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Fri 17th Mar 2023 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Prezzo continuing to monitor estate in response to market conditions after closing four sites: Prezzo, the Cain International-backed Italian dining group, has told Propel it continues “to monitor our estate in response to market conditions”, after recently closing four sites. Over the past few weeks, the 145-strong business has closed restaurants in Horsham, Newmarket, Malvern and Thornbury, with the latter two taken on by Loungers for its Lounge concept. Propel understands Prezzo has already placed a handful of sites on the market since the start of the year and is assessing the future of up to 20 further sites. A spokesperson said: “We continue to monitor our estate in response to market conditions so that we are best placed to deliver Prezzo's continued long-term growth strategy. Despite challenges facing the hospitality industry, we are confident in the group's unique market position and newly developed senior leadership team.” Earlier this month, Propel reported Matt Prior had stepped down as chief financial officer of Prezzo, after joining the business in summer 2021 from Pret A Manger where he was finance director for its UK business. Prezzo chief executive Dean Challenger is serving as the brand’s interim chief financial officer. Challenger, who was promoted to chief executive of Prezzo last May, was previously chief operating officer of the company having joined in 2018. Earlier this year, Prezzo appointed Andrew Davill, formerly of David Lloyd Leisure, as its new chief operating officer. Cain International bought the then 180-strong Prezzo out of administration for around £5m at the end of 2020. 

Industry News:

Latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage to be released today: The latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will feature 42 updated entries and seven new companies when it is released to Premium subscribers today (Friday, 17 March). This month’s edition includes 654 companies and more than 170,000 words of content. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database, which will be updated monthly, merges Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. Premium subscribers 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.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a creative events company based in central London that is looking for a social media manager and content creator. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You should have strong creative skills and a keen eye for style, as well as a deep knowledge of social media content and management, and a finger on the pulse of what's coming next within social media trends. This role will mainly involve content capture and creation for the company’s social media channels and working closely on campaigns collaboratively with the marketing manager. However, it could also include working on newsletters, blogs, client gifting, and company showcase events as well as communicating with press, agency networks, suppliers, influencers, bloggers and speaker networks, awards bodies, thought leaders and clients. The business is looking for a dynamic, creative, and organised individual to support their communications and help generate awareness of and connect people to the brand.” The salary is up to £40,000. For more information, email sophie@corecruitment.com 

Company News:

FCB Coffee aims to more than double portfolio by 2028 and expand beyond south east: FCB Coffee, which operates at stations across the south east of England, is aiming to more than double its portfolio by 2028 and expand into new regions, Propel has learned. The company, which started a partnership with Network Rail in 2020 and is one of the first independent coffee offerings in stations, opened its tenth site last month, in the lower level of Waterloo station. This will be followed by a new FCB at Clapham Junction in the summer, and another possible opening later in the year. “Over the next five years, we see an opportunity to grow to 25 sites,” founder and managing director Barney Clevely told Propel. “With the right opportunities, we will expand beyond the south east. We see a huge amount of opportunity in the travel sector, and we have become recognised as the speciality coffee providers in this sector.” Being a travel location-specific brand, FCB has naturally been hit by the ongoing train strikes, and work-from-home trends before that. But Clevely said a “resilient customer base” has helped ease the impact, and footfall is coming back to pre-pandemic levels. “We, like everyone else, were impacted, and continue to be impacted, by the train strikes,” he said. “But we have a very resilient customer base who may miss the occasional day with the strikes, but they are back in the next time they travel. Footfall is down overall, but it continues to slowly come back to pre-pandemic levels, and there is a better spread of business throughout the day now rather than the mad flurry of business in the early mornings that used to happen. We are lucky enough to have a number of great performing sites – Paddington, Denmark Hill and Brighton are our best performing, but all our sites are doing great business and are all valuable parts of our portfolio, with great teams running them.” FCB has also introduced fully recyclable lids made from cardboard this year and is moving to takeaway cups made without any plastic. “It has been received very well, especially the new paper sip-through lids,” Clevely added. “We are always looking for more sustainable ways of packaging and transporting our product and reducing any waste.”

