Loungers has hit the milestone of 100 sites with an opening of the Capo Lounge in Mansfield last week. It is now lining up an opening for its Cosy Club brand in Worcester in July, with Lounges to follow in Evesham, Southend and Rustington in the next couple of months. It has also just reported a 34% increase in turnover for the financial year to 23 April. Chief executive Nick Collins said: “Hitting 100 sites is an impressive landmark for the business and we are proud to have achieved this whilst at the same time having improved our conversion and posted some decent like for likes.
US-based fast casual chicken wings concept Wingstop says it will open around 100 locations in the UK after signing an agreement with Lemon Pepper Holdings, a group backed by BestAtTravel founder Rita Sharma, Saul Lewin and Boris Kofman of V2 Leisure and Lutti London co-founder Tom Grogan. Wingstop said the group had also lined up an operational team with experience at brands including Shake Shack, Five Guys, Pret a Manger, Cote and Jamie’s Italian. The brand has more than 1,000 restaurants around the world. Larry Kruger, president of International at Wingstop, said: “The European market represents a significant international growth opportunity and a meaningful next step on our path to becoming a top ten restaurant brand, meeting both franchisee interest and consumer demand.”
US deep south style concept Absurd Bird is to open at the Intu Eldon Square development in Newcastle. An application for premises is now in.
The South London based Three Cheers Pub Co has acquired an eighth site: the Bedford in Balham. It joins venues for the group in Clapham, Battersea, Kennington and Dulwich. Three Cheers will keep the pub open for a while before closing for a major refurbishment. The company has taken it on from hospitality entrepreneurs Karl Harrison and Scott Illman. Three Cheers’ co-owner Tom Peake said: "This represents a huge milestone for Three Cheers Pub Co and it will be a fabulous addition to our collection of pubs."
Spanish tapas operator Camino has announced a fifth site opening, and its first since 2015—on Curtain Road in Shoreditch. Hot Dinners reports that it will have space for 80 in a restaurant, 75 in a tapas bar and 40 on a terrace. Launch is scheduled for September.
Foxlow, the neighbourhood restaurant concept developed by the team behind Hawksmoor, opened its latest new restaurant on Lower James Street in Soho this week. It is the fourth site for the concept, joining restaurants in Balham, Chiswick and Clerkenwell.
Franco Manca opened its latest new restaurant in Richmond-upon-Thames on Thursday (18 May). It is the pizza brand’s 36th location in all.
Thai group Giggling Squid has announced an opening in Brentwood in Essex. It is the 21st location for the brand.
Cocktail bar operator Be At One has secured a site in Bournemouth. It is just off the city’s market square, close to the seafront, on the site of a former nightclub. It will open in August after a major refurb that will give it capacity for 200 people. Be At One currently has 32 bars around the UK, including another on the south coast in Brighton. Director Steve Locke said: “We’re really excited to have secured this prominent site in Bournemouth as it’s a location that has long been on our target list. It’s a vibrant city that has benefitted from significant investment in recent times which, in turn, has brought a great buzz to the centre from locals and tourists alike.”
Sheffield’s Meadowhall has signed up brands including coffeeshop Nespresso and Belgian chocolate café and retailer Godiva. They have taken 1,200 and 1,700 square feet units respectively. The arrivals are part of a £60m refurbishment at Meadowhall, which also includes reformats of several dozen stores. British Land asset manager Richard Crowther said: “Our strategy is to ensure Meadowhall’s offer reflects consumers’ changing modern lifestyles. Attracting these premium brands to the line-up achieves this objective and is a great endorsement of the enhanced environment we and our occupiers are creating at the centre.”
Bistrot Pierre has confirmed an opening for Middlesbrough later in the year. It is spending £1m on a revamp of a building that will give it more than 200 covers. Co-founder Rob Beacham said: “Middlesbrough is an ideal location for us to open a new bistrot; we’re really excited about bringing our great value French cooking to the town as it will be the first restaurant we have opened in the North East.”
PizzaExpress will open its first restaurant on the UK’s motorway service station network in October. It has signed a deal to launch at the Welcome Break services off the M40 in Oxford, and will open from 11am to 10pm with space for 88 covers. More joint operations may follow if it is successful. PizzaExpress’ chief executive Richard Hodgson said: “The challenge with entering the motorway service network has been to find a partner where we can ensure that the food and in-restaurant quality for which we are renowned is replicated. We are confident Welcome Break is the perfect partner to help us make this transition.” Welcome Break’s chief executive Rod McKie said: “We have witnessed a growing trend with our customers, both business and leisure, to spend more time at our service stations, and to be able to enjoy a dining experience comparable to that on the high street. I am delighted that PizzaExpress will be able to offer that experience to our customers.”
Five Guys has confirmed an opening for the Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham. An application to convert premises there has been submitted.
Coffee shop concept Department of Coffee and Social Affairs has agreed a deal with Bruntwood for its first site in the north of England—a 3,000 square feet unit in Faulkner House on New York Street in Manchester. It is the brand’s 16th location and second outside London. Bruntwood retail surveyor James Tootle said: “Department of Coffee and Social Affairs is a fantastic addition to this busy metropolitan area of Manchester and we are delighted they have made their move to the north with Bruntwood.”
Gusto is planning an opening at the Mulberry Walk development in Sutton Coldfield, according to the Birmingham Mail. It opened a city centre restaurant in Birmingham last year.
JD Wetherspoon has applied for permission to open on James Street in Liverpool, the city’s Echo reports—its sixth venue in the city centre. Its plans outline a £1.9m revamp of disused office space.
Pieminster opened on Waterloo Street in Birmingham this week. It is its sixth restaurant in all, joining two in Bristol and one apiece in Cardiff, Leeds and Nottingham. It also has six café-style venues.
The Foundation Group’s steakhouse and gin concept Alston Bar & Beef is to open in Manchester’s Corn Exchange. It is a second site for the brand after its launch in Glasgow.
Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill will open at the Doubletree Hilton hotel by stadium: MK in Milton Keynes next month. It will be a 90-cover restaurant.
The Made in Italy restaurant group will open its eighth site—on Northcote Road in Battersea next Friday (26 May).
Tony Conigliaro’s Bar Termini concept opened a second site on Duke Street in London’s Marylebone on Monday (15 May). It joins the original Bar Termini in Soho and serves a similar all-day menu of coffee and cocktails and Italian-style small plates. The concept is modelled on the bars and cafes found on Italian train stations. The Marylebone bar will be open from 8am each day and will have 40 covers inside, another 20 on a terrace, and a takeaway breakfast hatch
Marston’s has started work on a new-build pub, restaurant at the Buchan Gateway scheme near Peterhead, the local newspaper reports.
Tea and coffee company Stokes is opening a café and restaurant at a new headquarters in Lincoln. The site, called The Lawn, will also include a new roastery, training facilities and office space. Stokes already has two sites in Lincoln.