Javad Morandi – Soho House restaurant division can expand to 100 sites in the UK, Guy Williams steps down as chief development officer: Javad Morandi, who last year invested £14m to buy a half-share in Soho House’s restaurant division, Rollout Restaurants, has argued the division can expand to 100 sites in the UK. Its brands include Chicken Shop, Dirty Burger and Pizza East. “In the UK, I think we can do more than 100 shops across all brands,” he said, with more international outlets to follow in Chicago and Barcelona. He is also the landlord of Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, the group’s rural outpost. Morandi told the Daily Telegraph he is making investments for the long term, three generations or so, far longer than banks or private equity firms are prepared to offer terms. He is spending £50m transforming the former Monnet Cognac cellars in south west France into a five-star hotel and spa, due to open next year to cater for visitors on the distillery trail. Meanwhile, Guy Williams has left his position as chief development officer at Soho House, Propel has learned. Williams, who was responsible for finding properties for the group, has decided to pursue other interests. He will still continue to “help out the company with what he was doing before”. A Soho House spokesman told Propel: “Guy is still a big part of the Soho House family. He had a few other things he wanted to do, and has gone off to do them.”
Black Sheep Brewery signs up to Asset Match: Yorkshire-based Black Sheep Brewery has started trading on Asset Match, the platform that provides liquidity in private company shares. The company has been admitted to trading at a guide price of 265p per share. Auctions are held quarterly and close at 12pm on the second Wednesday of the month. The first scheduled auction is due to close on 8 February. Black Sheep Brewery was founded in 1992 by Paul Theakston and over the years has established itself as one of the north of England and UK’s leading independent cask ale brewers. It does not own pubs and sells beer into the independent free trade, “multiple” pub companies, wholesale, other brewers and national supermarket chains. Theakston said: “Black Sheep are delighted to announce it will be working with Asset Match to provide a market for our shareholders. We wanted to find the best way for our shares to be matched to willing buyers and willing sellers and this provides the most transparent, structured and convenient way of doing this.”
Work starts on £430,000 development of Glasgow Hope Street pub: Heineken owned Star Pubs & Bars and Hope Street Lease – a partnership between Glasgow hospitality operators Neil Douglas and Billy Mcaneney – have started work on a £430,000 refurbishment of Trader Joes in Hope Street in Glasgow. The rundown pub will become a contemporary Scottish bar and restaurant called Ardnamurchan, specialising in Scottish food and drink. The opening will create 20 jobs and is expected to take place at the start of May. Situated on the outskirts of the city centre, the site is in a prime position opposite the Theatre Royal, near Caledonian University and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a short walk from Sauchiehall Street. With pubs and bars in the West End, Finnieston and city centre having been the focus of development in recent years, the creation of Ardnamurchan is part of a wider move by operators to invest in less central areas of Glasgow. Ardnamurchan will celebrate Scottish food and drink. While produce will come from all over Scotland, there will be close links with suppliers in Ardnamurchan with venison coming from the Ardnamurchan Estate and langoustine from Mull. The bar will specialise in Scottish whiskies and gins as well as cocktails. More than 50 Scottish whiskies will be stocked and it will be the first in Glasgow to sell whisky from The Ardnamurchan Distillery. Four Caledonian beers will be on tap. Douglas, who also runs Café Antipasti in Sauchiehall Street with his wife Julie, said: “Scotland has some of the best farming and fishing in the world yet very few restaurants in the city major on Scottish cuisine. We believe it’s time it had more prominence. Julie’s family goes back ten generations in Ardnamurchan and we’ll be using those links to bring some outstanding produce to Glasgow. The North end of Hope Street used to be one of Glasgow’s main entertainment areas but has been overlooked in recent years, we want to bring back some of its sparkle. This is the first leased pub that Billy and I have been involved with. As independent operators it’s key to us the venue reflects our vision. Star has fully supported our plans and we’ve been delighted by the flexibility and autonomy that we have been given to undertake the work including using our own designers and builders.”
Manchester-based Mexican street food restaurant set to open first sites outside city as it doubles estate: Manchester-based Mexican street food restaurant Pancho’s Burritos is set to open its first sites outside the city as it doubles its estate. The company operates from two venues in Manchester – at the Arndale Centre and in Chester Street. Now it is set to expand with new sites in Liverpool and Leeds. Pancho’s Burritos, which featured on BBC One’s Len and Ainsley’s Food Adventure in 2015, is set to open a branch in Liverpool, in Bold Street, which is home to several new street food restaurants. Plans have also been submitted for a base in the centre of Leeds. Pancho’s Burritos was established at the Arndale Centre in 2010 by Enrique Martinez and Klaus Bohne, opening its second restaurant in 2015. The pair have secured funds to open another eight restaurants in the next two to three years.
