Bella Italia appoints HR director to oversee new employee engagement strategy: Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia has appointed Wayne Morgan as HR director to oversee a new employee engagement strategy. The strategy targets three key areas – attracting and retaining quality talent, developing and training the leaders of tomorrow within the business, and embedding and reinforcing a culture that drives employee engagement. To help implement the strategy, Morgan has appointed Nina Widdacombe and Gemma Wyatt to the newly created roles of talent and development business partner and head of people. Widdacombe will oversee talent development and internal training, while Wyatt will oversee talent attraction and general HR procedures. Morgan said: “I am delighted to be working with a vibrant and exciting brand like Bella Italia to help drive employee engagement across the business. The competition for great team members is as ever a battle and the onus is firmly on our brand to create a culture that attracts and retains employees. I’m confident we now have a robust strategy and structure in place to ensure people enjoy their time at Bella and stay with us to develop their career.” Morgan has almost a decade of experience in HR roles, including recent spells at the Fossil Group and Atmosphere Bars and Clubs.
Restaurant trio open sites at Bath shopping centre: A trio of restaurant brands have opened sites at the SouthGate shopping centre in Bath. Tapas Revolution, led by celebrity chef Omar Allibhoy and managing director Mac Plumpton, better burger brand Smashburger and Pret A Manger have opened outlets after agreeing deals with the complex’s owners, Aviva Investors and British Land. Tapas Revolution has opened at the newly developed Little SouthGate restaurant quarter, joining Thai Restaurant group brand Thaikhun, Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes, and Absurd Bird, the Southern US-inspired chicken restaurant brand from Splendid Restaurants. The restaurant quarter is now fully let. Matthew Reed, head of retail assets (Midlands and south west) for British Land, said: “We are pleased to have secured such a stellar line-up at Little SouthGate. The exciting food and beverage additions to both the leisure quarter and wider centre demonstrate our continued focus on creating outstanding places that are in tune with modern consumer lifestyles.” Aviva Investors and British Land were advised by Cushman & Wakefield and Bruce Gillingham Pollard.
TGI Friday’s and Jamie’s Italian to roll-out click and collect platforms as Orderswift seals Oracle Hospitality deal: TGI Friday’s and Jamie’s Italian are to roll-out click and collect platforms as part of online ordering platform Orderswift’s new partnership with EPOS provider Oracle Hospitality. As an integrated Gold Level partner, Orderswift can send collection and delivery orders to any restaurant that uses an Oracle Hospitality point-of-sale system. Orderswift’s online ordering platform features a two-step interface that enables people to place restaurant orders for collection and delivery in fewer than 30 seconds. The mobile-responsive interface can be themed to match a restaurant’s branding. Orderswift co-founder Matt Gilbert said: “With hundreds of thousands of restaurants around the world using Oracle Hospitality POS systems, this collaboration offers us a significant opportunity to scale our business. And we’re hugely excited to be working alongside Jamie’s Italian and TGI Friday’s to help them meet the rapidly growing demand for click and collect.” Jamie’s Italian commercial manager Mide Harkin added: “We see click and collect as an area of growth for our business – and as a way of allowing customers to connect with our brand. With multiple sites around the UK and busy operations, having these orders sent to the POS on-site is crucial for us.” Cousins Matt Gilbert and Rich Martell launched Orderswift, which is backed by telecommunications company Telefonica, in 2013.
Tampopo moves into grab-and-go market by opening takeaway kiosk below Manchester restaurant: Pan-Asian restaurant Tampopo has moved into the grab-and-go market by opening a takeaway kiosk, in Manchester. The company has opened East Street by Tampopo below its restaurant at the Trafford Centre. It will operate for six months initially, with a view to becoming permanent if it hits performance targets. The aim is for the kiosk to turn over £1.2m to £1.3m. Chief executive David Fox told Insider Media: “It’s a takeout model like a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a Subway. There’s no doubt it will take some tweaking, there will be some evolution. We’ve gone in with every intention it’s going to work and, if it works, it will be permanent and we’ll look to open more sites. What we’ve come to the market with is a very tight menu, only eight dishes, and the challenge is to deliver that well.” The Trafford Centre kiosk shares the same kitchen as Tampopo upstairs but Fox said future sites would not need to be part of a restaurant. Instead, new takeaway outlets could potentially be rolled out to a range of high-footfall areas such as city centres and transport hubs. Tampopo was founded by David Fox and Nick Jeffry in 1997. Fox remains the largest shareholder of the £4.4m-turnover business, while Jeffry is the second-largest shareholder but resigned as a director in 2014. As well as the kiosk, the group has Tampopo-branded restaurants at Albert Square, the Corn Exchange and the Trafford Centre in Manchester and a restaurant trading as East Street off Oxford Street, London.
