Revolution Bars Group appoints social media partner as it targets millennials ahead of expansion: Revolution Bars Group, operator of 74 premium bars trading under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has appointed a social media partner ahead of its planned expansion. The company is working with Manchester-based Social Chain to market its plans to open six bars in the next 12 months. The aim is to target millennials as part of its drive to win new customers. As part of the campaign, Social Chain will be responsible for the output of all 74 cross-platform social channels including strategic planning, content strategy and reactivation, social media management, and influencer marketing. Kate Eastwood, Revolution Bars Group sales and marketing director, told The Business Desk: “With our young customer base constantly hunting for the best food, cocktails and party on the high street, it’s essential Revolution Bars Group constantly evolves and improves its social media. As a result, we’re delighted to have appointed Social Chain as our social media partner. We are excited for what we can achieve together over the coming year.” Social Chain business director Oliver Yonchev added: “Our ultimate goal is to ensure Revolution Bars Group is leading the industry in social experiences and over the next year we plan to do just that.” Revolution Bars Group, which was the subject of a failed £101.5m takeover bid from Stonegate Pub Company last year, has endured a tough 12 months due to changes in management and slower trading but is still keen to press ahead with expansion. In June, the company reported total sales in the second half up to June increased 7.3% but like-for-like sales were down 1.7%. As a result, adjusted Ebitda is now expected to be below market expectations and in line with last year.
Gloucestershire-based brewery to fund expansion with £300,000 bond offer: Gloucestershire-based Stroud Brewery has launched a bond offer to help fund its expansion. The company aims to raise £300,000 with the offer, which is being carried out on Triodos Bank’s crowdfunding platform. The Stroud Brewery bond will pay 5% interest with capital repaid after seven years. The funds will be used to develop a new brewery and bar to open this autumn. Turnover at the company is predicted to be almost £1m in 2018. Founder and managing director Greg Pilley told Insider Media: “This is a significant development for Stroud Brewery and will provide us with the platform to take the business to the next stage. The new brewery will ensure we retain and enhance the quality of our beers, while growing the range of beer we produce. We want to continue to be recognised for our ethos of sustainability, local production and community engagement.” Earlier this year, Triodos became the first registered UK bank to launch an investment crowdfunding platform and has raised £18.2m in seven deals since. Dan Hird, head of the Triodos Corporate Finance team, added: “We have been impressed by the Stroud Brewery management team and its commitment to sustainability through the whole supply chain. It is also a great fit with Triodos given our long history of supporting the organic food and farming sector.”
Vaulkhard Group to turn former Loch Fyne restaurant in Gosforth into third Barluga site: Newcastle leisure firm Vaulkhard Group is to turn a former Loch Fyne restaurant in Gosforth into a third site for its Barluga brand. Brewer and retailer Greene King closed the Loch Fyne site last month. Vaulkhard’s refurbishment of the former church, which is more than 100 years old, will include a new bar and toilets. Vaulkhard’s other Barluga bar restaurants are in Grey Street in Newcastle city centre and Morpeth. Director Ollie Vaulkhard told Chronicle Live: “It will follow the model and style of Grey Street, with food always available, no DJ or live music, no late trading hours, no cheap drinks, and table service at all times. We hope to recreate the terrace on Grey Street at the front of the site. To create Barluga in the site is a considerable task but given the beautiful nature of the building, the high ceilings and general architectural beauty, it’s less onerous than it could be.” Vaulkhard Group’s portfolio consists of 15 sites in the north east including three venues for its Central Bean coffee shop concept and two for its Blakes Tea Room brand.
Liverpool-based, health-focused Chinese restaurant launches £200,000 crowdfunding campaign to support expansion: Liverpool-based, health-focused Chinese restaurant Green Kitchen has launched a £200,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to support expansion plans. The company, founded by Liang Zhang and Stewart Parker, is offering 11.61% equity in return for the investment. Green Kitchen began as a food delivery service in 2015 before opening its first restaurant last year close to Liverpool’s Anfield stadium. It plans to open more sites in Liverpool later this year before targeting other cities. The pitch states: “Green Kitchen aims to develop a UK healthy Chinese fast food chain by promoting our healthy eating concept. Our central kitchen-based business model enables us to standardise the food and get better quality control with calorie and nutrition information available for our food. We can expand quickly because no kitchen needs to be built while opening a site, thus cost is low. Our central kitchen is 1,400 square feet, which we predict is capable of supplying food for up to eight Green Kitchen restaurants in Liverpool. We want to build another three to five sites including a flagship store in Liverpool before we start expanding to cities such as Manchester and Birmingham. We also envisage motorway service station sites and drive-thrus in the future.”
