Orange Tree Group opens eighth site as it launches smokehouse concept Fenways in Loughborough: Orange Tree Group, the East Midlands-based independent pub company, has opened its eighth site, adding to its presence in Loughborough. The company has launched bar, burgers and smokehouse concept Fenways in Baxter Gate on a site that formerly housed Brooklyn Bar. Fenways takes inspiration from London’s most popular street food concepts and launches on the back of The Smokehouse, Orange Tree Group’s pop-up restaurant in Leicester. Alongside burgers and sides, Fenways also offers ribs, pulled pork, homemade barbecue sausage, brisket and chicken, all smoked in British-manufactured smokers. The drinks menu focuses on cocktails and milkshakes. The venue features “quirky” decor and an “inside out” garden. Orange Tree Group co-founder Ben Hings told the Loughborough Echo: “Over the years we have noticed the changes in how consumers wish to spend their leisure time. Loughborough has been influenced by these changes with the new Baxter Gate development and we feel Fenways will tick all the right boxes and give the Loughborough market exactly what is missing – great-quality smokehouse food served in a casual environment and backed by friendly service.” The company’s other sites include the Kelso in Loughborough and its eponymous bars in Leicester, Loughborough and Nottingham.
Hollywood Bowl Group and Paradise Island open first East Midlands sites at Intu Derby’s new leisure area: Intu has opened a new leisure area at its shopping centre in Derby to allow indoor adventure golf operator Paradise Island and Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest ten-pin bowling operator, to open their first sites in the East Midlands. A deck of Intu Derby’s multi-storey car park has been converted into 42,000 square foot of leisure space as part of the company’s drive to bring together a strong leisure offer and retail mix across its portfolio of shopping centres. Intu regional director Nick Round said: “By further establishing Intu Derby as a sought-after destination for brands and customers, our new leisure offer is exactly the right space for Hollywood Bowl and Paradise Island Adventure Golf to reach customers in the East Midlands region for the first time. Our strategy is to create a stronger leisure offer and retail mix across our nationwide portfolio of shopping destinations so we’re excited to be making this a reality by bringing more compelling experiences to Intu Derby customers that will help all our retailers to flourish.”
McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook earned $15.4m in 2016: McDonald’s British chief executive Steve Easterbrook got a big raise last year. Easterbrook received $15.4m in total compensation in 2016, a 94% increase from 2015, when he received $7.9m as chief executive of the world’s largest restaurant chain, according to federal securities filings. The pay package includes $1.3m in salary, $5.1m in stock awards, $3.9m in option awards, and $4.6m in incentive plan compensation. He also received $523,665 in “other compensation”, which included contributions to his retirement plan and other benefits, as well as personal use of the company aircraft. Easterbrook’s payday was the largest for a McDonald’s chief executive in seven years, since Jim Skinner received $17.6m in 2009. The largest pay package Easterbrook’s predecessor Don Thompson received was $13.8m in 2012.
Casual Dining Group admits two food safety law breaches after cockroaches and mouse droppings found at Las Iguanas restaurant in Liverpool: Casual Dining Group has admitted two breaches of food safety law after live cockroaches and mouse droppings were discovered at the company’s Las Iguanas restaurant at Liverpool ONE. Liverpool Magistrates Court heard the creatures were found during an inspection by the city council on 16 February last year. According to the charges, the restaurant failed to put “adequate procedures” in place to control pests “in that live cockroaches and mouse droppings were found in the premises indicating that pests were active”. The company also admitted failing to keep the premises clean and maintained “in that floor surfaces and equipment surfaces in the kitchen and storage areas were unclean”. Magistrates heard the council was prepared to withdraw four additional charges, reports the Liverpool Echo. Following a brief hearing the case was adjourned until Tuesday, 16 May when the company is due to be sentenced. After the hearing Las Iguanas managing director Mos Shamel said: “We fully accept 14 months ago conditions at our Liverpool ONE restaurant were not right, following a localised issue. This problem was addressed immediately and robustly. At the same time, we conducted a wider review of this restaurant, which triggered a programme of changes including some personnel changes. We are satisfied that this restaurant now meets the stringent national standards that we demand and our guests expect.” The company temporarily closed the restaurant following the inspection, carried out due to a complaint from a customer.
