Tokyo Industries to open ‘gentlemen’s club’ in Leeds this weekend: Tokyo Industries, led by Aaron Mellor, is to open a “gentlemen’s club” in Leeds this weekend. Leeds licensing panel has approved a name change and signage for new venue Whiskey Down, which will open this weekend in the former Townhouse building near the Corn Exchange. Mellor told the panel the firm had decided to change the name from Black Orchid to Whiskey Down to reflect a “higher-end” club with a “gentleman’s whiskey club” vibe. However, the panel vetoed the inclusion of the words “superluxe playground” on the building’s branding, with councillor Mary Harland saying she had “concerns” over implications of the phrase. A plan to offer free taxis for performers and clientele was also dropped. Leeds City Council’s licensing sub committee gave the green light for Liberte and Purple Door, both based in York Place, to carry on trading for another year, despite objections from a charity that supports women affected by sexual violence. The decision-making panel was told neither application had received any complaints or objections from the police or public and the objection from the charity was “lodged every year against every application of the kind”.

Burning Night Group increases equity offer and reports sales up: Burning Night Group, which is trying to raise £750,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to roll out a new brand, Sportkeller, has increased its equity offer to investors as it announces sales are up. A spokesman said: “We’re delighted to announce our turnover across the bars operated by Burning Night Group is up 61% comparing year-on-year sales for the week ending 26 November. This is due to like-for-like sales being up 6% and the huge success of new sites we opened in December 2016 and March 2017. This increase in sales has been achieved despite our Leeds bar being partially closed for refurbishment/rebranding. In real terms, our takings have increased more than £165,000 for the week across all our sites. We believe the growth in sales in our existing venues is a result of continued excellent customer service, including brilliant entertainment, together with a competitively priced food and beverage offer. This is such an encouraging result and it’s another very clear indicator we are doing something that’s appealing in what is a highly competitive leisure market. That kind of growth also gives us great confidence going into 2018. Further to discussions with investors, we have also decided to offer more equity to investors/improve our offering and have reduced our pre-money valuation from £20m to £15m (meaning we will increase the percentage equity on offer from 3.61% to 4.77%).” So far, the crowdfunding campaign has raised £415,740 from 517 investors with 18 days remaining. The company had sales of £19.1m in its most recent year and an operating profit of £595,000.

Chipotle chief executive steps down: Chipotle chief executive Steve Ells has stepped down after almost 25 years in the role. Ells has been named executive chairman, while the company has started a search for a new chief executive. His departure comes as Chipotle struggles to regain its once otherworldly status with consumers following a series of foodborne illness outbreaks in 2015, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. Ells said: “I am incredibly proud of Chipotle and our people – and grateful to our loyal customers – and while we are continuing to make progress, it is clear we need to move faster to make improvements. Simply put, we need to execute better to ensure our future success. The board and I are committed to bringing in an experienced leader with a passion for driving excellence across every aspect of our business.” Ells founded the company in 1993 and it received a major investment from McDonald’s in 1998 that helped its growth in subsequent years and it now has more than 2,300 sites, including six in the UK. However, efforts to regain customers following the foodborne illness outbreaks have not worked and Ells said the company would be better off with a different chief executive. He will focus on innovation once a successor is named. Chipotle’s lead independent director Neil Flanzraich said: “Steve is a visionary leader and one of the most successful restaurateurs in history. Steve made the decision, and the board agreed, that now is the time to identify a new chief executive who can reinvigorate the brand and help the company achieve its potential.”

Oakman chefs visit Eataly World in Bologna: Oakman Inns and Restaurants chefs have been taken on a study trip to Eataly World, near Bologna. Eataly World, the largest Italian agri-food market place in the world, hosted all 20 of Oakman’s head chefs and two chef designates led by Oakman chef director Ross Pike at its newly-opened venue in the Bolognese countryside. Eataly World includes several hectares of farmland for rearing livestock, on-site food production facilities, restaurants, food and beverage counters, demonstration areas and a conference centre, all celebrating the best of Italian cuisine and culture. Oakman’s three-day trip featured courses, demonstrations and tastings by renowned Italian chefs, producers and suppliers. This is the third study trip Oakman head chefs have made to the Mediterranean countries that inspire the company’s menus. Pike, who runs the trips as part of Oakman’s Chef Development Programme, said they inspire and refresh his team and allow them to swap ideas and build a bond. He added: “These days together immersed our chefs in good food culture and gave them an opportunity to meet top traditional producers and suppliers of the key ingredients they use daily, such as balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Parma ham, fresh egg pasta and other Italian delicacies. They gained a useful insight into what influences our menus and how and why these top-class ingredients came into being.” The Chef Development Programme is a vital part of the overall growth of Oakman Inns, which has grown to 20 units in only ten years. In the past five years, 35% of its head chefs have been promoted from within and six of those have been head chefs at Oakman Inns for more than three years. Oakman Inns chief executive Peter Borg-Neal said: “Inspiring our people is the start point of our approach to team engagement. Ross Pike’s programme of regular trips abroad for our senior chefs builds enthusiasm for quality produce and the amazing craftsmanship of some of these astonishing food producers. We believe this inspiration will be reflected in everything our chefs do in their own kitchens. Furthermore, these trips engender great camaraderie among the team which, in turn, helps create a mutually supportive culture.”