Star Pubs & Bars invests £650,000 to revive Derbyshire sites: Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars is investing £650,000 to revive its sites in Derbyshire. Subject to finding licensees, the projects will include a £320,000 refurbishment of the Bull & Bush in Mackworth and a £170,000 refurbishment of the Harrington Arms in Long Eaton. The Bull & Bush investment will transform the “tired” 1970s pub into a “top-quality local” complete with children’s play area and takeaway. The intention is to completely refurbish the inside of the pub to create a new dining area and kitchen to enable the introduction of food. The extensive plans also feature the addition of a takeaway with its own entrance selling a range of fish and chip shop favourites and homemade pizzas. The refurbishment of the Harrington Arms will see the pub focus on cask ales, the introduction of games and food and a new garden. Another Derbyshire pub receiving significant investment is The Tupton Tap in Old Tupton, which has reopened following an 18-month closure. A £160,000 refurbishment with Ashover Brewery has restored the run-down building into a traditional pub specialising in local cask ales and serving home-cooked food.
Isle of Skye-based operator takes on Punch pub in Glasgow: Isle of Skye-based operator Caledonian Skye has taken on a Punch pub in Glasgow. Caledonian Skye has acquired the lease of The Burrell in Pollokshaws Road, which is undergoing a £280,000 refurbishment ahead of reopening as The Boyd Roderick next month, creating 20 jobs. The work involves extensive redecoration throughout and changes to the layout, including an 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. The menu will feature dishes made from freshly prepared Scottish produce alongside craft beer, wine and coffee. Punch sales and recruitment development manager Iain Thomson said: “We have worked with the Caledonian Skye team for some time now and are proud to be supporting it in this exciting new project. This investment marks the start of a new era at the Boyd Roderick.”
Castle Rock Brewery applies for licence to reopen historic Nottingham pub: Castle Rock Brewery, the Nottingham-based brewer and pub company, has applied for a licence to reopen the former Peggers pub in the city. The application has been made by the Beer Consortium, the Enterprise Investment Scheme company that bought Bingham’s Horse And Plough, The Embankment at Trent Bridge and the Cricketers Rest in Kimberley, which are operated and managed by Castle Rock. If the licence is granted the pub, which has been closed for more than ten years, will revert to its former name, the Fox & Grapes. The Beer Consortium was founded in late 2014 under the chairmanship of Castle Rock chairman Geoff Newton. Last year, property company Carlton Street Trading bought the former Peggers pub site. The company also owns The Bentinck Hotel, the Rough Trade Building and the premises of Annie’s Burger Shack, reports The Business Desk.
Jamie Oliver opens first Bali restaurant: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has launched Jamie’s Italian in Bali, his first restaurant on the Indonesian island. The restaurant has opened in Pantai Kuta offering a wide array of Italian dishes and a takeaway pizza service. The venue also features a bar on the ground floor offering a range of beers alongside Italian spirits and wine. The restaurant also sells Jamie Oliver merchandise such as cookbooks, napkins with the Jamie’s Italian logo, T-shirts and stubby holders, The Jakarta Post reports. The 220-cover site is open daily from midday until 11pm. In April, Bali became the first place in Asia to be declared the world’s best tourist destination by TripAdvisor. Bali was followed on the list by London, Paris, Rome, New York City and Crete.
