Wok&Go to open 25th site next week as it adds third Liverpool outlet: UK noodle bar brand Wok&Go, which is undertaking a £500,000 crowdfunding campaign, will open its 25th site next week as it adds to its Liverpool footprint. The company will open the outlet on Wednesday (15 November) at the Liverpool ONE complex – its third venue in the city. Its other two sites in the city, which Wok&Go said were among its busiest branches, are in Bold Street and next to Liverpool Central station. Wok&Go is aiming to raise £500,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open a flagship store in London and plans to open another 13 sites in the next year. The company, founded by Des Pheby, is offering a 5.26% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “Since opening in Chester in 2008, we have grown into a distinct brand-led fusion food chain, blending the best from Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. We are now raising funds to open a London flagship store, which will not only provide a new source of revenue but support expansion of the concept locally and internationally by increasing brand awareness. Revenue in FY17 was £7.4m, delivering an Ebitda of £483,000. The London store will require circa £200,000 in capex and circa £300,000 for lease purchase, fit-out costs and launch costs based on the store delivering a positive contribution after three months of opening. If we raise more than £500,000, we would look to finance a second central London location. We plan to open one new UK franchise per month and increase our international roll-out in 2018. In three to five years, we see the business as an attractive buyout opportunity for either another restaurant group or a private equity firm looking for a cash-positive international concept they can scale further.”
Hakkasan Group reveals further details of Mexico venture: UK-based nightclub and restaurant company Hakkasan Group has revealed further details of its planned ventures at the Vidanta resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. The new offerings will debut in early 2018 as part of a $150m deal between Hakkasan Group and Latin American resort developer Grupo Vidanta. The two companies first announced the partnership in April 2016. Among the offer will be Omnia Dayclub, Hakkasan’s first venue south of the US border. The site, which will be on the beach front overlooking the Sea of Cortez, features a central pool with surrounding smaller pools, cabanas and VIP bungalows. Two restaurants to debut alongside Omnia include the previously announced Herringbone, the first international location from chef Brian Malarkey, whose Fish Meets Field concept has outposts in Las Vegas, Hawaii and California. The second restaurant, Casa Calavera, is positioned alongside Omnia and will feature a Mexican food and drinks menu in a venue that acts as a “nod to the local culture”, with interiors that feature “traditional Mexican calavera art and an authentic Dia de los Muertos theme at its core”. Hakkasan and Grupo will also debut Shorebar at Vidanta Los Cabos, a pool-side venue with a pavilion design and an Airstream trailer where guests can order food, reports Vegas Seven.
Revolution eyes Southampton site for Revolucion de Cuba: Revolution Bars Group is planning to open a Revoluciòn de Cuba over three floors in Above Bar Street, Southampton. It would be located on the sites of a former Lloyds Bank branch and a Millets clothes store at the junction of Civic Centre Road. The 9,074 square foot bar would open between 11am and 1.30am seven days a week. In a statement Firstplan, the planning consultant developing the site on behalf of Revoluciòn de Cuba, said the plans would “contribute to the vibrancy of the area”. It added: “The applicant would invest a significant sum in refurbishing the building, upgrading and enhancing both the shopfront and the internal environment. A large number of full and part-time jobs will also be created.” Councillor Satvir Kaur, culture and leisure portfolio holder for culture on Southampton City Council, said: “No-one likes to see empty properties on our high street so it’s encouraging businesses are interested in revitalising empty spaces and offering local jobs.”
The Chestnut Group opens sixth site: Pub operator The Chestnut Group has opened its sixth site, The Black Lion hotel in Long Melford, Suffolk. The company has refurbished the site in The Green to feature a bar with log fires, a 40-cover restaurant and a drawing room. A conservatory has been added that leads to a large terrace for alfresco dining. There are also ten bedrooms, including a luxury suite and family room. The Chestnut Group founder Philip Turner said: “Our aim is for The Black Lion to be a place locals are proud of and a destination of choice for the growing number of visitors to the area each year. We are a Suffolk-based business investing heavily across the region to showcase what East Anglia has to offer in terms of food, attractions, countryside and hospitality.”
