Casual Dining Group to open 53rd Las Iguanas site this month, in Braintree: Las Iguanas, the Latin American restaurant brand owned by Casual Dining Group, will open its 53rd site on Monday, 22 August, in Braintree, Essex. The brand is opening in the Freeport Designer Village dining zone, nestled between the cinema and the prime shopping district The restaurant’s decor takes its inspiration from the team’s most recent travels in South America, featuring comfy booths and leather banquette seating against a backdrop of sunshine shades of yellow, sky blue and turquoise. As well as a variety of South American and Mexican classic dishes, Las Iguanas has launched a limited edition, authentic Brazilian menu for the summer inspired by Cariocas, the inhabitants of Rio. These include mini picanha churasco, coconut chicken, xinxim, and chocolatey brigadeiro. There is also a selection of new cocktails such as “Hombre Bombre”, mixing Chivas Regal, Las Iguanas Magnifica cachaça, pineapple juice and ginger syrup, and “Pisco Power” that combines ABA Pisco, Funkin guava purée, agave, apple and lime juices.
Starbucks changes marketing emphasis for launch of Teavana: Starbucks has changed its marketing strategy for the launch of its Teavana range in the UK, increasing its outdoor advertising spend instead of leading with digital. It invested in large format digital sites and bus wraps to create a “high impact, visual launch”. “When we launched the campaign back in July we wanted to make sure we were driving awareness and getting the product name out there and people in store,” Starbucks digital manager Jamie McQuary told The Drum. “So we went big in out-of-home and digital display.” The next move was to line up the Teavana product with lifestyle content, offering Grazia readers a free Starbucks Teavana iced tea as part of its summer partnership with the magazine. It marks a change in strategy for Starbucks, which takes a digital-first approach to much of its marketing. The chain unveiled an official emoji keyboard comprising 28 Starbucks-specific icons for coffee lovers to share in April, while mobile ordering and digital loyalty offerings are both major drivers of Starbucks’ growth, as announced in its first quarter of 2016 earnings, and provide the opportunity to upsell and market to consumers in-app. There is potential to launch standalone Teavana stores in the UK “if the brand gets as big as it is in the States”, added McQuary.
Mitchells & Butlers to open first Miller & Carter site in East Midlands: Mitchells & Butlers is to open its first Miller & Carter steakhouse restaurant in the East Midlands. The company will close its Red Lion Inn pub in Rothley, Leicestershire, a former Orchid site that operated as a Great British Carvery, on Saturday (13 August) for refurbishment ahead of reopening as Miller & Carter at the end of September, creating 50 additional jobs. The pub in Loughborough Road will be transformed into the new restaurant, which will have capacity for more than 180 diners and a large bar area. It will feature booth seating and modern artwork in place of the current English pub style. Christian Fox, retail business manager at Miller & Carter, told the Leicester Mercury: “Bringing a new Miller & Carter to Leicestershire is extremely exciting for the brand and we’re pleased to be able to grow the team further. We are always on the lookout for opportunities to expand our portfolio. Following the success of our steakhouses across the West Midlands, we can’t wait to bring Miller & Carter to the East Midlands and serve the best quality steaks we are renowned for.” Miller & Carter has more than 40 sites in the UK.
JD Wetherspoon to open delayed £3m hotel upgrade at Grimsby site in November after ceiling issues resolved: JD Wetherspoon will open its delayed £3m hotel upgrade of the Yarborough Hotel in Grimsby in November after work was halted earlier this year because of problems with its Victorian ballroom ceiling. The company is converting the first, second, and third floors above the Bethlehem Street venue into 36 bedrooms. It was forced to stop work in January after discovering issues with the ceiling and since the 19th century building is listed, any alterations had to be approved by Historic England (formerly English Heritage). Those issues have now been resolved and construction has restarted. However, the site will close at the start of October while the final works are carried out before reopening on Thursday, 3 November. Spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Grimsby Telegraph: “We are delighted that work has resumed on the new hotel at the Yarborough Hotel in Grimsby. Various issues involving ourselves, Historic England and the local council have been resolved. We have been committed to opening the hotel alongside our pub and believe that it will be a great asset, not only to Wetherspoon, but to Grimsby itself.” The 36 bedrooms were originally due to open by the end of February.
