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Wed 12th May 2021 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Exclusive – Wagamama tests lunch delivery-only concept: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group-owned business, has launched the test of a new lunch delivery-only concept called Box by Wagamama, Propel has learned. Emma Woods, Wagamama’s outgoing chief executive, told Propel: “Our Box innovation has emerged from Wagamama’s ongoing noodle lab programme of innovation, where we test and incubate ‘early idea’ concepts first through our innovation centre (which, during covid, has now moved from Dean Street to Old Street). Box was launched here two months ago as a new lunch delivery-only concept, aimed at our customers working at home and wanting a delicious working meal. It has since been introduced to two further test sites (our Wimbledon restaurant and Balham delivery kitchen) but is still in the very early validation stage.” Options include an aromatic chicken box, a chicken katsu box, a miso mixed veg box, and a teriyaki duck box, with prices ranging from £7.50 to £10.95. The company is also launching a new summer menu across its estate, featuring further progress on its commitment to offer 50% of plant-based options, including a vegan chilli squid. Propel revealed last month Woods is to step down as chief executive of Wagamama to pursue her non-executive career and will hand over to her internally appointed successor, Thomas Heier. The move will see Heier, Wagamama’s current chief experience officer, become its chief executive from 1 June, by which point, the brand’s 144 restaurants will be fully open in line with government guidelines.

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Gourmet Burger Kitchen launches new ordering and loyalty app: Coinciding with the further reopening of hospitality this month, Boparan Restaurant Group’s Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) brand has launched a new click and collect and order-to-table app across its 36 sites, with digital partner Pepper. Ordering functions are accompanied by a generous loyalty programme, which gives users a free burger for every five stamps they collect. A Boparan spokesman said: “We wanted to create a fully branded customer journey for GBK that rewards customers returning to dine with us. Pepper has worked closely with our team to deliver an excellent new GBK app for us and we can’t wait for our customers to use it. We don’t plan to stand still with the GBK app. This is just the start of our relationship with Pepper.” Customers who previously held an account with GBK will be able to move their accounts over to the new app straight away and start reaping the rewards of those free burgers. Pepper chief executive Charles Hall said: “We’ve loved partnering with Boparan and GBK. This app is such an exciting one for us – it truly demonstrates the flexibility with which innovative hospitality brands can create a beautiful customer experience.” To find out how a Pepper app could work for your business, click here. If you have information you would like to feature in a sponsored message, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com

Updated Propel Premium multi-site database to include a minimum of 54 new companies at end of May: The updated Propel Premium multi-site database, which has the most comprehensive multi-site operator information in the sector, will include a minimum of 54 new companies when it is released on Friday, 28 May, at midday. New additions include US bakery brand Cinnabon, which plans to establish itself in the UK through the EG Group, recently opened the first three franchised sites in the north west of England. Milan-based fast casual poké business Poké House, which acquired the six-strong London-based Ahi Poké, announced it would launch seven Poké House sites in London by summer 2021 with the first in Notting Hill in June. Flatbread specialist Manakish & Naanza, operated by Emilio Malik and Javier Troitino-Ramos, plans to open 30 sites in three years, debuting in Covent Garden’s Neal Street. Meanwhile, Toca Social is an interactive football and entertainment concept with plans to open a 30,000 square foot site at London’s The O2 in the summer. Former footballer Eddie Lewis founded the business that will fuse the worlds of football, food, drinks and live music, with chef Ross Clarke promising an Americana-inspired menu. Available only to subscribers, the exhaustive database was most recently sent at the end of April and included the details of 1,717 companies. The go-to database 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, and what each business specialises in. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. 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. Premium subscribers are also to receive access to a second exclusive monthly database, The Propel Blue Book. This Blue Book database will provide an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. It will be available to Premium subscribers on Friday, 4 June, at midday. 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; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.
 
Government ditches plans to force pubs to list calories in alcoholic drinks: The government has ditched plans to force pubs to list calories in drinks. In April, Downing Street was consulting on introducing mandatory calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks – with a view to highlighting so-called “hidden liquid calories”. However, the move, which was a bid to tackle obesity in the UK, had met with widespread opposition across the hospitality industry. According to the Evening Standard, a briefing document published to accompany the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday (11 May) said firms with more than 250 employees would be forced to list calories on food, but there was no mention of drinks. Downing Street confirmed the plans for calorie labelling would now focus on food and not on drinks, meaning pubs would not need to label the calories contained in its drinks. The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We’ve listened to the feedback from the consultation and we think this is the right approach to take forward now and that’s why we will set out more detail in a consultation response, which is coming out later.”

