Rick Stein opens seafood bar in Padstow: Chef Rick Stein has opened a small seafood bar in Padstow as part of his fishmongers on South Quay. The chef opened Stein’s Fisheries in 2012, and the latest development has seen a seafood bar running alongside the fishmongers, offering customers the chance to pop in for an informal plate of fish, simply prepared. The simple menu designed by Rick and Jack Stein showcases “the freshest seafood from the Cornish shores”, including oysters, crab and lobster as well as eels, whelks and roll mops – all served alongside a wide selection of wines. The communal bar and table seats 24, no reservations are taken so diners can just pop along and find a stall. Rick Stein said: “After the first couple of years of running our fishmongers we were sort of thinking, because I’ve seen it in so many parts of France and Spain, about actually adding a simple seafood bar. It just seems such an obvious thing to do.”
Chipotle abandons attempts to trademark ‘better burger’: Chipotle Mexican Grill has abandoned its attempt to trademark the phrase “better burger”, but said it doesn’t mean it had given up on its exploration of a possible burger concept. The company’s applications earlier this year to trademark both “better burger” and “betterburger” revealed a possible move into the burger space. The move was seen as controversial given the phrase “better burger” is commonly used to describe a segment of the industry. Chipotle’s communications director Chris Arnold told Nation’s Restaurant News the abandoning of the trademark applications was “nothing more than administrative shuffling”. He added: “The better burger trademark application was challenged, and we weren’t entirely wedded to that, so we’ve simply opted to let that trademark application go. It’s not the first time we have filed a trademark application for a mark we opted not to use.” Arnold said at this point the company was not ready to share more information about any potential burger plans. Other companies have applied to trademark “better burger” and similar terms, despite the fact Luby’s Fuddruckers Restaurants has registered the term “Better buns. Better Burger” and variations on the phrase. Although the source of the challenge was not identified, trademark attorney Sheila Fox Morrison, a partner in law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, said it appeared to be Luby’s Fuddruckers, given so many of the company’s trademark registrations were listed.
Starbucks apologises after technical glitch sees customers charged up to £150 months after visiting: Starbucks has apologised after a technical glitch saw some customers charged up to £150 months after they visited. Customers found large sums of cash being withdrawn from their bank accounts after card payments were delayed leading to the company helping itself to lump sum payments. The unexpected withdrawals have hit customers at Starbucks stores across the UK, although the exact number is not known. Starbucks has apologised and blamed a technical fault, which delayed customers’ debit and credit card charges and led them being charged for drinks bought as far as back as February. A Starbucks spokesperson told the Express: “We are working hard to rectify this delayed transaction issue caused by a technical fault, which meant a delay to some customers’ authorised debit and credit card charges, in some of our UK stores. We are very sorry to those customers affected and ask anyone seeking assistance to contact our customer services team as we resolve this problem.”
Food and drink prices expected to rise if UK votes for Brexit: Food and drink prices are predicted to rise in the event of a “Leave” victory in the 23 June referendum, Prestige Purchasing chief executive David Read has claimed. Read told a breakfast briefing last week: “Both the long-term and the wider impacts of Brexit could well be more benign, but in the first two to three years the combined effects of weakened sterling, import tariffs, and rising labour and energy costs is likely to push up the price of food and drink, possibly significantly. It’s important to understand the heavy reliance we have on imported product in the UK, as we run a £21bn trade gap in food alone. We produce only about 60% of our food, and 27% of it is imported from the EU. As recently as last year sterling appreciated against the euro by 9%, which impacted the UK’s total food basket positively by over 2%.” Citing a recent report from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that forecasts imported food prices rising by 11%, Read added: “The scale of price increases are difficult to predict, particularly as global food prices remain generally quite soft currently, but the potential range of increases is wide. Smart caterers will be clear about contingency plans in advance of the vote.”
