Boston Tea Party reports turnover boost: All-day casual dining cafe business Boston Tea Party has reported turnover rose 22% to £14,857,105 in the year to 19 October 2016 (2015: £12,221,500). The company opened sites in Bath and Stratford in the period and its 19th site, just outside Bristol, opened one week after the period end – mature stores achieved 5.9% like-for-like growth in the year. Ebitda of £1,047,035 was slightly down on the £1,111,209 achieved the year before due to increased pre-opening costs associated with a larger number of openings. Pre-tax profit was £351,346 compared with £566,195 the previous year.
Young’s relaunches historic Exeter venue as boutique pub hotel featuring first Burger Shack outside London: London pub retailer Young’s has reopened historic venue The City Gate, once known as the Crown and Sceptre, as a boutique pub hotel, which features the first Burger Shack outside of London. Dating to 1778, The City Gate now offers real ale, cocktails, weekend brunches, three-course dinners and 14 boutique bedrooms. The venue in Lower North Street offers a modern British menu in the dining room, with a bar-side lounge and garden-view conservatory. The drinks offer features an extensive range of Young’s cask ales and craft beer as well as a carefully curated wine list and contemporary twists on classic cocktails. The pub garden, which features the Burger Shack, backs on to Exeter’s Roman city wall and has a turned into The Cellar Bar, featuring dark wood and exposed brick walls finished with unusual artwork. The bedrooms are individually designed and pay reference to Exeter’s history.
Light Cinemas to quadruple number of sites by 2021: Light Cinemas 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 told Property Week. Pullinger, former head of development at UGC Cineworld, said the growth would give it a 5% share of the UK cinema market. In its latest deal, Light Cinemas agreed to anchor a six-screen cinema scheme in Redhill, Surrey, which is being brought forward by Reigate & Banstead Council. It has also committed to openings in London, Cambridge, Skelmersdale, Dundee and Wakefield, among others. Last month, Light Cinemas signed to anchor the redevelopment of Intu Broadmarsh shopping centre in Nottingham. The operator has committed to a 32,000 square foot, nine-screen cinema on a 25-year lease and will be positioned alongside other leisure units and restaurants, creating a new leisure hub in the south of the city. Pullinger said: “We like working with shopping centres and town centre regenerations with local authorities.” However, he refused to rule out the possibility of an out-of-town scheme.
Sussex vineyard and winery sells off guide price of £3.25m: A 152-acre estate in Sussex that includes a vineyard and winery has been sold off a guide price of £3.25m. The Kingscote Wine Estate in Kingscote Valley includes a vineyard and orchard, which produce premium still and sparkling wines and champagne-method cider. Vines were planted in 2010, 2011 and 2013 on south-facing slopes. The vineyards and winery target production of more than 100,000 bottles of still and sparkling wine a year. A Jacobean farmhouse, visitor centre, holiday cottage, shop and stables were also part of the sale to an undisclosed buyer. Chris Spofforth, head of Savills farm agency in the south east, which brokered the deal, said: “We are seeing an increasing interest in land suitable for viticulture in the south east and we are registering new entrants to this sector, whether well-informed novices or landowners looking to extend diversity of their holdings. Several producers are also expanding their growing areas. There is not only local interest but from Europe and beyond as the English wine industry starts to find traction and produce some really good-quality product.”
Kirkstall Brewery buys historic Leeds pub from Greene King: Kirkstall Brewery has acquired the historic Cardigan Arms pub in Leeds’ Kirkstall Road. Current Cardigan Arms owners Greene King chose the brewery, which also runs the successful Kirkstall Bridge Inn, over a bid to take the pub into community ownership by the Cardigan Arms Community Coop, which had received pledges worth more than £100,000 to back their bid. It’s understood there was another – unnamed – bidder. A Greene King spokesperson confirmed a sale had been agreed and said: “Having put the Cardigan Arms on the market earlier this year we’ve now agreed a sale to Kirkstall Brewery, a well-respected local business with a track record of sympathetically restoring and operating a nearby pub. The company is a good fit, being a craft brewer already based in the area. This decision ensures the future of the pub is safeguarded and we wish Kirkstall Brewery all the best for the future running of the pub.” Steve Holt, managing director of Kirkstall Brewery, said: “Our purchase of the Cardigan Arms will preserve this much-loved Grade II listed building for the local community. I look forward to bringing the same sense of pride in restoring and operating the Cardigan as we have to our current pub, the Kirkstall Bridge.” The Cardigan Arms is one of the country’s top 250 heritage pubs according to the Campaign for Real Ale, with the original five rooms around a central bar and many of the original fittings.
