Sayers the Bakers returns to profit: North west-based independent retail bakery Sayers the Bakers has reported a return to profit, albeit a small one. The company saw turnover of £48,307,000 for the year ending 30 September 2017, compared with £48,520,000 the previous year. It reported a pre-tax profit of £34,000 compared with a loss of £114,000 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. A report by the directors accompanying the accounts stated: “We plan to continue this upward trend in the coming year by means of investment in fixed assets in the existing estate, opening several new shops and an ongoing focus on cost control.” The number of employees during the period fell to 1,582 from 1,625 the previous year. Sayers the Bakers has more than 150 stores throughout the north west. The company was established by Fred and Lylian Sayer in Liverpool in 1912.

Islington building home to D&D London’s Radici restaurant goes on market for £3.6m: The Islington building that is home to D&D London’s Radici restaurant has gone on the market for a guide price of £3.645m, reflecting a net initial yield of 4%. Savills, on behalf of a private vendor, has been instructed to sell the freehold investment in Almeida Street. The 136-cover restaurant is let to Orrery Restaurant, part of D&D London, on a lease expiring in 2026 at a passing rent of £155,000 per annum. The property, which underwent a comprehensive refurbishment in 2017, is opposite the Almeida Theatre. It is next to the new Islington Square development, which will consist of 263 luxury homes, 108 serviced apartments and 170,000 square feet of retail and leisure space, including a Lounge Odeon cinema. Paul Breen, director in the licensed leisure team at Savills, said: “This is a rare opportunity to acquire a restaurant operated by the group behind prestigious London venues such as Quaglino’s in St James’s and Chelsea’s Bluebird. Its position close to Islington Square will only enhance this location and should provide excellent rental growth potential in the future.”

El Pastor team to launch tortilla factory and taco bar near Maltby Street Market: Brothers Sam and James Hart and Crispin Somerville, who launched Mexican taqueira concept El Pastor in Southwark, south east London, in December 2016, are to launch an offshoot tortilla factory and taco bar near Maltby Street Market. Tortilleria El Pastor is due to open in Druid Street in late March making fresh tortillas from scratch every day to eat in or take away. The venue will seat 26 in total – 20 at tables and six at a high taco bar – and will also supply the nearby restaurant. Tortilleria El Pastor will feature an imported taco-making machine and use Mexican heirloom corn. Unlike the original taqueria, the new venue will offer sopes (thick corn mini-maize cakes piled with toppings), Hot Dinners reports. The drinks list will include El Pastor’s first batch of its own mezcal, made in partnership with Mexico-based La Clandestina mezcaleria. El Pastor is a bastardisation of “al pastor”, a Mexico City staple that roughly translates as “shepherd-style”. The Hart brothers also operate three Barrafina sites in London and Soho restaurant and members’ club Quo Vadis. Barrafina Soho was awarded a Michelin star in 2014.

Ribble Valley Inns puts Tarporley pub on market for £1m to focus on heartland: Ribble Valley Inns, the food-led pub brand of Northcote Leisure Group, is seeking a buyer for a grade II-listed pub near Tarporley, Cheshire, to focus on its heartland. The company is seeking offers of £1m for The Nag’s Head in the hamlet of Haughton Moss through agents Colliers International. Following a comprehensive refurbishment and extension, the pub’s ground floor features a bar, 20-cover dining area, 80-cover restaurant, catering kitchen and stores, three-bedroom manager’s flat, kitchen and bathroom. The 1.6-acre site also incorporates a two-storey detached cottage, a 60-capacity beer garden, a bowling green and parking. Ribble Valley Inns’ other pubs are The Three Fishes in Mitton, The Highwayman Inn in Kirkby Lonsdale, The Clog & Billycock in Blackburn, and The Bull in Skipton.

Somerset-based Italian restaurant brand Castello opens third site, in Yeovil: Somerset-based Italian restaurant brand Castello has opened its third site in the county, in Yeovil. The restaurant has opened in Park Road at a site formerly occupied by Beach Cafe and Bar. Jay Marchetti and Gen Fethai launched the concept in Frome in 2014, opening a second venue – in a former NatWest bank branch in Radstock – in February 2016. Marchetti told Somerset Live: “It is traditional Italian and Mediterranean food made in-house daily using fresh fish and vegetables.” Castello’s website states: “Everything at Castello is inspired by Italy and its traditions and values. Castello captures what makes Italians most proud – rustic dishes using recipes that are loved. The menu is full of authenticity and is driven by what you would find people eating all over Italy.”

