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Mon 25th Oct 2021 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Supper closes £2.4m fundraise: London-based premium food delivery service Supper has closed a £2.4m equity and debt fundraise with private equity investment firm Growthdeck. The funding will enable Supper to build on its accelerated growth during the pandemic, having last month reported a revenue growth of 700% between February 2020 and September 2021. It has also doubled its customer base during that time. Supper founder and chief executive Peter Georgiou said: “This investment further supports Supper’s opportunity to continue to enhance and broaden its luxury lifestyle concierge service to more partners and customers and reinforce its position at the premium end of the market.” Investment in Supper via Growthdeck qualifies for tax reliefs under the Enterprise Investment Scheme, which allows private investors to make tax savings by investing in growth businesses. Shaz Hussain, investment director at Growthdeck, said: “We are hugely impressed with Supper’s growth and are excited to join it on the next stage of its expansion. We’re also thrilled to back a player in the home delivery market that employs its riders directly and pays them properly. The market has responded well to this offering, and this funding round will help it continue on its current trajectory.” Earlier this month Supper, which was founded in 2015, announced plans to expand overseas, as well as making a trio of key new appointments. Former Coya UK and Europe head of marketing Arabella Wentworth Waites was brought in to fill the same role with Supper, while Christian Black, who previously held responsibility for strategic partnerships at Harrods restaurants, was made corporate sales director. Georgia Lee also joined as partnerships director following a career in the music industry. This followed the opening of a new logistics and training centre in Battersea, housing Supper’s operational functions as well as being a social space for its drivers, following a 400% increase in staffing levels since February 2020. 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Fentimans new ‘Crafted for Mixing’ campaign with world-renowned bartender Joe Schofield: Fentimans has unveiled the first edition of a new multi-part mixer campaign “Crafted for Mixing”, telling the stories, inspiration and journeys behind the craft of the world’s best chefs and bartenders. In part one, Fentimans speaks to world renowned and award-winning bartender Joe Schofield, who tells us about the inspiration behind opening Schofield’s Bar and the importance to him of family, heritage and attention to detail. He also explains what he thinks is most important when creating a mixed drink and why he chooses Fentimans as his mixer of choice. To see the campaign in full, click here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com

Broad variety of multi-site concepts set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A broad variety of multi-site concepts are among the 67 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released on Friday (29 October), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Extrawurst, one of the leading German bratwurst fast-food to go brands, which has a global audience with sites in Asia, South America and Europe. The business is now branching into the UK with three sites set to open this year. Also among the new additions is Aberdeen-based Big Manny’s Pizza, which is set to expand following a recent six-figure investment with a new site near Pittodrie Stadium; and Oseyo, the Korean food and culture hub concept, which has secured its seventh site – and sixth in London – in Hammersmith. Also added this month is 83-strong adventure course operator Go Ape, which opened a new site at Dalkeith Country Park, Edinburgh, this year and has also added a new dual Zip Experience activity at its site in Aberfoyle, Scotland. Premium subscribers will also receive a 5,200-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. The database features more than 2,000 companies. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the fourth edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Wednesday, 3 November, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The fourth edition will now include a 12,500-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to another database – the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated monthly, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and 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 also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out plus regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. 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 regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.

Fresh calls for vaccine passports to be scrapped in Scotland following “chaotic” first weekend of legal enforcement: Trade body the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) has called the first weekend of legally enforced vaccine passports in Scotland an “unmitigated disaster” for the sector. It blasted the government for failing to give enough support and has made fresh calls for the scheme to be scrapped following concerning levels of rejections, abuse, staff walkouts and app glitches. Although the passes were introduced in Scotland earlier this month, venues were given a three-week respite before they were made legally enforceable. Following the first weekend of enforcement, SHG research showed more than 550 incidents where venue staff had to reject entry due to the customer having no vaccine passport, or an ineligible or potentially fraudulent one. It went on to reveal that staff had been abused over rejections and queues at venues, that there were continuing problems with the app and a drop in footfall by up to 40%. SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery said: “The first weekend of the vaccine passports scheme has been one of unmitigated disaster – and that responsibility lies entirely at the door of the Scottish government. The SHG has been warning for weeks that their scheme is not ready – but its attitude has been to tell us to ‘get on with it’ while offering no safety net of support. The experience of this weekend shows that the result has been intolerable levels of abuse of our staff and the creation of an atmosphere that will totally undermine anyone’s enjoyment of our night-time venues. We are seeing venues being forced to close at midnight to take themselves out of scope of the regulation for reasons around recruitment and staff welfare. The Scottish hospitality industry has paid enough for government failures in this pandemic, and it's time the government scrapped this scheme altogether.”