Nathan Outlaw protégé Tom Brown to launch solo venture in Hackney Wick: Tom Brown, a protégé of two Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw, is to open his debut restaurant in the spring, in Hackney Wick, east London. Cornerstone, a 46-cover restaurant in Wallis Road, will showcase Brown’s style of simple, seasonal and produce-driven cooking. Dishes on the daily changing menu will include chicken liver croquettes with devilled mayonnaise; smoked haddock with leek, rarebit tart and pickled walnuts; and chocolate mousse with peanuts, lime and stout. The kitchen will be a central feature and will double up as a counter-bar seating eight guests. Hailing from Cornwall, Brown worked in restaurants around the south west, including Rick Stein’s Fish, before he began working for Outlaw. Brown became head chef at Outlaw’s eponymous restaurant in Knightsbridge and also appeared on BBC television show Great British Menu, where three of his dishes made the final round.

Ducksoup team launches Dalton diner, wine bar and store for third London site: Tom Hill, Clare Lattin and Rory McCoy, who operate restaurants Ducksoup in Soho and Rawduck in London Fields, have launched Littleduck Picklery for their third London site. The all-day diner, wine bar and neighbourhood store has opened in Dalston Lane Terrace focusing on pickling and fermenting techniques. The diner’s breakfast and lunch menu includes Mediterranean seasonal savoury plates and “plenty of eggs”, while the dinner menu offers eight dishes available from 6pm every day that feature seasonal Mediterranean ingredients and a daily slow-cooked sharing dish that “comes out of the oven at 7pm”. The Monday night menu focuses on offal, Hot Dinners reports. All Littleduck’s drinks are made in-house such as seasonal drinking vinegars, elixirs, and infused kombucha and kefirs, which are also available to buy from the store. There is also weekly changing wine list with bottles available to buy. Hill, Lattin and McCoy are set to open Duckroad, a sister restaurant to Ducksoup and Rawduck, at Circus West Village, part of the £9bn regeneration of Battersea Power Station, next month.

Intu extends indoor Nottingham street food market: Intu has extended the offering at its street food market in Victoria Centre leisure complex in Nottingham. Earlier this year, Intu launched Nottingham Street Food Club showcasing the city’s best independent food traders. Shoppers can choose from a range of dining options including Homeboys, an Asian street food business run by former MasterChef contestant Pete Hewitt. Now Intu has launched Nottingham Coffee Club in an adjacent unit that features the best of the city’s bakery and coffee operators, further broadening the centre’s appeal. Intu development director Martin Breeden said: “There’s a growing desire for locally sourced, locally run food outlets. We’re creating this experience in the heart of Nottingham at Intu Victoria Centre, which is an exciting place to be, bringing people from further and for longer and helping all our tenants to flourish.” Nathaniel Wilson, who operates Nottingham Street Food Club and Coffee Club, added: “We have great local talent in Nottingham and Intu Victoria Centre is the perfect place for us to showcase what we can do for a large audience. We’re supporting some amazing independent traders and this gives them the perfect platform to expand what they are already doing so well.”

FullClear passes 50% mark in £250,000 crowdfunding campaign: Beer line-cleaner business FullClear has passed the 50% mark in its £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to help fund its next stage of growth. The company, whose customers include Admiral Taverns, Hawthorn Leisure and Tokyo Industries, is offering a 12.82% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 127 investors have pledged £126,460 with ten days remaining. The largest investment to date is £15,000. FullClear is a scientifically formulated beer line-cleaning solution that is non-corrosive, non-toxic and non-hazardous, allowing safe, monthly beer line cleaning, the company said. It will use the investment to further its expansion in the UK and globally alongside building its sales and marketing capabilities. FullClear also has an exclusive partnership with beer quality and waste management systems company Vianet, allowing operators “total oversight over their line-cleaning processes”. Last week, FullClear reported it is on track for a record quarter having secured a 60-venue pilot with “one of the largest UK pub companies”.

