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Mon 15th Jun 2020 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day: 

Loungers chairman calls on government to ‘step up to the plate’ on sector guidance: Alex Reilley, executive chairman of cafe bar operator Loungers, has called on the government to “step up to the plate” and provide the sector with the guidance, clarity and help it needs to reopen. Reilley also said while the debate over the two-metre guidance goes on, operators shouldn’t “lose sight of the fact a lot of customers are going to be initially nervous about returning” and will want to see “obvious distancing measures in place”. In a thread of tweets directed at chancellor Rishi Sunak on Friday evening (12 July), Reilley wrote: “This is now the longest time Loungers has gone without opening a new site since 2009. We had 11 sites then, we have 167 now, and planned to open 25 sites this year. Without desperately needed clarity on how/when hospitality can reopen we can’t properly plan what may or may not happen in three weeks. We can’t tell our people, with confidence, they are coming back to work or what additional training we will need to provide them with. We can’t warm up our supply chain (that is in desperate need of our business). And we can’t commit to reopening some of our sites yet because it may be two-metre distancing or it may be less. Our sector stands ready to face the immense challenge ahead but, with the greatest of respect, we need government to step up to the plate and give us the guidance and help we need. As a business we want to get back to opening 25 sites a year as soon as possible and do what we can to help repair what’s left of our battered economy. However, for this to happen we first need to navigate the very long, complex road ahead. However unfortunately as a consequence of the government’s lack of guidance and policy of ‘watch this space’ we risk starting that journey with nothing better than a set of standard issue flat tyres.” Separately, Reilley said having spent the past few days looking at distancing measures in a number of the company’s sites, it became clear “while one metre instead of two metres would be ideal, 1.5 metres makes a very positive difference”. He said: “Seating areas look more ‘normal’ but there’s enough space to reassure returning customers that changes have been made for their safety.” Meanwhile, Pesto Restaurants chief executive Neil Gatt told Propel the government needs to take urgent steps to avoid “utter chaos”. He said: “Boris Johnson needs to come off the fence now and make it absolutely clear how the government intends to reopen the sector. We certainly can’t wait until the day we are due to reopen to find out what all the rules are.” 
 

Industry News:

Parliamentary report outlines measures needed to support sector on road to recovery: Cutting VAT, an overhaul of the business rates system and the creation of an October bank holiday are some of the ways the government can support the UK’s hospitality and tourism businesses, according to a new report. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Hospitality and Tourism’s report: Pathways to Recovery has been published, highlighting the scale of the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors and outlining a series of recommendations to help businesses recover. The report, published by UKHospitality, follows an inquiry by the APPG, chaired by MP Steve Double, which collected testimony and written evidence from more than 350 businesses, trade bodies and student unions. The report showed just 11% of hospitality businesses have been able to operate normally during the lock-down and international tourist arrivals are likely to be down 30% for the year. Other measures that should be adopted according to the report were a common framework to ensure venues can operate safely as well as a phased approach to reopening businesses, due to the variety of business models. The report stated government financial support must be extended to keep jobs safe while urgent action is required on rents. The government should also work with sector businesses to reconsider the two-metre social distancing rules, introduce air bridges and cut air passenger duty to boost inbound tourism. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “If the government is positive and decisive in delivering support for these sectors, then the job will be made much easier. Businesses will be saved and jobs all around the country kept secure. We hope the government acts on the recommendations in this report. Otherwise, the road back will be a long and hard one.”
UKHospitality is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 
Richard Caring warns of massive job losses: Restaurateur Richard Caring has warned as many as “50% or 60%” of the four million-strong hospitality workforce could be laid off and restaurants, cafes and bars shuttered for good. He said the wave of redundancies would be “like a volcano” erupting, with the worst of the pain coming in September and October when the furlough scheme ends. Calling for urgent action to avert the looming jobs crisis, Caring said: “The beginning of the lock-down gave us an initial shock. Now it’s quite calm because people are furloughed, businesses are not paying staff, they are not paying rent, they are not paying rates and staff don’t have the expense of going to work and the expense of going out. So as a restaurateur, you believe you can sit tight and survive, and that’s what everyone’s doing. But the big problem people shy away from is we’re in the eye of a storm. The fact is, down the road there’s a volcano that is going to bubble over. I don’t think people can see it yet, but everyone in hospitality is beginning to realise they will have to make heavy cuts. This volcano, unless we wake up to it now, is going to be horrendous. It’s just going to explode, spewing out unemployed people. There are estimates saying we could have up to five million unemployed. It’s not going to be five million – it’s going to be more. I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. The government is killing the country right now and the hospitality industry is the front line disaster.” Separately, Caring’s Le Caprice Holdings business has confirmed its Le Caprice restaurant in London’s St James's is to close and it is in negotiations on a new location. A spokesman told Propel: “Le Caprice has occupied the current site for 38 years and now the lease is coming to an end. The restaurant will be reborn at a new location currently under negotiation.”
 
