Pod opens Seven Dials site with new operating format, eyes further West End venues: London-based healthy eating brand Pod has opened its second site in two months – and its first to open seven days a week. The venue in Upper St Martin’s Lane, Seven Dials, is the company’s first in the West End and it is now targeting further sites in the area. Previously, the brand has successfully focused on a strong presence in the Square Mile and this new location, which follows on from its launch in Kingsway in August, marks its latest expansion. The food philosophy has stayed the same but the brand has made some changes to accommodate its move into the theatre district. The Seven Dials site is open until late, seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Pod chefs are working on a range of hot food dishes, set to launch during the next six months. The restaurant also offers a full catering service via its online ordering platform, specifically created for meetings and events, widening its delivery footprint. Executive chairman John Postlethwaite said: “We are extremely proud of this opening, it is a big step forward for us and we are pleased to finally answer the demand from our West End customers. We are testing a slightly different operating model here, with no langars in the customer area. It is designed for speed of service to fit with the needs of the location. We have set a new standard for fast, fresh food in the area. Our sights are now firmly set on further West End locations.”
Vivek Singh to reopen Cinnamon Soho with new look and all-day menu: Cinnamon Soho, the casual modern Indian restaurant from Vivek Singh, will reopen on Thursday, 29 September following a refurbishment, with a new look and all-day menu. The site in Kingly Street is being subtly refreshed using recycled and upcycled materials. There will be hand-painted walls, industrial bar stools, mismatched architectural chairs, and rustic troughs and plants. Indian vendor carts will feature alongside quirky light and timber installations. The restaurant will now open for breakfast, serving Cinnamon Soho’s signature parathas with an option of fillings such as Keema (smoky spiced minced lamb and Keen’s cheddar), and Meetha (coconut, sprinkle of brown cane sugar and Nutella). The menu will also feature a selection of “nibbles”, including Bangla scotch eggs – quail’s eggs wrapped in Calcutta spiced beetroot – and lamb shammi kebabs. For lunch or dinner, “Soho plates” will include smaller dishes such as Kadhai-spiced duck liver on toasted brioche or larger plates such as whole tandoori pomfret with pickled vegetables and Lucknow chicken biryani. There will be set lunch and dinner menus, while the lower ground floor will offer a semi-private dining room with no minimum spend. The refurbished bar will feature new signature cocktails such as the Chilli Black Mango – whisky, Fireball, mango juice, spicy vanilla sugar and a hint of black pepper – and the Spiced Plum Saketini – Bombay Sapphire, plum wine, sake, ginger and lemon zest. Flavoured lassis and mocktails will also make up an extended drinks menu alongside wine, champagne, beer and cider.
BrewDog opens second south coast site, in Southampton: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has opened its second site on the south coast, this time in Southampton. The company stated: “The south coast of England is a hotbed of craft beer, with some fantastic bars, amazing breweries and truly knowledgeable fans – and although it may be a long way from our Ellon headquarters (it’s almost as far as Oslo, in fact) it is high time we added a second bar in that sunny part of the world to partner the epic BrewDog Brighton. So how does Southampton sound? In the city that used to be known at the ‘Gateway to the World’ we have 18 taps celebrating the variety and imagination of global craft beer, serving up a rotating selection of the freshest options anywhere in the city. Our latest UK bar is found in Upper Bannister Street. We have renovated a two-floor standalone building by stripping away recent additions and retaining the original brick exterior, fireplaces and mezzanine. BrewDog Southampton will also be offering growler fills. In terms of food, the bar will be rocking our new pizza menu, and our Cicerone-trained staff are on hand to suggest the perfect beer pairing for each and every pizza on offer!”
