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Shaftesbury reports hospitality and leisure tenants seeing average monthly sales 6% ahead of pre-covid levels

Brian Bickell, chief executive of ShaftesburyWest End landlord Shaftesbury has reported a strong recovery in footfall and spending with occupier demand returning to pre-pandemic levels. The company said its hospitality and leisure tenants were reporting average monthly sales were now 6% ahead of pre-pandemic levels. A total of 59 new hospitality and retail lettings were made during the year to 30 September 2022.
 
Of its hospitality and leisure portfolio, Shaftesbury stated: “With the post-pandemic return in footfall and spending, the promising recovery in the leasing market previously reported has continued through 2022, despite growing headwinds including inflation, staffing challenges and increasing finance costs. Our hospitality and leisure operators are reporting trade, on average, 6% ahead of 2019 levels and, anecdotally, businesses are reporting positive levels of advance bookings for the forthcoming Christmas period.
 
Demand is typically from experienced domestic independent concepts, although interest from international operators has increased over recent months. Demand for smaller, partially or fully-fitted sites, which remain in short supply, remains strong and presents an opportunity to re-let space quickly should such space become available. Occupiers are attracted by the opportunities for outside seating and the vibrancy of our seven-day-a-week locations.
 
Lettings and renewals with a rental value of £5.4m were completed in the year, with rents achieved 9.4% ahead of September 2021 estimated rental value. Rent reviews totalled £5.7m, 20.2% above previous rents. We are achieving lettings on conventional lease terms.”
 
Chief executive Brian Bickell (pictured) said: “The year has seen a rapid rebound in the West End economy as covid-related disruption receded and patterns of everyday activity returned to pre-pandemic normality. The sustained recovery in footfall and trading since the early months of 2022 has been matched by the strength of occupier demand in our carefully curated and popular locations.
 
Although London and the West End cannot be immune from the unprecedented range of challenges which are now dominating the national outlook, their long-term prospects remain bright, thanks to their enduring appeal to global, domestic and local visitors, businesses and investors, their dynamic economies and ability to attract talent and creativity from across the world. These features are mirrored in the locations in which we invest and, together with our proven, innovative management strategy and our experienced and enthusiastic team, reinforce our confidence in the long-term potential of our exceptional portfolio.”
 
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Fight ClubRed Engine, the team behind Flight Club and Electric Shuffle, has forecast its revenue will more than double to £50m-plus in 2022. It comes following the publication of Red Engine’s results for the year ending 26 December 2021, which saw turnover grow from £9,407,113 in 2020 to £24,639,200.

This was also up on the last full year before the pandemic, £22,389,659 in 2019. Pre-tax losses rose slightly from £4,163,055 in 2020 to £4,216,445. The growth in revenue was partly down to several new openings – including Flight Clubs in Leeds and Bristol and Electric Shuffles in London Bridge and Dallas – taking its global estate to 14, including franchise partner sites in the US and Australia.

“All the venues are crazy busy at the moment and bookings are doing extremely well,” chief executive Steve Moore told Propel. “We couldn’t even get a booking for any of our own London venues for after our board meeting! If you look back at what happened last year, all the obstacles and losing trade in December, it’s been remarkable, so overall we’re very happy. We opened new venues in 2021, so overall revenues were up, and the venues that existed pre-pandemic are up year-on-year too. The new venues have come out flying in 2022 and we’re still investing too – that’s the big thing – both in our current estate and the new ones.”

Moore also said Red Engine will make its planned Scottish debut next year into a double opening, adding an Edinburgh site to the Glasgow one it secured last year. Propel revealed in September 2021 that Red Engine had secured a site at 280 George Street in Glasgow for its Flight Club concept. It has now also secured 300-306 St James Crescent in the St James district of Edinburgh, also for Flight Club, with hopes for opening both venues by next summer. “2023 is looking good,” Moore added.

“We’ll move to Scotland, our fifth country, and we’re going to double play up there, with Glasgow and Edinburgh. We’re hoping for June, July or August openings. We’ve also got a few more in the US, plus Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. Hopefully we’ll have another Electric Shuffle location to announce next year as well – we’re looking at Birmingham and Manchester, so probably one of those.”

