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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators
Fri 8th Sep 2023 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

French multi-brand business targets UK as ‘number one market’ as it looks to roll out internationally through franchising: French multi-brand business Groupe Delineo has told Propel the UK is its “number one target market” as it looks to roll out internationally through franchising. The group was formed earlier this year as an international franchise company for three brands – La Croissanterie, Maison Pradier and Roberta Caffe. La Croissanterie and Maison Pradier are both French cafe and sandwich chains, with Maison at the more premium end of the market, while Roberta is an upscale Italian street food concept. The group currently operates 300 stores (43 managed and 257 franchised) in nine countries, with most of its overseas branches being in French-speaking African countries, where the brands have rolled out at Total gas stations. It is set to open in Riyadh in December and is currently working on deals in the Gulf, Japan and Morocco, which should be complete by the end of the year. “We plan to operate in at least three new countries in 2024 but the UK is a key market for us, our number one target,” Jérémie Dupuy, the group’s international development manager, told Propel. “It will be a huge development. The UK has a lot of potential for us and will be the first key market for us to develop. I don’t think we’ll achieve the same level of penetration we have in France, but given the success of French bakery in the UK, we’re not talking about small numbers. We hope to have the first open next year, but we want to get a footprint with the right partner and make sure its correctly run before we make any estimations of business potential and how we’re going to seize that opportunity.” Dupuy said while the group will be pushing for bigger groups looking to take all three brands on, it will also look at opportunities for smaller operations looking to scale just one. He added: “La Croissanterie can go anywhere, on smaller or major deals. We see it as a provincial concept and value proposition more towards Greggs in terms of positioning and price – a scalable concept with bigger potential in terms of store numbers. Maison Pradier is a high-end quick service restaurant concept so must go in exclusive locations with a premium partner and can go into London malls and high streets. Roberta has enormous potential and can go into travel, retail or high streets and can be a mainstream or premium brand. We’ll also see how the investment community see the brands and the potential for them.” Dupuy added the group would target a London debut for Maison Pradier while La Croissanterie could start outside of the capital. Groupe Delineo made €150m-plus in sales in 2022 and employed 3,000 people at the end of the year. 
 

Industry News:

Next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book to be released today: The next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book will be sent to Premium subscribers today (Friday, 8 September), at midday. It now features 754 companies that are turning over a total of £51.2bn. A total of 514 companies are making a profit while 240 are making a loss. The profit being made by sector companies is now outstripping losses by £1.34bn. The Blue Book shows the total profit of the 754 companies in the list is £3,471,432,286 and losses are £2,135,077,847. The Blue Book is updated each month and ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Premium subscribers also receive access to five other databases: the Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database; the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisee Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Premium subscribers are also being given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. They also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.
 
Heartwood Collection people director to speak at Propel Talent & Training Conference, open for bookings: Heartwood Collection people director Helen Melvin will speak at the Propel Talent & Training Conference. The all-day conference takes place on Tuesday, 3 October at One Moorgate Place in London and is open for bookings. Melvin will discuss the challenges of recruiting and retaining high-class chefs. For the full speaker schedule, click here. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for operators and £395 plus VAT for suppliers and can be booked by emailing kai.kirkman@propelinfo.com.
 
Sector sales increase 6.7% to £137bn but rate of inflation means ‘near impossible to keep up with cost of doing business’: Sector turnover was up 6.7% in the last year to £137bn, according to the latest UKHospitality Quarterly Sales Tracker, but compared with 2019, remains almost 20% behind in real terms when accounting for inflation. The tracker, in association with CGA, also shows sales in the last year are 2.3% up on pre-pandemic levels. However, the quarterly growth rate is slightly down (0.2%) year-on-year. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These figures illustrate precisely the challenge facing hospitality businesses across the board. Demand is good and sales are strong but the rate of inflation means it’s near impossible for venues to keep up with the cost of doing business. The persistently high costs of energy, food and drink means the task of keeping up with inflation is getting harder with every passing day. It has been clear for a long time that these rising costs need to be tackled at source to properly bring down inflation, but we also need to ensure new costs aren’t tacked on in the future. The standout threat to the sector in the near future is the double whammy removal of business rates relief and an inflation-linked rise to rates. That needs to be avoided at all costs, with a commitment to maintaining relief and avoiding an inflation-linked rise, to give the sector a fighting chance of keeping up with inflation.”
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a charity that is involved in hospitality that is seeking a financial controller. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “Reporting to the finance director, the role is broad and varied. It is integral to the successful operations of the charity and ensures sound financial control, reporting and responsibility for both day-to-day accounting and payroll, as well as more strategic reporting, budgeting, and compliance with relevant statutory regulations. You will also be responsible for the management of the outsourced IT function and the position includes the management of two experienced team members. Hospitality/leisure experience is a plus.” The salary is up to £50,000 per annum and the position is based in London. For more information, email fabian@corecruitment.com.
 

