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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 15th Dec 2023 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Big Table Group CEO – I’d be gobsmacked if at least one TRG brand didn’t stay and grow: Alan Morgan, chief executive of the Big Table Group, has told Propel the would be “gobsmacked” if at least one of the brands from The Restaurant Group (TRG) leisure division “didn’t stay and grow”. Big Table Group completed the deal for the 75-strong TRG leisure division, which includes Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito, at the end of October. Also included in the division are the Firejacks, Coast To Coast, Filling Station and EST brands. Morgan told Propel: “The way I look at it is these 75 sites are the sites left from a significantly bigger estate. So, the first thing is locationally, most of them are very strong. The second thing is the average weekly sales are strong. The third thing is there’s a whole suite of brands that we can review. Having this stable of well-loved brands means we have options to grow and develop some, to support the group portfolio. I am fortunate to be leading a business that already has quite a nice balance. Take the weather as an example. When the weather is good, Las Iguanas flies, when the weather is bad, Bella Italia flies. In a depressed market, Bella does really well. When there is a little bit more money, Las Iguanas sees further growth. Then I can slot in an Amalfi or Cafe Rouge among it, but in reality, the two biggest parts of our estate are able to cut across all markets but dial up and down with external factors. Now I get to add the TRG brands/sites into that mix.” Morgan said he would be “gobsmacked if in those 75 sites, we didn’t convert some to our core sites”. He said: “And I’d also be gobsmacked if at least one of those brands, if not more, didn’t stay and grow as well – because I’ve seen the numbers. As I have said to the TRG teams, this is going to be exciting, but I can’t promise you there isn’t going to be something you don’t like. It wouldn’t be efficient for us to still be running eight dark brands and seven physical brands in 12 months’ time, but I haven’t made a decision on any one of them yet.” The Big Table Group is also getting an influx of talent. “The team coming across is impressive”, said Morgan. “We are taking on new staff in a market where staff are hard to find. If you look at the people coming over from TRG, it’s either people who have been there a very long time and are very successful, passionate and knowledgeable about what they do and the brands they have, and so will be valuable to me, or they’re really great talent who the TRG team has done a fantastic job of getting into that business in the last 18 months.”
 

Industry News:

New speakers revealed for Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit 2024, open for bookings: New speakers have been announced for Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit, which is returning for its sixth edition, and tickets are now on sale. Mark Stretton, co-founder and managing director at Fleet Street, will lead a panel discussing the challenge of sustainability, plus a range of environmental, social and governance-related issues, and how their organisations are playing their part in driving the responsible business agenda. The panel will include Pret A Manger chief executive Pano Christou, Elior chief executive Catherine Roe and Emma Banks, vice-president of food and beverage strategy at Hilton (UK & Ireland). The event is a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, aiming to build a community, promote the sharing of ideas, recognise talent and define the future of eating out. Bookings are now open for the two-day conference, as the centrepiece of the January event series, taking place on 23 and 24 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The conference will focus on marcomms strategies, proposition and concept development, the latest market insights, technology and digital developments, diversification of revenue streams and how brands are adapting to the new normal. It is designed for marketing, development and innovation teams, as well as senior executives and investors wanting to better understand the latest marketing, innovation and development opportunities to build market share and grow. Day two speakers include: Jenny Packwood, chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer at KFC UK; Andre Johnstone, chief growth officer at Côte; Hannah Clark, UK head of marketing at Sticks ‘n’ Sushi; Romy Miller, global brand director at KellyDeli; Sarah McDermott, marketing director at BrewDog Bars; Paul Flatters, chief executive of insight agency Trajectory; Jonathan Doughty, managing director at Viklari Consulting; Fiona Richmond, head of regional food at Scotland Food & Drink; Mikala Kofoed Rasmussen, senior manager at Wonderful Copenhagen; Marta Pogroszewska, managing director at Gail’s Bakery; Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of Ogilvy; Eljesa Saciri, general manager at The Zetter Marylebone; Michael Ingemann, chairman of Think Hospitality; Hilari Voorthuis, global food and beverage manager at Fairmont Hotel & Resorts; Sven Sallaerts, co-founder of Younique Concepts; Marcus Denison-Smith, chief marketing officer at Honest Burgers; Tom Patrick, marketing director at Banana Tree; Libby Andrews, marketing director at Pho Restaurants; Ali Alt Recanati, co-founder and brand and marketing director at Farmer J; Dan Brookman, chief executive of Airship and Toggle; Ben Webb, managing director at 3Stories; Joel Robinson, digital and technology director at Azzurri Group; Maya Orr, managing director at Connect Management; Rameez Al Aghbar, brand partnerships – quick service restaurants and travel lead at TikTok; Anthony Knight, sales and marketing director at Incipio Group; Lynsey Benton, brand and franchising manager at I am Doner; Myles Doran, former commercial director at Revolution Bars Group and managing director at Hospitality Inc; and Supersonic founder Mark McCulloch. For the full schedule, click here. A one-day ticket for operators is £295 plus VAT while a two-day ticket is £550 plus VAT. Supplier tickets are £395 plus VAT for one day and £700 plus VAT for two. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Jo Charity at Propel on jo.charity@propelinfo.com.
 
