Fuller’s to make multimillion-pound investment in first new-build stand-alone hotel: Fuller’s is to make a multimillion-pound investment in its first stand-alone hotel, subject to planning permission, at a waterfront venue, offering 40 to 50 bedrooms, in Portsmouth – the site will also offer a Fuller’s pub. The new site signals Fuller’s growing ambitions to develop its bedroom stock – it has 724 bedrooms and plans to ramp up expansion with as many as 100 new bedrooms in the next two years. Accommodation was described as being its “star performer” in the first six months of its financial year, growing at 8.2% on a like-for-like basis. The company stated: “Our accommodation offer continues to develop and take advantage of the opportunities provided through staycations and inbound tourism. We have launched an overarching marketing programme for our hotels and pubs with bedrooms under the banner Beautiful Bedrooms by Fuller’s and added four bedrooms to the estate during the half-year at The Swan in Staines. Since the period end, we have acquired The Manor, an outstanding freehold site just outside Christchurch on the edge of the New Forest, with ten bedrooms, and added four more bedrooms to The White Buck in Burley. We strongly believe accommodation provides a great opportunity to build our business and have identified more than 100 further bedrooms that can be added to our estate over the next two years.” Meanwhile, Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny told Propel that further expansion of its 17-strong cider and craft beer brand The Stable is likely to be focused outside of London. The company opened its first London site in Whitechapel in April 2016 and it is trading “consistently”, Emeny reported. However, the sharp rise in London business rates means additional sites would be pursued selectively and are likely to be closer to its heartland in Dorset.
Wahaca opens Shoreditch Test Kitchen: Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca has opened a culinary experimental hub in Shoreditch. The company wants the restaurant in Tabernacle Street to act as an innovation platform to develop new ideas and recipes with the ambition of taking many of the dishes created to its restaurants nationwide. Founded by Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby in 2007, dishes at the new test kitchen draw inspiration from Miers’ recent trips to Mexico City, Oaxaca and the Yucatan. Wahaca is collaborating with El Blanco Niño to produce a bespoke, traditionally made nixtamalized corn tortilla that uses non-genetically modified corn and is naturally gluten-free. It will also continue to work with small producers such as Trealy Farm for its sobresada, a Mexican-style chorizo, and Jude’s ice-cream. Miers said: “Wahaca has always been at the forefront of innovation, bringing new Mexican dishes to the UK, and after ten years we’re hugely excited to have this new Test Kitchen to help us continue to push the boundaries and find new ways to explore the incredible variety of vibrant flavours and ingredients from Mexico’s extraordinary range of cuisines.” The new restaurant seats 120 and the space is laid out over two levels, with a central communal table and an open kitchen letting guests see the chefs at work. The Shoreditch restaurant also sees the introduction of a digital bill tablet, which will allow guests to give immediate feedback on the dishes they have just enjoyed.
MC Group to open sub-continental street food site in Slough as it strengthens Star partnership: Bar and restaurant operator MC Group, led by Yoga Mogantas and Nayan Chande, is to open a sub-continental street food site in Slough this week as its strengthens its partnership with Star Pubs & Bars. The bar and restaurant in Rickshaw Road, which opens on Friday (1 December), will seat 150 diners and have a rustic theme with an oxcart, bicycle, Buddha and colourful wall-mounted doors. An open kitchen will allow diners to see their meal being cooked with the light spiced fast food typical of those found in different regions of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The drinks will feature fragrant and spicy teas, tropical spiced cocktails and exotic juices as well as traditional Western cocktails and popular wines, ciders and beers. Mogantas said: “The food is totally different from mainstream Indian restaurants. You won’t find the usual curries on the menu. We’ve had a research team visiting different Indian states to source dishes we can recreate to give diners a unique authentic experience of street food. Slough was recently recognised as one of the best places to live and work in the UK, and with a high number of Asian residents, the arrival of Crossrail and more young professionals moving to the area, it made absolute sense to open somewhere such as Rickshaw Road.” MC Group currently has six sites to the west and north west of London, including three with Star Pubs & Bars – Namaste Lounge, a lounge bar and Indian restaurant in Northwood; Tamara Lounge, a lounge, bar and restaurant serving Indian and Chinese cuisine in Hillingdon; and The Runway Bar & Kitchen in Uxbridge. Star Pubs & Bars operations director Tim Galligan said: “With street food being on-trend, I am confident this will prove to be another popular destination.”