Coaching Inn Group reopens Yorkshire hotel as Eatery and Coffee House concept: Independent coaching inns operator Coaching Inn Group, led by Kevin Charity and backed by Business Growth Fund, has reopened The Golden Fleece hotel in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, following a £1m refurbishment. The property, which is one of the oldest coaching inns in England and dates to Tudor times, has been converted into Coaching Inn Group’s Eatery and Coffee House concept, with works including refurbishment of the restaurant, bar and accommodation. The Golden Fleece was bought by Coaching Inn Group in a £5m double acquisition from Homfray Hotels in 2015, which also included The Feathers in Helmsley. Last week Charity revealed he had invested in hospitality technology provider GuestRevu, a cloud-based hospitality guest feedback and online reputation management solution with offices in the UK and South Africa. Charity piloted GuestRevu in two Coaching Inn Group sites in 2014 and saw a 300% increase in the number of reviews published on TripAdvisor in the first three months.
McDonald’s in new push to get US franchisees to upgrade kitchens: McDonald’s is making a new push to get US franchisees to upgrade their kitchen equipment, aiming to win back customers with improved fried chicken and higher-end desserts. The independent operators, who own about 92% of the 14,000-plus McDonald’s restaurants in the US, may have to shell out about $100,000 per store for new equipment, along with other upgrades such as LED lighting, according to internal company documents provided to Bloomberg News. The documents were part of a presentation package sent from corporate headquarters to franchisees. The new costs would be on top of those that are part of the chain’s ongoing Experience of the Future modernisation programme, which can run as high as $700,000 per restaurant. Under the new programme, franchisees may have to buy new espresso machines, a baked-goods display case and a cream-and-sugar dispenser to improve the company’s McCafe line of coffee and drinks. The corporate office pays 55% of the cost of the upgrades. The plan may increase tension between McDonald’s and its franchisees, with the parent shedding “mom-and-pop owners” in favour of larger operators. McDonald’s declined to comment on the documents. The company is working on “better value, core menu enhancements and restaurant modernisation”, spokeswoman Lauren Altmin said in an email. She added: “We are committed to moving faster than ever before to become a better McDonald’s.”
Hotel Chocolat to open its first cafe in Ireland, in Belfast city centre on Friday: Hotel Chocolat will open its latest coffee shop and store, in Belfast city centre, on Friday (26 May), the brand’s first cafe in Ireland. The combined cafe and shop will open at a former Co-op bank in Donegall Square North. Hotel Chocolat already operates a shop in the city and has 13 cafes around the UK. The company told the Belfast Telegraph: “Our cafes are a new concept that brings together everything we do under one roof, from cocoa-growing and chocolate-making to innovative cocoa-based drinks and food. Hotel Chocolat set out to make British chocolate exciting again. Now we are going one step further, creating cafe spaces to relax, refuel and be restored.” In February, Hotel Chocolat reported its sales grew 14% to £62.5m in the 26 weeks ended 25 December 2016. Profit before tax was up 28% to £11.2m and underlying Ebitda was up 27% to £13.7m. Co-founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell said the modular design of Hotel Chocolat cafes allowed it to tailor the offer to the site and catchment.