Bookings soar as sector prepares to welcome customers back indoors: Bookings have soared as the sector prepares to welcome customers back indoors, according to new research. The findings by TheFork, formally known as Bookatable, showed 46% more bookings have been made for the week commencing 17 May compared with the first week of outdoor reopening in April. London bookings alone are up 25%. But the inclement weather hasn’t stopped people from eating and drinking outside. The research showed bookings are up 28% nationwide in the three weeks since 12 April compared with the three weeks in July last year when hospitality emerged from the first lockdown. The Fork managing director Patrick Hooykaas said: “April might have been the coldest on record but this hasn’t dampened people’s appetite from getting out and embracing alfresco. Now, as people look ahead to indoor dining reopening on 17 May, appetite for eating out is only set to increase. No-shows remain the biggest risk for the hospitality industry and will hinder post-covid recovery. It’s vital people turn up or cancel if they’re no longer able to attend.”
 
Limitations on outdoor dining and inclement weather result in only moderate improvement in month-on-month sector spending in April, takeaways see record growth: The sector’s limitations on outdoor dining coupled with inclement weather meant there was only a moderate improvement in spending at bars, pubs and restaurants compared with March, according to research from Barclaycard. Spending in pubs was down 67.2% in April compared with 2019 levels while restaurants saw a 74.4% decline. The figures were down 94.8% and 83.1% respectively on 2019 levels in March. Takeaways and fast food continued to prove the most popular dining option, with this category seeing its highest growth on record (59.9%). However, spending in the sector is set to improve as a third (33%) of people said they are willing to spend extra money on entertainment and leisure activities such as drinks or meals out compared with before the pandemic. Resorts and accommodation continued to see improvement with the category seeing growth of 1.6% as many Brits consider taking their holidays in the UK this summer. Spending on staycations by the over-50s has grown much faster than other age groups, rising 15% compared with a 32.2% decline in spending among 16 to 24-year olds. Overall consumer spending grew 0.4% in April compared with the same period in 2019 – the first growth recorded this year, while consumer confidence in the UK economy is the highest it’s been since the onset of the pandemic, rising to 36% in April from 28% in March. Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products at Barclaycard, said: “The economy should hopefully gather momentum as we head into the summer and see the reopening of indoor hospitality venues. Yet, what is most encouraging is the easing of restrictions seems to have lifted the nation’s spirits, with many Brits relishing the simple pleasures of dining out and making social plans.”
 
UKHospitality – Queen’s Speech highlights the need for sector to be at centre of national revival: The Queen’s Speech legislative package highlights the need for hospitality to be at the centre of the national revival, UKHospitality has said. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said the emphasis on jobs, skills and training “is a very timely recognition of the importance of these issues as the sector looks to revive, rebuild and help to repay the government’s covid support”. She added the Environment Bill’s inclusion “creates vital opportunities for collaborative engagement between government and industry” to make sure initiatives such as the Deposit Return Scheme, food waste and carbon reduction “are credible and workable”. Nicholls said hospitality shares the government’s objectives in tackling obesity and urged “close and meaningful” consultation with businesses, in order to produce “proportionate, informed and well-considered legislation”. On the subject of national insurance contributions relief, Nicholls said this legislation would provide “an opportunity for debate and scrutiny to what can be a hugely useful measure for employers and employees alike”. Nicholls said recognition of the “shortcomings” of the planning framework and processes was timely, but hopes the scope of this legislation can be extended to cover businesses as well as housing to allow hospitality to be “fleet of foot” and “trigger high street recovery”. Nicholls said legislation on subsidy controls must ensure vital reliefs are not denied to hospitality. In particular, this applies to the “grossly unfair” business rates system, which “must be reviewed as a matter of urgency”. Nicholls said: “Hospitality wants to trade its way back to prosperity and, in doing so, can represent a great return on the investment that the government has made to support it.”
 