Creams secures Park Garage Group partnership as part of northern expansion, first to open next month followed by two Yorkshire restaurants: Dessert parlour operator Creams is to enter the petrol forecourt sector under a new partnership with Park Garage Group as part of its northern expansion plans, with the first to open next month. The company first revealed plans to expand outside its M25 heartland in November, when franchise development director Julian Reilly told the Propel Multi-Club Conference it was aiming to grow into “virgin territory”. Since then, it has opened a company-owned flagship restaurant in Manchester and plans further restaurant openings in Sheffield and York later this year. Before that, it will add its grab-and-go menus to two existing Park Garage sites located in the north – the first, in Wigan, opening before the end of April. Park Garage operates 75 forecourts across the country. “After an incredibly successful year for the brand, I am delighted 2023 is shaping up to be no different,” said Creams chief executive, Everett Fieldgate. “The new partnership with the leading forecourt brand, coupled with the recent appointment of our new product development manager, will undoubtedly cement our position as the UK’s favourite dessert restaurant brand, as we look to grow our global presence.” Creams has more than 100 sites in the UK, including a centre of excellence and training academy in Nottingham, and has targeted 500 stories worldwide by 2027. Creams features in Propel’s 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 edition features 185 companies. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.

Crerar Hotels acquired by hotel investment company: Scottish hotel operator Crerar Hotels has been acquired by Blantyre Capital and its operating partner, Fairtree Hotel Investments. Blantyre and Fairtree established a joint venture in 2021 with the aim of creating a portfolio of high-end luxury hotels in the UK. Following the acquisition of Crerar Hotels, the partnership now owns and operates ten premium hotels and continues to seek opportunities for further expansion. It marks the joint venture’s fourth hospitality purchase following those of Fonab Castle and Dunkeld House Hotel in Perthshire, and the Daffodil Hotel and Spa in Cumbria. Crerar’s eight-strong portfolio of eight four and five-star venues includes the Loch Fyne and Golf View hotels. Outgoing chairman Paddy Crerar said: “We set out to deliver the type of hotels and service that properly reflects Scotland. It’s been an absolute joy seeing our ambitions flourish and be rewarded by guest demand and loyalty. The current year, we believe will be our best yet, with double-digit growth forecasted in every month ahead. After getting to know the new potential owners, it was soon clear they shared identical aims and ambitions to those we have worked hard to foster. Their view of the potential for high quality hospitality in Scotland pitched to the global stage is unquestionable, and their access to greater resources makes delivering on the potential of Crerar Hotels achievable.” Crerar Hotels features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book. For the year ending 26 March 2022, the business turned over £14,462,641, which is the 343rd 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 £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.

Wagamama extends ‘noodle union’ scheme to include apprentices: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group (TRG)-owned brand, has extended its “noodle union” scheme to include apprentices. The company launched the programme in September 2022 to help university students save money on a range of dishes. It has now opened up the scheme to apprentices too, with all new members, as well as existing ones, eligible to receive a free drink and a side when purchasing a main from Wagamama throughout March. Max Simons-Dukes, senior brand manager at Wagamama, said: “We know the current climate is challenging for young people, which is why we have made the decision to open the virtual doors of the noodle union to now include apprentices too. At Wagamama, we want everyone to feel included, so the noodle union offers a safe and inclusive space where students, apprentices and Wagamama can come together to feel supported, while reaping the benefits of giveaways, content, and competitions.” Earlier this month, Wagamama also launched its “student hubs” programme, which sees students from 22 UK locations who are members of the noodle union offered space to study and socialise. The hubs operate every Monday and Tuesday, for 25 students at a time, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Team behind The Crystal Maze Live to bring immersive go-karting experience to Manchester and open first international franchise site: The team behind The Crystal Maze Live challenge attraction, is to bring its immersive go-karting experience Chaos Karts to Manchester and Dubai. Engineered by The Ents, Chaos Karts, which combines the worlds of go-karting and augmented reality, launched in London last summer. Now it is heading to Manchester in September while 2023 will also see the opening of a first Chaos Karts international franchise site, in Dubai. Players can drive around an infinite number of tracks in a digitally projected world, while their vehicle interacts with the virtual track, and any challenges other players might “launch” their way. Using state-of-the-art technology, the karts are kitted out with features to produce real-life sensations and reactions to immerse competitors fully into the ride. Tom Lionetti-Maguire, who is also the founder of Little Lion Entertainment, creators of The Crystal Maze and Tomb Raider experiences, said: “Creating a real-life version of a videogame has been an obsession for some time and Chaos Karts is a real game changer. It’s literally like stepping into your favourite racing game and I know the people of both these great cities are going to love it.” Partners in Dubai, Rushd Mowjee, added: “This futuristic project is set to take the city by storm, offering an exciting and immersive racing experience like no other.”