Niccol – recent openings in the UK have exceeded expectations: Brian Niccol, chairman and chief executive of Chipotle, has said the brand’s recent openings in the UK have “exceeded expectations”. Last month, Chipotle opened its third bricks-and-mortar site in the UK this year, after launching in Canary Wharf. Earlier this summer, Chipotle, which now operates 12 sites in the UK, opened sites in Chiswick and Clapham as it looked to expand into “London villages”. The Clapham location is the smallest free-standing Chipotle restaurant in the world at 712 square feet. Talking on a recent investor call, Niccol said that with restrictions easing, the business was making “nice progress” and implementing some of its digital assets, as well as beginning to “test alternative formats and explore new trade areas”. He said: “The recent openings have exceeded expectations. I would say the biggest difference is the first time we opened our restaurants with our digital mainlines as part of the opening, and also having the access point of delivery. Hopefully, we can continue to get earnings in an environment over in the UK and then, ultimately, France, where covid is not putting restrictions on the business. So, we’re really excited about the results we’ve seen, but it’s early days and we want to make sure the performance is ongoing, not just at the opening.”

Hospitality leaders call for lower rate of VAT for industry ahead of Budget: More than 200 chief executives of UK pubs, bars, restaurants, cafés, hotels, leisure parks, nightclubs and tourist attractions have signed a letter to the Chancellor ahead of his Budget on Wednesday, demanding a permanent reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism. The letter highlights the benefits of a permanent rate of 12.5%, including halting price rises for hard-working families, enabling the industry to generate new jobs, supporting higher wages and better training, unlocking capital to deliver a greener future and allowing businesses to remain globally competitive. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Hospitality is a critical component of the UK economy, with the potential to be at the heart of the government’s plans to build back better. We can support job creation, levelling up and the road to net zero, but we need the government to come with us on our recovery journey. Under current plans, VAT returns to its pre-pandemic level of 20% next April, meaning higher prices for consumers just at the time when they can least afford it. For businesses, it will undoubtedly set off an inflationary spiral which will undermine wage growth, hit demand and ultimately threaten jobs.” Nicholls added: “It will come at the exact same time as we hit a a cliff-edge of the end of business rates reliefs on outdated valuations – currently hospitality pays 10% of the rates bill for an industry that generates around 3% of GDP. On top of this, we’re facing a chronic labour shortage, supply chain issues, cost inflation across the board, and rises in the National Living Wage and National Insurance contributions. Fundamental reforms are therefore crucial to the industry’s survival, a key part of which will be keeping VAT at 12.5% permanently. This will allow us to circumnavigate the monumental challenges we face and enable operators and their teams to concentrate time and resources on what they do best – driving economic growth and serving their communities.”

Hospitality charity aiming to raise £26,500 to extend its life skills programme: Only A Pavement Away, the hospitality charity, has launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise £26,500 for an extension of its Life Skills Hub programme. The charity is looking to spread the scheme, which had a successful London launch over the summer, to five other major UK cities. The London programme saw 16 graduates start work in hospitality, and Only A Pavement Away now wants to help an additional 250 homeless people, prison leavers and veterans find jobs in the sector over the next year. Greg Mangham, founder and chief executive of Only A Pavement Away, said: “We’re urging the industry to get behind our appeal. Right now, there are many thousands of people in our country experiencing homelessness, and it is estimated that by 2026 there will be another 1.3m vacancies in the hospitality sector. By supporting Only A Pavement Away, you can help get someone’s life back on track while filling the industry with hard-working, committed employees.” The crowdfunding appeal offers rewards in return for a donation.

