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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 10th Oct 2023 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Exclusive – Ex-PizzaExpress MD Zoe Bowley joins Greene King: Zoe Bowley, who stepped down as managing director of PizzaExpress at the start of this year, has joined brewer and retailer Greene King, to develop its Metropolitan Pub Company division and lead its Crafted Pubs business, Propel has learned. Bowley, who will join Greene King next Monday (16 October), has been appointed for a nine-month period. She stepped down as managing director of PizzaExpress, after more than 12 years with the business, to “pursue her next chapter”. Bowley was managing director of PizzaExpress for five and a half years. Prior to that she was its chief operating officer and spent more than six years as the brand’s operations director. Bowley, who was also previously at Whitbread and WeightWatchers, joined PizzaExpress in April 2010 as regional director for London and was promoted to operations director in 2011. She also had stints as the brand’s customer experience director and group projects director. Bowley’s appointment comes as managing director of the circa 70-strong Metropolitan Pub Company (Metro), Michael Horan, has decided to step down to pursue new interests following successful treatment for cancer earlier this year. Horan joined Greene King in 2018 and has led Metro, which is part of its Partnerships and Ventures division, for the last four years. The division has expanded under his leadership, acquiring key sites including the Fountain House in Manchester and the Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow. Wayne Shurvinton, managing director for Greene King Partnerships and Ventures, said: “Michael has played an important role in developing Metro and its quality pub portfolio and I'd like to thank him on behalf of us all at Greene King.” He added: “We are looking forward to welcoming Zoe to the team as we look to take Metro to the next stage of its development.”

Industry News:

Premium subscribers to receive all videos from Talent and Training Conference on 27 October: Premium subscribers are to receive access to all the videos from this month’s Talent and Training Conference. Premium subscribers will be sent 13 videos on Friday, 27 October at 9am. The videos will include: KAM managing director Katy Moses; Jordan Moore, head of talent at Gail’s; Leanne Gunson, head of learning and development at Pizza Pilgrims; British chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express; Nina Panayiodou and Andrew O’Callaghan, operations director and people director from Dishoom; Helen Melvin, people director at Heartwood Collection; Hannah Plumb, talent and culture director at The Alchemist; Jo Cole, people director, and Olajide Alabi, equality, inclusion and well-being partner at Turtle Bay; Kenny Blair, managing director of Buzzworks Holdings; Steve Rockey, group people director at The Pig; and Dame Karen Jones, chair of Hawksmoor and Mowgli. Adam Dilks, group people director at Nightcap; Beth Anderson, people director at Revolution Bars Group; and Chantal Wilson, people director at NQ64; discuss how the late-night sector is evolving to attract talent. Phillip Eeles, co-founder of Honest Burgers; Sunaina Sethi, co-founder and people director at JKS; Will Fraser, ex-Saracens/England Rugby player; and Matt Grimshaw, founder of people experience platform Youda; explore why people data is a barrier to industry growth. 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 also receive access to six databases: the Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database; the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisee Database. 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.

Buns from Home COO Shereen Ritchie to speak at final Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2023, three free places per company for operators: Shereen Ritchie, chief operating officer of Buns from Home, will be among the speakers at the final Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2023. The conference takes place on Thursday, 16 November, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London’s Kensington, and is open for bookings. The all-day conference will focus on “progress in an era of strong headwinds”. Ritchie will talk about the rise of the independent bakery concept born out of the pandemic, which is now expanding fast across the capital. For the full speaker schedule, click here. Operators can book up to three free places per company by emailing

Propel subscribers to be given exclusive early access to Tipjar webinar series to help understand complexities of new tipping legislation, first episode released today: Cashless tipping platform Tipjar is giving Propel subscribers exclusive early access to a webinar series to help understand the complexities of the new tipping legislation poised to make waves in the hospitality industry next year. The “Fair Tips Talks” series, hosted by KAM managing director Katy Moses, alongside tips and tronc expert Andy Hamman, will offer expert insight and actionable strategies. The first episode, “Unravelling the Legislation”, will be released today (Tuesday, 10 October) at 9am. Moses and Hamman are joined by a panel of industry experts including James Brown, chief executive of BrewDog retail and co-founder of Tipjar; Bhakti Radix, founder at BloomsYard; Tom Kristensen, former chief financial officer at Ross Thai; and Ben Thomas, chief executive and co-founder of Tipjar. They'll delve into the legislation's implications on day-to-day operations, discuss challenges and opportunities, explore long-term benefits, consider staff education, and address potential financial impacts. Plus, they'll share insights on how technology can simplify compliance.

