Patrick Dardis – Young’s has ‘no intention’ of rolling-out Smiths of Smithfield, will ‘invest up to £800,000 in site’: Young’s chief executive Patrick Dardis has told Propel the company’s new acquisition, Smiths of Smithfield, will “slot in its estate perfectly” as a high-quality standalone site with “no intention of rolling the brand out”. He said: “It’s like our Guinea of Mayfair site on steroids.” Dardis added that wet sales made up 50% of sales at the flagship site and the company had experience of selling high-quality steak. The company stated: “Smiths of Smithfield is a perfect fit with our premium food and drink offering and will immediately become our largest venue with an average weekly take of more than £100,000. Smiths of Smithfield and the Cannon Street site are both leasehold properties, with 32 years and 24 years tenure remaining respectively, and we are confident their focus on world-class steak, breakfast and craft beer will perfectly complement our existing estate.” Smiths of Smithfield opened 17 years ago and Dardis, who reported the sites were acquired in an off-market deal, said the site was ready for investment over its five floors with up to £800,000 earmarked for the work. Dardis said the acquisition took into account the current redevelopment of the area, which when complete next year would turn it into a “mini Covent Garden”. Meanwhile, Dardis said the company’s Burger Shack offer, with about 25 sites, had achieved 20% volume growth in the company’s first half. He added: “It has worked everywhere we’ve put it in.” The company’s 33 Geronimo sites were now “only just lagging behind” the rest of the managed estate in like-for-like terms after a sizeable gap in performance opened up a couple of years ago. “We are very pleased with it,” said Dardis.

Spaghetti House reports increased losses as turnover falls: London restaurant company Spaghetti House, owned by the Lavarini family and operating the Spaghetti House and Pescatori brands, has reported increased losses following a fall in turnover. The company saw turnover drop to £12,395,424 for the year ending 26 March 2017 compared with £13,188,217 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Pre-tax losses increased to £528,171, compared with a loss of £136,262 the year before. The company stated: “The directors are content with the group’s results. Despite the current challenging UK economy, London property market, and an increase in the number and styles of eating-out establishments within the catering sector, the group achieved revenue of £12.40m. The group had a healthy balance sheet as at 26 March 2017, with net assets of £901,259. The group continues to build on the financial performance achieved during the period and actively reviews the market place for new sites and opportunities to grow and expand the business. The directors view the future prospects of the group with a positive outlook.”

McDonald’s moving towards ‘more stable’ revenue stream by 2019: Chief financial officer Kevin Ozan has said McDonald’s is moving towards a “more stable” revenue stream by 2019. Speaking during the company’s Global Consumer Conference, Ozan said: “We have been going through a bit of a transformation during the past couple of years from a company that had a decent amount of franchise restaurants to a company that will be almost 95% franchise. Right now, we are about 91% to 92% franchise. Most of our big transactions are completed. We will continue to do some franchising but most of the big transactions are complete. Franchising has saved us general and administrative expenses (G&A) and capital and given us a stable revenue stream so 2019, which is really the first clean year because we have a lot of transactions in 2017 we’ll go up against in 2018, will be the beginning of what I would call the ‘new norm’, where the growth targets we’ve set out would be 3% to 5% system-wide sales growth, operating margin in the mid-40s, earnings per share growth in the high single digits, and return on invested capital in the mid-20s. So we’re moving towards this more stable revenue stream beginning in 2019.” Regarding McDonald’s move towards cutting G&A by $500m by the end of 2018, Ozan was asked how the company was phasing in those reductions. He said: “We won’t realise that $500m in 2018 but, by the end of 2018, we’ll have carried out all the actions required so going into 2019 the run rate of savings is about $500m. At the same time we’ve substantially increased our investment in IT and technology so gross savings will be more than that $500m, which is a net number, which means in addition to saving that we’ve shifted some of our remaining G&A, what I’d call maintenance running the business G&A, to more investment G&A focused on growing the business.”