London Cocktail Club launches ninth site: London Cocktail Club has launched its ninth venue in London’s Liverpool Street. Nicknamed “the lock-in at the freak show”, London Cocktail Club Liverpool Street is a fairground-themed basement bar featuring a fortune-telling robot, Zoltar. A spokesman said: “Following the style of London Cocktail Club’s chain of design-led cocktail dens, the latest venture does not disappoint – big-top styled faux-leather banquettes, ouija board tables and the flickering buzz of multi-coloured lights set the scene and the cocktail menu is just as creative as can be expected at any of our sites.”
London-based premium food delivery service Supper fails to hit crowdfunding target: London-based premium food delivery service Supper has failed to hit its £500,000 crowdfunding target. Supper was offering a 10.64% equity stake in return for the investment on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to fuel its growth. Supper uses custom-built motorised buggies with temperature-controlled compartments to ensure “perfect deliveries” from restaurants, ranging from Michelin-starred to quality casual. It has completed more than 12,000 orders to date. The company has turnover to date of more than £700,000, with a loss of £66,364. More than 7,000 customers have signed up, with the average order received being £57 and repeat ordering currently at 60%.
Gino D’Acampo and Next launch joint venture with Manchester opening, plan national roll-out next year: Italian chef and television personality Gino D’Acampo and fashion retailer Next have opened the first site for their new joint venture ahead of a proposed national roll-out. D’Acampo’s 200-seater Gino My Pizza and Prosecco Bar is located on the top floor of Next’s UK flagship store in the Arndale Centre in Manchester. It features the country’s largest selection of prosecco by the glass from a 23-metre island bar, wood-fired ovens, deli, produce shop and ice cream bar. The Manchester opening will be followed next month by a second branch in Hull at Kingswood Park with a national roll-out starting next year. D’Acampo and Next unveiled plans for the joint venture in July. Next said at the time it had always ensured stores are an “enjoyable destination and having a Gino restaurant would only add to this”. D’Acampo said: “I’m excited to open My Pizza and Prosecco Bar in Manchester and start my new partnership with Next. What more can someone want than great pizza, great prosecco and a bit of retail therapy?” The partnership between D’Acampo and Next is aided by Steven Walker, founder of Individual Restaurants, who will provide the services to ensure “delivery is of the highest standard”. D’Acampo and Individual Restaurants are already working in partnership having launched fast-casual dining concept My Restaurant, which has six sites, with the latest having opened in Camden, north London, last month.
TLC Inns reopens accommodation at first Star Pubs & Bars site: Pub and restaurant operator TLC Inns has reopened the bedrooms at The Victory on Mersea Island, near Colchester, in Essex, after the first part of a £250,000 refurbishment. The venue is the first of what they hope will be a number of pubs with Star Pubs & Bars. The Victory is the company’s first pub addition to its Essex and East Anglia estate in five years. It currently has six pubs and six Grand Central Bar & Grills with plans to increase the estate to 20 venues within the next two to three years. The Victory is the company’s first site with accommodation. Going forward, TLC Inns intends to add accommodation to existing sites where feasible and it believed there will be demand and is actively looking for quality sites with accommodation for future growth of the company. The Victory has 120 covers inside and capacity for a further 300 people in the large pub garden that also features a children’s play area. In addition to extra letting rooms, and an upgrade of the pub, TLC Inns intends to increase the kitchen size so the pub can offer a broader, more adventurous menu. Steve Haslam, who founded and runs TLC Inns with his wife Jo, said: “We want to develop accommodation as it provides an extra revenue stream for our pubs and restaurants. It is also in line with the growth in UK-based vacations and short stays as well as ongoing business usage. We’ve wanted to work with Star for a while now as we had heard good feedback from other multiple operators. We hope there’ll be more opportunities to do so. The Victory is ideal for us. It is in a great location and needs some TLC so gives us the opportunity to add value, which is what we do well.”