Black Sheep Coffee secures Peterborough site: Speciality coffee shop operator Black Sheep Coffee has signed for a site in Peterborough as the brand continues its rapid expansion across the UK. The group has agreed a deal for an 1,800 square-foot kiosk on the ground floor of the Queensgate shopping centre. The kiosk, adjacent to Primark, is set to launch in June. Gabriel Shohet and Eirik Holth, co-founders of Black Sheep Coffee, said: “We are excited to bring Black Sheep Coffee to Peterborough. We’ve experienced immense success across our sites in areas such as London, Manchester, and Edinburgh, and Queensgate makes a great addition to the portfolio.” Black Sheep Coffee operates more than 50 sites in the UK while it is set to make its US debut with an opening in Dallas. 

Foodco makes Northern Ireland debut with Muffin Break: Foodco has made its Northern Ireland debut with a Muffin Break store in the Buttercrane Shopping Centre, Newry. Propel revealed in December that a first store in the country was among the 2023 pipeline for Foodco, alongside 13 other new UK locations for both Muffin Break and sister brand Jamaica Blue. The new opening brings Foodco’s Muffin Break store count up in the UK to 63, with a further six in the pipeline, including sites in Leeds and Basingstoke. It also operates 18 Jamaica Blue stores in the UK.

West Midlands Safari Park sees turnover rise but profits fall, plans to open more guest lodges: West Midlands Safari Park, owned by Looping Group, saw turnover rise but profits fall, as it plans to open more guest lodges. Turnover for the year ending 30 September 2022 was up from £20,996,063 in 2021 to £23,077,415. Pre-tax profit fell to £6,316,033 from £7,978,024. It received £34,976 in government grants compared with £818,633 in 2021. Of the £23,077,415 turnover, £15,246,272 came from admissions and accommodation (2021: £16,868,114), £3,342,568 from retail (2021: £1,825,404) and £4,488,575 from catering (2021: £2,303,545). During the year, 12 new guest lodges were opened, adding to the ten built in the previous year, which “continue to sell extremely well”. Plans are in place to build four more lodges in 2023. In his statement accompanying the accounts, director Laurent Bruloy said: “The same level of financial support offered by the government in the prior year was not available in this financial year. The extreme warm weather in July caused a number of school visits to be postponed, although the number of school bookings were higher than the prior year, when many schools did not organise visits due to covid-19 restrictions.” Equity shareholders’ funds increased by £5.1m while capital expenditure was £8m. In September 2022, a cash pooling arrangement came into effect whereby at the end of every day, all surplus cash is transferred to parent company Looping Parks UK. This cash is available back to the company on demand daily, to cover any outgoings from West Midland Safari Park’s bank account.

Various Eateries to open 12th Coppa Club with Guildford launch next month: Various Eateries, the Hugh Osmond-founded business, will open the 12th site for its Coppa Club brand, in Guildford next month. The Townhouse Guildford will launch in the former Gap premises in High Street on Tuesday, 11 April. Set across three floors, the ground level will feature a cafe, bar and workspace, with a “snug” lounge. The middle floor will host a brasserie and private dining space, with the brasserie offering all-day dining options, such as Chalkstream trout with rainbow chard, roasted garlic aioli, basil oil and charred lemon as well as a selection of pizza, pasta, steak and sharing plates. Upstairs on the top floor will be a cocktail bar offering a menu that will reflect the seasons. Yishay Malkov, chief executive of Various Eateries, said: “We knew there was an appetite to open in Guildford so we are thrilled to have found the perfect space for a Coppa Club.” The brand already has two sites in Surrey as well as a further nine around the south east and west of England. 