SPBA warns ongoing curfew having ‘devastating’ impact on Scottish operators as first minister confirms alcohol can be served indoors again from Monday: The ongoing curfew in Scotland is having a “devastating” impact on many operators and must be removed “as soon as possible”, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) has warned. It comes as first minister Nicola Surgeon confirmed the majority of the country would move to level two restrictions from Monday (17 May). It means pubs can sell alcohol indoors – but with a 10.30pm curfew – while cinemas, theatres, comedy clubs, amusement arcades and bingo halls can reopen. SBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “This is an expected, but very much welcomed, announced from the first minister. Since a partial reopening on 26 April, Scotland’s pubs and bars, which could utilise outdoor spaces, have given it a real go but, ultimately, the weather and the restriction to alcohol service indoors has made trading viably a real difficulty. A full start to the recovery is still some way off for our sector though, with the ongoing curfew having a devastating impact on many premises. The first minister must look at removing the curfew as soon as possible and, at the very least, in time for the country moving to level 1 in early June. With no further economic support and trading extremely difficult, we run the risk of businesses failing just before the recovery begins.”
 
Digitalisation of customer journey accelerating as sector gets set for indoor reopening: Digitalisation of the customer journey is accelerating as the sector gets set for indoor reopening, according to new research by KAM Media and Zonal. The findings showed customers now search digitally when deciding which venue to visit with most people doing a “general internet search” (38%) followed by the Google’s “near me” search tool (25%) and then using hospitality review websites/apps such as TripAdvisor (22%). Social media also plays a considerable role here too, but with huge generational swings. Generation Z and Millennials, in particular, are heavily reliant on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok for ideas and inspiration on which venues to visit. One in six customers said they are more likely to book when visiting pubs, bars and restaurants now compared with pre-pandemic times. Meanwhile, a third said difficulty making a reservation was one of the key reasons they might decide to stay at home. A total of 42% said a venue that offers mobile phone ordering and payment has become more important to them over the past 12 months (65% for Millennials). However, almost half (47%) get frustrated when they are “forced” to order via an order and pay app. Meanwhile, almost a quarter (23%) of customers prefer digital menus over any other type of menu. This rises to 36% for those dining with kids. One third of customers are more likely to leave a review if they can do it on their smartphone, when it suits them. This is as high as 44% for those in the 25 to 34-year-old age bracket. The full research report is available for free to all operators and the findings will be revealed exclusively via a Propel webinar that will be sent to all subscribers on Wednesday (12 May) at 9am. 
KAM Media and Zonal are Propel BeatTheVirus campaign members 
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a premium casual dining company that is planning its expansion and is looking for an experienced operations manager to come on board, based in the north of England. They will be managing up to five sites and will take on new properties as the brand grows. Candidates will need to demonstrate success in their previous roles and have great insight into quality dining operations. The company would like an operations manager who is engaging, encouraging and can mentor and coach their team. The position will require a keen eye for detail and a commercial awareness because the operations manager will be tasked with growing sales and revenue. The business is always looking to improve and welcomes an individual who can identify areas to develop and improve the brand. The position is paying up to £55,000, plus bonus and benefits and great progression opportunities. Anyone interested can email Kate@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 

Company News:

MeatLiquor to take on Forest Hill pub, could lead to more: Scott Collins-led concept MeatLiquor has secured its first pub, the Dartmouth Arms in London’s Forest Hill, which will open at the start of July, and the business may look to open more. Propel understands the 11-strong company has taken a new lease on the pub from Stonegate Pub Company, a deal that sees Collins return to the pub sector and the brand return to its roots. The first incarnation of MeatLiquor ran as a pop-up above a pub in New Cross in its early days in 2011. The residency was so successful it led to the opening of the first MeatLiquor restaurant on Welbeck Street in London’s West End that same year. Collins previously worked for and was shareholder in the Clive Watson-led Capital Pub Company. At Capital, his role was to source, buy, design and run pubs, including The Clarence in Balham, which won the Evening Standard Pub of the Year award in 2006. Collins said the Victorian public house, which has three bars and a 30-space car park, would be getting a “MeatLiquor makeover” and customers could expect the full MeatLiquor menu with the addition of fish and chips on Fridays and Sunday roasts. Collins told Propel: “When the opportunity came up, it seemed very serendipitous with it being ten years since the business started over a pub. Will we do more? It is definitely something we will look at, and perhaps have further conversations with Stonegate and other pub companies about. Our site in East Dulwich is around two miles away from this site, and although there is a lot of delivery competition in that area we are still doing circa £25,000 a week on average through UberEats. At Forest Hill, there will be less competition, more of a catchment area and we can take up the slack in terms of delivery from East Dulwich when needs be. There is also the possibility of having food trucks in the car park. But first and foremost this will be a pub, 75% a Victorian public house and 25% a MeatLiquor.”
 