Cinnamon Collection opens Oxford restaurant for first site outside London: The Cinnamon Collection, which is owned by Boparan Restaurants, has opened a restaurant in Oxford, its first outside London and second for its Cinnamon Kitchen brand. The company, which also operates The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Soho and Cinnamon Bazaar, has opened the 110-cover venue at the new £440m Westgate development. The 4,000 square foot restaurant features a large destination bar on the ground floor, an open-plan kitchen, a chef’s table and a semi-private “pagoda”. A rooftop terrace seats an additional 40 diners with views of the Oxford spires. The bar offers spice-infused cocktails created by renowned mixologist Tony Conigliaro, local craft beer and more than 50 wines. Head chef Thangavel Murugavel has created an all-day menu, while hot Kerala-spiced lobster soup and flambéed desserts will be served tableside from a trolley. The Cinnamon Collection, led by chef Vivek Singh, launched the debut Cinnamon Kitchen in the City of London almost a decade ago. The company will open a third site for the brand at the Battersea Power Station redevelopment in south London later this month. Westgate Oxford features 25 restaurants and bars, including Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Pizza Pilgrims, Dirty Bones, Pho, The Breakfast Club, The Alchemist, Nando’s and a Curzon boutique cinema.
Gusto to open £1m Sutton Coldfield site next month: Premium casual dining restaurant brand Gusto, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, will open a site in Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands next month. The 156-cover, 4,000 square foot restaurant and cocktail bar will open at the Mulberry Walk development in Mere Green on Thursday, 30 November following a £1m investment and creating 60 jobs. The venue will also feature an outside terrace seating 40 diners. Private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre and Prezzo already operate venues at the shopping complex, while Gusto operates a site in nearby Birmingham city centre. Managing director Sue Crimes told the Birmingham Mail: “Mere Green is a really exciting development for us. We believe our restaurant ethos meets the demographics of the area. Birmingham has been a critical part of our development plan and we are delighted to expand into Sutton Coldfield.” Palatine Private Equity supported Crimes and the management team in a management buyout of Gusto from Living Ventures in 2014. Last month, the company told Propel it aims to open three sites in the south of England in the next 18 months having established itself across the north west, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Scotland. Gusto opened its first London-based restaurant, in Chislehurst, in the summer – its 18th site in total. The company has now started a search for further sites inside the M25 and surrounding south east.
Eataly addresses long queues at Los Angeles site with Twitter ‘line-o-meter’: Italian food emporium Eataly has attempted to address long queues at its new Los Angeles venue by introducing a “Line-O-Meter” on social media platform Twitter. Eataly opened the site at Westfield Century City last Friday (3 November), with the queues on launch day close to three hours and almost 1,000 people, according to a source. By the following day, many of the food vendors had almost sold out, according to another source, and by Monday (6 November), Eataly took the decision to close the site to “reassess”, according to Eataly’s Twitter account. The reassessment has led to the introduction of a system that alerts prospective customers of predicted wait times. Customers can now access real-time updates on wait times using the Line-O-Meter via Eataly’s Twitter account and Instagram. The times range from “hot, hot, hot” chilli peppers (more than two hours) to “not hot, just full of flavour” green peppers (walk right in), reports Hollywood Reporter.
BrewDog to open superpub for second Edinburgh site, crowdfunding campaign passes £4m mark, starts recruitment drive: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is to open a “superpub” for its second Edinburgh site. The company is converting a former Clydesdale Bank building in Lothian Road. Planning permission for the site – its 46th in total – was granted earlier this year and an alcohol licence application has been approved. BrewDog’s plans include 25 taps of craft beer, food, an outside seating area, and an integrated BottleDog. The company’s other site in the city, in Cowgate, opened in 2011, reports STV. Meanwhile, BrewDog’s fifth round of Equity for Punks, which is looking to raise £10m with the potential to extend to £50m, has now passed the £4m mark. The company has also launched a recruitment drive in the UK, with sales up 93% at the end of September. There are eight on-trade and three off-trade sales positions available. Head of UK sales Steve Ricketts said: “Craft beer continues to buck the sales trend in the UK and our phenomenal year so far is testament to that fact. Beer drinkers are increasingly savvy and expect flavour and character from the beers they drink and their local pubs and bars to offer a rich variety of options. Our success so far demonstrates the craft beer revolution is far from over and, as we gear up for 2018, we’re ready to take it up a notch and bring more passionate people into the BrewDog family.”
