Loungers set to sell large stake for £150m: Loungers is set to sell a large stake in the business in a £150m deal. Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop, the founders of the 77-strong chain, have drawn the interest of buyout firms Equistone and Inflexion Private Equity. Pub chains Fuller’s and Greene King have also been mooted as potential buyers. Reilley, Bishop and another friend, Dave Reid, set up Loungers in Bristol in 2002. It soon became known for its distinctive antique-style decor and gastro-pub food. The model has since been rolled out nationwide. Reilley and Bishop own just over 50% of the business, alongside the private equity firm Piper. Reid sold his share in 2012. The advisory firm GCA Altium has been hired to find potential buyers, insiders said. Piper is expected to sell its entire stake. Reilley and Bishop want to retain a shareholding, and may even decide to hang on to their controlling interest, reports The Sunday Times. Loungers’ most recent accounts showed an operating profit of £2.5m in 2015 on turnover of £48m. It is forecast to generate underlying annual earnings of about £15m, sources claimed.
Soho Coffee Co opens first London sites: Artisan fresh food and coffee brand Soho Coffee Co has opened its first site in London, with a second to follow this week. The company has launched its first venue in the Strand with its second in St Paul’s Churchyard, on Thursday (10 November). The Strand site features a deli counter offering hot-filled sourdough and salads, while both stores will have hand-cut hot breakfast sandwiches along with porridge, granola and made-to-order smoothies. At the core of the drinks menu is Soho’s signature organic and Fairtrade coffee, as well as guest single-estate coffees and an extended range of specialist drinks. Soho Coffee Co managing director Penny Manuel said: “We have had our eyes on the London market for some time – it is a big step for a regionally based operator to take and we wanted to ensure we chose the right locations. We are very excited to be bringing Soho ‘home’. Opening not one, but two stores in London is a huge achievement for the whole Soho team. We are committed to growing and improving our brand, and London provides us with a wonderful test bed for all our ideas.”
Redcomb Pubs to launch casual dining venture Lock House next month: Redcomb Pubs, led by Dan Shotton, is set to launch its new casual dining venture – Lock House – next month at the heart of the Paddington Basin redevelopment in London. The company has signed a long lease agreement on the site, which will be on the ground floor of waterside development 3 Merchants Square. Redcomb is investing more than £1.3m to develop the 3,700 square foot site to create a “casual, all-day dining and bar offering that will match the needs of new-look Paddington’s discerning and affluent residents, office workers and visitors”. The venue will feature a 180-cover bar, restaurant and mezzanine, with an extended 70-cover exterior dining space. The menu, developed by executive head chef Chris Spencer, will feature “street food-inspired dishes, superfood salads and grab-and-go options”, alongside craft beer, cocktails and fine wine. Redcomb is working with agents May & Company to explore opportunities to roll-out the concept to other “high-profile metropolitan areas” as well as identify new pub sites. Redcomb operates 15 pubs across London and surrounding counties and incorporates a number of pubs with rooms.
PizzaExpress set to open pop-up jazz club above Birmingham restaurant: PizzaExpress is set to launch a pop-up jazz club in Birmingham. The live music venue will open above the company’s Brindleyplace restaurant and is modelled on the award-winning PizzaExpress Jazz Club in Soho. Up to 400 consumers will be able to dine while watching live performances. The first act will be Beverley Craven on Friday, 2 December. PizzaExpress manager Gemma Sherrington told The Birmingham Mail: “Our upstairs area will feel like a separate restaurant. We want to recreate a really moody jazz club vibe where everything is blacked out. There will be a new bar as well as a stage. In September we started hosting live music nights in the downstairs area and they’ve been very popular so the jazz club is a natural progression.” PizzaExpress Jazz Club opened in Dean Street, Soho, in 1969 and has hosted renowned performers such as Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse and Gregory Porter.
BrewDog to open first company-run international site with Berlin launch: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog will open its first site in Germany this week and, for the first time at one of its international bars, the company will run the venue itself rather than a local partner. BrewDog Berlin Mitte will open at Ackerstrasse on Friday (11 November) and is the company’s 17th international site. The company stated on its blog: “We’ve wanted to open a bar in Berlin for as long as we’ve had a flipchart of potential cities in mind, due to its reputation for an ultra-knowledgeable beer crowd and incredible nightlife. So for that reason, we have pulled out all of the stops in a perfect location in a fantastic part of the city. With our international bars we typically run them with a beer-savvy local partner – but Berlin is a scene like no other so, in a first for BrewDog, we are taking the reins of this overseas bar ourselves. With growler fills available, backed by over 100 bottled beers on offer from the in-house BottleDog, every base will be covered. The bar will also serve a range of epic pizzas, all offered alongside a bespoke beer pairing. Oh, and we also have outside tables! Berlin, are you ready?”