Job of the Day: COREcruitment is currently looking for a very experienced non-executive director. This technology-focused client is at a very interesting stage in its journey and is now looking at international expansion, specifically in the North American market. CORE is looking for someone who has grown and scaled a business and is happy to talk to individuals who have sold smaller businesses or from larger businesses where they still operate at C-level. The client is flexible on package for the right person – there will be a monthly fee with the option for involvement in equity participation. Circa two days commitment a month is required. Please contact Hollie@corecruitment.com 

Company News:

The Big Table Group appoints Andrew Carlill as chief marketing officer: The Big Table Group, the Epiris-backed operator of the Bella Italia, Cafe Rouge and Las Iguanas brands, has appointed Andrew Carlill, formerly of Marston’s, as its new chief marketing officer, Propel has learned. Earlier this year, Carlill, stepped down as group marketing and commercial director of Marston’s. Carlill, who had been with the business for more than 15 years, was previously managing director of pubs and bars at Marston’s. Earlier this summer, Propel revealed that Steve Worrall, formerly managing director of pubs, inns and hotels at Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery, had joined the Alan Morgan-led Big Table Group as brand director for Cafe Rouge. At the same time, the company appointed Greg Gibbons to operations support director.

Islington Green pub let to Stonegate sold for £4m: The freehold investment in property housing the Fox on the Green in London’s Islington Green has been sold for £4m. The pub will be let to Stonegate Pub Company, the UK’s largest pub company, for a further 18 years. The price of £4m reflected a net initial yield of 3.5%. Jack Silvani, director at Coffer Corporate Leisure which acted on behalf of the vendor, a private client, said: “In the past month we have been involved in a succession of investment transactions in the leisure sector where pricing has recovered to pre-covid levels. The transactions have spanned most leisure subsectors including pubs, restaurants and health and fitness. While this demonstrates the swift return of investor confidence to the leisure sector, underlying property fundamentals such as location, alternative occupier demand and use value remain key. Sharp yields are being achieved for assets proven to provide defensive income in spite of the challenges faced over the past 18 months. We expect continued activity in the sector as frustrated capital which has built up over the covid period continues to be deployed.”

Greene King introduces ‘reverse mentoring’ diversity programme for its directors: Bosses at brewer and retailer Greene King are set to be mentored by ethnic minority employees in a new scheme to promote diversity and inclusion. The “reverse mentoring” programme will see each executive board member assigned a team member from a black, Asian or other minority background as a mentor. The idea is for them to gain a new perspective on the business and a wider understanding of inclusion and diversity across it. Garry Clarke-Strange, head of inclusion and diversity at Greene King, said: “This programme is part of our overall inclusion and diversity strategy and is a significant and exciting step on our journey to everyday inclusion at Greene King.” A total of 11 executive board members will be “reverse mentored” over the next six months by five female and six male mentors, with a mix of ages and experience. Clarke-Strange added: “They will share experiences, which will help our executive board members have a greater understanding and awareness of different profiles and backgrounds. It’s about changing, education, creating more opportunities and everyday inclusion for everyone at Greene King.”
Greene King features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers. Greene King turned over £562.1m in its most recent financial year, making it the 11th highest of the 427 companies featured. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks the companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors. 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 regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.

Shoryu Ramen eyes national franchise expansion: Shoryu Ramen Restaurant Group, which specialises in kyushu cuisine from the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, has unveiled plans for a series of franchises openings across the UK. The group currently operates nine restaurants in London and one each in Oxford and Manchester, as well as three further delivery-only sites in the capital. Having now partnered with Ford Consultancy Group, which provides specialist services to the hospitality sector, it is ready to expand across London and further afield. Shoryu Ramen originally sought to launch a franchising programme in 2019, but it was halted as the pandemic forced the group to focus on its own restaurants, delivery kitchens and online DIY ramen kits. Shoryu Ramen founder Tak Tokumine said: “We have worked hard to establish Hakata Tonkotsu ramen in the UK since 2012. Now, together with Ford Consultancy, we are ready to bring Shoryu Ramen to a wider audience, working together with dedicated franchisees. I look forward to seeing new customers enjoy my hometown ramen across Britain and beyond in the future.” Ford Consultancy Group director Dominic Ford added: “We believe our deep-rooted understanding of successful restaurant operation, coupled with a vast international network of outstanding hospitality operators, will help realise the ambitious development plans for Shoryu Ramen. As the industry emerges from a very tough period, there is a real appetite to take proven brands and concepts out of the capital and into regional towns and cities, where demand for great food and dining experiences continues to grow.”

