Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Gymkhana reports turnover and profit boost: Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Gymkhana, which is owned by the Sethi family, has reported a boost in turnover and pre-tax profit. The restaurant in Mayfair saw turnover increase to £4,089,599 for the year ending 27 December 2015, compared with £3,295,574 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was up to £726,075 compared with £539,908 the year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. The Sethi family also operates Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Trishna, Sri Lankan eatery Hoppers and three sites for its food delivery concept Motu Kitchen.
SSP Group wins Düsseldorf airport deal to open seven restaurants and conference centre: SSP Group, the UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist, has won the contract to open seven restaurants and a conference centre at Germany’s fast-growing Düsseldorf airport. As the airport’s new main tenant, SSP Group has already opened a Jamie’s Deli and Jamie’s Deli Van, which will be joined by restaurant Hausmann’s, co-owned by TV chef Tim Mälzer, French cafe and patisserie épi, Cologne-headquartered Italian restaurant chain 4 Cani, and Mosaic – a Middle Eastern concept developed by SSP Group especially for Düsseldorf. A KFC venue will also open this month as well as another bar in 2019. The new centre – DUSconference plus – will open in May offering flexible work areas for 740 people, including ten conference and meeting rooms, 15 boardrooms, a web corner, plug-in workstations and three foyers for meetings, events or exhibitions. Before the new units, SSP already operated Caffè Ritazza and two Kamps bakeries at the airport. In relation to new business, SSP expects a total turnover of €112m during the term of the contract. SSP Group chief commercial officer Jan-Henrik Andersson said: “Düsseldorf is Germany’s third-largest airport and a key hub. As operators of the conference centre, in partnership with Düsseldorf airport, we are delighted to build on this successful partnership.”
Koh Group to launch debut site for lounge concept in Bournemouth next week, 13th site in total: Poole-headquartered Koh Group, owner of the Koh Thai Tapas brand, will open a permanent site for its Koh Lounge concept in Poole Hill, Bournemouth, on Thursday, 23 March. The company operates 12 Koh Thai Tapas restaurants in Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset and Hampshire and has operated Koh Lounge as a pop-up for festivals, large public events such as Bournemouth Air Show, and private parties. The concept is described as a “Mediterranean-style blend of beach lounge and restaurant with a hedonistic soundtrack” offering cocktails and Thai tapas. Late last year, Koh Group was acquired by its management team with the backing of private equity investor Alcuin Capital Partners. Chief executive Andrew Lennox led the buyout, with equity invested by Alcuin alongside development capital to support its future roll-out. As part of the deal, Paul Lilley was brought in as chief financial officer and Sophie Cox as chief operating officer. Following the buyout, Lennox said: “Following years of dedication by the team this really is a great opportunity for the business and we are incredibly excited about the future.”
Michelin-starred chef Paul Merrett launches Jolly Fine Pub Company: Michelin-starred chef Paul Merrett, whose gastro-pub The Malthouse in Fulham won best independent casual dining pub of the year at the Casual Dining Awards 2017, has founded Jolly Fine Pub Company with business partner Greg Bellamy. As well as The Malthouse, the new company has incorporated two other south London pubs operated by Merrett and Bellamy – The Victoria in Richmond and The Fox and Grapes in Wimbledon. Jolly Fine Pub Company plans to refurbish all three venues. Chef director Merrett has a reputation for modern British food with an Asian twist. He was awarded a Michelin star at The Greenhouse in Mayfair before moving into gastro-pubs in 2008.
Five brands miss out on proposed Chelmsford development as Wagamama, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Cosy Club reiterate interest: Five restaurant and bar brands missed out on the chance to secure sites at a proposed development in Chelmsford, Essex, it has been revealed. Eight brands cited interest in the site in Springfield Road, which would see the Argos store downsize and split into four separate units, including three new restaurants. Wagamama, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Cosy Club, which is owned by Loungers, came out on top after the bidding process last year and have all reiterated their interest in opening at the site. It has now been revealed TGI Friday’s, better burger brand Five Guys, Revolution Bars Group, Handmade Burger Co and Coal Grill & Bar also expressed an interest but missed out. Chelmsford City Council recently approved the application for change of use for the site, which will see Cosy Club occupy the first floor with Wagamama and Gourmet Burger Kitchen downstairs. Jessica Berney, of Schroder Real Estate Investment Management, which is managing the project, told Essex Live the three successful brands were chosen because they offered all-day dining, rather than bars that focused on evening trade. Cosy Club marketing manager Glenda Harding said the Chelmsford site would be a large restaurant offering more than 200 covers. There are no specific timings for the project but Berney said the building work to “carve out three new restaurants” would take about six to nine months.