Birmingham-based restaurant group Lasan to open second site for Argentinian concept Fiesta Del Asado: Birmingham-based restaurant group Lasan is to open a second site for its Argentinian concept Fiesta Del Asado. Lasan Group launched Fiesta Del Asado in Hagley Road, Birmingham, in 2012. It now plans to open a second site, in Stratford Road, Solihull, featuring live music nights. Fiesta Del Asado offers steak in rustic surroundings, with meat placed on a grill and lowered over apple-wood embers. Other dishes include Argentine stuffed pastries with roasted red pepper chilli, and grilled cod loin wrapped in serrano ham and marinated in lemon and thyme with roasted vegetables. Lasan Group chief executive Jabbar Khan told the Birmingham Mail: “We’re very excited to be opening a new Fiesta Del Asado. Although we’re still at the planning stage, we hope to announce an opening date soon.” Lasan Group also operates Indian fine dining restaurant Lasan in the Jewellery Quarter, Raja Monkey in Hall Green, Nosh And Quaff in the city centre and Izza Pizza at Selfridges, all in Birmingham. Last month, Lasan Group co-owner Aktar Islam announced he was stepping down as chef director to pursue other opportunities.
Punch trials food support across leased and tenanted estate: Punch has developed three new menus, categorised by pub and customer type, to maximise food sales. The menus will be available to its tenanted and leased estate for the first time as well as its retail division. The trial is taking place in six Punch pubs, with a full launch planned for the spring. Punch said the menus had been created following in-depth consumer insight and publican feedback. To further support the offer, Punch will select ingredients from a wide range of national and regional suppliers to create the right food offer for the right pub. The Village Pub And Kitchen menu is designed for destination pubs that regularly welcome new customers, the Pub Classics menu will suit more traditional British pub dishes, while the Our Local menu will feature on-trend dishes for pubs with a “more discerning customer base”. The Punch Buying Club has also joined forces with the Punch food team to create a series of blogs on how to create a successful pub menu, source food, develop dishes, and learn how food is priced and what goes into designing and marketing a new menu. Punch head of food Andrew Jobes said: “It’s important for us to ensure we’re offering not only our managed pubs support with seasonal menus but also our leased and tenanted publicans. Pub food is unique to the British market and we’re aware customers are looking for high-quality food with some innovation.”
North west-based Olive Tree Brasserie lodges plans for fourth site, in Warrington: North west-based Olive Tree Brasserie has lodged plans to open its fourth site, in Warrington, Cheshire. The company has applied to Warrington Borough Council to change the use of a former Lloyds Bank branch in the suburb of Stockton Heath, which closed in March. The venue in London Road would open from midday to 10.30pm daily with the creation of 14 jobs, reports the Warrington Guardian. Olive Tree Brasserie’s other sites are in Chester, Preston, and Lytham St Annes.
Wine merchant launches online 60-minute delivery service in London: Wine merchant Wanderlust has launched an online service that delivers wine to Londoners within the hour. Wine On Demand allows customers to order quality bottles from small, artisan producers around the world and have them delivered in less than 60 minutes. Wanderlust is the first wine merchant to offer the service in the capital, with the service available daily and orders taken from 9am to 10.30pm. Wanderlust Wine was founded by Richard Ellison, a former banker, chef and food and wine technologist, who “noticed a gap in the market and filled it accordingly”. He said: “This represents a significant step up from what’s currently available to Londoners. Ordering direct through us, as actual wine merchants, means there is more in it for the producer and consumer.”
