Rick Stein tipped to run £1m grant-aided Eastbourne flagship restaurant: Chef Rick Stein is tipped to run a new restaurant on Eastbourne seafront that will receive more than £1m of government money promised to help the East Sussex town after the pier fire. Prime minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne visited the town just days after up to 80 firefighters tackled the blaze on the 146-year-old, grade II-listed structure last July. It has now emerged £1.2m of the £2m public money promised will be spent on a new restaurant on the Wish Tower site along Eastbourne seafront. Negotiations will take place over the next six weeks with the three potential operators shortlisted, before best and final offers are submitted. A preferred restaurateur will be selected at the end of May. Rumours are rife celebrity chef Rick Stein is one of the three but Eastbourne Borough Council is refusing to identify candidates at this stage.
CAMRA welcomes research showing reduction in alcohol-related deaths: The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) chief executive Tim Page has welcomed research showing a reduction in alcohol-related hospital admissions. The report by the Local Alcohol Profile for England revealed hospital admissions for under-18s had fallen by 50% and for females by 42% since 2008/9 and under-40s by 12.5% over the past five years. Page said: “It is positive news that hospital admissions relating to alcohol harm are falling, and that it has been proven that local community pubs have played an important role in this trend. Research published earlier this year from Oxford University shows that people who have a ‘local’ pub drink less on average while in that pub, as compared with casual visitors to larger city centre pubs and bars. The research demonstrates that there is a clear link between an individual having a ‘local’ and whether they feel like they are part of a wider community. People with a local reported feeling more content with their lives, enjoy a wider network of friends, and are more socially engaged while in a pub. The research concludes that pub-goers are likely to drink less if those around them are behaving in a more measured way and are, as a result, likely to be less tolerant of socially inappropriate or excessive behaviour. This is why it is especially important that we continue to support pubs across the country, particularly those facing the threat of closure, to ensure that everyone has a ‘local’ within easy distance of their home or workplace.”
Eataly to open 20-acre gourmet food park, Eataly World, in Bologna in 2017: Eataly is to open a 20-acre gourmet food park, Eataly World, in partnership with Italian Farming Factory, in Bologna, Italy, in the second half of 2017. Visitors will be able to talk to artisan producers, make their own pastas and also try the final product in the theme park’s 25 restaurants to complete the experience. It will be divided into six different “worlds” of fish, meat and eggs; milk and dairy products; cereals; fruit and vegetables; drinks; and dressings and desserts. Eataly World is expected to attract six million visitors per year.
Scottish franchisee wins Papa John’s international award, reinvests prize money in new store: Papa John’s franchisee Zulfiqar Haidar, who runs four stores in Scotland with his brother Iftikhar, has been named the company’s international franchisee of the year. Haidar, who also won Papa John’s UK franchisee of the year award, was presented with $20,000 by Papa John’s founder John Schnatter at a ceremony in Orlando, Florida. He plans to reinvest 75% of the prize money to open his fifth Papa John’s franchise, with the rest going towards setting up a foundation to help charities obtain funding. He said: “I joined Papa John’s 15 years ago as the food franchise offered the chance for my whole family to become involved in a business. We set up the first Papa John’s in Scotland with my mum making the pizzas, my brother looking after the numbers, my sister on customer service, myself, plus a delivery driver! These days we employ about 150 local people across our four stores in Glasgow and Paisley. The business is about other people, it’s their livelihood and we respect and support that. We recently purchased several houses, which provide accommodation at a low (not-for-profit) rent for some of our employees.” Papa John’s was founded in the US in 1984 and has more than 4,800 stores in 40 international markets and territories, including 300-plus stores in the UK.