Premium subscribers to receive ten videos today from up-and-coming operators as they explore ‘white space’ opportunity: Premium subscribers will receive ten videos today (Friday, 15 December), at 9am, from up-and-coming operators as they explore the “white space” opportunity for their concepts. The ten operators, who presented this year at our Multi-Club Conference series, show that there is always uncrowded and unexplored areas of the UK food and beverage scene – where innovative operators can chart new territory with a fresh concept. The videos will feature: Verity Foss, co-founder and Lina Blythe, operations director of Oowee Vegan; Asad Khan, founder of Snowflake Luxury Gelato; Lisa Buckley, chief executive of Leisure TV Rights, the experiential leisure operator; Laura Mimoun, co-founder of Kaleido Rolls; Shereen Ritchie, chief operating officer of Buns from Home; Yolk founder Nick Philpot; Sanjeev Sanghera, co-founder of Döner Shack; Razak Helalat, founder of Black Rock Restaurant Group; Meriel Armitage, founder of Club Mexicana; and Simon Hooper, international business director at street food cafe franchise Chaiiwala. 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. 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 Propel group editor Mark Wingett.
 
UKHospitality – food allergy guidance must keep developing to ensure it is practical for businesses: UKHospitality has said food allergy guidance must keep developing to ensure it is practical for businesses. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is backing calls for “Owen’s Law”, launched by the family of a teenager who died after an allergic reaction. Owen Carey suffered an anaphylactic shock after eating chicken containing buttermilk, despite telling restaurant staff he was allergic to dairy, while celebrating his 18th birthday with a meal in 2017. The FSA has now agreed that written allergy information should be compulsory in restaurants and coffee shops and said members of its board would write to the government about this. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Hospitality businesses take allergen management extremely seriously and do everything within their power to be transparent with customers about ingredients. The overarching message we receive from hospitality businesses, both large and small, is that dialogue between staff and customer can be the most valuable and effective way to cater for people with allergies, alongside other methods to communicate allergy information. While all businesses make available allergen information for customers, additional guidance is always useful to ensure a venue’s practice is as best as it can be. Given the ever-changing nature of menu items and ingredients used, it’s often the case that blanket policies lack the nuance needed to deliver effective allergen management. We’re keen to continue working with the FSA in developing this guidance, to ensure it is practical for businesses, and gain a better understanding of its recommendation to mandate written allergen information.” It follows the introduction of Natasha’s Law in 2021, which said businesses must list all the ingredients on individual packaging of products pre-packaged for direct sale. Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died when she ate an unlabelled Pret baguette purchased at Heathrow airport in 2016, at which time there was no legal requirement for full ingredient labelling on pre-packed food.
 