Bishop’s Stortford-based nightclub operators take over bowling alley with plans to add bar, food court and indoor golf: Husband-and-wife team Brian and Jane Fraser, who operate Bacchus nightclub in Bishop’s Stortford, are to open a bowling alley in the Hertfordshire town. The Frasers will take over the vacant bowling alley at Anchor Street Leisure Park, with councillors hoping the move will play an important part in the regeneration of the town’s train station quarter. The opening will create 30 jobs. The couple will transform the venue by adding virtual reality golf, a food court, a sports bar and new bowling lanes ahead of a July opening. Anchor Street Leisure Park, which also features an Empire cinema, was purchased by developers Kier in December for £7.85m. The company is regenerating the site to complement the Goods Yard site development, which Kier is completing in conjunction with Network Rail. The company will spend £1m to refit the bowling alley after negotiating terms with the Frasers during the sale of the park. They also “renegotiated existing leases to allow future redevelopment”, which will give them the “flexibility to pursue a redevelopment or a refurbishment strategy”, the Hertfordshire Mercury reports.

Wales-based fish and chip company Finnegans to open first sit-down restaurant: Wales-based fish and chip company Finnegans is to open its first sit-down restaurant, in Porthcawl, after owners Huw and Sarah Jones acquired Sidoli’s Fish Restaurant in Well Street. Finnegans currently operates takeaway sites in Baglan, Bridgend, Porthcawl and Swansea. Huw Jones told The Barry GEM: “Station Hill in Porthcawl is still our busiest takeaway but taking over the Well Street site offers something different. We don’t serve fast food, we serve good food as fast as we can.” The restaurant will open from Monday (12 February) as the Finnegans@Well Street Fish Restaurant. It will also offer takeaway options.

Pub operator to reopen Derby city centre pub as 1920s-themed gay bar for third site: Daniel Woodward, who operates the Miners Arms in Brassington, Derbyshire, and the Black Lion Hotel in Ellesmere, Shropshire, will reopen a Derby city centre pub next week for his third site. The Duke of York, which has been closed for the past six months, will reopen on Friday, 16 February as Duke of York GAY, with a 1920s theme including staff uniforms and decor. The pub in Burton Road will offer themed nights, a specialist gin bar and 70-capacity function room. Woodward told the Derby Telegraph: “The old idea of a gay pub being all spangles and glitter is gone because the gay community doesn’t have to prove anything any more. What we are trying to achieve is a cool and safe environment for anyone who comes off the streets and wants to have a drink in what is going to be a great pub. The 1920s was the first time it became socially acceptable for tomboys to exist. Women had shorter haircuts and went out socialising and that’s in keeping with the gay theme. It’s something new and fresh and gives people choice.”

Shropshire-based independent pub operator opens third site: Shropshire-based independent pub operator Craft and Jam has opened its third site. The company, owned by Karl and Rebecca McGuire, has relaunched The Malthouse in Ironbridge following a major refurbishment. It features a world street food menu that has been inspired by many countries as well as “adding twists to classic favourites”. The McGuires also told Shropshire Live they had “big plans” for their other two venues – The Aston Taphouse in Newport and The Swan Smokehouse in Ironbridge.

NewRiver offers publicans sector-focused business advice: Property company NewRiver, which has a portfolio of more than 340 pubs across England and Wales, is offering its publicans access to accounting and business planning advice – from a pair of pub sector experts calling themselves 2 VAT Ladies. NewRiver has engaged Judy Seymour and Anne Moffat to offer their expertise to tenants. The duo set up CMS Pub Accountancy Services a decade ago and recently began styling themselves 2 VAT Ladies after the name was chosen as the winner of a competition between the company’s two offices. David Shipton, asset development director for New River’s pub portfolio, said: “2 VAT Ladies will join our other pub accounting specialists, Roslyn’s, in offering our publicans a great-value, quick and efficient service. Judy and Anne both have in-depth understanding of the pub sector so will be able to advise publicans from a position of knowledge, something we think is important if we’re to provide our tenants with the very best support services.”