PizzaExpress relaunches its 36-strong ‘At Home’ retail range: PizzaExpress has relaunched its supermarket “At Home” range with a new packaging design as part of a “one brand” strategy to attract more of its restaurant customers to the retail range. The company wanted to encourage diners at its restaurants to “reappraise” its 36 retail products and help them better navigate its line of pizzas, sauces and pastas. Designed by brand design agency Bulletproof, the new packaging aims to reflect the current brand positioning, while also leveraging the artisanal feel of the PizzaExpress restaurant brand. Handwritten typography has been introduced and the size of the windows on the PizzaExpress pizza boxes have been reduced to hero the ingredient photography featured on the pack. The idea is to push the fact fresh ingredients, as used in restaurants, can be found on the pizza. Matt Ward, trading controller at PizzaExpress, said: “We gave Bulletproof a tough brief – to create packaging for the PizzaExpress ‘At Home’ proposition that unifies the products within our range, creates real standout at the shelf edge and captures the essence of our ‘in restaurant’ experience. They tackled this with a healthy blend of challenge, creativity and pragmatism and we are pleased with the results.”
McDonald’s to champion British and Irish farming with roadshow: McDonald’s is to champion British and Irish farming with a virtual reality show across the UK. The company has loaded up a truck with the latest in virtual reality technology and will invite the public to climb on board for a look at its growers and producers, without having to set foot on a farm. McDonald’s said the latest drive was part of Farm Forward, its long-term programme to address the challenges facing the sector. Figures from the Food and Drink Federation suggested the industry needed 109,000 new recruits by 2022 as the UK population is projected to rise by 4.4 million in the next decade. McDonald’s said it used technology developers, young farmers and food experts to create the show, which it hopes will reach up to one million people at farming shows and other events across the UK over the next year. A YouGov poll of 2,000 consumers for the chain found 74% want to know more about where their food comes from, but one in five cannot explain any process behind food production. The roadshow follows food production from provenance through to preparation and cooking in McDonald’s restaurants. McDonald’s UK director of supply chain Connor McVeigh said: “By bringing together tech developers with farmers and food experts, we have created an immersive virtual reality experience that will allow people to follow in the footsteps of farmers, suppliers and our crew, bringing the best of UK food production from the countryside to communities across the UK. Our hope is that it will help build pride in British and Irish farming, challenge outdated stereotypes and celebrate the best of food and farming in the UK today.”
Steakout Meat House stalls on Crowdcube despite increasing equity offer in £400,000 crowdfunding campaign: London-based steak house Steakout Meat House has stalled on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube despite increased its equity offer as it bids to raise £400,000. The eight-strong company, launched in 2008 by Kaysor Ali, has been offering an 11.76% equity stake in return for the investment instead of the original 9.09%. A total of 58 investors had pledged £123,300 with 15 days remaining. But on the last day of the crowdfund yesterday (Sunday, 8 May), only £130,440 had been raised, an increase of just £7,400 in two weeks. The largest investment to date is £45,000. The company stated: “In light of ongoing discussions with key investors, Steakout has decided to increase the equity offering by 29%. The pre-money valuation is now £3m.” The pitch states: “The proceeds from this fund-raising will help greatly to speed up our expansion. Aside from the upgrade to our meat cutting facility, we plan to invest into a new flagship store in Stratford that we’ve managed to secure. In addition, we want to invest to build up our management team in the areas of franchising and operations to enable rapid growth.”
Hawthorn Leisure to reinstate Sunday roast lunches at JD Wetherspoon pubs it has acquired: Hawthorn Leisure is reinstating Sunday roast dinners at JD Wetherspoon pubs it has acquired – JD Wetherspoon axed roast dinners in March so staff could focus on better quality Sunday brunch. In King’s Lynn, for example, where Hawthorn has bought JD Wetherspoon’s Lattice House site, Sunday lunch will be back on the menu from Sunday, 15 May – circa two months after they were stopped. Gerry Carroll, chief executive for Hawthorn Leisure, said: “The opening and reintroduction of the Sunday lunch is only the start of a host of activities, events and deals that we have planned for the coming months, all set to deliver a great proposition for locals.”