Authentic Alehouses extends crowdfunding campaign after raising more than £4m: Leeds-based Authentic Alehouses, led by Burning Night Group boss Allan Harper, has extended its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdstacker having raised more than £4m. The company launched its funding bid to revive the fortunes of currently underperforming pubs by attracting a new generation of customers with a menu of “quality artisan food and drink, updated decor and a variety of entertainment”. It opened its first venue earlier this month having relaunched The Albert Hotel in Hull following a £1m refurbishment. Authentic Alehouses is aiming to raise £5m on the platform, offering investors a 6.5% per annum interest rate through a peer-to-peer loan. Backers are also given the potential to earn income tax-free by investing via Crowdstacker’s Innovative Finance ISA. Authentic Alehouses launched the campaign in July and has so far raised £4,025,017. The next closing is on Thursday, 14 December. Authentic Alehouses plans to use the capital to refurbish sites in prime locations, streamline and modernise their operation to cut down on wastage, and introduce higher quality food, a broader range of new drinks and more family-orientated entertainment. Meanwhile, Burning Night Group has extended its £750,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to launch a new sports-themed concept – Sportskeller – by a fortnight. 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, 486 investors have pledged £414,620 with 23 days remaining.
Gatwick airport reports growth in income and spend at F&B outlets: Gatwick airport has reported 11.4% income growth and a 6.8% increase in spend per passenger at its food and beverage (F&B) outlets. The airport said the growth was driven by the expansion of the Flying Horse pub and the launch of Jamie Oliver’s Diner in the South Terminal, which resulted in increased capacity and sales. Starbucks also opened a unit last year. Gatwick reported continued growth across revenue, retail income and passenger numbers in its interim results for the six months ending 30 September 2017. Customer satisfaction remained strong in the first six months, the airport stated, with more than 85% of passengers rating its retail and F&B outlets as “good” or “excellent”. The six-month period was the busiest in Gatwick’s history with 26.4 million passengers, an increase of 5.1% or 1.3 million passengers. Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate told The Moodie Davitt Report: “Gatwick now serves 45.5 million passengers each year and is playing a vital role for Britain.”
BrewDog signs partnership with Irish drinks distributor as it eyes Dublin site: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has signed a partnership deal with Irish drinks distributor Barry & Fitzwilliam, effective from 1 January 2018. Having exported to Irish bars and retailers for a while, BrewDog said it was currently scouting for a site in Dublin to open its own bar. A spokesman told European Supermarket Magazine: “Once established, BrewDog will continue brewing beers that resonate heavily with the chosen styles and flavours of the local audience.” Barry & Fitzwilliam managing director Michael Barry added: “The addition of the BrewDog brand to our portfolio will give our customers an unrivalled choice of craft beers, both domestic and international.”
Premier Inn’s stable framework will ‘shape future growth’: Mark Anderson, managing director of property at Premier Inn International, has said the brand’s strong foundations will help shape its future. The company has grown its UK business by almost 150% in the past ten years to more than 70,000 rooms, which would allow it to do some “really innovative and ambitious things”. Writing for Property Week, he said: “We want to expand further into existing markets where there is excess demand and our hotels are regularly at full capacity. As Premier Inn continues to grow, we are becoming far more sophisticated in our approach – so instead of simply expanding our room count we want to do it in a way that will maximise our returns. In addition, we want to enter new markets. There are a lot of hotels across the UK that are relatively poor quality and under-invested in but still have high room rates. This means there is a lot of untapped demand for our product. We believe a modest sale-and-leaseback programme is a good way of signalling the value of our covenant to the market. When a hotel is put on a Premier Inn lease and sold, it generates an upside in terms of development profit anything between 15% and 50%. When developers see the exit yield we are achieving – which is below 4% at the moment in London – they are more inclined to work with us. The new brands and structures we are introducing are helping to make Premier Inn dynamic and flexible for the future.” Last week, Premier Inn said it would trial a new hotel style by doubling the number of rooms at a Premier Inn site in Cardiff by halving them in size.
The Good Egg to open Carnaby restaurant this week for second London site: Street food restaurant The Good Egg is to start expansion this week by opening a second London site, this time in Carnaby. The company, founded by chefs Joel Braham, Alex Coppard and Oded Mizrachi, raised more than £635,000 on its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube earlier this month to fund the expansion. The all-day restaurant, bakery and bar will open on the ground floor of Kingly Court on Friday (1 December) drawing on the “Jewish cafe culture of Montreal combined with Tel-Aviv’s vibrant street-food scene”. Celebrating traditional cooking techniques, the dinner menu will be built around a charcoal-fired barbecue, a pita oven and an on-site smoker. The in-house bakery will offer homemade bread and cakes, alongside hand-rolled bagels and hot flatbread from the wood-fired oven, with options to take away. The bar’s cocktail list will be primarily Levantine with a nod to the US. The Good Egg opened its first restaurant in Stoke Newington in 2015 after raising £182,000 on Crowdcube. Braham said: “We’ve been on this incredible ride in Stoke Newington, from developing Oded’s age-old family recipes to our pastrami we’ve spent years tweaking after we first tried it in Montreal. Opening in a bigger home in Kingly Court will allow us to take all of that and pour it into every corner.”
