D&D London partners with Workologie to launch affordable remote-working spaces at Bluebird Chelsea: Restaurant operator D&D London has partnered with Workologie, which manages underused spaces in central London, to launch an affordable access scheme for remote workers at its restaurant Bluebird Chelsea. The venue in King’s Road will offer exclusive access space from 9am to 5.30pm, with plans to develop a network of dedicated co-working spaces across London. Workologie was founded by Hugo Campbell-Davys, who also founded VIP lifestyle app Urbanologie. Workologie members can book a space at Bluebird, with access to fast, secure Wi-Fi. They will also get preferential rates to hire in-house private meeting and dining rooms, and exclusive invitations to curated events, as well as a discounted annual membership to Urbanologie. Membership to the scheme is on a pay-as-you-go basis, with standard day-rate membership of £10 for Urbanologie members and £20 for non-members. Bluebird general manager Guillaume Sanzey said: “We have always prided ourselves on the versatility of the space and our ability to move with the times. Teaming up with Workologie to meet the growing needs of people working remotely is the perfect opportunity.” D&D London owns and operates restaurants in London, Leeds, Paris, New York and Tokyo and the 80-bedroom South Place Hotel in London.
Firezza makes restaurant debut in Soho: Firezza, the 22-strong pizza delivery and takeaway business owned by PizzaExpress, has opened its first restaurant – in Soho. The Dean Street venue is the London flagship for the pizza group, which offers “proper pizza” by the metre. Firezza, founded by managing director Edin Basic in 2001, recently added six delivery sites, including Dulwich. The Soho site is described as a “social pizza experience” for customers built around sharing. Basic said: “Our customers have been requesting a restaurant for years and this location is the perfect place to launch the flagship restaurant. Firezza is a brand built on simplicity and sharing and that will be the experience our guests will enjoy, whether they have a lot of time or having a bite before the theatre.” The restaurant trades daily from 10am until late.
Bubble and squeak-inspired concept extends £100,000 crowdfunding campaign to open permanent restaurant: Bubble and squeak-inspired concept Bubble&, which has operated at festivals and markets, has extended its £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open a permanent restaurant. The company, founded by Rupert Smith and Marita Lietz, is now offering a 22.22% equity stake in return for the investment, having initially offered 16.67%. So far, 78 investors have pledged £27,230 with 18 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £5,000. The funds will be used to open a restaurant in Southsea, Hampshire, but the company is already looking to open “multiple” sites across London and the south east. Smith said: “Due to the number of ongoing discussions with investors, we have been granted a two-week extension to our campaign. Our campaign will now close on Sunday, 30 April at midnight. We have had a great few days as interest has increased in our campaign and we are excited to continue the discussions we are having with our own network and the Crowdcube community.” The pitch states: “The investment will fund capital expenditure on the kitchen, bar, furniture, construction works and our pre-opening costs, which include professional fees such as lawyers, rent and costs during fit-out and architects. The plan is to expand the concept to have multiple restaurants in the south east and London, and become a nationally recognised brand. We will be aiming towards a five-to-ten-year sale/exit.”
Innis & Gunn opens flagship Beer Kitchen in Glasgow with on-site brewing, fourth venue: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has opened its fourth and largest Beer Kitchen, in Glasgow’s West End. The new venue in Ashton Lane is Innis & Gunn’s flagship bar and restaurant and features the brand’s first on-site micro-brewery. The company, founded by Dougal Sharp, invested £600,000 to develop the site that formerly housed the Cul-de-sac bar. It is leasing the building from G1 Group. The venue is spread over three floors, with the micro-brewery producing special-edition and one-off brews available to buy at the bar. Food is served on the first floor, featuring dishes designed to match the beer, while the top floor is a late-night events bar. Late last year, Innis & Gunn raised almost £2.5m on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to fund the roll-out of the Beer Kitchen brand, which launched in Edinburgh in 2015 and has since opened sites in Dundee and St Andrews. David Hall, managing director of Innis & Gunn Retail, said the company wanted to open “at least two, possibly three” Beer Kitchens this year and “another three or four in 2018”. He added: “We are going to grow this brand and take it into England and maybe other parts of Scotland. We’ve now got the cash behind us to seize opportunities as they come along.”