PM suggests no reduction in two-metre rule until next month: Prime minister Boris Johnson has suggested there will be no reduction in the two-metre social distancing rule until next month. He has launched an "urgent" comprehensive review into the coronavirus guideline. But he revealed on Sunday (14 June) the two-metre rule would remain under review until the next stage of the government's planned reopening of the economy, scheduled for 4 July. According to Sky News, Johnson was asked about the review of the social distancing guideline on a visit to Westfield Stratford City. He said: “We'll work very closely with the scientists at all times and make the right decision on the basis of safety, health and stopping the disease. The question for us is as we get the numbers down so it becomes one in 1,000 (people infected with coronavirus), one in 1,600, maybe even fewer – your chances of being two metres or one metre or even a foot away from somebody who has the virus are obviously going down statistically. So, you start to build some more margin for manoeuvre and we'll be looking at that, and we'll be keeping it under constant review as we go forward to the next step in our plan, which is 4 July. So we'll be keeping it under review for 4 July.”

‘Government needs to cut the waffle and cut the distance’: Writing in his latest Premium Opinion column, Propel insights editor Mark Wingett called for the government to “cut the waffle and cut the distance” and that another week can’t go by with only “scraps of information to live off”. Wingett wrote: “Treat us like grown-ups, help us to help you. If parts of the sector are to open on 4 July, say so now, immediately, although some would prefer 6 July to try to ramp up slowly. Stop edging your bets, be bold, be braver, you are dealing with a sector where the safety of staff and customer is paramount. The past few months have been like an emotional rollercoaster for the sector, with the lows obviously outnumbering any perceived, fleeting highs. The way the sector has been mucked about over the past few days has felt like some kind of bottom has been hit. As we look outside the UK, the frustrations grow, as more restaurants and bars open up across Europe. Surely the government will now step up and clarity will be given. The GDP figures announced, falling by a record 20.4% in April, with pubs, bars restaurants down 88.5% and hotels down 86.9% – two of the worst affected sectors of the economy after travel – should provide a stark picture to the government of the hole we are in. Another week can’t go by with only scraps of information to live off. This shambles has to stop. Cut the waffle and cut the distance. The sector is ready to serve. Stop doing it a disservice, and let it get on with it.” 

Darby – coronavirus has given Brains ‘astonishing opportunity to reset’: Alistair Darby, chief executive of Welsh brewer and retailer SA Brain, has said the coronavirus has given the company an “astonishing opportunity to reset, and fundamentally think about how we run this business”. Speaking to Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott as part of Propel’s “navigating the coronavirus” series, Darby said: “We came into the crisis with too much debt and off the back of pretty soft trading in the last quarter of 2019, and then February being a wash out. However, the coronavirus has given us an astonishing opportunity to reset, and fundamentally think about how we run this business. So, we are thinking very hard about not just how we operate the business, but also strategically what should be the shape of the business to ensure it continues to exist for another 130 years. We have been more creative and innovative in the past three months than I would say we have been in the past five years. We have been able to line up along a wall every sacred cow that used to roam our offices and shoot them all. There have been no barriers to progress.” In terms of changes to the group’s offer, Darby said the business was “going to be a lot simpler”, with its 52 menus across its 100 managed pubs now down to seven and the 1,200 ingredients it used cut in half. It has also simplified its drink range. Darby said: “We don’t think customers want to come in to look at a hugely complex menu with 15 different wines, take ages to find this on an app, and made it so complicated that everyone – consumer, chef and bar staff – gets wild with frustration. So we have become less indulgent, more clinical – more brutal about what really matters and what doesn’t.” Darby will share more of his thoughts in the video, which will be released on Monday (15 June). Meanwhile, readers can support independent sector journalism and get their news 12 hours early (at 7pm each night) with a Propel Premium subscription. It costs £395 plus VAT per annum for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com to sign up.
 