Crieff Hydro reports turnover and profit boost: Scottish independent hospitality company Crieff Hydro has reported a profit and turnover boost. The company saw turnover increase 12% to £27,134,383 for the year ending 28 February 2017 compared with £24,294,988 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was up 60% to £423,221 compared with £265,048 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Ebitda was down to £2,770,033 compared with £2,903,234 the year before. Crieff Hydro owns six hotels and operates four more under management contracts through a wholly owned subsidiary company, Freedom Hotels (Management). Freedom Hotels received management fees for The Yorkshire Hotel in Harrogate, The Green Hotel, The Ballachulish Hotel and the Kings House Hotel and Bunkhouse. The company stated: “The directors believe that the hotel sector will remain challenging and the implementation of the National Living Wage has resulted in a significant increase in salaries and wages that hospitality and retail sectors (among others) will have to continue to respond to. The scale of the two businesses provides considerable opportunity for enhancing profitability not just through greater buying power but also by the greater degree of expertise and customer knowledge that can be developed in-house and shared across all the businesses.”
Hall & Woodhouse gets go-ahead for new-build site in Swindon: Dorset brewer Hall & Woodhouse has been given the go-ahead for a new-build site in Swindon, Wiltshire. The company has been grated permission by Swindon Borough Council for the new cafe, bar and restaurant in the Wichelstowe Canalside development. Work will begin in February, with the site expected to open in January 2019. Hall & Woodhouse said it hoped the site, which will have its design based on 200-year-old canalside boatyards and warehouses, would become an all-day venue. Managing director Anthony Woodhouse told the Swindon Advertiser: “It’s a great privilege to be entrusted by Swindon Borough Council to develop this prestigious site. We aim to create a true heart to Wichelstowe.” Toby Elliott, the council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “We have been particularly impressed with Hall & Woodhouse’s new establishments in Bath, Portishead and Poundbury and believe the company can bring the expertise we require for creating Wichelstowe Canalside as the heart of the new community.”
Black Sheep Coffee opens first site outside London, in Manchester: London-based independent coffee shop Black Sheep Coffee has opened its first site outside London, in Manchester. The company has opened the venue at mixed-use development Piccadilly Place having previously agreed a lease in a deal brokered by Property Alliance Group. The new venue is the first of two sites the brand will open in the city, with a second due to launch in Spring Gardens. Black Sheep Coffee currently operates 16 sites in London with another four in the capital labelled on its website as “coming soon”.
Just Eat embraces augmented reality to shower Facebook users in its food: Just Eat, the online food delivery business, has added an augmented reality feature to its offering, via Facebook. The feature allows mobile users to beam food items into the real world via their mobile, a move the company said would help visualise the broad catalogue of items into the household of the consumer – a fun piece of activity that had the potential to help drive sales. Using the feature allows the food to fly into the mouth of the user. By working with Facebook’s augmented reality studio, Just Eat has become one of the first UK companies to create such an experience, working in close conjunction with Byte London. Just Eat marketing director Ben Carter told The Drum: “Our Facebook augmented reality experience is another way for us to bring the magic of our takeaway world to the British public and entertain them. Nearly half the population are yet to order food online so we want to attract consumers to experience the Just Eat magic that we provide in their local area and ultimately, drive engagement and convert orders through the Just Eat Facebook app and website.”
Luxury Cheshire hotel in administration goes on market for £2.5m: A luxury hotel in the Cheshire village of Prestbury that entered administration last month has been brought to market with a £2.5m asking price. GVA has been appointed as the sole agents for the sale of The Bridge Hotel on behalf of the joint administrators of Bridge Hotel (Prestbury). The hotel is being offered to the market as a going concern business at a guide asking price of offers in excess of £2.5m. The hotel is a detached period property with a character bar and restaurant, together with a modern rear extension that accommodates the majority of the 23 letting bedrooms and the main function and banqueting facility. Joint administrator Arron Kendall, of Moorfields Advisory, told Insider Media: “The Bridge Hotel has been running since 1952 in the heart of Cheshire, but unfortunately fell into financial difficulties earlier this year. The hotel has had a good trading history and would be a good purchase for someone wishing to build on the reputation of the existing hotel.” The hotel is continuing to trade while a potential purchaser is sought.