Knoops opens sixth site, reveals further expansion plans: Hot chocolate shop Knoops has opened its sixth site, in Richmond’s George Street, and has set its sights on growing its portfolio further. The brand launched in 2013 in Rye, East Sussex, before expanding into London with sites in Kensington, Chelsea and Clapham Junction. It then returned to the south coast for its latest opening before Richmond, in Brighton, earlier this year. The expansion has been enabled by the brand’s online success during the pandemic, in which it was able to grow sales through a takeaway offering and e-commerce platform. Opening new sites is central to the brand’s growth plans, and each one offers up to 20 choices of hot chocolate as well as milkshakes, iced chocolate, tea and coffee. Knoops chief executive Tori Nunn said: “Strong trading throughout covid has enabled Knoops to push forward with its growth plans. Our latest store opening in Richmond is part of our strategy to make our in-person Knoopology experience accessible to as many consumers as possible, as the business seeks to revolutionise chocolate drinking in the UK.”

Koko owners plan spring 2022 reopening following £70m revamp: Independent Camden music venue Koko is set to reopen next spring following a £70m redevelopment. The iconic north London venue, previously known as Camden Palace and Camden Hippodrome, has been closed since March 2019 and suffered a further setback in January when 60 firefighters were needed to tackle a blaze that engulfed a third of the roof. The multimillion-pound revamp of the grade II-listed theatre includes a four-storey upwards extension, taking it to 50,000 square feet, as well as a late-night pizzeria and tap bar, a roof terrace and cocktail bar. It has also expanded into two adjacent buildings, a former piano factory and the old Hope and Anchor pub. A new performance area known as the Fly Tower will also be unveiled, having been discovered during the building work and restored to enable fans to watch the stage from an elevated gallery. “It’s been a challenging two years since the fire and then rolling straight into the pandemic,” chief executive Olly Bengough, who bought the venue and rebranded it as Koko back in 2004, told the Evening Standard. “So, to be on the last stretch and looking forward to launching next spring is obviously a great moment for my team and everyone at Koko.”

Paskin siblings to open The Barbary’s ‘little sister’ venue this week: Brother and sister duo Layo and Zoe Paskin will open their new venue The Barbary Next Door in London on Saturday (30 October). The neighbourhood restaurant and wine bar, which features Moorish-Spanish and African cooking on its menu, will sit adjacent to The Barbary in the heart of Covent Garden. As previously reported, the current occupier of the site, the Paskin-owned English coffee house Jacob The Angel, will be moving to a new location not yet announced. The Barbary Next Door was initially the Paskins’ neighbourhood delivery service during lockdown and is now being brought to life as a restaurant and wine bar in Neal’s Yard. Zoe Paskin said: “We created The Barbary in two ways, the communal cooking around a fire and a space envisioned on the romance of every back street we have ever wandered down from Seville to Rome, Marrakesh to Marseille. A hidden courtyard and then a discovered bar or restaurant. The Barbary Next Door is all that and the joy of us further exploring the heritage of the regions.” The Paskins opened The Barbary in 2016, their second restaurant following The Palomar in Soho, while Jacob the Angel followed a year later.

November opening for new bar and restaurant at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel: Booking Office 1869, the new bar and restaurant at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, will open its doors for the first time on 16 November. Based in the original 19th century St Pancras ticket hall, the venue replaces the previous Booking Office bar and restaurant. It will have 120 covers and feature a 22-metre-long bar. This will be followed soon after by the opening of the Roof Garden, which will offer a snack-style menu and alfresco dining. The menus will be overseen by Allegra’s Patrick Powell, previously of Chiltern Firehouse and Wild Honey, who has curated an all-day style à la carte menu of classic dishes finished with a modern twist. Bar manager Jack Porter, formerly of The Mezzanine at The Stratford and Library Bar at The Ned, will oversee the drinks offering. Developer and hotelier Harry Handelsman, who was behind the restoration of the grade I-listed St Pancras Chambers into the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, said: “I am proud of what I accomplished with the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, and following the consequent regeneration of King’s Cross, I felt now was the time for a new destination bar and restaurant in the city. In the creation of Booking Office 1869, I firmly believe we have realised that ambition.”

