Itsu opens store in Kingston: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Pret A Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe, has opened a site in Kingston, Surrey. The company has opened the venue in Clarence Street on the site of clothes shop Miss Selfridge, which has relocated to the Bentall Centre, and menswear store Burton. Itsu operations director Said Takhampt told the Kingston Guardian: “We’re excited to be opening in Kingston. We’ve opened stores in similar locations which have been very successful so we hope our new site will be welcomed with open arms.” The company, which has 68 sites, mostly in London, secured £40m of funding from HSBC last October to drive ambitious expansion plans.
Beer sales in sports pubs increase 41% for England and Wales’ opening Euro 2016 games: Beer sales in sports pubs were up 41.63% on Saturday as England and Wales played their opening Euro 2016 matches, according to beer quality expert Vianet. The company has partnered with Propel to dig deeper into the impact sporting events have on sales. Vianet said that between 11am and midnight, an average of 429.74 pints were sold per pub – an increase of 178.88 pints compared with the previous year. Peak trading time was between 8pm and 9pm, with the run rate prior to the England match averaging 25.6 pints. The run rate during matches averaged 41.91 pints and the run rate post-match averaged 24.58 pints. The data was based on a sample of 4,000 sports-based pubs, versus a control group of 6,000 non-sports pubs. The non-sports pubs also saw an increase in trade (up 18%), indicating either consumers who were not interested in the football attended these venues instead or, with the football being free to air, all had an opportunity to show the game and thus benefited, albeit to a lesser extent. Vianet said the value of Euro 2016 to the sports-based pubs, above their normal trade at £3.50 per pint, is £626.08. Therefore, if England were to make it to the final, this would be worth at least £3,756.48 in increased sales per pub and £15m in increased sales to the 4,000 pubs in the sample. Quality remains an issue, however. Consumers only experienced one in four pints being served via an overdue line, which is better than the national yearly benchmark values (as per the quality report), suggesting most pubs wanted to ensure good consumer experience. During Euro 2016, reports will be generated for the next day following an England game and then a weekly report will be produced to evaluate performance during the full week.
Drinkers urged to support National Beer Day: Drinkers are being urged to support the second Beer Day Britain, which aims to raise the profile of the British beer and pubs industry. The National Beer Day, which takes place on Wednesday (15 June), will be marked by pubs, retailers, restaurants, bars, and ale trails in a variety of ways. The focus of the day is the National Cheers To Beer at 7pm, when people around the country will join the national party and raise a glass and say “Cheers To Beer”. People are encouraged to show their support on social media using the hashtag #CheersToBeer. Jane Peyton, Beer Day Britain instigator and project manager, said: “Beer unites us in Britain so please participate in the National Cheers to Beer and, if you use social media, post a message and help us trend on Twitter like we did last year.”
Young Londoners now spending almost 60% of income on rent: Young Londoners are spending almost 60% of their income on rent, according to a report. A report from lettings network Countrywide found a single working person aged between 22 and 29 years old forks out 57% of their net earnings on rent, up from 41% in 2007. Rents have risen in London at a much faster pace than incomes in recent years, the report said. The average cost of renting a one-bedroom home is £746 across Britain, with the figure rising to £1,133 in the capital. London has high concentrations of rental properties, and rent prices have increased by 48% since 2007 – more than four times faster than incomes.
Indian chef awarded MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours List: Romy Gill, who was the first female Indian chef in the UK to both own her own restaurant and run the kitchen, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Gill, owner of Romy’s Kitchen in Castle Street, Thornbury, was honoured for her services to the hospitality industry. She founded the business in 2008, offering catering, private dining and cookery classes, before opening the restaurant in 2013. Romy’s Kitchen has become renowned for nutritious, well-styled Indian food, with Gill shortlisted for “best newcomer” at the National British Curry Awards 2014, the Gazette reports.