Brunning & Price opens gastro-pub on outskirts of Preston: Brunning & Price, the gastro-pub brand owned by The Restaurant Group, has opened a site on the outskirts of Preston. The company has converted former wedding venue Haighton Manor into its latest site, creating 40 jobs. The venue in Haighton Green Lane features a 176-cover restaurant and a private dining area for 14, with room for a further 120 diners on the terrace and lawns. There are seven cask beers, 30 gins and 50 different malts behind the bar as well as an extensive food menu. Brunning & Price managing director Mary Willcock said: “We are very fortunate to have landed such a historic building in this beautiful part of the world. We look for buildings with character that we can sensitively restore to provide a pub we hope will prove to be important to the local community. We also hope to happen on something special in each pub that joins the family and, in the case of Haighton, not only does the pub have great gravitas, but it sits within the most beautiful landscape.’’ Brunning & Price has 55 sites, split between the north west and south east. It has a further three pubs in development – the Physician in Edgbaston; the Dinorben Arms in Bodfari; and the Fox Revived in Norwood Hill – with further expansion planned in 2017. As well as its current work-based training programmes, it now offers a 12-month NVQ in professional cookery and is investigating further apprentice ideas for front of house.
Cote acquires Living Ventures site in Hale: French brasserie Cote has acquired The Hale Grill in Hale village, Cheshire, from Living Ventures, with the venue closing for refurbishment with immediate effect. The Hale Grill had been a fixture in Ashley Road for more than a decade. Cote, meanwhile, revealed more details on another site it will open in Cheshire. It has gained change-of-use planning and listed building consent for a site in Bridge Street in Chester city centre. Permission was granted by Cheshire West and Chester Council for a rear extension, internal and external alterations, extraction equipment, outdoor seating and an awning. Cote is advertising for a general manager and assistant manager for a site formerly occupied by a linen shop and next door to Carluccio’s. Cote head of marketing Genevieve Sparrow told The Chester Chronicle building work is due to begin in November ahead of an opening in spring 2017. Cote currently has 80 sites in the UK, with the nearest restaurant to Chester and Hale in Liverpool.
Crosstown Doughnuts to open second permanent site, in Shoreditch next week: Crosstown Doughnuts, co-founded by Adam Wills and Peter Gordon, is set to open its second permanent site, this time in Shoreditch on Monday, 26 September. The company’s debut doughnut and coffee shop launched in Broadwick Street, Soho, in May 2015, while it also operates a number of market stalls across London. The new venue in Brick Lane will be larger than the Soho site, with space for 30 people, and will offer the full range of Crosstown sourdough doughnuts, including the newly reworked beetroot lemon-thyme doughnut (pink beetroot sourdough ring, hand-dipped in a lemon-thyme glaze and finished with vanilla crumble and fresh lemon-thyme). Coffee will come from Caravan as well as bottled cold-brew coffee from local producers Sandows and its Nitro cold brew on draught, Hot Dinners reports. There will also be Prana Chai soy lattes, Mörk hot chocolate and locally produced seasonal sodas. The venue will be open until 10pm, Monday to Thursday, and 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Hathor Inns opens new nightclub concept in Newcastle: Irish bar operator Hathor Inns has opened a new nightclub concept in Newcastle. The company has launched subterranean club Illegitimate in Bigg Market. It marks the final piece of the puzzle for the operator, who pledged to create three separate venues at the site of the former Bambu nightclub, which closed when owners PBR went into administration. More then £750,000 was invested into one half of the ground floor, transforming it into its Filthy McNasty’s brand, which has sites in Belfast, London and Nottingham. It has also developed bar and restaurant Passing Clouds, which opened earlier this year. The new venue is designed to be a more upmarket neighbour and has been named after a brand of cigarettes that were once made in Newcastle, reports Chronicle Live. Directors said Illegitimate, which has been decked out with gold leather and velvet seats, including gold beds in the VIP area, will deliver R&B nights until 3am. The club has a tagline “belongs to no-one” and Hathor Inns said: “This club doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to all of you.”
Mark Hix to relaunch Tramshed this week: Restaurateur Mark Hix will relaunch his Shoreditch chicken and steak restaurant Tramshed on Friday (23 September), with some larger options added to the menu. One addition at the venue in Rivington Street will be the Yard of Beef – a 1.5kg, 28-day aged rib of beef on the bone that serves a minimum of three people. Another newcomer will be Big Bird – a huge capon – while there will be four sharing desserts to choose from – an entire bramley apple pie with cream, custard or ice cream (recommended for six to eight people); Oakchurch Farm blueberry and white chocolate ripple cheesecake; salted caramel fondue with marshmallows and doughnuts for dipping; and whole Peruvian gold chocolate cake, Hot Dinners reports. A soft launch will run until 29 September offering 50% off all food.