Pret A Manger reports vegetarians eating twice as many desserts: Pret A Manger has reported its two vegetarian-only shops sell far more desserts than its other stores — a quirk it said may indicate people want to treat themselves more after they feel they’ve had a healthy meal. The company opened its second vegetarian-only location this month in Shoreditch. While the sample size is small, chief executive Clive Schlee said “it would be safe to say that dessert sales are double what they are at normal Prets”. Pret touts its use of natural and organic ingredients and offers meatless options at its other stores, but the separate stores are intended to win favor among younger people the company said are driving a growing interest in vegetarianism. Pret said it may open a vegetarian outpost in New York in the next year as well — and expects desserts to be big sellers. “There’s definitely a tendency — if you’ve eaten a healthy vegetarian meal, you’re definitely entitled to a healthy vegetarian dessert,” Schlee added.
Five Guys lodges plans for second Nottingham restaurant: Better burger brand Five Guys has lodged plans to open its second site in Nottingham. The company has applied to the city council to open the restaurant in Redfield Way, near the city’s Showcase cinema, creating 40 jobs, reports The Business Desk. The 2,500 square foot new-build venue would follow Five Guys’ existing restaurant in Long Row. A planning statement accompanying the application said: “The location of the building completes a quadrant of restaurant units, enhances the active frontages of the area, and provides a complimentary offer to the existing mix of uses on the site.” Five Guys, which was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family, has 61 restaurants in the UK having opened its first in Covent Garden in 2013.
Wetherspoon progresses new Belfast opening: JD Wetherspoon has lodged a drinks licence application for a new pub in the middle of Belfast. It’s the latest development in plans to open two new bars in the city and comes after chairman Tim Martin warned issues with planning and licensing were delaying the projects, which he had hoped would be up and running by now. The Royal Avenue hostelry will be the first bar in recent times to front on to Belfast’s best known shopping street. The next closest, The Hudson, sits just off it in Gresham Street. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Martin said: “Getting both planning and licensing for two new pubs is inevitably a slow and painstaking process but I’m confident it will be worth the wait. Our plans involve a major investment in disused buildings, a significant number of jobs and attractive modern venues for Belfast.” JD Wetherspoon bought the former JJB Sports store, which closed after the company went into administration, about two years ago.
Bitters n’ Twisted continues expansion of Bodega Cantina brand with Derby opening, fourth site: Birmingham-based multiple operator Bitters n’ Twisted has continued expansion of its South American-themed bar and restaurant brand Bodega Cantina by opening a site in Derby. The company has invested £150,000 in the 60-cover venue in Sadler Gate, which is the fourth Bodega Cantina following its launch in Birmingham six years ago and subsequent openings in Leicester and Worcester. The 2,100 square foot interior features South American imagery, including skulls, wrestlers and footballers. The menu includes burritos, nachos and tacos, as well as a range of Peruvian and Ecuadorian-inspired mains and hand-made cocktails. Bitters n’ Twisted founder Matt Scriven said: “Bodega has been such a hit across three cities in the Midlands, we know the demand is there for genuine and fresh South American food in playful and quirky surroundings. We’re really excited to be opening our first restaurant in Derby – the city, and Sadler Gate in particular, has an exciting and emerging food scene and we hope to be a popular addition.” Bitters n’ Twisted has ten other bars and restaurants in the Midlands. Earlier this year, Scriven told Propel the company would focus on growing Bodega Cantina during the next 12 to 18 months, adding “one or two sites a year during the next decade”.
Anglo’s Mark Jarvis to open Mayfair bistro: Mark Jarvis, who operates British restaurant concept Anglo in Farringdon, is teaming up with Alex Harper, former chef at Michelin-starred The Harwood Arms, to launch a new London venture. Jarvis, former head chef at the Bingham and Le Manoir, and Harper will launch In Bistro in Woodstock Street, Mayfair, next month, taking inspiration from Paris’ neo bistro movement. The venue will take over The Woodstock Tavern, with a rotating menu featuring seasonal specials including cured Tamworth pork with venison chorizo, and fresh cheese with smoked potato, grilled leeks and walnut pesto. There will also be substantial plates such as roast sea bass with mousserons, while desserts will include chocolate tart with malt ice cream. Wine will be from emerging regions and include lesser known grape varieties, alongside craft beer and cocktails, with front-of-house run by Anglo’s Nick Gilkinson. Jarvis said: “The neo bistro movement has transformed the scene in Paris, bringing chefs like Alex to a space where they can be freely creative. It results in a restaurant more attuned to the way people actually want to eat and the environment they want to be in, which is something we’ve always kept at the heart of what we do at Anglo. Alex and I have worked in some great kitchens together over the years, but to be doing things on our own terms is really rewarding.”