Clive Watson – pandemic has provided the opportunity to reset the business and gear up for expansion: The pandemic has provided City Pub Group with the opportunity to reset the business and gear it up for expansion, executive chairman Clive Watson has told Propel. Speaking following City Pub Group’s full-year results, Watson said while there would be acquisition opportunities, he does not believe the market shake-up will be as severe as many expect because of government support schemes. He added while the priority was to “get some trading under our belts”, the company, which operates 45 pubs, would look to grow by targeting larger market towns – such as Guildford and St Albans – rather than bigger cities. “The business set-up was too complicated pre-covid,” said Watson. “Now we have one business and have it centralised. We have the right platform to grow and look to get to that 100-site mark. Coming out of covid, there is going to be caution but, as the fog lifts, we can start to slip through the gears. With Toby [Smith] coming on board, and he is a more experienced operator than me, we have someone who knows how to expand that side of the business. As we exit the pandemic, we will see what scars are left and have better visibility of where we are. There will a shake-out of the market but government support, which has been a life-saver to many businesses, means it won’t be of the level some people predict.” Watson said while consumer demand would “wear off a bit” over time once the furore of reopening lifts, he believes pubs would see less of an effect. He added: “With the popularity of box sets over lockdown and more on-demand services, cinemas and theatres may see an impact, but people are itching to get out again and see the pub as a safe haven. We’ve been trading pretty well since outdoor reopening started. We were making a profit when we came out of the first lockdown and I expect the business to be generating positive cash flow with indoor reopening.” However, Watson said further support would still be needed for the sector while the government would need to intervene on the rent issue. He did not rule out the company doing something around takeout and delivery, although he envisaged it being more along the click-and-collect route. “It’s something we are considering,” he said. “It’s clearly become a trend in the pandemic and we would be foolish not to think about it.”

Byron to open first new site in five years, at Wembley Designer Outlet: Better burger brand Byron is to open its first new site in five years at Wembley Designer Outlet, prior to the spring bank holiday at the end of May, Propel has learned. The Simon Wilkinson-led brand has secured the Handmade Burger Co site at the scheme. Propel understands the design of the new site will be based on the original Byron heritage/look with “a few modern innovations, focusing on draught craft beer, great burgers and great milkshakes”. It will also feature order and pay at table technology. At the same time, Propel understands sales at Byron were 80% of 2019 sales levels last week with every site open except Westfield in White City, and most have limited external spaces. The business, which currently operates 19 restaurants, reopened in Manchester on 12 April, and has also agreed a deal to reopen its site in London’s Covent Garden. The group is also understood to have three further former sites in central London under negotiation with landlords. The business opened its fifth dark kitchen site at the start of April, at the Deliveroo Editions unit in Nottingham. At the start of this month, Famously Proper, the Calveton UK-backed parent company of Byron, acquired Mother Clucker, the London-based, buttermilk-fried chicken concept. The business will retain key members of the Mother Clucker team, brand identity and will look to expand the brand nationwide.
 
28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen to open fourth site, in South Kensington: 28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen, the Richard Green and Emiliano Isufi-led concept, is to open its fourth site, in South Kensington. 28°-50° Wine Bar & Kitchen has secured 69 Draycott Avenue for its latest restaurant. The dining room on the ground floor will seat up to 60 along and also house a central dining bar. The first floor features a dining area and private room. The business operates sites in Marylebone and Covent Garden and, in February, secured the former Byron site in King’s Road, as part of plans for further expansion in the capital. In keeping with its sister locations, 28°-50° South Kensington will serve French and modern European cuisine, alongside a curated wine selection. Green said: “The mixture of international and residents fits our relaxed – but serious – take on food, wine and service. We can’t wait to open.” The name 28°-50° refers to the latitudes wine-producing grapes are grown between. David Rawlinson, of Restaurant Property, acted on the South Kensington deal.
 