Ben’s Canteen completes crowdfunding campaign to open third site after raising £475,000: Neighbourhood concept Ben’s Canteen has completed its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after raising £475,000 to open a third site and fund growth. The company, founded in 2011, was offering a 23.81% equity stake as it looked to raise £250,000. It has now closed the campaign having raised £475,000 from 301 investors. The largest investment was £50,000. Ben’s Canteen is looking to expand after the success of its sites in Clapham Junction and Earlsfield. The company is due to open a site in September in the phase one development at Battersea Power Station – Circus West Village. Opening there will fuel further growth for Ben’s, the aim being to reach ten sites in the next five years. Owner Ben Walton added: “I am hugely excited about Ben’s Canteen number three. I believe that as well as a fantastic business proposition, we are also giving investors a set of exciting rewards and a chance to be part of our journey. What drew me to this particular site was the sense of history and the chance to be situated among the old and the new was too good to miss. We focus on burgers, wine and brunch, three of the largest trends in London and beyond. We are well positioned to grow as these markets continue their upward trajectory. I’m confident the three sites will become ten as we continue to grow.” The crowdfunding campaign was offering an opportunity to invest in Full Larder, which trades as Ben’s Canteen.
Livelyhood to launch fourth south London pub: Livelyhood Pubs, led by Sarah Wall, is to open its fourth venue in south London, this time in Streatham. The Mere Scribbler will open next month in Streatham High Road, taking its title from the nickname of 18th century satirical novelist, diarist and playwright Frances Burney, who wrote in the area between 1779 and 1783. The Mere Scribbler will open on the former site of the Bank pub, opposite Streatham Common, and feature a large bar and dining space, offering food and drink from local suppliers and producers, including burgers, bar snacks, sharing plates, Sunday lunches, draught and bottled beer, wine and cocktails. Giant screens at the rear of the pub will show the latest sporting events, while there will also be an outside space. Wall, a long-standing Streatham resident, said: “I’m passionate about south London as a whole but Streatham obviously holds a special place in my heart. I’m happy to have found such a great venue here and can’t wait to open the doors in April and introduce everyone to Livelyhood’s latest neighbourhood pub.” The Mere Scribbler joins Livelyhood’s other pubs – The Clapham North in Clapham, The Regent in Balham and The Old Frizzle in Wimbledon.
Factory Records’ Dry Bar in Manchester sold with planning permission for boutique hotel: The Dry Bar in Manchester, launched by Factory Records in 1989, has been sold to an unnamed buyer with planning permission for a boutique hotel. The venue in Oldham Street, one of the first bars to open in the Northern Quarter, was put on the market last summer for £4m. The listing with Christie & Co is now marked as sold. However, the agent has declined to reveal details of the buyer and their plans for the premises. The freehold includes the ground-floor bar, basement cocktail joint Blue Brick Club and consent to convert two floors above the bar and attic space into a 69-bedroom hotel. The upper storeys are disused and in a poor state of repair, according to planning documents. Factory Records co-founder Tony Wilson envisioned Dry Bar being to bars what the Haçienda was to clubs during the Madchester scene. It famously barred both Liam Gallagher and Shaun Ryder in its time, the Manchester Evening News reports. It is understood the bar will continue to be operated by its current owners until this summer, when the sale is due to be completed.
BrewDog hunts for fourth Ohio site, nears $200,000 crowdfunding stretch target for craft beer hotel: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is hunting for a fourth site in central Ohio as it looks to expand its US operation. The company has opened a 10,000 square foot restaurant and bar in Canal Winchester, plans a $6m craft beer-centric hotel and acquired a bar site in Franklinton for $475,000. Now BrewDog is hunting for space in the Short North for another pub, reports Columbus Business First. BrewDog is appealing online and through social media for fans to help it find a site in the popular Columbus neighbourhood. Test brewing is under way at its $30.4m, 100,000 square foot brewery in Canal Winchester, which will be the hub of its US production and distribution. BrewDog is also nearing its $200,000 stretch target on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo towards the cost of its planned hotel. Having passed its goal of $75,000 in a few days, BrewDog increased its goal with new facilities such as a rooftop bar. So far the campaign has raised $195,571 from 1,297 investors with 18 days remaining. BrewDog aims to open the 50-bedroom DogHouse hotel, which would include “shower beer fridges” and a brewery, by the end of third quarter 2018.