The company received £1,806,072 in government grants in 2021, compared with £3,508,349 in 2020. In May 2022, the group refinanced its bank debt, taking out a new £35m loan with Santander, HSBC and Barclays and retaining the £5m through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with Santander.

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Cooks CoffeeCooks Coffee Company, the international coffee focused cafe chain, has reported sales at its Esquires brand in the UK were up 35% in the first six months of its financial year compared with pre-covid levels while Triple Two sales were up 60% on the previous year. The business plans to add nine stores in the UK under the two brands in the second half of its financial year. Of Esquires, the company stated: “UK store numbers were 50 at the end of September 2022, up from 47 as at 31 March 2022. Sales from the Esquires outlets for the six months were up 35% on the pre-covid period from April to September 2019 and up 20% on the same period in FY22. Record sales per store per day have been recorded in September and again, post period end, in October.” Of Triple Two, it said: “Triple Two joined the group on 19 June 2020. At the end of September 2022 there were 20 stores operating. The brand expects to have more than 25 stores open by the end of March 2023. Comparative sales with 2019 are not available, however sales for the six-month period to September 2022 were 60% ahead of the FY22 first six months. Triple Two achieved record sales per store per day in August and this was exceeded in October.” The business said its pipeline of store openings was “robust and underpinned by strong consumer demand”. Earlier this month, the company floated in London but secured only a third of the funding it hoped for. It raised about £500,000 through a rights issue and private placement alongside the listing. The company originally planned to raise about £1.5m. It comes as the New Zealand-based business reported revenue from operational trading increased by 37% to $1.93m for the six months ending 30 September 2022 compared with $1.41m the previous year. Overall revenue declined to $3.1m (first-half FY22 $3.66m) as a result of the timing of recognising capital revenues on store openings. The company said this revenue is expected to be recognised in the second half of the financial year as planned new stores open up. Profit from continuing operations increased by 14% to $146,000 (first half of FY22 $128,000). The company said full year revenue and profit was on track to meet expectations. The company stated: “The directors believe the prospects for the business in the balance of the financial year and beyond are strong. The company is committed to building the business based on ethical principles and community values. Store sales trends have been very positive in recent times, with the company benefiting from the ‘working from home’ trend, which we are confident will remain in one form or another and there is a solid pipeline of new stores. With both the Esquires and Triple Two brands achieving record daily sales per store in October 2022, following strong performances in the first six months, the directors are confident the business models are well suited to the current consumer market and these results are being achieved despite the concerns being expressed regarding the general economic outlook. The Cooks Coffee model is based on a franchised network and is very scalable in a capital light manner. With the focus on core markets, we believe that we have critical mass with an ability to grow. We are continuing to seek to raise further capital in order to accelerate our growth and we believe that we can achieve growing profitability in a sustainable manner.” Executive chairman Keith Jackson said: “The period was one of significant development for the group as we continued to build a group of ethical coffee chains with community spirit. Our Esquires and Triple Two brands continue to perform well, and I am delighted with our consistent outperformance of the market, thanks to the efforts of our staff, franchisees and their teams. Overall store numbers at the end of September 2022 were 111, a net gain of four stores during the six-month period, with the number of stores in the UK and Ireland growing to 85 and the total of 26 stores in the franchised regions outside of the UK and Ireland remaining unchanged. The company added seven outlets and closed three to the franchised network in the UK and Ireland during the period, under both the Esquires and Triple Two brands. The number of stores is expected to grow in the second half of the year, with nine store openings planned in the UK and two in Ireland which we anticipate will take the store numbers to 96 in the UK and Ireland by the end of March 2023.”

