Rick Stein reports turnover and profit rise: Rick Stein’s restaurant and hotel business has reported a 29% rise in sales to £26.1 million in the year to the end of December, with underlying earnings up 57% to £2.93 million, The Times has reported. Like-for-like sales grew by 5% The company reported outlets opened in Marlborough, Wiltshire and Barnes, southwest London early this year were “proving very popular with customers”. The board said the company had traded strongly in the first half of 2017 with sales up 20% A spokesman told The Times the company had two more restaurants planned for next year and hinted a second London restaurant may open.
Soho Coffee Co launches 40th store, targets double-digit openings a year: Soho Coffee Co has opened its 40th store, this time in Gresham Street in the City of London. It is the company’s ninth opening this year during a period of rapid expansion, with Soho Coffee Co stating it is targeting a double-digit number of openings a year. The company has already launched outlets in Cheltenham and Birmingham this year, alongside Baker Street, O2 Centre, Austin Friars, Kingsway, Grosvenor Street and Aldwych in London. Soho Coffee Co managing director Penny Manuel said: “Achieving such rapid growth without compromise to our training, staff or renowned food and drink offering has been essential but fully accomplished, and I am so proud of everyone. Every day our customers take time to send us feedback on what we do and one of the frequent compliments is for the attitude, approachability and hospitality of our teams. Here’s to the next 40 Sohos!”
Faucet Inn partners with John Lewis for first Kupp concession, at new Oxford development: Faucet Inn is partnering with John Lewis to open the first concession for its Scandinavian-inspired restaurant and cafe concept Kupp – at the new Westgate Oxford development. The first John Lewis shop to feature a rooftop restaurant on opening, customers will be able to head upstairs to the top floor for views of the Oxfordshire countryside while enjoying Kupp’s menu when the department store opens next month. Kupp will offer a range of dishes, from healthy breakfasts to an all-day dining menu, as well as signature shareable smorgasbords. Many of the dishes use classic Nordic cooking techniques such as curing, pickling and smoking. Drawing inspiration from the Swedish Fika style of enjoying a coffee break, which is more about socialising than drinking coffee, Kupp features its own espresso and filter coffee blend, created for the brand and complemented by freshly baked bread and pastries. The drinks menu includes beer and wine as well as Nordic-inspired cocktails and Scandinavian spirit aquavit. Kupp managing director Steve Cox said: “We are excited to be part of John Lewis Oxford in one of the UK’s most beautiful cities. This was an opportunity we couldn’t say no to and we can’t wait to bring Kupp to the people of Oxford.” John Lewis Oxford branch manager Julie Blake added: “We’re thrilled Kupp will be launching its first restaurant in Oxfordshire on the rooftop of our new John Lewis shop, bringing such a unique and exciting dining experience to the heart of the city.” Kupp currently has sites in Paddington, Exeter and Southampton.
Star Pubs & Bars doubles Cask Marque-approved pubs, targets quarter of estate by year end: Star Pubs & Bars has doubled the number of its Cask Marque-approved venues since the start of 2017 and is targeting a quarter of its estate to be accredited by the end of the year. The company said accreditations had been boosted by landlords joining the Society of Independent Brewers’ (SIBA’s) Beerflex scheme, in which accredited licensees can order cask ales brewed by Beerflex participants within a 30-mile radius of their pub. Star Pubs & Bars operations director Mick Howard said: “Our SIBA deal is largely responsible for the growth in accreditations, helping to increase customer choice as well as cask quality in Star pubs. Great pubs thrive, which is why we’re passionate about supporting licensees, helping them to improve standards and drive trade. We’re actively encouraging licensees to gain Cask Marque approval and help fund accreditation for pubs with a good cask offer. A quarter of our estate is on track to be recognised for the quality of its ale by the end of the year.” Mike Hales, landlord of The Butlers Arms in Pleasington, Lancashire, added: “Cask Marque accreditation alone helped increase ale sales by 8%. I’ve got six casks on tap. Customers love having a local option and it’s attracting new people. It complements our focus on sourcing food locally and supporting neighbouring businesses.”
