Hands pumps in additional £13.25m at Hand Picked Hotels: Sector investor Guy Hands pumped in another £13.25m into his Hand Picked Hotels business during its most recent financial year. Companies House documents showed turnover decreased by 0.9% to £61.9m for the year to 24 November 2016, down from £62.4m the year before, due to the disposal of Priest House hotel in Derby in February 2016. Ebitda decreased to £10m from £10.5m the previous year. Pre-tax losses rose from £2.3m to £3.5m. The firm also owes Guy Hands £11.2m and Julia Hands £14m. Julia Hands said: “On a like-for-like basis turnover rose by 1.8% or £1.1m, with growth in occupancy and average room rates. We continue to invest heavily in improving quality, and 2016 saw the reopening of our spa and health club at St Pierre Park Hotel in Guernsey as well as extensive room refurbishments at Hotel L’Horizon in Jersey and Rhinefield House Hotel in Hampshire, continuing to drive our market-leading customer satisfaction scores.” The company sold its Seiont Manor Hotel site for £1.4m in December 2016.
Manchester multi-site operator MAD secures multimillion-pound funding deal to support expansion: Manchester-based multi-site operator Mark Andrew Developments (MAD) has secured a multimillion-pound funding deal with Allied Irish Bank to support its future growth strategy as it expands across the city. MAD was founded in 2004 by managing director Mark Andrew with the opening of a small bar in West Didsbury. The company now has eight bars located across Manchester’s Northern Quarter, West Didsbury and Heaton Moor. The funding package will give MAD access to working capital that will support its growth strategy, including its plans to open further sites. The company currently employs 150 people and has seen steady growth across all its sites. MAD director Jonathan Hawkins told BQ Live: “MAD has come a long way since the opening of the first cocktail bar in West Didsbury and we have created some of Manchester’s most popular bars. We have been confident in leading the way in the Northern Quarter since opening Walrus, which was our first bar there. We are keen to identify new locations for our bars and extend our success across the city and are delighted to secure the financial backing of Allied Irish Bank (GB) to do this.” Allied Irish Bank (GB) relationship manager Evan Geoghegan added: “We are delighted to support MAD in its exciting expansion plans. This funding package puts it in a great position when identifying new sites.”
TGI Friday’s launches A-level equivalent qualification for team members: TGI Friday’s has launched a Learners Qualification Programme (LQP), available to those who are aspiring to move into management. The 12-month development plan is equivalent to two A-levels and is offered in partnership with HIT Training. The programme consists of on the job experience, projects based on manager competencies, reading assignments, and regular testing. Learners are fully tracked and supported throughout the programme. The programme is part of the wider Myrna’s development path, offered by TGI Friday’s. In the past 12 months, it has seen TGI Friday’s put a specific focus on its management-level team members to “build and sustain a strong base of managers that can efficiently and effectively support the business from the ground up – to enhance guest experience, generate profit for the company, and fulfil the business’ growth strategy”. The goal of the programme is to empower existing team members to make the step up to management. This allows the company to call on an existing pool of talent that already knows and understands the brand, and that can be more quickly and adeptly trained. It follows the recent launch of the new TGI Friday’s Academy App, which acts as an employee hub where users can access features like online learning courses, appraisals, internal news announcements, and a social learning network. TGI Fridays UK culture and people development director Jacqui McManus said: “We strongly believe at TGI Friday’s we create careers – not just jobs – for our thousands of team members up and down the country. We want new and existing team members, who had perhaps never considered a career in the hospitality industry, to see TGI Friday’s can provide award-winning and industry-leading training to support them on their journey up the career ladder. It also allows team members, who perhaps weren’t suited to traditional educational environments, to secure A-level-equivalent qualifications that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”
London-based Vinoteca reveals more details about new site at Bloomberg’s European headquarters: Vinoteca, the London-based wine bar, restaurant and shop, founded by Brett Woonton and Charlie Young, has revealed more details as it prepares to open its sixth and largest site in Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in October. Vinoteca City, located in Bloomberg Arcade, a covered pedestrian walkway that links the two Bloomberg buildings, will offer an ever-changing seasonal menu served alongside a global wine list. The corner site restaurant set over two floors, will comprise of three dining spaces. The 4,400 square foot ground floor dining area will accommodate up to 90 covers, with additional seating for 40 people on the outdoor terrace. The main dining area will feature a tiled central bar, mixed level seating, geometric mirrors, aged brushed brass pendant lights and a dedicated wine shop offering bottles from the restaurant’s own cellar. A private dining area seating 30 will also be housed upstairs on the mezzanine level, with views over the restaurant and several glass wine cabinets highlighting the restaurant’s collection. The kitchen, led by head chef Kieren Steinborn, will serve modern European and British cuisine. The menu will accompany a wine list incorporating premium varieties from all over the world as well as a selection of craft beers, spirits, dessert wines and cocktails. Woonton said: “It’s great to be in the City and we’re looking forward to showcasing our unique wine list with premium ‘off piste’ wines alongside our seasonal food menu.”