CreamsDessert parlour operator Creams is looking to move outside the M25 and expand in the north, and is also exploring kiosk and grab-and-go concepts. The company, which has more than 100 UK restaurants, has been working on overseas expansion in 2022 as it targets 500 stores worldwide over the next five years, but has big plans back home too. “We’re 80% within the M25 with outliers elsewhere in the country, so when we move north its virgin territory for us,” property and franchise development director Julian Reilly told this month’s Propel Multi-Club Conference. “Creams is less well known in the northern part of the country – Heavenly Desserts and Kaspas are half the size we are but have a better geographical spread. We need to keep expanding to keep the moniker of biggest and the best. The founder is Asian, so we originally sat on Asian high streets in London, and that’s how we continued to expand, but it’s not where we see the business going. The markets and locations we go to will change as we expand more. We’ll struggle a bit in seaside towns where there’s really strong local competitors selling gelato for 20 years, so we’re looking at different locations and styles of restaurants. Our older restaurants were huge, some of them about 4,000 square feet, and we don’t need that much space, so we’re looking to go smaller, to 1,500 square feet, and then into kiosks, grab-and-go concepts and other opportunities.” Reilly said Creams is a predominantly franchise business, with about 10% company stores, and will stay that way going forwards. “What we have started to do is look at putting leases within Creams’ property company, which will give us more of a negotiating stance for some of our weaker franchisees,” said Reilly. “We can negotiate a better term and then sub-let it straight to them, so we’re looking at innovative ways around that which will give us more flexibility with landlords.” Creams currently has its own gelato factory and in the process of signing for a factory that will produce its own waffle mix and cookie dough. It has also changed the equipment supplier across its estate, which has knocked £25,000 off the fit-out costs of each unit. “The key for us at the moment is reassuring franchisees in terms of the way the government is acting,” Reilly added. “If the utility crisis gets solved, or even some more certainty around it, they will certainly put their foot back on the pedal. At the moment there’s a little bit of hesitancy from them, so next year’s numbers will depend on that to some extent.”

Jay Coldren, Time Out Group Global food hall brand Time Out Market has appointed Jay Coldren (pictured) as co-chief executive (development). In this role, Coldren will be leading the continued global expansion of Time Out Market with responsibility for new locations, initial curation and site development. Time Out Market’s growing portfolio includes seven open locations with a further six signed with expected openings between 2023 and 2025. In addition, there are several locations in advanced negotiations. Having joined Time Out Market in September 2021 as chief operating officer of the Americas, Coldren has overseen the five market locations in the US and Canada. In his new role, he will be working alongside Time Out Market co-chief executive (operations), Sandy Hayek, who since earlier this year has held responsibility for the day-to-day management across the seven existing markets. Like Hayek, Coldren will report to Time Out Group chief executive Chris Ohlund. In line with the company’s succession plan, Coldren is taking over from Didier Souillat, who has decided to leave the business after more than six years. Coldren brings a strong background in development and expansion in the hospitality sector with more than 30 years of experience across restaurants, boutique hotels and gourmet retail. Ohlund said: “We are delighted to promote Jay into this role as we continue our global expansion with several new sites in the pipeline and ongoing interest from leading landlords and real estate developers who want to open a Time Out Market with us. The board, the whole team and I would like to thank Didier Souillat for his significant contribution to Time Out Market during his six-plus years with us. He was a driving force behind the expansion of our markets globally and instrumental in developing a strong pipeline of new sites.”

LEON Drive ThruEG Group, the owner of Leon, has reported gross profit in its foodservice operations increased 21.3% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2022, to $207m. The company said the performance of its businesses in the US and Australia offset weaker trading here, but that its UK position was strengthened by the continued roll out of Asda On the Move sites across its forecourts, taking their number to 65. A further 14 foodservice outlets opening during the quarter, taking the total to 1,895. For the year to date, foodservice gross profit is up 32% to $586m. Group Ebitda in the quarter was up 9.8% to $470m, driven by growth in the US, Australia and continental Europe, including the acquisition from OMV of 285 forecourts in southern Germany. Group Ebitda in the year to date rose by 5.5% to $1,123m. Total revenue was up 28.3% to $8,882m, and has increased 29% to $25,005m in the year to date. The group also promoted Imraan Patel to chief strategy and business officer in October, having previously been group general counsel and company secretary. Zuber Issa, co-founder and co-chief executive of EG Group, said: “We are pleased with the third-quarter performance, which again proves the resilience of the group against the prevalent global uncertainty. During this period, the benefit of our geographic diversification was demonstrated as the performance of the US and Australian businesses offset the weaker UK trading, with significant cost headwinds in energy, labour and logistics costs that also impacted our other markets. Despite these macro-economic challenges, we continued to deliver against our strategic objectives by our ongoing investment in non-fuel retail, strengthening our convenience store proposition with the ongoing rollout of Asda ‘On the Move’ across our UK forecourt network. We are already seeing the benefits of combining EV charging infrastructure with our multi-service sites, which allow consumers to enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee, or shop for groceries while they wait for their car to charge.” The ultra-fast charging will be rolled out at a further 20 EG sites by the end of the year.

