Crussh boss – Debenhams partnership is opportunity to ‘take brand into new avenues and extend core offering outside food-to-go’: The chief executive of Crussh, the London-based healthy food and juice brand, has said its new partnership with Debenhams is an opportunity to take the brand into new avenues and extend its core offering outside food-to-go. Crussh will open the fit food cafe in Debenhams’ flagship department store in Oxford Street, London, later this summer. Chief executive Shane Kavanagh said: “Creating our 90-cover cafe in this store gives us the opportunity to take our brand into new avenues and extend our core offering outside food-to-go. The range will include all our signature Crussh products such as freshly pressed green juices, turmeric lattes and spelt sourdough toasties and will sit alongside a deli counter offering, including turmeric chicken, vegetable frittatas, fresh salads and a new gluten-free cake range.” Steve Lightfoot, Debenhams’ director of trading for home, furniture, gifts and food, added. “As part of the Debenhams ‘Redesigned’ strategy, we are looking to further enhance our food offering to customers. Through teaming with Crussh we are able to offer a contemporary third-party brand that is highly credible with an inviting menu of healthy foods to give the customer further reason for dwell-time in our flagship store.” Crussh has 29 outlets across London and last month launched its first site inside a Sainsbury’s store.
SSP opens Cabin site and Leon’s 50th venue, at Paddington station: SSP Group, the operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, has opened a new site for its own bar concept Cabin as well as healthy eating brand Leon’s 50th outlet, at London Paddington station. The Cabin, which extends over 2,300 square feet, builds on the concept’s other sites at Waterloo station and Manchester, Stansted, Bristol and Newcastle airports. The Leon outlet measures 2,700 square feet and is the second Leon outlet to be opened by SSP. The new developments are on the balcony overlooking the concourse in the area known as “the lawn”. SSP UK chief executive Simon Smith said: “We are delighted to be opening these two new outlets at London Paddington – one of London’s busiest stations. The addition of these brands will enhance the offering available to passengers at the station, giving commuters and tourists more options of where to grab a bite to eat before boarding their train, and will serve as a great place for people who live and work in the area to have a lunchtime snack or an after-work drink.”
Byron considers closing four sites: Better burger brand Byron is considering the closure of four loss-making sites, The Sunday Times has reported. The news comes after Handmade Burger Co fell into administration on Thursday (6 July) with Leonard Curtis Recovery administrators closing nine of the company’s 29 restaurants.
McDonald’s franchisee reports 40% turnover increase since 2015, expects to reach £18m this financial year: Nottingham-based McDonald’s franchisee Blades Restaurants has reported turnover has increased 40% since 2015 and is expected to reach £18m this financial year. The growth has been driven by the acquisition of two outlets and a refurbishment of five others following a funding deal with Royal Bank of Scotland. In 2014, the company owned five McDonald’s restaurants and had an annual turnover of £12m but following the opening of its Clifton Lane restaurant in 2015 and another in Nuthall Road, Basford, in 2016, turnover has increased to £17m. Owner Jerry Nicholls said the rise was also down to refurbishments at its city centre and centrally based restaurants in Angel Row, Exchange Walk, Clumber Street, Victoria Retail Park and Trent Bridge. He added there had also been a 20% increase in sales this year in the city centre outlets alone. Nicholls told The Business Desk: “I have undertaken a number of considerable investments to not only acquire and create new outlets but also to update our existing stores to meet the modern image and standards set by McDonald’s.”
Gourmet Burger Kitchen makes Leicester debut: Gourmet Burger Kitchen has made its debut in Leicester after opening a site at the Highcross shopping centre. The company has invested £1.25m to convert a former Laura Ashley store into a 150-cover restaurant, creating 30 jobs. The venue, which is the company’s 86th, is set over two floors and includes an open kitchen with customers able to choose banquette or booth seating. It features metal pillars and exposed brickwork as well as scrabble tile signs. Gourmet Burger Kitchen opened its first site in Battersea, south London, in 2001.