Company behind National Motorcycle Museum returns to profit, turnover almost back to pre-pandemic levels: The company behind the National Motorcycle Museum and The Manor Hotel in Solihull, which operates under the Best Western brand, returned to profit in the year ending 30 June 2022, with turnover almost back to pre-pandemic levels. It made a pre-tax profit of £1,041,377 compared with a loss of £1,457,962 in 2021, and a profit of £1,498,990 in its last full year before the pandemic, ending 31 December 2019. Turnover was up from £2,840,284 in 2021 to £13,219,486 and almost back to the last pre-pandemic figure of £14,763,395. Of the 2022 figure, £8,996,934 came from its hotels, £3,488,215 from catering and conferencing facilities, and £734,337 from the museum. It received £105,091 in covid-related grants (2021: £2,063,258). No dividends were paid (2021: nil). Director Julian Murphy said the group has adequate funds in place via £2.3m borrowed through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (2021: £4m), £6.9m advanced by the directors (2021: £2.1m) and £1.1m of redeemable preference shares held by the group’s controlling party (2021: £1.1m). He added the group owns a significant number of motorcycles that “amount to a substantial asset” and “any number of these could easily be sold to realise cash in the auctions that take place on a regular basis”.

Chickpea Group set to open Wiltshire pub with rooms this weekend: Chickpea Group, which was founded in 2019 by siblings Ethan and Jordan Davids, along with their friend Tommy Tullis, will this weekend open the Wiltshire pub with rooms its acquired last month. As previously reported, the group has taken on the 19th century The Queen’s Head in Broad Chalke, which has a sheltered terrace area to the rear with space for 80 guests and a beer garden in a wild meadow over the road. Initial renovation works involving opening up the bar and restaurant will be followed by a restyling of the four bedrooms, which are housed in an annexe building. Plans are also in place to develop an extra five rooms above the pub, with work set to start in June. “The Queen’s Head sits in the heart of the Chalke Valley and has all the quirks and charm one expects from a country pub,” said Ethan. “We were keen to bring the pub back to its roots, so we’ve bashed it about a bit, removing all recently added walls, to create an atmospheric flow and bring to life the cosy corners we all love kicking back in.” The Queen’s Head is a fifth pub with rooms for the group, which also operates two sites under pizza concept Nole.

Team behind Edinburgh taqueria opens Asian-inspired street food restaurant for second site in city: The team behind Edinburgh taqueria, Bodega, has opened its second restaurant in the city. Lucky Yu serves Asian-inspired street food by ex-Gardener’s Cottage chef, Duncan Adamson. Located at 53-55 Broughton Street, the 80-cover restaurant offers a range of specialty dumplings, homemade baos and yakitori alongside a variety of curated cocktails and natural wine. Meredith Wilkie, who co-owns the restaurant with John Howard, said: “The space is designed to be immersive, to hopefully transport the customer to another place – making for a real experience, not just a delicious meal – without being a theme restaurant.” Bodega opened in 2013 before moving to larger premises in Albert Place in 2019.

Monterey Jack’s opens its largest site to date: Scotland-based, American-style restaurant Monterey Jack’s has opened its largest restaurant to date. The £250,000, 250-cover restaurant has opened at the M&D’s Scotland Theme Park in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, which borders Strathclyde Country Park. Set over 4,000 square feet, the restaurant features an outdoor terrace and interior design based on 19th century Wild West smuggler “Mad” Jack Wyatt. This includes a water feature based on a horse trough, stables for guests to sit in and an outdoor heated gazebo. The upper floor includes a “Wild West Street” featuring private party booths styled as a hotel, sheriff’s office, general store and barbers. It also features a jail where diners can be photographed behind bars as a souvenir of their visit. Monterey Jack’s chief operating officer, Scott Abercrombie, said: “We have designed, in collaboration with the M&D’s team, almost from a shell, a new bar and restaurant with multiple dining zones, an amazing new glass frontage to enjoy the vista and outdoor terrace, and very special theme details to ensure every customer is totally immersed in the M&D's experience.” The opening brings Monterey Jack’s estate in Scotland back to ten sites after it last month closed its restaurant at 71-73 Albion Street in Glasgow’s Merchant Square. Its restaurant at Unit 2 in Glasgow Fort shopping centre remains open, as well as other sites in Airdrie, Braehead, Hamilton, East Kilbride, Falkirk, Perth, Dunfermline, Stirling and Inverness. 

