Freshii to open six more restaurants in Ireland by Christmas: Canadian-based health brand Freshii is to open six more restaurants in Ireland before Christmas. The sites include Dame Street, The Point Village, Sandyford and Smithfield in Dublin. The location of two further outlets, which are currently going through planning procedures, will be announced at a later date. Speaking at Ireland’s Convenience Retailer Summit, Freshii founder and chief executive Matthew Corrin said the openings would create 60 jobs. He said: “I’m delighted Freshii has grown so quickly in Ireland. By Christmas we will have close to 20 Freshii outlets across the country, which is a significant achievement by our Irish master franchise owners Dave O’Donoghue and Cormac Manning in just over two years.” O’Donoghue added: “We have a unique and widespread offering for anyone focused on health and wellness. Our extensive menu means anyone can come to Freshii and find something tasty, healthy and energising.” In July, the company extended its partnership in Ireland with forecourt retailer Applegreen and opened its second M1 outlet at Applegreen’s motorway services on the M1 southbound at Lusk on Tuesday (5 September). Freshii offers tossed salads, hot bowls, burritos, poké bowls, healthy wraps, soup, fresh-pressed juices, smoothies and frozen yogurt.
CH&Co Group achieves £58m in new sales and retained business in first half of 2017: CH&Co Group has achieved more than £58m in new sales and retained business in the first six months of 2017, the company said. New sales in the UK, which represent £26.7m in full contract term value, are with more than 20 new clients including Farnborough Business Park, Coleg Gwent, Arqiva, Pall Europe, St Giles Hospice, Healthcare at Home, and Neilsen. The retained business, worth £31.5m in full contract value, is with a number of long-term clients including The Law Society, Sopra Steria, and East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, the company said. The announcement coincides with the group’s latest results that show annual turnover reached £191m in the year ending December 2016, with Ebitda of £8.2m. Operating cash flows were strong, driving an overall net increase in cash of £2.7m across the group. CH&Co Group chief executive Bill Toner said: “Our new contracts success demonstrates the company is delivering what clients are looking for and the retention results show our focus on clients is very much on the long term, providing the innovation and services they want and good value for money.” Host Catermasters merged with CH&Co in June 2015 to create CH&Co Group. The projected annual turnover of the new combined company is £265m. Toner added: “The new expanded team features great talent, experience and verve, and we have attracted some strong industry players to join us. We are in a very good place to drive the business forward to continued success.”
Amber Taverns to launch Hogarths Gin Palace in Lancaster: Community pub operator Amber Taverns is to open a Hogarths Gin Palace in Lancaster. The company will launch the venue in George Street following the £720,000 refurbishment of a site that formerly housed Oscar’s Wine Bar & Bistro, which closed suddenly last week leading to Amber Taverns purchasing the freehold. Operations manager Gary Roberts told the Lancaster Guardian: “We currently have 11 Hogarths – the closest being in Preston and Bolton. We are trying to open in December and will start recruiting in about six to eight weeks. Any former staff are welcome to apply for various roles as we will need three to four full-time staff and around 20 part-time staff.” Amber Taverns will open its 12th Hogarths site – in Tamworth in Staffordshire – next Friday (15 September) after investing £1.4m in a venue in Lower Gungate. The company owns and operates more than 130 pubs and bars across the Midlands, north west, north east and South Wales. Last month, the company reported turnover rose 23.5% to £64,951,802 in the year to 5 February 2017 (2016: £52,602,681). Pre-tax profit rose to £8,735,964 from £8,164,643 the year before. Company Ebitda increased to £14,024,000 from £11,002,000 the year before.
Smashburger to open Glasgow city centre site next month, fifth UK venue: Better burger brand Smashburger is to open a venue in Glasgow city centre next month. The restaurant will be the brand’s fifth UK site when it opens in Sauchiehall Street and will be split over two floors and feature a bold industrial look with exposed brick, hanging pendant lights, and urban typography. Smashburger is known for its “smash”, in which hand-formed beef meatballs are smashed on to a hot buttered grill. Other menu options include chicken breast sandwiches, an avocado-and-garlic grilled vegetarian burger, salads and sides. The restaurant will also offer takeaway options and a touchscreen soda fountain with more than 100 combinations, alongside craft beer, wine, and “hand-spun” shakes, the Greenock Telegraph reports. Smashburger’s other UK sites are in Bath, Milton Keynes, Brighton and Newcastle. In May, the group said it planned to reach 35 restaurants in the UK by the end of 2020. Smashburger was founded by Tom Ryan in Denver in 2007. The brand now operates more than 370 sites in ten countries.