Gino D’Acampo to launch eighth My Restaurant site, at Leeds leisure complex: Chef Gino D’Acampo is to launch an eighth site for his My Restaurant brand, in Leeds. The 150-cover restaurant will open at The Springs, the rebranded leisure space at Thorpe Park Leeds, and will include a coffee and deli bar, a prosecco bar, and a terrace with games room. Work is already under way on the £1.2m venture, which will launch in October. It will be the fourth My Restaurant in Yorkshire, with others in Leeds city centre, Harrogate and Hull, and third in partnership with fashion retailer Next. D’Acampo said: “The Springs is a truly impressive development combining great stores, restaurants and leisure facilities. I’m looking forward to being at the heart of it.” Last week, the Italian chef announced he would launch fast-casual dining concept My Coffee & Deli Bar on the lower ground floor of his Manchester site in September. It will offer real Neapolitan coffee and Italian food to eat in or take away. D’Acampo made his move into restaurants when he teamed up with friend and business partner Steven Walker, founder of Manchester-based restaurant group Individual Restaurants. They plan to open further restaurants in 2018, with a strong pipeline in place for 2019. The other My Restaurant sites are in Camden, Euston and Liverpool.
Former Noma chef to open ‘destination’ restaurant in Manchester: Former Noma chef Simon Martin will open a “destination” restaurant in Manchester in October. Martin will launch 30-cover Mana in Sawmill Court, Ancoats, on Wednesday, 17 October. Martin told the Manchester Evening News: “What we want to do is change the perception of a restaurant experience and offer total quality in every area, from the food to the environment. We will cover our expenses, but we’re not making profit. We’re setting our stall out to show what we can do and what good restaurants should be. I think Manchester has a brilliant food and drink scene and the only place I’d rather go to eat and drink is Copenhagen.”
John Burton-Race quits hotel chain: Michelin-starred chef John Burton-Race has quit his role as group executive head chef consultant at Richardson Group. The move comes only 20 months after the group rebranded The Grosvenor hotel in Torquay as John Burton-Race Hotel & Restaurant following an extensive refurbishment. Burton-Race told Devon Live: “I am saddened to make the decision but excited about finding my next venture and what the future holds. I have shown I can rebuild an average restaurant into a fine dining establishment within a short space of time if I am given the opportunity and backing. I have departed amicably and remain great friends with my colleagues there. I have decided to leave as I feel I have taken the group as far as possible. I am ready for a new beginning and excited about what prospects will come my way.” Richardson Hotels and Fowey Hotel, part of the Richardson Group, entered administration in February, with four West Country hotels brought to market. Earlier this month, Harbour Hotels acquired The Metropole Hotel in Padstow and the Fowey Hotel in Fowey off a guide price of £10m and £5.5m respectively. The other venues – The Falmouth Hotel in Falmouth and The Grand Hotel in Torquay – continue to trade on a business-as-usual basis.
Corbin & King launches apprenticeship scheme: London-based restaurant group Corbin & King has launched an apprenticeship scheme to offer “learn while you earn” opportunities. Designed to address the industry-wide shortage of skilled chefs, the initiative underpins the Corbin & King mantra of “hire for will, train for skill”. The scheme has been devised in partnership with training provider NCAL and Corbin & King’s dedicated chef trainer Richard Liversidge. Apprenticeships will be offered at Corbin & King restaurants including The Wolseley, The Delaunay and Brasserie Zedel. The personalised training programme is bespoke to Corbin & King and reflects the “company’s commitment to offering hospitality from the heart, not the boardroom”. Monthly masterclasses and frequent supplier trips will help apprentices develop and refine their culinary skills the “Corbin & King way” while completing the necessary syllabus to achieve a Level 2 apprenticeship.
Rick Astley to launch Shoreditch bar: Eighties pop star Rick Astley is to team up with Danish micro-brewer Mikkeler to launch a bar in Shoreditch, east London. The star will open Mikkeler Bar on Friday, 19 October in a yet to be revealed location with friend and brewery founder Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. The bar will be the first for the Copenhagen-based company. Astley told the NME: “I met Mikkel in 2015 and through his enthusiasm and passion for quality I have fallen back in love with beer. It is really exciting to be part of creating Mikkeler’s first bar in the UK. I know we are going to have a lot fun and drink some great beer.” Bjergsø added: “We have finally found a fantastic location in the Shoreditch district that suits us perfectly.” The duo previously collaborated to create Astley’s Northern Hop Lager, which went on sale last year.
