Le Pain Quotidien sold in pre-pack deal to BrunchCo UK Limited

first_imgBakery and café chain Le Pain Quotidien has been sold in a pre-pack deal.Immediately after the appointment of administrators last Thursday (11 June), the UK business and assets for 15 of the chain’s 26 sites were sold to BrunchCo UK Limited.However, Le Pain Quotidien’s (LPQ) head office and 11 remaining sites were closed immediately, resulting in 200 redundancies. The remaining 333 staff have been transferred to BrunchCo.BrunchCo UK is a subsidiary of BrunchCo 21 SA, a newly formed holding company majority owned by Belgian private equity investors M80. The company is also acquiring the Belgian and French assets of LPQ as well as its brand and the international franchises.LPQ, like many hospitality businesses, has struggled with tough market conditions for a number of years, according to administrators Alvarez & Marsal.In its latest full-year filing at Companies House, for the year to 31 December 2018, LPQ reported a 4% year-on-year drop in revenue to £38m, making a loss of £700,000. At the time, the company referred to reduced footfall and cost pressures.The administrators added that the Covid-19 outbreak had exacerbated the situation.BrunchCo is now holding talks with LPQ’s remaining landlords regarding the structure of its lease agreements and the future of the remaining sites.The new owner said it planned to make “significant investments” in LPQ to create a sustainable future for the UK business.“This acquisition secures the brand’s future in the UK, and we hope to conclude the restructuring process within the next few days,” said joint administrator Rob Croxen.“We appreciate the support of LPQ’s employees at this difficult time.”last_img read more

Designing in the human context

first_imgThat particular Monday morning began with a deceptively simple direction: “Focus on one person, and stay in a straight line with them, while remaining within the bounds of the circle.”A frenzy of movement and laughter ensued, and each iteration of this team-building activity ended in a comical confrontation between two people — just as likely roommates as a professor-student pair. More than just an icebreaker, though, the scene was a primer in human dynamics: a first lesson in engineering design.For a week in January, 40 students from a variety of backgrounds — comparative literature to computer science — engaged in a “design thinking” workshop led by IDEO, an internationally renowned design consulting firm. Throughout, the human element was key — How do people actually use a product? — as was a certain amount of ad-libbed fun.By midweek, the second-floor conference room of Maxwell Dworkin looked as though it had been hit by a tornado. Sticky notes covered the walls and dry erase boards, scattered with phrases, concepts, and ideas: “Huge!,” “Turtle backpack,” “Imagination pod,” “Mentor program,” “Kung fu video,” and more. Glue guns, markers, and poster board littered the floor; spaghetti and tape spilled into the adjacent lounge.The course, “jDesign,” was among many programs available to students during Optional Winter Activities Week, the jam-packed conclusion to Winter Break at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).“Design is about making decisions, often in the face of uncertainty.”“JDesign” was spearheaded by Gu-Yeon Wei, Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and associate dean for academic programs at SEAS, with support from Joseph Zinter, a former design preceptor at SEAS (now at Yale University).“Design is about making decisions, often in the face of uncertainty,” Zinter said. “It’s like running a race where the course keeps splitting. Each fork is a decision.”“The good designer adheres to a process — a set of tools and techniques that guides them in the decision-making process,” Zinter said. “JDesign is about teaching those tools and techniques.”Students were assigned to seven groups and asked to create and present a “starter kit” for a person with some goal. One group decided to make a toolbox for a high school graduate transitioning to college; another designed items that the homeless of Harvard Square could use to stay warm during harsh winters. Throughout the design process, each team was urged to consider human factors; one team devised a lovable stuffed turtle to help an overwhelmed sophomore select a concentration at Harvard.Intertwined with formal presentations by IDEO on topics such as human-centered design and visual thinking were brainstorming sessions, role-playing games, construction projects, and man-on-the-street interviews.Siyabulela Xuza ’12, a South African student who participated in the course, noted the impact that the workshops had on him as an aspiring engineer.“Academically, it’s given me a paradigm shift,” he said. “I’ve been given tools to know how to approach problems by considering human factors — putting humans at the center, and also really asking myself questions about the day-to-day things that we do.”“I came in here thinking that I knew how to design on the world, imposing solutions,” Xuza added, “but learning about humans throughout the design process taught me how to design in the world.”Emi Nietfeld ’15, a freshman with an artistic background, particularly enjoyed the opportunity to program using Arduino, a hardware-software combination designed for people at all skill levels.“It was awesome to see that there’s this whole world out there just meant to empower people to build stuff,” she said. “I really like that we had ideas and made them right away.”The workshop was led by David Goligorsky and other IDEO employees and facilitated by graduate students from SEAS and the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). The faculty and facilitators integrated seamlessly into the design teams, learning just as much from their energetic teammates as they contributed in expertise.Wei hopes that the inaugural workshop will continue to inspire “channeled innovation” in the students who participated.“I was really impressed by the creativity and the energy,” he said. “Everyone evolved throughout the week from what they thought they were going to work on, on day one, to what they actually ended up working on and presenting on day five. I’m hoping we can all take what we learned throughout this week and apply it to what we do, whether it be research, whether it be courses, [or] continuing on to design new projects.”The workshop pushed beyond the traditional perception of engineering as a math-centric, technical domain, emphasizing that effective engineering design is informed by (and resides within) the context of the humanities and social sciences.Said Nietfeld: “There’s the product side of things, and there’s the story side of things, and we did both [during jDesign], but the story was so important. You could’ve had a loaf of bread, and if you told the right story about it, everybody would be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s so cool — it’s a loaf of bread!’”“For an engineering program, jDesign was pretty progressive,” said Zinter. “SEAS is pushing hard against the conventional engineering paradigm, and that’s pretty rad.”Besides Wei, Zinter, and Goligorsky, major contributors to the course were Brad Crane (GSD/IDEO), Jawn Lim (GSD), Faye Hayes (GSD), Nathan King (GSD), Avi Uttamchandani (design preceptor at SEAS), Conor Walsh (assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at SEAS), and Beth Altringer (visiting lecturer on innovation and behavior at SEAS).The course was supported by the Harvard President’s January Innovation Fund for Faculty. <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2D0KSARstA” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/S2D0KSARstA/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