Boxer brothers extend their London portfolio with Shaftesbury Avenue dive bar: The Boxer brothers, Jackson and Frank, have opened Below Stone Nest, a new dive bar in Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho. The venue sits in the bar space underneath the Stone Nest arts institution at number 136, which was once home to the Limelight Club. It is a fourth London site for the brothers, who also run Brunswick House in Vauxhall, Orasay in Kensington and Frank’s Café in Peckham. Jackson originally opened Brunswick House (2011) and Orasay (2019) with former business partner Andrew Clarke, along with St Leonards in Shoreditch (2018). But the pair parted ways in 2019, leaving Clarke to operate St Leonards while severing his ties with Brunswick House and Orasay. “The opportunity to create a beautiful old fashioned dive bar in an extraordinary historic space in the heart of the west end is thrilling,” Frank told Hot Dinners. “My greatest ambition would be to establish some of the sense of joyous optimism and creative anarchy which typified the early days of Frank’s Cafe, by keeping the prices low, the offering simple and unimpeachable, and the space welcoming to everyone.”

Go Ape owners to sell majority shareholding to its employees: Go Ape’s founders are selling 90% of the outdoor adventure company to an employee ownership trust. The trust will hold the shares on behalf of more than 1,000 employees of the Bury St Edmunds-based company. Husband and wife team Richard and Rebecca Mayhew set up Go Ape 19 years ago, and after setting up its first venue in Thetford, it now boasts 35 sites across the UK and 16 in the US. It welcomes more than a million customers a year to take part in activities such as zip wiring and tree climbing. “We knew deep down we would never be comfortable selling the business to investors,” Mrs Mayhew, told The Times. “A buyer would rip it up, they don’t care about the whole,” Mr Mayhew added. As well as the Mayhews, two other shareholders are also selling their shares – Mr Mayhews’s brother Jermoe Mayhew and former Go Ape managing director William Galbraith. Although there are only 1,100 employee ownership trust and staff-owned companies in the UK, the first three months of 2021 saw a record quarter for business transitions to employee ownership trusts. One reason cited is companies focusing on individuals and communities as well as profits during the pandemic, but they also enjoy a series of tax incentives.

Haidilao opens first UK site outside London: Haidilao, China’s largest hot pot restaurant chain, has opened a new site at Birmingham’s Bullring & Grand Central – its first UK venue outside the capital. The new 8,073 square-foot restaurant caters to 259 covers, with customers choosing their own ingredients to cook in a central hot pot fitted into their table. A Haidilao spokesperson said: “Birmingham’s diverse demographic made it an ideal location. Bullring & Grand Central has an exciting line-up of cuisines from around the world and we are happy to be in such brilliant company.” Earlier this year the chain also secured a site in Manchester’s Corn Exchange scheme, which is due to open later this year. Founded in 1994 in China’s Sichuan province, Haidilao has more than 750 restaurants worldwide including two further UK sites in London.

Escape room concept makes its north west debut: Competitive leisure concept Escape Live has made its regional debut with an opening at Liverpool One. The 8,800 square-foot site will feature six themed escape rooms, each with a 60-minute immersive experience, as well as a private room for up to 40 and a rooftop bar. It follows the recent openings of fellow experiential concepts Junkyard Golf, Roxy Ball Room and On the Green at Liverpool One. Two independent F&B offerings – Irish athleisure specialist Gym + Coffee and Liverpool’s Bean Coffee – also recently opened at the venue. Jas Sodhi, managing director at Escape Live, said: “Escape Live’s opening in Liverpool marks an exciting new chapter for us. Liverpool One has continued to deliver strong growth due to its commitment to evolving the offer to add new things for visitors to experience and enjoy.” Metis acted for Liverpool One in the deal, while Kelion Sworn represented Escape Live.

Marugame Udon opens second UK site at The O2: International udon noodles and tempura restaurant brand Marugame Udon, which launched in the UK earlier this summer, has opened its second UK site at The O2. The 4,500 square-foot site contains 150 covers across two floors and features an open kitchen. This follows a record-setting August for Icon Outlet, The O2’s F&B and retail hub, which saw a 24% growth in sales, 11% rise in average transaction value and 10% rise in footfall. Marugame Udon chief executive Keith Bird said: “There is no doubt that this location will be a popular, well-rounded and cultural hub for our brand. Icon Outlet has been performing brilliantly since reopening, and the ambiance that The O2 delivers matches our concept and vision well. It is a great opportunity for Marugame Udon to be an accessible option to consumers, not just in London, but outside of the capital too.” Earlier this month, Propel revealed that Marugame Udon had also secured the former Frankie & Benny’s site in Argyll Street, near Oxford Circus. CWM acted for Icon Outlet.