Advertising Standards Agency will not investigate KFC ‘whole chicken’ advert: The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) will not formally investigate KFC’s latest campaign, despite receiving nearly 500 complaints. The ASA has decided there are not grounds to formally investigate the ad, which features a chicken strutting to DMX’s X Gon’ Give to Ya. The ASA confirmed it had received 480 complaints, many of which said the ad was “disrespectful” to chickens, was “offensive” and also “distressing”. Some viewers also complained the ad was misleading because it featured a healthy, older-looking chicken, which they believe misrepresents the age, quality and living conditions of KFC chickens. “The whole chicken” phrase was also alleged to be “misleading” because not all parts of the chicken are used in KFC products or because additional ingredients are used. Other viewers even objected to the use of a “gangster song” with lyrics that allude to guns. However, the ASA’s council decided the ad did not break its rules. A spokesman said: “Overall, while we acknowledge some viewers may find the ad distasteful it is unlikely to cause distress or serious or widespread offence.” Instead, the ASA said the ad would be seen as “bizarre” and an attempt at light-hearted humour. It said there are no explicit images to references to animal slaughter. It added the ad depicts a fantastical scenario that would not depict the chicken as truly representative as those used in KFC products. Regarding “the whole chicken” claim, the ASA said this would be interpreted as KFC using 100% chicken in their products, rather than using every single part of the chicken.
Macellaio RC opens fourth site: Italian steak brand Macellaio RC has opened its fourth London venue in Northcote Road in Clapham, joining the existing sites in South Kensington, Exmouth Market and Union Street. Macellaio RC Northcote Road sets itself apart from its sister restaurants with an emphasis on Italian wines, hand-picked by founder Roberto Costa. Since the first Macellaio RC opened in 2012, Costa has been developing a bespoke wine list, made up entirely of Italian winemakers from all over the country. With more than 100 different labels, the wine list showcases “wines of character”, paying homage to the produce of Italy and highlighting the distinctive differences between various regions – from Piedmont and the Nebbiolo grape, noble varieties of world famous Barbaresco and Barolo wines, alongside lesser known grapes grown in extremely limited quantities such as Pelaverga.
Newport-based Niche Hospitality to open fifth site in city: Newport-based Niche Hospitality is to open its fifth site in the Welsh city. The company is launching Sixteen, which is being described as an “innovative sharing eatery”, in High Street, on Saturday, 30 September. The building, which was previously home to the Parc Central restaurant and bar, will feature three spaces – the lobby, the restaurant and the terrace. Lewis Lewis, who co-owns the business with Seng Koh, told Wales Online: “Sixteen is something really exciting and new for the city of Newport. The menu centres on first class steak sourced from around the world including from Argentina and Wales as well as first class chicken and all prepared fresh and in house for convivial sharing. Sixteen will also offer a wide selection of spirits wines and cocktails from around the world and stage live music.” Niche Hospitality already operates Mojo the FoodBar, Dog ‘N’ Dough and Riverside Sports Bar & Kitchen in the city while it is also opening steak house Hide and Sea.