Isle of Skye-based operator reopens Punch pub in Glasgow: Isle of Skye-based operator Caledonian Skye has reopened a Punch pub in Glasgow. Caledonian Skye has acquired the lease of The Burrell in Pollokshaws Road, which has undergone a £280,000 refurbishment and reopened as The Boyd Roderick, creating 20 jobs. The work involved redecoration throughout and changes to the layout, including extension of the kitchen. Caledonian Skye, which is led by Campbell Dickson and Calum Gillies, already operates the Caledonian Café and the Portree Hotel on the Isle of Skye. Local ingredients, such as west coast shellfish, feature heavily on the menu and there is a selection of craft beer. Coffee and light snacks are also served throughout the day. Punch sales and recruitment development manager Iain Thomson said: “This is an exciting new start for The Boyd Roderick and we are delighted to be supporting the Caledonian Skye team with its ambitious plans for the pub.”
London-based membership wine bar and restaurant Farley Macallan launches £450,000 crowdfunding campaign to open flagship site: London-based membership wine bar and restaurant Farley Macallan has launched a £450,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open a flagship site in the capital. The concept, launched by Luke Ramsden in Hackney last year, is offering a 28% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “Having opened our first location with just £38,000 and in only nine days and generating revenues of £113,000 in our first year, we believe we have achieved real proof of concept with fantastic reviews from London’s media and customers alike. The funds will be spent on acquiring a new location with launch PR and marketing campaigns planned throughout pre-launch. We are well rehearsed at launching quickly and achieving sales quickly. Our community-led membership is designed to reward customers who use the space regularly and in turn create a core group that is the lifeblood of the community. Memberships offer discounted food and beverage, access to events such as wine tastings, seasonal parties and free room hire fees for private events. We aim to refine the concept over the next five years with a further fund-raising round scheduled in 2020. After that, we will target a sale to take the business nationally and internationally.”
Tokyo Industries opens Theatre Of Impossible below £3m Manchester venue: Tokyo Industries, the company that operates 36 bars and nightclubs and is led by Aaron Mellor, has opened The Theatre Of Impossible below its £3m venue in Manchester city centre. Impossible Manchester launched in June and is set across three floors of a former Bar 38 site in Peter Street. It features a 280-cover bar and restaurant, taco kitchen and “hidden gin palace”. On Fridays, The Theatre Of Impossible will host 1970s disco-influenced Boogie In Wonderland nights, a concept launched at Tokyo Industries’ Heart nightclub in Ibiza. Saturday nights will feature Casa Loca, which offers live theatrical shows and choreographed dancers. The venue is also looking to work with local artists to create exhibitions and installations in the basement space. Mellor told Manchester Evening News: “We aim to combine our love of clubbing, music and fashion to create a unique experience for an older, more travelled customer. The word ‘nightclub’ seems a little too 1990s so we started to think more theatre.” The venue is open to over-25s only. Mellor will speak at the Bar and Nightclub Conference, organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and Propel, which is open for bookings. It takes place on Monday, 9 October at Bafta, Piccadilly and will be followed by the Dusk ’til Dawn Awards for bar and nightclub operators at Cafe de Paris in the evening. Mellor will talk about Tokyo Industries’ expansion into experiential leisure with a festival, The Lost Village and a Croatian island called Obonjan, hosting Boogie Wonderland in Ibiza in partnership with Ferran Adria and Cirque du Soleil, and developments in the UK market. For the full schedule, click here. Tickets for the Bar and Nightclub Conference are £89 plus VAT for operators who are ALMR members and £129 plus VAT for non-ALMR members. Supplier tickets are £165 plus VAT for ALMR members and £225 plus VAT for non-ALMR members. For the Dusk ’til Dawn Awards, tickets are £150 plus VAT for ALMR members and £195 plus VAT for non-ALMR members. Tickets for both events can be booked by emailing Jo Charity at firstname.lastname@example.org
New burger and chicken concept to debut at Admiral Taverns site in Stourbridge, targets 25-strong estate: A new burger and chicken concept is being launched this week with its owners targeting a 25-strong estate in the next decade. Cock ‘n’ Bull.co will open its first site in Stourbridge, West Midlands, on Friday (15 September), while a second venue has been secured in Glasgow at an undisclosed location, according to its website. The Stourbridge restaurant will open on the site of the former Glasshouse pub in High Street, which is owned by Admiral Taverns. The menu will feature premium burgers made from free-range Herefordshire beef as well as free-range chicken marinated in buttermilk and fried in secret herbs and spices. There will also be a selection of craft and mainstream beer as well as cocktails. Co-director David Salmon told the Dudley News: “Working closely with Admiral Taverns and having made a significant investment in the site, we are ready to unveil a truly special eating and drinking environment. Our design is vibrant and edgy, the track listing is second to none and it will all be underpinned by excellent hospitality. Our vision is for Cock ‘n’ Bull.co to become a familiar sight up and down the country. Therefore, it is important to start this journey in the right location and following in-depth research we are confident Stourbridge is that place, with a real demand for what we have to offer.”