Greene King, Rose & Thistle in Reading Brewer and retailer Greene King has hit the milestone of 25 Hive pubs. It comes with the opening of The Rose & Thistle in Reading following a £500,000 investment, the highest yet for one of its Hive pubs. The Rose & Thistle, a former Greene King managed site, had been closed for two years in the wake of the pandemic. The pub, which has been transformed inside and out, is run by franchisee Paul Antony Billington. Aimed at those with experience of running a pub, the Hive Pub franchise agreement gives licensees a ready-to-trade pub within a proven branded concept for £5,000 ingoing cost. Franchisees get a minimum guaranteed income of £20,000 plus additional income based on performance such as share of turnover. Wayne Shurvinton, managing director for Greene King Pub Partners, said: “It is another significant milestone in the rollout of Hive Pubs and our franchise team has done a great job. We continue to push forward with more openings.” Meanwhile, Greene King’s Metropolitan Pub Company division has opened a new site in the City of London. Langbourns has launched as part of the new 77 Gracechurch Street development offering seafood and steak, reports Hot Dinners.

Raining BerriesUS franchise coffee concept Raining Berries is aiming to open its first UK site next year, and sees 20-40 openings here over the next two to three years as its entry into Europe. The company was founded in 2018 by former UK-based currency trader Bimal Bhojani, whose family background had been in the tea, coffee and sugar industry in east Africa. Having moved to the US in 2007 to build private schools, Bhojani was looking for a new project and returned to his family’s roots at the suggestion of his daughter, opening his first Raining Berries site in January 2020. “My daughter said you’re in coffee shops all day long, why not get back into that industry and create your own brand?” Bhojani told Propel. “They all have fancy machines but so few of them make a real cup of coffee, so we said we need to do it the correct way. We also wanted to add another dimension, a meeting place where you can work without people listening to your conversations, so we’ve created high-end conference rooms with monitors and hand-crafted walnut tables, so the experience is just like being in a corporate boardroom.” Other points of difference include a healthy menu featuring smoothies, fruit bowls, and snacks like avocado toast, none of which require a commercial kitchen. With 20 US sites either open, under construction or signed for pending a location, Bhojani is now eyeing similar numbers in the UK, and is planning a first site here “within 12-15 months”. He said: “Our first store did $350,000-$400,000 in the first year of operating under covid conditions. In the second year, it was $500,000-$600,000, and in the third year, the store is projected to hit £1m in revenue, which is huge, as we’re still what I’d call a virgin brand. Once we get 20 open, I think we’ll get to 40 pretty quickly. It’s grown a lot quicker than I anticipated, and I think if we can get into the UK market, we’ll take Europe by storm. I’m not looking to open hundreds and hundreds of stores, but if we can get 20-40 sold in groups of five within two to three years, with eight to ten franchisees, the rest will be organic growth and give us the exposure for mainland Europe, which I anticipate happening fairly quickly. We’re looking at high-end towns with a good demographic of a younger population rather than major cities at first.”

CosmoBuffet brand Cosmo has opened the first site of its new smaller-scale restaurant concept, Little Cosmo. It has launched in the former Lau’s 202 Buffet House at 92-98 Newgate Street in Newcastle, with covers for 160 people. “We’re delighted to announce the successful launch of our very first ‘Little Cosmo’ in Newcastle,” the company posted on LinkedIn. “This slightly smaller sister venue boasts 160 seats and more than 100 dishes from around the world. Welcome to the family, Little Cosmo.” Suzanne Wink, head of operations at Cosmo, added: “Newcastle is a vibrant and welcoming city filled with culture, and we’re excited to wow customers with Cosmo’s stunning five-star surroundings and set prices. After three successful launches this year alone, we believe our success is due to constant efforts in fostering a culture of innovation through cuisine and design – it really is pure food theatre.” The circa 20-strong brand also recently opened in Liverpool and secured a site for an opening in Preston’s Animate leisure complex.