HDI – almost £2 out of every £100 spent in UK hospitality finding its way into Greggs: Almost £2 out of every £100 spent in UK hospitality is finding its way into Greggs shops, according to new research by Hospitality Data Insights (HDI), provider of card spending insight and pricing data to the UK hospitality sector. Writing in today’s (Friday, 15 December) Premium Opinion, Mark Bentley, business development director of HDI, said: “In the realm of bricks and mortar, Greggs shines as the standout performer, with almost £2 out of every £100 spent in UK hospitality finding its way to its shops, up from £1.60 previously. Other notable winners include Loungers, Craft Union, and the broader category of ‘competitive socialising’ venues. The pace of opening new sites clearly plays a pivotal role in overall share growth, and with Greggs recently opening a record 17 shops in one week, it’s clearly not going to be slowing down anytime soon! However, I believe that the ability to scale businesses is intricately tied to delivering a relevant consumer proposition consistently, with the ability to really understand their customers and tailor their offers effectively to local markets being key differentiators for the most successful businesses.” Bentley will share more of his thoughts in Premium Opinion, which will be sent to subscribers today at 5pm. Email kai.kirkman@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.
 
More than 400 sector businesses and workers sign letter to Scottish first minister urging him to save country’s hospitality industry: More than 400 sector businesses and workers have signed an open letter to Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf, urging him to save the country’s hospitality industry. The letter comes a week before the Scottish Budget, with the Scottish government under pressure from the industry to match support provided by the UK government for hospitality businesses in England and Wales. At the autumn statement, the UK government announced 75% business rates relief for hospitality businesses in England for the next year. The Scottish Hospitality Group’s Save Scottish Hospitality campaign has warned that without new support, many businesses will struggle to survive. The open letter has been signed by companies include Buzzworks Holdings, Signature Group and Dean Banks Group. The campaign calls for an emergency 75% business rates relief to match England and Wales; the creation of a new hospitality category for business rates which would recognise the unique challenges faced by the sector; and a new partnership between the industry and government to develop a plan to grow Scotland’s hospitality and address the challenges it faces. Stephen Montgomery, director of the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: “This letter is an urgent plea from hospitality owners and workers from the length and breadth of Scotland. The first minister must listen to those on the front-line and deliver support to save our hospitality sector before many of the venues we love disappear forever. The Scottish government claims it wants a new relationship with the business community – it’s time to put its money where its mouth is.” 
 
AlixPartners – almost two-thirds of consumers will spend at least as much as they did before in 2024: Almost two-thirds of consumers (63%) will spend at least as much as they did before in 2024 in the restaurant and bars sector, according to a new consumer survey by leading advisory firm AlixPartners. The study – which featured more than 10,000 shoppers from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and UAE sharing their personal purchase intentions and shopping preferences now and into 2024 – also found that consumers are protecting their leisure spend and are reticent to trade down. In the restaurant and bars sector, while only 18% of consumers said they will spend more, almost two thirds said they will spend at least as much as they did before. At the same time, 35% expect to spend less on travel and holidays in 2024 versus 2023, with 26% expecting to spend more. Craig Rachel, director at AlixPartners, said: “While some consumers may reduce spend overall, there are also some individuals that are protecting their leisure spend and there is plenty of expenditure for operators to target. For those consumers looking to spend less, the data suggests they will be reticent to trade down on quality, instead reducing the frequency of activity to focus on special occasions or fewer, but higher quality travel and food and beverage occasions. A clear brand identity that stands for high-quality experiences or excellent value for money will be critical.”
 
NTIA and parliamentarians urge Home Office to review spiking crime categorisation: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) is pressing the Home Office to support a renewed examination of a legislative change that classifies spiking as a distinct criminal category. The call comes in response to a debate led by the backbench business committee, supported by cross-party MPs. The debate discussed the ongoing challenges associated with spiking incidents. The NTIA is mobilising industry and stakeholder support for the classification of spiking as a separate crime, aligning with the stance of cross-party MPs and key stakeholders. Michael Kill, NTIA chief executive, highlighted inadequacies within the existing legislative framework and criticised its current approach as “short-sighted”.
 