Tokyo Industries wins consent for lap-dancing club in Leeds: Tokyo Industries, the company that operates 32 bars and nightclubs in the UK and is led by Aaron Mellor, has won permission to open a lap-dancing club next to the historic Corn Exchange in Leeds. The premises were previously known as the Town House and latterly a bar known as Chili Whites. The new use will be a lap-dancing club known as Black Orchid. A petition of more than 200 people and 77 individual objections were submitted against the proposal. West Yorkshire Police did not comment or oppose it. Tokyo Industries already operates a lap-dancing club in Leeds.
Ten Entertainment Group prices Initial Public Offering: Ten Entertainment Group (TEG), the UK’s second-largest ten-pin bowling operator with 40 sites, has successfully placed 16,250,000 shares at a price of 165p per share, representing 25% of the company’s issued share capital on admission. The offer is expected to raise gross proceeds of £26.8m for the selling shareholders. Admission to the premium listing segment of the London Stock Exchange is expected to take place at 8am on Wednesday, 19 April. Non-executive chairman Nick Basing said: “Today represents a springboard for the company to take advantage of the opportunities ahead. I would like to welcome our new shareholders, who recognise our leading and differentiated proposition and the strength of our business model.” Chief executive Alan Hand added: “Our family-focused offering provides great-value entertainment in great locations, delivered with exceptional customer service. TEG’s experienced management and highly cash-generative operating model, together with a clearly defined growth strategy, will enable us to deliver sustainable and growing returns for shareholders. We look forward to the future with real confidence.”
Café Rouge launches new menus and Ducasse Education training programme: Casual Dining Group-owned Café Rouge has launched a new seasonal set menu and an a la carte menu as well as a kitchen training partnership with the Alain Ducasse organisation. The latest menu innovation, which champions French provenance and fresh ingredients, follows a six-month study by the brand. The a la carte menu will feature trademark French classics such as casse-croute – a lunch board of cured meat, cheese and wine inspired by provincial French farmers. Café Rouge managing director Simon Wilkinson said: “Listening closely to the wants and needs of our guests, as well as the latest market trends, we have put together a robust menu of classic French dishes. Provenance and quality is a massive focus for us so we scoured France to select outstanding local, niche producers to work with. To help our kitchen teams get the most out of these great new products we are providing them with a training programme from the leading global organisation of culinary arts, Ducasse Education, which will develop their techniques and methodology.”
Faucet Inn lines up Kupp site in Reading along with Pret A Manager: Faucet Inn is lining up a site in Reading for its Scandinavian-inspired restaurant and cafe concept Kupp. The company is looking to open a site on the ground floor of Thames Tower in Station Hill. It has applied to the borough council for planning permission to trade from 7am to 1am. The bar would cater for 180 to 200 people, with 60 more in the bar, although a separate application for external dining and drinking may be submitted at a later date, reports Get Reading. Kupp has venues in Paddington and Exeter, while it has also secured a site in Manchester. Kupp would be joined by Pret A Manger, which has applied to make alterations to the front of a unit on the ground floor of Thames Tower. The application said the proposal had taken into account the building’s scale, layout and access, and was in keeping with the modern appearance and character of that part of Thames Tower.
Mosaic Pub and Dining Group submits plans to reopen Sevenoaks pub with town’s first micro-brewery: Mosaic Pub and Dining Group, formerly known as City Pub EIS Fund, has lodged plans to reopen a pub in Sevenoaks, Kent. The company has submitted licensing and planning applications to Sevenoaks District Council for The Oak Tree in High Street. It acquired the site, which was previously run by Faucet Inn, last year and has revealed proposals to transform the pub that would include the town’s first micro-brewery. The timber-framed listed building was originally a brewery so the installation would be a nod to the town’s history, reports Kent Live. Mosaic Pub and Dining Group is also applying for extended opening hours so the pub can serve alcohol until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays and until midnight the rest of the week. The Oak Tree closed in August before being acquired by Mosaic Pub and Dining Group in November for a reported £1.3m. The company has nine other sites, including in Birmingham and London.
