Soho House to finally start work on £60m members’ club on Brighton seafront: Soho House is set to start work on its members’ club on Brighton seafront almost two years after planning consent was granted. The company indicated demolition work on the Madeira Drive site would begin in September with the £60m complex to open some time next year. Soho House initially hoped to open the venue – which will include restaurants, bars, an open-air plunge pool and terraces – earlier this year. It is hoped Soho House, along with new attractions such the Brighton Zip, a zip-wire ride currently under construction, and The Sea Lanes swimming pool, will breathe new life into the seafront east of Brighton Palace Pier, which is operated by Luke Johnson-led Brighton Pier Group. The construction of Soho House is being co-ordinated with its neighbour, The SeaLife Centre. Its general manager Max Leviston told The Argus: “The landlord needs access to the SeaLife Centre to carry out works on Soho House. The SeaLife Centre has some structural works to carry out in this area too.”
Pizza Hut opens first new restaurant in six years: Pizza Hut has opened its first new restaurant in more than six years. The multimillion-pound venue has launched at The Village, the 65,000 square foot leisure extension at the White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds, creating 50 jobs. Other restaurants at The Village include TGI Friday’s, better burger brand Five Guys, The Restaurant Group-owned Tex-Mex brand Chiquito, and Cote’s all-day American dining brand Limeyard. Wagamama will open a restaurant on Monday (10 July), while an 11-screen Cineworld IMAX cinema is due to launch later this year. The new Pizza Hut features a cocktail bar and additional menu items such as sweet chilli chicken pizza, chicken wings, Kentucky-style barbecue ribs, and American-style waffles. Pizza Hut Restaurants chief operating officer Mike Spencer told BDaily: “Leeds is a real powerhouse with huge economic potential and the extension to White Rose has cemented the shopping centre as a serious destination – a fitting venue for our first new Hut in over six years. The opening marks a significant landmark in our business strategy which has, for the past five years, focused on the restructure of our existing portfolio of restaurants across the UK.” Pizza Hut’s refurbishment strategy has been funded through a £60m investment that began when Rutland Partners acquired the business in 2012.
YO! Sushi boss reveals like-for-likes increase 6.5%, switches salmon supply to Scotland: YO! Sushi chief executive Robin Rowland has said the company’s like-for-like sales increased 6.5% in the past year. Rowland also revealed the company, which is backed by Mayfair Private Equity, had switched its salmon supply from Norway to Scotland, buying 300,000 kilos per annum for £4.5m. He said the company, whose record-holding branch is Terminal 2 at Heathrow, which once made £85,000 in one week, was now recovering its mojo properly after the economic downturn and following a rebrand. He told Management Today: “I felt it was getting a bit too kiddy. Even Disney-like. I wanted to make it more adult and show it takes food seriously.” Rowland said 44% of the company’s employees were non-Brits from the EU. He added: “We have a long history of employing people from Europe and many have introduced us to their friends. Our people are currently very confused by it all and some are already starting to go home. The day after the referendum vote I went round a dozen restaurants to talk to our people to try to reassure them. I think they felt very disenfranchised.” The company pays National Living Wage to all staff, who keep tips. Rowland is also proud the company is top quartile among peers on net promoter and employee engagement scores. YO! Sushi has 77 restaurants in the UK, three in the US and 16 franchised operations in the Middle East as well as a number in international airports. In the year to 29 November 2015, the company had turnover of £84m with Ebitda of £11m.
Michelin-starred chef Gonzalo Luzarraga to open fine-dining restaurant in Fulham this month: Michelin-starred chef Gonzalo Luzarraga is to open fine-dining restaurant Rigo in Fulham, south west London, this month. Luzarraga trained under Alain Ducasse and earned Michelin stars in top European restaurants. He will launch Rigo with Francesco Ferretti in New King’s Road on Tuesday, 18 July. The layout will encompass three rooms, with an open kitchen in the centre, a terrazzo counter and small bar. Luzarraga grew up in Piedmont, north west Italy, with Rigo meaning a “journey of rigorous research” in the Piedmontese language. His six-course signature menu will feature sea urchin with bagna caoda, quail egg and fermented milk. There will also be an a la carte menu comprising four courses plus snacks, which will feature other dishes, and a smaller lunch menu. The drinks list will feature changing classic cocktails and wine. Luzarraga said: “I remember my father while fishing giving me my first sea urchin as a child and to this day it’s still a dish I see as an old friend. It’s a personal narrative about me and the dish, which has developed over the years. Travelling has allowed me to add chapters to that story, full of new ingredients and techniques from Russia and South America to Asia and beyond. Rigo will be a culmination of those experiences – my journey on a plate.”
Heineken launches SmartDispense system across Star Pubs & Bars estate: Heineken has launched its compact draught dispense system, SmartDispense Cool Flow Technology, across its Star Pubs & Bars estate. The system is designed for function rooms and outside bars that can’t be readily served from the cellar, enabling licensees to offer cold draught beer across their whole business. The launch builds on Star Pubs & Bars’ roll-out of the SmartDispense Module cellar system, which is now in 50% of the company’s venues. Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “More licensees are developing function rooms and outside bars, and maintaining quality is key to their reputations and success. SmartDispense Cool Flow Technology guarantees great-quality cold draught beer in these areas and will reduce pressure on their main bar. SmartDispense has established great credentials with licensees and we expect a high level of interest in SmartDispense Cool Flow Technology as a result.”