Rekom – Proud Mary PubRekom UK, the Peter Marks-led nightclub operator, has said it is currently exploring opportunities in former department stores as it looks to grow its concepts in clusters. Rekom operates 50 of its circa 200-site global portfolio over here, recently bringing its Heidi’s Bier Bar and Proud Mary concepts from the continent into the UK. “We’re predominantly nightclubs, but we’re now moving more into high street bars, where the growth potential is huge,” Kevin Norman, who joined the group as head of acquisitions in May, told this month’s Propel Multi-Club Conference. “We certainly feel there’s a space in the market for Heidi’s and Proud Mary, which are trading phenomenally well in Denmark and Finland, those are the two main focuses for us going forwards. We will look at opportunities for nightclubs without a doubt – more and more nightclubs are closing, but therein lies an opportunity for us. The big focus for us is plugging into main cities and building clusters. We’ve got multiple brands, and where we’ve got these brands in city centres, we would then look to build clusters of our other brands surrounding those. There is already big opportunity with the demise of big retail, and we’re looking to really carve up those spaces as there aren’t the retailers to go back into, for instance, 100,000 square feet in Nottingham. They’ll be looking to split that up, and leisure is one of the things they will look to. We’re certainly looking at department store opportunities, landlords are unsure what to do with them. There’s a definite breakdown opportunity, but it’s not as simple as just putting up some partition walls. We’re in conversation with quite a few at the moment, but they’re long burners as you need to go in for change of use and planning, and as we know, certain city councils don’t really like the late licences.” Norman admits he has to “be on the ball” as the ever-growing competitive socialising market will be after the same type of unit size. “We probably have a bit of a head-start in terms of the operational side of it and approaching existing use operators, so that’s where a lot of our focus is,” he added. “Ultimately, I think it’s a good thing we have buoyant businesses in our sector as we’re going to benefit one another and bring more footfall into that location. Experiential concepts are great – I don’t know what the longevity of them will be, and there will be a sell by date – and therein lies opportunity if those venues do become available.”

XP Factory has updated on its openings pipeline as it opened a site in London’s Oxford Street housing both its Escape Hunt and Boom Battle Bar concepts. The company stated: “The group’s flagship site in Oxford Street hosts both the Boom and Escape Hunt formats over approximately 15,000 square feet and represents the group’s flagship site given its format, size and location. The site hosts an action-filled array of competitive activities in Boom, including augmented reality axe-throwing, augmented reality darts, shuffleboard, beer/prosecco pong, karaoke, crazier golf, American pool and large screens showing selected live sports events. These complement six highly immersive and exciting escape games that come from the group’s unique catalogue of successful, premium escape challenges. The Oxford Street site is the 26th Boom site in the estate and the 23rd Escape Hunt owner-operated site. As at 28 September 2022, the XP Factory estate comprised 21 Boom sites of which eight were owner operated and 13 franchised, and 44 Escape Hunt sites of which 21 were owner-operated sites and 23 franchise sites. Since then, in addition to the site on Oxford Street, a further four Boom sites have opened – owner-operated sites in Birmingham and Leeds and franchised sites in Bournemouth and Southampton. A further Escape Hunt owner-operated site has also opened in Bournemouth located next door to the Boom franchise site. There is currently one further Boom franchised site in build, which is scheduled to be open by the end of the calendar year. This will bring the estate to 27 open Boom sites, comprising 11 owner-operated sites and 16 franchise sites; and 46 open Escape Hunt sites, comprising 23 owner operated sites and 23 franchise sites.” Richard Harpham, chief executive of XP Factory, said: “We are delighted to have opened our flagship site in Oxford Street. Being able to secure such a premium location is testament to the group’s success in difficult markets in the last few years and the growing attraction of experiential leisure to landlords. We have made tremendous progress this year, achieving our target of 27 open Boom sites by the end of the calendar year, positioned alongside our Escape Hunt estate of 46 sites, and setting the group with a solid foundation for the future.”