Italian-American halal concept Marco & Carl to open third site, in Bradford: Italian-American halal concept Marco & Carl is to open its third site, in Bradford. The company will open the restaurant at the Leisure Exchange later this month in a unit that had been vacant since pan-Asian eatery East closed about two years ago, reports the Telegraph & Argus. Marco & Carl secured a business rate rebate grant of £60,000 from Bradford Council’s City Centre Growth Zone scheme, which is available to new or expanding businesses and worth up to £16,000 for every job created. The other Marco & Carl sites are in Leicester and Preston.
Hotel and leisure operators sought to establish boutique venue in Newcastle city centre: Hotel and leisure operators are being sought to establish a boutique venue in Newcastle city centre. Property consultancy GVA has been instructed by Motcomb Estates to market a grade II-listed former fire and police station in East Pilgrim Street. It is expected the site will accommodate a development featuring 100,000 square feet of hotel and restaurants, providing a boutique destination next to Newcastle’s leisure quarter. GVA director of land and development Ray Minto told Insider Media: “This is an exciting opportunity for an operator partner to bring forward a high-quality hotel and food and beverage offer that isn’t currently provided by Newcastle city centre’s leisure offer. This scheme marks just one phase of the wider East Pilgrim Street development, with further exciting projects due to be announced in the autumn. Our clients are prepared to offer interested parties a shell and core building to lease, subject to agreement.”
Papa John’s awards £15m UK advertising account to Pablo: Papa John’s has awarded its £15m UK advertising account to Pablo following a competitive pitch. Pablo beat Bartle Bogle Hegarty London and incumbent FKC London to become Papa John’s lead strategic and creative above-the-line agency in the UK. While Pablo has been tasked with building on the brand’s global positioning mantra of “Better ingredients. Better pizza”, Papa John’s UK marketing director David Scott said there was “every possibility” Pablo’s creative platform could be rolled out to other markets. Papa John’s also wants Pablo to drive reappraisal of the brand in the UK. Scott told Campaign: “We’ve got big ambitions for the Papa John’s brand in the UK and, to tackle the challenge, we felt Pablo was the perfect strategic and creative partner. Pablo demonstrated the appetite and ability to create the kind of work people talk about and that we feel will really resonate with our UK audience.” Since launching in the UK in 2001, Papa John’s has more than doubled its UK store count in the past five years from 150 to more than 350.
Beverley-based operator takes on second site: Neil Pickford, who operates The Monks Walk in Beverley, has taken on his second pub in the Yorkshire market town. Pickford, a former verger at Beverley Minster, has taken over The Lord Nelson in Flemingate and plans to turn it into a beer and wine bar where you can “have a natter”. The pub will close for a two-week refurbishment. Pickford told the Hull Daily Mail: “My plan is to make the pub a beer and wine bar because the demographic of south Beverley is starting to change with (Burning Night Group’s) The Potting Shed in Flemingate. What I want to create is a ‘chatter’ pub where you can go in and not be worried about being disturbed by sport or music. It’s going to be an oasis really, where you can relax and talk. I think the pub has got a lot of potential and I want to help realise that because it’s in a really good location. I want to create something almost like what you see in Corrie or EastEnders, where people come and just natter. Those pubs are right in the heart of those communities and without them you wouldn’t have a soap.”
Craft coffee and cocktail bar Roc & Rye launches in Manchester: Manchester-based bartender Sean Finnegan, formerly of El Capo, Kosmonaut and Mash And Air, has launched his first stand-alone bar, Roc & Rye, with business partners Maritza Haydon and Matt Bonner. The 150-cover craft coffee and cocktail bar has opened in a grade II-listed building in King Street taking inspiration from the building’s original 1880s interior. Roc & Rye has a brand advocacy partnership with Pernod Ricard UK and features an on-site drinks laboratory and offers aged Jameson whiskey served from a barrel behind the bar. Regarding the food menu, Finnegan told The Business Desk: “We wanted to give Roc & Rye customers the experience of sampling undiscovered artisan food from the local area and we’re proud to be able to curate a diverse menu that gives regional producers a platform to showcase home-grown speciality cuisine.” The cocktail list, entitled Hard Shakes and Heart Breaks, includes Lost At Sea (Jameson, cherry and grapefruit shrub, cherry liqueur, mezcal and sweet Vermouth).
