Gusto to expand into East Midlands with West Bridgford opening: Gusto, the Italian restaurant brand operated by Living Ventures, is set to expand into the East Midlands by opening a site in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire. The company is opening the 4,304 square foot venue in February 2017 on the site of the former Monkey Tree bar in Bridgford Road, creating 50 jobs. The job advert said: “With Victorian architecture and the River Trent running through this thriving restaurant town, West Bridgford will be a welcome addition to the Gusto estate. We are looking for all managers, at all levels with progression opportunities.” The Monkey Tree closed in February after its owners said the rates of £34,000 a year had become too expensive, reports The Business Desk. Gusto has 17 sites across the UK with its next restaurant due to open in Birmingham next month.



Joe & The Juice ups London expansion plans: Danish-based smoothie and juice chain Joe & The Juice has upped its expansion plan for London, revealing it hopes to open up to 15 new sites within the next year. The brand’s retained agent Harper Dennis Hobbs is seeking units of about 1,200 square foot in the capital, focusing on acquiring more sites in the City as well as affluent suburbs such as Richmond and Wimbledon. The company debuted in London in 2009 and announced plans last year to open between ten and 12 units in the city annually but, in a sign of post-referendum confidence in the market, has increased the figure. The chain expanded into Australia earlier this year but founder Kaspar Basse said London and the United States would be his main focus for the next 12 months. He told Property Week: “London is obviously a very dynamic metropolis. The intense urban environment is a good fit for us, where our juicers enjoy a fast lifestyle and people wish for new healthy trends.” Richard Willcox, partner at Harper Dennis Hobbs said the Brexit vote was not a concern, adding: “It’s an affordable luxury for London’s population and that’s not going to change because of everything going on. Their customer base seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Everyone wants a coffee in London, especially in the morning, but you don’t want to feel like you’re sitting in a canteen. Even though it’s expanding it’s still got the feeling of exclusivity and uniqueness.” He added the company would consider spaces of up to 1,500 square feet for flagship branches, saying the stores “need to be a big size to create atmosphere”.


Jimmy’s site at Brighton Marina shut over unpaid £200,000 business rates bill: The buffet company Jimmy’s has had its restaurant at Brighton Marina closed after racking up more than £200,000 in unpaid business rates. Enforcement officers from Brighton and Hove City Council attended the premises and removed goods in connection with business rate arrears dating back to when Jimmy’s started trading at the marina in 2014. The council’s lead member for finance Cllr Les Hamilton told Juice Brighton: “We have a legal duty to collect business rates. These help pay for essential local services. This is a very complex case. The proprietors of Jimmy’s restaurant have been actively and systematically avoiding payment of local taxation, and have ignored our efforts to reach a reasonable accommodation regarding payment. We have appointed insolvency specialists Smith Williamson to pursue this. Smith Williamson is also working with a range of other parties who have been affected by the trading activities at the Jimmy’s premises, and have the specialist expertise needed. It is regrettable that enforcement action has had to be taken, however, we have a legal duty to take robust action as a last resort when all other attempts to collect the unpaid taxes, including court proceedings, fail to get the necessary result.” Jimmy’s has ten other restaurants across the southern part of the UK, including Bath and its flagship site at the O2 in London.


Nando’s signs deal to open restaurant as part of Eltham town centre regeneration scheme: Nando’s has signed a deal to open a restaurant as part of a scheme to regenerate Eltham town centre in south east London. The company will open a 3,300 square foot venue at the new complex that will be anchored by a six-screen Vue cinema. The scheme, led by Greenwich Council, is due to open towards the end of 2018 and the authority said it was working to secure another major restaurant brand. Council leader Denise Hyland told the News Shopper: “We have been driving forward a long-held vision to breathe new life into Eltham town centre and building a new cinema complex is at the heart of those plans. This will deliver a major new attraction and new jobs for the local community and the work we are also doing to improve the general high street environment shows how we are driving real change in Eltham.”