Beds and Bars is highest-ranking hospitality firm at Investors in People Awards: Pan-European hostel and bar company Beds and Bars, led by chief executive Keith Knowles, has been named the highest-ranking hospitality in the Investors In People (IIP) Awards 2017. Beds and Bars was ranked sixth in the UK Platinum Employer of the Year Award, which recognises the Hammersmith-based company as a leading force in people management. To achieve the award, Beds and Bars had to embrace the IIP mission statement by realising the potential of their people and valuing employees as the core of their business. Knowles said: “It is a privilege to be ranked. It’s a clear indication of the dedication and hard work the team has invested in the business.” IIP head Paul Devoy added: “It was fantastic to see so many worthy organisations nominated for outperforming in their sector, demonstrating great people management practice and a commitment to staff development.” Knowles will be awarded an OBE on Friday, 8 December for his services to the community and charity.

Christie & Co markets three Scottish sites in hands of administrator: Agent Christie & Co has been instructed to sell three properties in Scotland on behalf of James Stephen and Sarah Rayment, joint administrators of Snowie Solutions. Johnston’s Bar & Bistro is in Falkirk’s high street and is surrounded by shops and stores. The three-storey sandstone building consists of 45 covers on the ground floor and 40 covers on a mezzanine level. Cooks of Stirling, a hotel and restaurant in Stirling city centre, offers an open-plan layout over ground and first-floor levels, with a separate private dining area and seven boutique-style, en-suite letting rooms. The third site, a development site in King Street, Stirling, comprises a mid-terraced, three-storey building that includes a basement. Initially acquired with development plans for a licensed lounge and restaurant with a dance floor in the basement and letting rooms on the second floor, planning permission and the building warrant were obtained for the construction of a licensed venue. Brian Sheldon, regional director at Christie & Co, who is handling the sale, said: “We expect to see strong demand for the three properties and have already received ‘notes of interest’ on behalf of regional operators and investors. Offers will be considered on an individual basis or as a package, and we expect a closing date for offers to be set after an initial marketing period.” Christie & Co is seeking £325,000 for the freehold of Johnston’s Bar & Bistro, £550,000 for the freehold of Cooks of Stirling, and £495,000 for the freehold of the licensed development site.

Coffee and pinball concept Tilt bids to open cocktail bar in Birmingham arcade: The team behind coffee and pinball concept Tilt has submitted plans to open a cocktail bar in the same historic Birmingham arcade. Tilt is a multi-functional space in City Arcade that offers craft beer in cans and bottles, speciality coffee, and pinball alongside loose-leaf tea, wine and spirits. Kirk Sadler and Robert Wood launched Tilt almost a year ago to the day and have submitted plans to launch cocktail bar Above Tilt in the unit above and to connect the space, Insider Media reports. A formal planning application submitted to Birmingham City Council reads: “The business vision is to build on the success of Tilt and continue to develop a modern, multi-functional venue. Tilt is now firmly established and the original concept of craft beer, coffee and pinball has been a success, with growth in sales and popularity. The plan now is to develop that concept further and make City Arcade a destination for social interaction. We plan to open a concept cocktail bar and additional space for Tilt that will be used for meetings and private hire.

Vegan artisan food stall in talks over Fulham site as it hits crowdfunding target: Vegan artisan food stall Pomodoro e Basilico, which has just hit its £150,000 fund-raise target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open London’s first Italian, vegan deli-bistro, is in talks over a site in Fulham. Founder Sara Mittersteiner said: “I’m early in the negotiations phase but I am having serious conversations regarding taking over this premises. This place has already been running as a vegan restaurant for the past year and will be closing its doors this weekend. I have partially secured it with a small deposit but in order to secure premises we must reach our funding target. We’re so close we can almost smell the bread baking!” In its crowdfunding campaign, 423 investors have pledged £150,000 and it is currently “overfunding” with three days remaining. The largest investment to date is £10,000. The pitch states: “It’s now time to open our first fixed premises in the heart of London. Previously trading as a sole trader, Pomodoro e Basilico has demonstrated multiple revenue streams, including market stall sales, supper clubs, cooking classes and events, online and wholesale orders, festivals (UK and US) and recipe development. Now a limited company, the addition of a bricks-and-mortar location will provide the opportunity for in-shop sales of food, in-house events and office catering, and expansion of our popular online and wholesale revenue streams. This investment will be used to secure a location including refitting costs, salaries, marketing, equipment, furnishings, insurance, accounting services and six months’ working capital.”