Hospitality responsible for a quarter of Britain's GDP fall: The hospitality sector was responsible for almost a quarter of the GDP losses felt by UK business in April, highlighting the urgent need for the sector to be allowed to reopen, according to the latest Hospitality Tracker from CGA and UKHospitality. Total GDP in the UK fell by 20.4% in April, according to the latest ONS data, while figures from the UKHospitality Tracker revealed how badly the sector was hit, with company turnovers down almost 90% in the same month. Taken with data from March, with hospitality being first into the downturn, the sector has been responsible for some 32.7% of lost GDP for the country since the crisis began, with figures for trading in May and June being no better. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This decline has been shockingly acute and graphically illustrates the importance of hospitality and tourism to the UK economy. The corresponding recovery can be as equally dramatic but we must be given a firm date to reopen and we must be given the right conditions, with a distancing rule of one metre, and the right ongoing support by the government to aid hospitality’s recovery, and to enable as many businesses as possible survive, protecting jobs and communities.” CGA Business Leader research has estimated there would be an overall reduction in the number of pubs, bars and restaurants of some 20% to 30%, but said this could be significantly worse if revenues continue to be affected.
 
Most Brits want two-metre rule to stay: Most Brits want the two-metre social distancing rule to stay in place in the UK, a new survey has found. Government guidance currently recommends Brits maintain a two-metre distance from each other in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, there have been calls for the government to reduce the distance to one metre as the lock-down is eased further, particularly from the hospitality sector. But of 3,672 adults who were surveyed by YouGov, 58% said they think social distancing should remain at two metres, compared with 24% who believed it should be reduced to one metre. A small portion of those who were surveyed said social distancing measures should be scrapped altogether (8%) while 10% said they were unsure. The data research firm said on Twitter the results showed “the public are firmly opposed to reducing the social distancing restriction”. Sector trade bodies and operators have said in order for businesses to survive, the two-metre rule should be halved.
 
BBPA urges government to confirm definitive date for pubs reopening as it pushes on with plans to ‘save the summer’: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has urged the government to urgently confirm a definitive date when all pubs can reopen as well as publish the final safety guidelines the sector needs as it pushes on with plans for reopening to “save the summer”. The government’s roadmap indicated pubs would be able to reopen from 4 July. The BBPA has consistently asked for at least three weeks’ notice so pub operators can notify staff they will need to return from furlough and to clean pubs; and to give breweries enough time to brew beer and get it into pub cellars in time for reopening. That deadline was Saturday (13 June). Some of Britain’s 2,000 brewers have had to take a gamble that pubs will reopen on 4 July and start brewing draught beer again to ensure they can supply pubs with fresh beer. Real ale can take as long as three weeks to brew and lager can take even longer. The BBPA has worked with SafetyCulture, which has developed an easy to use free tool to help licensees manage the risk assessments required to make a pub covid-secure based on government and industry safety guidelines. However, the BBPA said clarity was still needed for the sector on the social distancing requirements pubs will reopen under – particularly as it will significantly affect the number of pubs that can reopen, their operational viability and the sectors preparations as a whole for reopening. BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “In order to help ‘save the summer’ and kick start the economy, we are cracking on with our preparations to ensure our pubs will be ready to reopen from 4 July in the hope the government sticks to its roadmap plan.”
 
NTIA – government’s draft code of practice on rent ‘grossly underestimates current situation and plunges sector into further difficulty’: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has said the government’s draft code of practice on rent “grossly underestimates the current situation and plunges the sector into further difficulty”. Over the past couple of weeks the government has been working with trade bodies, businesses and landlords to publish a code of practice to support the commercial property sector through coronavirus. It encourages discussions between landlords and tenants over rental payments during the coronavirus pandemic and provides guidance on rent arrears payments as well as the treatment of sub-letters and suppliers. But NTIA chief executive said Michael Kill said at present the code of practice has “no value in a situation that needs immediate action”. He added: “We are past the moment where most parties are able to play nicely, as both sides are financially stretched and need a considered government intervention with a very clear framework and further support. To leave everyone to just sort themselves out, against a non-binding framework of proper behaviour, and the remnants of government financial support packages is a gross underestimation of the current situation and plunges the sector into further difficulty with looming redundancies and businesses being pushed to breaking point and the fundamental conundrum remains.”
 