Company News:

Starbucks hails ‘good progress’ in plan for 100 new UK sites: Starbucks has hailed “good progress” in its expansion plans to open 100 new sites in the UK over the current year. The chain said it has also “maintained strong, double-digit growth” in the UK in recent months despite pressure on consumer spending due to the rising cost of living. It comes as Starbucks opens its latest drive-thru site in Oldham, Greater Manchester, amid the continued growth of its drive-thru business, which now represents a quarter of all UK shops. The latest opening is also the group’s 20,000th international store outside North America as it pushes forward with ambitious global growth plans. In March, Starbucks signalled plans to open 100 UK sites this year, alongside 300 other new sites across its business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It said its UK openings will particularly target city and drive-thru locations, with the company investing in smaller stores with increased digital innovation. It comes a year after reports suggested that Starbucks was exploring a potential sale of its UK operation amid intense competition from rival chains. Alex Rayner, vice-president and general manager at Starbucks UK, said: “We are thrilled to welcome the Oldham community to our new store and our first in Oldham. Celebrating 25 years in the UK is a real privilege and, to mark this special anniversary, we’ve just launched our first UK-exclusive beverage, Starbucks Clotted Cream Fudge Cold Brew. Looking ahead, we are fully invested in the UK and giving back to the local communities we serve each day.”

Aqua Restaurant Group among parties interested in D&D London: Hong Kong-based Aqua Restaurant Group, the David Yeo-founded business that operates a portfolio of restaurants across the globe, is among the remaining handful of parties interested in acquiring D&D London, which owns and operates circa 40 restaurants across the UK and internationally, Propel has learned. Aqua operates more than 20 restaurants in locations including London, Hong Kong, New York, Miami and Dubai. It operates Shiro, Aqua Shard, Hutong, Aqua Kyoto, Aqua Nueva and Luci in London, and is set to add to its portfolio in the capital this autumn with the opening of Italian seafood restaurant Azzurra in Chelsea. It is unclear at present whether Aqua wants to acquire all or a significant part of D&D. Earlier this month, Propel revealed a handful of suitors are left in the process to take control of D&D, with final bids for the company due next week. Propel previously reported that second round bids were due on 11 August, with circa ten parties believed to have shown interest in the business. As previously revealed by Propel, first round bids were due to be submitted on 21 July. Interested parties are understood to still include co-founder and former chief executive Des Gunewardena, who is thought to still own a circa 14% stake in the company. A group of private investors, which are believed to have engaged Simon Wilkinson, ex-chief executive of Byron and La Tasca, to help them, are also believed to be still involved in the process. The sales process, which goes under the name Project Sandon, is being overseen by advisory firm Interpath. 

Cornish Bakery appoints first head of acquisitions: Fast-growing independent chain The Cornish Bakery has appointed Raj Manek, formerly of Various Eateries and Loungers, as its first head of acquisitions, Propel has learned. Manek joins the 54-strong business after more than two and a half years as property director at Various Eateries, the AIM-listed Andy Bassadone-chaired Coppa Club and Noci operator. Previous to that, Manek spent more than seven and a half years with Loungers, where he started as property manager before stepping up to acquisitions director in March 2017. Last month, The Cornish Bakery said it planned to open five new sites in the next four months, with more in legals. The business is currently building five new locations, with sites in Canterbury and Norwich to open in September. These will be followed by Harrogate and Cheltenham in October, and Salisbury in November. Further sites at Gunwharf Quays (Portsmouth), Gloucester Quays, Bath, York, Newquay and Clark’s Village in Street have also reopened following refurbishments. It came as the company reported it latest opening, in Truro, had surpassed all expectations in its first couple of months of trading.