Luxury hot chocolate shop Knoops has opened its eighth store, in Cambridge, and invested in some new technology. Propel revealed in May that an opening in the city, along with Bath and St Albans, was in the company’s immediate pipeline as it laid out plans to expand to 100 UK restaurants over the next five years. It has now opened at 28 Green Street, between Trinity College and Sidney Sussex College. Chief executive Tori Nunn said: “We’ve tried some new things with this launch and build – custom made steam wands, an improved retail area and visual display screens – all adding to our offer and testing and learning with new technology as we grow. It’s topped off a very busy few months at Knoops, with the start of hot chocolate season, our first foray into pumpkin spice, our successful pop-up at Selfridges and our excellent festive gift range. All credit to our fabulous team and Knoops family, which makes this a fantastic place to work and are supporting the growth of this incredible brand.”

Three quarters of operators have said they are expecting a shortage of kitchen staff and 74% said they are expecting not to have enough front of house staff this Christmas, according to new research. The findings, from sector initiative Hospitality Rising, in partnership with hospitality research consultancy KAM, also show 62% are expecting a shortfall in both. Meanwhile, 69% of operators have noticed an increase in the number of people leaving hospitality in the last 12 months. The majority said vacancies not being filled was having a significant impact on the welfare of their current team members (79%), the quality of the customer experience (79%), as well as sales and turnover (65%). In a bid to tackle the problem, operators are implementing a series of measures to reduce the impact on customers this Christmas, including increasing staff wages (70%) and reducing covers or adapting service times (46%). Others reported not carrying out private events such as parties over the festive period or closing for periods of time. Mark McCulloch, founder of Hospitality Rising and campaign director, said: “This research brings home the stark reality of the workforce crisis in hospitality and the absolute need we have for bold and creative ways to solve it. The first phase of Hospitality Rising, our #RiseFastWorkYoung campaign, has already proved its effectiveness – driving 17,000 applications via our dedicated jobs board in its first three weeks.” Katy Moses, founder and managing director of KAM, added: “Customers tell us that they’re excited about the upcoming festive season and despite the cost-of-living crisis many intend to put more effort into Christmas 2022 because of the disappointment of the last two years. It’s heart-breaking, albeit sadly not surprising, that staff shortages continue to limit the vitality of the hospitality sector with customer service levels, employee engagement and sales being impacted. The research really highlights the critical role Hospitality Rising is playing in attracting new people to the sector.”

Delivery driver in lorryA union is warning restaurant chains including Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut are facing the prospect of “severe disruption” to food supplies in the run-up to Christmas after workers voted to strike. Almost 400 workers at Best Food Logistics, which delivers fresh produce to many big name, fast-food outlets and dining firms, which also include PizzaExpress, The Restaurant Group brand Wagamama and Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi, will take industrial action over what they deem “a real-terms pay cut”. A majority of 76% of those who voted were in favour of going on strike. Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: “The parent companies of Best Food – Booker and Tesco – are making serious money. Shareholders are trousering large dividends, while the people who do the graft are struggling to make ends meet. All these workers want is a pay deal that protects them from this crushing cost-of-living crisis. Now, some of the best know restaurants on the UK’s high streets will face shortages over Christmas.”

Christian Haas Managing Director of YO!Snowfox Group – the YO!, Bento, Panku and Taiko brands operator – plans to double its estate of kiosks in UK supermarkets next year, with the opening of another 200 sites. The business is also exploring opportunities to franchise its kiosk formats and to open further YO! restaurants. Speaking at this month’s Propel Multi-Club Conference, Christian Haas (pictured), managing director UK & Ireland at YO!, revealed the business opened nearly 200 sites this year with Asda and Tesco. He said: “We will open at least that number again next year. I was with Asda recently and it is passionate about continuing to divest unproductive space that it has in its stores to us. We’ve also been approached by retail brands outside of the markets that we’re currently in to see whether we could set something up in those geographies as well. So that core competence we’re building, we will be taking forward with those new partnerships. We’re already beyond sushi and have a significant business in Korean, Thai and Malaysian food but it’s even more than that. So yes, we are a pan-Asian food specialist business and we’re really proud of that, but what we’re also becoming is specialists in operating retail kiosks.” In terms of franchising, Haas said the business had recently begun a trial in the UK with a Panku kiosk in Asda in Peterborough. He said: “In the UK we are 100% corporate run. Our Canadian colleagues are a mixture of both, and we firmly believe we have a role in society to give people the opportunity to run their own business. We currently have a trial underway in Peterborough, and it is clear to me the operator there has a level of ownership and commitment to that business, which is so difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate with corporate run operations. I think this move might ultimately unlock probably the biggest shift in the performance of a lot of the things we’re doing on a like-for-like basis and just might offset some of the potential for volume decline the cost-of-living crisis might drive.” Haas said the business opened two YO! restaurants this year, in Middlebrook, Bolton, and one in Speke. He said: “We continue to be acquisitive on the restaurant front for the right locations. We will continue to open restaurants, but we will go much broader than that in terms of the channels we have. We’re much more than sushi. We’re much more than restaurants. We’re much more than kiosks. We are truly a multi-channel operator.”