Demand For New Year’s Eve tickets ‘increases dramatically between Christmas and new year’: Demand for New Year’s Eve tickets “increases dramatically” between Christmas and new year, according to new research. Analysing data from 2021 and looking at New Year’s Eve 2022, the DesignMyNight platform witnessed a “remarkable” surge in ticket sales, indicating a positive trajectory for the industry as the year closes. In 2021, DesignMyNight sold more than 76,000 New Year’s Eve event tickets. Fast forwarding to 2022, almost 20,000 more tickets were sold, totalling 97,222. Notably, only 14% of tickets were sold before December, showing an increase of 51% in sales between 24 and 31 December. Searches for New Year’s Eve events also grew by more than 185% on the platform between the week before Christmas and the week after, with the most substantial incline across “firework” searches and “restaurants for New Year’s Eve”. “If there’s anything we’ve noticed in the past couple of weeks, it’s the joy of hospitality brought back to life”, said Katie Kirwan, head of business-to-consumer and brand at DesignMyNight. “Consumers aren’t making decisions about their New Year’s Eve plans just yet, but we know from historic audience data and sales that it’s the last week of the year when more confident purchase choices are being made, and that if you haven’t listed your event yet, there’s still time to both market and reap the benefits.”
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a beer brand that operates in the UK and internationally that is looking for a national account manager. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will join the team to lead the sales in both the on and off-trade market in the UK. You will be instrumental in delivering business growth with new business and managing existing accounts. You will need to hit the ground running and have a thirst for success. The ideal national account manager will have a passion for the drinks industry, be well connected in the trade and have a willingness to grow.” The salary is up to £60,000 and the location is flexible in England. For more information, email mark@corecruitment.com.
 

Company News:

Greggs opens 500th franchise site: Food-to-go retailer Greggs has opened its 500th franchise site, in Monktonhall, East Lothian, with its franchise partner MFG. In 2023, Greggs has opened 71 franchised units, with these now accounting for approximately 20% of the total estate. Greggs today works with 16 franchise partners across the UK, and the company said they play an important role in providing access to restricted locations such as motorway services areas, petrol filling stations, educational establishments and smaller high street convenience locations. Through its partnership with MFG, Greggs has a network of 84 shops, all trading as part of petrol filling station locations across the UK. The 500th shop at Monktonhall is located at a petrol filling station site just off the A1 outside of Edinburgh. Malcolm Copland, commercial director at Greggs, said: “Just one year since we marked our 400th franchise, we’re now delighted to open our 500th – this is a huge milestone that underscores the success of our franchise model. As we round off 2023, we’re pleased to be well on track to meet our ambitious shop expansion targets for the year ahead. The relationships we’ve built over the years with our valued franchise partners have been critical in enabling us to accelerate our shop expansion plans, reach key travel hub locations across the UK and enhance even greater accessibility for our customers.” Greggs features in the Propel UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK available exclusively to Premium subscribers. The database is updated every two months and the latest version features 225 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 kai.kirkman@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.
 