Soho House to change name and offer shares to customers as part of $4bn US listing, Mexican-themed restaurant concept to open first permanent UK site: Soho House Group, the private members’ club operator, is to change its name and offer its shares to tens of thousands of customers as part of a plan to give it a flying start to life as a publicly listed company. The business is to rename its parent company Membership Collective Group (MCG) as part of an investor charm offensive to illustrate the range of services it now provides, reports Sky News. Banking sources said Soho House, which confidentially filed for a New York listing last month, was also working on a share offer enabling its 100,000 members around the world to subscribe for stock up to a specific threshold, likely to be several thousand pounds. The company is expected to trade under the ticker MCG on the New York Stock Exchange, and is targeting a valuation of as much as $4bn (£2.9bn). Reflecting its decision to change its parent company name is the fact it also operates The Ned, a members’ club near the Bank of England, and trades under the brand Scorpios, a club in Mykonos, Greece. Soho House raised another chunk of private funding last summer, but has decided the capital required for future growth is better accessed via public markets. Meanwhile, Soho House is bringing its Mexican restaurant, Maya, to London with its first permanent UK site at The Hoxton hotel in Shoreditch. Located on the rooftop of the seventh floor with a dedicated entrance off Willow Street, the 80-cover restaurant will open on Monday (17 May). After starting out in January 2019 as a pop-up at Soho House West Hollywood, where it now has a permanent site, Maya went on to hold residencies all over the world. Like the original location, the Shoreditch menu focuses on coastal Baja-Mexican food using locally sourced produce. Soho House, founded by Nick Jones, opened its first site in Greek Street in central London in 1995 and operates 27 private members’ clubs.
 
Le Bab to open late-night site in Shoreditch for third outlet: Modern kebab concept Le Bab, founded by Stephen Tozer, Manu Canales and Ed Brune, is to open a late-night kebab shop in Shoreditch for its third site. The site in Old Street, which launches on Monday (17 May), will open until 5am and is located in the former Turkish Delight kebab shop premises. The menu at the 20-cover restaurant will include the new late-night kebab special – the Pepperoni Pork Shawarma, combining its signature pork shawarma with the flavours of pepperoni pizza. There will also be a Le Bab Dirty Vegan Kebab made with Beyond Meat, house pickled cucumber, sweet chilli relish, crispy fries, vegan mayo, sumac, vegan fondue sauce and cress. Le Bab’s modern classic kebabs, cooked on a wood and charcoal-filled robata, and served with freshly made in-house flatbreads will also feature on the menu. Tozer said: “It’s going to be a special summer, with a lot of late, late nights. We’ve always wanted a night-time restaurant presence; it obviously makes sense for kebabs, but also London is a little short of small hours eating-out options. So this is genuinely a little dream come true. We can’t wait to be there for everyone feeding the post-lockdown renaissance.”
 
Gordon Ramsay confirms Street Burger to open in Kensington High Street: Chef Gordon Ramsay has confirmed he will open a further site under his fledgling Street Burger concept in Kensington High Street, London. As previously flagged by Propel, Ramsay has taken the former Byron site at 222 Kensington High Street for an opening next Monday (17 May). It will be the fourth site to open under the burger concept, following openings in St Paul’s, Charing Cross Road and Woking. It is thought the chef is also in talks to take the ex-Gourmet Burger Kitchen site in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, for another Street Burger site. Ramsay is also believed to have made the highest offer to take the former Giraffe site in The Oracle in Reading. 
 