Plans lodged for multimillion-pound scheme in Inverness featuring five restaurants: Plans have been lodged for a multimillion-pound scheme in Inverness featuring five new restaurants. The owners of the Eastgate Centre – Scoop Asset Management – has applied to give the complex and Falcon Square a major facelift. Five new restaurants are included as part of the proposals to create a “continental-style” civic square in the heart of the city. A new bar and restaurant would be built on the roof of the Eastgate, offering panoramic views of the Inverness skyline. It is hoped the other four restaurants could open as soon as next summer. They will be built on the ground-floor level, looking across Falcon Square. The Monsoon store, which currently fronts on to Falcon Square, would be moved to another unit inside the centre to make way for the new restaurants. Eastgate Centre manager Jackie Cuddy told the Press and Journal: “It’s really exciting that we have finally got to this point and, subject to planning permission, we are all ready to go. I think it will bring a great vibrancy to the city centre and I don’t think it will have a big effect on other restaurants because it will be different, family-oriented restaurants. We would like to have the ground floor completed by next summer. We’re in strong discussions with a couple of tenants.”
Krispy Kreme makes Ireland expansion a ‘priority’: Krispy Kreme has made expansion into Ireland a ‘”priority” and has set up a wholly-owned Irish subsidiary to manage the venture. British real estate agent Morgan Williams is scouting potential sites for a Hotlight store in Dublin. Tim Edwards, of Morgan Williams, told The Irish Times: “They’re looking at expanding into Ireland. It’s a priority for them. It’s the next obvious place to go… there’s a real push on.” Edwards said “preliminary discussions” had taken place with potential landlords, with Krispy Kreme looking for leasehold sites of about 4,700 square feet capable of accommodating a drive-thru and a minimum of 60 car parking spaces. The investment in the Hotlight store would be more than €1.5m and employ about 50 staff. Once the factory outlet had been established, Edwards said Krispy Kreme would consider smaller format stores in Ireland at airports, train stations or in a city centre unit. Yesterday, Propel reported Krispy Kreme was set to float this week, with Alcuin Capital, the private equity firm that controls Krispy Kreme’s UK arm, gearing up for an initial public offering of the business, which would value the chain at about £200m. Krispy Kreme traces its routes to 1937, when Vernon Rudolph started selling doughnuts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The business expanded into Britain 13 years ago and the UK arm now sells more than 50 million doughnuts each year from its own shops as well as from self-service cabinets in about 500 Tesco supermarkets and motorway service stations. The British company is owned separately from the US business, which was bought by Germany’s billionaire Reimann family for $1.35bn earlier this year.
Welcome Break wins forecourt award: Motorway services operator Welcome Break’s forecourt team at its Corley North Services has won the Forecourt Trader Motorway Forecourt of the Year 2016 award. The award was presented to the team at The Forecourt Trader of The Year Awards at London’s Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, recognising and rewarding businesses in the petrol retailing industry. The Corley North forecourt team comprises unit business manager June Fessey and 14 team members. Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie said: “It is wonderful that our brilliant team at Corley North has been recognised for their hard work and dedication in running an outstanding motorway forecourt. There was strong competition for the award from other companies within the industry, which highlights the strength of our team.” Forecourt commercial brand manager Mike Blackwell added: “We have transformed our forecourts in the past year, not just in appearance but in the range of products on offer and the excellent service from our team members. The award is testament to the effort our forecourts team has made to provide the best products and service to our visitors.”
Nudo Sushi Box to continue with growth plans despite raising prices following Brexit vote: Japanese takeaway and cafe Nudo Sushi Box has said it will continue with its growth plans despite having to increase prices ahead of an expected rise in imported product costs following the Brexit vote. The company told Insider Media the increase, which has been brought in across all nine of its sites, was “something we considered very carefully”. It added: “However, it was something that was necessary to the viability of the company following the Brexit vote. The substantial fall in value of the pound means all imported products will have to go up in cost over time, with sushi and fish products being particularly affected by this. Our price changes are proportionate to the circumstances as our primary ethos has always been – and always will be – to provide great-quality, affordable food with the customer at the centre of everything we do. Despite the economic challenges, we’re continuing to work hard to achieve continuous growth and brand awareness while staying true to our core values. Even with these changes, we still offer some of the most competitively priced quality sushi available on the high street.” The company has four sites in Newcastle, three in Manchester and one each in Durham and Sunderland, serving a range of sushi boxes, snacks, hot food and drinks.
