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Mon 13th Nov 2023 - Update: ‘Significant potential’ for Loungers in north west and north east, ‘big plans’ for Oxford after city debut
Collins – we see significant potential for more Loungers sites in north west and north east, ‘big plans’ for Oxford following city debut: Loungers chief executive Nick Collins has said he sees “significant potential” for more Loungers sites in the north west and north east of England. It comes as the cafe bar operator announced that its accelerated site roll-out plan remains firmly on track, with four further sites opened since it announced its landmark 200th Lounge opening in 13. This includes three new Lounge sites – Alfredo Lounge (part of the former Eve & Ranshaw department store) in Louth, Lincolnshire; Bordo Lounge (formerly a Top Shop) in Carlisle; and Muro Lounge (formerly an Argos) in Hexham. The company said all three locations evidence Loungers’ track record of breathing new life into the UK’s high streets, bringing footfall and jobs and, in particular, rejuvenating former retail sites. It said like all Lounges, the new sites will be a home-from-home for their customers, with a real focus on making a positive impact on the local community. Each new Lounge creates 30 new jobs on average, with each opening typically representing an investment of up to £1m into the local high street. “Our accelerated site roll-out plan remains firmly on track, and we’re delighted with the four new sites that we’ve opened in the last few weeks,” Collins said. “It’s particularly pleasing to be increasing our presence in the north through the openings in Carlisle and Hexham, and we see significant potential for more sites in both the north west and the north east.” The fourth site sees The Cosy Club in Oxford brings Loungers to the city for the first time and is the group’s 36th Cosy Club. The Oxford Cosy Club is located in the Cheng Yu Tung building, formerly Northgate House, which was opened by Jesus College last year. The interior combines elements of the arts and crafts movement and Victoriana, with nods to Biba-esq styling from the Swinging Sixties, and includes two private dining rooms, The Treasury and The Mulberry Suite. Collins added: “It’s also great to be finally opening a Cosy Club in Oxford. It’s a city that’s been on our list for quite some time and we’ve been really pleased with trade in its first few weeks. Our ambitions for Oxford don’t end there and, in time, we see scope for bringing at least four new Lounge sites to the suburbs of the city.” Loungers’ estate now totals 242 sites, and it is firmly on track for 34 new sites in current financial year. Loungers recently stated its firm belief that there is scope for at least 600 Lounges across the UK. Loungers features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, the latest edition of which was sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (10 November). Its turnover of £283,500,000 in the year to 16 April 2023 is the 37th highest in the database. The Blue Book ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. 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 kai.kirkman@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.

Next Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage featuring 784 companies to be released on Friday: The next Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will be published for Premium subscribers on Friday (17 November), at midday. A total of 34 companies have been added to the database, which now features 784 companies. This month’s edition will also include 83 updated entries. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database merges Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Meanwhile, for the first time, Propel group editor Mark Wingett has chosen the best videos from the Propel conferences in 2023, picking out a selection of talks and interviews that resonated with delegates from across the breadth of the hospitality sector. The 12 videos will be made available to Propel’s Premium subscribers at 9am on Friday, 24 November. Premium subscribers also receive access to five other databases: the Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the New Openings Database; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database; 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 kai.kirkman@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 Mark Wingett.

Brits in their 50s urged to choose healthier takeaway options: Brits in their 50s are being urged to choose healthier takeaway options. It comes after a NHS study published last week said people in their 50s are now more likely than any other to suffer high cholesterol. The authors firmly blame a reliance on convenience food, deliveries and our predilection for takeaways, reports The Telegraph. On top of this, last year, the World Health Organisation said a “Deliveroo culture” fuelled by the pandemic could make Britain the fattest nation in Europe within a decade. Jo Cunningham, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, said: “Any foods which combine high levels of salt, sugar and fat (as takeaways do) can have an impact on health, particularly when eaten in excess. A lot of takeaway food also contains high levels of refined carbohydrate, such as white rice or chips, which quickly raises blood sugar levels and is followed by a crash. Many takeaways offer little in the way of fibre either, so they are not beneficial for gut health.” Rhiannon Lambert, a registered nutritionist, said. “Choose grilled, baked, steamed or stir-fried dishes that have lean meat, seafood, tofu or beans instead of fatty meat, cheese or cream and also that have vegetables, whole grains, salad or fruit. Tomato-based sauces are better than creamy ones.” Rotating between cuisines so you are not always having the unhealthiest option is also a good idea, according to Lambert. “Even a plain portion of chips and gravy can be healthier if you opt for the thick chip shop version rather than thin French fries, which absorb more oil, and add some fibre by having them with baked beans or cooking your own peas instead of ordering mushy peas,” she said. “If you really fancy Chinese food, opt for steamed dumplings or dim sum instead of prawn toast or spring rolls. Grilled fish or something in breadcrumbs is better than deep-fried fare. If you’re choosing a kebab, have lamb shish or chicken breast instead of donner meat.” She also advises avoiding the sauces that come as an accompaniment which are often high in salt and sugar. When it comes to Indian food, skip the chicken tikka masala and consider other choices. “Indian can actually be a good option if you choose smartly,” said Lambert. “For example, choosing a chicken shashlik, which is chicken marinated in spices and cooked in a clay oven with tomato and peppers, or a dhal which is rich in fibre.” Thai cuisine is one of the healthier choices, said Lambert. Items like green papaya salad, tom yum soup, and Thai curries are often cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients and lots of vegetables,” she said. “ The simplest way to make any kind of takeaway healthier is to eat more vegetables and salads alongside it. This will help fill you up and increase the nutrient content.”

Brits admit they are baffled by dessert menus in restaurants: Do you know your possets from your parfait? Or your torte from your tart? If the answer is no, then you are not alone. Two thirds of Britons admit they are baffled by restaurant dessert menus and have no idea what words like ‘ganache’ mean. Two in three do not know what mascarpone is, while three quarters are clueless about coulis (a thin sauce). And eight in ten give up on ordering a pudding if they see it described as a posset (a cream-based dessert). A mere 34% know what a torte is (a dense, multilayered cake) and only 35% understand what ganache is (a chocolate glaze), reports The Daily Mail. Meanwhile, four in ten confess they’re not sure what they would be ordering if they see mousse on the menu. The survey of 2,000 adults, by dessert company Pots & Co, also identified the most confusing item on a menu, with 87% having no idea what a ‘tuile’ is (a baked wafer). Even timeless desserts such as the creme brulee leave bakers stumped, with 87% of people having no clue how to create one at home, the research said. Michelin-trained chef Andrew Chelley, of Pots & Co, said: “When it comes to premium desserts, Brits are not confident in making the classics.”

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