Luke Johnson – ‘I believe our bet on Brighton Pier will prove the doubters wrong’: Sector investor Luke Johnson has explained the reasons behind his investment in Brighton Pier, made through the former Eclectic Bar Group. In his Sunday Times column, he stated: “Among quite a few observers, two impression had formed; first, that a seaside pier is an old-fashioned business, and therefore unattractive; second, that it is downmarket and therefore unappealing. I took the opposite view – millions of people enjoy traditional pleasure on a sunny day at the beach. And similarly, I ignored the snobs who said fish and chips, candyfloss and fairground rides were passé. I think they are classic delights that cut across ages and classes. I believe our bet on the pier will prove the doubters wrong. Time will tell.”
Activist investor takes stake in The Restaurant Group: Activist investor Crystal Amber has taken a 1% stake in The Restaurant Group – this is below the 3% stake that requires disclosure. The Sunday Times reported the investor plans to build a stake as big as 5% eventually. The move comes in the wake of The Restaurant Group’s shares dropping by almost half since the start of the year. A source close to Amber told The Sunday Times there would be “huge synergies” if The Restaurant Group was merged with another operator. “It’s got a share register with growth investors and it’s no longer growing,” a source close to the fund said. The Restaurant Group’s shares closed at 357.5p on Friday (3 June), valuing it at £720m.
James Hacon begins group strategy director role at Thai Leisure Group: Elliotts managing director James Hacon has started in a group strategy director role at Thai Leisure Group. He previously told Propel: “Having worked with the brand for some time, I know the company and its people, the culture is amazing and the brand propositions are clearly differentiated from others in the market. The opportunity to further develop the brand and marketing function is exciting. Having signed off the 12-month brand strategies, two areas of focus are the development of a children’s proposition for Thaikhun and recruiting significant digital marketing capability to the business.” Thai Leisure Group managing director Ian Leigh added: “In a competitive and crowded market, is it vital our brands are clearly defined and delivered to the highest standards. As we continue to grow at pace we need to ensure this transcends every aspect of our business in order for these brands to truly come alive. The appointment of James Hacon as group brand strategy director will help us to achieve and maintain these important ingredients of our business.”
Pieminister hires agent to find six sites: Bristol-based Pieminister has appointed Williams Gunter Hardwick to find locations for six new restaurants including another site in the city. Additional sites in Leeds and Manchester are being sought as well as new target cities – Liverpool, Edinburgh and Glasgow. This will increase Pieminister’s restaurant portfolio from ten to 16, on top of a number of cafes in permanent city centre markets such as Bristol and Oxford. It also supplies more than 80 pubs per week around the UK with its range of pies and side dishes. The company is eyeing 30 restaurants by 2020 with long-term targets including Bath, Brighton and Cambridge, as well as further locations in London. Last month, it secured a £1.4m finance package from HSBC to support expansion plans. Stuart Williams, director of Williams Gunter Hardwick, said: “Every new outlet has proved a great success so far, so we’re comfortable with going further north where there is arguably a stronger tradition of pie cuisine than in most of the south. The challenge is always to find the perfect location – established areas for dining with a good footfall, probably close to entertainment venues.” Jonathan Simon, managing director of Pieminister, added: “We design each new premises in-house, tailoring our distinct look to fit in with the surroundings. Our restaurants are also a great way to try out new dishes before making them more widely available though the other channels in which we operate.”
Olive Tree Brasserie to open Greek restaurant in Chester, third Lancashire site: Olive Tree Brasserie will open its third Greek restaurant in Lancashire, this time in Chester. The 164-cover venue in Watergate Row, which will feature two bars and private dining areas, will open on Wednesday, July 6 and joins sister sites in Preston and Lytham St Annes. Olive Tree Brasserie will be on the site of Belgian seafood restaurant Moules a go-go, which is moving into a former Casual Dining Group-owned La Tasca venue in Cuppin Street following its closure in May. Olive Tree Brasserie owner and director Dean Wilson told The Chester Chronicle: “We have worked hard to build the brand since opening our first site in Lytham St Annes almost eight years ago and have enjoyed continued success since opening our second site in Preston. Winning awards and coming highly commended in the press, on independent review sites and from bloggers across the globe is a great motivator and has been a real driving force in the decision to open the next restaurant.”