Oswestry-based multi-site operator to open third Welsh border site: Paul Fitton, who runs Ye Olde Vaults in Oswestry and The Station Grill in Llansantffraid, has had plans to open a third venue on the England and Wales border approved. Fitton will create a bar and restaurant at a building in Church Street, Oswestry, which used to house The White Horse pub. It will be the first time customers have been welcomed into the building after it closed as a pub almost 50 years ago. Fitton hopes to have the new venue up and running by early next year. He told the Border Counties Advertizer: “The new restaurant will be a multi-room dining venue keeping all the original features with a contemporary vintage look. Work is due to begin imminently. We are finalising interior plans and decor with our architect and getting contractors in place. We will look to open the restaurant in the new year. It will have a grill theme with a strong emphasis on a British menu and a continental influence using fresh and locally sourced produce.”
Di Maggio’s Group eyes new Glasgow opening: Scottish restaurant operator Di Maggio’s Group is to open a site in the former newspaper printing building in St Vincent Place in Glasgow. The company, which operates The Atlantic and Anchor Line restaurants, is planning to transform the site into a newspaper-themed bar and eatery named The Citizen. As mentioned on Lost Glasgow, the Renaissance-style building was one of the first in the city to use red sandstone, and opened in 1889. The restaurant team plans to line the walls with old editions of the newspaper in an ode to the building’s history. Di Maggio’s Restaurant Group, which owns 18 restaurants across Scotland including Amarone and Café Andaluz, saw turnover increase 12.4% to £33.7m for the year to 30 April 2016. Pre-tax profits increased 22% to £5.76m. At the time of its results, joint managing director Mario Gizzi, who co-founded the business in 1983, said: “Our strategy of reinvesting in the business helps us to set the pace with new restaurant concepts and the latest additions, including the Atlantic in Glasgow and our new Spanish seafood restaurant Cadiz in Edinburgh are already trading very well.”
Nottingham-based independent pizza restaurant to move to new premises after outgrowing current site: Nottingham-based independent pizza restaurant Oscar & Rosie’s is to move into new premises in the city after outgrowing its current site. Oscar & Rosie’s, which also has a Leicester venue, is moving to The Lace Market after acquiring a site in Stoney Street. The company has been based in Thurland Street since 2015, but has outgrown the space and is set to move into the new 3,358 square foot premises next month. Founder Olly Hunter told The Business Desk: “We’ve run out of space at our current location and simply have nowhere left to grow. We already supply our Leicester site from Nottingham and would like to supply future branches in the same way so we really need the space. The investment level in the new restaurant is a considerable amount for us given that we’re only tiny and are self-funding. I like to find buildings with character that I can work with. Not only does it keep the cost down but it gives the place a real sense of soul and, in my view, makes it a more special place to be.” Hunter set up Oscar & Rosie’s in 2013 and initially had pop-up restaurants in The Picnic Basket and then Das Kino.
Birmingham-based Indian street food trader to open permanent site at former premises of Michelin-starred restaurant: Birmingham-based Indian street food trader Indian Rasoi is opening a permanent venue in the city after acquiring the former site of Michelin-starred restaurant Adam’s. Indian Rasoi, which is a regular part of the Digbeth Dining Club street market, is launching The Indian Streatery in Bennetts Hill. The site is currently being refurbishing and extended to house the 50-cover restaurant and cocktail bar, which will open on Thursday, 17 August. Rakesh and Meena Sharma set up Indian Rasoi five years ago after noticing “a lack of Indian street options” in Birmingham. Meena Sharma told the Birmingham Mail: “This is a dual concept restaurant – a grab and go lunchtime menu in the day with a restaurant style menu at night as well as a cocktail bar. Our menu is based around authentic Indian street food dishes complemented by our home favourites and some quirky extras. We’ve been looking for the perfect location for two years.” Adam’s was at the Bennetts Hill site for more than three years before moving to bigger premises in Waterloo Street in January.