London hotel market sees occupancy drop in May due to ‘growth and supply performance imbalance’: The London hotel market saw occupancy rates fall in May “as a result of a supply growth and demand performance imbalance”, according to a new report. STR’s preliminary May 2016 data showed a 2.5% year-on-year increase in supply and a 0.4% rise in average daily rate to £143.92. However, there was a 0.4% decrease in demand and a 2.8% drop in occupancy to 81.7%. There was also a 2.4% fall in revpar to £117.62. Although performance was weak for the month overall, occupancy remained above 86.0% from Tuesday, 24 May to Saturday, 28 May, when London hosted the Chelsea Flower Show, analysts said. Average daily rate also peaked for the month at £165.49 on the opening Tuesday of the show.
Casual Dining to defend best trade show title: The Casual Dining show – the trade event by Diversified Communications UK for the multiple restaurant and pub group sector – will defend its title after again being nominated for the best UK trade show exhibition under 2,000 square metres. It is the third time in its three years of business the show has been nominated in the category at the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) awards, scooping the accolade on both previous occasions. The 2016 event, which took place four months ago, enjoyed a 22% increase in unique attendees (up to 4,402), while next year’s event, which will boast more than 200 exhibitors, is already 75% sold out. As in previous years, Diversified UK received multiple AEO Excellence Awards nominations, among them the best UK trade show exhibition over 2,000 square metres for Casual Dining’s sister show – lunch! The UK’s biggest annual food-to-go event, taking place on 21 and 22 September, has already won three best trade show awards – the AEO’s under 2,000 square metre category in both 2011 and 2012, and best trade show at the Exhibition News Awards in 2014. The AEO Excellence Awards 2016 take place at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London, on Friday (17 June).
Grass-roots music venues attracted almost six million fans in 2015 raising £230m, report says: Grass-roots music venues attracted 5.6 million fans last year generating £231m, according to a new report, despite the closure of many well-known venues in recent years and the threat of further closures caused by noise complaints. The Wish You Were Here report into the live music industry, compiled by UK Music, is the first analysis of the contribution to the UK economy made by live music venues with a capacity of less than 1,500. Grass-roots gigs attracted 1.46 million fans in 2015, including 135,000 “music tourists” from overseas. The 5.6 million figure comes from the fact most gig-goers attended six to ten concerts at small venues last year, while 3.6% went to more than 100. Although the appetite for live music is booming, leading venues such as Sheffield Boardwalk, the Princess Charlotte in Leicester and the Cockpit in Leeds have all closed in recent years. Rising rates and rents, and property developers converting nearby offices into flats, creating noise issues, are cited as reasons for an estimated 40% of venues in London being forced to shut in the past decade. However the Music Venue Trust, a charity set up to secure the long-term future of the iconic grass-roots venues that make up the “toilet circuit”, estimated seven new venues could open in the capital this year.
Papa John’s opens new UK and European headquarters in Milton Keynes: Papa John’s has opened its new UK and European headquarters in Milton Keynes. The company has relocated all its head office functions to the site in Northfield Drive following a £2.1m refurbishment of its Pizza Quality Control Centre and dough factory. The project, which took eight months to complete and houses more than 100 employees, now features a new reception atrium and entrance hall. Papa John’s business development manager Anthony Round said: “The creation of a central UK and European base marks a significant investment into the continued future expansion of Papa John’s into the UK and Europe. Our Milton Keynes location is also home to Papa John’s fresh pizza dough factory, our state-of-the-art facility that supplies well over 300 franchised units across the UK on a daily basis. With all head office staff and functions now on one site, we can gain logistical efficiencies in addition to providing the best training and meeting facilities for our visiting franchisees too.” Papa John’s was founded in the US in 1984 and has more than 4,800 stores in 40 international markets and territories, including 300-plus stores in the UK.