M Restaurants opens Twickenham venue for third London site: M Restaurants has opened a venue in Twickenham for its third London site. The company, led by Martin Williams and executive chef Michael Reid, have opened The M Bar & Grill in Brewery Wharf, overlooking the river. The menu features classic pub grub and cuts of rare Highland meat, while the bar’s wine list has been created in partnership with Sporting Wine Club. It offers 20 wines, four on tap, and a further eight dispensed from an “electronic tasting machine”. The venue also offers modern British cocktails and beer, including ales from local brewers Wimbledon Brewery and Twickenham Fine Ales. M Bar & Grill is working with the Viva app to provide deliveries, while on international match days former England and British Lions rugby star Simon Shaw will host exclusive hospitality events. Reid told Richmond & Twickenham Times: “M Bar & Grill is our take on a modern-day drinking and dining hangout – all the best bits of the British pub we love so much but with our usual M style and quality. We want M Bar & Grill to become the heart of the community – as we have done in the City and Victoria with our flagship offerings – and for me, food is at the heart of all communities.”
Dublin-based burger restaurant operators to launch Belfast business: Husband-and-wife team Paul and Elaine Catterson, who operate Burger Republic in Dublin, are to open a similar concept in Belfast. The Cattersons, who have years of experience in fine dining, including Paul’s spell as head chef of Shu restaurant, and food trucks, will launch Tribal Burger in Botanic Avenue focusing on top-quality, freshly ground beef from a range of cuts following a £180,000 investment. Paul Catterson told the Belfast Telegraph: “My background is in restaurants. We then started with street food in Dublin and still operate Burger Republic in Dublin and work with a few private clients. I wanted to get out of the fine dining restaurant game. Burgers seemed easier. The meat is from Downpatrick and brioche from French Village plus all the local produce we can find. There will be simple, home-cut chips, sweet pot fries, as well as a vegan burger. We are going to try to provide a good-quality product at a reasonable price.” The restaurant will also serve craft beer and milkshakes.
Calabrese brothers open Wringer & Mangle sister site in Spitalfields: The Calabrese brothers have converted their Holy Birds restaurant in Spitalfields into a sister site for their Wringer & Mangle concept. The Calabreses launched Wringer & Mangle at a 250-cover site in London Fields in 2015. They went on to open poultry restaurant and cocktail bar Holy Birds in Middlesex Street in September last year but have now converted the site to feature a bar, restaurant and deli over two storeys. The upstairs space offers all-day dining, including bottomless brunches, with a focus on hearty seasonal food, deli snacks and cocktails. The brunch menu features fry-ups with beef dripping toast and breakfast wraps, while dishes on the evening menu include seared scallops and black pudding with bacon jam, and roasted partridge with lentils and smoked mash. There is also a bar snacks menu, with the deli offering lunch options such as salads, sandwiches and pastries, Hot Dinners reports. The large bar downstairs offers craft beer, cocktails and DJs. The Calabrese brothers opened acclaimed bar The Hoxton Pony in 2008. Gerry Calabrese also launched Hoxton Gin and opened cabaret bar Baroque in Mayfair and Ink nightclub in Leicester Square.