Hotel revpar growth surpasses pre-pandemic levels in all major UK markets: Hotel revpar growth surpassed pre-pandemic levels in all major UK markets in the first half of 2023. This was among the findings in Christie & Co’s UK hotel market snapshot, which analysed key trading and development indicators for the UK’s top ten cities and hotel markets over the first half of 2023. These include London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. The report reveals revpar growth in the first half exceeded both 2022 and 2019 levels across all ten markets. It also shows that while the development pipeline has been delayed in recent years, nine of the top ten UK markets could see their hotel room supply grow by more than 12% over the next few years. This, it said, confirms the enduring appeal of the UK hotel sector to both domestic and foreign investors, and their trust in investing in regional UK cities. Transactional volumes across the top ten cities reached £567m in the first half, which was just over half of the volume recorded over the same period in 2022. Pierre Ricord, head of consultancy for hotels at Christie & Co, said: “Events of recent years have noticeably delayed the pre-pandemic pipeline of new hotels, which will have facilitated the recovery of hotel KPIs. Nevertheless, the development pipeline remains active, with circa 35,800 rooms planned to enter the top ten cities.”

BBPA – government waste packaging plans would cost sector hundreds of millions of pounds: Government plans around waste packaging would cost the sector hundreds of millions of pounds in their current form, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has warned. The trade body was responding to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ consultation on extended producer responsibility (EPR), highlighting the lack of clarity and high cost of its proposals. EPR aims to make producers pay the full net costs of managing and recycling the packaging waste they produce. “The government’s proposed regulations are complicated and burdensome, and lack the clarity and detail necessary for producers and brand owners to plan for the price impacts to their businesses,” said BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin. “The proposals as they stand will add hundreds of millions of pounds to business costs in the next few years for our sector alone, with limited evidence they will achieve their aims and a strong possibility they will severely damage a sector that provides more than £26bn of value for the British economy. A full business impact assessment is vital before implementation of these regulations, and business recycling targets should also be frozen while packaging recovery notes prices remain artificially high.”

Sector companies back Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase 2024: Sector companies including Fuller’s, Stonegate Group and Greene King are among those attending the Hospitality Apprentice Showcase 2024 (HAS) on Wednesday, 7 February 2024. Taking place during National Apprenticeship Week for the eighth year in a row, the event will recognise the outstanding work carried out by apprentices in the industry. It will highlight opportunities available to those looking to kick off their career in hospitality and the array of job roles the sector has to offer. More than 1,200 apprentices from the hospitality sector will meet with Lords, Ladies, and MPs to reiterate the importance of cross-party support to the sector. Event host Alun Cairns said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic alternative to university, offering a hands-on approach that allows you to earn while you learn. The hospitality sector is constantly changing and evolving to complement industry needs and offers a large scope of opportunities to move up the career ladder and expand your skill set.” 

Company News:

