SACO to launch new aparthotel brand Locke in London this autumn: Serviced apartment company SACO is to launch new aparthotel brand Locke in Aldgate, London, in October. The new brand will “combine the best aspects of boutique hotels and serviced apartments” and is named after 17th century British philosopher John Locke. Leman Locke will have 168 apartments, including 105 studios and 63 one-bedroom suites, as well as two bars, all-day dining, a gym, and two meeting rooms. SACO plans to open further Locke properties across the UK and Europe from 2017. SACO chief executive Stephen Hanton told BBT: “The serviced apartment sector is the fastest growing part of the hospitality industry and we have developed Locke to offer today’s travellers the best of a design-led hotel experience with at-home independent living. SACO’s mission is to reshape hospitality, and we are continuing to develop innovative concepts, using extensive research and feedback and involvement from thousands of our customers.” SACO operates more than 900 apartments around the UK, as well as offering apartments around the world through partnerships.



London-based boutique patisserie L’Orchidee launches £200,000 crowdfunding campaign to open more sites: London-based boutique patisserie L’Orchidee has launched a £200,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open more sites and drive wholesale growth – in the UK and overseas. The company, founded in 2010 by Elias Dayub and Daniel Garcia, is offering a 10% equity stake in return for the investment. It currently has sites in Westfield Stratford, Westfield London and Canary Wharf and supplies its products to Fortnum & Mason. The company stated: “We aim to become the go-to place for French macarons, luxury cakes and desserts – a national brand that is recognised by unique style and designs, with shops around London first, nationally in the future, as well as internationally as we grow. We currently have a number of other retailers and trade partners who we supply products to. We are looking to grow this part of the business to fully utilise the production facility, which opened last year in Barking. We will use £150,000 from the funds raised to open new sites. We are budgeting for up to £80,000 per site, although some of these are likely to be cheaper. The total capex budget for the current roll-out plan is £580,000, funded by a mixture of equity funding and cash flow. The business has so far achieved its growth with limited marketing budgets. However, management recognises that to build the brand more money will have to be spent on marketing. Cash requirement for this is £30,000. Driving wholesale growth is already an established activity. We simply require a dedicated sales manager to properly drive new business, but expect this to be profitable within six months or fewer. Capital requirement for this is £20,000.” The company forecasts Ebitda of £42,081 in January 2017, increasing to £182,989 the following year and £466,748 in 2019.




Mitchells & Butlers to convert Harvester site on outskirts of Brighton to Miller & Carter steakhouse brand: Mitchells & Butlers is to convert its Harvester site in Patcham, on the outskirts of Brighton, to its Miller & Carter steakhouse brand. The company will close the Black Lion in London Road for an extensive refurbishment ahead of opening the new restaurant in the autumn. The site is being transformed as part of Mitchells & Butlers’ review of its estate. John Crayford, regional business manager at Miller & Carter, said: “Bringing a new Miller & Carter to Brighton is a fantastic opportunity for the brand and we look forward to providing the best steaks and service that Miller & Carter is renowned for across the UK.” Miller & Carter has more than 40 steakhouses in the UK and serves 12 cuts of Red Tractor Farm Assured meat, including rib-eye, fillet and chateaubriand.




Charles Wells commits to continued investment in France despite Brexit: Bedford-based Charles Wells has vowed to continue to invest in its French business despite the referendum vote to leave the EU. The confirmation comes as it updates on trading performance during the Euro 2016 football tournament and the announcement of a new director of Charles Wells France, combining its managed pubs in the UK and France. The company admitted the UK’s decision to leave the EU caused a moment of uncertainty for the team based in France but was quick to reassure them it was business as usual. Charles Wells France has already invested in two new pubs this year and the company’s commitment to the business is demonstrated by its active search for more sites despite the Brexit vote. Business as usual for the Charles Wells France pubs, however, has taken an exceptional direction during the Euro 2016 tournament. Ideally located for the tournament, with pubs in the host cities of Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon and Toulouse, Charles Wells France has been able to make the most of the football festival. “In the first four weeks of the Euros we have achieved €1.1m net, which is 290% up on last year,” said director Craig Mayes. “The Welsh certainly kicked off their party in style in Bordeaux on 9 June and one of our pubs went from taking €25,000 per week to €30,000 per day. We’ve developed a great rapport with the Wales fans as they’ve moved around the country and are very excited to be hosting them again in Lyon this Wednesday.” Mayes was recently appointed as the new director of Charles Wells France, in addition to his responsibilities for the UK-based Apostrophe Pubs and the Pizza, Pots and Pints managed operations. He added: “I’m delighted to be working with the French team and we now have 300 colleagues in our managed business across the UK and France. My focus is going to be developing the training and career development opportunities for the teams, while attracting the best new talent to join and help us achieve our growth aspirations on either side of the Channel. We’ve got lots to get on with so it’s an exciting new chapter for me and the company.” The company is recruiting for a head of UK operations based in the UK and a French-speaking promotions and communications manager based in France. Anyone interested should email




