Caffe Concerto reports turnover and profit boost: Caffe Concerto, which operates 18 sites, mostly in London, has reported a turnover and profit boost. The company saw sales rise by 15% to £23,312,495 in the year to 31 August 2016, up from £20,245,496 the year before. Pre-tax profit rose to £1,567,386 from £1,291,763 the year before. The company stated: “The directors are once again pleased to report the group’s profit before tax in excess of £1m during a period of uncertain economic outlook and competition from other competitors. During the year, business growth was slightly affected by Brexit. However, the directors believe this to be a short-term effect only.” The company expects to open further branches as “locations have already been identified”. The company has £5.1m of retained earnings.
Bone Daddies reports turnover and Ebitda increase: Bone Daddies, led by Demetrius Tomazos and Ross Shonhan, has reported turnover rose to £8,512,384 in the year ended 30 September 2016, up from £7,117,524 the year before. Ebitda rose to £890,807 from £609,971 in the year prior. Profit before tax jumped to £522,257 from £306,329 in the year before. The company stated: “The directors are pleased to report all units performed very well in the year. We have opened our sixth site, at Old Street, refitted our head office in Soho and, following its success, invested heavily to convert our Shakfuyu restaurant from its pop-up origins to a permanent store. We have also invested heavily in our head office team as well as a new website and accountancy team. With this platform we are now well placed to further our expansion and the directors are confident regarding the company’s long-term prospects and profitability.”
New World Trading Company to launch Canal House concept in Birmingham next month: New World Trading Company (NWTC), which is backed by Graphite Capital, will launch new concept The Canal House next month in Birmingham. The Canal House, which is NWTC’s sixth concept and 18th site in total, will open on Monday, 14 August. The concept, which will be bespoke and exclusive to Birmingham, takes inspiration from engineer James Brindley. Based at the former James Brindley pub in Bridge Street, the new venue will honour the life, work and spirit of the 18th century icon. The food will centre on a rotisserie with grilled meat alongside a deli section. As well as 60 world ales and Budvar’s unpasteurised tank beer Tankové Pivo, there will also be a cocktail menu. General manager Liam Carney said: “Birmingham is a great city with lots of ambition and passion. By delving into the rich history and heritage of this amazing location, we’ve created a fantastic concept we are confident locals will enjoy. Not only will this venue have two floors and an outdoor seating area, there will also be a secret gin distillery at the back of the first-floor bar.” NWTC also operates The Botanist, The Oast House, The Smugglers Cove, The Club House and The Trading House.
Market Town Taverns sells ale and wine bar Symposium to Beerhouses: Yorkshire-based Market Town Taverns has sold its ale and wine bar Symposium in the village of Idle to pub chain Beerhouses for an undisclosed sum. Housed in a Victorian building that was formerly a general grocer and wine merchant, Symposium opened in early 2001 and was subsequently refurbished by Market Town Taverns. The deal, which marks West Yorkshire-based Beerhouses’ sixth site, was brokered by agent Fleurets. Market Town Taverns managing director Louise Middlemass said: “Symposium has been a valued part of the Market Town Taverns family and we have taken our time to ensure this much-loved bar is going to an operator that is credible, will invest in the business and enhance the offer to local customers. In Beerhouses, we think we have found the perfect new owner.” Beerhouses director Sarah Barnes added: “We look forward to taking on this exciting new venture and are delighted to bring Symposium into our Beerhouses family. We look forward to welcoming customers old and new once we reopen.”
Patara opens seventh London restaurant, in Wimbledon High Street: Fine Thai dining group Patara has opened its seventh London site, in Wimbledon High Street. Set across one floor, the 80-cover, all-day restaurant features interiors designed by Superfutures (Ping Pong, Obica, Chotto Matte) with intricate carvings and decorative motifs to “embrace the luxury of Thailand”. The venue also features a 12-seater Yum Bar, offering a large selection of fresh salads, while the a la carte menu includes pan-seared black cod with pickled soya, braised Welsh lamb massaman curry, and Thai surf and turf. The wine list has been curated to complement the Thai flavours, alongside cocktails created from an infusion of premium spirits, freshly ground herbs and spices, fruit and fresh juice. An outdoor garden terrace seats 50 at the restaurant, which will open daily from 10am to 11pm. Patara’s other restaurants are in Hampstead, Berners Street, Soho, Oxford Circus, Knightsbridge and South Kensington. It also operates casual dining restaurant Suda in Covent Garden and five worldwide in Singapore, Vienna, Geneva, Beijing and Bangkok.
Dirty Martini identifies staff motivation as key benefit of Feed It Back partnership: Cocktail bar group Dirty Martini, which is owned by CG Restaurants Holdings, has identified staff motivation as the key benefit since introducing Feed It Back, the EPOS-linked guest feedback service. Dirty Martini, which has eight sites, subscribed to Feed It Back in March. Chief executive Scott Matthews said: “We used mystery visits for years. However, due to the subjective nature of the visits we felt they did not provide a true reflection of the Dirty Martini experience nor did we gain enough volume to make important decisions. We knew from other users of Feed It Back that we would receive high volumes of feedback, but what we did not anticipate was the huge positive impact on staff. They have loved seeing the comments and sometimes having their photo selected to single them out for ‘applause’. With planned growth for the business over the coming years, Feed It Back will help us maintain our high standard of service and staff retention as we grow.” Head of sales and digital marketing Faye Catchpole added: “It offers fantastic visibility to our general managers and operations managers. They feel empowered because they can see the key issues that need to be addressed and have full accountability for rectifying them.” Dirty Martini has also used Feed It Back as a new data capture channel to adopt a targeted sales approach to drive bookings. Feed It Back is the only guest feedback system that integrates in real time with Zonal’s Aztec EPOS system, among others, enabling feedback questions to be personalised to the guest’s visit. Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia said: “We are looking forward to supporting its rapid expansion.”