Breal Group launches Andrea Bar venture, secures ex-Porky’s site: London investment firm Breal Group – which has so far this year acquired Brew by Numbers, Black Sheep Brewery, Brick Brewery and Vinoteca – has launched its new bar venture – Andrea Bar, with the opening of two sites. Propel understands that Breal has reopened the two ex-Jamie’s Wine Bar sites in London’s Ludgate Hill and Adam’s Court, under the Andrea Bar name. The group has also acquired the Bolthole in Suffolk Lane, which is currently closed. All three sites were part of the former We Are Bar business, which was placed in administration last September. The investment firm acquired the ex-Jamie’s Wine Bar in Adam’s Court and The Bolthole, both in the City, out of administration for a total consideration of £100,000 before subsequently adding the Ludgate Hill site. Propel understands that Breal has also acquired the ex-Porky’s BBQ site in New Globe Walk, Bankside, to add to the Andrea Bar portfolio. Propel revealed last week that Breal and Calveton, the backer of Byron, are currently in pole position to acquire D&D London. Propel believes the group, which is working with Simon Wilkinson, ex-chief executive of Byron and La Tasca, on its bid for D&D, is in advanced talks for the business, and that a deal could be concluded as early as this week if those talks progress. 

Flip Out to open Canary Wharf site: We Do Play, the team behind trampolining brand Flip Out and crazy golf concept Putt Putt Noodle, is to open a new site under the former brand this winter in London’s Canary Wharf. The new 30,000 square-foot indoor adventure park will open in Cabot Square. Attractions will include laser quest, ninja playground, interactive football, donut slide, bumper cars, roller rink, gaming zone, ball pits and two new attractions: a super drift car track and a racing slide. Richard Beese, Flip Out co-owner, said: “Cabot Square is the perfect venue for Flip Out. We're also excited to introduce new activities, like Flip Out's first racing slide installation, which is an absolute blast. The park will have all the Flip Out flair with awesome tunes, dazzling lighting effects, and delectable treats.” Stuart Fyfe, managing director of retail leasing, Canary Wharf Group, added: “Flip Out is a fantastic addition to the diverse portfolio of entertainment and leisure options we have available. Providing unique leisure attractions is an important part of creating a vibrant community at Canary Wharf.” The group told Propel earlier this year it is aiming for 40 Putt Putt Noodles and 20 more Flip Outs by 2026. Propel revealed in August that Putt Putt Noodle was lining up the opening of a flagship site in central London. The concept, which currently operates three sites, is believed to have applied to open a site at 530 Oxford Street, with the site set to undergo a circa £3m investment.

Tossed to open 12th London site: Tossed, the healthy eating brand owned and led by Neil Sebba and Angelina Harrison, will open its 12th store this week, in London Bridge. The brand will occupy the site previously traded as Little Farm and Eat at 6 More London. Sebba said: “Angelina and I have always wanted a store in SE1 so we could bring our food to make you feel good south of the river. To be selected to operate in this amazing development is a testament to the hard work of the team over the past three years, and we are extremely proud.” Sebba also said the business was now exclusively partnering with Martee's on its automated retail and vending solutions, which are predominantly in hospital locations around the capital. Sebba said: “The machines have been rebranded under the Martee's livery, and continue to stock our healthy, fresh food for our hospital and corporate clients.”

Twisted joins line-up at Liverpool’s GPO food market: Twisted, the virtual restaurant brand from social media group Jungle Creations, has joined the line-up at Liverpool’s GPO food market. Twisted has added its Hot Chick and burger concepts to the line-up of the city’s largest food market, which is run by the Blend family, at the Metquarter. Faraz Nagree, founder and chief executive of Twisted’s parent company, the Lean Kitchen Network, said: “As we continue to expand our concepts across the country, we are especially excited to showcase two of our most in-demand and fastest growing concepts at this fantastic food hall in Liverpool. Now the people of Liverpool can come and get our Twisted smashed patty burgers and Hot Chick’s award-winning fried chicken at GPO, and soon they will be able to order from either concept directly to their door via Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat.” Earlier this summer, Twisted launched its first market stall. The site opened within community food market Mercato Metropolitano’s Elephant & Castle venue. Twisted London is offering a bespoke loaded vegan burger made with fermented vegetables and a side of vegan loaded fries that it has created in partnership with chef Neil Rankin, of Symplicity Foods. 