D&D London venue faces ban on late-night drinking following police complaints: D&D London venue The Madison, the City bar run by restaurant operator D&D London, is facing a ban on late-night drinking after police complaints of an unacceptable level of violence. The venue, which has terraces looking out on to St Paul’s Cathedral, has been the scene of 21 violent incidents in 16 months – including glassings, assaults and affray – according to officers who are demanding a review of its licence. Police said the venue, which can play music and serve alcohol to up to 960 customers until 2am every day, should become a 260-seater restaurant with drink only served to those dining, and should shut at midnight, reports the Evening Standard. The panoramic rooftop bar, above the One New Change shopping complex, is marketed as a “Manhattan-style haven”. D&D London bought it for £4.5m in 2014. Inspector Simon Douglas, of the City of London Police licensing team, said officers had tried for more than a year to cut violence and had triggered a licence review, which will be heard on Tuesday (24 January) as a last resort. Police records showed officers had been called to nine violent crimes in the summer of 2015, after which the venue agreed to bring its closing time forward to 1am. However, there were a further six alleged attacks between last February and July. Garry Seal, of the City’s environmental health department, said his team had also been called repeatedly to the venue after complaints of loud music. Douglas said: “A real change to the style and nature of Madison’s operation is required to ensure it focuses on a lower-risk restaurant offering.” D&D London said: “The terms of Madison’s premises licence are being reviewed by the local licensing authority following a number of incidents reported to the police and allegedly involving the premises. The restaurant is committed to co-operating with the police and the licensing authority and has put together extensive new measures to avoid such incidents.”
JD Wetherspoon has pipeline of four sites in Republic of Ireland: JD Wetherspoon, which has five sites operating in the Republic of Ireland, four in suburban Dublin and one in Cork city centre, has a pipeline of four further sites. A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon told the Irish Examiner: “We are hopeful for favourable planning outcomes at two sites in Dublin at Abbey Street and Camden Street, with a projected investment of €20m on both sites and the creation of 20 jobs.” He said its sites in Waterford and Carlow were also being looked at for its next phase of development but there were no immediate plans for expansion in Cork. JD Wetherspoon has previously stated its confidence in succeeding with its €4m hotel and bar plan for Camden Street — despite objections from locals and a planning hold-up over council concerns about the high number of late-night venues in the vicinity. Founder Tim Martin has previously outlined his ambition to grow JD Wetherspoon to 30 bars in Ireland but conceded last July it would take longer than he had initially anticipated.
December like-for-likes up 47.2% for better burger brand Hubbox: Hubbox, the Cornwall-based better burger concept led by Richard Boon, has reported December like-for-likes up 47.2%. The company said a new seasonal menu, increased digital awareness, and an unflinching focus on quality helped to deliver the record-breaking performance. Boon said: “Our Plymouth site only opened in November last year and doubled its December sales compared to last year, while at Truro we converted the outside area into a Christmas Grotto and saw sales grow by 43.7%.” Hubbox recently secured investment from Provenance Investment Partners founded by former TPG Partner, Simon Henderson, and will now look forward to rolling the brand out in the south west, with Bristol anticipated to be the next opening in April.
Casual Dining Group to rebrand La Tasca restaurant in Manchester as Belgo, second regional site: Casual Dining Group is to rebrand its La Tasca site in Manchester as Belgian-themed restaurant Belgo. The company is planning to revamp the venue in Deansgate into Belgo’s second site outside of London after Nottingham, reports Manchester Confidential. The Manchester venue will have quirky feature lighting, big banquette seating, reclaimed wood booths, eclectic artwork and a Belgian market theme. Belgo also has six sites in the capital having launched in Chalk Farm, north west London, in 1992.
HK4 Group lines up new prohibition bar concept for former Base + Barley site: HK4 Group has lined up a new prohibition bar concept at the site in Exeter that housed its pizza and craft beer restaurant Base + Barley. The company shut the venue on Friday, 13 January, two months after closing Base + Barley’s other site in Cardiff. Now, HK4 Group, which is owned by Steve Keough and Joe Hill and also operates bar restaurant The Terrace and coffee and wine bar Artigiano in Exeter, looks set to launch The Book Cover at the site in Longbrook Street, the Express & Echo reports. According to the company’s website, The Book Cover is a “1920s-style prohibition bar that specialises in craft spirits, including an extensive range of gin ‘new and old’, specially crafted cocktails, boutique bottled beers and a great selection of world wines”. Inspiration for the idea could come from the Great Gatsby-themed party held at The Terrace on New Year’s Eve. According to its website, HK4 Group was founded three years ago and now has annual sales of about £5m. The company has said it is planning national expansion of its Artigiano and Terrace brands.