Prezzo founder Jonathan Kaye eyes Leamington site: Prezzo fonder Jonathan Kaye has submitted plans to convert a grade II-listed former banking hall in Leamington Spa’s main shopping street into a new eatery. The upper floors of the building, which date to 1835, could also be converted into five apartments. The application was prepared by Corstorphine + Wright on behalf of Regis 2000 Ltd. According to Companies House, the sole director of Regis 2000 is Jonathan Kaye, who stepped down as chief executive of Prezzo last year. Kaye also holds a directorship at London eatery The Ultimate Burger Ltd. The plans propose the change of use of 148-150 The Parade. The site was built as a private dwelling before being converted for retail use and was last used as a banking hall in the 1900s. If approved, the restaurant element of the scheme could create up to 30 jobs. A statement included in the plans said: “The premises are currently unoccupied, which is unattractive to the local street scene. The external façades will remain unaltered, with the exception of cosmetic repair and redecoration and the proposed development will ensure they are maintained for the future. We therefore conclude the impact on the character and appearance of the listed building and the surrounding conservation area will be positive and should be supported.” The Parade is Leamington’s main shopping street and the former bank is located next to a Premier Inn and opposite the town hall. It is also a short walk from the River Leam and the grade II-listed Royal Pump Rooms, one of Leamington’s most famous spa baths which were opened across the town in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Meatcure launches £350,000 crowdfunding campaign to open five new sites in next two years: Gourmet burger restaurant company Meatcure has launched its £350,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs as it looks to open five new sites in the next two years. The company, led by Paul Rigby and Rob Martyniak, is offering an 8.56% equity stake in return for the investment. It currently has three sites in the East Midlands, with its fourth in Bedford due to open this month and negotiations taking place on a fifth in Hinckley. The pitch states: “Meatcure’s first three restaurants have already demonstrated there is a sizeable and profitable market in the East Midlands. This investment is designed to enable Meatcure to accelerate our expansion into nearby locations and market niches, ahead of potential pursuers, to establish Meatcure as the go-to brand in this space across the region, the country and the island. Meatcure did not invent the burger, but we do feel we do it in a particularly good way. Meatcure’s pilot 2014 site (in Market Harborough) was so successful it generated 50% of the development costs for both our Leicester and Leamington Spa units in July and October 2015 respectively. We are currently fitting out our fourth site (Bedford) and are on track to open in June. We are already in negotiations for our fifth site (in Hinckley), set to open in winter 2016/17. This Seedrs investment will help fund five new restaurant openings in 2017-2018. So far, Meatcure has proven it can build a restaurant for £100,000 or less, sometimes a lot less. Our first unit in Market Harborough was launched for £82,000. Our current fit-out in Bedford is currently on track to match previous set-up costs and we feel likely to come in under £100,000 too. All of the Seedrs funding will be put towards opening new units, targeting less than £100,000 per fit-out, and accelerating our growth. All profits from new units will be reinvested.”
North London music venue aims to raise £300,000 to stay open after being bought by Burger & Lobster owner: A north London music venue could close unless it raises £300,000 after being bought by the owner of the Burger & Lobster restaurant chain. The Silver Bullet in Finsbury Park, which has hosted the likes of Laura Marling and Rudimental, has launched a campaign to raise the cash amid fears it could become the latest grass-roots music club to shut. The late-night venue, which is open seven days a week with a licence until 4am, has hosted more than 2,000 music events since it launched six years ago. However, managers said its future is under threat from a “corporate takeover” after being sold to Goodman Restaurants, which plans to open a bar on the site. Goodman Restaurants has said the venue can remain open if the current managers can raise £300,000 to buy the lease. Co-manager Anna Naylor told the Evening Standard: “Our vision for the Silver Bullet is to continue its legacy as a venue which truly belongs to the community – musicians that are paid properly, drinks and door prices that are affordable and, most of all, to retain the space as a projection of our genuine love of bringing people together to enjoy live music. We are enormously grateful that Goodman Restaurants has offered us the chance to buy back the lease, but now we really need help from the general public.”