Winchester restaurateur sees two businesses go into liquidation: Winchester restaurateur Miff Kayum has seen two of his businesses go into liquidation. Both Bengal Sage, which closed in February, and Kyoto Kitchen, which is still trading, have gone bust, with public records showing the businesses owed more than £170,000. Documents at Companies House revealed the amount owed by Bengal Sage to creditors was £13,920 and £71,692 to HMRC. Kyoto Kitchen, in Parchment Street, is also listed on Companies House as in liquidation with its documents revealing £67,642 is owed to the taxman and £18,466 to creditors. The future of Kayum’s third restaurant Bangkok Brasserie in Jewry Street is unclear although it was still operating. At the time of the closure of Bengal Sage, Kayum said the reason was the amount of work he had to juggle running three restaurants and had taken action to reduce his workload. A business source, who asked not to be named, told the Hampshire Chronicle: “Both Bengal Sage and Kyoto Kitchen are in liquidation. The danger is some people find it difficult to separate turnover from the underlying profit, and don’t consider things like PAYE and VAT at 20%. They were successful restaurants, always crowded.”
All-you-can-eat dessert buffet cafe opening in Nottingham today: An all-you-can-eat dessert buffet cafe concept, believed to be the first of its kind in England, will open in Nottingham today (Monday, 9 May). Raheel Ali and Kay Shah, who also own desserts bakery Cake City, are launching OMG Cheesecakes in Abbey Street in the Lenton area of the city. Diners can eat as much as they want for £7 with the menu including Oreo and Ferrero Rocher cheesecakes as well as Belgian waffles, cookie dough, and several different types of brownie and cornflake tarts. Nine varieties of cupcake are also available and a soft drink is included in the fee. Ali told the Nottingham Post: “We trialled the idea on the website Groupon and it went viral – people in Newark, Leicester and Derby were trying to book us to come and do a buffet for them on Valentine’s Day – it was crazy. There’s no one in England doing anything like this. We know the concept is amazing and people are already talking about it.”
Sunderland-based Italian restaurant to start expanding with second site in city: Sunderland-based Italian restaurant Angelo’s Ristorante is to start expanding by opening its second site. Nello Russo and Federico Trulli, who launched the concept in the West Sunniside district of the city, are opening the new site in the suburb of East Rainton. They are converting the former The Olde Ships Inn pub in Durham Road into Angelo’s Trattoria, which is due to open before the end of the month, creating ten jobs. The menu will be similar to that at the original Angelo’s and will also serve Russo’s traditional pasta and sausage dish. Trulli told the Sunderland Echo: “The opportunity came up to take over this site, so we thought we’d go for it. We decided to call it Angelo’s Trattoria because it’s more rustic than the Ristorante, which has a city centre location. The Olde Ships Inn had a nautical theme and was in good condition. If you wanted a pub, it would be perfect. But we needed to change it to make it look more like a rustic restaurant. So we have new tables and chairs, wallpaper and light fittings, as well as a pizza oven.”
Leelex launches second Cielo Blanco restaurant and bar: Leeds-based hospitality group Leelex has started expansion of its Mexican restaurant and bar concept Cielo Blanco by opening a venue in Exmouth Market, London – the brand’s second site. The first Cielo Blanco restaurant opened in the Trinity Centre, Leeds, in 2013. To celebrate the London opening, Leelex has launched a new menu at both sites, with dishes inspired by trips to the markets of Oaxaca. New street food dishes include slow-cooked goat pibil flautas, and chipotle camarones and chorizo picante. Cielo Blanco brand manager Dan Andrews told the Yorkshire Post: “We’re truly passionate about Mexico and its food and drink culture. Our menu is our own unique take on Mexican dishes with a street food style. Our inspiration may come from over 5,000 miles away but we like to use local ingredients where we can.” Last year Leelex, which also operates Leeds venues Pintura Kitchen & Bar, Jake’s Bar & Still Room, Neon Cactus and Oporto as well as the Portobello Star in London’s Portobello Road, appointed Paul Lane as managing director as it prepared for further expansion.