Neville and Giggs in rethink over £200m Manchester mixed-use scheme: Former Manchester United footballers and leisure entrepreneurs Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs are to rethink their controversial £200m St Michael’s mixed-use scheme and have asked Manchester City Council to postpone making a decision. It comes in the wake of fierce criticism of the project from government agency Historic England, which last month objected to the plan. It said the development would aggressively “jar against the grand civic buildings which define this part of Manchester”. The 700,000 square foot scheme includes 153 apartments at Jackson’s Row and the demolition of the historic Abercromby pub, the 1930s Bootle Street police station and a 1950s synagogue. Plans have been submitted to the city council by the St Michael’s Partnership, of which Neville and Giggs are part. Neville said: “We have currently asked Manchester City Council not to make a determination on this project. That’s not to say we are going to change the key principles of scale and height. I think we can improve what we have done. We need to change what we do in Bootle Street, we have failed on that. We are struggling to get our message across. There’s no doubt we haven’t pleased everybody. Over the past six months, 12 months, we have tried to listen and have made many changes.”
M&B in transatlantic brewing collaboration: Mitchells & Butlers has initiated a transatlantic brewing collaboration as part of its new spring seasonal range. The partnership will see Etta’s Ale by US brewer Hogshead brewed at Rudgate Brewery in York to be exclusively served in a select number of Mitchells & Butlers pubs. Hogshead is renowned for developing a variety of cask beers with an emphasis on English ale. Mitchells & Butlers drinks procurement manager Ben Lockwood said: “This collaboration has been 18 months in the making and we’re really excited to finally have Hogshead Etta’s Ale pouring in our pubs. The popularity and growth of Hogshead’s range of cask ales in Denver is growing and I’m sure our beer-loving guests will adopt this as a firm favourite.” British-born Hogshead Brewery owner Stephen Kirby added: “We are confident Etta’s Ale will be a customer favourite in the Mitchells & Butlers line-up.” Etta’s Ale is available until early June in Nicholson’s pubs, Ember Inns, Vintage Inns and Castle pubs. Other new ales in Mitchells & Butlers’ spring seasonal range include Hover Honey IPA, Serne Half Mast, Fyne Jarl and Moonstone IPA.
MasterChef The Professionals finalist to launch ‘farm-to-fork’ restaurant in Derbyshire: SHB Hospitality, owned by 2014 MasterChef The Professionals finalist Sven-Hanson Britt, is set to open a “farm-to-table” restaurant in Derbyshire. Britt has applied to South Derbyshire District Council to convert unused buildings at Hardley Hill Farm, near Sutton-on-the-Hill, into a 45-cover restaurant focusing on ingredients grown on the farm or sourced locally, the Derby Telegraph reports. Britt began his career as an apprentice at London’s Ritz Hotel, where he worked his way up to sous chef in seven years. Planning documents submitted on behalf of SHB Hospitality state: “The concept will be to operate an evocative and beautiful restaurant focused entirely on the experience of the guest, where all ingredients come from surrounding farms and quality local producers.” The development would include a new access road leading to the restaurant’s 40-space car park. Hadley Hill Farm is owned by Trusley Estate.
Fever Bars to open nightclub above Maidstone bierkeller: Fever Bars, led by managing director Mark Shorting, is to open a nightclub above its Bierkeller venue in Maidstone, Kent. Fever & Boutique will open at the former Beluga nightclub site in Banks Street on Friday, 31 March. The club will open from 10pm to 4am, Wednesday to Saturday, and feature two rooms – Fever playing chart and party tunes and Boutique blasting out house and dance anthems. There will also be a “tiki terrace” offering cocktails. The 1,150-capacity Beluga closed in 2015 leading to a decline in Maidstone’s nightlife, with neighbouring Banks Bar and Wonderland shutting later that year. Last year, a lease for the three-storey building was on the market for £110,000. However the town appears to be on the up, with American chef Johnny Hernandez announcing earlier this week he had chosen Maidstone to start expansion of his MEXIco concept. Fever Bars marketing manager Duncan Squires told Kent Online: “Fever & Boutique will be fun and entertaining and give clubbers something consistent. They’ll always know what they’re going to get. Everything is happening in Maidstone at the moment, it’s very exciting.” Fever Bars operates almost 30 clubs and bars across the country.
Dublin-based Four Star Pizza reveals plans to open 34 sites across Republic and Northern Ireland in next three years: Dublin-based Four Star Pizza has revealed plans to open 34 sites across the Republic and Northern Ireland during the next three years. The company said it would open 18 stores across the north as part of a proposed £3m investment, which would bring the total in the country to 30. Founded in 1988, the company operates 46 stores across the whole of Ireland and plans to open an additional 16 stores in the Republic. The total expansion would bring the total number of outlets in Ireland to 80. Director Brian Clarke said the company would welcome interest for potential franchisees in the north. He told the Irish News: “We have an excellent relationship with our existing Northern Ireland franchisees. One franchisee now operates six outlets here, while another has just opened his third store.”