Hart brothers to close Barrafina site in Soho and move it to Quo Vadis: Barrafina, the Michelin-starred tapas bar run by Sam and Eddie Hart, is to close its Soho site this summer and reopen in the autumn inside its Quo Vadis venue. The brothers are having to move from the Frith Street site because of a redevelopment plan. The closing date has yet to be confirmed, but Quo Vadis in Dean Street will shut for refurbishment on 1 August, with plans to reopen on 15 September. It will incorporate Barrafina on its ground floor with the current restaurant, run by head chef Jeremy Lee, moving into the downstairs bar area. A new members’ restaurant is also due to open on the first floor, which Lee will oversee, while a new bar will open on the second floor, reports Hot Dinners. Last year, the Harts made the decision to close their Spanish restaurant Fino in Fitzrovia because of consumer demand for casual dining rather than fine dining sites. To fill the void, the pair opened a third Barrafina site in Drury Lane, Covent Garden, as a sister to the Soho original and its second site in Adelaide Street. Barrafina Soho opened in 2007 and was awarded a Michelin star in 2014.
Gusto versus Gusto legal challenge: A Lancashire restaurateur has changed the name of his two venues after pressure from Gusto. Vito Bruno set up Gusto Italia in School Lane, Bamber Bridge, in 2010, and opened a second restaurant in Watery Lane, Preston. However, he has now changed both shop names to Il Gusto D’Italia – at a cost of thousands – after receiving a solicitor’s letter from Gusto. Gusto said it trademarked its name in 2005 and is following the law to protect the brand. A spokesman for Gusto said: “Their name is in breach of our trademark and a standard solicitor’s letter has been sent to them. They proposed to change the name and, as far as we are concerned, that is still under discussion. We have owned the Gusto trademark for many years and are proud of the name and what we have achieved.”
London-based coffee shop concept Tap Coffee fails in £400,000 crowdfunding campaign: London-based coffee shop concept Tap Coffee has failed in its bid to raise £400,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open two sites as it aims to build a ten-strong estate by 2020. The company, founded by Richard Lilley, who previously worked for the Rushmore Group, was offering a 20% equity stake in return for the investment having initially offered 16.67%. However, it failed to secure the funds it was looking for. A message from Crowdcube said: “Unfortunately Tap Coffee did not reach its funding target before the closing date.” Tap Coffee currently has three central London cafes as well as an online retail operation and was seeking the investment to expand and “take its coffee philosophy to a wider audience”. The pitch stated: “Your investment will fund the opening of two new London shops in the next 18 months; our wider ambition is to go on to open ten sites by 2020 after further funding.”
Rocket Leisure to launch Shoreditch bar, third London site: Rocket Leisure, which operates Venn Street Records in Clapham Common and Northcote Records in Battersea, is set to open a third bar in the capital, this time in Shoreditch. The company’s new bar – Old Street Records – is set to open on the former site of Café El Paso on Thursday, 30 June. The 300-capacity venue in Old Street will be spread over two floors and feature shelves filled with record sleeves, with band posters on the wall and new vinyl releases available to buy at the bar. There will be live music six nights a week, with an “eclectic programme of soul, funk, jazz, rock and classic pop”, Hot Dinners reports. The drinks list will feature signature cocktail Sour Records – a version of whiskey sour with pistachio syrup – and Late Breakfast (grapefruit vodka with pink grapefruit juice, house-made marmalade syrup, grapefruit bitters and egg white). On week-nights, the bar will offer two-for-one cocktails until 8pm. The venue will also serve Italian thin-crust pizzas with a variety of fresh toppings and dips. Rocket Leisure was founded by Tom Jackman, Russell Taylor and Howard Taylor. They opened Venn Street Records in 2010 and Northcote Records in June 2013.
West Berkshire Brewery extends crowdfunding campaign because of demand: West Berkshire Brewery is further extending its crowdfunding campaign until Friday, 24 June due to “exceptionally high demand”, after the company surpassed its £1.5m target. Demand soared after the multi-award-winning beer maker announced it had purchased a £3m custom-built brewery and secured its first London pub, Shillibeer’s, earlier this month. West Berkshire Brewery chief executive Simon Lewis said: “We are delighted to have secured this funding, which will enable us to set up and run our new brewery, as well as running the extremely popular Shillibeer’s pub. We have huge plans for West Berkshire Brewery and we want to give as many people as possible the chance to join us on our journey, so we have decided to extend our fundraising campaign for a limited time.” The crowdfunding initiative is part of a wider fundraising project to raise £4m to fund the expansion of the brewery via both the Asset Match and Seedrs platforms. Shares via Seedrs are priced at £3 per share, with a minimum purchase of four shares. So far the company has raised more than £1.7m via Seedrs.