Supermac’s reopens McDonald’s trademark battle: Irish fast food company Supermac’s has made its first move against McDonald’s after suffering a blow earlier this year in their international trademark war. In February, McDonald’s hit the family-owned company with a 41-page objection against its plans to use the Supermac’s name in Europe, stating it would “take unfair advantage of the distinctive character and repute” of its trademarks. Now Supermac’s has submitted a request to the European Union Property Office (EUIPO) asking it to cancel McDonald’s trademarks of the terms “Big Mac” and “Mc”, accusing the global giant of “trademark bullying” and storing brand names in a “war chest to use against future competitors”. The EUIPO will review Supermac’s request, with McDonald’s given time to respond or object to the application. Supermac’s managing director Pat McDonagh told independent.ie: “If any McGrath, McCarthy or McDermott with a business idea uses their name in the title of that business or product the chances are McDonald’s already owns the trademark.” A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “As with all companies around the world, McDonald’s defends the values of its brand, including trademarks, to protect consumers against confusion and prevent others from taking unfair advantage of our trademarks.”
Ei Group launches PR support guide for licensees: Ei Group’s leased and tenanted division Ei Publican Partnerships has launched a PR support guide for publicans to help them showcase their pubs in the media. The 16-page “How to PR your Pub” guide, which is available for publicans to download from Ei Publican Partnerships’ online platform, gives advice on a range of PR topics, including approaching the media, photography, newsworthy stories, press release templates and social media. Ei Group head of corporate communication Jon Dale said: “This guide has been created to help publicans drive sales by promoting their businesses to new and existing customers. It also gives them the opportunity to gain recognition for the excellent work they do day in, day out in their local communities. Publicans are incredibly busy people who are juggling a number of tasks at any one time, making it hard to focus on PR. This easy-to-use guide gives them the tools, advice and focus they need to market their business across traditional and digital media channels.”
McDonald’s takes on Sonic with new slushies range: McDonald’s has introduced a new line of Minute Maid Slushies at 6,000 US sites in a move clearly aimed at Sonic, the Oklahoma City-based drive-thru chain that specialises in beverages and boasts more than a million drink and slush combinations, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. Sonic’s like-for-like sales increased 12% in its 2015 and 2016 fiscal years, drawing the attention of McDonald’s, which has lost 500 million transactions since 2012. The chain has indicated most of these transactions were lost to primary competitors, rather than fast-casual chains or convenience stores. McDonald’s slushies use a blend of fruit juice and ice, with flavours including orangeade, fruit punch and cherry limeade, the latter a signature Sonic flavour. The slushies are available in McDonald’s midwest and southern markets, including sites in Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Michigan and Ohio. Beverages are a key component of McDonald’s revival strategy. The company began 2017 by offering $1 coffees and $2 McCafe beverages. It then started offering different versions of its Shamrock Shake. Now the company is selling soft drinks for $1. The company also plans to revamp its McCafe brand, which includes a requirement that operators install $12,000 machines to improve beverage quality. However, company spokeswoman Becca Hary said the McDonald’s machine used to make smoothies and frappes could also be used to make slushies.
Donostia Social Club owner to launch The Tapas Room in Tooting: The owner of the Pop Brixton restaurant and street food van Donostia Social Club is expanding his remit with the launch of The Tapas Room in Tooting. Paul Belcher is opening the venue in Broadway Market on Thursday, 4 May. Functioning as a drink shop, deli and eatery, The Tapas Room will offer bar seating where guests can enjoy a drink alongside food from a complementary menu comprising Basque-inspired tapas, charcuterie and cheese. The venue will showcase specialist wine, sherry, vermouth and cava from the Basque and Spanish regions. Belcher said: “The Tapas Room allows me to further build on the passion for Basque cooking I’ve showcased through Donostia Social Club. We can expand our wine and beer offering with the new space, which gives us a shopfront for our exclusive products.”
Escape game brand Tick Tock Unlock to launch new virtual reality concept in Leeds this month: Escape game brand Tick Tock Unlock will launch a new adventure concept at Trinity Leeds shopping centre on Saturday, 22 April. The Hyper Reality Experience will be the UK’s “first virtual reality-powered game”. It will be the company’s third site in Leeds and sixth in total, with the new opening creating 13 jobs to take its total workforce to 35. Husband-and-wife team Ali Khan and Samrien Hussain founded the Leeds-based business in 2014, with the company’s other sites in Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. Hussain told BDaily: “There’s such a big appetite for escape games and we’re always trying to develop new concepts and rooms to keep people coming back for more. As a result, we’re fully booked almost every weekend and it’s going from strength to strength. It’s fantastic to employ local people who have the same passion and vision for escape games as we do, and they all add to the atmosphere of the game. Thanks to our loyal fans we’ve been able to expand our business more quickly than we could have imagined. Since we launched just a couple of years ago, it’s been a roller-coaster ride and we’ve got so much more in store. We can’t wait to see where the next few years takes us.”