Scottish hospitality group Manorview opens new restaurant as part of £1.5m Renfewshire hotel development: Scottish hospitality group Manorview has opened a new restaurant at its Bowfield Hotel & Country Club in Howwood, Renfewshire. The Plumpy Duck is part of a £1.5m redevelopment programme, which also includes The Stables Bar. The restaurant is a completely new addition for the hotel, while The Stables is a refurbishment and refit of an existing bar, which leads into the eatery that has an “upmarket country feel”. The name The Plumpy Duck was derived to create a separate identity and personality for the restaurant while The Stables is a nod to the hotel’s heritage as an equestrian centre. The restaurant space includes panelling incorporating open wrought iron while the seating features large booths, leather sofas and high-backed armchairs. The menu offers dishes such as steak and ale pie, roast chicken, haddock, pork belly as well as steaks and burgers from the grill. There is also a selection of fish including langoustines, rainbow trout and mussels. Many of the specials include duck options. The redevelopment, which also includes new reception areas, kitchen and spa developments, has been taking place in timed phases to allow the hotel to remain open for members and visitors. Manorview, which owns various pubs, bars and hotels throughout Glasgow and Lanarkshire, bought the Bowfield Hotel & Country Club in 2012.
Turtle Bay to open Swansea restaurant next month: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay will open a site in Swansea next month. The company is investing £800,000 transforming 4,000 square feet of ground-floor space at the former Inspirations store in Castle Street into the 200-seat venue. The restaurant, which will create 50 jobs, will open on Sunday, 10 September, reports Wales Online. Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was launched by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema and has 37 sites across the UK, having opened its first restaurant in Milton Keynes in 2010. It will also open a restaurant in Plymouth next month, while it has secured sites in Durham, Northampton and Winchester.
Stonegate Pub Company to reintroduce Yates’s Wine Lodge to Ipswich at original site: Stonegate Pub Company is to reintroduce Yates’s Wine Lodge to Ipswich almost a decade after a site closed in the town. Yates’ Wine Lodge will open on Friday, 25 August. The previous venue, in Tower Ramparts, was sold to JD Wetherspoon in 2008, which converted it into the Robert Ransome pub. Wetherspoon sold the Robert Ransome to Stonegate Pub Company earlier this year. The original venue was sold when the brand had a major restructuring at the start of the recession. Yates’s retained a venue in Colchester, which has remained a popular venue in that town.
Bradford-based operator acquires third site: Bradford-based pub operator William Wagstaff has acquired his third site, in nearby Shipley. Wagstaff has taken on The Shipley Pride in Saltaire Road, which has been shut since last year. He plans to restore the Victorian pub to its former glory and will focus on craft beers and real ales. The refurbishment will include expanding the pub into its basement space, as well as creating an outdoor area for small concerts. Wagstaff told the Telegraph & Argus: “I’d heard people wanted to buy it to change its use and that was the main reason I took it on – I wanted to prevent the town losing it as a pub. It is a question of refurbishing the pub the best way we can, so it probably won’t reopen until next year.” Wagstaff also runs the Beehive and Jacob’s Well in Bradford city centre.
Nando’s to add to Kent presence with Aylesford opening: Nando’s will add to its presence in Kent by opening a site in Aylesford this month. The company is opening a restaurant in South Aylesford Retail Park on Wednesday, 23 August, reports Kent Live. It has several restaurants in the county, including a site in nearby Maidstone while it opened a branch in Sevenoaks last year. Nando’s operates more than 1,000 restaurants across the globe, with almost 400 in the UK and Ireland.
Nottingham-based Doughnotts to start expansion with Derby site: Independent Nottingham-based operator Doughnotts is to start expansion by opening a second site, this time in Derby. The company will open a doughnut store in Sadler Gate having signed a new lease on the former 420 Skate Store in the Cathedral Quarter in a deal brokered by FHP Property Consultants. Doughnotts opened its first site in Nottingham in 2015. Darran Severn, of FHP Property Consultants, told The Business Desk: “Sadler Gate continues to be a popular destination. We received strong interest when this property went to market and within the first few weeks we had four offers on the table.”