American-style steakhouse Rocker’s begins expansion with second Cambridge site: American-style steakhouse Rocker’s, which adorns its walls with rock music memorabilia, has opened its second site in Cambridge. The new restaurant has opened in Cambridge Leisure Park offering American classics such as burgers, steaks, chicken wings, chilli cheese fries and home-made coleslaw. Memorabilia on display ranges from signed electric guitars and classic photographs to CDs and items of clothing, Cambridge News reports. Every Friday and Saturday night, from 11pm until late, the venue turns into the Moonshine Cocktail Club featuring innovative cocktails with table service, as well as live music performances. Cambridge Leisure Park general manager Diane Quick said: “We are delighted to welcome Rocker’s. The fit-out is stunning and it will be a great addition to Cambridge Leisure.” Cambridge Leisure Park also includes The Light cinema, a tenpin bowling alley, and a Travelodge hotel, as well as branches of Nando’s, Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia, better burger brand Five Guys, and The Restaurant Group-owned brands Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito. In April, plans were lodged for a multimillion-pound TGI Friday’s in the cobbled “piazza” area of the complex.
Home dining app Gleat launches £165,000 crowdfunding campaign: Gleat, the mobile app that provides access to home dining, has launched a £165,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to develop the product. The company, led by Mirko Lagattolla, is offering an 11.66% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “Gleat is the combination of Uber, Airbnb and LinkedIn for dining – geolocate home-cooked meals in your area, enjoy the meal in a local home, and establish new connections. A Gleat guest could be a local who has little time to cook, is tired of eating alone or has simply had enough of overspending and queuing at restaurants. A Gleat guest could also be a traveller or someone new to a city who is looking to meet new people, discover new places and taste authentic cuisines. Becoming a Gleat host is not restricted to professional chefs. Our hosts are passionate home cooks looking to share that passion for food and hospitality with others, while making additional income. Gleat hosts create their home dining experience in a few clicks on the app – they describe the meal and experience, define the capacity, the price, date and time of the dinner. Hosts have the flexibility to accept or reject requests received from guests. Guests reserve a seat at the host’s table and pay cashless through the app. On completion of the meal, both host and guests rate each other to establish a reliable and strong network. In summary, about 90% of funds raised will be spent on development of the product, resources and activities related to customer acquisition, conversion and retention. The remaining 10% will be spent on external services.”
Jason Atherton to open Philippines restaurant as ‘love letter’ to his wife: Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton will open a restaurant in the Philippines next month as a “love letter” to his wife Irha. The Pig & Palm will open in Cebu City, where she originates from. The 57-cover restaurant will feature a separate cocktail bar and is the 16th site for the Athertons’ restaurant group The Social Company, which holds three Michelin stars and spans London, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai and Sydney. The Pig & Palm is in MSY Tower at Cebu Business Park and will serve “modern Spanish tapas in an informal, contemporary environment”. The menu will focus on pork-based plates, with dishes such as lechon de leche with spiced pork-fat roasted carrots and herb dressing, and pulled pork burgers with spiced tomato chutney and avocado. A brunch menu will also be served from 8.30am to 3pm, with a focus on egg-based dishes. Atherton told Coconuts Manila: “It has always been Irha’s dream to bring some of the success of The Social Company back to her home town of Cebu. It gives me great joy to open a Social destination here as my love letter to her.”