Manchester-based Tattu to launch Leeds sister site next month: Adam and Drew Jones, the brothers who operate Chinese restaurant Tattu in Spinningfields, Manchester, will start expansion of their concept by opening a sister site in Leeds city centre next month. The brothers have signed a 20-year lease agreement with Evans Property Group to open a 5,500 square foot, ground-floor unit in the Bond Court development on Friday, 9 June. The 180-cover, split-level restaurant in Minerva House will also feature external seating and create 80 jobs. Tattu executive chef Clifton Muil has created three new dishes inspired by Yorkshire produce: Yorkshire beef puff dim sum, Kimchi crab cakes using Whitby crab, and Yorkshire pork ribeye steak. He told BDaily: “We feel privileged to have such an abundance of flavours on our doorstep so wanted to ensure we use these ingredients to create some unique dishes that demonstrate Tattu’s fusion of traditional and contemporary Chinese cooking.” Adam Jones added: “Since opening our first restaurant in 2015, we have made it our mission to be unique in every way. It is important we introduce a new perspective of our brand to Leeds that celebrates everything about this part of the UK. A white cherry blossom and rose garden will provide the perfect backdrop for diners, while the external terrace with canopy will deliver an al fresco experience.”
Jamie Oliver to open second Gatwick site: Jamie Oliver will be opening a new restaurant at Gatwick airport later this year. Jamie Oliver Diner already operates at Heathrow airport. Set to be located at the airport’s South Terminal, the diner will be the second Jamie Oliver-branded store in the airport after the Jamie’s Italian restaurant. A recruitment advert for the new restaurant states it needs team chefs and a back-of-house team, calling it an “amazing opportunity” where you can experience one of the “most respected chefs in the industry”. The exact location of the site within the South Terminal is yet to be announced.
PizzaExpress opens second Bournemouth site: PizzaExpress has opened its second restaurant in Bournemouth. The company has opened the venue in the new BH2 development, creating 40 jobs. The restaurant features “vibrant decor” and a theme inspired by its location at a former bus and coach station, with pop art giving a “nostalgic nod to seaside coach holidays”, reports the Bournemouth Echo. PizzaExpress has 400 sites in the UK, including its other Bournemouth restaurant in Post Office Road. Last week, PizzaExpress revealed it would open its debut motorway service venue in October, at a site on the M40 at Oxford operated by Welcome Break.
Winchester-based operator starts expansion with country pub acquisition: Winchester-based operator Lenny Carr-Roberts has started expansion of his business with the acquisition of the Fox & Hounds pub in Crawley, Hampshire, off a guide price of £650,000. Carr-Roberts, who operates pub restaurant The Bugle Inn in Twyford, completed the deal through agent Christie & Co for the grade II-listed freehold pub with accommodation, which had been closed for 18 months. Carr-Roberts said: “Crawley is a beautiful village and deserves a successful independent village pub for its community. Nine years ago we bought The Bugle Inn after it had been closed for three years. After huge investment and hard work it became the highest-rated restaurant in Winchester, and has remained so for the past five years. The whole Bugle team is thrilled at having a second business to show off their skills. At the Fox & Hounds we will invest heavily in the building itself and totally refurbish the interior and exterior. Our aim is to make the Fox & Hounds the pub in the country you always want to visit. A new and larger kitchen will be the engine room. As with The Bugle Inn, we will serve locally brewed beers as well. We plan to open in spring 2018.”
London restaurateur Will Smith returns to Scotland to launch bistro, bar and wine shop concept: London restaurateur Will Smith, the man who founded Michelin-starred restaurants Wild Honey in Mayfair and Arbutus in Soho, has returned to Helensburgh in Scotland to launch bistro, bar and wine shop concept Sugar Boat. Having sold his restaurant interests in London last year, Smith’s latest project sees him return to Helensburgh having previously lived in the town when he managed The Georgian Room in the mid-1990s. Sugar Boat has opened in Colquhoun Square, with wood-panelled walls, leather banquettes, and seating on the square and a courtyard terrace. The venue opens daily from 9am until late, offering coffee, weekend brunch, afternoon cream tea and seasonal a la carte bistro menus showcasing local produce. The bar offers draught beer from Scottish brewers West and Fallen Brewery, alongside bottled craft beer, wine, spirits and cocktails. Smith told the Glasgowist: “The effort, time and dedication that has gone into the planning and execution of opening Sugar Boat is no different to any other restaurant I have owned. It is an exciting opportunity and I hope the local community enjoys the result.”