Wildwood to open restaurant in Bournemouth in October, first site in Dorset: Tasty brand Wildwood will open a restaurant in Bournemouth in October – its first in Dorset. The company is opening the 200-seat venue at Bristol and West House in Richmond Hill where it is converting two empty shops and a mezzanine level into the new venue, reports the Bournemouth Echo. Wildwood specialises in pizzas, pasta, burgers and steaks and also sells a selection of cocktails. It has delis at several of its existing restaurants, selling freshly baked pastries and breads, plus artisan products such as olive oil as well as salads and sandwiches to take away. Wildwood operates more than 30 sites in the UK and opened its latest venue in Crawley, West Sussex, earlier this month.




Starbucks set to open first drive-thru site in Northern Ireland: Starbucks is set to open its first drive-thru site in Northern Ireland later this year. The company has signed a deal to open the venue at the Connswater Shopping Centre in Belfast. The proposed store is part of a wider £200,000 investment in the area, with a landscaping project to improve access to the retail park and shopping centre as part of Belfast City Council’s Greenway Project. Laura McCarthy, asset manager for Connswater’s owner Killultagh, told Belfast Live: “The decision by Starbucks to choose Connswater as its first location in Northern Ireland for a drive-thru store demonstrates the confidence that retailers have in the scheme and its strategic location in east Belfast.”




Leicestershire-based pub operators to open second site: Leicestershire-based pub operators Stephen and Tracy Fitzpatrick are to open their second site. The couple, who own the The Joiners Arms, in Bruntingthorpe, are currently renovating The George at Great Oxendon, near Market Harborough, ahead of reopening in October. The 16th century building will also be home to a restaurant with eight boutique hotel bedrooms. Stephen Fitzpatrick told The Business Desk: “We are now in the final throes of The George’s renovation, which for the whole team is very exciting. Our state of the art kitchen is currently being fitted and we are putting together the menus ready for the doors to open in the autumn. We’ve worked closely with architects TMDP to completely transform The George into a stylish pub, restaurant and hotel. It’s ‘all systems go’ to create, what we hope will be a jewel in the crown of Leicestershire. Together with our dedicated staff we aim to replicate the success of The Joiners Arms and provide our guests with an experience they will want to repeat time and again.”




Bison Beer signs agreement to reopen derelict Brighton pub following crowdfunding campaign: Brighton-based beer shop Bison Beer has signed a deal to reopen a derelict pub in the city having previously raised more than £100,000 in crowdfunding for the venture. Bison Beer launched the fund-raise on Seedrs to transform the former Mariner pub into a craft beer pub The Bison Arms after Burger King earmarked the site for one of its restaurants. Having raised the money, the deal has been delayed by protracted negotiations, in part caused by the post-referendum economy. However, an agreement has now been reached, reports The Argus. A statement from Bison Beer co-owners Jack Cregan and Nick Vardy, and Bottom’s Rest pub owner Simon Duddington, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that a formal agreement has been reached after much discussion and negotiation. Heads of terms have been signed that reflect a deal we have worked very hard to formulate these past few weeks.” The team will now have to finalise the shares with crowdfunding partner Seedrs, instruct solicitors to finalise the lease, create a schedule of works and preparation with the council and residents, and shape the design development. Food partner 64 Degrees will lead the design of the restaurant section.




Wild Beer Co opens second site, in Bristol: Somerset-based brewer Wild Beer Co has opened its second site, this time in Bristol. The company, which launched its first bar and restaurant in Cheltenham last year, has opened the venue at the Wapping Wharf development, at the Harbourside. The site features a mixture of modern, colourful furnishings. Its food menu includes ingredients sourced from around Somerset, with dishes including burgers, steaks, seafood and salads. Wild Beer Co co-founder Andrew Cooper told the Bristol Post: “We have 22 different draft beers, half coming from Wild Beer, while the others have been specially selected by our team. We’ll also have about 15 different gins with a huge selection of tonics and garnishes.” The company was founded in 2013 and currently distributes its beers and ales across the UK.