Hop Stuff Brewery founder considers further crowdfunding to accelerate taproom growth, reveals details of first site outside London: Hop Stuff Brewery founder James Yeomans has told Propel he is considering another crowdfunding round to accelerate the growth of its taproom concept after revealing details of the company’s first site outside London. Hop Stuff Brewery, which raised almost £750,000 on Crowdcube earlier this year, has secured a venue in Ashford, Kent, to add to its SE18 taproom at its brewery in Woolwich and the SE8, which will open in the Market Yard in Deptford later this year. The new site in Bank Street is due to open early next year and the 3,500 square foot taproom, which will be its biggest to date, will also feature a micro-brewery. As well as sourdough pizza and its own craft beer, the Ashford taproom will also serve a small selection of ales from other breweries, particularly from Kent. Yeomans said: “We’re very excited to have our first site outside London and the more I think about it, I don’t want to stop growing. That’s why I’m thinking about another round of crowdfunding. As I see it we have two choices. We can do one or two more taprooms and wait for the cash flow to generate to open more or we can use our Woolwich site as proof of concept and look at crowdfunding to finance it. We’ve managed three taprooms and a new brewery with the funds so far and I’d love to have taprooms across the south of England. They are an excellent shopfront for our brewery.” Yeomans said he expected revenue to hit the £3.5m mark in 2018. He added: “It was a significant gamble when we decided to open our first taproom but it was the right thing to do. We think it’s a simple concept done well.”

Muffin Break to open four UK stores next month and ten more before end of June: Muffin Break is to open four cafes in early December with another ten planned for next year. The first four sites will be in Camberley, Romford, Birkenhead and Hull. Each will be about 1,500 square feet, provide 60 to 80 covers and create up to 14 jobs. The locations are all in busy shopping centres, increasing the brand’s exposure and maximising footfall for franchisees. The other ten cafes are expected to open before the end of June 2018. Muffin Break head of estates Josh Nixon said: “We’re delighted Muffin Break is really taking off in the UK and we’re rapidly expanding into new areas. Demand has been driven by our fresh menu items that are made daily in-store, our premium roasted coffee beans, and our high standards of customer service. We’ve revamped our cafes, giving them a new-look, rustic feel and all this is helping to bring people through the door. We can offer landlords an alternative model to the high-street chains.” Founded in Australia, there are more than 300 Muffin Break sites worldwide, including 60 in the UK.

White Brasserie Company to open first Oxfordshire pub next month after taking on Punch site: The White Brasserie Company, led by chef Raymond Blanc, is to open its first pub in Oxfordshire, in Thame next month. The Black Horse Hotel, which is owned by Punch, has been closed since September and will reopen on Monday, 18 December with an extended kitchen and a former stable block converted into a dining area. The 17th century, grade II-listed venue is six miles from Blanc’s two Michelin-starred restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, while his other Oxfordshire restaurant is a Brasserie Blanc in Jericho. He told the Oxford Mail: “I am very proud of the pubs we have opened alongside our Brasserie Blanc restaurants. They are typical English pubs and The Black Horse will have the same rich interior decor, a great bar to lean on with a pint, snugs and cosy spaces and, of course, wonderful home-cooked food.” In the summer, The Brasserie Blanc group secured a £20m facility from Oaknorth to finance the roll-out of 24 new sites and employ a further 700 staff by 2022, taking its total estate to 59 locations. The move follows the success of the White Brasserie Company pub business, which now has 15 sites. At the time, chief executive Mark Derry said: “Pubs offer us an avenue into more remote locations. It’s an uninvested sector with a sad 20-year history. We can put our people and money to work to improve interesting and fun places.”

Brewhouse & Kitchen gets go-ahead for Milton Keynes site: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the brewpub business led by Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn, has received planning permission to launch its latest venue – in Milton Keynes. The company will transform 7 Savoy Crescent, a “prominent” building with an atrium that overlooks The Hub leisure complex. Brewhouse & Kitchen will increase the building’s overall licensed areas by more than 2,500 square feet, providing a new mezzanine floor at third-floor level within the atrium that will be used for private functions. The company will also create a balcony and terrace on the third floor and use raised planters to create an external seating area at the front of the unit, Insider Media reports. The site was previously occupied by a pub restaurant, one of a number of bars and restaurants that are part of the 12th Street development, previously known as the Theatre District. Brewhouse & Kitchen currently operates 17 venues across England and will open its 18th, in Cardiff next year, for its first site in Wales.