Nottingham-based brewer Scribbler’s Ales has plans for second micro-pub refused: Nottingham-based brewery Scribbler’s Ales has had plans to open its second micro-pub refused. The company has had its application for the venue in Abbey Road, West Bridgford, rejected by Rushcliffe Borough Council after neighbours complained about noise and litter pollution. Scribblers Ales wanted to convert the former Mad Dog Sports unit into another of its “Room With a Brew” bars having opened its first in the Canning Circus area of Nottingham, reports The Business Desk. The brewery has tried to allay residents’ fears by saying: “The ethos of the micro-pub is a community-based operation selling our own brewed and other quality real ales, wines and ciders in a relaxed and comfortable environment. There will be none of the usual distractions associated with normal pubs but it will be a place for quiet reading or conversation without having to compete with loud music, television or slot machines. No hot food will be supplied, just traditional bar snacks of crisps, nuts, sausage rolls, pork pies and scratchings.”
Wagamama opens Peterborough city centre restaurant: Wagamama has opened a restaurant in Peterborough city centre. The company has opened the 130-cover venue in Long Causeway on a site formerly occupied by Blacks and Asylum Industries, creating 39 jobs. The restaurant features canteen-style benches as well as breakout areas and booths. Wagamama global brand director Simon Cope told the Peterborough Telegraph: “We are very pleased to open the doors to our new restaurant in Peterborough, where Wagamama will continue to reinforce positive eating by using fresh ingredients, served in atmospheric surroundings. It’s an exciting time for us and we look forward to hearing what our new and valued customers in Peterborough make of our arrival.” Earlier this month, Wagamama reported like-for-like sales rose by 9.8% in the 16 weeks to 14 August, the first quarter of its Fiscal Year 2017. Its credit rating has been upgraded by both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The UK like-for-like sales growth followed two strong prior years. The company said it had now traded ahead of the competition for 120 consecutive weeks.
Glasgow-based entrepreneurs acquire third pub for £1.2m: Entrepreneurs Oli Norman and Stephen White have acquired their third Glasgow pub after buying The Griffin for about £1.2m. Norman, who is behind Scotland’s fast-growing Itison daily deals website, and White have bought the site, on the corner of Bath Street and Elmbank Street, from Robert Mullen. The Griffin, which dates to 1903, will relaunch on Wednesday, 28 September after a £300,000 refurbishment, which involves installing a new kitchen, function area and the restoration of original features. Traditionally, there were three distinct areas within the venue – The Griffin (main bar), The Griffin One and The Griffinette. The main area will continue to be called The Griffin but those will be supplemented by two new concepts – a private function area called The Stage Door and The Gin Palace, where Scotland’s best gins will be served in goblets. Norman told Herald Scotland: “It’s a really popular place and it’s fair to say it needed a significant amount of investment. That’s where Stephen and I come in. Our goal is to keep the core essence of what makes The Griffin great, but introduce lots of new products across food and drink.” Our strategy has been really simple, which is to acquire freehold units that are the fabric of Glasgow.” Norman and White also own Brel in Ashton Lane and Sloans in Argyll Arcade.