Red’s True Barbecue to open eighth site, in Newcastle this month: Red’s True Barbecue is to open its eighth restaurant, this time in Newcastle, on Monday, 21 November. The independently owned business, co-founded by James Douglas and Scott Munro, will open the restaurant at the new £25m Grey’s Quarter dining area in Intu Eldon Square shopping centre, creating 75 jobs. The company has invested £1.1m to transform a 4,100 square foot, ground-floor unit into a restaurant with 300 covers, including outdoor seating, and it will feature a dedicated street-level bar with an extensive whiskey and bourbon menu. It will also host regular live music. Munro said: “There’s a great mix of solid operators opening up in the development, which will create a real destination location in an already busy area. This year we’ve worked incredibly hard on our operations, in particular investing heavily in our pitmaster team to ensure we remain the most authentic barbecue joint this side of the pond. With a site pipeline that extends across the UK well into 2018, we’re shoring up our expertise, knowledge and skill set for the future.” In total, 20 restaurants will open in Grey’s Quarter, including Thai Leisure Group brand Chaophraya, Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian, TGI Friday’s, Handmade Burger Co, The Restaurant Group-owned Chiquitos, Tapas Revolution, and Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia.
Tonkotsu founders launch Japanese brasserie concept Anzu in West End: Ken Yamada and Emma Reynolds, founders of London-based ramen specialist Tonkotsu, have launched Japanese brasserie concept Anzu in the St James’s Market development in London’s West End. Anzu focuses on “teishoku”, an authentic dish comprising a mains selection – such as ebi furai, Wagyu sirloin or black cod teriyaki – with a side dish such as rice or pickles. There are also a la carte and lunch menus, as well as a “pre-theatre” teishoku menu. St James’s Market, a £400m joint venture between The Crown Estate and Oxford Properties, is located between Haymarket and Regent Street. A spokesperson for Yamada and Reynolds said: “This is a bold and brave move for Emma and Ken, who are ecstatic to be able to bring a more fine-dining offering to London. Teishoku is a simple, delicious, beautiful way to eat Japanese food and we think Londoners and tourists alike will adore the flavours and simplicity.” In August, Tonkotsu extended its partnership with Selfridges by opening a restaurant in the department store’s food hall at the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham – its first venue outside London. Tonkotsu has six restaurants in the capital, including its other Selfridges concession in Oxford Street.
Haché launches Hush Brasserie pop-up as it prepares for next stage of growth: London-based gourmet burger group Haché has launched a pop-up at the Hush Brasserie in Holborn as it prepares for its next stage of growth. The company was acquired by Jamie Barber, co-founder of Cabana, Ed Standring, former managing director of Richoux Group, and Ian Neill, former chief executive of Wagamama, from founders Berry and Suzie Casey in September. Now it has launched the pop-up in the basement of Hush Brasserie, which will run until Friday, 23 December. Standring told Propel: “This is the first step to growing the brand. We had a private dining space we thought we could do more with so we have set up the pop-up.”
McDonald’s to launch two new Big Mac sizes across the US: McDonald’s will introduce two new Big Mac sizes across the US in a limited-time offer early next year, a rare menu extension intended to reinvigorate interest in its iconic burger. The company will offer a Mac Jr – a single-layer Big Mac easier to eat on the go – and a Grand Mac, a larger Big Mac with two all-beef patties weighing a third of a pound. The new Big Macs will be available later this month at restaurants in Florida and Pittsburgh, with a national roll-out slated for early next year. McDonald’s trialled the new sizes at Central Ohio and Dallas/Fort Worth earlier this year. McDonald’s chef Mike Haracz told Nation’s Restaurant News: “We listened to our customers, who told us they wanted different ways to enjoy the Big Mac taste.” Philadelphia franchisee Jim Delligatti first started serving the Big Mac in 1967.
Cinnamon Collection to launch Bazaar concept with Covent Garden opening next month: The Cinnamon Collection, which was acquired by Boparan Restaurants earlier this year, will launch its new concept Cinnamon Bazaar next month. Cinnamon Bazaar will offer an “accessible and relaxed all-day concept, serving modern Indian food with global influences”. The 90-cover, 3,100 square foot restaurant is opening in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, on Thursday, 1 December. It will span two floors and have a much larger bar operation than its sister restaurants The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen and Cinnamon Soho. It will include a feature bar on the ground floor and a 30-cover private dining room on the first floor. Dishes such as Chicken Haleem will also feature alongside executive chef and chief executive Vivek Singh’s quirky take on afternoon tea – High Chai. The bar will offer infused cocktails with a focus on gin and botanicals alongside non-alcoholic options such as lassis. The Cinnamon Collection previously said it had ambitious plans to roll-out the Cinnamon Kitchen and Cinnamon Bazaar brands in London and the south east.