New York commits $3m in grants for independent restaurants: The New York City government and private funding are making a total of $3m in grants available to independent restaurants that agree to staff up to pre-pandemic levels and to feed people in need. Operators can apply for up to $30,000 in grants for direct wage reimbursements if they retain all of their employees or an equivalent number who became unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The money must be applied to salaries over a minimum of six weeks or as long as 12 weeks. Eligible restaurants must commit to paying all employees the full, non-tipped minimum wage of $15 per hour “after a return to standard restaurant operations”. Currently, tipped employees in New York have a minimum wage of $10 per hour, provided they make up at least the remainder in tips. But during the grant period, restaurants must pay employees covered by the programme at least $20 per hour. The $20 per hour will be reimbursed by the city, but additional wages, above $20, would be paid by the restaurant as would unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and other legal obligations. Then after the grant period, those wages could be dropped back to $15 per hour. Restaurants applying for the grant should agree to make at least 500 free meals for New Yorkers affected by the pandemic, with a focus on essential workers and low-income residents, reports Nation’s Restaurant News.
 
CPL Learning launches Ready to Serve programme for team members: CPL Learning, the learning and development partner to the hospitality sector, has launched its Ready to Serve learning programme for team members. This programme will provide team members with the knowledge and skills required to ensure a safe and effective return to work. Covering the key compliance procedures and measures, team members will be covid secure upon completion. The programme also contains several modules covering hospitality skills, so employees are confident of how to deliver service and sales in this new environment. The launch of this programme follows on from the free Ready to Serve – manager – reopening following lock-down course, which has seen more than 12,500 courses assigned since launch. CPL Learning chief operating officer Jamie Campbell said: “The new Ready to Serve programme aims to deliver the relevant and crucial training required for all hospitality team members and compliments the management course in the series. It's a comprehensive resource that we have worked with many sector experts to produce, and the feedback we have so far has been fantastic.”
CPL Learning is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 
UK's first purpose-built ‘socially distanced’ restaurant to open in Cornwall: The UK's first purpose-designed and built “socially distanced” restaurant will be opening in a Cornwall hotel. The St Moritz Hotel & Spa, at Trebetherick, revealed it is opening a new summer restaurant nicknamed “The Anti-Social Club”. The restaurant will hold up to 96 people spread between 16 private dining rooms. All food and drink will be delivered to these private rooms via a set of hatches. There will be multiple dining times, clear guidance for guests and exacting operating procedures that ensure the two-metre rule and new environmental health requirements are met at all times. The design ensures all the individual dining rooms are accessed from outside, with the service function being provided from a central atrium. This means no member of the service team will need to go into the dining rooms, and the staggered dining times means guests won't run into each other. Every room will be cleared and appropriately cleaned, then reset-up, to meet all requirements, between each dining party. The menus will use Cornish food suppliers and producers and across the high season the restaurant will require a team of at least 20 staff. The idea came from founders Hugh and Steve Ridgway, and the St Moritz director of restaurants Jonathan Domé. Co-owner Hugh Ridgway told ITV News: “Simply reworking our current restaurants and bars, and operating at 30% capacity isn’t possible, so our specially-designed summer ‘pop-up’ restaurant, overcomes this obstacle.” The hotel rooms and the self-catering apartments and villas will open alongside the launch of the summer “pop-up” restaurant when the government allows.
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is looking for a HR director for a quality hospitality group. This role is very much a multi-faceted position, working side by side with the executive operations team to create and execute the future vision for the group. The HR director will manage the head office, working closely with operational teams. To assist with future planning, the HR director with ideally have excellent recruitment and people strategy skills as well as good employee relations and employment law understanding. This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a small executive team of passionate individuals on a long-term project. It is essential the incoming candidate has London hospitality experience and is CIPD qualified. Anyone interested in finding out more can email Kate@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 

Company News:

Creams to introduce QR code menus and ice-cream handwashing jingle as it prepares for dine-in: Dessert parlour operator Creams is introducing QR code menus and pay at table as part of a number of safeguarding and social distancing initiatives as it readies its 88-strong estate for sit-in customers. Diners will be asked to use a sanitisation station at the entrance before being guided via signage to their socially distanced table. Once the customer completes their mobile order, they will be encouraged to approach Creams’ long service counters to pick up their dish along with single-use compostable bamboo cutlery. Throughout the day, customers will hear a quirky ice cream van jingle that will play at frequent intervals and serve as a prompt to all Creams team members to wash hands and sanitise surfaces. The initiatives have also been developed to “create a fun and engaging experience that encourages customers back into store when doors reopen”. Creams will be undertaking a review of all sites with the aim of implementing a bespoke social distancing programme, unique to the floor plans at each location, over the coming weeks. Marketing director Lauren Haslewood said: “Over the past weeks we have been exploring how to maintain our high level of customer experience while we ensure safety and adherence to government guidelines. When we open, our customers can be sure that although the environment will be fully sanitised, their experience will be as fun as ever.”
 
Escape Hunt plans £4m fund-raise: Escape room operator Escape Hunt has said it intends to raise up to £4m though the issue of shares and loan notes. The proceeds will go towards the roll-out of owner-operated sites, operational improvements and working capital purposes. Escape Hunt will place up to 46.6 million shares at a price of 7.5 pence per share through an accelerated bookbuild, for which Shore Capital Stockbrokers and Zeus Capital are acting as joint brokers. The issue price reflects a discount of 21% to the closing price on Thursday (11 June) of 9.50p. Shares in Escape Hunt closed down 3.7% at 9.15p on Friday (12 June). In addition to the placing, Escape Hunt will also issue up to 2.2 million shares through a subscription – conducting an open offer on the basis of one open offer share for every four ordinary shares. The group will also issue £340,000 in convertible loan notes. The final number of placing shares will be agreed by Escape Hunt and the brokers at the close of the bookbuild. Looking ahead, Escape Hunt plans to open a further five or six UK owner-operated sites within a year of the fund-raising, as the company expects property market conditions to offer highly attractive opportunities when the time comes.
 
The Cornish Bakery secures £1m loan to support reopening of sites and protect future: Cornwall-based The Cornish Bakery has secured a £1m loan to support it in reopening its 45 bakeries and help to protect the company’s future. The company closed its sites to customers on 23 March and had to furlough all but seven of the team. The loan provided through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) by Clydesdale Bank will allow the business to ensure there is adequate cash flow to be able to reopen doors to customers over the coming weeks. The funding will also enable The Cornish Bakery to introduce new health and safety procedures, including providing staff with personal protective clothing and introducing Perspex screens around all customer counters. By the end of June, the company hopes to unfurlough all staff and reopen each one of its sites, excluding those based at the National Exhibition Centre, without having to make any redundancies. Additional hires are being considered to see it through the summer season. The CBILS funding has also given The Cornish Bakery an opportunity to pivot its strategy to diversify into launching an online mail order and a click-and-collect service to future proof the business. Founder Steve Grocutt told Insider Media: “Our hopes now are to not only to return the business to normal but hopefully grow the business through these new revenue streams and in time through acquisition.”
 
Purezza secures former Patisserie Valerie site in Hove for third restaurant: Brighton-based vegan pizzeria Purezza has secured the former Patisserie Valerie site in Hove for its third restaurant. The outlet near Palmeira Square is set to open in late August and will be spread across two floors, featuring upcycled furniture, and decorated with eco-friendly and organic paint. As well as its plant-based pizzas, the restaurant will offer a range of cocktails and a full gluten-free menu. Co-founder and co-owner Tim Barclay told Vegan Food & Living: “2020 was always set to be a big year for Purezza, and while the coronavirus crisis was an unforeseen challenge, it won’t affect our plans. Purezza is a growing brand, but our home has always been Brighton & Hove. Before looking at national expansion, we’re proud to be able to give some of our most dedicated customers a new beautiful space in Hove to enjoy.” Purezza opened its debut site in Brighton in 2015 before adding a site in Camden three years later. The company also has its own vegan cheese factory.
 