Football Association’s Gary Hutchinson launches leisure venture: Gary Hutchinson, head of venue sales and commercial partnerships at the Football Association, has taken control of Fat Buddha Asian Bar & Kitchen in Newcastle from Utopian Leisure. Hutchinson will leave his high-profile FA role at the end of 2017 to concentrate on his leisure venture. He will refurbish Fat Buddha with a new menu and launch 500-capacity Nirvana Bar on the lower floor featuring live music and DJs. Hutchinson told BDaily: “We have a unique venue and a stunning proposition overall at Fat Buddha Newcastle. We believe we can build on that and re-establish it as a must-visit Tyneside venue.” Set over three floors, Fat Buddha can cater for private functions for more than 650 guests. Hutchinson said the takeover of Fat Buddha Newcastle was one of a number of venues he has been pursuing. He has set up parent company, Chrysalis Leisure, which will run Fat Buddha, while he hopes to add more venues across the north east and has been researching new concepts across the UK.
Boss Brewing submits plans to build brewery and bar at former Swansea cinema: A grade II-listed former cinema in Swansea could be brought back into use after plans were lodged to create a brewery and bar. Boss Brewing, founded in April 2015, has submitted full planning and listed building applications to Swansea Council covering the change of use of 181 Neath Road in Landore. The property was built in 1914 to house Landore Cinema, which closed in 1938. It was most recently used as a builders’ merchant. Proposals cover the use of parts of the property as a brewery with remaining space becoming a tap room, Insider Media reports. The bar would open at weekends with potential for mid-week use as a private hire venue or for special events held at Swansea Football Club’s nearby Liberty Stadium. A planning statement said: “The site has been vacant for quite a period of time now. It is a prime site in terms of its visibility and it would be good to see a local company putting life back into a building, which will be neglected and go into a state of disrepair otherwise.” In December, Boss Brewing secured a contract with Co-op to supply three of its ales – Boss Brave, Blaze and Bare – to stores across Wales.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele denies expansion plan: A story that L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, the oldest pizzeria in Italy, was to open a second London restaurant has turned out to be incorrect. Last week, industry websites reported the British team behind the Stoke Newington pizzeria (the brand’s first site to open outside Italy) had found a site in Baker Street for expansion. However Serena Sarnatoro, of L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele London, told Hot Dinners: “I am not sure where this information came from but it’s not true I am afraid. We have no plans to open a second branch in the near future.” L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele was founded in Naples in 1870.
Robinsons reopens Rochdale pub following extensive refurbishment: North west brewer and retailer Robinsons has reopened The Grapes in Rochdale following an extensive refurbishment. The pub, in the suburb of Bamford, was acquired by the company in 1992 and it has relaunched the venue in a new direction. The pub structure has been completely altered with a new widespread bar, plus new fixtures and fittings and a complete redecoration. The Grapes now provides four cask ales, a range of lager and craft ale, wine by the glass and bottle, and a spirit selection including ten gins. The pub also serves homemade food. Robinsons business development manager Tony Massey said: “The inspiration for this refurbishment was to revive a community pub, engage more of the local residents, and install some local pride. We wanted to create a real transformation. We added natural timber flooring and stone tiles to create a modern yet contemporary feel, and the area now offers a more spacious environment for all to appreciate. We hope the new look will engage more locals – it really is a pub with lots to offer.”
Empire Cinemas to open Poole site at scheme featuring four restaurants: Empire Cinemas, the UK’s largest independently owned cinema operator, has agreed a deal to open a site at The Dolphin Centre in Poole, Dorset. The company has signed a 25-year lease with LGIM Real Assets for the nine-screen multiplex featuring four new restaurants. Planning permission is being sought to redevelop the former Argos store and adjoining units into the new-build cinema complex that is due to open at the end of 2018. Subject to final planning approval, one of the nine cinema screens will be open-air on the rooftop. Empire Cinemas chief executive Justin Ribbons said: “We are delighted to be partnering with LGIM Real Assets and to be returning to Poole as part of The Dolphin Centre, Dorset’s largest covered shopping destination. We hope Empire Cinemas will further improve the area’s leisure offer and evening economy, alongside a host of new dining choices arriving at the centre.” LGIM Real Assets bought the 530,000 square foot shopping centre in 2013 and is working on an 18-month improvement programme that will be completed at the end of 2018. The dining and leisure offer has been boosted recently with the arrival of new cafes, bars and restaurants, such as Delfino Lounge, Starbucks and ice cream parlour Sprinkles. Colliers International and Lunson Mitchenall are joint leasing agents. Empire Cinemas currently operates 13 sites across the UK.