200 Degrees opens fifth site, in Leicester: Nottingham-based coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees has opened its fifth site, this time in Leicester. The company, founded by Rob Darby and Tom Vincent in 2012, has opened the outlet in Market Street on the site of the former Lumbers Jewellers, creating 15 jobs. It has invested £250,000 to refurbish the site, which can seat 80 customers. It is the fourth new store in less than a year for the company, which already runs two venues in Nottingham as well as one each in Birmingham and Leeds. It is due to open in Cardiff in late spring. Vincent said: “This is one of the city’s busiest streets and everyone knows the building from its previous life. Leicester is a really up and coming city with local independent businesses thriving, a vibrant creative scene and new businesses moving into the centre. I think it’s got a great future. We can’t wait to let our team of highly trained baristas start serving coffee roasted by our own Leicester lad Mike Steele and we look forward to becoming part of the growing independent coffee scene in Leicester.”
Manchester-based Mexican street food restaurant gets go-ahead to open Leeds site: Manchester-based Mexican street food restaurant Pancho’s Burritos has been given the go-ahead to open a site in Leeds. The company has been granted permission by the city council for the venue in Albion Street on the ground floor of Airedale House, creating 15 jobs. It will offer Mexican street food to eat in or take away. As well as two sites in Manchester, Pancho’s, which featured on BBC One’s Len and Ainsley’s Food Adventure in 2015, is also set to open in Liverpool’s Bold Street. Pancho’s Burritos was launched at the Arndale Centre in 2010 by Enrique Martinez and Klaus Bohne, opening its second restaurant in Chester Street in 2015. The company has secured funds to open another eight restaurants in the next two to three years.
Former Cotswolds convent trading as hotel comes to market for £4m: A former convent in the south Cotswolds trading as a 14-bedroom hotel has been put up for sale at a guide price of £4m. The grade II-listed property, which has approved planning permission and listed building consent for up to 44 bedrooms, is being marketed by agents Savills and Colston & Colston on behalf of joint receivers Damian Webb and Phillip Rodney Sykes, of RSM. Dating to the mid-17th century, the property comprises a series of interlinked buildings set on a site of about 12.8 acres (5.16 hectares). Internally, the main property offers 33,358 square feet of space and features 14 hotel bedrooms and a restaurant. The Lodge, a 2,481 square foot property attached to the main building, is currently used as owner’s accommodation with four bedrooms and two reception rooms. Savills head of UK hotel transactions Martin Rogers said: “This former convent is steeped in history and provides a fantastic opportunity to create a striking hotel in an area of the UK that is very popular with tourists.”
Pret A Manger and coffee house Takk first foodservice brands to sign for Manchester scheme: Pret A Manger and Manchester-based artisan coffee house Takk are the first foodservice brands to join the city’s University Green development, which forms part of the University of Manchester’s £1bn campus master plan and redevelopment. The development by property company Bruntwood will provide 40,000 square feet of retail and leisure space across 12 units, each with double-height glazed frontages. The new site will be Takk’s second in the city. The 1,500 square foot cafe will serve coffee alongside a breakfast, brunch and bespoke craft beer offer. Influenced by the owners’ passion for Nordic design, the new site will aim to create a “beautiful and welcoming space where people can relax and work”. Pret A Manger is launching a 2,500 square foot site. They will be joined by the first retail brand – Academic & General Bookshop, with all three opening in summer 2018. Bruntwood head of retail and leisure Toby Sproll said: “We are thrilled to have secured such quality operators and retailers as part of the first wave of signings for University Green. Our focus is to create an exciting mix of retail and leisure for the significant population that studies, works and lives in Corridor Manchester.” Metis Real Estate Advisors represented Bruntwood, while Takk and Pret A Manger represented themselves.
Bradford-based restaurant Mughals to start expansion by opening second site in city: Bradford-based restaurant Mughals is to begin expansion by opening a second site in the city. Mughals opened a 150-cover restaurant and sweets centre in Leeds Road in 1988, which now employs 25 people. It is now opening a second venue, which will have capacity for 40 diners, in Great Horton Road, on Friday (17 March). Owner Mohammad Bilal told the Telegraph & Argus: “We have had a lot of people ask why don’t we open outside Bradford. But I am Bradford born and bred and want to stay here.”