Carousel owner – 2024 set to be a transformative year for the business: John O’Donohuge, owner of the award-winning Home nightclub and Carousel bar concept, which combines cocktails, street food and arcade games, has told Propel that the company sees 2024 as being a transformative year. The business currently operates a Home nightclub and Carousel venue in Lincoln. It is to begin its expansion early next year with the opening of a further Home site and Carousel bar on the site once occupied by Tiger Tiger in The Light in Leeds’ Albion Street. The site is currently undergoing a major refurbishment. Carousel will be located on the ground floor and has been described by the business as a “quality bar that will bring a uniquely chilled experience to the area during the day, combining quality food and drinks with a fun games arcade experience”. The site will also host Home, a new multi-room club offer. O’Donoghue told Propel: “It is great to have an opportunity to reinvigorate such an iconic unit, successfully occupied by Tiger Tiger in The Light for so many years; and be able to bring two of our proven concepts into such a fantastic multi-level space. Leeds is a brilliant city. With the size of the commercial sector and the number of people living in the city, we are really excited about being able to add great ‘after-work’ sessions, featuring live entertainment, with strong food and drink offers, to our existing Carousel format. Having Home Nightclub on the lower floor will allow our guest to seamlessly take Carousel's night-time party into the small hours. This will be the first time in more than 20 years something new and original has been brought to this great space in The Light and we are looking forward to feedback from both former and new customers. Leeds is vibrant and independent; and already has some outstanding leisure and hospitality businesses in the city centre; giving both locals and visitor a warm welcome and a great experience. We see 2024 as a transformative year for us, with further Carousel openings planned for Bristol and Worcester.”

Flat Iron adds Victoria site to 2024 opening pipeline: Flat Iron, the Piper-backed affordable steak concept, has added to its openings pipeline for next year by securing a site in London’s Victoria. Propel has learned the 14-strong, Tom Byng-led business has secured the ex-Prezzo at 4-7 Victoria Buildings, Terminus Place (next to Market Halls) for a 2024 opening. Last month, Propel revealed that Flat Iron is to open on the ex-Wing Wing site at 18 The Broadway next year after an extensive refurbishment. Last month, Flat Iron, which made its regional debut this summer in Cambridge’s Market Street, opened in Leeds, on the ex-Byron site in the city’s Lands Lane. Flat Iron, which told Propel this summer that trading since its year end has been “consistently strong”, will also open in Manchester’s Deansgate at the start of next year.

Lennox secures ex-Café Rouge site for new Nusara opening: Andy Lennox, the founder of the Koh Thai brand, has secured a fourth site for his growing Nusara concept. The business has taken on the former Cafe Rouge site in Westbourne, Dorset. The new 120-cover site will open next year and will become the fourth site to open under the Nusara concept in the space of three years, joining sites in Christchurch, Poole and Wimborne. The finance for the site was provided by The FSE Group, a south west investment fund. Nusara is part of the Fired Up Collective, the umbrella vehicle set up by Lennox in 2020. The Westbourne site is the group’s eighth site in total. It also operates three sites under its Wessex Pub Company business and the pan-African Zim Braai restaurant in Bournemouth. At the same time, the business still plans to launch a new Italian restaurant concept called La Bocca. Lennox said the first site would open in Dorset either late 2024 or early 2025.

First alumni graduate from Scotland’s first prison-based Greene King Training Academy: The first alumni have graduated from Scotland’s first prison-based Greene King Training Academy. The new partnership between the Scottish Prison Service (SPS), brewer and retailer Greene King and Aberdeen City Council seeks to improve people’s chances of reintegrating into their communities upon leaving prison and help mitigate recruitment challenges for the hospitality sector. The 12-week programme sees people in custody trained to work in a replica Greene King kitchen by professional chefs. HMP & YOI Grampian became the first training academy north of the border following the initial conception of the programme at HMP Thameside in London. All four participants have been given an offer of employment in a Greene King establishment following their release. Following the success of the pilot, the course has been extended for a further 12 months – with the next cohort being the first ever mixed sex group. It is anticipated that in its first year, the training academy may see up to 20 individuals graduate into employment on their release. HMP & YOI Grampian governor Brian McKirdy said: “This initiative has made a real impact to the confidence and aspiration of the students. We are very much looking forward to following the journey of those who have completed the academy as they move into employment with Greene King.” Assad Malic, chief communications and sustainability officer at Greene King, added: “This has been a fantastic experience, which we hope can now be replicated in other prisons across Scotland. As the largest pub operator in Scotland, we see first-hand the important role pubs play in communities, and initiatives like this further demonstrate how pubs can drive social mobility and support people in building long careers in hospitality.”