Samba Brands to launch new street market concept in Tottenham Court Road: Samba Brands Management, which owns fusion restaurant brand Sushisamba, is set to launch a new “street market” concept in the Centre Point building in Tottenham Court Road. The company has agreed terms to take a 12,000 square foot site on the ground floor of the grade II-listed 1960s concrete skyscraper, which is undergoing a radical refurbishment by owner Almacantar. The new concept will take two ground-floor units at Centre Point, with its entrance in New Oxford Street, CoStar News reports. Part of the site was occupied by the original NatWest bank and the original gold bullion lift has been restored and will take restaurant-goers to a mezzanine level. Shelley Sandzer is advising Samba Brands Management, while Bruce Gillingham Pollard is sole leasing agent for the retail and restaurant element of the scheme, which comprises more than 48,000 square feet of A1 and A3 space. Other operators lined up for Centre Point include Pret A Manger, pizza and pasta bar Vapiano, Black Sheep Coffee, and Rhubarb, the catering company behind The Sky Garden at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street in the City. Samba Brands opened its first Sushisamba in London at Bishopsgate, with a subsequent site in Covent Garden. It also has three Sushisambas in the US – in New York, Las Vegas and Miami Beach.
Be At One eyes second Leeds site: Cocktail bar brand Be At One is eyeing a second site in Leeds. The company, founded in 1998 by Steve Locke, Leigh Miller and Rhys Oldfield, has earmarked a location in Boar Lane, close to Trinity Leeds, for the new bar. ID Planning has lodged a change of use application with the city council on behalf of the company, which already runs a venue in the city off Millennium Square. The move is said to be a sign of Be at One’s commitment to Leeds “as one of the most vibrant cities in the north of England”, reports Insider Media. In December, Be At One, which currently has 31 sites, reported like-for-like sales increased 9% as turnover rose 32% to £29.8m for the year ended 27 March 2016. Store adjusted Ebitda rose 30% to £7.5m, with group adjusted Ebitda increasing 42% to £4.7m.
Comptoir Libanais opens Kensington restaurant, 17th site: Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes, has opened its 17th site, this time in Gloucester Road, Kensington. The 177 square metre site is the 12th Comptoir Libanais in the capital, including venues at Gatwick and Heathrow airports and the brand’s only in-store restaurant – on the fourth floor of John Lewis’ flagship Oxford Street store. Comptoir Libanais, which is owned by Levant Restaurants Group, also has regional venues in Bath, Bluewater in Kent, Exeter, Leeds and Manchester and has signed to open restaurants at developments in Reading and Oxford. Last month, Comptoir Group acquired the assets of Agushia, which operates Lebanese-themed restaurants under the Yalla Yalla brand, from administration. As part of the acquisition, Comptoir has acquired three Yalla Yalla-branded restaurants. Comptoir will continue, for the time being, to operate the restaurants under the Yalla Yalla brand.
Five Guys planning to convert Yates’s pub in Croydon town centre into restaurant: Better burger brand Five Guys is planning to convert a former Yates’s pub in Croydon town centre into a 95-cover restaurant. Consultants Pegasus Group has submitted planning applications to Croydon Council to install a new shop front and advertising at the High Street venue, which has been boarded up since owner Stonegate Pub Company closed it in April 2015. The planning application reveals the company also wants to change the lettering on a clock hanging from the building, the Croydon Advertiser reports. A consultation period on the changes has ended and the application will be considered by the council’s planning department in the coming weeks. Last month, the company opened a restaurant in Exeter and now operates more than 50 restaurants in the UK, with sites to open soon in Kensington High Street and Manchester. Five Guys was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family and opened its first UK restaurant in Covent Garden in 2013.