JD Wetherspoon partners with Molson Coors to champion community projects through Carling brand: JD Wetherspoon and Molson Coors have launched a nationwide campaign to invest in community projects chosen by Carling drinkers. The initiative complements Molson Coors’ Putting The Great Back Into Great British Pubs And Clubs campaign, which launched in March designed to provide practical, first-hand support to pubs and clubs across the UK. Until October, Carling will help fund and support local community projects across Great Britain – from funding a new football pitch to painting the village hall – as long as the project will have a “lasting and genuine benefit to the community”. The initiative is being run with Project Dirt, a network that works with companies to support community initiatives. Drinkers at Wetherspoon’s 762 pubs will nominate community projects via www.carling.com/yourpintcan with a panel of Carling, Wetherspoon and Project Dirt team members selecting the winners. Molson Coors customer marketing director Clare Vintner said: “We are excited to partner with Wetherspoon and give something back to consumers and communities across Great Britain. There’s no better way to put our resources and partnerships to good use.”
Peyote Group to open second Peyotito site, in Ibiza: London-based Mexican restaurant Peyotito, owned by Peyote Group, is to open its second site, in Ibiza. Having launched the concept in Notting Hill, the new site will open on Saturday, 1 July at the Nobu Hotel in Ibiza Bay. Peyotito Ibiza’s menu will encompass the most popular choices from culinary director Eduardo Garcia and Adriana Cavita’s menus at Peyotito (London) and Peyote (London and Dubai), while including new dishes influenced by spices, ingredients and cooking customs from Spain. A far cry from typical “Tex-Mex” cuisine, Peyotito Ibiza will have a menu offering contemporary and refined Mexican food from Verde Vuelve a la Vida including lubina (local Ibiza fish) and papas with chorizo and chilli pasilia. The cocktail list will feature mezcal concoctions such as the signature Peyotito Margarita, a refined version of London’s shaken margarita with a spicy tajin rimmed glass, blanco tequila, Cointreau, agave syrup, lime juice and a mezcal vial for customers to personalise the flavour.
McDonald’s using Snapchat to appeal to younger applicants as it looks to hire 250,000 employees in US: McDonald’s is using Snapchat in a bid to appeal to younger applicants as it looks to hire 250,000 employees in the US this summer. Snapchat users will encounter ten-second video advertisements featuring McDonald’s restaurant employees talking about their experiences within the company. Users can then swipe the screen to visit the McDonald’s career page within Snapchat and apply for jobs at their local restaurant. McDonald’s first used the Snapchat application, or “snaplication”, in Australia in April. McDonald’s USA senior HR director Jez Langhorn told CNBC: “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to find job seekers. We thought ‘snaplications’ was a great way to allow us to meet job seekers where they are – their phones.” The company said more than half of the hires in its company-owned restaurants are between the ages of 16 to 24 years old and, for many, McDonald’s is their first job. The company said it would also use Spotify and Hulu to reach millennial workers.
Former Gordon Ramsay head chef to open fine dining pub, in Essex: Former Gordon Ramsay head chef Mick Binnington is to open a fine dining pub, in Essex. Binnington will open The Windmill in Chatham Green on Saturday, 1 July having left Ramsay’s The Narrow in Limehouse. The menu at the restaurant, which will have about 30 covers, will include freshly line-caught cod and chips, steak and chips with béarnaise sauce, roasted Goosnagh duck, pan-fried sea bream and Binnington’s signature lobster ravioli. He told Essex Live: “I was running one of Gordon Ramsay’s places in London but it was always a dream of mine to have my own place. We want the restaurant side of it to be a destination venue. It will all be local seasonal produce – everything will be made on-site. The Windmill has rooms as well but we are not thinking about opening the rooms until the end of the first year. We want to focus on getting the pub absolutely right first.”
Scottish leisure operator bids to build adventure golf course in Leeds city centre: Scottish leisure operator Jungle Rumble is looking to open a new location in Leeds on the site of a former city centre nightclub. The Fife-based company, which operates courses in Liverpool, Bristol and Brighton, has submitted plans to transform the former Attic club at The Cube in Albion Street into a mini-golf course and leisure space with 37 holes and arcade games. Last month, planning permission was granted for a new Mecca bingo in The Cube, Insider Media reports.