Utopian Brewing closes crowdfunding campaign after raising more than £465,000: Utopian Brewing, chaired by Faucet Inn founder Steve Cox, has closed its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after raising more than £465,000. The company was initially looking to raise £350,000 to expand production and was offering 23.49% equity in return for the investment. It has now closed the campaign with 224 investors pledging £465,470. The pitch stated: “This funding will enable us to build out our 3,500-litre brewhouse with sufficient vessels to produce more than 8,000 hectolitres per annum. We will aim to install sufficient infrastructure and have space to add vessels later to increase production to more than 15,000 hectolitres per annum. All our ingredients will be sourced from UK producers. We aim to sell draught product to pubs and bars locally and through national distribution. We have provisionally agreed to supply 15 sites and believe our industry contacts will give us a head start in rapidly adding new outlets. We plan for a packaged product to be added as soon as possible for both online and retail sales.”
The Naked Deli opens debut airport site for fourth venue: Newcastle-based The Naked Deli has opened its debut airport site – and fourth venue in total. The company, which offers a “health-conscious and clean-eating dining experience with a range of gluten and dairy-free, vegan and paleo dishes”, has launched at Newcastle International airport. The Naked Deli opened its first site in Heaton in 2014 and reached capacity in the first week, leading to a second opening in Gosforth. It has since added an outlet at Fenwick’s Food Hall in Newcastle. The Naked Deli director Kirstie Kimmins told BDaily: “It’s our fourth concession and our first in an airport so we’re extremely excited to see what the future holds. The menu has gone down extremely well but we will be regularly changing and adapting it to suit the needs of airport passengers.” Dean Ward, head of commercial at Newcastle International airport, added: “With more of our passengers becoming health conscious, it is important our food and beverage options reflect this and we continue to offer something for everyone.” In June, The Naked Deli received £2.5m of growth capital from independent infrastructure, private equity and investment manager Foresight Group. As part of the investment, John Upton joined The Naked Deli as chairman. He is former managing director of healthy fast food brand Leon and a member of the senior team at McDonald’s UK.
Bury St Edmunds operator to open second venue this month at Wellington Pub Company site: Bury St Edmunds-based operator Ben Hutton will open a second site in the Suffolk town this month after securing a five-figure funding package from NatWest. Hutton has acquired the lease of Wellington Pub Company’s The Queens Head in Churchgate Street through agent Fleurets. The property is four doors from Hutton’s current site, Ben’s Restaurant, which opened in 2010. The new site will launch as Queens Bar and Grill, featuring an American-inspired grill menu and a courtyard garden. Hutton told Insider Media: “Queens Bar and Grill will offer something different to Ben’s Restaurant. It will be predominantly a bar with a simplistic grill-style menu for a more informal drinking and dining experience. Thanks to the funding from NatWest, I have been able to resurrect a fantastic pub that is part of the town’s history and will reopen it with a fresh approach.” Frank Moss, NatWest agricultural relationship manager, added: “Ben is undeniably passionate about the restaurant trade and Ben’s Restaurant is evidence of this. With the funding we have provided, he can grow his restaurant offering to cater for a different type of customer.”
Essex-based artisan cider producer vows to continue building business despite failing in £300,000 crowdfunding bid: Essex-based artisan cider producer Big Bear Cider Mill has vowed to continue with its plans to build a “dynamic, profitable business” despite failing in its bid to raise £300,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company was offering 15% equity in return for the investment as it looked to scale up production. It stated: “We still have grand ambitions and will carry these out. It may take us a little longer, but we will get there. We will focus on production, building our business and promoting the growth of craft cider in the UK and worldwide. We have big export plans – we are working with industry experts and have a solid export strategy to follow. Although our campaign didn’t make its target, we’ve learnt a lot, made great friends and contacts, and are determined to succeed and build a dynamic, profitable business. We also have some exciting news but we’re keeping this to ourselves for now. We’d love to be able to say ‘I told you so’. We thank you wholeheartedly for your support – we’ll be back!”
Mud Crab closes West Bridgford site: Mud Crab Industries, the restaurant group run by Neil Lawrence and Ged Lynch, has closed its West Bridgford site only months after its rebrand. The company closed the bar restaurant in Central Avenue at the beginning of the week and a spokesman confirmed to The Business Desk it would not be reopening. The site launched as Mud Crab in 2013 before being rebranded earlier this year as Wild Vine Bar and Brasserie. The company continues to operate sites in Didsbury, Monton in Manchester, and Sheffield.
Stoke-based pub operators open second site: Stoke-based pub operators John Barker and Philip Walker have opened their second site. They have relaunched the Coachmakers Arms in Hanley, which shut in May. The pub in Lichfield Street has been refurbished and features a small snug, bar, lounge and piano room. There are four real ale pumps including a “guest pump” alongside cider, beer and a large range of gin. Barker told Stoke Live: “It is such a unique, traditional pub. It was a tied house and the rates kept going up but now there is no tie and we can do a lot more than the previous landlords were able to.” Barker and Walker also run The Red Gate pub in Dresden.