Whitbread to open equivalent of one new hotel per a week until August: Whitbread will grow its network of Premier Inn and Hub by Premier Inn hotels by 2,142 bedrooms this summer as it aims to continue expanding its market share and capitalise on the recovery opportunity. In the four months between the beginning of May and the end of August, the business will open 17 new and extended hotels – equivalent to opening a new hotel a week – and creating an estimated 450 jobs. The openings include Premier Inn sites in central Edinburgh, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Plymouth – and a 246-bedroom hub by Premier Inn hotel in London’s Shoreditch in June. In coastal locations, the business is opening new Premier Inn hotels in Blackpool (North Pier), Bournemouth and Thurso in the Scottish Highlands as well as extending its Scarborough (South Bay) Premier Inn by 90 bedrooms. The first of two hotels acquired from Travelodge in November 2020 is also scheduled to open in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, in late May. Five of the new openings include Whitbread’s restaurant brands Bar + Block Steakhouse, Beefeater and Cookhouse & Pub. The 249-bedroom Premier Inn in Glasgow’s St Enoch Square will bring the first Bar + Block Steakhouse restaurant to Scotland when it opens in early June. Whitbread reported at its full-year results last month it is intending to open between 2,000 and 3,000 pipeline bedrooms in the UK during the 2021-22 financial year and 2,000 rooms in Germany. It also committed to the rollout of Premier Plus rooms across its existing estate and new-build hotels.
 
Team behind Notting Hill’s Globe nightclub to launch Japanese-inspired sandwich shop concept: The team behind the Globe nightclub in London’s Notting Hill is to launch a Japanese-inspired sandwich shop concept. The Secret Sandwich will open next Thursday (20 May) in Talbot Road. The sandwiches are based on the Japanese “Wanpaku sando” with varieties such as the NYC classic pastrami and the Egg Salad Sando, all tucked into Japanese Shokupan bread. The Secret Sandwich Shop will also offer a selection of Japanese snacks and drinks alongside the sandos, which will also be available for delivery.
 
Chipotle increases average wages to $15 an hour, announces six-figure general manager salaries: Chipotle has said the company would be raising its hourly wages to an average of $15 an hour by the end of June, ranging from $11 to $18 per hour for store-level employees. The company is also adding a path for its general managers to receive an average salary of $100,000 in as little as three and a half years. Marissa Andrada, chief diversity, inclusion and people officer, said: “Chipotle is committed to providing industry-leading benefits and accelerated growth opportunities, and we hope to attract even more talent by showcasing the potential income that can be achieved in a few short years.” In addition to these wage increases, Chipotle is also introducing a $200 referral bonus for store-level employees and $750 referral bonus for general managers. In April, Chipotle announced it would begin offering debt-free college degrees for US employees in related fields including agriculture, culinary, supply chain and hospitality.
 
Delivery-only business The Neighbourhood Kitchen secures new investment: The Neighbourhood Kitchen (TKN), which operates delivery-only kitchens and brands, has secured new funding from investment firm Jenson Funding Partners. Launched in 2020 by Adam Bridle and Penny Capper, TNK said it transforms defunct commercial kitchens into “highly profitable, delivery-focused restaurants giving the UK local takeaway choices that they want”. The business rents local kitchens and reconfigures them to serve neighbourhoods with up to 20 new takeaway brands – including Laguna Poké, Island Fried Chicken and The Thai Guys. Bridle, who previously worked for Itsu and Kitopi, one of the world’s biggest delivery-only kitchen operators, said: “We are obsessed with takeaways and have been since Deliveroo launched. We have worked with some of the best delivery chefs in the country to create specialist menus that are perfect for delivery, ensuring the customer gets the best possible experience at home. We want to be able to give all areas of the country the choice that you can get in London, and we can do that almost overnight, and the most important thing is our food tastes great. Jeffrey Faustin, chief investment officer at Jenson Funding Partners, said: “We are really excited to be working with Adam, Penny and the team, this is a fantastic opportunity and we look forward to helping the business grow.”
 
Artisan Food Hall venture lines up second former department store conversion: Artisan Food Hall has lined up its second former department store for conversion into a food hall, in Worcester. The company, which is led by Eann Ramsey-Smith, is set to convert the former Debenhams. It is also currently converting the former House of Fraser store in Hull, with a third project lined up in Cheshire. All the stalls and units inside the hall will be curated by restaurateur and ex-head chef at The Ivy, Des McDonald. Ramsey-Smith told Hull Live: “The high street is undergoing major changes with the covid-19 pandemic accelerating huge shifts in the way people shop. The food hall platform offers local producers the ability to plug and play, creating a diverse offer at each location, where our focus is on the local supply chain, local labour, zero waste, local partnerships and the ability to create a vibrant community in our buildings. Combining food retail, hospitality and culture, all of our food halls will be independent and completely unique – we don't have a cookie-cutter approach.”

 
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