Duck & Waffle to open St James’s Market sister site: Duck & Waffle, the restaurant that offers British cuisine with broad European influences alongside stunning views of the London skyline from the 40th floor of 110 Bishopsgate, is set to open a sister site in the capital, this time at ground level in St James’s Market. The new venue will open in Haymarket Street in May as a “fast-casual, chef-curated restaurant” that also offers a takeaway service, Hot Dinners reports. The site will be led by chef director Dan Doherty, with duck remaining at the centre of the menu. As well as the original duck and waffle dish, other items on the menu will include duck burger with crispy duck leg, a duck jam doughnut, and the Full Elvis (peanut butter and jelly-buttered waffle with vanilla cream, peanut brittle, fresh berries and caramelised banana). Vegetarian options and cocktails will also feature at the sister site, with Duck & Waffle’s Rich Woods putting on a Taps & Tails menu featuring on-tap cocktails as well as beer, including the Holy Duck IPA, and a select list of wines.
Wadworth gives away almost 5,000 pints for Random Acts of Kindness Week: Brewer and retailer Wadworth has given away 5,000 pints as part of Random Acts of Kindness Week. From 13 to 19 February, visitors to Wadworth’s managed houses, along with ten nominated tenanted sites, were randomly gifted with a pint of Wadworth’s 6X beer. Publicans and managers at the participating pubs got behind the mission to “spread happiness across Wadworth’s south of England pubs”. Each site was provided with new 6X glasses to serve the free pints in and, by the end of the week, 4,500 pints of the ale had been given to unsuspecting guests. Prior to 13 February, Wadworth sent suggestions of when to give out a free pint of 6X, including someone struggling to decide what to drink, regular 6X drinkers, diners, anyone celebrating a special occasion, or someone who looked like they needed cheering up. Random gifts of beer were also sent during the week to social media users who happened to mention they needed a beer. Wadworth chief executive Chris Welham said: “It’s been a great week, with some brilliant stories from across our pub estate. I am thrilled so many people walked away with a smile on their faces thanks to our random acts of kindness.”
Sethi family opens third site for Indian food delivery concept Motu Kitchen, in Canary Wharf: The Sethi family, which operates Michelin-starred Indian restaurants Gymkhana and Trishna and award-winning Sri Lankan eatery Hoppers, has opened a third site for its delivery concept Motu Kitchen, this time in Canary Wharf. The debut Motu Kitchen opened in Battersea in October, with a second site launching in Camberwell two months later. The new venue will dispatch Motu’s signature Feast boxes, which are inspired by traditional “tiffins”. The feast boxes are available for delivery to homes and offices in the surrounding area, including Millwall, Limehouse, Poplar and Cubitt Town for lunch and dinner. The boxes feature dishes such as lamb shank rogan josh, Madras prawn masala, and tandoori mixed grill, as well as daily specials and a wide selection of sides. The Canary Wharf kitchen will also offer exclusive dishes such as samosa pao, tandoori paneer naan roll and Indo-Chinese chilli paneer, The Handbook reports. The Motu Kitchen website states: “Motu, a name derived from the affectionate Hindi term for ‘fat man’, serves indulgent, home-style Indian food paying homage to the British love of a classic Indian takeaway, with a nod to the ‘dabbawalas’ of India, who would traditionally deliver a packed meal for workers across Indian cities in what became known as tiffin.”
GC Mallen acquires Tunbridge Wells pub from Greene King: Multi-site pub operator GC Mallen, headed by Garry Mallen, has acquired a pub in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, from brewer and retailer Greene King – The Guinea Butt in Calverley Road. Mallen said the pub would close for a few weeks before reopening as The Guinea. Mallen, whose company owns 12 other sites, told Kent Live: “I’ve known it for some time from various visits to the town so when Greene King decided to sell it, I didn’t hesitate. We will serve great products, some of them craft but mostly real ale from local breweries. We’ll serve freshly-made food using the best-quality ingredients, the more local the better, and we’ll charge what we need to charge to provide these products. It’s unlikely to be cheap, but it will not be prohibitively expensive.”