The Snug to open ninth site this month, located in Aylesbury: The Snug, the south of England bar group, is launching it ninth site in Aylesbury on Thursday, 18 August – the bar will be arriving in Market Square, directly opposite the Odeon cinema. A full internal makeover of the location has taken place with new seating areas, an outside seating area and a unique Snug design, which is both “current and cosy”. In a Snug first, pizzas will be featuring on the new menu in Aylesbury. With a pizza oven on site, freshly prepared, oven baked pizzas will be a new addition to the offering at The Snug. Live music will also be a feature at The Snug in Aylesbury with evenings showcasing local and national talent. Giles Fry, owner of The Snug, said: “We are excited to be opening the new Aylesbury Snug this summer and look forward to giving everyone a Snug welcome in what we hope will soon become a firm favourite with residents and visitors to Aylesbury alike.”
William Hill rejects £3.6bn takeover offer from The Rank Group and 888 Holdings: Bookmaker Wiliam Hill has rejected a £3.6bn takeover offer from The Rank Group and 888 Holdings. The offer, which valued William Hill at 364p per share, was at a 16% premium of its 314p share price on 22 July, the last trading date prior to the announcement of a possible offer by the consortium, and an 11% premium of its 327p share price on Monday (8 August). The offer from Rank and 888 proposed creating an all-share merger between the two smaller companies to form a new group called BidCo, which would also offer to acquire William Hill for cash and newly issued shares in BidCo. William Hill chairman Gareth Davis said: “This conditional proposal substantially undervalues William Hill, is highly opportunistic and does not reflect the inherent value of the business. It is a very complex three-way combination at a low premium involving substantial risk for William Hill shareholders: execution risk, integration risk and risks of materially increased leverage. The group has a strong team to deliver against our strategy to grow our digital and international businesses so we strongly advise that shareholders take no action.”
Franco Manca and Thaikhun sign for Southampton scheme: Pizza brand Franco Manca, which is owned by Fulham Shore, and Thai Leisure Group brand Thaikhun have signed deals to open restaurants at WestQuay Watermark – Hammerson’s £85m dining and leisure development in Southampton. Franco Manca will open a 130 square metre venue on the scheme’s lower promenade. It will be the brand’s debut in Southampton and only its third restaurant outside of London. Meanwhile, Thaikhun will also be making its first move into the city with a 290 square metre restaurant on the upper promenade. It will be an open kitchen-style restaurant, adorned with artefacts from the street markets of Thailand. The two brands will join other restaurants including Cabana, Five Guys and Red Dog Saloon at the 17,000 square metre scheme. Thai Leisure Group managing director Ian Leigh said: “We are incredibly excited to be bringing Thaikhun to the coastal city of Southampton. Parts of our street food menu are inspired by the coastal areas of Thailand so we are looking forward to bringing something fresh and different to the city.” Franco Manca founder Giuseppe Mascoli added: “We are delighted to be working with Hammerson and to be opening in Southampton, an already great city, that will be further enhanced by this development – making it a natural choice for our third opening outside of London.” Sarah Fox, head of restaurants and leisure at Hammerson, said: “It is great news that WestQuay Watermark is set to welcome Franco Manca and Thaikhun to Southampton. They are great additions to the restaurants already secured and further strengthen the scheme’s appeal as the south coast’s leading leisure, dining and retail destination.”
Specialist pasta restaurant opens first site outside Italy, in Shoreditch: Specialist pasta restaurant and shop Savurè has opened its first site outside of Italy, in Shoreditch, east London. The Turin-based concept has launched the restaurant in Paul Street following the success of its Pastificio con Cucina shop. The open-plan restaurant features floor-to-ceiling windows, sharing tables, booths and a patio for al fresco dining. Artisanal Italian products are displayed in whitewashed wooden cabinets in the restaurant and marble worktops showcase daily pastas for guests to choose from. At the heart of Savurè is the Il Pastificio – the “pasta lab” that showcases the chefs kneading, rolling and cutting the pasta, all prepared that day on the premises, offering more than 200 different combinations to choose from, using authentic Italian recipes and traditional methods. Customers are able to create their own combination or simply follow tradition. Meanwhile, the Savurè shop serves fresh pastas, sauces, wines and artisanal Italian products for those who want to recreate the experience at home.
Naples-based pizza restaurant to open first UK site next month: Naples-based pizzeria L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is to open its first UK site next month, in Stoke Newington, north west London. The family-run restaurant, which first opened in 1870, has secured a site in Church Street, reports Hot Dinners. Marco Condurro, the son of L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele director Michele Condurro, is heading to London to oversee the launch. Pizzas on the menu will include the traditional margherita and marinara as well as two specials that will be rotated from time to time. There will also be a range of Italian wines and beers.
