassells is opening a second site for his wine bar and shop concept, Must & Lees. Two years after making its debut in Islington, north London, the concept is expanding to Warren Street, where it will occupy the former Miel Bakery premises. The bar will have room for about 15 people inside along with outdoor seating. As well as offering cheese and charcuterie platters, customers will also be able to take in food from other local businesses to have with Must & Lees’ wine. The bottle shop will feature a similar range as in Islington, with a selection of wine from smaller producers in France, Spain and Italy. “Fundamentally, if you’re going to be an independent wine merchant, you ought to have some exclusive wines,” Cassells told Hot Dinners. “Brexit doesn’t make it easy, but it’s a part of what we want to offer, and we want to grow that.” Cassells, a former cocktail bar manager, worked in the drinks industry for some 15 years but decided during the pandemic he wanted to open a place of his own.
 
Glasgow chip shop owner opens new restaurant with ‘affordable price point’ during cost-of-living crisis: Glasgow chip shop owner Lawrence McManus has opened a new restaurant with what he said will be an “affordable price point” during the cost-of-living crisis. McManus, who has worked in the industry for 30 years and is behind Old Salty’s in the city’s Byers Road, has opened American-style diner Jojo Macs at the corner of St Vincent Street and Renfield Street. Taking over the former Bread Meats Bread unit, he told the Glasgow Times his ambition is to serve delicious meals at a good price at a time when many families are struggling. “The menu is burger, lobster and barbecue, anything from a grill,” he said. “Our menu is going to be, hopefully, very open and well-priced. People are struggling enough at the moment. All of our costs have increased enormously but we are not going to be expensive. Certain items may cost a little more, but a lot of our items will be around £10. People love the way we do lobster at Old Salty’s. It is expensive, but our secret is to do it really simple so it’s not a big posh dining experience. We want to make money, of course, but the key thing is we want to enjoy this.” McManus said he has served up everything from Italian and French to fish and chips over the years at restaurants such as Chelsea Market and Nick’s. He has also operated venues such as La Vallee Blanche and VinYard 28 in Glasgow’s West End and Epicures in Hyndland.
 
Stoke-on-Trent family-run Greek restaurant set to open second site: Stoke-on-Trent family-run Greek restaurant La Greco is set to open a second site. Ramona Somatseskou quit the NHS to open the first La Greco, in Waterloo Road in Cobridge, last October. She, husband Constantin and son Kyriakos Kemanetzidis are now preparing to open a second venue, in Trinity Street, in Hanley. It will serve traditionally made Greek food such as moussaka, kleftiko, gyros and cake during the day and Greek barbecue food in the evening, while a small corner of the restaurant will sell products and grab-and-go dishes. “I am very happy with my restaurant in Cobridge and people say the food is very good,” Ramona told Stoke-on-Trent Live. “I have worked very hard to find the best suppliers. Everything is from Greece, and if I don’t like it, then I don’t give it to my customers. Now we are opening somewhere bigger, and it is very exciting for us. We will be able to bring in more products from Greece and offer more to the people who love our food.”
 
Plans to convert former Bradford gym into ‘bazaar’ featuring food hall and Michelin-starred restaurant given green light: Plans to convert a former gym in Bradford into a “bazaar” featuring a food hall and Michelin-starred restaurant have been given the go-ahead. The Xercise4Less gym in Preston Street in Listerhills shut in March 2020, and the building is the proposed location of a new retail and food market called Signature Mall Bradford. The city council has now given the company behind the plans, Simrans Trading, the green light, reports The Telegraph & Argus. Simrans Trading’s website, which said the business will open in autumn, said: “The Signature Mall will revolutionise the retail landscape of the UK. This mall will integrate the finest food, fashion, and leisure. The mall will provide exclusive access to Pakistan’s most popular retail brands and eateries, attracting a customer base from across the UK. The mall will include 40 retail units, an exclusive Michelin-star restaurant, and a food court which will accommodate 500-plus customers. We are looking for luxury and international brands who are in the market for a retail space to house their flagship stores.”
 
Cumbrian Thai restaurant owner set to open second site: The owner of a Cumbrian Thai restaurant is set to open a second site. Nueng McGregor, who owns Star of Siam in Keswick, will open Namh Moon in Carlisle in October. Located in Treasury Court, off Fisher Street, it will offer a “more relaxed, more casual, and street-food style”, said McGregor. “It’s going to be a lot more casual (than Star of Siam), and very similar to street food,” she told The Cumberland News. “We are not trying to make the normal dishes that we make in Keswick, it’s going to be more relaxed, with lots of drinks.”
 
Preston street food and cocktails concept opens second site: Preston street food and cocktails concept Tipsy Chef has opened a second site in the city. Owner Jay Oates launched the venture with a restaurant within Preston Market Hall in April 2022. The concept, which also offers a bottomless brunch at Baluga Bar & Club in Preston’s Miller Arcade, has now opened at 22 Lancaster Road, in the city centre. “Preston Market Hall was the perfect place to start my business, find my feet and build an amazing customer base,” Oates said. “That being said, I always envisioned a bigger location open into the evening, serving wacky cocktails and playing awesome music. Our market location is home turf and will always remain open serving up fresh exciting breakfast, brunch and lunches to the city, while our restaurant takes over the night-time service. Our concept is now known throughout Preston and even further afield, we have people visiting us from throughout the country.”
 
Glasgow gastropub owners put Italian restaurant on market: Glasgow operators Joe Lazzerini and Amalia Colaluca, who own two The Loveable Rogue gastropubs in the city, have put their Italian restaurant, Oi Mamma, on the market. The pair only took over the former Rafaelle’s restaurant, at 151-155 Milngavie Road in Bearsden, six months ago, rebranding it as Oi Mamma. The 80-cover venue, which also offers outdoor seating, is now being marketed by Smith&Clough Business Associates following a “change in circumstances” for the owners. “The restaurant has been in our client’s family since opening in June 2015 and traded for the majority of this time as Raffaelle’s, before rebranding at the start of 2023 to Oi Mamma, so the business has been long established as a family-run, neighbourhood, Italian restaurant,” a spokesperson said. “It is only due to a change in personal circumstances that the decision has been made to sell the business, which enjoys a tremendous reputation and a loyal and regular customer base.” The first The Loveable Rogue opened in the former The Hebridean site at 333 Great Western Road in 2020, followed by a second, in the former Beat 6 site at 10 Whitehill Street, in 2022.

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