Essex-based Wilkin & Sons to open 11th Tiptree Tearoom: Essex-based Wilkin & Sons, which has a royal warrant for the supply of jams and preserves, is to launch its 11th Tiptree Tearoom in the county, this time in Chelmsford. The new venue will open in the Bond Street shopping complex offering cooked lunches, sandwiches, cream teas, hot and cold snacks and home-baked cakes. Each tea room also sells a selection of Tiptree products, including jam, preserves, sauces and puddings. The menu will also include quiche of the day, ploughman’s lunches, jacket potatoes and salads as well as prosecco and Tiptree Fruit Gin liqueurs. The venue is set to open in “early summer”, according to Essex Live.
Former Angela Hartnett chef launches solo restaurant in Finsbury Park: Emma Duggan, who has spent the past 25 years working for superstar chefs including Angela Hartnett and Gordon Ramsay, has launched a solo venture in Finsbury Park. Walnut has opened at The Arts Building in Morris Place. Duggan, who most recently worked for Oliver Peyton, has sourced Dedham Vale beef, Suffolk pork, Creedy Carver chickens from Essex and seafood from Cornwall. Dishes include lamb rump with celeriac mash and salsa verde, grilled lobster half with truffle chips, and chocolate pot with orange shortbread, Hot Dinners reports. There are also pastries and coffee from early morning and weekend brunch.
Marston’s opens new-build pub at Dalton Park, to hold ‘longest’ pub-to-pub walk: Marston’s has opened its new-build pub at the Dalton Park shopping complex in Murton, County Durham. The company has launched The Dancing Betty, creating 40 jobs. The 180-cover pub restaurant features a patio with seating, pergola and children’s play area. The look of the venue takes inspiration from traditional taverns, with its name referring to a vertical tensioning device for a haulage rope used during the mining era – the pub is on the site of the former Murton Colliery. The pub restaurant is part of the £45m phase-two expansion of the shopping outlet. It already features a Cineworld cinema, KFC, Prezzo, The Restaurant Group brand Frankie & Benny’s and PizzaExpress. Meanwhile, Marston’s will hold the “longest pub-to-pub walk” after joining forces with community group Friends of the Peak to promote one of the longest footpaths in the country. In total, 19 Marston’s pubs feature on the 192-mile walk around the boundary of the Peak District National Park. The walk will officially launch on Saturday (17 June), taking in three Marston’s pubs in Buxton before the walk is split into 20 stages of up to 11.5 miles each.
York-based cafe Brew & Brownie opens sister site aimed at food-to-go market: York-based cafe Brew & Brownie has started expansion by opening a second site, this time aimed at the food-to-go market. Owner Gina Stancer has launched Brew & Brownie Bakeshop in Museum Street, only a few yards from its sister site. The venue offers salads and sandwiches, juice, soup, pastries, buns, and coffee. Stancer said the bakeshop was more modern than her debut site. She told York Mix: “While big brother Brew serves breakfast and all-day brunch, the bakeshop has a high emphasis on food-to-go. It features the same quality local ingredients for those looking for a quick lunch, taking the goods home or to Museum Gardens.”
Just Eat executive chairman passes away: Dr John Hughes, executive chairman of Just Eat, the global market place for online food delivery, has passed away following a short period of medical treatment. Interim chairman Andrew Griffith said: “The thoughts of everyone at Just Eat are with John’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them. John demonstrated exceptional leadership in his role as chairman and was fundamental to the successful development of Just Eat over the past five-and-a-half years. Over the past three decades, John has been a leading figure in the international business and technology communities. He held senior executive positions at many of the world’s foremost technology businesses and more recently focused on advising and steering several of the UK’s most successful growth companies. As we saw in his work for several businesses and initiatives – public and private, commercial and not-for-profit – he passionately believed in the UK as a place to found, scale and list a company and he inspired a host of entrepreneurs to fulfil their own ambitions. We would like to pay tribute to his extraordinary talents, his many accomplishments, and his outstanding contribution to the business landscape.”
Football star Lionel Messi matches rival with £26m hotel acquisition: Barcelona and Argentina football star Lionel Messi has bid to match his arch rival Cristiano Ronaldo by acquiring the MiM Sitges hotel for £26m. Real Madrid star Ronaldo co-owns two hotels in his home country Portugal, while Messi has snapped up the four-star, 77-bedroom hotel in the Mediterranean resort of Sitges. The hotel also features a spa and conference rooms. Rooms at the hotel currently cost up to £260 a night in peak season. Messi’s hotel continues to be managed by the Majestic Group, which owns four hotels in Barcelona. The Sun said it understood Messi had created a company called Rosotel to invest in hotels and apartments. Last year, Messi launched an Argentinian-inspired restaurant in Barcelona with his brothers Rodrigo and Marisol.