Experienced north east operators reopen Ei Group pub in Hartlepool: Two experienced north east operators have teamed up to reopen an Ei Group pub in Hartlepool, County Durham. Gail Heslop and Kim Martindale have relaunched the Castle Eden Inn following a joint investment of £170,000, adding new kitchen facilities and completely renovating the interior. The main pub area has been refurbished with more modern decor and furniture. There is also a private function room, while live music will also become part of the offer. The new food offer consists of traditional pub classics and a light bites menu, with the drinks offer enhanced by an improved range of cask ale alongside a selection of craft gin and other spirits. Heslop and Martindale first met as waitresses at the Castle Eden Inn in the 1980s and have remained friends. Heslop said: “When we heard the pub was available it felt like an opportunity too good to miss. We both have fond memories of our time working here – Kim actually ran the pub when it was a managed house several years ago.” Ei Publican Partnerships regional manager Stuart Ireland added: “We’re delighted Gail and Kim have taken the pub on and are confident they have the skills and experience to be very successful in their new venture.”
Roux-trained chef to launch Warwickshire venture: Chef Paul Merrony, who trained under the Roux brothers in France, and partner Tracey Petersen are to launch a new venture in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire. The couple, who operated London restaurants La Giaconda in Soho and Shoe Shop in Kentish Town, have acquired The Bower House in Market Place. The restaurant will reopen next week offering “rustic” French dishes made using local ingredients. Merrony told the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald: “It’s got to be a reflection of the neighbourhood. Yes, there are a lot of wealthy people in the area but we are in Shipston and have got to appeal to a broad church of people. If we just do Michelin-type food we will probably be dead in the water. People go to those sort of places to tick the box. We need to be sympathetic to the community rather than being perceived as stuck-up. We want to look at this place as an embellishment to the community.”
Swindon-based pop-up Moody Burgers to open first bricks and mortar site: Swindon-based pop-up Moody Burgers is to open its first bricks and mortar site in the Wiltshire town. The company, which currently operates a takeaway service from town centre bar Boston Brothers, receiving a five-star rating on Just Eat in the process, will move into new premises in Commercial Road this month. The 80-cover, two-storey Moody’s restaurant will replace Mok’s Streetfood and Grill, which closed last month. Moody Burgers managing director Carl Anderson told the Swindon Advertiser: “We set up in Swindon 12 months ago with the inspiration of bringing Californian-inspired burgers to the town and delivering them to people’s homes. We thought there was a gap in the market to do something a little bit special.” Moody’s will also offer up to 50 cocktails and alcoholic milkshakes and a new signature burger – The Moody – a triple-stacked monster that will include chicken, beef, pulled pork and bacon. Senior manager Danny Mason added: “You won’t get another burger of the size we’re offering.”
Cookies concept Blondies Kitchen to make Selfridges pop-up space permanent: Cookies concept Blondies Kitchen is to make its pop-up space at Selfridges permanent on Thursday (14 September). Classic cookies include salted dark chocolate and coconut cookie dough, with more specials added to the menu once the site becomes permanent, including The Nana (dark chocolate and banana), The Milk ‘n’ Dough (chocolate cookie dough with a shot of milk), and Funfetti Dough (cookie dough with sprinkles), plus more toppings. The site will also offer a new weekly special – the Cookie Pizza – available by the slice and with weekly changing flavours including Nutella and peanut butter, Hot Dinners reports.
Plans approved for first new-build hotel in Peak District National Park since 1960s: Plans to construct the first new-build hotel in The Peak District National Park since 1961 have been given the go-ahead. The brownfield site is on the park’s main route on the edge of Stoney Middleton, close to Chatsworth House and Bakewell. The development is set to include a 71-bedroom hotel and a heritage centre with cafe and craft shop. The owners will operate the visitor and heritage centre but the hotel site is being offered for sale or lease. Ian Naylor, partner at Sanderson Weatherall, told Insider Media: “This is a rare and fantastic opportunity to acquire what is set to be the largest hotel in the National Park. The development will benefit year-round from the huge footfall from national and international visitors to the area, as well as from corporate and other market sectors, and with little competition.”