London members’ club Oswald’s reports turnover approaches £15m: London members’ club Oswald’s, owned by Robin Birley, has reported turnover increased to £14,560,189 for the year ending 31 December 2022 compared with £11,772,733 the year before. In what was its fifth year of trading, the club saw Ebitda fall to £1.5m from £1.9m the previous year. Pre-tax profit was up to £568,489 from £548,635 the year before. In his report accompanying the accounts, Birley said: “The sales increase was largely helped by the increase in delivery of wine sales during the period of lockdown, plus increased membership income for 2022. The club continues to be successful with a quality membership and a lengthy waiting list of individuals.” The business did not receive any government grants (2021: £330,899).

Northern Monk to open food market and beer hall in Leeds: Northern Monk, the Active Partners-backed, Leeds-based brewer, is to open a new food market and beer hall venue, taking over the former Assembly Underground site in the city. The new venue, called The Northern Market, will feature a food market, beer hall, and a range of frozen cocktails, with a bar pouring Northern Monk beer from ten taps and on-site beer tanks as well as wine and spirits. Food vendors will include Falafel Guys, Big Buns and Six Slice Pizza with more set to be announced. Located in Great George Street in Leeds city centre, The Northern Market is the brewery’s second venue in Leeds after The Old Flax Store in Marshall Street, which has been home to Northern Monk’s original brewery and Refectory taproom since 2014. The business also has a Refectory bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Russell Bisset, co-founder of Northern Monk, said: “At Northern Monk we’re on a mission to create incredible beer experiences. We’ve long harboured dreams of more Northern Monk venues where we can do just that, but the pandemic sadly pushed those back. Our two current taprooms are based in former textile mills where we’ve really celebrated their heritage and role in the north. The Northern Market sees us take on a 140-year-old grade II-listed building, directly opposite Leeds Town Hall in the heart of the city’s civic quarter. We can’t wait to give the building a new lease of life as the Northern Market, alongside our food vendors, while acknowledging its history and place in the city.” The Northern Market is due to open by early November, with more announcements on food vendors coming soon.

Tiny Rebel reports 11th successive year of growth as turnover doubles but profit dips: South Wales brewery Tiny Rebel Brewing Company has reported an 11th successive year of growth as turnover doubled but profit dipped. The Newport-based business, founded in 2012 by brothers-in-law Bradley Cummings and Gareth Williams, specialises in craft beer production as well as managing three owned bars in Newport and Cardiff. Turnover rose from £8,028,132 to £16,234,226 in the year ending 31 December 2022. Of this, £10,287,106 came from the brewery (2021: £5,087,797), £4,492,483 from the bars (2021: £1,984,072) and £1,454,637 from its online shop (2021: £956,263). But its pre-tax profit fell to £136,801 from £297,765 the previous year as costs more than doubled from £5,842,696 to £12,143,222. The company received no government grants compared with £2,975 in 2022. “The directors are pleased to announce an 11th successive year of growth,” Cummings said. “The year was one of structure building and investment, which resulted in a drop in profit as anticipated. We have witnessed inflationary pressures on a significant number of our costs. Significant investment has been made in our people – this has resulted in our people costs increasing by 19%. The directors achieved their plan to remain profitable during this reinvestment year.” No dividends were paid (2021: nil).

Arcade appoints Alan Wong as new finance director: Food-hall operator and brand incubator Arcade, for which JKS Restaurants curates the food offering, has appointed Alan Wong as its new finance director. Wong joins Arcade from Ouronyx, where he had been finance director for two and a half years. Previously he spent almost four years as group financial controller at the Richard Caring-backed Caprice Holdings, and four and a half years in the same role at the Hakkasan Group. He also spent more than a year as financial controller at Big Easy Restaurants. Earlier this summer, Arcade, which is led by Cokey Sulkin, opened its second site, at Battersea Power Station. Featuring 500 seats and a direct-to-table ordering system, Arcade Battersea follows in the footsteps of Arcade Food Hall in London’s New Oxford Street, which first opened in 2019 before relaunching last year. Included in the Battersea line-up is a sixth London site for JKS’ Taiwanese concept Bao; a second site and first standalone restaurant for smashed burger concept Manna Burgers, and Flat Bread from Thomas Straker.