KFC fined nearly £1m after two workers scalded by gravy: KFC has been fined nearly £1m after two workers suffered serious burns from boiling hot gravy. Employee Joshua Arnold was scalded across his arms when a boiling tub of gravy tilted and spilled as he took it out of a microwave oven. Teesside Crown Court heard he put paper towels put over his injuries and was sent to hospital alone in a taxi instead of an ambulance. CCTV footage showed him at one point sitting on he floor as he nursed his injuries, and colleagues dodging around him. Arnold said he had never been shown any guidance on how to carry out the heating-up task safely, and had done it just once before, supervised. The accident at the Teesside Retail Park restaurant in Stockton in July 2014 was followed by a similar one at nearby Wellington Square. The court heard in December 2015, Heather Storer was also burnt by red-hot gravy. Judge Sean Morris heard neither employee used gauntlets to protect themselves from injury as KFC guidelines dictate. CCTV footage showed there were no gauntlets at all in the Wellington Square store. KFC admitted two charges of failing in a duty of care to employees following the prosecution by Stockton Council. KFC was ordered to pay fines totalling £950,000, prosecution costs of £18,699.17 and a victim surcharge of £120. Sada Naqshbandi, defending, told the court how the company employs a specialist health and safety team, and there are now warning stickers in microwaves. Speaking afterwards, KFC UK and Ireland chief operating officer Rob Swain said: “The safety of our team members is hugely important to us, so we were shocked by what happened. We have robust processes and procedures in place, but on these occasions, they were not followed and we have accepted the prosecution.”
Cote to open first north east site, in Newcastle: French brasserie Cote is set to open its first site in the north east, at a former bank in Newcastle city centre. The company has applied to convert a former Barclays branch in Grainger Street and an adjacent site into a 120-cover restaurant. Under the plans, diners would be seated on the ground floor, with the kitchen upstairs. The basement vaults would be retained, including the vault doors, and used as a back-of-house area, Chronicle Live reports. The former bank is a listed building and part of Newcastle’s conservation area. Cote said the conversion plans were sympathetic to the wider area. The application stated: “Overall, it is considered the application proposals represent an acceptable and appropriate form of development that, when considered against the established character and appearance of the existing site, would both protect the historic and architectural importance of the grade II-listed building, and preserve and positively enhance the character and appearance of this part of the Newcastle Central Conservation Area.”
Greene King to launch gluten-free beers: Brewer and retailer Greene King is launching gluten-free versions of two of its beers. The company will make gluten-free versions of its Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen available in 500ml bottles from February. They are brewed with their usual ingredients and to their normal recipes, with the reduction in gluten content achieved through an innovation in the brewing process. A bespoke product stream ensures the beers remain segregated and guarantees they can be designated as gluten-free. Greene King brewing and brands marketing director George Johnston said: “Everyone should be able to enjoy great tasting British beer, especially as ale continues to grow in popularity, so gluten-free versions of our leading Old Speckled Hen and Greene King IPA were the natural first choice to bring to consumers. It was important to us to remain true to their flavour profiles, and taste tests with our brewers, teams and independent expert panels have ensured our gluten-free beers are spot on, so drinkers with specific dietary requirements can enjoy these specially crafted beers knowing they are getting the real deal.”
Harrogate-based seafood and champagne restaurant to start expansion with second site as it looks to develop into chain: Harrogate-based seafood and champagne restaurant Fisk is set to start expansion with a second site as it looks to develop into a chain. The company will open the new venue in the village of Prestbury in Cheshire in the spring. Fisk’s menu is centred on fish “served in a modern way with influences from around the world”. Chief executive Stuart Williams said: “This an exciting stage in developing Fisk into a high-end chain of small, exclusive restaurants. I have been visiting friends in Prestbury for many years and often thought the village lacked places to dine. We will bring the same concept developed in Harrogate over the past few months and, together with our drink and food partners, create a ‘must go’ restaurant in a stunning location.”
North east beer-lovers launch new venture after buying Jarrow Brewery’s assets: North east beer-lovers Paul Minnikin and Mark Forrest have launched The Great North Eastern Brewing Company after buying the assets of Jarrow Brewery, which ceased trading in 2015. Minnikin, who is managing director of the new venture, was a former shareholder in Jarrow Brewery and, with the help of new investors, has bought its equipment, trademarks and the rights to its real ale brands. Production is already under way at the brewery in Gateshead, with plans for a bar, shop and brewery tours to follow following the £300,000 investment. The initial target is to brew ten ales, including Jarrow favourites such as Rivet Catcher, and re-establish links with pub chains in the region. Minnikin told Chronicle Live: “With Rivet Catcher, we’re bringing an iconic beer back to the area. We’ve spent a lot of money to make it work.”
Pod partners with The Felix Project to help less fortunate: Healthy fast food chain Pod has joined forces with The Felix Project to distribute its surplus food to people in need. Pod will donate its ready to eat, hand-made salads, sandwiches, yoghurts and snack pots to the cause, following through with its mission to enable more people to live healthier lives. The Felix Project distributes London’s surplus fresh food that would otherwise go to waste to the homeless, those living in poverty and families struggling to get by. Pod chairman John Postlethwaite said: “When you are making your food fresh on a daily basis like we do at Pod using kitchens in every store, waste will inevitably be an issue that we would prefer to avoid. To be able to avoid waste and give something back to society through The Felix Project makes it a very rewarding partnership, which we hope we will have for many years.”