Serviced apartment company SACO to take Locke to Scotland for second site: Serviced apartment company SACO is to open the second site for its Locke brand next month, in Edinburgh. Locke, which “combines the best aspects of boutique hotels and serviced apartments” and is named after 17th century British philosopher John Locke, launched last year in Aldgate, central London. Now a second site is opening in the Scottish capital – the 72-studio aparthotel Eden Locke in George Street. At the heart of the building is Hyde & Son, a third-wave coffee bar by day and wine and cocktail bar by night, offering a carefully curated selection of wine and artisan spirits. Locke creator Eric Jafari told The Scotsman: “We’re honoured for Edinburgh to be the home of our second Locke. This city is a natural destination for our concept – historic, progressive, creative, understated and dynamic, much like we aspire Eden Locke to be. We aim for Locke to be an effective representation of Edinburgh – a destination that creatively champions the new and old. While Edinburgh has traditionally been recognised as a historic destination, we believe its creative and entrepreneurial spirit should also be celebrated.”
Molson Coors launches Cobra campaign: Molson Coors has launched a new Cobra campaign to highlight the beer’s brewing heritage with food partnering. The out-of-home and digital-based campaign, Brewed Smooth For All Food, is supported by an exclusive partnership with MasterChef: The Professionals winner Gary Maclean and will offer outlets expert advice on food and beer pairing. It comes as the Cobra team operates its experiential pop-up Cobra Flavour Rooms & Bar at London Food Month’s Night Market in Kensington Palace Gardens. The pop-up offers consumers an immersive beer and food-tasting experience, with a fusion menu created by Maclean. Inspired by flavours from around the world, Maclean’s menu features a collection of ten recipes that complement or are infused with the Cobra range. The menu, named Cobra Fusion Bites, will also be served exclusively as collections at premium bars and restaurants across London. Rob Hollis, head of world beers portfolio at Molson Coors, said: “The premium world beers category is going from strength to strength in the UK and demand for beers that pair well with food has never been higher. Cobra has long been known as a perfect match for spicy food but Gary’s fusion menu will demonstrate just how versatile Cobra is as the perfect partner to a huge range of different cuisines from around the world.”
New water park to open in Scarborough next month: The first phase of a new water park in Scarborough is to open in July. Dawnay Estates will launch AquaPark, an inflatable obstacle course, which is part of the Dawnay Estates’ new North Yorkshire Water Park at Wykeham Lakes. North Yorkshire Water Park will also offer paddle-boarding, team-building events, sailing, windsurfing, open water swimming and canoeing during the summer months. Plans have also been submitted to further develop the site at Wykeham Lakes into a visitor attraction in the next two years, including expansion of the cafe, changing rooms and showers, with additional water sports. There will also be a cycle track through the woodland and around the lake. Robert Sword, estate manager of Dawnay Estates, told Insider Media: “North Yorkshire Water Park is a significant investment for the estate and a great opportunity for Scarborough and Yorkshire. We hope families will visit the park, bring a picnic and enjoy the lake and beautiful surroundings.”
David Lloyd Leisure adds to overseas operations with first Italy site: David Lloyd Leisure is adding to its overseas operations by acquiring its first club in Italy. The group, which has 12 clubs in the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland and Spain, has exchanged contracts on the Malaspina Sporting Club in Milan for an undisclosed price. David Lloyd Leisure plans to invest €6m to refurbish and develop the site, which has 50-metre and 25-metre swimming pools, 12 tennis courts, padel courts, football pitches, a gym and spa. Chief executive Glenn Earlam told The Times the group was looking for further acquisition opportunities and new-build sites in Turin, Rome and Bologna, although the initial focus would be on securing sites in Milan. The Malaspina deal lifts its total number of clubs to 111, of which 98 are in the UK. David Lloyd Leisure, which is Europe’s biggest health and fitness club operator by revenue, is forecasting an increase in revenues this year from £350m to more than £400m, with underlying earnings tipped to rise to more than £100m.