Hippo Inns to host ‘farm to neighbour’ initiative at Islington Townhouse: Hippo Inns, the joint venture between Geronimo Inns founder Rupert Clevely and Enterprise Inns, will host a weekly “farm to neighbour” event at The Islington Townhouse. Hippo Inns’ north London venue will host a Food Assembly event every Tuesday evening, launching on 7 March, which will provide a space to connect farmers and neighbours to each other – and everyone to their food. The Food Assembly was founded in late 2010 by two friends in France who wanted to create a more efficient food distribution network and support local farmers and producers. Islington Food Assembly members will collect their pre-ordered produce from the pub, giving them a chance to connect with neighbours and meet producers to talk to them about their food. The Islington Townhouse, which opened in September as Hippo Inns’ sixth site, is around the corner from Chapel Market and is set over three floors, including a snug, open bar and upstairs dining room. It offers small plates, craft beer and creative cocktails. Last year, The Food Assembly won the Best British Food Initiative at the BBC Food and Farming Awards.
Northamptonshire-based independent coffee chain Bewiched to open seventh and eighth sites: Northamptonshire-based independent coffee chain Bewiched is set to open its seventh and eighth sites, in Rothwell and Rushden. The Rothwell venue will open in Market Hill at a site formerly housing The Store coffee shop, while the Rushden branch will launch in early March as part of the first phase of the Rushden Lakes development, the brand’s first foray into a retail park. Bewiched will be based in the same building as the Wildlife Trust’s visitor centre at the new multimillion-pound retail and leisure scheme. Bewiched managing director Matt Fountain told the Northamptonshire Telegraph: “My big ambition is to make us an award-winning employer. I want to attract and retain the best talent in the coffee industry.” Bewiched offers a range of coffees, hot chocolate, iced teas, smoothies and milkshakes as well as sweet and savoury snacks. Its other venues are in Northampton, Wellingborough (two sites), Kettering and Corby, all in Northamptonshire, and another in Peterborough.
Restaurant Brands acquires fried chicken chain Popeyes for $1.8bn: Restaurant Brands, which owns Burger King and Tim Hortons, has acquired US fried chicken chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for $1.8bn. The deal will make Restaurant Brands the fifth-largest restaurant company in terms of total global unit count, with 23,000 sites. The $1.8bn deal represents a multiple of 19 times forward cash flow. Restaurant Brands is eyeing a rapid-growth strategy for Popeyes, like it used at Burger King and has started to employ at Tim Hortons. Restaurant Brands chief financial officer Joshua Kobza told Nation’s Restaurant News: “The strategy will be much the same – to grow the size of the brand by working with existing and new franchisees.” Popeyes has also seen several years of like-for-like sales growth, while system-wide sales at Popeyes have grown at least 8% every year since 2008. Popeyes has 2,000 domestic locations, less than half the size of rival KFC – meaning the chain has room for growth, while its focus on a New Orleans-inspired menu of fried chicken and other items with spicier flavour profiles appears to fit in with consumer tastes. Popeyes also has 600 locations in international markets and has recently reached several development agreements.
East Midlands hotel owner slips into administration: The owner of two historic East Midlands hotels has slipped into administration. Abbot Grange, which owns 15-bedroom Bridge Hotel in Thrapston and the grade II-listed Dovecliff Hall in Stretton, near Burton on Trent, has called in administrators from Duff & Phelps to run the pair of hotels. The hotels are owned by a family business headed by Tony Sachdev and Gogi Singh. Dovecliff Hall in particular has an illustrious past. In the 19th century it was owned by Lord Bass, who made many contributions to Burton including the Ferry Bridge. He was a good friend of King Edward VII, who visited the Bass brewery and the family on their estate at Rangemore in 1902, beginning the brewing of the now famous King’s Ale. The Bridge Hotel is a hotel, restaurant and wedding venue in the market town of Thrapston in north west Northamptonshire. In its latest accounts to 31 December 2015, Abbot Grange owed creditors £684,167.