Liberty London opens restaurant in partnership with Levy UK: Department store Liberty London has opened its restaurant in partnership with catering and hospitality company Levy UK, marking the completion of a year-long renovation at the store. Arthur’s takes inspiration from Liberty London’s heritage and its name from the man who founded the company, Arthur Liberty. The menu uses artisan produce from Liberty London’s Mini British Food Hall and has been created with the culinary team at Levy UK. It includes open sandwiches such as beetroot, cured salmon and avocado, and salt beef and fresh horseradish on rye or sourdough, alongside salads. Desserts include warm madeleines, pink lady cake, popcorn chocolate brownies and carrot cake. The bar, which runs the length of the restaurant, features hand-glazed diamond tiles with a pastel palette of pinks, greys and blues on the marble counter. Furniture includes banquette seating, brass and copper details, and reclaimed pendant lighting. Levy UK operations director for London James Greetham told Incentive Travel: “The opening of Arthur’s marks the completion of year-long renovations throughout the store and is a celebration of Liberty’s heritage. The unique craftsmanship is presented in our menus, from the afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes to our tea and champagne selection.”
Kellogg’s to open permanent site for cereal cafe concept: Kellogg’s is to open a permanent site for its cereal cafe concept in New York next month. The food manufacturer will launch the venue on Thursday, 7 December in the Union Square neighbourhood. Based in East 17th Street, the site will be five times larger than the company’s pop-up cafe in Times Square, which closed in August after little more than a year in operation. Anchored by an open-concept kitchen, where guests can watch as cereal creations are made, diners will be able to select items off the menu or create their own combination. Kellogg’s marketing director Aleta Chase said: “We’re excited that people can experience cereal in new ways at our permanent location compared with other pop-ups, which we’ve seen can come and go quickly. We’re excited to see how people rethink the possibilities of cereal and how their creations might inspire us to bring new products to life.”
Black Bear Burger goes from pop-up to permanent at Boxpark Shoreditch: Black Bear Burger, operated by husband-and-wife team Liz and Stew Down, has had its pop-up at Boxpark Shoreditch turned into a permanent site. The Downs launched the concept last year and operated a part-time stall at Broadway Market and a residency at Street Feast Hawker House before deciding to go full-time, giving up their jobs as an oil analyst and specialist nurse respectively. Items on the menu include The Black Bear (aged beef patty with American cheese, onion jam, pancetta and garlic mayo), and the Brunch Burger (slow-cooked pulled pork with bloody mary sauce, fried egg, bacon and smashed avocado). Other permanent newcomers to Boxpark Shoreditch include Snapchat’s first store outside the US for its video-recording sunglasses, Spectacles.
Northern Powerhouse Developments acquires 11th hotel with Devon site: Property company Northern Powerhouse Developments has acquired its 11th hotel. The company has bought the 100-bedroom The Royal Hotel in Woolacombe, Devon, in a deal brokered by agents JLL. The hotel, set in 2.5 acres on the approach to the beaches of Woolacombe, will be rebranded as the Atlantic Bay Hotel and refurbished to provide a range of bedrooms, lounge areas, conference and event facilities, restaurant, swimming pool, fitness suite and cocktail bar. Northern Powerhouse Developments hotels chief executive Richard Lewis told Insider Media: “We are establishing ourselves in the UK market and The Royal Hotel represents our 11th acquisition with more soon to be announced. Over the coming months we plan to undertake a comprehensive scheme of renovation and refurbishment to breathe new life into what is a fantastic property in a superb location.”
ETM Group transforms City pub to chophouse concept: ETM Group, the 14-strong gastro-pub operator led by brothers Ed and Tom Martin, has transformed The White Swan Pub and Dining Room in the City into a chophouse. The venue in Fetter Lane has undergone a full refurbishment and has seen the arrival of new chef Sergio Araujo, who was previously at the company’s The Botanist site in Sloane Square. Upholding the chophouse tradition that dates to the 16th century, The White Swan has a new menu in the ground-floor pub and 40-cover first-floor dining room that “champions provenance with skilled cooking and gutsy flavours using the very best of British ingredients”. Meat comes from the whole carcasses of heritage breeds, sourced from small British livestock farmers for nose-to-tail dining. Cuts change daily, while seafood is also responsibly sourced from south coast day boats alongside a variety of pub classics. The bar offers a selection of craft brews, including sister pub The Jugged Hare’s pale ale, draught ale, stout and cider, alongside wine and cocktails. The new interiors blend classic with contemporary featuring exposed brickwork, stuffed animals, butcher’s tiles and vintage champagne racks contrasting with polished concrete and on-trend Edison bulb lighting.