Stonegate Pub Company to rebrand Yates’s bar in Middlesbrough as Proper Pub: Stonegate Pub Company is to rebrand its Yates’s bar in Middlesbrough town centre as a Proper Pub. A company spokesman told the Gazette: “Due to an investment in the coming months, Yates’s will make way for one of our newest and most vibrant Proper Pubs. The venue already has a chameleon-like nature that appeals to a wider market, with high-energy weekend nights and more of a local feel on midweek evenings. The repositioning of the business will bring all that is best about a Proper Pub – sport, cask ale, and great food at a strong price whether you want a quiet daytime pint while watching the racing, a great-value refuel for lunch or family midweek dinner, the big match on a Saturday or a weekend night out.” Stonegate Pub Company 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).
Bill’s lines up former Ed’s Easy Diner site in Plymouth: Bill’s Restaurants, owned by Richard Caring, is lining up a site in Plymouth. The company is set to open the venue at Drake Circus Shopping Centre in the unit previously occupied by Ed’s Easy Diner. It has applied to the city council for a premises licence and hopes to open the restaurant towards the end of the year, reports the Plymouth Herald. Bill’s wants to open daily from 8am to 12.30am and serve alcohol from 10am until midnight. Bill’s has 75 sites around the UK, with founder Bill Collison having opened the first restaurant in Lewes, East Sussex, in 2001.
Lost Rivers Brewing Co bids to open its second London cafe: London-based brewer The Lost Rivers Brewing Co has submitted plans to open its second cafe in the capital. Lost Rivers, which describes itself as “shaking up the brewing world as it enters the mainstream”, wants to open the site in Old Street near the junction with Tilney Court, the Islington Gazette reports. In its application to Islington Council, the brewer stated: “Our quality, pricing and entertainment policies attract a more mature or affluent socialiser, especially in the real beer enthusiast sector of the market. The Lost Rivers Brewing Co is extremely excited at the opportunity to open at this site. Our experience and knowledge fit perfectly with what should be achieved to complement the ongoing regeneration of the area. Lost Rivers aims to deliver a high-end operation offering quality cafe-style food during the day and more substantial seasonal dishes in the evening. We will serve a good range of drinks, with a focus on our own Lost Rivers craft brews.” The 150-capacity cafe would open until 1am on Saturdays and Sundays. Lost River’s debut cafe is at London Bridge.
Coca-Cola switches to solar at Yorkshire site: Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has launched a renewable project that means all electricity generated by a new solar farm will be used to support production at its soft drinks factory in Wakefield. The solar farm will supply 15% of the factory’s total electricity use as part of a long-term agreement after CCEP worked with a local landowner on the project. The project will help to reduce the site’s operational carbon footprint by 8.6%, with about 900 cans and 330 plastic bottles produced using renewable electricity every minute. CCEP also said the business had started sourcing 100% of its electricity in the UK from renewable sources as part of a collaboration with EDF Energy. The Wakefield site is the largest soft drinks factory in Europe.
Bosi-trained chef Adam Rawson to launch mini-burger restaurant concept in north London next month: Adam Rawson, who trained under Claude Bosi and Gordon Ramsay and who is reigning Young British Foodies chef of the year, is to launch a mini-burger restaurant concept in Holborn, north London. Bite Me Burger Co will open inside Hong Kong cafe concept Cha Chaan Teng in Kingsway on Thursday, 8 June before moving to a permanent home in west London in the autumn. Bite Me Burger Co will offer bite-sized burgers such as the Lambtastic with stilton and smoked yogurt, and the BC with cream cheese aioli and bacon. The menu will also feature duck and chicken burgers, with vegetarians able to swap out the meat for any vegetable and an aubergine patty. The venue will also offer the option of a box of a dozen mini-burgers to take away, Hot Dinners reports.