Dylan’s secures government funding towards Llandudno restaurant launch, third Welsh site: Anglesey-based restaurant group Dylan’s has secured £190,000 funding from the Welsh government to help the company open its third site in the country, this time in Llandudno. Dylan’s has bought a grade II-listed seafront building, which formerly housed the Washington nightclub that closed in 2012. Dylan’s will begin a £1.5m refurbishment programme at the building in East Parade with a view to opening a seafood restaurant and bar in May. The plan includes creating a dining space over two floors, a cocktail bar and outdoor terrace. Dylan’s director David Evans told the Daily Post: “We’d like to thank the Welsh government for supporting us with the refurbishment of our new site in Llandudno. Work is progressing well at the Washington and we look forward to opening in May.” Dylan’s launched its first restaurant in Menai Bridge, Anglesey, in 2012 and opened its second site, at Portmeirion architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’ Morannedd building in Criccieth, last year. It has also opened a prep kitchen for its restaurants in Llangefni. Its venues focus on locally and sustainably caught fish and seafood sourced directly from fishermen in the region.
Bury-based burger and steak concept Bare Grills to open permanent site: Bare Grills, a burger and steak concept operated from a food truck in Bury, Greater Manchester, will open a permanent site next month. Lewis Holbrook, who launched the concept with partner Holly Parnell, will open a 20-cover restaurant in Bolton Road. He told the Bury Times: “We have a big fan base and have had people coming from all over Manchester to try our food. The quality of our food is really high and we are ranked in the top 21 places in Manchester for a steak, which is amazing considering most of the others are restaurants. All our burgers and steaks are hand-made and the meals are our own recipes.”
Thwaites gets go-ahead for new £8m headquarters: North west brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites has been given the go-ahead for its new £8m brewery, stables and head office. The company has been granted permission by Ribble Valley Council for the development in Mellor Brook, about five miles from Thwaites’ current home in Blackburn. The building contracts are now being finalised before work starts. The plan will bring the brewery, stables, head office and heritage centre into a single location with the company hoping to move in the spring of 2018. Chief executive Rick Bailey said: “This is great news. We’ve spent a long time developing the plans – we’re putting a substantial investment into the new site so it was important to get the details right. Receiving planning consent is a significant milestone and I’m now looking forward to building work starting. The design of the new buildings is modern and fits really well with the more rural location. Feedback about it has been extremely positive and staff are looking forward to seeing the new site take shape.”
Essex-based Turkish restaurant concept to start expansion with second site, in Chelmsford: Essex-based Turkish restaurant concept Bogaz is to start expansion by opening a second site, in Chelmsford. The company, which launched in Rayleigh, is opening the site in Moulsham Street and it will be the first purely Turkish restaurant in the city. The menu is expected to be similar to the one in Rayleigh, which has a four-star rating on TripAdvisor, reports Essex Live. Dishes will include a selection of kebabs cooked on a charcoal grill and served with rice and bread, as well as lamb moussaka and chicken casserole. There will also be wine from Turkey, Spain, Chile, Australia and Italy, alongside Efes beer, which is brewed in Turkey. Two more traditional drinks will feature –ayran (a cold yogurt drink mixed with salt) and salgam (spiced, fermented juice made from red carrot pickles). Bogaz’s website states: “Bogaz is the perfect restaurant to experience an authentic traditional Turkish meal or celebrate your special occasion with our warm and friendly staff in our unique atmosphere.”
Malmaison gets go-ahead for boutique hotel in York city centre: Malmaison and Hotel du Vin owner Frasers Hospitality has had its plans for a major hotel development in York city centre approved. The company will transform the former Aviva building in Rougier Street into a 124-bedroom Malmaison hotel with 36 serviced apartments, creating up to 90 jobs. The building will get a bronze-clad roof extension and a seven-storey rear extension. A bar, restaurant and coffee shop will be situated on the ground floor, with bedrooms on floors one to six, The Press reports. Frasers Hospitality’s purchase of the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin group in 2015 comprised 29 lifestyle boutique hotels for £363.4m. Colorado-based KSL Capital Partners had bought Malmaison and Hotel du Vin for about £180m in 2013. Frasers Hospitality’s global portfolio currently stands at 136 properties in 78 cities, while Malmaison has a presence in 15 cities across the UK.