Michael Caines to launch fine-dining restaurant at North Wales country house hotel: Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines is to launch a fine-dining restaurant at a historic county house hotel on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. Caines has partnered with Alan and Angela Harper for the venture at the grade II-listed Palé Hall Hotel at Llandderfel, near Bala. The hotel is closed for an extensive refurbishment and will reopen in the summer. The fine-dining restaurant will feature three dining areas offering breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, each with a different look and feel. The largest is the grand main dining room, followed by the Venetian-themed alternative dining room and finally the library for private dining. Caines’ signature menu will focus on local produce. Palé Hall dates to the late 19th century and has hosted some of Britain’s most famous figures, including Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill.
New cafe and organic food store concept set to open in Kentish Town next month: A new cafe and organic food store concept is set to open in Kentish Town, north London, in June. Onic Bozoglu is launching Nature’s Garden in a former furniture store at the junction of Kentish Town Road and Prince of Wales Road. As well as serving coffee and freshly made food, Bozoglu has also applied for a licence for the cafe to sell alcohol. Customers will also be able to buy organic fruit and vegetables from the store. Bozoglu told the Camden New Journal: “I have always had a long-standing interest in organic food and healthy eating. I love Kentish Town and felt this idea could offer something a little bit different to what is here already. We will have organic coffee and things like gluten-free pastries, cakes and muffins to eat in. We plan to have a high-speed Wi-Fi connection and plenty of comfortable tables and chairs, as well as a store where people can buy things like organic apples from friends of ours who farm in Kent, and other items such as organic olives.”
Talash Hotels Group acquires 15th century Aberdeenshire coaching inn for £750,000: Agent Savills, representing Flodrive Properties, has sold The Huntly Arms Hotel in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, to Talash Hotels Group from a guide price of £750,000. The property, which dates to the 15th century, is one of the most historic coaching inns in the UK. Now a 50-bedroom hotel, it also features a restaurant and bar plus wedding and conference facilities for up to 190 guests. The Huntly Arms sits within 1.47 acres of private gardens, bordering Cairngorms National Park. Savills hotel director Tom Cunningham said: “This historic coaching inn is now an established hotel with a strong trading record boosted by its popularity as a wedding and conference venue. We are pleased with the swift result achieved on behalf of our client.” Talash Hotels Group, which owns six individual character hotels in Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire and the West Midlands, was unrepresented. In August, the company bought grade II-listed Risley Hall Hotel in Risley from Flodrive Properties, a business led by property investor Tony Khalastchi.
Young’s opens first standalone Burger Shack, seventh site in total: London pub retailer Young’s has opened its first standalone Burger Shack, its seventh site in total. Burger Shack & Bar is on the site of the former Fire Stables restaurant in Church Road, Wimbledon. The burger menu features four variants. The Classic is a British beef burger with melted cheese, sweet Young’s ale, onions and pickles. The Streaky features Hepburn’s streaky maple bacon, while there are vegetarian and chilli pulled pork burgers as well. The main menu has an additional burger – a fried pork belly burger with blue cheese mayo, shredded lettuce and hot sauce served with curly fries. Other main dishes include buttermilk-fried chicken caesar salad with soft boiled egg, Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and treacle bacon, and smoked baby back ribs with jalapeno corn bread, red cabbage, chilli and lime slaw. There are four desserts on offer as well as shakes and craft beer. Young’s other Burger Shacks are at The Windmill in Clapham, The Bull in Streatham, The Leather Bottle in Earlsfield, The Wood House in Sydenham Hill, and The Ship in Wandsworth, all in London, and The Swan in Walton on Thames, Surrey. It also operates an Airstream mobile Burger Shack at outdoor events.