Muriel’s Kitchen opens first grab-and-go-market brand variant: Casual dining brand Muriel’s Kitchen, which has sites in Richmond, Soho and South Kensington, has entered the grab-and-go market with its first brand extension – MK by Muriel’s Kitchen. The new venue in Putney High Street is a quick service, licensed variation of the brand offering healthy dishes to take away from breakfast to dinner. Breakfast includes tartlets, fresh pastries, breakfast pots such as coconut, chia and quinoa, and Bircher muesli. For lunch and dinner, MK offers seasonally changing soups, protein pots, sandwiches and salads. Signature dishes include Muriel’s beef lasagne, Nana’s recipe fish pie, and hand-made scotch eggs. Muriel’s Kitchen co-founder Sam Miller said: “MK by Muriel’s Kitchen aims to be a community hub, delivering something for everyone from healthy to indulgent items. We have ambitious plans to open a further five sites by 2017.” Muriel’s Kitchen was founded in 2011 by husband-and-wife team Sam and Charlotte Miller. Charlotte was inspired to recreate the food of her late grandmother Muriel, with the ethos inspired by classic British family plates with a modern twist using only the best British ingredients.




JW Lees spends record £5.2m exiting pubs with 2016 being ‘year of consolidation’: Brewer and retailer JW Lees has revealed it spent a record £5.2m on exiting pubs in its latest financial year, with 2016 being a “year of consolidation”. The company also said it would share £317,000 of profits with team members since it had achieved its budgeted profits for the fourth year in a row. It said the business was making progress on all fronts, with each of its three trading divisions – managed pubs, tenanted pubs and brewery – in growth. The company stated: “2016 has been a year of consolidation for JW Lees and, although no new sites were acquired, a record spend of £5.2m was made on exiting pubs with the aim of building the best pub estate in the north west by raising quality, standards and service. The company was delighted to announce that this year JW Lees will share £317,000 of profits with team members since the company has achieved its budgeted profits for the fourth year in a row.” At its conference at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, JW Lees reported a record year for the business, with sales increasing 0.2% to £64.1m and pre-tax profits up 1.8% to £5.7m. The company strengthened its management team during the latest financial year by hiring Tony Spencer as director of retail and Nicola Waring as the company’s first director of people. Managing director William Lees-Jones said: “We are pleased to be reporting a record year and the business is growing well. We are also prepared for the current era of change – JW Lees has always done well in hard times and we anticipate this will bring opportunities for us to buy and develop more new managed and tenanted pubs.”




Splendid Restaurants to open premium casual Hong Kong cafe-inspired restaurant concept in Holborn: Splendid Restaurants, sister company of Splendid Hospitality Group, will open a premium casual Hong Kong cafe-inspired restaurant concept in London this summer. The company is launching Cha Chaan Teng in Kingsway, Holborn. The restaurant, which will occupy the former Rocket site, is based on the popular cha chaan teng cafes found in Hong Kong – 1950s/1960s all-day cafe/diners that fuse the influences of the west with traditional Cantonese cooking. The 4,000 square foot basement site comprises 170 covers between the bar, dining room and a 16-seater “bao table”. Jeremy Pang, television chef and creator of School of Wok, has taken on the role of executive development chef to curate a menu of popular Chinese cha chaan teng-style dishes that include macaroni soup, crusty rolls with a variety of fillings, and sharing dishes such as chilli tiger prawns with lobster claws and whole crispy sea bream. Mixologists Soul Shakers have been enlisted to create a series of cocktails inspired by the elements of the Chinese tea culture, available alongside teas by The Real Tea Co and Chinese draught beer. Open daily from lunch to dinner, the restaurant will take bookings while also reserving a number of tables for walk-ins. Splendid Restaurants group operations director Mark Hall said: “We’re delighted to introduce Cha Chaan Teng and the Hong Kong cafe concept to London. We have always admired Jeremy’s refreshing and authentic cooking style and together we’ve created something unique. We look forward to introducing it to Londoners.” Cha Chaan Teng is the latest addition to the Splendid Restaurants portfolio, which includes the recently opened Absurd Bird and Jack & Alice.