Real Burger Co eyes expansion with Grantham opening: The Real Burger Co, which operates a restaurant in Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire, has submitted plans to open a second venue, this time in Grantham, Lincolnshire, creating more than 20 jobs. The company is seeking approval for a change of use for the former Greenwoods clothing store in High Street. The plans have been submitted to South Kesteven District Council to create a kitchen, bar and dining areas, with a decision expected by Thursday, 14 July. The owners have also applied for a premises licence to serve alcohol and if permission is secured, the new restaurant would open in September. The Real Burger Co was created 18 months ago by Leanne Hull and Martyn Kirby. Hull told the Grantham Journal: “Grantham does not have anything like the Real Burger Co and this was a good opportunity we didn’t want to turn down. We will be leasing the premises.”
Marston’s lines up £3m 70-bedroom lodge and pub restaurant in Peterhead: Marston’s is lining up a £3m 70-bedroom lodge and pub restaurant in Peterhead, Scotland. Plans have been submitted for the development next to the A90 Invernettie roundabout by Hermiston Securities, part of the Muir Group. The application is part of the Buchan Gateway scheme, which is also expected to include more restaurants, a supermarket, petrol station and shops. It stated Marston’s would operate the lodge and pub restaurant with as much as £3m expected to be invested, reports the Evening Express. The pub restaurant and hotel, which would have more than 100 parking spaces, would be at the north of the development by the bypass. Marston’s operates 12 pub restaurants across Scotland.
Northumberland-based Taylor and Young Pub Company opens second site for Italian restaurant concept San Lorenzo, in Washington: Northumberland-based Taylor and Young Pub Company has started expanding its Italian restaurant concept San Lorenzo by opening a second site, this time in Washington. The company, which launched the concept in Gosforth, has opened the venue in New Road on the site of the former Amiro’s restaurant, creating about 20 jobs. It has invested about £100,000 refurbishing the site into a 70-seat restaurant, which includes a firebrick pizza oven from Italy to make pizzas in the traditional method. Renovations are continuing in a neighbouring room to create a private dining area and a bar. Operations manager Stuart Young told the Sunderland Echo: “We completely rebuilt the kitchen and opened it up so people could see the pizza oven in use and it’s proving a popular feature.” The company also operates the Blackbird Inn in Ponteland while the San Lorenzo restaurant in Gosforth is currently undergoing a revamp.
JD Wetherspoon submits plans to open pub in Bletchley: JD Wetherspoon has submitted a planning application to open a venue in Bletchley (population 34,000), near Milton Keynes. The company hopes to open on the site of the former Bletchley Arms pub in Queensway, which is currently closed. Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Council has announced its support for the application. A council spokesperson told OneMK: “We would like to see a more active night-time economy in the town.” JD Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We have been keen to open a pub in Bletchley for a while. We will await the outcome of the planning decision. Our aim is to open a pub in the town, which we believe will also act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in the area.” In April, JD Wetherspoon closed The David Garrick in Milton Keynes’ Theatre District, explaining the closure was due to a “lack of investment in the area”. The company recently submitted plans to open a pub in nearby Newport Pagnell, with the move opposed by Newport Pagnell Town Council.
Starbucks to host Brexit debates for young people: A centuries-old tradition has been revived for the social media age to encourage young people to talk about the EU referendum. Coffee house debates in the 17th century aided discussion of current affairs before mass media, but now the idea has been given a refresh for the upcoming EU poll. Thousands of young voters will have the opportunity to go to their local Starbucks coffee shops to talk about the EU, through a partnership with democracy campaigners Bite The Ballot. Some 50 events will be hosted in Starbucks’ stores across the UK, with the aim of facilitating debate among more than 1,000 young people. Named DeCafes – or Democracy Cafes – the events are non-partisan and offer younger voters the ability to talk candidly about their experiences, concerns, and ideas. Following on from events run around the general election last year, the latest DeCafes were launched at an event at Starbucks’ flagship store in central London on Wednesday (1 June). Mike Sani, co-founder and chief executive of Bite the Ballot said: “The revival of the 17th century coffee house tradition is extremely exciting. Creating safe spaces for communities to come together to explore politics and become change makers defines what Bite The Ballot is all about.”