Bella Italia agrees deal with C&C Group to stock Italian beer Menabrea across UK estate: Bella Italia, which is owned by Casual Dining Group, has agreed a deal with C&C Group, the branded cider, beer, wine and soft drinks producer, to stock Italian beer Menabrea across all 114 of its UK restaurants. The deal will see both packaged and draught Menabrea listed across the estate following a successful trial across a number of sites. Menabrea, which has been brewed by the same family on the same site in Biella for 170 years, is exclusively distributed in the UK by C&C Group. It is available as a “Bionda” 4.8% ABV pale lager and an “Ambrata”, 5.0% ABV amber lager. Bella Italia managing director Nick White said: “The brand fit simply couldn’t be better. We know our guests are looking for real Italian flavours when they choose Bella, and love hearing about the family history and provenance behind our products which is why we are happy to be working in partnership with Menabrea all across the UK.” C&C Brands managing director Andrea Pozzi added: “This deal demonstrates drinkers, and therefore pubs, bars and restaurants enthusiasm, and appetite for authentic Italian beer. Quality and tradition are central to the Menabrea brand, which has gone from strength to strength since we introduced it to the UK in 2014.”




Merseyside-based multi-siter to operate new £20m Liverpool aparthotel: Merseyside-based multi-site operator Paul Adams has agreed a deal to run a new £20m 116-bedroom aparthotel in Liverpool’s historic Ropewalks district, which includes the city’s first rooftop pool. The development in Seel Street forms an additional phase to Elliot Group’s £40m Wolstenholme Square project, which starts on site this week. Adams, who is behind Southport’s Vincent Hotel and its sister operation, the Vincent Cafe & Cocktail Bar at Liverpool’s Exchange Flags, said the move represented the next logical step for the brand. He told The Business Desk: “The Vincent brand is about delivering quality service and attention to detail, and these are principles that can be applied to a range of formats. Liverpool’s strong convention and leisure markets as well as the development’s Ropewalks location make an aparthotel format the natural choice, given the number of multi-guest parties that we expect to use the hotel. Offers like our rooftop pool, bar and beauty room will be a nice addition to the Liverpool leisure market and we’re looking forward to revealing further details in due course.” Work is expected to start on site in December with the hotel expected to open at the end of next year.


Twisted Bars gets go-ahead to open second site, in Ilkley: Twisted Bars, set up by Yorkshire entrepreneurs Adam Lewis and Paul Glendinning, has been given the go-ahead to open its second site, this time in Ilkley. The company has been granted permission from Bradford Council to convert the former Kipling’s restaurant in Station Plaza into the new bar, creating 35 jobs. A Twisted Bars spokesman told the Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer: “The venue will be a wine and cocktail bar – a unique concept to any other bar in the town currently. We are delighted we have been granted planning permission and are really looking forward to opening and providing a further 15 full-time and 20 part-time jobs in the town.” Lewis, who also owns Yard bars in Ilkley and Malton and has 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, joined forces at the end of last year with Glendinning, chief executive officer of Guiseley-based insurance broking group JM Glendinning, to launch Everybodys All Day Social in Guiseley under the Twisted Bars brand. The company previously said it plans to grow to a ten-strong estate in the region.




Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers closes crowdfunding campaign after raising £200,000: Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers has closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to increase capacity and fit-out its first bar after raising £200,000. The company, founded by the seven McAvoy brothers, was looking to raise £150,000 and offered a 16.84% equity stake in return for the investment. It has now closed the campaign with 275 investors pledging £200,000. The largest investment was £25,000. The company also secured the site for its first bar last week and plans to open two more by the end of 2018. Seven Bro7thers distributes its beers to pubs and restaurants across the UK and is in advanced discussions to stock its brands in Tesco stores. The pitch stated: “Since we launched in 2014 we have grown steadily and need to update the brewery to keep up with the demand for our beer and also to fuel our ambition. We are seeking £150,000 to increase capacity with the procurement of five additional fermenting vessels to keep up with demand, procure canning and bottling lines, and fit-out our first craft beer bar in Manchester.”