Arc Inspirations to open its largest development to date: Arc Inspirations, the Martin Wolstencroft-led, premium bar operator, is set to launch the biggest development in the group’s history with the opening of its New York-themed bar, Manahatta, in Newcastle city centre, next month. Manahatta Newcastle will be the ninth site for the brand, which is also open in Birmingham, Harrogate, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and York. Set in the former Allied Irish Bank in Collingwood Street, the bar will hold 450 guests and includes a mezzanine floor, overlooking the main bar area and features a second bar called The Highline. The new location is close to Arc Inspirations existing Newcastle Banyan branch, nearby in Blackett Street, aligning to the group’s strategy of operating in clusters. Wolstencroft said: “We’re delighted to be bringing the Manahatta brand to Newcastle. We’re particularly proud of this specific location, following an extremely rigorous process to win the necessary approvals needed to open a new venue in the heart of Newcastle’s established nightlife scene. The Manahatta brand is well established in other city centres across the Midlands and north, so we are confident that a premium bar like Manahatta will fit right in and quickly become a popular addition to the incredible nightlife and bar scene here.” Arc Inspirations currently operates 19 premium bars across the Midlands and the north of England, under the brands of Banyan Bar & Kitchen, BOX and Manahatta, with a new BOX venue launching in Nottingham in November. The business plans to reach 50 sites by 2030. It plans to expand into four new cities in 2024, and is eyeing launches in London, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cardiff.

The Hummingbird Bakery set to make Soho return: US-style cupcake concept The Hummingbird Bakery is set to make its return to London’s Soho. The business previously operated a site at 155a Wardour Street, which was one of three to close when it was acquired by Acropolis Capital via a pre-pack administration in 2021. It will now open a few doors away, at 118 Wardour Street, on Wednesday, 18 October. The 800 square-foot space will serve Hummingbird’s signature cupcakes, traditional American pies, birthday cakes, cookies and red velvet ice cream. Operations manager Simone Tasker said: “Soho is such an incredible part of London and such a huge part of our history at The Hummingbird Bakery – we can’t wait to return. All our ice cream, cupcakes and cookies can be customised to your liking with a range of frosting and sprinkles, and we are so excited to share our ‘create your own’ cupcake and ice cream station.” New menu products include Black Bottom Frosted Cookies and the new customisable Cupcake Cup. Having been left with three locations coming out of administration, the Soho opening will take Hummingbird back to its pre-administration strength of six sites. Tasker told Propel in June that the business is planning growth outside the M25 through franchising and is also eyeing international expansion.

West Midlands McDonald’s franchisee sees slight growth in turnover but profit falls due to food and energy costs: West Midlands McDonald’s franchisee A&S Restaurants saw a slight growth in turnover but profit fell due to food and energy costs in the year to 31 December 2022. Turnover was up to £38,472,622 from £38,073,218 in 2021 but its pre-tax profit dropped from £3,782,494 to £547,813 as costs rose by £1,761,197. It received no government grants compared with £374,798 in 2021. The business, which operates seven McDonald’s restaurants, is owned by Afia Sirkhot, who was the first Asian woman globally to run a McDonald’s franchise. Sirkhot said one of her restaurants was upgraded under McDonald’s “Convenience of the Future” programme during the period. “The re-imaging strategy continued to have a positive impact on sales growth,” she said. “Sales through digital channels, including McDelivery, mobile and self-order kiosks, have increased during the year. However, food cost inflation is at its highest level in more than 40 years and energy costs have continued to increase, which has affected the financial performance of the company. The company will be reviewing its prices to reduce the impact of food cost inflation while still offering great value and quality. The company will continue to push delivery and digital offerings. 2023 is expected to be challenging due to the current economic conditions but I consider the company is in a good position to trade through this period of uncertainty.” The company has positive cash flows and the balance sheet shows net assets of £3,446,569.