Coppa Club lines up site in Henley with Strada conversion: Sector investor Hugh Osmond is lining up a site for his Coppa Club concept in Henley. Coppa Club, which launched in Sonning-on-Thames in Berkshire, has opened three further sites in London – in Oxford Circus, St Paul’s and Tower Bridge. Now Osmond is looking to convert the Strada restaurant in Bell Street into Coppa Club’s latest venue. Plans have been lodged with South Oxfordshire District Council to change the frontage and side entrance and to install new signage. Six antique copper wall lamps and an illuminated clock fascia sign would be installed, reports the Henley Standard. Coppa Club is looking to add to its pipeline with applications lodged to open sites in Brighton and Maidenhead. Osmond worked with Luke Johnson to launch the flotation of PizzaExpress in 1993. He founded Punch Taverns in 1997 and private equity firm Sun Capital Partners in 2001, which acquired Strada in 2014.
Freeths reports 12.5% increase in turnover: Sector law firm Freeths has reported turnover increased 12.5% to £72m for the year ending 31 March 2017 compared with £65.3m a year earlier. Freeths’ headcount also increased by more than 100, with more than 780 staff now working across its 11 offices. Chris Freeston, managing partner of Freeths’ Nottingham head office, told Insider Media: “It has been a busy year of growth across the firm and we work hard as a team to deliver the results our clients want, whilst ensuring that our staff have the opportunity to develop and progress within the business.” Freeths is headquartered in Nottingham, where it employs more than 320 staff. It also has offices in Birmingham, Derby, Leicester, Leeds, Manchester, London, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Sheffield and Stoke.
Fever reopens former Eclectic Bars nightclub in Oxford: Fever Bars, led by managing director Mark Shorting, has reopened the former Lola Lo nightclub in Oxford. Fever Bars bought the leasehold for the site in Magdalen Street last month from Eclectic Bars, the bars division of Brighton Pier Group, and has invested £200,000 refurbishing the site. The 200-capacity, single-room venue will host classic pop hits from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Fever Bars director Duncan Squiers told the Oxford Times: “We’re billing it as Oxford’s guilty little pleasure. We’re trying to bring a fun little venue to Oxford city centre, something that appeals to all types of people. We’ve put in an array of glitter balls, a fantastic colour-changing dance floor and some great booze to boot.” Last month, Fever Bars, which operates about 30 clubs and bars across the country, opened a nightclub at the former Lola Lo in Lincoln having acquired it from Brighton Pier Group in November.
Prezzo opens Telford site: Prezzo has opened a site at Telford Shopping Centre’s new Southern Quarter development. Prezzo joins TGI Friday’s and Handmade Burger Company at the centre’s new extension, with the restaurants sitting next to an 11-screen Imax Cineworld and with other restaurant brands being sought to fill the two remaining units. Other brands at the neighbouring Southwater section of the shopping complex include PizzaExpress and Nando’s. The 26,500 square foot Southern Quarter is the first phase of a multimillion-pound development to transform the shopping centre. Phase two will see the creation of a 70,000 square foot Northern Quarter to feature seven new stores. Prezzo has more than 270 restaurants across the UK, with the closest site to Telford in Bridgnorth, Shropshire.
Lasan Group launched artisan pizza restaurant concept with Selfridges concession: Birmingham-based restaurant group Lasan has opened an artisan pizza concept in the city. The company has launching Izza Pizza, which is based in the food hall at Selfridges Birmingham. It offers wood fired artisan pizzas including a traditional margherita with tomato, mozzarella and basil and the Truffle in Paradise, which consists of black truffle, taleggio cheese, chives and white onion. Selfridges Birmingham general manger Sam Watts told The Business Desk: “We are thrilled to welcome such a innovative restaurant group, which is responsible for opening some of Birmingham’s finest eateries to our house. Izza Pizza has something that will appeal to all of our shoppers and will soon become a Selfridges foodhall staple.”