CPL Training Group appoints David Dasher as chief data officer: CPL Training, which provides licensed retail and hospitality training across the UK, has restructured its board. CPL Online managing director David Dasher has been appointed chief data officer of CPL Training Group, with the change set to come into effect in April. Dasher will work internally and alongside clients to manage data insights, data governance, and research and development. The restructure is part of the company’s strategy to create a unified technology structure, identify revenue opportunities and reduce operating costs. Dasher will still oversee operations at CPL Online, with senior management responsible for day-to-day running of the business. Dasher said: “Over the past seven years, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing CPL Online flourish into a leading training and software company. With the promotion of senior management to the board of directors, the business has continued to progress in all areas. After strategically assessing the position of both companies, I made the decision to move into this new role, which marks an important step in the direction of the business. Data analytics have become fundamental to our internal and external operations, and this will continue to grow in the future. I’m excited to embark on this new challenge and build on the strong foundations already in place.” CPL Training Group chief executive Daniel Davies added: “Having started with a team of five in 2010, David called on his experience and knowledge to develop CPL Online into the market-leading company it is today. The business now has over 120 staff and is in a strong position to progress and invest in products and services. As chief data officer, David will play a major role in delivering continual growth and development of both brands. I’m looking forward to seeing the business move on to the next level.”
Grade II-listed Cedar House in Surrey comes to market as bar, restaurant or hotel: Agent Savills has brought grade II-listed Cedar House in Cobham, Surrey, to market on behalf of a private vendor. The National Trust property is available by way of a new free-of-tie lease and has potential for a range of uses including as a bar, restaurant or hotel, subject to planning consent. The former high-end hotel and restaurant dates to the 15th century and was originally a stately home, where well-known guests including Lord Nelson are reported to have stayed. Many original features, including a grand medieval main hall, have been retained at the property, which totals 5,431 square feet. There are proposed extensions to increase its size to 7,206 square feet. Cedar House, which fronts the River Mole, features 12 former hotel rooms arranged over ground, first and second floor levels. Savills licensed leisure director Daniel Mackernan said: “The historic Cedar House combines potential for several future uses, with a picturesque setting in an affluent part of Surrey. We expect the property to have wide operator appeal.”
Liverpool-based multi-siters to open third venue for Japanese restaurant and bar concept Mr Miyagi: A group of Liverpool-based multi-site operators will open a third site in Merseyside for their Japanese restaurant and bar concept Mr Miyagi. The brand already has two sites in Liverpool, its debut venue in Bold Street in the city centre, which launched in May 2015, and a second site in the student area of Allerton Road, which opened in March last year. The new restaurant will launch next month in Derby Street in Ormskirk, near Southport, at a site formerly occupied by Salt & Liquor bar. The brand describes itself as “Japanese soul food that meets ghetto Asian with Asian comfort food served to a Motown soundtrack”. It offers Japanese-style food with buns, skewers, fried chicken, small plates and ramen, alongside bespoke cocktails. It also offers a menu to accompany its late-night music lounge events – “Soul, Beats, Liquor & Eats”. The multi-siters also operate Mexican restaurant Lucha Libre in Wood Street, Liverpool, as well as Berry and Rye, Jenny’s Bar and Aloha in the city.
New World Trading Company to open The Botanist on site of former JD Wetherspoon pub in Didsbury: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group The New World Trading Company is to bring The Botanist brand to Didsbury, Manchester. The company will open the venue on the site of former JD Wetherspoons pub The Milson Rhodes in School Lane, creating 50 jobs. The 4,500 square foot venue, which will be the 12th site for The Botanist, is due to open on Monday, 3 April. General manager Danny Leach told The Business Desk: “We will be open for coffees through to cocktails with live music and our much-loved food menu.” The Botanist is inspired by all things botanical and the space will host live music with “daily evening gigs along with lazy Sunday afternoon sessions with a real home-from-home atmosphere”.
Living Ventures to open colonial-style bar and restaurant Grand Pacific in Manchester next month: Living Ventures will open colonial-style bar and restaurant Grand Pacific in Manchester on Friday, 17 March. The new venue is in a grade II-listed building in King Street that formerly housed the Manchester Reform Club. The new 3,000 square foot, 120-cover bar and restaurant will offer informal dining for lunch and dinner, blending “flavours from exotic places with English classics”. A “classical Sunday lunch” will be available at weekends, with roast beef carved at the table and live music from the Grand Pacific Palm Court Group. High tea will feature specially blended teas and champagne cocktails. The 25-seat Long Bar, inspired by Raffles Hotel in Singapore, will offer bespoke cocktails. Grand Pacific has a late licence and will feature DJ sets in the evenings. The decor, designed by Michelle Derbyshire, will include deep-button upholstery, palm trees, and cut crystal abacus-inspired screens paying homage to the venue’s location in Manchester’s original financial district. Living Ventures chief executive Jeremy Roberts said: “We are delighted to bring this beautiful room back to life and echo its glorious past as the home of the historic Manchester Reform Club. Its heritage as a place to relax, eat and drink and enjoy some of the pleasures of life oozes from the walls and it is our privilege and pleasure to let it continue to be what it was always meant to be.”