Searcys opens first ‘fuss-free’ meatballs and champagne venue at St Paul’s site ahead of roll-out: High quality caterer and champagne bar operator Searcys has opened its first “fuss-free” meatballs and champagne venue at its site in St Paul’s, London. The revamped champagne bar, on the first floor of the One New Change shopping centre, celebrates meatballs and pasta alike, with the concept expected to be rolled out to Searcys’ other champagne bars. The menu incorporates a “pick and mix” system, with a choice of meatballs and pasta or meatballs and ciabatta. Meatballs are beef or pork, sauces are pesto or tomato and pancetta, pasta is a choice between paccheri and trofie, and toppings are gorgonzola, anchovies or smoked almonds, Hot Dinners reports. There are also small plates – meatball sliders on a brioche bun, crab and fennel salad with Sicilian orange and castel franco lettuce, and smoked salmon ciabatta with mozzarella and artichoke. The drinks menu ranges from flutes of champagne to Italian Vermouth and Frizzante cocktails. Searcys operates more than 20 venues, mostly across London.
JD Wetherspoon lodges plans for rooftop beer garden at Workington pub: JD Wetherspoon has lodged plans to create a rooftop beer garden at its Henry Bessemer pub in Workington, Cumbria. The company has applied to Allerdale Borough Council to convert part of the first floor, which used to be a nightclub, of the New Oxford Street property into an alfresco space for 70 customers. According to the plans, JD Wetherspoon intends to keep the facade of the building, which used to be the Rendevous cinema. Its proposals include replacing the windows on the front and the left side of the building, which are currently boarded up, with a balustrade. The building’s dome, which has always been a feature of the former cinema, will be kept. The dome and some of the roof, the company said, would become a “feature canopy”. Glazed areas would be created and a new staircase on the right of the pub would be built for people to access the new 1,214 square foot area. The glazed areas would overlook the customer area on the ground floor.
Entrepreneurial Enterprise publican takes on second Home Counties site: Enterprise Inns publican Trevor Hunt, who runs The Rising Sun in Hurley, west Berkshire, will take on his second site with the company – The Three Horseshoes in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Enterprise has made a joint investment with Hunt to give the pub in Burroughs Grove Hill a £60,000 makeover, with the site due to reopen on Friday, 20 May. Hunt said: “I knew the pub traded well and was confident I could attract even more custom if I gave it a bit of a spruce up and refreshed the menus.” Enterprise regional manager Carol Reid helped Hunt identify the right pub using the company’s segmentation tool, which assesses local competition, demographics and location. She said: “You don’t have to be a huge company to become a multi-operator – Trevor is a great example of this. He was successfully running one establishment with us and, after weighing up his options, he’s taken on a second. It’s great to see entrepreneurs take the next step, and we’re always willing to support the right publicans with this process.”
Easyhotel submits plans for Ipswich site: Easyhotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchisor of “super budget” branded hotels, has submitted plans for a site in Ipswich. The company has applied to Ipswich Borough Council to convert the vacant Assembly Rooms building in Northgate Street into a 96-bedroom hotel, reports Insider Media. Planning documents submitted to the council described the proposal as a “beneficial addition to the current town centre hotel offer” and said the new hotel would give rise to a significant number of new visitors to that part of the town centre. Easyhotel conditionally acquired the grade II-listed building, which was constructed in the early 1800s and most recently functioned as a bar and nightclub, in January, subject to planning permission. At the time, it said the total cost of the purchase and conversion would amount to about £4m. The company was established in 2004 as a wholly owned subsidiary of easyGroup. It currently has a portfolio consisting of three owned hotels, one long leasehold development site and 18 franchised hotels.
Empire Cinemas to open Barnsley multiplex with ten screens, scheme to feature five restaurants: Empire Cinemas, the UK’s largest independently owned cinema operator, will open a multiplex site with five restaurants in Barnsley late next year. The multiplex, which will be part of the Alhambra Shopping Centre, will include ten screens seating up to 1,244 cinemagoers. Planning permission for the multiplex has already been granted. Empire Cinemas will also introduce “Empire Extra” at the venue, screening events such as opera, ballet, music and sport. A spokesman for developer BMO Real Estate Partners told the Doncaster Free Press: “We are thrilled that such a highly regarded national cinema operator will be coming to Barnsley and committed to substantially enhance and enlarge the Alhambra Shopping Centre. We expect to announce similar commitments from national restaurant operators to complement the new cinema in the coming months.” Empire Cinemas operates 186 screens across 18 cinemas in the UK.