Heartwood Collection lines up Surrey pub for first site with rooms opening: Heartwood Collection, formerly Brasserie Bar Co, has secured the White Horse in Dorking, Surrey, for its first site with rooms, which will open early next year, Propel has learned. The deal for the 56-bedroom grade II-listed inn is part of the Alchemy Partners-backed company’s ambition to become the “market-leading operator of freehold premium pubs and pubs with rooms in the UK”. A multimillion-pound investment will see The White Horse undergo a “sensitive refurbishment over the coming months that will preserve the historic features of the building while also injecting Heartwood Inns’ signature cosy and characterful style”. Earlier this summer, the business secured an additional £100m of funding from Alchemy Partners and its banking partner OakNorth. The funding will support the group’s continued growth in freehold pubs and freehold pubs-with-rooms. A further site with rooms – The White Hart in Lewes, East Sussex – is also set to open next year. Richard Ferrier, managing director of the Heartwood Collection, said: “We are excited to announce the acquisition of The White Horse, Dorking, as Heartwood Inns’ first pub with rooms. The pub is steeped in history and will fit beautifully with the rest of our pub estate. This represents a significant step for the group as we accelerate our ambition to become the market-leading operator of premium freehold pubs and pubs with rooms in the UK.” The 34-strong group is also due to open the Plough & Harrow in Long Ditton, Surrey, before the end of the year. Propel revealed last month that Heartwood Collection had added The Crown in Tamworth Street, in Lichfield, Staffordshire, to its 2024 openings pipeline. It recently opened its latest pub acquisition, The Black Swan in Henley-in-Arden, following an extensive refurbishment. It is on track to grow to 60 sites and up to 500 bedrooms by 2027. 

Lina Stores lines up Shoreditch opening: Delicatessen brand Lina Stores is set to add its estate in London with an opening in Shoreditch. Propel understands the White Rabbit Projects-backed company is set to open a site at 180-182 Shoreditch High Street. It will add to the six restaurants and delis Lina Stores currently operates across London, the latest having opened in Clapham in June. Last week, Propel reported that Lina Stores is set to open its third site in Japan, its first in the Kansai region. Lina Stores, which launched in Japan in 2021, in Tokyo, plans to open a site in Kyoto Takashimaya in October. It will be located on the first floor of the specialty store zone T8 and will comprise about 50 seats, including counter seats and sofa seats facing ‘the lively Shijo Street’. Last month, Lina Stores announced it will open a “hidden aperitivo bar” at its Soho site. Bar Lina will open this autumn underneath the Lina Stores deli at 18 Brewer Street. 
 
ETM Group to take on F&B operations at Montcalm East: ETM Group, which operates 18 premium bars, pubs and restaurants in central London, is to take on the food and beverage operations at the Montcalm East hotel in London’s Shoreditch. Propel understands ETM will open a new all-day dining venue spread across two floors called Marlowe at the hotel, in the ex-Moor & Mead space. It will be a second hotel operation for ETM, which already operates the Aviary rooftop restaurant and terrace bar at the Montcalm Royal London House in Finsbury Square. Earlier this summer, ETM appointed Alex Lowe as its new marketing director. Lowe joined the Ed Martin-led business after more than four years as head of brand marketing at Formula 1. Previous to that, Lowe spent two years as marketing director at Sportlobster, one year as brand controller at Sky Sports, and more than five years as associate director of marketing at ESPN.
 