New champagne and cocktail bar concept Pot Kettle Black opens in Sheffield city centre: A new champagne and cocktail bar concept has opened in Sheffield city centre. Pot Kettle Black has launched on the site of Menzels bar, which closed in September last year, and is the only bar in Ecclesall Road to have a 2am licence. The venue, which has created 20 jobs, includes a champagne bar; whisky lounge named after David Beckham’s own brand, Hague Club; and VIP area. Cocktails and local beers are on offer, alongside a range of bar snacks, including sharing platters and light bites. Pot Kettle Black is a joint business venture between Pete Harpham, Mark Holland and David Nicholson. Harpham told The Business Desk: “The whole venue’s VIP. Rather than paying for a VIP area and service, we’ve got six waitresses to serve anyone in any region of the venue, whether they have a table or not. It’s a VIP experience but it’s not a pretentious venue, it’s more a fashion venue than a shirt and tie venue. The city has been waiting for something like this and it’s already creating a big buzz. Pot Kettle Black has been a long time in the making.”


Casual Dining Group launches partnership with The Prince’s Trust: Casual Dining Group (CDG), which operates Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, has launched a partnership with The Prince’s Trust by pledging to raise £40,000 for the youth charity in a “Race to Rio” challenge. The aim of “Race to Rio” is to raise £40,000 for The Prince’s Trust, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, by accumulatively cycling the 5,839 miles to Rio on 22 static bikes located at its restaurants and central offices. The event will take place over the last weekend of the Olympics. The activity was devised by senior CDG members who took part in a Prince’s Trust “Zero to Hero” day exercise. The day challenges companies to get their creative juices flowing and devise a plan to raise as much money as possible for the charity during a set time period. CDG finance director Tim Doubleday said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with The Prince’s Trust – it’s a great charity and we hope the ‘Race to Rio’ initiative acts as a launch pad for a long and sustained relationship. Although we’re involved with a number of charities on a brand level, we wanted to bring together employees for a collective effort across the business. The Prince’s Trust was the perfect match and we’re looking forward to working closely together to help tackle industry issues, such as youth unemployment and the chef shortage crisis, in a sustainable fashion.” Since HRH The Prince of Wales founded the charity in 1976, The Prince’s Trust has returned £1.4bn in value to society through its help for disadvantaged young people over the past ten years alone. In addition to fundraising activities, CDG plans to offer ongoing support to The Prince’s Trust by sending representatives to the charity’s “Get Hired” days in order to recruit apprentices into the business.


Butcombe Brewery acquires 23rd site, in Cheltenham: Brewer and operator Butcombe Brewery, owned by Liberation Group, has acquired its 23rd site, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The freehold purchase of The Old Restoration – Cheltenham’s oldest pub – is the first deal for Liberation Group, since it was acquired by Caledonia Investments for £118m last month. The 15th century The Old Restoration, which is in High Street on the eastern side of the junction of Grosvenor Street, will sit within Butcombe’s managed pub estate. It is thought the landlord in circa 1660 changed the name of the pub in honour of the Restoration of King Charles II to the throne of England. The purchase follows the brewer’s acquisition of The Pelican Inn, Chew Magna and The Charlton Inn, Shepton Mallet, in June which kick-started a strategic growth plan that could see up to 20 pubs a year joining the Butcombe estate over the next five years. The Old Restoration marks Butcombe’s second outlet in Cheltenham after The Frog and Fiddle, which it acquired in 2011. Butcombe pub operations manager Charlotte Close said: “The Old Restoration is a fantastic addition to our portfolio in a great town. We will be fully refurbishing the site in the coming months and plan to introduce a premium casual dining concept driven by our great range of beers and craft ales. The building itself has a wonderful character which reflects the Butcombe brand perfectly, we can’t wait to see the outputs of another successful transformation following our investment.” Liberation Group chief executive Mark Crowther added: “It’s no secret we’re looking to grow the Butcombe business both organically and through acquisition. Following the positive news of our refinancing, it’s fantastic to welcome another great site into our business as part of our ambition to become the leading brewer and pub operator in the West Country.” Butcombe has seen year-on-year growth in sales of 32% and is in the top 20 performers in the nationwide draught cask ale market.