Laine Pub Company strengthens management team: The Laine Pub Company, led by Gavin George and backed by Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners, has strengthened its management team to meet the challenges of growing its pub and beer business over the coming years. Dan Hills, who started with the company in 1999, has moved from operations director of the London business to sales and marketing director for the overall estate. Evan Eksteen has joined from Urban Pubs & Bars, and previously DHP Family, to take on the role of operations manager for Laine’s London estate. Meanwhile, Jack Hibberd, previously commercial director at Truman’s Brewery, has joined as director of Laine’s beer business. George said: “It’s too early to predict the impact of the EU referendum on the industry but I’m confident the appointment of these gifted and experienced people will contribute strongly to the management and growth of our business whatever the climate. The company has benefited greatly from Dan Hills’ business-building skills during his time in charge of our young, fast-growing London business and previously with our complex late-night operation in Brighton. The appointment of Evan Eksteen will free him up to support the entire estate in the continued evolution and communication of highly individual and engaging pub experiences. We engaged Jack Hibberd as a consultant to undertake a strategic review of our craft brewing capability and to recommend the steps required to grow the range and the volumes. We were so excited by his proposals we have taken him on to make them happen.” Laine’s pub estate is expected to grow significantly, with the addition of managed sites from the Mash Inns joint venture with Enterprise Inns. The company has seen encouraging growth in the volumes of craft beer it develops and brews through its micro-breweries and collaborations.




Brunning & Price reopens Prae Wood Arms in St Albans: Brunning & Price, the gastro-pub brand owned by The Restaurant Group, has reopened The Prae Wood Arms in St Albans, Hertfordshire, following a near six-month refurbishment. The new pub restaurant now seats 171, with a further 76 seats on an outside terrace with views of the river Ver. The menu includes slow-cooked ox cheek bourguignon with horseradish mash and roasted carrots, and roast sea trout with mussels, cockles, shrimps and crushed new potatoes. A company spokesman said: “We have met so many people who came here in their childhood and had fond memories of the building when it was a hotel, up to those who came more recently to visit it as a carvery. Most are stunned by the transformation, especially in the garden, which was covered with dark conifers obscuring the lovely view towards the river.’’ Brunning & Price operates 55 sites, split between the north west and south east. It will open a further three pubs this year – the Physician in Edgbaston, the Dinorben Arms in Bodfari, and the Fox Revived in Norwood Hill – with further expansion planned for 2017.




Project Pie opens first site in England, second UK pizza restaurant: US restaurant brand Project Pie, which promises personalised pizzas in less than three minutes, has opened a site in Intu Bromley shopping centre, its first venue in England and second in the UK. The restaurant offers a choice of 30 toppings and a no-limit policy so customers can design their own dinner for a set price. The bases and sauce are made on-site before the pizzas are cooked in a 600-degree oven. Project Pie UK director Susan Canavan said: “We always aim to fit in with the community and bring a different style and flavour to each of our stores. However, our approach remains the same – offering personalised pizza that is ready in less than three minutes.” The restaurant opened on Intu Bromley’s restaurant terrace alongside Belgo, Carluccio’s, The Restaurant Group brand Joe’s Kitchen, and YO! Sushi. The complex also includes Wagamama, Tesco-owned Giraffe, American diner chain Ed’s Easy Diner, and better burger brand Byron. Project Pie’s other UK site is in Dundee.