Buzzworks Holdings launches pro-social bonus scheme charity initiative: Ayrshire-based restaurant company Buzzworks Holdings has launched a pioneering initiative to provide a boost to local charities in its area. The quarterly pro-social bonus scheme has rolled out across all nine of Buzzworks’ properties, with the top four performing venues taking a share of £1,000 to gift to any registered charity of their choice. The Mill House, Elliots, Lido Troon and The Corner House took the first round of cash prizes for their chosen charities. Each venue is scored at the end of every month based on various factors including sales, customer service and cleanliness. The Mill House in Stewarton scooped the top prize and chose to gift its winning sum of £500 to The Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Second placed Elliots presented Ayrshire Hospice with £250 and Lido gave £150 to the British Heart Foundation. The final beneficiary of this quarter was Eglinton MS Society, which The Corner House in Kilwinning awarded its £100 bonus. Buzzworks Holdings managing director Kenny Blair said: “We believe this scheme could be the first of its kind within the hospitality industry. The pro-social bonus is a way of us giving back and rewarding the hard work and dedication of our employees. By offering the choice of charity to the individual winning venues this ensures our people and the communities we work in come first.”
Burger King brings home the bacon for new UK menu: Burger King has launched a bacon-focused menu in the UK that features “three burgers and bites with a twist”. The limited edition Bacon Feast menu also features a baconnaise sauce. The burgers are Smokey Baconnaise Angus, Smokey Baconnaise Tendercrisp and Bacon Double Cheese XL. The Angus features an Aberdeen Angus patty topped with four slices of bacon and a smokey baconnaise sauce with tomatoes and cheese, all sandwiched in a brioche bun. Burger King is also adding a new snack, Bacon Cheese Bites, which are the normal cheesy nuggets with added meat pieces.
Stonegate Pub Company gets UK exclusivity to launch ‘light prosseco’ across estate: Stonegate Pub Company has been given UK exclusivity to launch Gancia Leggero across its estate. The “light prosecco” has almost 75% less sugar than Italian producer Casa Gancia’s dry variant and is aimed at enticing calorie-conscious drinkers. Stonegate Pub Company commercial director Suzanne Baker said: “This is every female’s dream come true! Prosecco is already considered one of the lighter drinks and now, with a skinny version, this is no doubt going to tap into the growing consumer trend for low-calorie and low-sugar products. It has all the hallmarks of one of our most successful launches to date.” Gancia Leggero Prosecco is exclusive to Stonegate Pub Company in the UK for the next six months before becoming widely available across the on-trade. Stonegate Pub Company has 692 pubs split into two divisions: branded (Slug and Lettuce, Yates’s, Walkabout, Common Room, Venues) and traditional (Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, Classic Inns).
London-based brewer Beatnikz Republic opens permanent site, in Manchester: London-based brewer Beatnikz Republic has launched a permanent home, in Manchester. Founder and head brewer Paul Greetham has opened a micro-brewery and tap room under the Red Bank railway arches in the Green Quarter. The first eight beers brewed at the site will be available from the end of May. Greetham said: “Manchester has been very receptive to the idea. The residents close by have popped their heads round to say hello and see what we are doing. Hopefully that can translate into a solid start.” Greetham started out as a home-brewer before upscaling his operation with sessions at open brewery Ubrew in Bermondsey and other established London breweries – a practice known as cuckoo brewing. The Manchester move will enable him to produce more beer, which will be supplied to bars and bottle shops on keg and in 440ml cans, as well as being served fresh from source at the on-site taproom, which is open every weekend.