The Good Food Society founders to open third site: The Good Food Society founders Levent Büyükuğur and Sanjay Nandi are to open their third London site. The duo are launching Hovarda in Rupert Street in Soho this summer. The 5,670 square foot restaurant, which will be designed by Barcelona-based Lazaro Rosa Violan interior design studio, will offer Greek and Turkish seafood and grilled dishes. It comes hot on the heels of Yosma, a Turkish-style eatery in Marylebone that launched last summer, and Frescobaldi, a high-end Italian restaurant with the famed wine-making family that opened in Mayfair at the end of 2014. Guy Marks, senior surveyor at Restaurant Property, who advised on the deal, said: “The Good Food Society are quality operators and Hovarda will be an excellent contribution to the growing and never-ending colourful mix of restaurants in Soho.”
Father of Joule’s owner puts 200-year-old pub in Stourbridge on market: The father of the owner of Shropshire brewer and retailer Joule’s has put his 200-year-old pub in Stourbridge up for sale. John Nuttall is selling The Queen’s Head in Enville Street, which is managed by trustees on his behalf, for £240,000 through agent Matthew Phillips Surveyors. His son Steve Nuttall, who owns Joule’s, told the Express & Star: “The trustees feel it is a good time to seek some interest and we are looking at either a freehold or leasehold opportunity. We decided to test the market gently to see if there was interest in that area, especially given the road is already popular with a good run of ale and beer houses.” He said he hoped current landlords Mick and Mandy Burton would stay on under the new ownership, with their tenancy part of the deal. The pub will remain open while on the market and Steve Nuttall stressed that while the premises needs modernising, he is determined to ensure it is not converted. He added: “The Queen’s Head is a great pub, over 200 years old with great charm. We are committed to making sure it stays that way.”
St Austell Brewery unites with MP to back beer duty campaign: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery has united with its local MP Steve Double in calls to cut the level of duty on British beer. The move is part of a nationwide campaign led by the BBPA, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) for a further cut in beer duty following three historic one-penny cuts and last year’s freeze in the past four budgets. However, despite the recent cuts UK beer taxes remain among the highest in Europe. There are more than 1,400 breweries in the UK, while beer and pubs contribute £22bn to UK GDP and generate almost £10bn in tax revenue. St Austell Brewery said the beer and pub sector supported more than 3,000 jobs in the St Austell and Newquay constituency alone. Double said: “I wholeheartedly support calls for the government to do a proper job and drop duty on British beer ahead of this year’s Budget. I was privileged to spend the day as a brewer at St Austell Brewery and have seen first-hand its importance as an employer in mid-Cornwall. On a wider level, as vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, the importance of the brewing industry to those it employs direct and to its wider supply chain cannot be underestimated.” St Austell Brewery chief executive James Staughton added: “Beer and pubs are vital to our local economy and jobs, especially for young people, and beer taxes are still far too high, so it is fantastic to have Steve’s voice on board and we hope it will help to steer things in the right direction.”
Molson Coors expands cask and craft range: Molson Coors’ Choice Trust – the wholesale delivery arm of Molson Coors – has launched the latest edition of its Cask & Craft brochure, expanding its cask and craft offering with a user-friendly guide designed to help the on-trade maximise sales in the cask and craft sectors. The second edition of the brochure includes 16 new products, reflecting the growth in popularity of cask ale and craft beer in recent years as well as catering to the diversity in preference among cask and craft drinkers. In total, the brochure offers more than 200 products including 70 permanent cask ales, 60 craft beers across keg, bottle and can, 30 package ales, and 30 ciders. The brochure also includes advice for the on-trade such as features on training, increasing beer sales, category advice, and expert opinion from across the Molson Coors business, including Sharp’s head brewer Andrew Madden and beer sommelier Ed Hughes.