Volta owners to grow concept with new bar, restaurant and club in Manchester city centre hotel: The team behind West Didsbury restaurant Volta will grow the concept by opening bar, restaurant and club The Refuge in Manchester city centre on Monday, 12 September. DJs turned restaurateurs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford will launch the venue at a 10,000 square foot space in The Palace Hotel, which is undergoing a multimillion-pound refurbishment by owners Starwood Capital Project. The Refuge will include a 139-cover restaurant with open kitchen, booths and a private dining room. The winter garden will be at the heart of the space, housed in a glass atrium and offering afternoon tea. Elsewhere at the site, a 40 foot granite bar will serve craft ales from 18 taps, with an underground club also set to open early next year. The hotel originally housed Refuge Assurance’s head office and the décor will feature 1920s-inspired lightshades and stylised chairs. Volta launched in West Didsbury in 2013, serving an eclectic collection of dishes from Japan to the Mediterranean. Cowdrey told the Manchester Evening News: “Volta at The Refuge will retain the charm of its birthplace, serving small plates and informal dining, just on a bigger scale.”




Leicester-based entrepreneur co-launches Indian and craft beer restaurant concept in Warwick: Leicester-based entrepreneur Mashuk Miah has co-launched an Indian restaurant concept serving locally sourced craft beers in Warwick. Miah has opened Jambavan, which means “King of Bears”, with brother Bokul in Castle Street. Miah, who has been in the hospitality business for 25 years with restaurants in Leicester, told the Coventry Telegraph: “We chose this unusual name for the restaurant because Jambavan is the King of Bears in an Indian epic and it establishes our link with the county town, as Warwickshire’s emblem is the bear and ragged staff. We have 70 covers and will be sourcing local fresh produce and stocking a variety of local craft ales. In addition to our Indian meals, we will also serve sandwiches and snacks in the future – and creating some new cocktails, alongside the more traditional ones.” Nick Watts, a commercial solicitor from Blythe Liggins who negotiated the lease on the Castle Street premises, said: “Warwick and Leamington have become very popular with diners from all over the region for their quality eateries, and there is no doubt Jambavan will add to that list of successful restaurants.”




Chef Simon Rogan plans Cartmel shop: Celebrity chef Simon Rogan is looking to open a shop in Cartmel, where he runs the two Michelin-starred L’Enclume restaurant. Rogan’s company – Rogell – has submitted a planning application to turn Cartmel Priory Gatehouse Cottage into a shop. The Cavendish Street property is just a “stone’s throw” from L’Enclume. A document submitted by John Coward Architects stated the cottage was used as a general store and haberdashery in the 19th century, and played an “important role in establishing the clothing trade as an important part of the local economy”. Rogell operations manager Sam Ward said plans for the shop were “fairly unclear” but he hoped it would be open by October. “We have talked about some ideas,” he said, speaking about what the shop would sell. “Products that people associate with us, with the lifestyle of L’Enclume. We are part of Cartmel, a wonderful village with many strings to its bow, and we do not want to take business away from anyone. The products will be ones that are not currently available in the village.”




New Japanese restaurant and cocktail bar concept Happy Samurai to launch in Canterbury: New Japanese restaurant and cocktail bar concept Happy Samurai will launch in Canterbury next month. The new venue is due to open at Marlowe Arcade on Monday, 1 August promising food that is “fresh, healthy and great value for money”. The restaurant will obtain core ingredients from its factory in Hokkaido but will source meat and vegetables from local suppliers, with food made fresh in the kitchen. The restaurant will offer “authentic Japanese ramen and curry”, with “healthy ramen” to be 500 calories or fewer, and will also feature a ramen bar, saki bar and cocktail bar. It will also offer a “rich multimedia experience with a TV screen at every table, showing animation and popular, funky videos from Japan”. A company spokesman told the Canterbury Times: “The aim is to disrupt the fast casual dining market in the UK. There is no reason people should not eat healthy, fresh food. It is shocking to see how bad everyday food is on the high street. People in Asia eat fresh food every day. The brand will represent the fresh food eaten daily in Tokyo.”