Braille menus introduced as ASK Italian aims to make restaurants more inclusive: Braille menus to help blind and partially sighted customers have been introduced by ASK Italian as part of an initiative to make its restaurants more welcoming to everyone. From January, The Azzurri Group-owned, 66-strong brand will also add braille signage on toilet doors and roll out British Sign Language training courses for front of house staff. The initiatives come as a survey for the chain found more than half (57%) of people with sight, hearing or speech problems have felt anxious about visiting a restaurant, while four in ten (41%) said they have felt nervous. One in five (21%) said they have felt intimidated, and three-quarters (76%) said they had been put off visiting a restaurant in the past five years. On average, those questioned had missed out on three celebratory occasions due to their disability. To mark the launch of braille menus, ASK partnered with blind artist Clarke Reynolds, who created an artwork for the Park Street restaurant in central London that includes a snowflake made from the braille alphabet. ASK’s marketing director Corinne Prior said it was “heart-breaking” that so many people with sight problems found it challenging to enjoy a meal out. She added: “We’re committed to making our restaurants a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone and are always looking for ways to make our restaurants more accessible.”

Ducksoup team to open new French bistro in London: The team behind Ducksoup in Soho and Little Duck The Pickelry in Dalston is set to open a new French bistro in London’s Borough. Clare Lattin and Tom Hill, who are also behind Italian restaurant Emilia’s in Newton Abbott, Devon, will open Camille in the former Sons + Daughters sandwich shop site at 2-3 Stoney Street. They have partnered with Ratnesh Bagdai, co-founder of Brindisa Kitchens, for the venture and brought on board ex-St John chef Elliot Hashtroudi as head chef. Described as an “elegant play on French bistro dining”, Camille will be a “reflective imagining” of Lattin and Hill’s travels across France. It will offer a wine list focusing on low-intervention and biodynamic bottles and dishes using the best of British produce. With room for 40 diners, and more on an outside terrace in warmer weather, its dishes will include the likes of tete de veau schnitzel and dandelion, cep stuffed chicken wing and a fennel and brown butter custard tart.

Manchester pasta restaurant business set to close all four sites ahead of new concept launch: Manchester pasta restaurant business Sud Pasta is set to close all four of its sites ahead of launching a new concept. It confirmed the business, which launched in Altrincham in 2015 before opening further sites in Ancoats, Sale and Manchester’s Exhibition food hall, will shut all four of its sites at the end of December. However, it told the Manchester Evening News that a new pasta kitchen concept is in planning and will open across all four sites next year. “When we started in 2015 as Sugo Pasta Kitchen, we could sell you an epic plate of pasta for £9-£13,” the owners said. “We’ve been driven by market conditions, and have tried and mulled over a few iterations of Sud, but we don’t feel they’re the best way we can serve our loyal and valued customers, and so we have made the decision to close. We’ll be keeping our current team and reopening our new pasta kitchen in all four of our locations, we look forward to sharing our next chapter.” The final service at all Sud locations will take place on Sunday, 31 December. The company was founded in 2015 by Michael and Alex de Martiis as Sugo Pasta Kitchen but changed its name to Sud Pasta in February 2023 following a legal dispute with a Glasgow restaurant of the same name.

Farm Girl team launches third Roll Baby site: Roll Baby, the rice paper rolls concept from the team behind London’s Farm Girl, has opened its third site in the capital. The outlet has launched on level 1 at Westfield White City. It joins the inaugural Roll Baby site in South Kensington and a site in Portobello Road, Notting Hill, which opened this summer. An opening in Paddington Square is also thought to be on the cards for the concept. Founded by Rose and Anthony Hood, Roll Baby first launched for delivery in July 2021. The group closed a fundraising round on crowdfunding platform Seedrs in November 2022, which will assist in financing Roll Baby’s aim to increase its portfolio to 25 locations by 2027.