Soho House plans to have 20 houses in the Americas by 2025: Andrew Carnie, chief executive of Soho House & Co, has said the business wants to have 20 houses in North America by 2025. The company, which began in London in 1995, opened its first New York club in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District 20 years ago. It now has three in the city and has launched in Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville and Austin, among others. Carnie told Bloomberg News that Soho House plans to open a further six in the Americas over the next two years, bringing the total – including upcoming houses in Portland and Charleston – to 20 by 2025. He said: “We’re going to grow in New York and LA, there’s a lot more opportunity there for us, but we see a big opportunity to grow across North America. There’s a lot of thriving cities in America now, especially post-covid, where a lot of folks moved out of New York and LA, that are brilliantly suited for a Soho House.” He is also laying out plans for a country-house inspired outpost in Rhinebeck, upstate New York. Grasmere House, as it will be known, is likely to have a lake and a winter-wonderland-inspired Christmas attraction. Along with the US and Latin America, Soho House is only just getting started in mainland Europe. It’s opened in Rome, and Carnie is eyeing up Milan. He’s also considering another venue in France after opening in Paris two years ago. “We know they would like an experience” he said. That could potentially include a French Soho Farmhouse. Richard Caring, the restaurant entrepreneur and a shareholder in Soho House & Co, said Carnie had the “international experience and width” to understand the entirety of the business. “It’s the US that we need to improve on,” said Caring. “And Andrew’s doing that. He’s spending time there.” Carnie has also scaled back Soho House’s digital plan.  At one stage, it was going to launch a digital membership whereby its app could be used for networking, along with streams of content. “We stopped doing a lot of things that our members didn’t care about or didn’t necessarily want,” he said.
 
JD Wetherspoon partners with Newcastle University Students’ Union: JD Wetherspoon has entered into a partnership with Newcastle University Students’ Union. The student union bar, Luther’s Bar, will continue to be run and managed by the union, but using the business model implemented by Wetherspoon at its pubs across the UK. The partnership – which will begin on Friday, 15 September – will deliver an enhanced food and drink offer for Newcastle’s student community, while supporting the union’s objectives to offer students skill development. The bar currently employs 30 staff, but with the introduction of the new refurbishment and catering offer, it is expected that 70 roles will be created, all of which will be suitable for students. Staff will continue to be employed and managed by the union and will undertake the same training and induction as Wetherspoon staff. The partnership is the second such undertaken by Wetherspoon following a similar one at Hull University’s Sanctuary Bar, which opened in January 2022. Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “We are delighted to have entered into this partnership and look forward to working with the union to make Luther’s Bar a great success.” Newcastle University Students’ Union president, Shah Yaseen Ali, added: “Through our partnership with Wetherspoon, our students will benefit not only from their value for money food and drink offering, but also the expansion of job opportunities within the bar. These will be welcomed by many of our students impacted by the current cost-of-living crisis.”
 
Midlands McDonald’s franchisee makes a loss due to food inflation and energy costs, digital sales increase: Midlands McDonald’s franchisee Kyra Enterprises, which operates 18 restaurants in the region, made a loss in the year ending 31 December 2022 due to food inflation and energy costs, while digital sales increased. The company’s revenue increased from £68,602,678 in 2021 to £73,560,577 but a pre-tax profit of £5,150,204 turned into a loss of £512,913. It said costs increased by £6,758,653 during the year, and it received £7,620 in government grants compared with £361,875 in 2021. Dividends of £1.4m were paid (2021: £925,000). Owner Glyn Pashley, in his statement accompanying the accounts, 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. Government support packages have helped soften the impact. 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.” Pashley, who took on his first McDonald’s franchise in 1999 when he took control of the store in Rugby town centre, added he expects 2023 to be “challenging due to the current economic conditions” but that the company is “in a good position to trade through this period of uncertainty”.
 
Pret commits to UK-wide expansion of The Pret Foundations Rising Stars Programme: Pret A Manger has committed to a UK-wide expansion of The Pret Foundation’s Rising Stars Programme, which helps break the cycle of homelessness by providing support, training and employment. Over the next five years, the programme will see a 40% expansion, supporting at least 500 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness into jobs at Pret’s UK shops, including in Homewards flagship locations, where Pret has a presence. A five-year locally led programme, launched in June by Prince William and The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales, Homewards said it is taking a transformative approach to the issue of homelessness. It follows a visit by Prince William to one of the six flagship Homewards locations, in Bournemouth, to meet with local and national businesses, all of whom have pledged their support to the programme. In a visit to Pret’s site in the town, Prince William, accompanied by entrepreneur and newly announced Homewards advocate Steven Bartlett, heard about the company’s commitment to expand its long-standing Rising Stars programme. Pano Christou, chief executive of Pret, and trustee of The Pret Foundation, said: “Since we started The Pret Foundation almost 30 years ago, we’ve worked hard to give people facing homelessness vital support, training and employment opportunities, including through our Rising Stars programme. But no one can fix this problem alone. That’s why we’re so proud and honoured to be working with Homewards and His Royal Highness to take Rising Stars even further.”
 