Provenance Tapas to open new all-day tapas bar in Nottingham: Provenance Tapas, which is based in Nottingham and owns the Iberico World Tapas concept, is to open a new all-day tapas bar in the city. The company is launching Bar Iberico in Carlton Street, Hockley. It will offer a “relaxed, tapas bar-style atmosphere” serving breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as Spanish draught beers and sherries, when it opens in August, reports the Nottingham Post. Provenance owns Iberico World Tapas sites in Nottingham and Derby and is also behind the World Service Restaurant, which is based in Nottingham’s Castle Gate.
Paul to open bakery and cafe in Notting Hill, 35th UK site: French bakery and cafe brand Paul UK is set to open a new venue in Notting Hill, west London, early next month, its 35th UK site. The 464 square foot, kiosk-style venue is close to Notting Hill Gate tube station and will cater to those on the move wanting a grab-and-go coffee or snack. The venue will open from early until 8pm, offering Paul’s signature range of breads alongside patisserie, viennoiserie, gourmet salads, sandwiches, freshly brewed coffee, and a range of hot seasonal products such as soups, croques and pizzas. Paul UK chief executive Jean-Michel Orieux said: “We look forward to welcoming locals and tourists alike to enjoy our exclusive range of traditional French, handcrafted bakery and fine patisserie products.” In May, Paul UK reported a 6.3% rise in like-for-likes in 2015, with turnover up 17% to £28.7m in the year ended 31 December 2015. Group Ebitda (before head office costs and management fees) rose 49% on the previous year and sales climbed 6.3% on a like-for-like basis.
Hampshire-based pub operator takes on second Punch site: Hampshire-based pub operator Nadia Schicchi has taken on her second site with Punch. Schicchi has opened The Poacher Inn in the village of South Warnborough following a £350,000 investment. The Alton Road venue features reclaimed timbers, muted colours, slate floor finishes and a wood-burning stove. A lounge, bar and separate restaurant areas have been created, while it also has six en-suite bedrooms. The main menu focuses on game and wild food as well as vegetables and salads from the pub garden, while there will also be a homemade lighter menu and daily specials in the bar and a barbecue outside at weekends. Schicchi, who also runs The Alexandra in Farnborough, told the Farnham Herald: “The Poacher Inn is situated at the heart of a very beautiful village and we want it to be a pub which people love to drive out to as well as one where local people can feel at home. So it is important we develop it as a pub really worth the visit – where people can enjoy the environment, the atmosphere, our food and our drinks and where they want to come back time and time again.”
Leeds-based Ecco Pizzeria opens second site in city: Leeds-based Neapolitan pizza restaurant concept Ecco Pizzeria has opened its second site in the city. The company, founded by Usman Janjua, has opened the restaurant in the Roundhay district following a £220,000 investment, creating 20 jobs. Ecco Pizzeria uses ingredients imported from Naples, with pizzas cooked using wood-firing techniques. Bruschetta and wood-fired caramelised chicken as well as home-made gelato, superfood salads and smoothies are on the menu, as well as gluten-free options. The new restaurant also offers freshly made pasta made from durum wheat served in Neapolitan dishes such as pasta e patate and lasagne Napoletana, reports The Business Desk. Ecco Pizzeria’s other site is in Headingley.
Spanish tapas restaurant and wine bar in Essex acquired out of administration: A Spanish tapas restaurant and wine bar in Essex that was established in 1997 has been acquired out of administration, Insider Media reports. Ian Robert and Michaela Hall, of Kingston Smith & Partners, were appointed joint administrators over Pinchos Ltd on 27 May. Pinchos in Baddow Road, Chelmsford, was established in 1997 and is reported to be the first tapas restaurant in Essex. It was previously based in Burnham-on-Crouch and Rayleigh before relocating to Chelmsford city centre. Joint administrator Ian Robert told Insider the restaurant had “not been trading at a profit for some time”, adding that the business had some debts, including to a shareholder following a dispute. After it became clear the dispute could not be resolved, insolvency advice was obtained and the business was subsequently placed in administration. The restaurant was then sold to Spanish Bar & Restaurant (Chelmsford) Ltd, a company owned by the current management, saving ten jobs.