Nottingham-based operators open second site: Nottingham-based operators Alex Fuge and Kalpesh Patel have opened their second site. Fuge and Patel have launched coffee house and cocktail bar Hops, which has taken over part of the ground floor of vintage and curiosity shop Hopkinson in Station Street. It features alfresco seating for up to 100 customers, a breakfast bar, snug and a departure board showing train times at the neighbouring station. As well as Chesterfield sofas, bare floorboards and corrugated wall decorations, hanging from the ceiling is the original 100-year-old Hopkinson sign, a nod to the historic building’s former life as a hardware store. This has also helped inspire the bespoke cocktail menu, which joins a range of bottled and draught beer, wine and coffee. The food menu features sandwiches, baguettes and jacket potatoes, reports the Nottingham Post. Fuge and Patel also own The Parlour cocktail bar in West Bridgford.
Leicester-based Chinese restaurant launches rotary hotpot concept for second site: Leicester-based Chinese restaurant Karamay has launched a rotary hotpot concept for its second site in the city. Karamay Hotpot has opened in London Road and claims to be the first rotary hotpot restaurant in the UK. The all-you-can-eat concept sees diners help themselves to food from a conveyor belt to create their own hotpot. Ingredients such as sliced beef and lamb can be ordered from staff as they aren’t placed on the conveyor belt to maintain freshness. There is a wide variety of hotpot broths to choose from, including spicy and vegetarian versions. All dishes are MSG-free and contain fresh ingredients only, Leicestershire Live reports. Karamay restaurant offers cuisine from western China.
Nando’s doubles up in Ipswich after taking over Pizza Hut site: Nando’s has opened its second store in Ipswich following the refurbishment of a former Pizza Hut site. Ipswich Council planners approved a raft of modifications to the building in The Sandlings, which is part of Ransomes Europark. The new Nando’s restaurant has an extended roof and shares a car park with a Burger King drive-thru next door.
Northern Powerhouse Developments opens North Wales hotel: Yorkshire-based hotel and leisure developer Northern Powerhouse Developments (NPD) has opened a hotel in North Wales. The company has launched Caer Rhun Hall, a three-storey, late-Victorian mansion. The hotel is set in 20 acres of parkland and gardens and joins a portfolio of 18 hotels either open or in development from NPD. The grade II-listed building was acquired two years ago and has undergone a multimillion-pound refurbishment, creating 32 bedrooms. The hotel will add further rooms in the grounds, growing to 80 by the end of 2019. NPD Hotels chief executive Richard Lewis told Insider Media: “Caer Rhun Hall is a magnificent property in a wonderful location in the heart of the Conwy Valley, bordering Snowdonia National Park. In the next 18 months we will add a restaurant and spa as we develop Caer Rhun into a manor house with boutique feel – a destination hotel and spa.”
Pipers recognised at Great Taste awards: Pipers Crisps, stocked by a number of sector operators, has had five of its flavours recognised at the 2018 Great Taste awards. Its Burrow Hill Cider Vinegar & Sea Salt won two gold stars while there were single gold stars for Lye Cross Cheddar & Onion, Kirkby Malham Chorizo, Karnataka Black Pepper & Sea Salt, and Biggleswade Sweet Chilli. Marketing manager Katy Hamblin said: “The 2018 Great Taste awards represent another great year for Pipers Crisps. We work really hard to make sure our flavours are full-bodied, distinctive and balanced so we were particularly pleased the judges’ comments reflected this.” Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the largest accreditation scheme for fine food and drink. It has been described as the “Oscars of the food world”. Pipers Crisps has won 42 Great Taste awards since 2007.
Swindon cafe owner to open debut wine bar: Louise Field, who owns Gustoso cafe in Swindon, is to open a wine bar in the Wiltshire town. Field will take over Gibson’s Bar in Victoria Road in the Old Town and hopes to reopen it by late summer. She told the Swindon Advertiser: “I want it to be a relaxing wine bar offering varieties from around the world. As soon as the opportunity came up, I grasped it. That was always my vision but I never thought it would happen. Now we start the process of getting it refurbished. It’s always going to be about having fun – for my staff and I. If we’re happy, the customers are happy.” Kris Talikowski, vice-chairman of the Old Town Business Association, added: “The night-time economy in Old Town has always remained strong and the fact the change of hands has happened so quickly is testament to people wanting to bring a new twist on premises.”