Moody Burgers passes two-thirds mark in crowdfunding campaign as it looks to expand across UK: Burger restaurant and delivery concept Moody Burgers has passed the two-thirds mark in its £150,000 crowdfunding campaign as it seeks to expand across the UK. The company, which currently operates two sites – in Swindon and Worcester – is raising the funds on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube and is offering 25% equity in return for the investment. So far, 52 investors have raised £104,300 with 29 days remaining. Moody Burgers launched last year after spotting a gap in the market to deliver Californian-inspired burgers. The funds will be used to build sites and invest in marketing activity to help grow its brand and sales a “lot quicker”. The company opened its first site in Swindon in September 2016, followed by the Worcester outlet in March this year. It quickly outgrew its Swindon site and moved to a new 80-cover venue in the Wiltshire town in September that also offers a range of almost 50 cocktails and craft beers. Moody Burgers said that since relocating, deliveries had risen 20%. Moody Burgers has generated sales to date through its website of £200,000 and delivered more than 25,000 burgers. Operations manager Rich Leftwich said: “Our new, larger site in Swindon has added even more income streams and profitability to this business. The growth potential to add new stores is significant and we have a pipeline of potential properties and are ready to go.”

Holiday company Beyond Escapes to open £45m site in North Yorkshire: Holiday company Beyond Escapes is to open a £45m site in Pickering, North Yorkshire, in the summer. Beyond Escapes North Yorkshire will have capacity for 1,000 guests in a variety of lodges and villas. The on-site Beyond Escapes Tempted restaurant will cater for 200 sittings per evening, with breakfast and light bites also offered throughout the day. Guests will also be able to use the on-site spa facilities and the Beyond Escapes You Gym. In addition, Beyond Escapes Events management space will also be available, with the capacity to host more than 5,000 day visitors for conferences, festivals, events and weddings. An additional 1,200 guests could also be accommodated at the 20,000 square foot indoor exhibition centre. Beyond Escapes managing director Jason Bruton told Insider Media: “We wanted to create a space different to everything else in the staycation market, a place that caters for all and offers a quality holiday experience that goes above and beyond anything people expect. We truly believe we will achieve that in Yorkshire.”

Douglas Jack – Ebitda multiple of Cineworld’s proposed acquisition of Regal is ‘fair’: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said the Ebitda multiple of Cineworld’s proposed acquisition of US operator Regal Entertainment Group is “fair”. Issuing an ‘Add’ note on Cineworld’s shares with a target price of 725p, Jack said: “Regal has 561 cinemas in the US with 7,315 screens, more than three times Cineworld’s number. It has an average of 13 screens per theatre, utilises Sony 4K Digital Projection and 68% of its cinemas feature premium amenities. In other words, it is a modern, well-invested multiplex estate. Cineworld intends to fund the potential acquisition through a mixture of incremental debt and a material equity raise by way of a rights issue, including a commitment to full subscription from Cineworld’s 28% shareholder, Global City Holdings, which is owned by Cineworld’s chief executive and chief operating officer. Regal revenues grew by 2% to $3,197m in the year to December 2016, with Ebitda rising by 4% to $630m. However, Ebitda is forecast to fall to $611m in 2017 and rise to $656m in 2018E, with earnings per share falling to $0.91 in 2017 and rising to $1.04 in 2018E. Thus, $23 per share equates to 9.4 times EV/Ebitda 2017E ($3,611m market capital plus $2,116m net debt/$611m) and 8.7 times 2018E ($3,611m market capital plus $2,087m net debt/$656m). It also equates to a price-to-earnings ratio of 24.1 times 2017E and 21.7 times 2018E. This compares with Cineworld’s 2018E valuation of 9.9 times EV/Ebitda (£2,116m EV/£214m Ebitda) and price-to-earnings rating of 16.5 times. The acquisition Ebitda multiple is fair, in our view. Given the deal’s scale, the potential enhancement is large but is dependent on the synergies and scale of the rights issue. Its scale and the potential range of outcomes make scenario testing, such as the example below, to be highly speculative. If synergies were 2% of costs (£50m), combined Ebitda could be £740m, relative to which the initial financial debt would be £4.5bn. To take this down to three times net debt/Ebitda, we estimate the company would have to raise £2.3bn of equity; although it is possible it may raise less than this. We estimate the deal would be 12% earnings accretive if the fund-raise occurred at £6 per share. With Regal having a $427m rent roll and a 6% cost of debt, we estimate a possible combined Ebit of £0.5bn, profit before tax of £365m, market capital of £3.9bn, EV £6.2bn, and earnings per share of 47p before factoring the rights issue discount. It is critical that Cineworld’s view is it ‘would only proceed with the potential transaction in circumstances and on terms which it believes would be accretive to shareholder value’. However, ‘there can be no certainty the discussions between Cineworld and Regal will lead to any agreement or as to the timing or terms of any such transaction’.”