Mitchells & Butlers denies decision made to convert former Orchid flagship site to Harvester: Mitchells & Butlers has denied a decision has been made to convert a flagship former Orchid site in Boston, Lincolnshire, to a Harvester. The company which runs the All Inn’s Spirit of Endeavour in Marsh Lane, one of Orchid’s top-performing pubs, has advertised for an experienced kitchen manager at the new Harvester. But the company refused to confirm the change was taking place when asked and said in statement no decision had yet been made. The job advert said: “Harvester are currently looking for an experienced kitchen manager to lead the kitchen team at the Spirit of Endeavour in Boston. The Spirit of Endeavour is a fantastic All Inns site located in Boston, Lincolnshire, which will soon be converted into a Harvester restaurant. Named after the HMS Endeavour, commanded by lieutenant James Cook on his first voyage of discovery to Australia. This is a very exciting opportunity to join the Harvester team and the wider Mitchells & Butlers group.” But the company released a statement when asked about the advert, which said: “The Spirit of Endeavour in Boston is an All Inns brand. Opportunities to convert the pub into a Harvester restaurant are being reviewed but at this time no decision has been made.”
Five restaurant brands sign for new look Ipswich shopping centre: Five restaurant brands have signed to open at the new look Buttermarket Centre in Ipswich. Wagamama, Loungers brand Cosy Club, Prezzo, Byron, and Coast to Coast, which is owned by The Restaurant Group, have all agreed to take up units at the shopping centre, which is relaunching in the autumn. They will open alongside a 12-screen Empire cinema. Four other units are still available but the centre’s owners Capital & Regional and Drum Property Group are confident deals are about to be completed. The total value of the redevelopment of the Buttermarket is £35m, which includes the £9.2m paid for the centre in 2014. Capital & Regional executive director Ken Ford told the Ipswich Star: “We are now well advanced in our plans to expand, modernise and reposition Buttermarket as a retail and leisure destination in the heart of Ipswich. A compelling family dining offer is integral to this, and we are very pleased with the mix of national quality brands that have committed so far, and the strength of interest in the remaining units. We remain on track to be 100% let by July.”
£2m Bristol bar and restaurant closes because of high rents and competition: The £2m restaurant and cocktail bar Goldbrick House in Bristol has closed. It was situated in a former Victorian bread factory in Park Street in the city but the owners said high rents and increased competition are the reasons for its closure. Managing director Ben Paxton said: “A huge thank you to the people who have supported us for ten years. It’s a very sad time for the partners and staff who have been committed for so long to offering something unique and special in Bristol. It’s been somewhat a rollercoaster ride of emotions but to be honest we wouldn’t have wanted to change anything and we feel very touched to have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and to have so much fun over the years.” The venue opened in 2006 at a rumoured cost of £2m.
Private equity firm plans complete refurbishment of £2.8m Clerkenwell pub: Private equity firm Ducalian Capital is planning a complete refurbishment of the landmark Coach & Horses in Ray Street, Clerkenwell, which it has acquired for £2.8m. “It’s a strong market and good sites are subject to fierce competition, Ducalian Capital therefore acted quickly to tie up the purchase,” said Michael Penfold, of agents AG&G. “It’s easy to see the attractions of the Coach & Horses. It’s a short walk to Farringdon Station – from 2018 passengers will be able to interchange between Crossrail, Thameslink and Underground services, which will bring thousands of people into the area. It’s also near to Chancery Lane underground station (Central Line) and the immediate area has become very fashionable for media and technology businesses, providing a substantial base for lunchtime and evening trade.” Ducalian is planning a complete refurbishment of the pub, which has a footprint of more than 1,000 square feet on a site of more than 1,100 square feet. James McCulloch, investment director at Ducalian Capital, said: “This acquisition fits in nicely with our strategy of acquiring freehold pubs in central London with development potential. The property commands a sought-after position in the heart of Clerkenwell and within close proximity to the new Crossrail station and will benefit from the regeneration of the whole area.”