Japanese restaurant concept Osaka opens second site: Japanese restaurant concept Osaka has opened a second site, in Buckinghamshire. The first Osaka opened on the Riverside Mall level of Reading’s The Oracle shopping centre in 2020, in the former Cafe Rouge site. Osaka owner Ka Man Lam has now opened a second site, in High Wycombe’s Eden Centre. The business opened in the former GAP unit, with the concept offering sushi, ramen, katsu curry and noodle dishes. Lam said: “We aim to offer the best we can to create a memorable and differentiated dining experience. We are fully confident that by focusing on our unique offerings, we stand out.”
 
Chef Stevie Parle set to open new West End restaurant: Chef Stevie Parle has announced he is to open a “big new restaurant in the West End next year”. Parle, who currently operates Pastaio in London’s Soho, previously operated pop-up restaurant Joy, at London’s Portobello Dock, and pre-pandemic ran Craft London in Greenwich, Palatino in Clerkenwell and Sardine in Hoxton. On his new project, he said: “I’m opening a big new restaurant in the West End next year. I’m not going to tell anyone the name, the concept, who my amazing new partners are or what we’ll be cooking, but it’ll be something special for sure, and it should be open by the summer – or it had better be. I’ve created new partnerships with forward thinking farmers and growers all over the country. We have tonnes of carefully grown regen produce getting ready for us to fire up the wood ovens.”
 
Indian hospitality firm set to bring new ‘luxury lifestyle hotel’ concept to London in 2025: Indian hospitality firm, InterGlobe Enterprises, is set to bring its new “luxury lifestyle hotel” concept, Miiro, to London in 2025. InterGlobe – a large Indian travel conglomerate also involved in aviation, logistics, airline management and maintenance and advanced pilot training – will launch its first Miiro site in Paris next summer, followed by a second site, in Barcelona. It will then arrive in London early in 2025 with a 156-room hotel in Templeton Garden, featuring a café-meets-deli, restaurant, bar and garden. Neena Gupta, chief executive of Miiro and executive director of group strategy and international hospitality at InterGlobe, said: “My team and I have been developing the Miiro brand for a number of years, and I’m incredibly proud of what we have created together and delighted to be announcing its launch in 2024. We can’t wait to open the doors in Paris, Barcelona and London over the next year or so, and to continue growing the Miiro brand as we target further expansion in Europe’s most interesting city centre neighbourhoods.” 
 
EG Group opens Cinnabon site at Derby shopping centre: Roadside and forecourt operator EG Group has opened a site for US bakery brand Cinnabon at the Derbion shopping centre in Derby. The kiosk has opened on level two of the complex. Dan Smith, brand manager at Cinnabon, told the Derby Telegraph: “We’re thrilled to open our kiosk in the heart of the city at Derbion, and to know that Cinnabon fans across Derby will be able to enjoy our freshly baked Bons. This opening is a big step forward in our mission to bring Cinnabon goodness to more people across the UK.” EG Group signed a deal in late 2020 to roll out 150 sites under the US bakery brand across the UK over a five-year period. Cinnabon opened its first site in 1985, in Seattle. The brand now has more than 1,900 bakeries in 48 countries.
 
Fever-Tree hires new NED: Fever-Tree, the premium tonic maker, has appointed David Lapp as a non-executive director, effective from 1 January 2024. Lapp has previously served as both senior vice-president and chief supply chain officer for PepsiCo Beverages North America. Most recently, he was senior vice-president of manufacturing strategy across food and beverages for PepsiCo’s North American business. Prior to these roles, he spent 22 years at Pepsi Bottling Group, culminating in the role of global vice-president manufacturing and warehouse operations, before joining PepsiCo when it acquired the business in 2010. Coline McConville will step down from the board on 31 December 2023, having served nine years as a non-executive director. She has been succeeded as senior independent director by Kevin Havelock, while Laura Hagan has taken over as chair of the remuneration committee. Fever-Tree chairman Domenic De Lorenzo said: “David’s extensive industry experience will play an important role in supporting Fever-Tree’s continued successful expansion, particularly in North America, where the brand continues to go from strength to strength. Coline has played a significant role through an important period of growth for the company and we wish her the very best.” 
 