Darwin Escapes acquires Yorkshire holiday leisure park for 20th site: North Wales-headquartered Darwin Escapes, the fourth-largest operator of holiday parks in the UK, has acquired golf, lodge and events resort The KP Club in East Yorkshire. The park, near Pocklington, is Darwin Escapes’ 20th site in total and features an 18-hole championship golf course. The KP, which hosts weddings and is a popular conference venue, comprises 34 letting lodges, seven of which are hotel pods. There are also two on-site restaurants. The KP Club was acquired from private owners for an undisclosed sum. Darwin Escapes managing director Lindsey Bamford told BDaily: “The KP Club is the perfect addition to our Darwin Escapes portfolio of holiday parks. Darwin has invested heavily across the portfolio to create some of the best holiday destinations in the UK and we look forward to carrying on the legacy of The KP Club to ensure it continues to be a leading resort.” Colliers International’s Richard Moss, who handled the sale, added: “The parks and leisure resorts sector has been very active so far in 2017 and Darwin’s continued investment in the industry illustrates the continued strong demand for UK holiday and leisure businesses. Furthermore, it signals the company’s intention to grow its business in the north of England.”
Stonegate Pub Company launches Yates’s spring menu: Stonegate Pub Company has launched a spring menu across its 50-plus Yates’s estate in an effort to put the “feel-good factor” back. Additions to the “saintly” side including vegetable panang and spinach and broccoli quiche, both fewer than 650 calories. More calorific additions include a brunch burger and the challenge burger, a man-versus-food option that features a southern-fried chicken fillet and two double cheese and bacon burgers inside a sesame seed bun – with chips, beer-battered onion rings and smoky mayo. Yates’s “Legendary” menu section has also been expanded to include fish and chips, barbecue chicken melt, and beef and ale pie, while a Mexicana section has been added for the first time. New desserts include cookie crumb profiteroles and chocolate orange torte. Yates’s marketing manager Alex Botting said: “We’ve listened to our customers and refined our menu with their feedback in mind.”
Spanish chef José Pizarro launches fourth London site, at Street Feast rooftopia Giant Robot: Spanish chef José Pizarro has opened his fourth London site, at Street Feast’s new “rooftopia” – Giant Robot – in Canary Wharf. The menu at tiny tapas bar Little José includes Ibérico pork meatball sub with manchego, crispy fried squid “boca” with aioli and sides such as patatas bravas, padrón peppers and a daily changing tortilla. Drinks include cava, wine, sherry and Pizarro’s gin and tonic. Pizarro, who also operates José Tapas Bar and Pizarro Restaurant in Bermondsey, and José Pizarro in Broadgate, said: “My customers love José, with its cosy feel and simple small plates. I wanted to recreate that vibe here at Little José but also take the traditionally boring lunchtime ‘sandwich’ and give it a 21st century makeover.” Little José joins street food traders Yum Bun and its offshoot Yumplings, lobster specialists Bob’s, and ThunderBird, the new one-stop chicken shop from BBQ Lab. Giant Robot offers panoramic views of Canary Wharf as well as all-day dining and drinking. The indoor space, featuring a huge, wraparound outdoor terrace, is Street Feast’s first seven-day-a-week venue and marks the rapid expansion of the London Union-owned company, which launched in 2012.
Devon-based hotel operators acquire third site: Devon-based hotel operators Brett and Jo Powis have acquired a third site. They have bought The Rainbow International Hotel in Torquay from a guide price of £3.25m in a deal brokered by agents Christie & Co. The 143-bedroom hotel, which is in Belgrave Road near the seafront, comprises a restaurant, ballroom, club, indoor pool and gym. The Powis’ also own the nearby Babbacombe Hotel and Lincombe Hall Hotel. The hotel is one of a number sold in Torquay in recent weeks, following Christie & Co’s sale of the Meadfoot Bay Hotel and the acquisition of three hotels by South African investors from the Duchy Group for £12.5m. Stephen Champion, business agent at Christie & Co’s Exeter office, told Insider Media: “Torquay is obviously a prime location for holidaymakers from the UK as well as abroad. The fact these high-profile hotel transactions have been completed here within the past few weeks shows hospitality businesses in this area, as well as more widely across the south west region, are seen as great investments for both domestic and international buyers.”