Apostrophe founder launches takeaway and delivery offer at Delamina in Marylebone: Apostrophe founder Amir Chen has launched a takeaway and delivery offer at his eastern Mediterranean restaurant Delamina in London’s Marylebone. Delamina, launched by Chen and wife Limor, is serving pitas and cocktails from the window of the site in Marylebone Lane. Pitas are filled with some of its signature dishes, including hand-pulled shawarma with dates, pine-nuts, house pickles and tahini; and roasted turmeric cauliflower with lemon-infused crème fraiche and pomegranate molasses. Dishes are also available for delivery via the website. Delamina bartenders are also mixing house cocktails, such as its watermelon martini, and serving wine and beer from the window. Delamina opened in 2018 following a residency at Shoreditch House. The couple’s first restaurant opened as Strut & Cluck in Shoreditch in 2016 but has since been converted to become Delamina East. Chen founded Apostrophe in 2004 and was chief executive until the company was acquired by CH&Co in 2016, remaining as an advisor until leaving to launch the restaurants.
 
Boston Tea Party and Gourmet Burger Kitchen reopen further sites: All-day casual dining cafe Boston Tea Party is to open ten more sites this week for click-and-collect and delivery, Propel has learned. The company is reopening three more sites in Bristol – Cheswick Village, Park Street and Stokes Croft – as well as Kingsmead Square in Bath along with its outlets in Cheltenham, Chichester, Edgbaston, Ringwood, Salisbury and Stratford. It follows a trial last month in Bristol, at its Gloucester Road cafe, and in Birmingham, at its Harborne site. Meanwhile, Gourmet Burger Kitchen has opened another five sites for takeaway and delivery in the past fortnight, taking the total to 17.
 
Go Ape to reopen with CBILS funding: High-ropes adventure course operator Go Ape will reopen with the support of funding from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) through Clydesdale Bank. Go Ape was forced to close its 34 sites across the UK on 20 March in line with government guidance. The company's management team has worked with Clydesdale Bank to restructure its existing banking facilities and apply for the CBILS loan to support working capital. Nick Hall, finance director at Go Ape, told Insider Media: “As an outdoor seasonal business, the closure of our sites coincided with the lowest cash point in the year coming out of winter, a period when revenues are low and we invest heavily in our sites in advance of the new season. The lock-down at the beginning of our most profitable months from Easter through to the end of summer created a significant financial challenge. The CBILS loan from Clydesdale Bank is vital to ensure we have a sustainable business to reopen, providing working capital to support a return to operation.”
 
Cairn Group launches Californian-themed takeaway: Newcastle-based hotel and bar operator Cairn Group has launched a street food takeaway restaurant. The Fable is inspired by Californian food, and delivers within a five-mile radius of Jesmond. The company said the at-home dining experience has been designed to give people an experience that “lets their imagination roam free” despite the current restrictions. Naveen Handa, director at Cairn Group and founder of The Fable, told BDaily: “We have used this time to create a fresh, new menu that is inspired by our travels and our favourite places to eat on the Californian coast. We’re excited to bring The Fable to the people of Newcastle and hope it livens up their at-home dining and brings a smile to faces during these challenging times.”
 
Wright Brothers extends at-home service nationwide: Wright Brothers, the oyster specialist and seafood wholesaler, has expanded its at-home range nationwide. The company launched the initiative last month within the M25, but it is now available through the UK mainland. Customers are able to order fresh, smoked and cured fish; oven-ready whole fish to share; cooked crab and lobster; oysters and mussels; and frozen prawns and seafood. Wright Brothers has also introduced a Shell Out! box comprising a dozen Carlingford oysters, a Wright Brothers “pro” oyster-knife, six scallops on the shell and a whole oven-ready turbot, serving four, for £75. Since launching the service, Londoners have ordered more than 10,000 oysters and more than 500 lobsters. Wright and Hancock said: “Our aim was and still is to get the fishermen fishing, workers working and people cooking at home. We’ve also brought 26 of our staff back into work from being furloughed. While we would like to be doing still more, we feel that we’re moving in the right direction.” Delivery is available Tuesday to Saturday. There is a minimum order value of £35 with a £10 delivery charge, while orders more than £50 qualify for free delivery except on Saturdays when there is a £5 charge. Orders placed before 5pm will arrive two working days later.
 
West London-based ice-cream concept opens second site: West London-based ice-cream concept Bears Parlour has opened its second outlet – a kiosk at Brook Green. Run by Phil Harrison, former head chef at the Anglesea Arms gastro-pub, and his partner Vera Thordadottir, the Icelandic ice-cream served includes seasonal flavours such as salted pumpkin seed nougat and blueberry, lavender jam meringue swirl. All come with a choice of toppings. The Bears Parlour site in Shepherd’s Bush is offering socially distant collections and deliveries during lock-down.

 
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