Bar Soba boss – we did our homework on Derby: Bar Soba chief executive Brad Stevens has said he chose Derby for the group’s sixth site after doing his “homework” on the city. The company, which received £3m investment from the Business Growth Fund last year, is looking at cities in the UK that have large student populations. Stevens told the Derby Telegraph: “(Derby has) a good student population. I’m not saying we’re a student bar but students seem to like what we do. We offer a brand that’s perfect for millennials – our key target audience is 18 to 35-year-olds.” The new venue will open in Victoria Street next month at a site formerly occupied by Brighton Pier Group’s Lola Lo brand. Bar Soba has signed a 20-year lease with Stevens describing Derby as the “perfect fit”. He said: “We do our homework. We find out who else is there. Good neighbours for us are normally people like Turtle Bay and Revolution. The fact they’re right by the building we’re moving into made it an attractive site as well.” Stevens said he would like to open 30 outlets in the coming years, with Liverpool next in line. He added: “We’re also looking at places like Brighton, Huddersfield, Reading, Bournemouth – places with a population of 250,000 to 500,000. Closer to Derby, we’ve got a couple of options we’re looking at in Nottingham, while Leicester is another city that’s been brought to our attention.”
NYC Bar and Grill expands into north east with Darlington site, fifth venue in total: Yorkshire-based American restaurant brand NYC Bar and Grill has expanded into the north east by opening a site in Darlington. The venue has opened at the multimillion-pound Feethams leisure development offering a menu that includes deep-fried Oreos and peanut butter-smothered fries. It is the brand’s fifth site in total. Urban & Civic, the company behind the one-year-old Feethams development, said the opening would create up to 30 jobs after an agreement was reached in May. NYC Bar and Grill founder Lee Edwards told The Northern Echo: “This will be our fifth restaurant to open in the country and we’re sure Darlington will be just as receptive to our food and service as our customers are at our other locations. We’re thrilled to be part of Feethams’ offering and look forward to welcoming many hungry guests.” Simon Hawkins, development director at Feethams, added: “Our aim is to continually develop and expand to further cement our position as a dining and entertainment hot spot so Darlington always has great options for days and evenings out. NYC Bar and Grill is a fantastic addition.” NYC Bar and Grill was launched in Bawtry in 2013 and has since opened sites in Doncaster, Hull and Stocksbridge, near Sheffield.
Mixologist Mr Lyan and Silo co-founder open Cub restaurant in Hoxton: Award-winning mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan, and Doug McMaster, co-founder of Brighton’s zero-waste restaurant Silo, have launched their joint-venture restaurant. The 35-cover Cub has opened at Chetiyawardana’s former White Lyan site in Hoxton Street above his basement bar Super Lyan. Cub is Chetiyawardana’s first full foray into the world of dining and McMaster’s first venture in the capital. They have worked with former Noma scientist Dr Arielle Johnson to create experimental ingredients grown on-site. Chetiyawardana said: “We want to keep pushing boundaries – and keep things weird – but in a way that feels accessible and honest as well as exciting and modern. Cub will be the continuation of these conversations but taking them in a new direction – looking at how we can rejoin the worlds of food and drink, and showcase the importance of innovation and sustainability to a wider public.” McMaster added: “Cub is an exciting collaboration that allows us to explore how our industries can come together to make a unique experience. There has always been a synergy between our businesses and this allows us to explore how that can develop.”
Marston’s plans for new-build Basingstoke pub set for approval: Marston’s plans to build a pub in Basingstoke, Hampshire, have been recommended for approval by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) planning chiefs. Plans for a pub in Carpenter’s Down have been in the pipeline since February, when Marston’s first submitted an application to build a pub under its family friendly Generous George brand with 150 covers and 54 parking spaces. The plans have been opposed by some residents concerned about noise, antisocial behaviour and an increase in traffic, the Basingstoke Gazette reports. However, a BDBC report states: “The proposal would be an efficient use of the land that respects the local environment and would be in keeping with the character of the area. The positioning of the building and its outside uses (such as) play area and beer garden would respect the amenities of neighbouring properties.” Marston’s announced a management reshuffle earlier this week, with Peter Dalzell to step down from his role as managing director of its Inns and Taverns segment and from the board at the end of the month.