JD Wetherspoon gets go-ahead for first hotel in Ireland, at former Dublin homeless hostel: JD Wetherspoon has been granted permission by Dublin City Council to open its first hotel in Ireland – at the site of a former homeless hostel in Camden Street. Wetherspoon bought Camden Hall, the largest homeless hostel in Ireland, two years ago. It planned a €4m conversion, along with several adjoining mid-19th century houses, into a 98-bedroom hotel with a bar and restaurant. The council has granted permission for the scheme subject to 20 conditions, including a ban on amplified music that could be heard from the street and a ban on projecting signs, The Irish Times reports. The council has, however, requested revised plans for Wetherspoon’s application to open another venue, this time in Lower Abbey Street, which would involve the amalgamation of two historic buildings, one of which is protected. Wetherspoon opened its first pub in the Republic of Ireland, The Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock, in 2014 and has since taken over The Forty Foot in Dún Laoghaire; The Great Wood in Blanchardstown; The Old Borough in Swords; and the Linen Weaver in Cork. In July, Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said the group continued to look for new Irish sites and could eventually grow its portfolio there to 30.
Kokoro lodges plans for Liverpool site: Sushi and bento brand Kokoro has lodged plans for a site in Liverpool, its most northerly to date. The company has applied to the city council to open the restaurant in an empty former shop in Church Street. The outlet would accommodate 30 to 40 diners inside with the majority of seating on the first floor, reports Your Move. Kokoro offers hand-made sushi and sashimi to eat in or take away as well as a wide choice of east Asian cuisine in small or regular-sized portions. A planning statement said: “The unit sits in a busy shopping and leisure zone of Liverpool city centre and around and about there is a mix of outlets – the immediate area would benefit from a quality food offer.” Kokoro operates 15 sites, including Maidenhead, Sutton and its most northerly venue currently, Leicester.
Cardiff-based burger concept Got Beef to start expansion with second city site: Cardiff-based burger concept Got Beef is set to start expansion by opening a second site in the city. The company, which opened its debut restaurant in Whitchurch Road, has also been operating a pop-up in the city’s Canton suburb at weekends, Wales Online reports. It is now set to open a permanent site in Canton, although the exact location has yet to be revealed. Got Beef makes all its burgers using the best Welsh Black beef, including its Heisen Burger, which is inspired by popular television series Breaking Bad and features blue cheese and blue onions. The restaurant also offers “dirty fries” – seasoned chips topped with melted cheese, chipotle mayo, bacon bits and jalapeno.
Candypants Events founder to launch Chinese restaurant concept in Leeds this week: New Chinese restaurant concept Man’s Market will launch in Leeds city centre this week. The 120-cover restaurant will open in West Point, off Whitehall Road, and is the brainchild of Ray Chan, creator of international night-life and party brand Candypants Events. Chan grew up in his family’s takeaway business but has a vision to take the cuisine away from the dated and unhealthy rut he says it has fallen into. Man’s Market will feature brown rice options and no products containing monosodium glutamate. The decor will also be non-traditional, including a wall of T-shirts and handbags, a mezzanine floor for diners, and a ship’s hull that doubles as a private dining booth. Every table comes with three cards stating “Feed Me”, “I’m Thirsty” and “I Want To Go”. Diners place these above the table to signal to staff. Chan told City Buzz: “How many times do you go to a restaurant and are hassled by the waiting staff before you have read the menu or want drinks and there is nobody there? Candypants is nine in March and we are in Marbella and Dubai every week but Leeds is my home town. It is the town I started in and I have the network here. There is a lot going on but I like to think I know what people want – and there is a gap in the market.”
North west-based Special Ale Service seeks £1m investment for ‘palatial’ eatery, pub and micro-brewery in Bolton: North west-based pub company Special Ale Service (SAS) is looking for investment as it aims to open a “palatial” eatery, pub and micro-brewery in Bolton. The eight-strong company, led by Phil Entwistle, bought the dilapidated Lostock Arms pub next to Lostock railway station in 2010. Now it is seeking up to £1m to carry out the work and Entwistle said he believed the pub was a potential gold mine for any would-be investor. He told The Business Desk: “Lostock is an affluent area of Bolton and there are no other pubs around it within easy walking distance. I want to turn it into something palatial for the area and launch the SAS micro-brewery. I am convinced, if the restoration is done the right way, it will be very successful.” Special Ale Service’s other pubs include the Top Lock in Heapey, near Chorley, The City in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, and The Swan in Ulverston, Cumbria.