Team behind Yen Burger opens Bristol restaurant: The team behind the Yen Burger concept in London has opened a new restaurant in Bristol. Kaiseki has opened in the city’s Cabot Circus scheme offering a pan-Asian, tapas-style menu featuring oriental bao buns and tacos, sushi plates and ramen bowls. The Asian-inspired Yen Burger launched in London’s Borough Market in 2018. Led by Yen Nguyen, the concept offers premium Asian-influenced burgers that combine ingredients such as Japanese chilli and kimchi mayonnaise, plus Asian herbs such as shiso, a Japanese leaf known for its taste and health benefits. CDG Leisure acted on the Bristol deal.

Camden pub let to Stonegate sold for £4.8m: The Oxford Arms in London’s Camden, which is let to Stonegate Group, has been acquired by a private family for £4,775,000. The pub, which dates to the 1800s, is let to Stonegate on a long, index-linked lease. The sale price reflected a 4% net initial yield. Jack Silvani, director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, who represented the vendor, said: “Assets of this calibre are not sold often and are once a generation purchases. The buyer concluded the purchase within a week of agreeing terms. There remains a strong appetite for best-in-class assets while demand continues to outstrip supply.” Springer Nicholas represented the purchaser.

London nightclub Boujis set to return after seven years: London nightclub Boujis is set to make a return after seven years. The Kensington nightspot, a favourite with royals including Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton in its heyday, closed for good in 2016 following two temporary closures due to fights among guests. But the venue is now being revived by co-owner Carlo Carello, reports The Daily Mail. The club, which first opened 20 years ago, aims to restart this spring near the original venue, at 43 Thurloe Street, which is now a Five Guys. The nightclub will have an identical cocktail and clientele list and initially be called B-London, although a source said the industry is already calling it Boujis 2.0. The aim is to resume using the Boujis name following legal action with another former owner this summer. Carello said: “Everything from the plug sockets to the banquette seating is being rebuilt down to the millimetre. Royalty always used to have table 11, which was often surrounded by pretty girls, and we will be recreating that for them.”

Fast-growing Kent bakery set to open fourth store within a year of launching: Fast-growing Kent bakery Cheran’s Bakery is set to open its fourth store within a year of launching. Owner Cheran Friedman opened her first store, in Sittingbourne, in June 2022. This was swiftly followed by branches in Canterbury and Rochester, and Friedman is now set to open a fourth site, in Faversham. “I wouldn't have been able to do this without our customers,” she told Kent Live. “Thank you for supporting this girl’s dream. An official opening date will be announced soon.”

Mojo Bars confirms April opening for Newcastle bar: Voodoo Doll, the company behind the Mojo Bars business, has confirmed its new bar in Newcastle will open next month. Propel revealed in July that the business had lined up three new openings – in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Newcastle. It will now open in Newcastle’s Gallowgate Street on Friday, 7 April, delivering “an electric going out experience that combines delicious cocktails with home-made, classic American food and the best music from the last five decades”. With a bar stretching the length of the ground floor, it will offer more than 120 different cocktails as well as shuffleboard tables, beer pong and cocktail masterclasses. Among the food offer will be chicken wings, fully loaded fries smash burgers, pizza, waffles and pancakes, alongside vegan options. A bottomless brunch will be served throughout the week, while special deals will be available on Newcastle United FC matchdays. Mojo managing director Martin Greenhow said: “Newcastle is a fun, exciting and vibrant city. Our ethos is around bringing music for the people, food for the soul and good times forever, and we hope to deliver that to the people of Newcastle.” The Edinburgh site, on the former Fopp record store in Rose Street, is due to open this summer. This will be followed by the Liverpool site, on the former Red’s True Barbecue site in Hanover Street. It will be a second Liverpool location for the brand, adding to its site in Back Berry Street, as well as further bars in Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Harrogate and Nottingham.