Timothy Taylor appoints Paul Tiffany as new FD: Keighley brewer and retailer Timothy Taylor has appointed Paul Tiffany as the 165-year-old brewery’s new finance director. Tiffany will have an extensive handover with current finance director, John Varley, who will work closely with him in the production of the group’s financial year-end accounts (end September 2023) and retire before the end of 2023. Tiffany started his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers and has held several group and divisional financial director roles, including his previous role as divisional finance and IT director at RS Safety Solutions. Tim Dewey, Timothy Taylor’s chief executive, said: “I would like to start by thanking John Varley for his enormous contribution to the business’ success over the past seven or so years. We are all very sad to lose him but understand his decision to retire. The board and I look forward to working with Paul, who was the standout candidate from an extremely comprehensive recruitment process, and his references and experience were outstanding. I am sure he will prove a great asset to the brewery.” In June, Dewey told Propel that 2023 will be a “very tricky year” as the industry awaits to see whether the current high-cost environment is here to stay. Dewey said the bottom line is being hit hard but said the company, which operates 19 pubs – 17 tenanted and two managed – would remain profitable in the current financial year.
 
The India secures third central London site: Restaurant concept The India is to open its third site in central London on Monday (11 September). Propel understands the business, which is led by Rashel Ahmed, has secured the former Jamie’s Wine Bar site in St Mary At Hill, Billingsgate. The India already operates restaurants in Cannon Street and City Road. The Jamie’s Wine Bar site was part of the We Are Bar Group business, which went into administration last summer. Propel revealed last month that investment firm Breal Group, which has so far this year acquired Brew by Numbers, Black Sheep Brewery, Brick Brewery and Vinoteca, had acquired a pair of former We Are Bar sites in London as it looks to build a portfolio of hospitality businesses. Propel understands the investment firm acquired the ex-Jamie’s Wine Bar in Adam’s Court and The Bolthole in Suffolk Lane, both in the City, out of administration, for a total consideration of £100,000. It is thought Breal is in talks on a further ex-We Are Bar site. Emma Wright, of CDG Leisure, acted on the St Mary At Hill deal.
 
Wagamama among four restaurant operators to open at Glasgow’s St Enoch Centre: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group-owned business, is one of four restaurant operators that have signed for sites at the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow. Wagamama has agreed a 15-year deal with a break option after ten years with Sovereign Centros for a 4,615 square-foot venue in the leisure hub at the eastern end of the complex. The restaurant is set to open next spring. Meanwhile, doner kebab and chicken restaurant YaYas, which operates two sites in Glasgow, is set to open on the first floor this autumn, while Salt and Pepper, which specialises in Asian cuisine, will open in St Enoch Square. They will be joined by Wingstop, which, as previously reported, is also opening at the shopping centre. Lemon Pepper Holdings, which is rolling out the US brand across the UK, has taken a 3,175 square-foot unit on a new 15-year lease without breaks and will welcome customers later this autumn. Meanwhile, Starbucks has relocated to a larger 2,763 square-foot unit in the centre. Created out of a former BHS store, the £50m leisure hub comprises a nine-screen Vue cinema and five other restaurants, of which only one is now available. 
 
The Light appoints Aideen Byrne as new ops director: Cinema operator The Light has appointed Aideen Byrne, formerly of PizzaExpress, New World Trading Company (NWTC) and RedCat Pub Company, as its new operations director. Byrne joins The Light after more than two years as operations director at RedCat. Previous to that, she spent a year as a regional director at NWTC and more than 20 years at PizzaExpress, including a stint as head of central operations. Last month, The Light reported record Ebitda and a return to profit as it said its strategy to diversify into leisure had “proved to be extremely well timed”. Turnover increased to £32,981,408 for the year ending 31 July 2022 compared with £6,849,280 the year before. Ebitda was up to a record £6.4m from a loss of £0.2m the previous year. The business, which operates 13 sites, made a pre-tax profit of £1,088,365 compared with a loss of £5,974,045 the year before. In June, the business opened its latest site, a 45,000 square-foot cinema and multi-leisure venue in Redhill, Surrey, as it looks to expand across the UK.
 