Nicholson’s to stage ‘Gin Fest’: Nicholson’s, the Mitchells & Butlers-owned pub company, will stage a “gin fest” this summer to celebrate the spirit. The brand’s London pubs will showcase 31 different premium versions of the tipple, together with unique gin-infused cocktails, masterclasses, gin parties, and a raft of free daily giveaways for the festival, which runs from Thursday (7 July) to 20 August. Customers can download the Gin Fest 2016 passport on the Nicholson’s app and start collecting to receive a third off food or a gin and tonic for £1. Users can collect stamps every time they buy a drink for a chance to win prizes, including a VIP trip to the Plymouth Gin Distillery. The gins on offer will be broken down into categories – floral and modern, light and citrusy, savoury and dry, juniper heavy and robust, and “something a bit different”. Among the gins will be Little Bird, made in Peckham, south London, and Monkey 47 from Germany’s Black Forest, which is created in individual batches using a complex set of 47 different botanicals. Daily competitions will also be run on social media offering a variety of prizes.




Herb Garden pizza parlour to begin expansion with second north east restaurant: Newcastle pizza restaurant The Herb Garden will begin expansion by opening a second north east restaurant, this time in North Shields. The quirky pizza parlour – famed for its fibreglass mascot Herby the Horse, which guards its entrance in Westgate Road – is set to open a cafe-bar restaurant later this year at a building being constructed at Royal Quays Marina at the mouth of the river Tyne. Drawings of the new building show it will have a glazed frontage overlooking the marina as well as an outdoor seating area. The Herb Garden plans to run a pop-up restaurant at the marina until the new venue is ready. The Herb Garden, based in a railway arch near Central Station, opened in 2013 and is ranked in the top 20 out of 927 Newcastle restaurants on TripAdvisor. The vision for the new venture is relaxed cafe-style by day and intimate restaurant in the evening, heavily inspired by its marina environment. The Herb Garden co-founder Richard Marks told Chronicle Live: “We’re thrilled to be expanding The Herb Garden out to a nautical setting while continuing to run our existing restaurant in Newcastle. We hope we can put our mark on what is already a beautiful and unique environment.”




Nottingham vegetarian and vegan cafe owner opens pub in city: The owner of the Nottingham vegetarian and vegan Alley Cafe And Bar has opened a pub in the city. Benjamin Rose has taken on the lease of the Old Angel Inn, which he has reopened as an organic gastro-pub and live music venue with a micro-brewery. Now called The Angel Micro-Brewery, it serves food made from organic, locally sourced produce. There is also a large selection of organic wines. Future plans involve setting up a micro-garden, where the pub will grow its own vegetables, fruit and herbs to ensure sustainability. Rose told the Nottingham Post: “Taking over such a recognised Nottingham venue is an honour and an absolute challenge at the same time. We have so many great plans for the building and it will continue to develop in so many different directions. We’ve tried to keep as much of the traditional character in the main room as possible so we’ve not been too extravagant. We’ve completely changed one room to make it into a micro-brewery so we can brew all our own beer.” Rose launched the Alley Cafe and Bar in Cannon Court 16 years ago.





Papa John’s franchisee launches ninth north of England site with Rochdale opening: Franchisee Steve Mullarkey has opened his ninth Papa John’s store in the north of England, this time in Rochdale, with plans to open two more this year. Mullarkey only opened his eighth site – in Southport – in March having taken advantage of Papa John’s franchisee incentive scheme. Mullarkey said: “The incentive scheme is particularly helpful as it means we can get deals on equipment, discounted franchised fees and support with marketing for new stores at the time when we need it. I plan to open two more outlets before the end of this year. The new store is relatively close to my other Papa John’s in the region so some experienced staff have moved over for the opening. 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.




Vogue magazine launches pop-up cafe at Westfield London: Fashion magazine Vogue has launched a pop-up cafe at The Village in Westfield London shopping centre. Vogue has launched the cafe – in the Shepherd’s Bush shopping centre’s luxury section – as part of the magazine’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Offerings include macarons by London-based boutique patisserie L’Orchidee, cupcakes, muffins, scones, sandwiches, and salads. The drinks list includes champagne, wine, beer and a short cocktail list, including the Vogue 100 Champagne cocktail (crushed blueberries, frangelico and Champagne). There is also tea and coffee on offer, as well as an Ivory Coast white hot chocolate, Hot Dinners reports. The Vogue Cafe will run until Sunday, 25 September.