Mayfair restaurant The Square reopens following major refurbishment: Mayfair restaurant The Square has reopened following a major refurbishment. A significant redesign of the Bruton Street venue coupled with the appointment of Clément Leroy as executive chef marks a new chapter in The Square’s story following the departure of Philip Howard in 2016. Prior to his move to London, Leroy was executive chef at Auberge Du Jeu De Paume in Chantilly, France. He was also part of the team that helped Guy Savoy’s eponymous Paris restaurant win its third Michelin star in 2002. Leroy’s debut menu at The Square showcases some of his favourite autumnal ingredients, while the wine list features a selection of classics and lesser-known examples from around the globe – particularly South Africa. The 80-cover restaurant, which includes a private dining room and bar seating, has been redesigned to draw influences from Mayfair’s art galleries. The main dining area features dark parquet flooring, while square glass blocks feature in the windows and walls. Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation, which has nine sites in London, bought The Square last year.
Team behind Topolabamba to open Mediterranean-inspired concept in Glasgow: The team behind Scottish-based Mexican restaurant concept Topolabamba is to open a Mediterranean-inspired concept in Glasgow. It is launching Mezzidakia in St Vincent Street, reports Glasgow Live. The menu will be a mix of Lebanese, Moroccan, Turkish and Greek cuisine. The team operates three Topolabamba sites – in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen – as well as the Chaakoo Bombay Cafe in Glasgow.
Buckinghamshire-based restaurateur to open second site: Buckinghamshire-based restaurateur James Varela is to open a second site, in Dorking, Surrey. Varela will launch the venue in West Street on the site of the former Two to Four restaurant, which closed in April. The food for his yet unnamed venture, which is due to open early next year, will feature “British classics”, some of which will be updated and modernised. He is spending a “six-figure sum” to refurbish the building. Varela told Get Surrey: “Our concept is simple and focused on British-inspired classics – it is all about using great local and seasonal produce and letting the ingredients speak for themselves. I believe there is an opportunity in Dorking to create a unique independent restaurant that will hopefully become a hub for Surrey and beyond.” Varela owns Italian restaurant Canaletto in Kingswood, near Aylesbury.
Carlton Hotel Collection to open £20m boutique site in Edinburgh: Carlton Hotel Collection is to open a £20m boutique site in Edinburgh. Developer EDI Group is building the seven-storey, 98-bedroom in Market Street. The four-star hotel, which is due to be completed next summer, will feature a top floor lounge offering panoramic views with a champagne bar roof terrace. Carlton Hotel Collection’s director of operations Hans van der Heijden said: “We are excited about this project and can’t wait to open our doors. Market Street Hotel will be the first Design Hotel in Edinburgh, and will bring a new dimension to the city’s hotel supply. The top floor will bring a new vibe and face to the city’s nightlife.” The Carlton Hotel Collection, founded in 1985, is part of Hotel Management International, which owns, operates and manages ten four-star hotels in the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland. The Market Street venture is the firm’s first hotel in the capital.
Beeston town centre set to undergo £30m redevelopment with cinema, bars and restaurants: The town centre in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, is set to undergo a £30m redevelopment to feature a cinema, bars and restaurants. Cllr Richard Jackson, leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, believes the plan to redevelop the town square would help revive the town and usurp West Bridgford, across the River Trent, as a destination of choice. If planning permission is granted, work could start in 2019 and be completed the following year. Jackson told the Nottingham Post: “It will make it a destination for the evening economy, with a good-quality offer. We’re conscious local people are travelling into Nottingham for an evening but would prefer to stay in Beeston if we had the right offer. West Bridgford is somewhere we’re looking to emulate.” The move follows a public consultation about the square’s future in which Beeston residents called for “more nightlife” and an open “piazza”. Jackson said the council was in the process of finalising an agreement with a cinema operator. He said: “By having a cinema, we’ll get better-quality bars and restaurants. The operator we’re talking to is relatively new and a bit different to normal. We don’t want to compete with a large multiplex. It will have a better quality with more comfort, food and a live arts offer.”