Ennismore to start expansion of Breddos Tacos brand with second London site, in Carnaby: Gleneagles owner Ennismore is to start expansion of Mexican street food concept Breddos Tacos – its joint venture with founders Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney – by opening a second London site, in Carnaby. The new venue will open in Kingly Street in September with 84 covers – double the size of the debut Breddos Tacos site that launched in Clerkenwell in December. Unlike its sister, the Carnaby site will offer a breakfast menu, with dishes such as smoked brisket, potatoes, fried egg and hot sauce tacos; breakfast quesadillas; cinnamon churro French toast; and confit pork memelas with black beans and scrambled eggs, Hot Dinners reports. The venue will also feature a late-night downstairs bar offering mezcal and margaritas. The restaurant will also offer Mexican pizza alongside new dishes such as crab tostada and Acapulco shrimp with desserts including leche frita (deep-fried custard) and ice-cream tacos. Dudhia and Whitney started Breddos Tacos as a “makeshift taco shack” in a Hackney car park in 2011. Its website states: “Our food is influenced by the hundreds of roadside taquerias and restaurants we have encountered on our travels throughout America and Mexico, while utilising the best of British produce.”
Whitbread faces opposition over plans for Premier Inn in Britain’s smallest city: Whitbread is facing opposition in its plans to open a Premier Inn in Britain’s smallest city – St Davids in Wales. The company wants to build a 63-bedroom hotel in the city, which has only 1,300 residents. However, more than 2,700 people have signed a petition against the plan, including more than 500 locals. Whitbread said the three-storey hotel would create a “sympathetic gateway feature” for tourists in the city. As part of its planning application, Whitbread has promised to fund 38 houses among 70 that are set to be built with the hotel, which would be three-times larger than any other in St Davids, reports the Financial Times. The petition claimed the Premier Inn would “undermine” local businesses and “pave the way for more big chains” to arrive in the city. In a public meeting, 15 people were in favour of the planned Premier Inn, while 270 voted against it.
East Midlands-based artisan gin distillery enters administration: East Midlands-based artisan gin distillery Triangle Bars Leicester, previously called 45 West Distillers, has entered administration. The company, owned by Phil Burley and master distiller Jamie Baxter, is based in Nanpantan, near Loughborough, and made its Burleighs London Dry Gin, named after nearby woods, from its countryside base. However, Triangle Bars Leicester has now called in administrators from FRP Advisory to run the business, which changed its name from 45 West Distillers in January. In its latest accounts to 31 October 2015, the company had £185,238 of assets and owed £414,006 to creditors, The Business Desk reports. Triangle Bars Leicester made its gin in a 450-litre copper pot nicknamed Messy Bessy, which was custom-made by Arnold Holstein, of Markdorff, Germany. Baxter also ran gin schools from the site.
Turkish restaurant Gökyüzü to start expansion with second London site: Turkish restaurant Gökyüzü is to start expansion by opening a second site in London, this time in Walthamstow. Gökyüzü has exchanged contracts with Capital & Regional to occupy a 6,500 square foot unit in The Mall formerly occupied by BHS on a 15-year lease. Hasan Yavuz launched Gökyüzü in Haringey in 1999. Capital & Regional asset manager Sian Bowen told Property Week: “Gökyüzü will further develop our tenant mix for our loyal customers and adds to our transformational plans for a location that is evolving as one of London’s most vibrant neighbourhoods.”
Rochdale-based Bright Hospitality Group acquires seventh site: Rochdale-based Bright Hospitality Group has acquired its seventh site – the Cheltenham Regency Hotel in Cheltenham. The family-run company has bought the property from Drew Hotels for an undisclosed sum in a deal brokered by agent Fleurets. The hotel has 42 en-suite rooms as well as five suites. There is a bar restaurant with 90 covers, a function room with a further 144 covers and meeting rooms. Having made its first acquisition in 2005, Bright Hospitality Group’s estate includes sites across the Midlands and north of England. Director Mohammad Zaman said: “Cheltenham has been a target location for us for a while and we hope to expand our exposure in this area. We are looking forward to working with the team and bringing the hotel to the next level with, most probably, an international brand.”
Australian fitness franchise secures fifth London site: Australian fitness franchise F45 Training has secured its fifth site in London – at West End Quay in Paddington. The deal follows a recent acquisition at West Works in White City and successful openings in Farringdon, London Bridge and Tottenham Court Road. The operator was founded in Bondi in 2013 and has since opened more than 500 venues across the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East, North America and Europe. In Paddington, F45 has agreed a new ten-year lease for the circa 2,500 square foot (232 square metre) unit in a deal brokered by agent Savills. F45 continues to seek single-level units of between 1,650 square feet (153 square metres) and 3,300 square feet (307 square metres) in high-footfall locations close to retail and residential areas as well as transport hubs in Greater London and large UK cities. Social fitness is at the heart of F45’s ethos, with a 50,000-strong community of members taking part in team-based fitness experiences. The workouts are continually evolving, meaning members never repeat the same class twice. Luke Armstrong, global franchise director at F45, said: “We are very pleased to be continuing our expansion in London following the rapid growth we’ve experienced around the world.”