LWC Drinks acquires Hills Prospect: LWC Drinks, the UK’s largest independent drinks wholesaler, has acquired Hills Prospect, the largest independent drinks distributor in London and the south east. The partnership will see the two businesses “join forces to leverage their individual strengths and build an even stronger service proposition” for customers in the region. Ebrahim Mukadam, managing director at LWC Drinks, said: “We see this partnership as a superb opportunity for both businesses to combine skills, shared knowledge, network, and strength to offer customers in the region a service like no other.” Trevor Bowers, sales director at Hills Prospect, added: “Our service and reputation will strengthen and grow with the immense opportunity of being part of a progressive national company.” The acquisition mark LWC’s 18th site in the UK and follows the recent openings of new depots at Aylesbury, Andover and Doncaster. The business turned over £500m in its last financial year.
 
Village Hotels owner places business on market: The owner of Village Hotels has picked bankers to spearhead an auction of one of Britain’s biggest mid-market hotel chains. Sky News reports that KSL Capital Partners is working with Morgan Stanley on an auction. Initial discussions with prospective buyers are said to have got under way in recent weeks. The process comes as the owners of Center Parcs UK and Travelodge also weigh sales, with the former having been running an auction in conjunction with advisers for several months. Village Hotels comprises a portfolio of 33 properties from Aberdeen to Bournemouth, with rooms available at budget prices. Founded in 1995 as Village Urban Resorts, the hotels feature pub-style restaurants and gyms. KSL was reported to have paid £485m for the business when it bought it in 2014 from De Vere Group.
 
Camm & Hooper partners with Jeru Mayfair: Imbiba-backed events and hospitality group Camm & Hooper has entered into a partnership with Jeru Mayfair to add three new event spaces to its London-based venue collection. The Berkeley Street-based restaurant Jeru Mayfair is overseen by Roy Ner. The three new event spaces include Jeru Garden – “a stunning, tranquil indoor garden space” and Sapphire Room – “a highly sophisticated private dining space”, which both open this week. The third event space is Layla, “a high-energy bar and dining lounge”. The company said: “All of these spaces have been meticulously designed to offer a perfect backdrop for any event. Jeru uses the finest in-season ingredients to create bespoke menus for various event types that inventively fuses traditional recipes and techniques with a modern sensibility and skilful cooking.” Camm & Hooper chief executive Derick Martin said: “We are dedicated to delivering exceptional event experiences, and we are excited to share with you the new event spaces at Jeru. Our goal is to create unforgettable experiences for our clients and Jeru will become a sought-after destination for a wide range of events.” Camm & Hooper operates venues including Tanner Warehouse in Bermondsey, the Victorian Bath House in Bishopsgate and Banking Hall in the City.

Flight Club confirms details of Edinburgh opening: Flight Club, the darts concept owned by Red Engine, has confirmed it will open a site in Edinburgh this November. The new venue in the city’s St James Quarter scheme will mark the 15th UK opening for Flight Club and the second in Scotland, closely following the opening of Flight Club Glasgow this October. It will feature ten oche playing areas and – in a hat tip to the city’s heritage – a model Victorian railway running throughout the height of the bar, “calling at thoughtfully designed streets and stations”. Red Engine chief executive Steve Moore said: “We love the atmosphere in Edinburgh and the existing hospitality and nightlife scene, so we are excited to be opening a Flight Club in St James Quarter. It’s a busy and evolving city, and we will be bringing something a little different to the area.” Last month, Propel reported Red Engine is to launch a flagship site in the US under its Electric Shuffle concept, in New York. The business will open its third site in the US under the Electric Shuffle brand next year, in Broadway and 30th in New York City. It currently operates Electric Shuffle sites in Austin and Dallas in the US, two in London and a regional site in Leeds. Propel revealed earlier this year that Red Engine is planning to launch its Electric Shuffle concept in Manchester. It has applied to open on the existing Evans Cycles site in the city’s Deansgate area. 

 
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