Burning Night Group appoints group head chef for Bierkeller sites: Bar company Burning Night Group has appointed a new group head chef responsible for food at its Bierkeller Entertainment Complexes. Adam Van Hecke will oversee kitchens and work with head chefs to devise menus at the company’s six Bierkeller sites – in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Cardiff and Nottingham – as well as the Sandgrounder in Southport. After four years as head chef at the Manchester venue, Van Hecke said he planned to use his knowledge of the business and its customers to introduce new menu ideas. One is the vegan wurst, a meat-free alternative to the German bratwurst, which is one of the most popular dishes on the menus at traditional Bavarian bar Bierkeller and sports bar Shooters. Van Hecke said: “Our new vegan ‘wurst’ is made with wheat protein and smoked to give it an intense flavour and we’ve already had a great response. We trialled them to start with then, after we realised there was demand, we decided to put them on our new menu. We get them from our traditional German bratwurst suppliers so they have the same quality and authenticity but obviously they’re meat-free.” Last month, Burning Night Group opened its fifth Potting Shed site, in a former hospital in Northallerton, near Thirsk. Burning Night Group currently employs more than 500 people and had a turnover in 2016 of more than £17m.
Manchester-based El Capo to open second site, in Nottingham this month: Manchester-based South American-themed restaurant and bar El Capo is to open its second site, in Nottingham this month. Owner Pete Skelton is planning to stagger the opening with drinks available from Friday, 22 September and food from Thursday, 12 October. It is transforming the former Rum House in Broad Street into the venue, the Nottingham Post reports. The move comes after El Capo was refused permission by Nottingham City Council earlier this year to convert the former Coco Lounge in George Street. Skelton launched El Capo, which sells tequila, cocktails, tapas and street food, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter three years ago.
Suburbia closes Cheshire celebrity haunt as administrators move in: Suburbia’s bar in Hale, Cheshire, renowned as a haunt for celebrities and footballers, has closed after falling into administration, Manchester-based insolvency firm Robson Kay has confirmed. The Ashley Road venue is available for £100,000. The rent for the unit is £68,000 a year with ten years remaining on the lease and a rent review due in five years. Administrators said in its last accounts to April 2016 Suburbia, via Suburbia Cocktail Company Ltd, made a profit of £33,390 on a turnover of £556,000. Suburbia also has a branch in Manchester city centre that opened in 2015 and was set to be part of a “national expansion”. It offers five private booths, including a VIP table that seats up to 30 with a minimum spend of £1,500. Suburbia was owned by Living Ventures, which sold it to then-manager Tom Thornton-Brookes two years ago. At the time, he told the Manchester Evening News: “We want to open at least four of these and I’ve got an idea for a couple of new bar concepts as well. I’m not going to limit myself and say I’ll only have this many – if I end up with 15 or 20 then happy days!” Thornton-Brookes remains a director of Suburbia Manchester Ltd, which owns the Ridgefield site. That company, however, recently changed its address to that of Manchester-based CG&Co, which is a specialist in “business turnaround and liquidation”. Thornton-Brookes failed to respond to calls for comment. CG&Co declined to comment.
Healthy eating cafe Farm Girl launches Carnaby concession: Healthy eating cafe Farm Girl has opened a concession in Carnaby after teaming up with clothes chain Sweaty Betty. Farm Girl was founded in Australia and launched its first UK venue in Portobello Road in 2015. The new venue has opened on the first floor of Sweaty Betty’s three-storey flagship store at 1 Carnaby Street. It serves guilt-free food, including coconut BLTs and gluten-free doughnuts, and features a bar offering fair-trade vodka and biodynamic wine. The kitchen is headed by Benoit Marmoiton, who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris and London. His menu features dishes “packed with beneficial, natural antioxidants” alongside superfood lattes and “therapeutic smoothies” such as the Muscle Recovery, which is made with cashew milk and espresso, alongside build-your-own breakfast bowls and salads. The drinks list includes superfood cocktails such as strawberry and lavender-infused vodka, Hot Dinners reports. Farm Girl said it would open a second west London site later this year, which will be a standalone cafe. The Farm Girl concept was inspired by owner Rose Mann’s childhood on a farm outside Melbourne.
Multi-site operator Mitch Tonks opens private dining room: South Devon multi-site operator and chef Mitch Tonks has opened a private dining room, The Cantina, behind the Seahorse restaurant on Dartmouth embankment. The Cantina was first intended to be the wine room for the Seahorse. Tonks said: “Originally we were going to store our fine wines in here and let guests come in and choose. Then we decided we would put a table in and a small kitchen and create a private dining room. People can have a real personal, tailored experience. They can go online and choose their own menu with main courses such as whole suckling pig, rib of prime beef or Pyrenean lamb, whole roast turbot, loads of seafood, and fish roasted Majorcan style. You have your own chef and person hosting you and start in Joe’s Bar and then move to Cantina. It’s like a restaurant within a restaurant. You have your own private space. We will also be doing pop-up events with other chefs. There is still the main dining room in the Seahorse so it should be a pretty cool place.”