New craft beer and burger concept Filthy Gorgeous launches in Aberdeen: New craft beer and burger concept Filthy Gorgeous has launched in Aberdeen. The new restaurant has opened at a site in Netherkirkgate. Owner Darren Blackburn, who has more than 15 years’ experience in the industry, told the Evening Express: “It’s about juicy, hand-formed patty burgers topped with all forms of nonsense, including baconaise, frazzles, kimchi and cheese fondue. Our sticky fries are topped with melted marshmallows – which is frankly just absurd but we like it.” The venue, which will also host DJs and acoustic musicians, was formerly occupied by Boozy Cow. The Speratus Group is relocating its Boozy Cow burger restaurant to Langstane Place in the city, on the site of its Amicus Apple bar. In July, The Speratus Group sold two Scottish pubs, one in Aberdeen and the other in Edinburgh, to G1 Group to concentrate on expansion of its Boozy Cow concept.
Krispy Kreme opens York site: Krispy Kreme has opened a site in York. The new store is at McArthurGlen’s York Designer Outlet in Fulford, which houses 120 brands. As well as 16 varieties of doughnuts, the store will offer coffee and Kreme Shakes. Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer Judith Denby told Minster FM: “We are extremely excited to be bringing the joy of Krispy Kreme to York.” The York store is Krispy Kreme’s sixth in Yorkshire, with three in Leeds, including a Hotlight store at Birstall Shopping Park, and one each in Sheffield and Batley. Last month, Krispy Kreme UK confirmed the sale of 100% of the company’s share capital to Krispy Kreme Group, its US-based brand owner. The company said that despite the deal, Krispy Kreme UK would pursue its current business strategy, which is focused on “delivering profitable growth through the opening of new retail stores and self-serve cabinets across the UK and Republic of Ireland and driving core sales growth across the existing estate”.
Portuguese food and wine concept Bar Douro launches at London Bridge: Portuguese food and wine concept Bar Douro has launched at London Bridge. The restaurant in Flat Iron Square offers a contemporary take on Portuguese cuisine alongside a wide range of regional wines. The concept is the brainchild of Max Graham, whose family business, Churchill’s Port, has been making wine in the Douro Valley for two centuries. Graham created eight-month pop-up Churchill’s Port House in Soho in 2013, followed by a series of sold-out supper clubs in London and a three-month residency in Porto with head chef Tiago Santos. Graham and Santos have spent the past year travelling around Portugal discovering culinary secrets and sourcing produce. Bar Douro’s menu focuses on small plates, including suckling pig, octopus with sweet potato and fives, and bísaropork ribs with ruby port glaze. Traditional desserts include fondants, tarts, cinnamon ice cream and Portuguese cheeses with tomato jam. Graham will work closely with independent winemakers to import a selection of wines not currently available in the UK market. Regular wine tastings will be held in the first-floor private dining and events space.
Former barmen to launch cocktail bar and restaurant concept Shilling in Newcastle: Former barmen Tim Ward and Neil Donachie are set to launch cocktail bar and restaurant concept Shilling in Newcastle. The new venue will open next month at the former site of Rumpoli’s restaurant in Quayside and will offer signature cocktails and “nose-to-tail dining”, which involves using as much of the animal as possible in meat dishes, as well as food and drink menus with minimal waste, in a move to create the UK’s first zero-waste bar. They are also discussing reusing citrus fruit used in garnishing and flavouring drinks, and a liqueur made from coffee grounds. Ward and Donachie met while working at Popolo bar in Pilgrim Street. Following its sudden closure in 2014, Donachie became senior bartender at the Savoy Hotel in London, while Ward worked at Alvinos in Newcastle. Ward told Chronicle Live: “Neil felt owning a bar was the next step and there’s a bit of a trend in the cocktail industry of moving outside London. We have aspirations for ourselves – but also for Newcastle.”