Merkel rival Merz in bid to succeed her as German Chancellor

first_imgWith the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) still ahead in the opinion polls, he would be well placed to succeed Merkel as she steps down after 15 years in office.Merz, a 64-year-old lawyer, is preparing to stand in internal party elections expected in the coming months, the daily Bild and DPA news agency reported.If he succeeds in becoming party leader it will become difficult for his rival Merkel to remain in power until her mandate ends next year. Early elections would become a distinct possibility.Merz has never forgiven Merkel for driving him out as head of the party’s group of MPs in the Bundestag in 2002. Friedrich Merz, a longtime rival of Angela Merkel within the ruling CDU party, is hoping to replace her as German chancellor, local media reported Wednesday.Merz, who wants to shift the centre-right party further to the right, is throwing his hat into the ring after Merkel’s chosen successor, CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, gave up her leadership ambitions on Monday in a deepening party crisis over ties between the centre and far right.The next CDU leader will also be the party’s candidate to become Chancellor at elections due by the end of 2021. He was narrowly beaten in the vote for party leader by Merkel’s preferred successor Kramp-Karrenbauer in December 2018, and has been waiting in the wings ever since.- Return to full-time politics -He announced this month he was quitting his job on the supervisory board of the German arm of investment firm BlackRock to dedicate himself to politics and to helping the CDU “renew itself”.In recent months Merz has attacked Merkel and her “failed” leadership.Favoured by the CDU’s most conservative members, Merz wants to shift the party to the right to woo back voters lost to the anti-Islam, anti-immigrant AfD.Kramp-Karrenbauer opted out of the race after barely a year in the post — a period marked by internal battles over whether to cooperate with the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD).AKK, as Kramp-Karrenbauer is popularly known, said she had had “a difficult time” as party leader.While the CDU party has a policy of no cooperation with either the far left or far right at a national level, regional CDU lawmakers last week nevertheless voted with MPs from the AfD to oust a far-left state premier in Thuringia.The breach in the political firewall against the AfD prompted Merkel’s junior partners in the national government, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), to call urgent talks at the weekend about the partnership’s future.Topics :last_img read more

DEATH OF KATIE McMENAMIN AGED 107

first_imgThe death has been announced of one of Donegal’s oldest citizens – 107-year-old Katie McMenamin, (née O’Connor) of the Brae, Rathmullan.One of the county’s most enduring characters, Katie had a wonderful memory, remembering many of the historic events of a century gone by.Requiem Mass will be celebrated at noon tomorrow, Wesnesday, in St Joseph’s Church, with burial afterwards in the adjoining ceremony. Katie is survived by her son, Eugene; daughters Mary (Bowden) and Nora (Morris), grandchildren, and a wide circle of relatives and friends.In a glowing tribute, John McAteer, Editor of the Tirconaill Tribune, said: “What a great lady…what a truly wonderful life. We shall not see her likes again.“What a real privilege it was to have passed her way so many times over the last few years…May her humble soul rest in the peace she has so richly earned on this earth.”© 2011 donegaldaily.com, all Rights Reserved The copying, republication or redistribution of donegaldaily.com Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited by law.Follow us on www.twitter.com/donegaldailyFollow us on www.facebook.com/donegaldailySell anything on www.donegaldailyclassifieds.comDEATH OF KATIE McMENAMIN AGED 107 was last modified: December 6th, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:DEATH OF KATIE McMENAMIN AGED 107last_img read more