Stonegate to open first Walkabout site since Intertain acquisition, in Colchester this month: Stonegate Pub Company will open its first Walkabout site since acquiring Intertain, in Colchester this month. The company is investing £400,000 to convert its Missoula site in Head Street, which will reopen as Walkabout on Tuesday, 18 July. It will feature a ten-screen reef bar as well as bookable booths, reports the Harwich and Manningtree Standard. Stonegate acquired Intertain from private equity firm Better Capital for about £39.5m in December last year. Stonegate operates more than 690 pubs split into two divisions – Branded (Slug and Lettuce, Yates’s, Walkabout, Common Room and Venues) and Traditional (Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, and Classic Inns).
ASK Italian closes Nottingham site: Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian has closed its site in Nottingham. The company confirmed it has shut the branch in Chapel Bar. A spokesman told the Nottingham Post: “The decision was made as part of our ongoing evaluation of sites we operate. ASK would like to apologise for any disappointment and reassure customers they will still be able to enjoy the ASK Italian experience at one of their many restaurants across the country.” The nearest ASK Italian restaurant to Nottingham is 15 miles away in Derby. ASK Italian has more than 110 sites across the UK.
Edinburgh-based restaurant owners open second site, in Leith: The team behind Edinburgh restaurant The Gardener’s Cottage has opened a second site, this time in Leith. Cafe, bar and restaurant Quay Commons has opened in Commercial Street and also features a wine store, bakery and butcher’s shop. The venue offers freshly-baked pastries, homemade flatbread, seasonal pasta dishes and house-butchered charcuterie during the day, alongside coffee from Leith-based roasters Williams & Johnson. In the evening, Quay Commons offers a seasonal market menu alongside craft beer from local brewer Pilot and wine supplied by De Burgh Wine Merchants. The venue is in a former warehouse and features an industrial vibe with large tables for socialising. Chef proprietor Dale Mailley told Inews: “We wanted somewhere we could bake our sourdough bread on an industrial scale, as well as being a space where we could butcher and cure meat and test new dishes.”
Marcus Wareing protégés take on Cumbrian pub: Marcus Wareing protégés Jake and Cassie White have taken on a Cumbrian pub. The husband-and-wife team, who were head chef and pastry chef respectively at two Michelin-starred restaurant Marcus at The Berkley in London, will reopen The Bridge Inn in the hamlet of Penton in September. It will comprise a main dining room with 45 covers, a separate pub area and conservatory, and nine bedrooms. The dining room will feature a statement fireplace, open kitchen, and a mixture of banquette and regular seating. As well as a selection of two tasting menus of five or seven courses in the dining room, the bar will offer an informal menu of classic pub dishes and local ale. Jake White told the Cumbrian Crack: “We’ve loved our time at the heart of London’s culinary scene but this opportunity to create something truly special is an opportunity we’ve leapt at. For me, this is a return to my native north of England and the chance to add something unique to an internationally renowned food destination.”
Light Cinemas to anchor new £20m leisure complex in Birmingham: Light Cinemas is to anchor a new £20m leisure complex to be built in Birmingham. As well as a nine-screen cinema the development in the Longbridge area of the city will feature restaurants and an offering from budget fitness group The Gym. The two-storey development will be part of the £1bn regeneration of central Longbridge. This is the third phase of the major regeneration of 468 acres of land following the collapse of MG Rover in 2005. Previous phases have included a Whitbread-owned Premier Inn, a Sainsbury’s store, a technology park, and the largest Marks & Spencer in the Midlands, Birmingham Mail reports. In May, Light Cinemas announced it plans to more than quadruple its number of sites by 2021. The company currently operates seven sites, has committed to a further 14 and would like to open about ten more. Light Cinemas co-founder and chief executive Keith Pullinger said: “We like working with shopping centres and town centre regenerations with local authorities.”