Conviviality hires Clarion for PR account: Conviviality, the wholesaler and distributor of alcohol and impulse, serving customers through its franchised retail outlets and through hospitality and foodservice, has appointed agency Clarion Communications to handle its trade and consumer PR. Clarion’s remit will cover Conviviality’s Bibendum, Matthew Clark, Bargain Booze and Wine Rack businesses. Shelley Wyatt, managing partner at London-based Clarion Communications, said she was thrilled by the win, adding the company was “in the midst of an induction and planning phase”. Last year, Conviviality restructured to create three business units – Conviviality Direct, Conviviality Retail and Conviviality Trading.
C&C Group launches Magners summer campaign: C&C Group has launched a “seize the summer” campaign for its Magners Irish Cider brand in partnership with budget airline Easyjet. The campaign, based around the fact British Summer Time is two days shorter this year than in 2016, offers consumers a chance to win one of 400 holidays worth up to £1,000 each. The promotion will feature on packs and at selected bars, with hundreds of summer-themed prizes and a series of promotional stunts. Magners marketing director Paul Condron said: “Summer is not long enough at the best of times – but we can’t afford to waste a moment of it this year.” On Wednesday (17 May), C&C Group reported operating profit of €95m in the year to 28 February 2017, in line with the prior year. There was volume growth in core cider brands Bulmers and Magners of 2.6%. The company referenced the importance of its long-term distribution arrangement with Anheuser-Busch InBev – a partnership it said had the potential to “drive volume and value for Magners for years to come”. Summer officially begins in the UK on Wednesday, 21 June.
Crosstown Doughnuts opens fourth London site, in Victoria: Crosstown Doughnuts, co-founded by Adam Wills and Peter Gordon, has opened its fourth London site, this time at the Nova development in Victoria. To celebrate the opening, the brand has also launched its own vegan doughnut range, including chocolate truffle ring (vegan sourdough with dark chocolate ganache and truffle filling), and vegan versions of its classic vanilla glazed ring and best-selling cinnamon scroll, Hot Dinners reports. Crosstown Doughnuts opened its third site, in Camden Stables Market in January, following openings in Shoreditch and Soho. As well as doughnuts, the brand offers coffee including bottled cold-brew from local producers Sandows and its Nitro cold brew on draught.
Casual Dining Group moves into pub operations with two Heathrow sites: Casual Dining Group (CDG) has moved into pub operations after winning a competitive tender process to run two landmark pubs located within Heathrow airport. The operator of Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas has assumed management control of two existing pubs, located at Terminals 3 and 5, and will convert them to a new concept – Ale & Coffee House, which has been developed with the design support of celebrated pub entrepreneur Joanna Clevely, co-founder of Geronimo Inns. In addition, Rupert Clevely – Joanna’s husband – has advised CDG on the initial concept development. Under the new format, the pubs, which currently trade as the Three Bells and the Five Tuns, will be renamed The Darwin (T3) and The George (T5). Mark Nelson, CDG’s managing director of concessions and franchising, said: “We’re delighted to have secured these sites and our new partnership gives us huge credibility as we enter the pub sector. It demonstrates our continued passion to be at the forefront of the hospitality sector, not just as an operator of casual dining restaurants but food-led pubs too. We look forward to growing this business and seeking further opportunities to build on this collaboration, such as in other airport locations and transport hubs, including major train stations.” The partnership will see CDG assume responsibility for the day-to-day management of the sites. Both pubs will focus on delivering an all-day offer, featuring high-quality food, premium drinks and coffee, to travellers passing through the airport terminals. The pub refurbishments are scheduled to take place later in the year – when the pubs will convert fully to the new branding and updated operation. CDG currently operates five restaurants at Heathrow and a Rapide grab-and-go site at Inverness airport, Scotland. It is set to open a Bella Italia and Oriel Grande Brasserie at London Luton airport early in 2018, and recently commenced a contract to run all food and beverage concessions at Jersey airport.