Red Dog Saloon submits plans for Liverpool site: Red Dog Saloon is looking to continue its expansion outside of London after submitting plans for a site in Liverpool. The company has applied to the city council to convert the ground floor, part of the basement and part of the first floor of the former Republik nightclub in Bold Street into a restaurant, creating 50 jobs. The proposed use would bring “no major proposed changes to the exterior of the building”, according to the planning statement, reports Move Commercial. Red Dog Saloon, which serves a range of barbecued meats, burgers and sandwiches, currently has three sites in London – Hoxton Square, Clapham North and Soho – as well as a sandwich bar at the Intu Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock, Essex. It has also secured sites at the new Watermark development in Southampton and Victoria Street in Nottingham.
Whitbread submits plans for Premier Inn at former Berwick cinema site: Whitbread has submitted plans for a 60-bedroom Premier Inn on the site of the former Playhouse cinema in Berwick. The £5m development would consist of a five-storey building with a restaurant, likely to be the company’s Thyme brand. Should Northumberland County Council grant permission, work is expected to start on clearing the Sandgate site later this year, with a targeted opening date of mid-2017. In a report accompanying the application, Walsingham Planning stated the hotel could provide accommodation for 21,500 overnight stays in Berwick a year. The report stated: “There is the potential to attract substantial visitor spending of about £940,000 per annum, to the benefit of the local economy.” The development would have no dedicated parking as Whitbread said there were sufficient spaces in the vicinity. The company also forecasted a proportion of guests would arrive by train, the Berwick Advertiser reports. The Playhouse cinema closed in 2005 and was demolished in 2010. Whitbread is building towards a milestone target of 85,000 bedrooms by 2020 as part of Premier Inn’s expansion plans across the UK.
Heavenly Desserts to open sixth site, in Preston: Artisan dessert restaurant Heavenly Desserts is to open its sixth site, this time in Preston. The company is opening the new outlet in the Miller Arcade on the site of the former Sticky Chops restaurant opposite Turtle Bay, reports Blog Preston. It is currently refurbishing the site and is recruiting for staff. Established in 2007, Heavenly Desserts focus on “quality and variety, which extends to both our take-out and eat-in menus”. It currently has sites in Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield.
Italian wine cafe Veeno launches seventh site with Harrogate opening: Italian wine cafe Veeno has opened a venue in Harrogate, its seventh site following last month’s launch in Bristol, with another to open in Edinburgh soon. Veeno directors Andrea Zecchino and Nino Caruso plan to open up to ten venues in the next 12 months. The brand is based on “aperitivo culture”, where friends and family enjoy food and drink in an informal setting. Zecchino branded Harrogate as the “perfect niche market to promote a high-quality food and drink offer”. The latest acquisitions were funded by angel investors, with Veeno hoping to build to 70 to 80 sites by 2020. All wines at Veeno are imported from Caruso’s family vineyards in Sicily. He said: “We are excited to be expanding the Veeno brand into new regions and creating up to ten new jobs in each of those areas.” Veeno opened its first venue in Manchester in 2013 and now also has sites in Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham and York.
New artisan coffee shop concept opens in Marlow: A new artisan coffee shop concept has opened in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. James Cabrelli has launched Track Coffee in High Street after agreeing a ten-year lease with landlord Sorbon Estates. Cabrelli told the Bucks Free Press: “The specialist coffee market is spreading out from London and Marlow High Street is a perfect location for us. It’s a buzzy location with other coffee shops but has nobody offering the specialist coffee that we will be. At Track our roaster sources our coffee directly from the farmers and we will aim to use local producers for the ingredients in the fresh meals we make every day. We are called Track because I believe in the traceability of all the ingredients we use and can track exactly where everything has come from.”