Douglas Jack – Domino’s Pizza Poland offers ‘unusually long-term growth opportunity’: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said Domino’s Pizza Poland offers investors the chance to buy into an unusually long-term growth opportunity. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 75p, Jack said: “Domino’s Pizza Poland is rolling out the tried and trusted Domino’s Pizza delivery model and the product is proving just as popular across Poland as it is in the other 14,000 Domino’s stores worldwide. The uncertainty for us is over when, not if, Domino’s Pizza Poland has stores in every corner of the country. In large developed markets for the Domino’s brand there are currently 67,000 households per store and the aggregate target is to bring that down to 30,000 households. Domino’s Pizza Poland, with 333,000 households per store clearly has a long way to go. We forecast 166 stores in FY2023E (80,000 households per store), 200 are possible in a similar time frame (67,000 households per store). At 400 stores, there would be 33,000 households per store, in line with the target for other developed markets. As with any roll-out, new stores take time to reach profit maturity; we forecast five years. And we forecast continued new store openings. As a result, our profit forecasts are a poor guide to the potential profitability of the business. In FY2023E (with 166 stores) we forecast Ebitda of £3.8m. However, 200 mature stores would deliver Ebitda of £8.6m and 400 stores £14.3m. We believe the value in Domino’s Pizza Poland’s shares lies largely in the option value attached to rolling out an estate of stores across Poland. This option value is difficult to assess. We believe a mature 200-store estate is a reasonable medium-term target and would have a present value of 72p. The value of 400 stores would be materially greater. Domino’s Pizza Poland has proven the business case for Domino’s in Poland and that it has the resources to accelerate the exploitation of that opportunity. We reiterate our ‘Buy’ recommendation and 75p target price.”
Market Town Taverns relaunches historic Harrogate pub: Yorkshire-based pub chain Market Town Taverns has reopened The Old Bell in Harrogate town centre following a major refurbishment. The revamp has remained sensitive to the history of the alehouse, which dates to the early 17th century and was a stage in the York to Harrogate coaching run. The original bar, fashioned from an antique dresser, has been restored, while the upstairs space has been made lighter and more accommodating for people to use the free Wi-Fi to relax or work. The space is also available for private hire. Market Town Taverns managing director Louise Middlemass said: “It’s been about making sure we retain the essential character of the pub that everybody knows and loves. However, with changing tastes, there is a fine balance between ensuring a pub remains historic but does not become history! That’s meant moving with the times and broadening The Old Bell’s appeal.” Market Town Taverns operates 20 pubs in Yorkshire and the north west.
Kuckoo opens third rock ‘n’ roll cocktail bar, in Sheffield: North West-based rock ‘n’ roll cocktail bar brand Kuckoo has opened its third site, this time in Sheffield city centre. The 220 square metre venue in Leopold Square offers customers a choice of 65 cocktails while listening to a playlist from across the eras, including tracks by Elvis, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Stone Roses and The Strokes. An onyx-style bar is the centrepiece, with matching stone islands and bar stools. There are also leather and velvet seating areas, a black-granite floor and gold-framed photographs of rock ‘n’ roll legends. Kuckoo founder Richard Powell told BDaily: “Our ethos is having fun and letting loose in a comfortable, yet glamorous environment. We wanted to bring this to Sheffield – the city is vibrant, fun and contemporary. All our bartenders are passionate about their jobs – we have a manager-less system and this is their career. They are trained to the highest standards to ensure our guests can enjoy a really good drink made with care and commitment. The music, of course, is equally a passion of ours.” Powell launched the first Kuckoo in Preston in 2010, with a second site opening in Chester in 2013. A fourth venue is due to open in Knutsford this summer.
MeatLiquor signs as exclusive partner at historic London ice rink for 11th site: MeatLiquor has signed to become exclusive food and drinks partner at London’s historic Queens ice rink and will open its 11th site at the venue on Friday, 5 May. The 45,000 square foot Queens: Skate-Dine-Bowl venue in Queensway, close to Hyde Park, features a 200-capacity bar and 80-cover diner overlooking the 12 bowling lanes. MeatLiquor will serve food from midday to 11pm on weekdays and until midnight at weekends. All customers will be able to enjoy lane-side dining, with food and drinks brought to team tables. MeatLiquor managing director Scott Collins said: “The ethos of MeatLiquor is one built on offering a destination for people who want to go out but without growing up – something Queens epitomises.” Queens owner Ben Bourne added: “We are so excited about this collaboration. MeatLiquor’s playfulness completes the unique experiences, from bowling and retro arcade games to ice skating.” Collins founded MeatLiquor with Yianni Papoutsis in 2011, operating from a burger van. It has since opened seven sites in London and others in Brighton, Bristol and Leeds. A 12th site is due to open in King’s Cross in the summer. Last month, MeatLiquor launched a delivery-only site at Canary Wharf in partnership with Deliveroo