Bengali pop-up restaurant Calcutta Street opens first permanent site: Bengali pop-up restaurant Calcutta Street has opened its first permanent site, in Fitzrovia, London. Shrimoyee Chakraborty has launched the venue in Tottenham Street. The ground floor has a no-reservations restaurant with a central bar. Meanwhile, downstairs is a bookable dining room, which seats 20 people around communal tables. The menu includes Doi Phuchka – crispy, tangy semolina balls with potato, black chickpeas, tamarind and yogurt filling – and Malai Curry – jumbo prawns cooked in a coconut and mustard sauce. There is also classic Bengali drinks on offer, including shorbot cocktails and natural wines.
East Sussex-based brewery Harvey’s reveals plans to sell its beers throughout UK as it rebrands range: East Sussex-based brewery Harvey’s is planning to sell its beers throughout the UK as it looks to take advantage of the boom in the industry. Historically it has only sold beer to customers within a 60-mile radius of the brewery in Lewes, but a surge in interest from consumers has prompted it to offer its beers further afield. The plan to increase its sales area comes as the brewery rebrands its beer range. Spokesman Bob Trimm said: “We’ve got two centuries expertise in brewing and we’re well known by our loyal customers and discerning drinkers for being the original Sussex brewer – making the finest quality beers. But we’ve also got plenty to offer a new generation of drinkers and we think our new visual branding will make it easier for them – and those who already love our beers – to find us on the bar.” The new designs portray Harvey’s as both modern and traditional and will be used on all its beers, point of sale material and glassware available to the trade.
The Stable granted alcohol licence for proposed Kingston site: Artisan pizza and cider brand The Stable, which is 76% owned by Fuller’s, has been granted an alcohol licence for its proposed restaurant in Kingston, Surrey. The company has been given the go-ahead by Kingston Council to sell alcohol at the site from 11am to 11pm every day, reports the Kingston Guardian. It is now expected to submit a planning application to open the venue in the town’s historic Market House building later this year. The landmark property in Market Place currently hosts several craft sellers and a tea room with the council collecting £30,000 to £45,000 a year in rent. However, a brochure distributed last year showed the authority hopes for £150,000 a year in rent by moving in an established retailer. The Stable was founded by Richard and Nikki Cooper and Richard’s brother Andy in Bridport in 2009. It opened its 15th site, in nearby Kew Bridge, last month.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen submits plans to open restaurant in Newbury: Gourmet Burger Kitchen has submitted plans to open a restaurant in Newbury, Berkshire. The company has applied to West Berkshire Council to convert the former Hoggit & Hoof restaurant in Market Place into its latest venue, reports the Newbury Weekly News. It is proposing to alter the layout of the building to provide a “flexible and more efficient organised restaurant”, including two new sash windows and a single entrance door. Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which was founded in 2001, in Battersea, south London, opened its 75th site this week, in Staines, Surrey.
Worthing-based bar and restaurant operator set to open second site in Chichester, eyes third venue: Worthing-based bar and restaurant operator Igor Beaulieu is set to start expanding his Rocking Horse concept by opening a second site, in Chichester. Beaulieu, who launched the concept two years ago, has applied to Chichester District Council to open the new venue in Southgate on the former site of the Knife and Fork restaurant. Subject to approval, Beaulieu aims to open the new outlet by the end of year. He is also planning further expansion and said he is eyeing a third site – “somewhere between Tunbridge Wells in the east and Portsmouth to the west”. He told the Chichester Observer: “The Chichester site will be identical to Worthing. The success of the Worthing bar was unbelievable. I think the Chichester bar will be even better and attract even more customers during weekdays than we do at Worthing.”
South Marston Hotel and Leisure Club enters administration: More than 40 jobs have been lost after a hotel and leisure club in Swindon entered administration. South Marston Hotel and Leisure Club has now ceased trading, with 43 staff made redundant due to the impact of “historic and other losses”. Sam Talby, Mark Phillips and Julie Swan of PCR Insolvency in Bristol were appointed as joint administrators of Nightingale Hotel and Leisure Club, trading as South Marston Hotel and Leisure Club, on 1 August 2016. The administrators are now seeking a buyer for the company’s assets. Talby said: “At this stage we are assessing the cash and asset value but think it unlikely that monies already paid in advance for rooms and functions in the hotel and for leisure centre memberships will be refunded. Sadly we have had to inform all those with future bookings that the company will not be able to honour their bookings. We would ask that any parties interested in the company’s disposable assets to contact us.” South Marston Hotel and Leisure Club has 60 bedrooms as well as a health and beauty spa, gym and swimming pool.
Heineken set to double production of Red Stripe brewery in Jamaica: Heineken is planning to double production at its Red Stripe brewery in Jamaica as it prepares to return the beer’s production to the country. The $16m expansion, expected to be finished by the end of the year, will add half a million hectolitres to capacity at the Kingston site. The new capacity will equal about ten million cases, up from five million cases, Heineken said. The decision follows Heineken’s announcement that it wants to return Red Stripe production to Jamaica “by the end of this year” in the wake of its acquisition from Diageo. Under Diageo’s ownership, some Red Stripe production was moved to North America.