Kegstar appoints general manager for UK and Ireland as part of European expansion plans: Australian steel keg rental innovator Kegstar has appointed Christian Barden as general manager for the UK and Ireland as part of European expansion plans. The appointment marks the latest step in Kegstar’s international expansion after being acquired by global supply chain logistics company Brambles in December and launching its UK and Ireland operations in March. Barden enjoyed a long career at Anheuser-Busch InBev and, more recently, Royal Unibrew, where he held a number of senior and board-level positions. He said: “What we do is new to western Europe so we’ll be working very closely with every brewer and every part of the supply chain. By getting it right for our customers and colleagues, we create new value and help fuel continued growth of the beer and cider industry. I’ve inherited a great team and a great business model with proven success throughout Australia and New Zealand.” Kegstar launched in Australia in 2012, with 880 kegs, one person and one customer. Brambles acquired a 30% stake in the company in 2014 and moved to 100% ownership on 1 December 2015.
Kashmiri restaurant concept opens first UK site: A Singapore-based Kashmiri restaurant concept has opened its first UK site – in Putney, south west London. Rohit and Shweta Razdan have launched Kashmir – A Culinary Paradise in Lacy Road. The brand began as a catering business in India before being turned into a restaurant in New Delhi in 1999 and then moving to Singapore in 2007. The new restaurant has 55 covers and also offers a takeaway service. The menu features a variety of spicy and mild dishes, including Kabargah – ribs of lamb boiled in milk with Kashmiri spices and deep-fried in ghee (clarified butter). Rohit Razdan told PutneySW15: “We are here to make our customers come back for more, so we ensure a courteous service to win their hearts along with their palates. Our prices are quite moderate and portions are filling. Both the locals and the tourists will be charmed by the truly authentic spread of Kashmiri cuisine that is hard to find.”
North west-based bar operator acquires Southport nightclub: North west-based bar operator U Feel Trading UK has added to its portfolio after acquiring The Brooklyn Club in Southport. The company, which owns a number of bars in the region, including Tiki Bar in Bolton, is set to relaunch the Waverley Street nightclub. Operations manager Richard Dwornik said the venue would maintain its quirky prohibition-style 1920s decor. The club will offer cocktails and play R’n’B-style music. He told the Southport Visiter: “The Brooklyn Club will open with a bit of a bang. We can make an impact with the opening there.” The company has also taken over ownership of the Haus nightclub on the first floor of the site and is set for refurbishment to change the decor.
Reynolds development chef wins Craft Guild award: Diane Camp, of national food supplier Reynolds, has been crowned development chef of the year at the 2016 Craft Guild of Chefs Awards. The awards recognise leading lights across the foodservice industry, from pubs and the military to fine dining restaurants. The development chef award is open to chefs involved in the creation and development of food products for the foodservice industry, recognising the ever-growing importance of this sector of the chef’s profession. Camp, who has worked in the foodservice sector for 16 years and across two continents, said: “Being presented with the award from The Craft Guild of Chefs is a tremendous honour and the highest accolade I have received in my professional career.” Reynolds managing director Tony Reynolds added: “Diane is an exceptionally skilled development chef and thoroughly deserves the recognition this award brings.” The awards ceremony took place in London’s Lancaster Hotel and was attended by more than 800 guests.
Sutton and Sons opens Hackney fish and chip restaurant with delivery service, third London site: Sutton and Sons has opened a fish and chip restaurant in Hackney, its third London site. The debut Sutton and Sons restaurant launched in Stoke Newington, using seafood from the company’s own fishmongers. The company has since opened a venue in Islington. The Hackney menu features grilled catch of the day, tuna burger, lobster sub, grilled oysters, and whole lobster with chips or salad, as well as Mrs Sutton’s home-made pickles and desserts. The new restaurant in Graham Road opened on Friday (3 June) to coincide with National Fish & Chip Shop Day. It runs BYOB (Bring Your Own Bar) events, where diners can take along a chocolate bar for it to be battered for free. The licensed restaurant also offers a delivery service, which, the company claims, makes it the first restaurant in north London to offer fish and chip deliveries.