Team behind Michelin-starred Taku Mayfair opens new Japanese concept in Hampstead: The team behind Michelin-starred London restaurant Taku Mayfair has opened a new Japanese concept in the capital. Ine has opened at 16 Hampstead High Street, offering premium sushi, a contemporary Japanese á la carte menu and a 15-course omakase menu with specialty sake and wine. The 50-cover restaurant is split over two levels into four distinct spaces, including a main dining room with booth-style seating, an eight-seated omakase counter and a sake and art lounge offering a selection of unique sake and snacking style plates. Highlights from the á la carte menu include lobster with cauliflower and sudachi jelly, grilled iberico pork, wagyu beef katsu sando and grilled yuan chicken. There is also the option of 15 courses for £100 at the omakase counter. Co-owner Geoff Leong said: “Our mission is to provide an experience that captures the essence of authentic Japanese cuisine with contemporary twists and traditional omakase cuisine, in the heart of north London.” Co-owner Lucas Leong added: “We want to make Ine a destination restaurant in the heart of Hampstead with a menu adept for couples, solo diners, friends and family gatherings.”

Cornish hotel business paid £6.1m for Newquay property, refinances £20m loan facility: Cornish hotel business Watergate Bay Hotel paid £6.1m for the Newquay venue it acquired in December 2022, the Sands Resort, the company’s accounts for the year to 28 February 2023 have shown. It said it financed the acquisition through a combination of its own resources and increasing its bank facilities. The company refinanced its £20m loan with Barclays Bank, extending it to £30m including a £13m term loan facility, revolving credit facilities of £7m and £5m and an uncommitted revolving credit facility of up to £5m. The company reported turnover increased from £13,645,182 in 2022 to £17,806,288. As well as The Sands Resort Hotel, the group operates the Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall, which includes three restaurants, a spa and a surf school, plus Beach Retreats Holiday, a holiday letting, reservations and marketing service for a portfolio of privately-owned properties across Cornwall. “Total revenue for the year reflected no enforced closure periods, revenue from the beach loft expansion [at the Watergate] and revenue from Sands Resort Hotel post acquisition,” it said. The company saw a slight drop in pre-tax profit in the period, from £2,465,102 in 2022 to £2,302,773 as costs rose by almost £1m. Ebitda grew to £4,006,233 from £3,856,166. It received £32,154 in government grants compared with £546,074 in 2022. Director Chris Naisby said: “Following the enforced coronavirus pandemic closures and reopening of the Watergate Bay Hotel, on 17 May 2022, the hotel has traded strongly with high levels of occupancy and bookings extending into the following season. The group remains focused on its principal activities and expansion.”

North Yorkshire hotel reveals plans for £3m fine dining restaurant: Aldwark Manor Estate in North Yorkshire has revealed plans for a £3m fine dining restaurant set to open in spring 2024. The restaurant forms part of an ongoing investment at the hotel. Its owners have so far invested more than £18m in the estate, including the latest development, with further plans in place for the spa, conference facilities and additional bedrooms. The new fine dining restaurant – Chartwell – will be run by a team of chefs, offering British cuisine with a modern Savoy twist, influenced by French chef, restaurateur and writer, August Escoffie. In addition to the main restaurant, Chartwell will feature a mezzanine floor offering a private dining room, a speakeasy and bespoke wine tasting room. The hotel has recently welcomed a new executive head chef, Chris O’Callaghan, who has worked at The Fat Duck in Berkshire, The Ledbury in London and Midsummer House in Cambridge. Christophe Gitton, estate director at Aldwark Manor Estate, said: “This is an incredibly exciting chapter for Aldwark Manor Estate. The owners are investing heavily in the hotel to ensure we can continue to deliver excellence. We can’t wait to introduce this exceptional dining experience to our guests that will capture 1940s glamour while bringing the individuality and ‘never ordinary’ stamp that you’d expect from our wonderful estate.”

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