Bolton-based Northern Monkey Brew Co to launch new brewery to meet demand: Bolton-based Northern Monkey Brew Co is launching a new brewery in the town to meet growing demand. Founded by Ryan Bailey and Liam Convey last year, the Northern Monkey Brew Co micro-brewery currently brews five cask ales supplied to more than 40 local pubs and bars. The growing demand for its craft beer has led to the business moving to The Link Project in Bolton town centre, where it will be expanding into a purpose-built brewery two-and-a-half times the size of its current operation. This will be alongside its new Bolton Beer Hall micro-bar, a bespoke bar and service area selling cask ale, craft ale and a mixture of craft spirits. Bailey told The Business Desk: “The Link Project is an ideal new home for us because it allows us to sell our own goods on-site while maintaining off-site sales and work with other businesses within The Link and across Bolton town centre.”
Whitbread to open Premier Inn on Rhyl seafront: Whitbread has submitted plans to open a Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre restaurant on Rhyl seafront. The company originally planned to open the 70-bedroom hotel with 71 parking spaces in the North Wales resort’s West Parade this summer after planning consent was granted in May 2016. An application for the display of signage in relation to the restaurant and hotel has now been submitted to Denbighshire County Council. The hotel and restaurant will be part of the multimillion-pound redevelopment of Rhyl waterfront. Cllr Joan Butterfield told the Rhyl, Prestatyn & Abergele Journal: “It has been a long time coming – it has been an epic amount of time. It is now in its final stages. Early new year, I would like to see it open. Our season is very short but people are starting to see the regeneration of Rhyl – work is happening.” Last month, Whitbread opened a new-build Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre in Abergavenny, Wales, creating 60 jobs. The company will also open a Costa Coffee drive-thru at the site in early October.
Bristol-based multi-site operator closes venues: Bristol-based multi-site operator Som Miller has closed his award-winning city centre ramen restaurant Sticks & Broth. The venue in Baldwin Street opened in September 2014 but customers were alerted by a tweet stating it had closed and thanking customers and “great followers and ramen junkies”. The news comes only a week after Miller’s Vietnamese cafe concept – Hanoi Coffee Company in St Stephen’s Street – announced it was closing. His Thai bistro bar, Bangkok Joe’s in Redcliffe, closed during the summer after only a year of trading. Miller also owns Toyo Kitchen in Baldwin Street and a second branch of Sticks & Broth in Stokes Croft. Both businesses are still trading and he confirmed both would remain open until at least November. The Slurp Shop, another offshoot business of Miller’s in the Wah Yan Hong oriental supermarket in Denmark Street, is also currently closed. Regarding the latest closure, Miller told the Bristol Post: “I think it was my time to go as well as the staff, who wanted to move on as well.”
Artisan coffee supplier expands into larger premises: A County Durham-based supplier of artisan coffee has expanded into larger premises. Railtown Coffee supplies its freshly roasted products to a range of customers across the UK. Founded in Darlington in 2013 by Andrew Henley, it now serves the likes of The Raby Hunt at Summerhouse and the Star Inn at Harome. As part of plans to turn Railtown into the north east’s premier coffee supplier, the company has moved into new premises on the Aycliffe Trading Estate that are twice as large as its previous base. The move is expected to help the company build on the 30% growth in turnover it has recorded during the past year. The premises include a training room as well as space for a pop-up cafe. Henley told BDaily: “Having worked in the hospitality industry for many years, I was regularly disappointed by the standard of service we received from the companies that supplied our coffees and I felt there was a real opportunity to do things better. Railtown’s focus is on backing up the high-quality coffee we supply with the service standards I would expect myself, and we’ve been successful as a result of sticking to these principles.”
Center Parcs unveils new waterside accommodation in Suffolk: Center Parcs has unveiled designs for new waterside accommodation, which will debut at its holiday park in Elveden Forest in Suffolk. Construction of the three lodges will begin this autumn and is scheduled for completion in summer 2018. They each have three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, as well as an open-plan living space, kitchen and flat-screen television. Martin Dalby, chief executive of Center Parcs, told Insider Media: “We are very excited about this new style of accommodation, which will be right in the heart of Elveden Forest. Being surrounded by trees, next to a lake is the perfect spot to access the best of Center Parcs.” More than 50 waterfront apartments will also be available at Elveden Forest by next summer.