The Little & Large Pub Company to open fourth site: South east operator The Little & Large Pub Company is to open its fourth site, at the start of next year, in Kent. The Manu Bhatt and Richard Brown-led group is to open the Leicester Arms in Penshurst, which features 13 en-suite rooms, after a “complete transformation” in January. Earlier this year, the company opened The Talbot in Brockley, near Lewisham. The company also operates The Running Horses in Mickleham and the Queen’s Head in Dorking. It is looking to build a “family of treasured locals serving comforting food and drinks in warm and relaxed settings”. 

Caviar and seafood concept secures debut site: Caviar and seafood concept The Caviar Bar has secured its debut site. The Caviar Bar has agreed a deal with GPE to open within Medici Courtyard, located just off Hanover Square in London’s Mayfair. As well as a dining experience, the site will also incorporate a retail element. The Caviar Bar will serve authentic seafood dishes, from an extensive caviar selection of Royal Beluga, Oscietra, Imperial, and Royal Baerli – all served with traditional blinis, potato and créme fraiche – to oysters, sushi, small plates, and seafood platters. The drinks list will include fine wine and champagne, with an emphasis on white wine pairings and premium spirits. The concept will open later this year within a 700 square-foot unit with a mezzanine, fronting on to the 8,400 square-foot Medici Courtyard. Andrea Secchi, head of operations for The Caviar Bar, said: “The Caviar Bar will be a fantastic addition to the neighbourhood of Mayfair and will bring something unique and distinctive to Medici Courtyard. It has been specifically designed to create a special experience, with a day-to-night offer and quality in both taste and service.” Ted Schama, joint managing partner at Shelley Sandzer, acted on behalf of GPE on the deal.

Pig Hotels founder’s New Forest retreat on ‘sound foundation’ and ‘performs well’ as turnover and profits increase: Lime Wood, the New Forest boutique country house from Pig Hotels founder Robin Hutson, has said it is on a “sound foundation” and has “performed well” as turnover and profits increased in the year ending 31 December 2022. Turnover was up from £12,279,567 in 2021 to £17,792,211. Of this, £14,732,013 came from UK operations (2021: £11,934,925) and £3,060,198 from Europe (2021: £344,642), with the group also operating a ski hotel in Courchevel Moriond, France. Further analysis shows £8,217,197 came from hotel and accommodation (2021: £5,031,656), £5,618,279 from food and drink sales (2021: £3,782,213) and £3,199,699 from spa sales (2021: £2,038,696). The 2022 figure also included £414,495 income from the return of the Smoked & Uncut Festival (2021: nil). Its pre-tax profit grew from £521,717 in 2021 to £768,928, despite government support falling from £1,555,881 to £59,797. Director Kenneth Spiers, in his statement accompanying the accounts, said: “The business has a sound foundation and has performed well in 2022 against market competition. Operating costs have come under significant pressure due to inflationary pressures, which is resulting in less profit conversion from revenue generated. The labour market remains a huge challenge, from availability of staff to recruit to increased wage inflation. While recruitment is showing signs of stabilising, upskilling and employee development initiatives are key to continuing to attract and retain staff.” Last month, Home Grown Hotels, the parent company of Pig Hotels, the rural boutique hotels group led by Hutson, said it is eyeing further acquisitions as profits increased and turnover soared past £50m in the same period.

Italian restaurant concept Bella Vita secures third site, in Dover: Italian restaurant concept Bella Vita has secured its third site. The concept, owned by Hasan Dogan and his wife Lucia D’Aversa, has acquired the leasehold of the Dover Patrol Restaurant in Dover. Situated on Dover’s harbour, the property will be rebranded Bella Vita at Dover Marina. The Dover Patrol Restaurant was previously owned by Turrloo Parrett, who also owns the Eastwell Manor Hotel and Spa in Ashford. In order to retire, Parrett has sold what was the last of his seafood restaurant chain. Dogan and D’Aversa said: “We are thrilled for our new venue and venture. Proud of our Italian food culture, we feel Bella Vita at Dover Marina offers the combination of the rich flavours of Italian cuisine within the breath-taking views of the seafront and surrounding area.” Bella Vita also operates site in Folkestone and London. Christie & Co acted on the deal.