Burning Night Group passes 50% mark in £750,000 crowdfunding campaign to launch sports-themed concept: Bar company Burning Night Group has passed the 50% mark in its £750,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to launch a new sports-themed concept – Sportskeller. The company has identified four sites for the new concept and is looking to raise up to £2m in the campaign with a minimum target of £750,000 in return for an equity stake of 3.61%. So far, 178 investors have pledged £377,930 with 16 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £150,000. The company operates six sites under The Bierkeller Entertainment Complex banner, which house three concepts under one roof – Bierkeller Bavarian bar, sports bar Shooters and Around the World. Sportskeller will unite some of the most popular elements of the Bierkeller and Shooters brands. It has launched the crowdfunding campaign to roll out the concept into towns and cities smaller than those that house its full Bierkeller Entertainment Complexes. Burning Night Group chief executive Allan Harper said: “Our bars are thriving so we are ambitious to expand further and we already have several sites in excellent locations earmarked for development.” Burning Night Group also locates, develops and manages Potting Shed and Fire Pit branded bars on behalf of the Potting Shed Group and will launch its latest concept, American-style barbecue restaurant Smokin’ Bar & Kitchen, in Leeds this month. It employs more than 500 people and had a turnover in 2016 of more than £17m.

Hong Kong-based JIA Group to bring Duddell’s brand to London this month for company’s UK debut: JIA Group, founded by restaurateur Yenn Wong, is to launch a site for its Duddell’s restaurant and art space concept in London next month for the company’s first UK site. Duddell’s London will open in St Thomas Church on Tuesday, 28 November and, as at its two Michelin-starred counterpart in Hong Kong, will showcase authentic Cantonese dishes and handcrafted dim sum. The kitchen will be headed by former Hakkasan Group executive chef Daren Liew and will offer dishes such as chargrilled black cod with Chinese-aged vinegar, and Guandong crispy salted chicken. Duddell’s London will also feature a destination bar focusing on wine and craft cocktails, while a mezzanine level will offer a semi-private dining space overlooking the restaurant. Designed by Michaelis Boyd, the space will maximise elements of the grade II-listed building, with an altar retained on the ground floor alongside a new open dim sum kitchen. The bar will have the retro feel of a 1960s Hong Kong “tea restaurant”. JIA Group launched Duddell’s in 2013 to create an “inspiring backdrop where people can meet, eat, drink and socialise while surrounded by museum-quality art exhibitions”. The company owns and operates 11 restaurants in Hong Kong, including Aberdeen Street Social in partnership with chef Jason Atherton.

Ivy Collection offers online reservations for first time, at forthcoming King’s Cross site: The Ivy Collection is offering online reservations for the first time, at its new site – Granary Square Brasserie in King’s Cross, London. The company has previously only accepted reservations by phone but the 250-cover restaurant in Stable Street is now allowing bookings through its website. The restaurant, which formerly housed Bruno Loubet’s Grain Store restaurant, will open on Wednesday, 6 December. The space will include a lounge and 14-cover bar as well as a 110-cover restaurant. There will also be a 37-cover lounge for meetings and a 73-seater terrace that will overlook Granary Square’s fountains and Regent’s Canal. The Ivy Collection said Granary Square Brasserie would “redefine all-day dining for residents and visitors alike, offering a welcoming place to meet, hang out, eat and drink, any time of the day, seven days a week”. A resident DJ will play each evening. The menu will combine modern British brasserie-style cooking and dishes found in all-day restaurants on the American east and west coasts. Harry Brown has been appointed general manager and William Beatty, previously at Hix Restaurant Group, will be bar manager.

Rhubarb to launch British restaurant concept Vivi in London’s Centre Point: Food experience brand and events caterer Rhubarb is to launch British restaurant concept Vivi in London’s new Centre Point development. The 290-cover, 16,000 square foot venue will open in April following a multimillion-pound refurbishment as the flagship dining destination within Centre Point. Vivi will occupy the main floor of the bridge link overlooking Oxford Street and a new square. The menu will focus on “nostalgic British food inspired by the 1960s”, including dishes such as chicken à la king (sautéed chicken with mushrooms, cream and white wine), cauliflower cheese croquettes with slow-roasted tomatoes, and banana splits to share. Designed by SAY Architects, the interiors will include digital art, geometric patterns including original tiling from the grade II-listed space, a central marble bar and signature lighting mimicking 1960s puzzle toy Play Plax. Rhubarb managing director PB Jacobse said: “We are delighted to develop another distinctive new food and drink concept in what is one of London’s most iconic buildings. We have every confidence Vivi will reflect the creativity, style and precision synonymous with the Rhubarb brand.” Rhubarb operates outlets in more than 60 venues across London and the Home Counties, including the Royal Albert Hall, Heathrow airport, Royal Ascot racecourse and the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex. Centre Point is being redeveloped by Almacantar to create 82 apartments with a square surrounded by 45,000 square feet of restaurants and shops.