Tim Hortons - Drive-Thru Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons will open its 50th UK drive-thru restaurant on Monday (28 November), in Watford. The milestone will see the brand doubling its drive-thru estate in one year, with four further openings to come before the end of 2022. SK Group, which is rolling out Tim Hortons in the UK, also plans to add to its 65-strong estate with a further 40 restaurants by the end of 2023. The openings will see 2,000 jobs created, with the brand confirming sites in Liverpool, Swansea and Dundee are set to open in the first quarter alone. Each opening in the UK has seen huge demand from customers, with some fans camped outside Tim Hortons restaurants for up to 40 hours ahead of opening. The Park Royal London opening was one of its most successful to date, as well as one of the best globally in the last five years, with queues of hundreds of cars lined up for its drive-thru. Kevin Hydes, chief commercial officer of the Tim Hortons franchise in the UK, said: “Our 50th drive-thru restaurant is a landmark opening for us as doubling our number of drive-thrus is not only a key milestone in our strong and fast-paced pipeline of openings this year, but it also supports our ambitious plan to grow at an even faster pace in 2023 with 40 new restaurants targeted. We have planned our site acquisition strategy carefully to ensure we are securing as many drive-thru sites as we can in order to meet the growing customer demand for the additional convenience they provide. We only see this demand growing, with people being time poor and seeking high quality, great value food and beverages at all times of day served at speed. We are proving to be a real contender within the coffee and quick service restaurant sector and have ambitions to become the preferred brand of choice, no matter what occasion our guests are seeking to enjoy.” Founded as a single location in Canada in 1964, Tim Hortons now has more than 4,700 restaurants globally and made its UK debut in 2017.

Restaurant Marketer & Innovator RM&IRestaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit is returning for its fifth edition, and tickets are now on sale. The event is a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, aiming to build a community, promote the sharing of ideas, recognise talent and define the future of eating out. Bookings are now open for the two-day conference as the centrepiece of the January event series, taking place on 24 and 25 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The conference will focus on marcomms strategies, proposition and concept development, the latest market insights, technology and digital developments, diversification of revenue streams and how brands are adapting to the new normal. It is designed for marketing, development and innovation teams, as well as senior executives and investors wanting to better understand the latest marketing, innovation and development opportunities to build market share and grow. More than 50 industry and agency leaders take to the stage over two days, representing brands including Gail’s Bakery, Hawksmoor, Burger King UK, Loungers, The Alchemist, Hall & Woodhouse, BrewDog, East Coast Concepts, Press Up Hospitality Group, Krispy Kreme, Mission Mars, Inception Group, New World Trading Company, MJMK, Caprice Holdings, Hakkasan, Gusto Italian, Tattu Restaurants, Red Engine, Vapiano, The Cocktail Club, Hilton, Elior, Lollipop, Flat Earth Pizza, Lego Restaurants, KellyDeli, Cornish Bakery, Chotto Matte, Ping Pong, Nobu, Searcy’s and Six by Nico. Day one themes will be consumer and sector trends, start-ups, concepts and creativity and digital evolution, while day two focuses on purpose and responsible business, strategies for growth and communication and culture. Tickets for operators for the two days are £600 plus VAT and £350 plus VAT for one day. Tickets for suppliers are £950 plus VAT for the two days and £525 plus VAT for one day. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Jo Charity at Propel on jo.charity@propelinfo.com

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