Former Cote marketing manager and ex-Ritz chef acquire West Yorkshire guest house: A former marketing manager at French brasserie Cote and an ex-Ritz chef have acquired a four-star guest house in West Yorkshire. Josie Price, who worked for the restaurant group, and Brendan Sutherland have bought the five-bedroom Wilsons of Haworth, near Keighley, having secured a loan from Royal Bank of Scotland. Sutherland told The Business Desk: “We had dreamed of owning a hotel or guest house in West Yorkshire as my family reside there. I’m looking forward to getting back in the kitchen and producing quality food that is locally sourced. Over the next 12 to 18 months, we intend to really put our business on the map by building a reputation for fantastic food and beverage.” Royal Bank of Scotland senior relationship manager Andrew Matley added: “Bookings are looking very healthy and we wish them well as they settle into the local community and enjoy the busy summer season ahead.”
Bespoke Hotels to buy Scottish hotel and golf course: Bespoke Hotels is to acquire the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course at Heiton, near Kelso, after the company agreed terms with Roxburghe Estates ahead of a sale expected at the end of July. The 22-bedroom hotel and championship golf course will join Bespoke’s portfolio of upmarket hotels including the Chester Grosvenor, Storrs Hall in Cumbria, and the Carnoustie Golf Hotel. Bespoke said expansion of facilities at Roxburghe was “being considered”. In 2010, planning consent was granted for 60 holiday lodges, a new clubhouse and conversion of the existing clubhouse to a ten-bedroom dormy house. All 47 staff at the hotel and golf course will keep their jobs. Bespoke Hotels chief executive Haydn Fentum told The Southern Reporter: “We are hugely excited by the potential of the Roxburghe and look forward to taking the business into a new era.” Guy Innes-Ker, the tenth Duke of Roxburghe, added: “We look forward to seeing the Roxburghe grow in the years ahead under new ownership. It has given me enormous pride and satisfaction to see it develop successfully over the years but it became clear a new investor needed to come on board for the Roxburghe to move to the next level and become a world-class destination.”
Anjuna Hotel Group launches dormitory and ‘pod’ concept in Bournemouth: Anjuna Hotel Group has launched a dormitory and “pod” concept in Bournemouth. The company has opened Klikaway, which offers family and hostel-style shared rooms, after transforming the Piccadilly Hotel in Bath Road. In some rooms the accommodation consists of six, self-contained pods. Anjuna Hotel Group managing director Yousif Al-wagga told the Daily Echo: “The Piccadilly became unsustainable. It was a traditional coaching inn focused on the ballroom downstairs. There’s a gap in the market for good value-for-money accommodation that focuses on family rooms and groups. It’s a full-service hotel in terms of bedrooms but we also have some shared accommodation. It’s a really good innovation for Bournemouth. There’s a lot of accommodation in Bournemouth that could do with investment. It needs to offer good quality without sacrificing quality for price.” The Anjuna Group, led by chief executive Gerry Wilton, operates six Bournemouth hotels. The company specialises in acquiring independently owned hotels and making them more profitable by centralising facilities.
BaxterStorey extends contract at Surrey research facility: Contract catering company BaxterStorey has extended its contract with The Pirbright Institute near Woking, Surrey. The new three-year deal will see the hospitality provider offer a variety of freshly prepared meals for up to 300 staff at the research facility. BaxterStorey will continue to provide all-day cafe services, breakfast and lunch, while the chefs’ team will create working lunches for corporate meetings as well as buffets and tailor-made feasts for special events. A range of initiatives and street food-style pop-ups from the company’s food development team will feature in new seasonal menus. BaxterStorey regional director Graham Olds said: “We believe our innovative approach to foodservice, local sourcing and seasonal ingredients will continue to make a real difference to The Pirbright Institute’s staff.” Dr Mike Johnson, director of capability at The Pirbright Institute, added: “We have always been really impressed with the tailored approach that has continued to be updated and enhanced, particularly the focus on employee well-being and BaxterStorey’s commitment to providing nutritional meals using local produce.”