T&R Theakston to make leadership changes: Yorkshire family brewer T&R Theakston is making changes to its leadership structure as the almost 200-year-old business begins planning for its third century of trading. From 1 January 2024, Simon Theakston, a descendant of the brewery’s original founder, and who first started working for the Masham-based business in 1981, will take up the role of company chairman. The move comes 20 years after Theakston played a leading role in the family buy back of the business from Scottish and Newcastle. In this new role, Theakston will continue to be actively involved with the business, supporting the board and Richard Bradbury who assumes the role of sole managing director. Bradbury has been a director of T&R Theakston since 2015 and joint managing director with Theakston since November 2020. He has extensive leadership experience in the brewing industry at both Marston’s and Heineken. Theakston said: “This is a natural evolution from how Richard and I currently work together. Having jointly charted the company through the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic and the current cost inflation impacts on the brewing and hospitality sectors, this new structure will ensure Theakston’s continued growth as we look forward to its bi-centenary in 2027 and beyond.”

Three Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco opens three London venues: Mauro Colagreco, holder of three Michelin stars at his restaurant Mirazur on the French Riviera, has opened three new dining destinations in London. Colagreco has launched the ventures at high-end hotel Raffles London at The OWO. The Argentine-Italian chef has created two new restaurants – fine dining concept Mauro Colagreco at Raffles London at The OWO and Saison, which is Colagreco’s take on the traditional all-day brasserie. There is also a “private chef’s table” for up to 20 guests at the central London location. Colagreco’s menus focus on seasonal, local, sustainable and organic ingredients. Raffles London at The OWO has opened in a grade II-listed building and comprise 120 rooms with 85 private residences. Colagreco’s new ventures – his first in London – come as part of 11 restaurants and bars housed within the hotel.

Greene King launches new ESG-focused supplier platform: Brewer and pub operator Greene King has launched a new platform to boost engagement with suppliers on all aspects of environmental, social and governance and build “collaboration and innovation” in the wider sector to reach net zero. Called Greene King Engage, the company said the new platform would allow it to share knowledge, training materials, business requirements and policies with suppliers on all aspects of environment, social and governance. Additionally, suppliers will also share information, targets and initiatives to help realise shared benefits to enable more sustainable supply chains. It is going live in two phases, with food and drink suppliers having access immediately. Greene King is planning to add all other suppliers by the summer of 2024. Greene King’s chief sustainability officer Assad Malic said: “Rather than only looking inwards, it is incumbent on all of us to think bigger and help our vibrant industry grow and thrive in the face of a changing world. To reduce our environmental footprint, it’s vital we work together in an open and transparent manner to create circularity in our supply chain, look at how we can reduce waste and reduce our emissions through a fair and ethical value chain. We all know there is a huge amount of work ahead to reach net zero and we understand we cannot reduce our impact on the environment alone. The development of this platform, enabling us to work with our suppliers, sharing policies and information, really is a significant step towards this goal. We look forward to welcoming suppliers on board and tackling the challenges ahead together, armed with accreditable information.” 

Offer accepted for former Signature Living hotel in Merseyside: An offer has been accepted for a hotel formerly run by a subsidiary of aparthotel developer and operator Signature Living, which collapsed into administration last year. The company behind Rainhill Hall, Loyola Hall, appointed Kroll to oversee the process in August 2022 after racking up debts of more than £10.4m. Rainhill Hall is a grade II-listed country house in Prescot, Merseyside, which was completed in 1824. It was a retreat house run by the Society of Jesus and known as Loyola Hall for almost 90 years to 2014 and has operated as a hotel and wedding venue since 2017. In March, Kroll revealed that a preferred bidder had been identified for a potential sale of Rainhill Hall after six parties submitted offers. The administrators said at the time that the status was given to the highest offer that was received. In a document filed with Companies House, the firm has now said that offer had been accepted. However, Kroll added: “No further details can be provided at this time in order not to prejudice the ongoing sale process and negotiations.”

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