Peel Hunt – ‘Domino’s Pizza Poland has taken another step towards profitability, plenty of appetite for pizza outside Warsaw’: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Ivor Jones has said Domino’s Pizza Poland has taken another step towards profitability, adding there is plenty of appetite for pizza outside Warsaw. Reiterating the company’s ‘Buy’ rating with a target price of 75p on the shares, Jones said: “Domino’s Pizza Poland has reported its 15th quarter of double-digit like-for-like growth with like-for-like system sales growth in the first half of 2016 of 28% and 24% in July/August. Five stores opened in the period (with another added after the period end) and system sales increased 57%. There are currently 29 stores – 16 corporate and 13 sub-franchised (two corporate stores were sold to franchisees after the period end). Group revenue increased 70% to £3m. Ebitda at the corporate store level doubled (up 104%); commissary gross profit was up 143%. This improved contribution was reinvested in costs to support further growth in store numbers, notably in the expansion team, area managers, and training and distribution costs. The group Ebitda loss improved 6% to £0.7m. There has been some underlying growth in protein prices but overall food costs/revenue improved as a result of increased volume discounts and the efforts of the procurement team. We have increased our revenue forecasts reflecting the strong growth in the first half of 2016 and, since the period end, the circa 11% weakening of sterling relative to the zloty. However, we have left our profit forecasts unchanged as we expect to see continued reinvestment in growing the business. The third sub-franchisee opened its first store in April and its second in June; the fourth sub-franchisee opened its first store in August and two corporate stores have been sold to franchisees this year. We believe the growing credibility of Domino’s Pizza Poland with franchisees will increase its credibility with investors. Domino’s Pizza Poland is now in seven cities, adding three this year. Continued expansion outside the capital validates our view it can build a national business. We believe there will be an inflection point when a solid core of successful sub-franchisees accelerates the growth of the business towards circa 400 stores largely using their own capital. We put our price target under review at the time of the July trading statement. The first-half results have not changed our view of the trajectory of profits but we believe it is clearer that the group has a sustainable business well on the way to critical mass and, in due course, profitability. While our valuation is necessarily somewhat conceptual at this stage, we believe trading momentum will drive the share price further ahead. Domino’s Pizza Poland has released another strong set of results and taken another step towards profitability. We reiterate our ‘Buy’ rating.”
Aberystwyth Pier bought out of administration, current operator to continue to run attraction: The future of Aberystwyth Pier, thought to be the oldest in Wales, has been secured after it was bought out of administration. The pier has been sold to a private pension fund and will continue to be operated and managed by Lee Price. The former owners of the pier, Don Leisure and Don Leisure Holdings, appointed John Kelly and Mark Malone of the Birmingham office of Begbies Traynor on 31 March 2015. Don Leisure and Don Leisure Holdings had been facing winding-up petitions from HMRC as a result of unpaid tax. They had suffered as a result of the storms that affected businesses in the area during the early part of 2014 and had been affected by poor trading at the beginning of 2015. A statement from Begbies Traynor said: “The continued trading has only been possible due to the efforts of general manager Lee Price and his team at the pier and the continued support of the two major charge holders. The joint administrators would like to thank all those involved with supporting this unique Aberystwyth landmark and are pleased it now has the prospects of a more permanent future. We wish the new owners and the team at the pier every success for the future.” The Royal Pier in Aberystwyth was built in 1865 and was shortened from its original length of 794 feet after suffering storm damage.
Pembrokeshire-based leisure operators launch hospitality academy: Pembrokeshire-based leisure operators Neil Kedward and Zoe Agar have launched a hospitality academy. Kedward and Agar, who are behind boutique hotel Grove of Narberth, and restaurants Coast and Beach House, have launched The Seren Academy having teamed up with three south west Wales colleges. Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Gower colleges have signed up to the project for their students to take on work placements across Kedward and Agar’s businesses. Each venue will welcome students on visits to tour the facilities and spend time with the respective management teams, while chefs Will Holland, from Coast, Allister Barsby, from Grove of Narberth, and Hywel Griffith, from Beach House, will become chef ambassadors for the catering colleges. The chefs, together with other members of the respective management teams, will also visit colleges to support the college lecture programme, sharing their knowledge of the sector and career stories as well as cooking with the students on special guest chef evenings. Six bursaries of £400 are also being offered to students to help them through the remainder of their studies, together with full-time work placements throughout the summer months to gain job experience. It is hoped full-time salaried roles will then be offered to students who successfully complete their studies and reach the required standard. Kedward said: “Over the years, we have had a considerable amount of success identifying and developing talented young professionals and we want to continue that work within a structured programme with the colleges. Identifying and inspiring young people and developing their skills properly through quality job experiences is key if the sector is to continue to grow in the region.”