Atul Kochhar opens Wembley Park restaurant: Double Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar has opened his new Wembley Park restaurant. Masalchi, an Indian word meaning “the spice master” or “spice blender”, is located in Wembley Park Boulevard, between Wembley Stadium and The SSE Arena. With capacity for 120 guests, Masalchi offers a pan-Indian menu of dishes based on the street food of India's back-street provincial markets. Kochhar said: “The energy and vibrancy of Wembley Park makes it one of the most exciting places in London right now. Opening Masalchi in this sporting, entertainment, shopping and dining destination makes a lot of sense and will be a thrilling next chapter for my hospitality group.” The launch came a week after the long-awaited opening of Kochhar’s Mathura restaurant in Westminster, which was originally due to open in 2019 but delayed due to building issues and then the pandemic. He is now preparing to open other new sites at Heathrow airport, Beaconsfield and Tunbridge Wells over the coming months.

MasterChef winner’s Hove restaurant reopens with bigger capacity following refurbishment: etch. by Steven Edwards, the debut restaurant from the 2013 MasterChef: The Professionals winner, has reopened following a revamp with 13 extra covers. Edwards opened the Hove restaurant in 2017 but closed it in July after buying up the building next door. An extensive refurbishment, including extending into the neighbouring property, has seen the former 32-cover restaurant transformed into a two-storey venue with capacity for 45 covers and a subterranean cocktail bar. The reopening was originally planned for September but delayed by a month or so due to the ongoing fuel and labour shortages among other issues. Edwards said: “Having lost almost a whole year of operation in 2020, we wouldn’t have chosen this year to close for a refurbishment, but I’m so excited about the potential this new space gives us.  It’s been a stressful few months, but the design and build teams pulled out all the stops to have the building ready for guests ahead of the busy festive season.” Head chef George Boarer has also relaunched an offering which will focus on sustainability, with changing menus every week to avoid overusing ingredients and make use of local produce at its peak. Edwards last year doubled his portfolio by taking over the Bingham Riverhouse in Richmond.

Former MasterChef champion continues Scottish expansion with doughnut shop opening: Jamie Scott, the 2014 MasterChef winner, has added to his Scottish portfolio with a new doughnut shop, Wrecking Ball Doughnuts, in Dundee. It is based in Exchange Street, next door to the Daily Grind Coffee Co branch Scott runs with business partner Colin Petrie. The duo already run another Daily Grind site in Arbroath and the Dundee-based mobile Smoking Barrel street-food trailer together. On top of that, Scott is chef-patron of The Newport Restaurant, based just over the River Tay from Dundee, and two branches of The Newport Bakery, one of which opened in June this year. Petrie said: “We just happened to get an offer to take on the building, and it seemed like a great size and ideal location to do something like this. There are always huge factors to consider in opening a new business at any time, let alone with everything going on right now. But we felt it was the right fit, and something hopefully a little different alongside all the exciting projects and developments happening in the city.” Of the wider business, Petrie added: “Each Newport Bakery has a Daily Grind inside serving coffee and drinks, and each Daily Grind cafe has a Newport Bakery counter with a selection of its pastries, cakes and baked goods, so the brands and businesses align and work within each other.”

Chef opens Jamaican restaurant in North Wales, aiming to franchise across the country: A chef who started a Jamaican takeaway service during lockdown has opened a restaurant in Holywell, near Flint, and has set her sights on opening a franchise of them across Wales. Charlotte Stanley, who was head chef the 1891 Restaurant in Rhyl at the start of the pandemic, decided to take the plunge after being inundated with orders for her takeaway and delivery service, which she ran from her home in Ffynnongroyw. Her “Up A Yard” Jamaican restaurant has opened at the Holywell Art and Craft Mill, taking over the site of a former cafe. “It was always my dream to open my own restaurant by 25, and now it is happening,” Stanley told North Wales Live. “I have always loved cooking Jamaican cuisine, it is in my family. I saw no one else was doing this in north Wales, I thought that maybe it would not work here, but the takeaway took off straight away and I was doing 20 orders a night right from the start. It has been four months of hard work and I’ve spent a lot of money, but I’m now ready to open. I would love a franchise of restaurants around Wales, I think there is a gap in the market for proper authentic Jamaican food.”

 
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