Bath freehold housing Stable Bar and Restaurant sold for £4m: A Bath city centre property, currently occupied by The Stable Bar and Restaurant as well as student accommodation, has been sold for £4m. COIF Charities Property Fund, managed by CCLA Investment Management, has sold the freehold interest in 1-3 Westgate Building in Kingsmead Square to The Charities Property Fund c/o Savills Investment Management. The deal represents a net initial yield of 3.97% and a reversionary yield of 4.26%. The property is currently let to The Stable Bar and Restaurant at ground and basement levels and Westgate Bath on first, second and third floors, providing student accommodation with 29 beds arranged in six flats. The bar lease is for a further 23 years, 13 years to break; and Westgate Bath has a further 23 years to expiry and 17 years to break. The building is located in Bath’s leisure area close to the Theatre Royal, the Kingsmead Leisure scheme, and the Saw Close mixed casino and restaurant development. The Charities Property Fund owns a number of nearby properties.
Greggs to increase healthy eating range, hints at move into sushi and Mexican food: Greggs plans to ramp up its healthy eating options as demand surges for its salads and yogurts, a move which could expand to include sushi and Mexican food. New products such as teriyaki chicken noodle and falafel with hummus have proved a hit with Greggs customers. Its healthy food range now accounts for 10% of sales and is seeing double-digit growth, helping the company notch a 25% rise in profits to £73m last year. Chief executive Roger Whiteside told the Press Association: “We will always be a bakery and sausage rolls will always be part of that, but we’re trying to leverage that with demand for healthier options. We’re looking at a number of things, including a gluten-free range and more vegetarian ideas. We’re also looking seriously at Mexican food. It has struggled in the UK for years but is gaining a foothold, and it’s not impossible that we’ll see sushi on the menu one day.” Whiteside said Greggs is looking to open up to 70 stores, creating more than 1,000 jobs. The company operates 1,720 shops and will target travel locations and office parks.
Urban trampoline brand Jump Inc set to open venue at Sheffield shopping centre, second UK site: Urban trampoline brand Jump Inc is set to open its second UK site, this time at Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, later this summer. The 22,000 square foot standalone location will be the brand’s biggest in the UK and host a range of trampoline activities and fitness classes, including 140 interconnected trampolines, airbags, slam-dunk nets and professional trampolines. In addition, dodgeball, wall running, jump towers and tumble tracks will be available. Open seven days a week, the purpose-built park will also feature its own cafe, a viewing gallery, and individual party rooms that can accommodate up to 60 people. Richard Crowther, asset manager for British Land, co-owner of the centre, said: “The Jump concept is an exciting innovation in the UK leisure market and showcases our commitment to making Meadowhall the destination of choice for a day out in the region. We are confident visitors from Meadowhall’s catchment will respond with enthusiasm, as it is the perfect entertainment for families and fitness fanatics.” Jumper founder Chris Hayes, who grew up in Sheffield, added: “This is a very exciting project and demonstrates huge investment in the local region. As the leading regional retail and leisure destination, Meadowhall is a key part of the local area. We wanted to launch here to connect with the community and promote health, wellbeing and quality family time – encouraging all ages to get active while having fun.” Agents CBRE and Smith Young acted for Meadowhall. Jump Inc’s other venue is in Parkgate Retail Park, Rotherham, with plans for further sites in Leeds, Barnsley and Lincoln.
Restaurateur opens second Indian site: Restaurateur Pradip Chouhan, who has run Gymkhana Bar & Restaurant in Ilford, Essex, for the past two decades, has opened his second site, this time in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. Spice Lounge, on the site of the former Choi Tang Chinese restaurant, offers a menu featuring Punjabi, Gujarati and Indo-Chinese food, with a speciality in lamb and chicken dishes as well as extensive vegetarian options. Chouhan’s partner in the venture is former civil servant Parminder Sunda. They have invested about £40,000 each into the project and bought the grade II-listed building with a 15-year lease. Sunda told the Herts & Essex Observer: “What diners can expect here is traditional Indian food – which is very rare in Bishop’s Stortford.”