Newcastle-based coffee shop and live music concept to start expanding with second site in city: Newcastle-based coffee shop and live music concept Long Play Cafe is to start expanding by opening its second site in the city. The concept, launched by Chris Jackson and Jon Marley in the Quayside last year, is opening in Grainger Market this month. As well as offering coffee and live band performances, the cafe will feature a record store and an espresso bar. Jackson told Chronicle Live: “Jon and I are really excited to announce our second store opening. The feedback we have received from the Quayside site has been overwhelming and we now feel the time is right to increase our profile with a city centre location. The Grainger Market is a unique and special place, so to secure a site in this historic landmark is amazing.”
Marston’s to launch ‘mountainous’ brand identity for Wainwright Golden Beer: Marston’s will launch a new brand identity for its cask ale Wainwright Golden Beer. New designs for pump clips, point of sale, bottles and cans will arrive in pubs and on supermarkets shelves this month. The new design will be supported by a new advertising campaign entitled “Wainwright – Find Your Mountain”, which has been influenced by namesake Alfred Wainwright, synonymous with the hills and mountains of the Lake District. Marston’s marketing manager Gaynor Green said: “Wainwright has been hugely successful in the north west and demand across the country is growing. We want the spirit of Wainwright’s adventure to capture the imagination of today’s drinkers with a golden beer, which fits perfectly for a new generation.” The Find Your Mountain campaign will be supported by a new two-year partnership with UK adventure sports and endurance events company Rat Race. Wainwright Golden Ale was first brewed in 2007 by Thwaites. Marston’s acquired the brand in April last year.
Sugar Hut to launch pop-up nightclub at Essex racecourse: Sugar Hut, the brand launched by The Only Way Is Essex star Mick Norcross, is launching a pop-up nightclub at Chelmsford City Racecourse. The event, under the guise of the company’s new offshoot Sugar Hut Events, will take place following a concert by Simply Red at the racecourse on Friday, 1 July, with 300 VIP ticket-holders enjoying an exclusive “Sugar Hut Experience” after-show party with DJs and live music. Sugar Hut co-owner Terry Pullen said: “Sugar Hut has always been the place to be in Essex and with a new club launching in the heart of Liverpool in September and possible new sites in London and Marbella, we are really excited to take Sugar Hut on the road too. This is a huge event as this is the first time Simply Red have performed in Essex and we’re really excited to be working with Britain’s newest racecourse.”
Greene King’s Hungry Horse brand launches Father’s Day competition: Greene King’s family-friendly chain Hungry Horse is running a “Do It for Dad” competition this June, after discovering only 17% of Brits tell their dad they love them on Father’s Day. According to research carried out on behalf of Hungry Horse, it also found nearly half of those dads (45%) secretly want a fuss to be made over them, despite telling the rest of the family otherwise. Families across the country are now being given the opportunity to show a bit of appreciation to their dad by nominating them online, including explaining in 100 words why they think they have a “superdad”. Customers will then be in with a chance to win some quality bonding time with their old man in the form of a £500 experience day for two. Marc McGuigan, business unit director for Hungry Horse, said: “We realise that Father’s Day can sometimes be overlooked but it was a real surprise to see just how many people aren’t showing their dads the appreciation they deserve. We want to encourage families to give something back to their dads this Father’s Day.”
Whitbread’s Costa Coffee brand chooses new agency: Whitbread’s Costa Coffee brand has picked 101 to help bolster its advertising strategy, The Drum has reported. The agency will lead an as yet unnamed project in the UK and Ireland later this year. It will span multiple channels as well as in store. 101’s appointment won’t impact Karmarama’s status as Costa’s lead global agency, with both agency and brand now in their tenth year of working together. In a statement Costa said: “We can confirm 101 London have been appointed to work on the brand-led creative campaign for our September activation in the UK and Ireland. This appointment does not affect Karmarama who remain as Costa’s retained agency.” The arrival of a new agency on Costa’s roster comes as it targets £2.5bn in coffee sales by 2020. Sales rose 15.9% in the 53 weeks to 3 March, while like-for-like growth in the UK climbed 2.9%.