Wondering Wine Company launches pop-up kitchen in Old Street tube station: The Wondering Wine Company has launched a pop-up kitchen at The Magic Roundabout in Old Street tube station. The Wondering Wine Kitchen has launched in partnership with Transport For London and pop-up specialists Appear Here. With access to products from distribution partners Bibendum PLB and Walker & Wodehouse, the line-up includes a selection of wines, a handful of sherries, and rotating wine flights. The food menu has been created by former The Cut head chef Marco Jerrentrup and includes a selection of sourdough toasties, cheese and charcuterie sharing platters, and small plates. The Wondering Wine Kitchen will be available for private bookings and run fortnightly supper clubs. Simon Swift, of the Wondering Wine Company, said: “The Old Street crowd is the perfect audience for trialling this new concept. We offer the great wine we always have, with great food in a relaxed and stylish environment.” The Wondering Wine Company is owned by Bibendum PLB Group, which was acquired by alcohol wholesaler Conviviality in May in a deal worth £60m.
Hall & Woodhouse puts historic Hampton Court pub on market: Dorset-based brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse has put the Kings Arms Hotel on the Hampton Court Palace Estate in Richmond, Surrey, on the market. The grade II-listed property is being offered for sale freehold or by way of a new “free-of-tie” lease through agent Savills. Dating to 1658, the pub was originally used by soldiers garrisoned at Hampton Court Barracks and now features bar and restaurant areas in addition to 13 en-suite bedrooms. It is situated in Lion Gate, at the northern edge of the Hampton Court Palace Estate and directly opposite the entrance to Bushy Park. Paul Breen, director in the licensed leisure team at Savills, said: “The Kings Arms Hotel is steeped in history and benefits from a high footfall location on the doorstep of Hampton Court Palace and Bushy Park. It is extremely rare for such a high-quality asset to come to the market in this part of Surrey and we anticipate a broad range of interest from established operators and new entrants.”
Chopstix and Greggs agree deals to open at Northern Ireland shopping centre: Noodle brand Chopstix and bakery business Greggs have agreed deals to open at the Fairhill shopping centre in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Chopstix is opening its third site in the country in the complex’s food court, while the Greggs store will be the company’s seventh in Northern Ireland. The two foodservice brands will be joined by a third new tenant – books, art supplies, games and stationery retailer The Works. Fairhill marketing and commercial manager Natalie Jackson told the Ballymena Times: “The new tenants are a very welcome addition to our existing stores and highlights our commitment to satisfying the needs of the local community. We know our customers like to see named brands in the centre, so we’re confident they will be well received.”
New cupcake and champagne bar concept to open in Norwich: A new cupcake and champagne bar concept is set to open in Norwich. Tracey Watt and Pepe Ong, who have both been in the catering industry for more than 25 years, will launch Cupcakes & Bubbles on Tuesday (8 November) in Timber Hill. It will serve a range of home-baked rustic treats and tipples, including cupcakes – in flavours such as Eton mess and lemon and vanilla – as well as brownies, champagne and prosecco. Watt told the Eastern Daily Press: “Our cafe is housed in a grade II-listed building that retains its original features and provides the perfect atmosphere for guests to relax and unwind.”
Magic Rock Brewing Company aiming to double production after securing £750,000: Huddersfield-based Magic Rock Brewing Company is aiming to double its production capacity after securing £750,000 of equipment finance from HSBC. It will acquire new equipment and plans on increasing turnover by 80% as well as creating jobs. Magic Rock, which launched in 2011, exports beer to more than 25 countries. Within its first year, brewing capacity was increased twice before the company relocated production to a new 15,000 square foot facility, with an on-site taproom. Managing director Richard Burhouse told The Business Desk: “The business has come such a long way since we first started in 2011 and we are already ahead of where we projected to be at this stage. This latest financial support from HSBC, which has been instrumental throughout our success of the past five years, allows us to bring forward our 2017 plans for the business, which is hugely exciting for us.”
Family-run Spanish company opens its first restaurant in UK: A family-run company that operates a restaurant in Granada has opened a Spanish venue in Carlisle. Francisco Eduardo Aparicio Hernandez and his family have launched Lorca in Botchergate offering “proper Spanish food” and traditional tapas, the News & Star reports. The restaurant takes its name from Spanish poet Federico García Lorca. The Hernandez family’s restaurant in Granada is called Aparicio’s.
New vegan cafe concept to open in Tunbridge Wells: A new vegan cafe concept is set to open in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Geff Stone is launching The Plant Base in Camden Road before the end of the year. It will sell plant-based food, cold-pressed juices, smoothies and dairy-free coffee. Stone told Kent Live: “The Plant Base wants to prove a nutritious, vegan diet doesn’t mean just salad, and that doing your bit for the planet doesn’t mean it has to be boring and tasteless. Fuelling your body, however active your lifestyle, needn’t have to mean meat.”