Douglas Jack – we remain positive on the long-term investment case at Ei Group: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said he remains positive on the long-term investment case at Ei Group. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 165p, Jack said: “Pub Partnership’s like-for-like net income grew 0.5% in the first quarter versus a 1.6% comparable. Like-for-like net income is slightly softer than we expected, partly due to snow and slightly softer trading conditions in January. Like-for-like rent growth was stable, whereas product sales were in growth. We believe Market Rent Only option negotiations are holding back rental growth, whereas product growth is benefiting from positive drink-led trends and tied licensees extending their buying range to take advantage of Ei Group’s bulk purchasing power in areas such as food and utilities. In the managed estate, like-for-like sales grew 6.8% in the first quarter (outpacing the pubs constituent of the Coffer Peach Business Tracker – +1.4%) aided by the estate being wet-led and freshly invested. A total of 94 of the 291 managed pubs were in the like-for-like estate calculation and we believe these pubs enjoyed a strong Christmas. Sector trends are also supportive – the wet-led pubs sector overtook food-led pubs in relation to growth in drink sales per outlet in the fourth quarter of 2017. In the commercial leased estate, like-for-like net income was up 4.6% in the first quarter. The managed estate’s expansion has slowed slightly, with the ‘emphasis on quality over quantity’. This year, we now forecast 390 managed pubs (versus 256 at the end of 2017) versus our previous forecast of 407 in September 2018. We are holding our 2018E forecast, which also assumes 2.6% growth in average tenanted/leased pub profitability after tail-end disposals (in 2017, 224 pubs were sold, we forecast 175 in 2018E) and 1.9% growth in managed like-for-like sales. In 2018E, we forecast Ebitda falling by 0.7%, outpaced by net debt falling by 4.1%, creating 13% growth in equity value. The company has sufficient debt facilities to repay the £100m 2018 corporate bond (6.5% coupon) and buy-back shares (worth £20m in 2018E, of which almost £8m has already been done). We remain positive on the long-term investment case.”

North Kent pub operator to launch private members’ club on Isle of Sheppey: North Kent pub operator Ricky King is to launch a private members’ club on the Isle of Sheppey. King, who owns the King’s Arms pub in Minster village, is converting the former Sheppey Catamaran Club in Marine Parade into Popeye’s Coastal Club. It is due to open on Thursday, 1 March. King told Kent Online: “I have been trying to get the venue for the past two years and now it is finally coming together. It’s time Sheppey started celebrating that it’s a seaside resort again. There should be somewhere on an island where people can eat and drink with a sea view. I have named it after Popeye to give it a nautical theme and it will feature all sorts of ship memorabilia.”

Black and White Hospitality introduces new Bardolino menu: Marco Pierre White’s franchised restaurant company Black and White Hospitality has introduced a new menu for its Bardolino Pizzeria Bellini & Espresso Bar brand. The new menu still focuses on White’s ethos of casual, authentic and affordable Italian dining, while new set price lunch and early-dinner menus have been added following customer feedback. Pizza and pasta is still the focus of the restaurants alongside burgers – such as the barbecue-glazed beef burger with pancetta bacon and blue cheese – and salads that include roast chicken and avocado Caesar also added to the offer. The Bardolino brunch has also had a makeover, with all breakfast items served on toast and available until 5pm. There are Bardolino Pizzeria Bellini & Espresso Bar sites in Birmingham, Bristol and Swindon.

Pizza Hut extends IT contract with Retail Assist: Pizza Hut has signed a new deal with Nottingham-based retail software provider Retail Assist following the completion of a four-year contract. Pizza Hut has extended the deal until 2020. Pizza Hut Restaurants UK service delivery manager Bill Parker said: “Our relationship with Retail Assist continues to strengthen. We have a dependable support partner in Retail Assist, which truly understands the business impact of IT downtime on Pizza Hut Restaurants operations and works hard to ensure we always receive exceptional service.” Retail Assist chief executive Dan Smith added: “We are proud to continue supporting Pizza Hut Restaurants’ IT strategy.”

Eden Project submits new hotel plans: The Eden Project has submitted new plans in its bid to build a 109-bedroom hotel on its site near St Austell, Cornwall. The most significant redesign is merging two buildings into one to reduce visual impact, allowing the hotel to blend in more with the landscape. The Eden Project said the new design was more in line with its sustainability mission and would demonstrate “best practice for accessibility and inclusivity”. The attraction was granted planning permission for the hotel in February 2017. If the amended plans are approved, construction would begin in November with an opening in spring 2020. The hotel would support projects, partners and future developments at Eden as well as providing accommodation for visitors to big events such as the Eden Sessions summer concerts. The hotel will be funded by commercial and private borrowing, with up to 40 jobs created including apprenticeship opportunities.

PizzaExpress joins restaurant line-up at Rushden Lakes: PizzaExpress has joined the restaurant line-up at the Rushden Lakes development in Northamptonshire. The company has opened the 196-seater venue, creating 25 jobs. It draws heavy inspiration from its lakeside location, bringing a mixture of “classic design with a modern twist”. PizzaExpress has joined a number of operators at the complex, including Tasty-owned Wildwood, Bill’s, Foodco-owned international cafe restaurant brand Jamaica Blue and Patisserie Valerie.