C&C Group rolls out Pabst Blue Ribbon: Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) beer is being rolled out by C&C Group across the UK and Ireland from this month. C&C Group has been appointed as the exclusive distributor of PBR in the UK and Ireland as part of a wider distribution agreement with Pabst Brewing Company. Paul Condron, C&C marketing director, said: “PBR is an American classic – but it’s never felt more current than now. Bringing a taste of the States to the UK and Ireland is exciting, particularly when it’s a brand that’s so iconic and individualistic. From a business perspective, there’s a choice of formats for customers, and the benefit of some very different and engaging marketing that’s yielded such great results in Pabst’s home country.” The introduction of PBR builds on the launches by C&C Group of Menabrea, the superior Italian lager from Italy’s oldest brewery in Piedmont, and Heverlee, a premium Belgian beer brewed in association with the Abbey of Premontre in Leuven.
ETM Group’s first rooftop bar to be among three new openings this year: Tom and Ed Martin, of privately-owned ETM Group, have announced the acquisition of a further three sites scheduled to open in the next six months – to include a City rooftop restaurant and terrace bar and a large pub split over two floors with added barbershop and brow and lashes concessions. The first new opening, Burdock, is due to happen in September at the new Royal London House hotel in Finsbury Square. With interiors designed by Tonik, the all-day 2,000 square foot bar will feature four overhanging tank beers with rotating guest craft ales and seat up to 100 covers for breakfast, lunch and dinner, bar food and cocktails. The second opening this autumn, Aviary, will also be at the new hotel but will this time see the launch of the group’s first rooftop location. The 6,000 square foot rooftop restaurant and bar designed by Russell Sage Studio is on the building’s tenth floor and will be open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It boasts a 2,000 square foot south-facing terrace overlooking fabulous views of the City’s skyline. Two of the hotel’s ninth floor suites, each with its own terrace, will also be available for ETM Group’s use as private events spaces for 30 to 40 guests. The third site, Greenwood, will be ETM Group’s 18th opening since the company was set up in 2000. Due to open at Nova in Victoria towards the end of the year, the large pub will have “something for everyone under one roof; from breakfast through to pre/post-theatre dining and dinner, seven days a week”. Nova is part of a £2bn development pipeline for Victoria and will bring 18 new eateries to SW1, creating London’s newest food quarter. The 11,000 square foot pub and restaurant, also designed by Russell Sage Studio, will be split over two floors. As well as a large central bar and plenty of seating, the spacious ground floor will also include a brow and lashes bar and barbershop as well as an 80-cover outdoor seating area. Upstairs will be a bar with five screens, two of which will be mega screens, showing all competitive domestic and international sport throughout the day and night, plus an American eight ball pool table and ping pong table. Tom Martin said: “We are delighted to be bringing our pubs, bars and restaurants to two more central London locations and at such interesting developments. Our first rooftop venture is very exciting and being selected to be part of all that is happening at Nova, Victoria is a privilege. We can’t wait to get these sites open and welcome many of our regular customers alongside plenty of new faces.”
New ‘pod lodge’ accommodation concept launches in response to rise in ‘staycations’: A new “pod lodge” accommodation concept has been launched aimed at providing UK holidaymakers accessible and affordable places to stay. The Hideout House Company has launched Superglamp, which consists of innovative “pod lodges” or “tiny houses”, as the number of people taking “staycations” continues to rise. The pods can be customised and can be easily moved and installed. Each lodge is its own self-contained unit and includes a shower room and toilet, a kitchenette and dinette, and is able to sleep up to four people. The pod lodges come with varying options of adding an extended deck area with sunken hot tub, hammock, reclaimed drinks table with built-in icebox, and other features. Hideout House Company founder and director Simon Fearnehough said: “We have noticed a real gap in the market for something as pioneering as Superglamp, which has been reflected in the rise of Britons holidaying in the UK. The buoyant hospitality industry can capitalise on this by offering quirky and unique on-site accommodation. The feedback to date on Superglamp has been really positive and our pods have been fully booked over the summer at select holiday and camping parks. We are confident that the concept will appeal to other venues including country pubs, golf clubs, hotels, or bed and breakfast offerings.” For the second year running, the number of Britons taking a short break within the UK continues to increase – 73% are currently intending to take a short break in 2016 and 27% find a UK holiday more appealing than in 2015. Brexit, fears of overseas terrorism and the weak pound are also key drivers in fuelling an interest in “staycation” breaks.