Pub Invest Group converts two Liverpool bars into second site for McCooley’s brand: Liverpool-based Pub Invest Group has converted its Smokie Mo’s venue in Mathew Street and the adjacent Café Sports Bar, previously owned by England footballer Jamie Carragher, into a second site for its McCooley’s brand. Pub Invest Group, which opened its debut McCooley’s bar in Concert Square in 2015, has opened the new venue spanning two floors and 6,500 square feet. It features a restaurant, bar, shuffleboard and pool tables, and televisions screening major sporting events. McCooley’s also offers live music nights and a menu of pub classics. Pub Invest Group spokesman Gary Bond told the Liverpool Echo: “After the huge success of the first McCooley’s, bringing another site to this part of town was the obvious next step. The group has fused music, sports and an Irish theme in a perfect mix.” Last month, Pub Invest Group launched 1980s and 1990s-style bar and club Rewind in Liverpool. Its website states it operates more than 30 sites across the north west including Boston Pool Loft, Moloko, Grove, Kaiserkeller, Legends, La’Go, Sgt Pepper’s, and Brooklyn Mixer.

Holborn Leisure to reopen Truscott Arms under new name in March for third site: Holborn Leisure, the new venture from former Racine chef patron Henry Harris and James McCulloch, owner of The Harcourt in Marylebone, will reopen The Truscott Arms in Maida Vale, west London, under a new name in March. The company is renaming the pub the Hero of Maida. It will feature a ground-floor space amid the original bar fittings, with a first-floor dining room serving a more developed menu featuring French cuisine and traditional Sunday roast. The opening will be the third site for Holborn Leisure, which previously revealed it would also reopen The Three Cranes in the City next month and the Coach & Horses in Clerkenwell in January. The food side of the business is being driven by Harris, who will create seasonal menus relevant to each individual pub and blending French and British influences.

Shropshire-based Italian restaurant doubles up: Shropshire-based Italian restaurant Carlini has doubled up by opening a site in the village of Albrighton. Owners Michael Gale and Laura Goodman launched the concept, which offers a new take on dishes inspired by the 20 regions of Italy, in Shifnal in February. Now it has invested £200,000 to transform the former Indian restaurant Masala Lounge in High Street, Albrighton, into the new venue. Set over two floors, the restaurant caters for 65 people across a mix of booths and open-plan seating and features a deep blue-and-white colour scheme synonymous with the Mediterranean. Gale told the Express & Star: “Our sister restaurant in Shifnal has proved an overwhelming success and has given us the platform to open our second location 12 months ahead of schedule.” The duo said they were also identifying possible locations for further restaurants in the future.

Leeds-based vegan chef launches crowdfunding campaign to open cafe, deli and cookery school: Leeds-based chef India Silvani-Jones has launched a fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to establish The Jungle Kitchen, a 100% vegan cafe, deli and cookery school. Silvani-Jones has operated a series of pop-ups across Leeds and in 2015 launched the city’s first 100% vegan supper club, in which people were invited to her home for a vegan meal. The Jungle Kitchen would operate as a kitchen and deli while also hosting cooking workshops to teach the basics of vegan cooking. Silvani-Jones aims to raise £3,000 to help with startup costs, with contributors receiving a variety of rewards including four-course meals. She told Insider Media: “I would love to make vegan food more accessible to everyone, whether they’re vegan or not – no judgment, no conversations about the dairy industry or slaughterhouses. I don’t want to be top secret any more, I want to feed more people. I’ve launched this Kickstarter campaign to help towards The Jungle Kitchen’s startup costs and bring more vegan food to the exciting and rapidly growing Leeds independent food scene.”

Craft brewer eyes Dundee development for second site: Craft brewer St Andrews Brewing Company has submitted plans to become one of the first operators to occupy new units at Dundee’s Waterfront development. The Dundee-based firm has applied for a licence to launch a pub restaurant in new retail units in Shore Terrace, with plans to open by the summer. The council has spent more than £700,000 renovating former housing offices, sub-dividing them into four retail units. A St Andrews Brewing Company spokesman told the Evening Telegraph: “We plan to showcase the best of Scottish produce such as beef, lamb, pork, game, seafood, craft brewing and distilling, as well as some of the new breed of artisan design, furniture and fabric businesses we see growing around us.” The company already operates a brewpub in St Andrews that offers 18 taps of beer and cider and more than 30 rare malt whiskies.