Team behind north London cafe concept Fink’s opens fourth site: The team behind cafe concept Fink’s in north London has opened a fourth site. Jess Blackstone and Mat Appleton have launched the outlet in Clissold Park in Stoke Newington. The venue is in the park’s historic pump house and is close to the pair’s OG Fink's site in Mountgrove Road, Highbury, which was the first outlet Blackstone and Appleton opened in 2014, reports Hot Dinners. “Fink's Pumphouse is our newest baby,” the pair said. “It is filled with our usual favourite suppliers and of course Fink's sandwiches, cakes and coffee.” Blackstone and Appleton also operate a coffee shop in Gillespie Road and Finks Chatsworth in Chatsworth Road, Hackney.

Tap & Tandoor opens third site: Indian gastro-pub operator Tap & Tandoor has opened its third site, in Southampton. As previously reported, the business, led by husband-and-wife team, Ajay and Shivani Kenth, secured the former CAU restaurant site in the Westquay scheme in the city after the Argentinian steakhouse went into administration. Tap & Tandoor has now opened, offering tapas style small plates, traditional Indian food and craft beer. Ajay said: “Tap & Tandoor brings the comfort and warmth of a traditional British pub with a flavour of Indian cuisine. We’ve been looking for somewhere new to open our third restaurant – and after researching the market, Southampton seemed like the perfect place. There’s a real mix of thriving eateries, cafes and pubs and a great cultural scene. We’re now looking forward to welcoming more people to sample our unique take on the traditional Indian restaurant.” The company already operates Tap & Tandoor venues in Peterborough and Solihull.

Brewhouse & Kitchen confirms March opening for Essex debut: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the UK’s largest brewpub group, has confirmed it will open its first Essex site later this month. As previously reported, the company has acquired a grade II-listed property in Duke Street, Chelmsford, for its 24th site. It will now open on Monday, 27 March, housing a microbrewery and working spaces and offering gin and beer masterclasses. It will have space for 180 people inside and 120 on an outdoor terrace, and create 45 jobs. “Both Kris [Gumbrell] and I have always wanted to trade in Essex and this is the first opportunity in Essex that really works for us.” managing director Simon Bunn told Essex Live. “We are looking forward to the sun coming out, using that terrace and spreading the love. We have worked really hard to create a fresh and exciting environment for the people of Chelmsford.” Founded in 2011, Brewhouse & Kitchen last month reported growth in its own brewed beer volume, now accounting for just under 50% of total beverage sales.

Glasgow restaurateurs set to open second site for Korean street food concept: Glasgow restaurateurs Kevin Campbell and Toni Carbajosa are set to open a second site for their Korean street food concept. The duo opened their first Bibimap venue five years ago, in Glasgow’s West Nile Street, and are now preparing to open in the former Pakora Bar site at 96 Hanover Street in Edinburgh. The 20-seater restaurant will offer delivery and takeaway as well as dine-in options. Head chef Young Lee said: “There is huge appreciation right now for Korean cuisine in Scotland, with K-pop enjoying enormous popularity. Foodies in Edinburgh can tuck into our extensive menu, which includes a variety of traditional and modern Korean dishes and enjoy tastes of downtown Seoul in a vibrant, colourful venue that plays homage to K-culture.” Campbell and Carbajosa operate several concepts across Glasgow including Halloumi (Greek/Cypriot mezze), Mezcal (Mexican street food), Picked Ginger (Japanese cuisine), Kilmurray & Co (brunch bistro) and Roberta's Italian (Italian/wood-fired pizza), plus coffee shop Off the Rails and multi-unit dining and entertainment venue Cranside Kitchen. Propel reported earlier this month that the duo are also set to shut Rioja, their tapas and wine bar venue at 1,116 Argyle Street, to make way for new Mediterranean concept Santorini.

 
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