Smith & Sinclair launches multi­sensory experience combining art and alcohol: Smith & Sinclair, the edible cocktail retailer, has launched a multi­sensory experience that combines art and alcohol. The company has brought The Flavour Gallery to the Hoxton Basement in Hoxton Street until Sunday, 17 December. It invites the public to “tickle a taste and suck a scent by consuming art in ways they never imagined”. The Flavour Gallery features artists including Terry Pastor, London Loom and Anja Predojevic, who were each commissioned to create interactive artwork that changes colour, diffuses smells and reacts to its audience. The Flavour Gallery showcases a range of bespoke cocktails in partnership with liqueur experts Lanique and a range of non-alcoholic cocktails using soft drinks from Firefly. Smith & Sinclair co-founder Melanie Goldsmith said: “We’ve been wanting to play with the ‘gallery construct’ since we started producing our own activations. Art is supposed to be something you consume individually and it’s frustrating when you go to an amazing installation and go to touch the piece – as you want it to react to you – and you can’t because it’s ‘art’. Well times are changing and we’ve curated a space for guests to play and engage in a multitude of ways.” Smith & Sinclair has also launched an edible cocktail bar at John Lewis’ Oxford Street store in London that will operate until January.

Historic Royal Palaces extends Ampersand contract: Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s events and catering business, has signed a five-year extension to its contract with Historic Royal Palaces (HRP). The £12m contract will see Ampersand continue to provide food and beverage services at the Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace. As part of the deal, Ampersand will also invest in catering facilities at all three sites including increased seating at cafes in the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, plus an enhanced food offer across all three attractions. CH&Co Group chief executive Bill Toner said: “The Tower of London, Kensington Palace and Hampton Court are part of our nation’s rich history and we’re privileged to have the opportunity to work with HRP in helping ensure the public continues to enjoy them.” HRP retail and catering director Gina George added: “We’re looking forward to working with Ampersand to realise some exciting plans for the restaurants and cafes across our sites, which we’re confident will continue to delight our visitors over the next five years.”

Nottingham-based pub operator opens second site in city: Nottingham-based pub operator Kev Allen has opened his second site in the city. Allen, who runs The Hop Merchant in Upper Parliament Street, has taken over The Gatehouse in Toll House Hill. It has reopened as the Toll Bar serving real ale, gin, craft beer, cider and coffee as well as food, including a selection of Pieminister pies. Allen told the Nottingham Post: “We’re taking it in a completely different direction. It won’t be a party pub – we want it to be a proper pub. There will be background music and maybe some live music, an acoustic night or something towards the weekend.”

Ecologically friendly craft wine company opens permanent site, in Dalston: Ecologically friendly craft wine pop-up Weino BIB has opened a permanent site, in Dalston, east London. The company has launched the venue in Balls Pond Road offering natural and craft wine across 20 taps to drink in or take away. Wine is sourced from winemakers of the more “artisanal end of the spectrum”, Hot Dinners reports. The venue also offers milk, olive oil, juice on tap, cheese, deli meat and other groceries. Customers can also enjoy choice selections from the deli to eat at the bar while sipping their wine.

Krispy Kreme opens Birmingham city centre site: Krispy Kreme has opened a site at Birmingham New Street station in the city centre. The company’s other sites in Birmingham include a concession in Selfridges in the Bullring and in-store cabinets at a number of Tesco stores. Krispy Kreme operations director Neil Williamson told the Birmingham Mail: “We’re really excited to finally open in Birmingham New Street station.” Last month, Krispy Kreme secured a site to make its debut in Ireland more than a year after agents for the company announced they were scouting for locations. Krispy Kreme has more than 100 sites in the UK having reached the landmark with an opening in Nottingham in August. In its latest accounts, Krispy Kreme reported sales in the UK rose to £66,689,000 in the 11 months to 1 January 2017, up 8% on 12 months ago. Adjusted Ebitda was £14,620,000 (21.9% of sales), compared with £13,688,000 (22.2% of sales) the previous year. Pre-tax profit was £10,292,000, compared with £11,759,000 the year before.