Lussmanns opens fifth site, in Tring: Lussmanns Fish & Grill, the independent brasserie group backed by investor Luke Johnson, has opened its fifth site, in Tring, Hertfordshire. The company has opened the venue in High Street at a former HSBC bank branch. Built in 1922, the building’s historic features have been restored or recreated. The 70-cover restaurant includes a ground-floor dining area with a window into the kitchen, a mezzanine level with views over a glass balcony, and a wood-panelled private dining room in the former bank manager’s office. The decor features a mixture of marble, wood, leather and glass with stained glass door panels, art deco lamps, hand-painted wall graphics, a gallery of work by local artists, and illustrations of cassowary birds loaned by the town’s Natural History Museum. Managing director Andrei Lussmann said: “We are committed to bringing sustainable dining to the high street and we are delighted to open in Tring. Although our dedication to providing first-class food and service to everyone will be consistent with the reputation we have already established, this restaurant provides a different dining experience. We hope the local community appreciates what we do and we look forward to establishing ourselves in this lovely town.” Lussmanns, which launched in 2004, also has sites in Harpenden, Hertford, Hitchin and St Albans.
Gainford Group reports profit boost as turnover passes £25m: North east-based hotel and bar operator Gainford Group, which also operates 12 care homes, has reported turnover has passed the £25m mark and also revealed plans to refurbish a recently acquired Newcastle venue in time for an opening late this year or in early 2018. Gainford is also behind the Great Victoria Hotel in Bradford as well the Vermont Hotel, the County Hotel, Bar Livello, the Vermont Apartments and the Aveika restaurant, all in Newcastle. For the year to 31 December 2016, Gainford reported turnover up 19.7% to £26,881,747 compared with £22,500,591 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Of this total, £10.4m was courtesy of the group’s leisure ventures. Pre-tax profit increased 23% to £3,701,462, compared with £3,009,697 the year before. The company stated: “In September 2016, the Gainford Group acquired The County Hotel Newcastle in a deal worth £10m. This is a very high-profile purchase for the group and there are big plans to redevelop the hotel to a great standard as it did with sister hotel The Vermont. Refurbishment work will be ongoing throughout 2017 and the hotel is expected to relaunch in late 2017/early 2018 with new bars, restaurants and additional bedrooms. The group currently owns a development site, Grainger House, which it intends to develop into a 50-bedroom value hotel. These plans are currently on hold while work is ongoing on other sites and it is expected this will be revisited in early 2018.”
Soho Coffee Co launches fourth London store in past eight weeks: Artisan fresh food and coffee brand Soho Coffee Co has launched its fourth London store in the past eight weeks. The latest venue has opened in Kingsway on the corner of Keeley Street, opposite the London School of Economics, following recent launches in Baker Street, the O2 Centre and Austin Friars. It is one of Soho Coffee Co’s largest sites and is a stone’s throw from many of the area’s theatres. Soho Coffee Co managing director Penny Manuel said: “We are very proud and appreciative of the support and unstinting dedication shown during this busy time of expansion from all our people, from our new product development team right through to our recruitment, training and operations teams. People are at the heart of everything we do and we couldn’t do this without them!” The company has also opened sites in Cheltenham and Birmingham this year. Soho Coffee House operates more than 40 sites across the UK, with a number of further openings in the pipeline.
Buzzworks Holdings to open its first venue outside Ayrshire on Friday, tenth in total: Buzzworks Holdings is to open its first venue outside Ayrshire, in Bridge of Weir, on Friday (14 July). The Coach House, which will open in Main Street, will be the tenth restaurant for the family-run company and fifth under its House brand. The all-day venue will offer “simple dishes with big flavours”, while the former Archies venue has been transformed into a bar and restaurant with a private dining room. Buzzworks Holdings managing director Kenny Blair said: “It’s an exciting time for us and the brand as we branch out from our home in Ayrshire and get set to open the doors of our first Renfrewshire venue. We are really looking forward to being part of the Bridge of Weir community and bringing our modern take on a traditional bar and restaurant to the town.” Buzzworks’ nine Ayrshire sites are Scotts venues in Troon and Largs, Elliots in Prestwick, Lido sites in Prestwick and Troon, The Treehouse in Ayr, The Longhouse in Kilmarnock, The Mill House in Stewarton, and The Corner House in Kilwinning.
BrewDog loses legal battle with Elvis Presley’s estate over beer name: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has lost a legal battle with the estate of Elvis Presley over the name of one of its beers. BrewDog launched its grapefruit and blood orange Elvis Juice IPA in 2015 and said it had become one of the company’s best-selling products. However, the company was contacted by lawyers from Presley’s estate, who demanded it changed the name of the brew. In response, BrewDog co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie changed their names by deed poll to Elvis in a bid to prove the name was not exclusive. They insisted the Elvis Juice IPA had no connection to the singer and suggested there ought to be a “little less conversation and more time enjoying our beer”. Although Elvis died in 1977, his name and likeness has been trademarked by Elvis Presley Enterprises, which earns millions every year through a merchandising licensing programme. It objected after BrewDog applied to register the names “Elvis Juice” and “Brewdog Elvis Juice” as trademarks. Now the UK Intellectual Property Office, which rules on trademark disputes, has found in favour of the Elvis estate, reports the Daily Record. In a written ruling, trademark hearing officer Oliver Morris said: “Put simply, and notwithstanding Mr Presley died nearly 40 years ago, he was/is such an iconic figure I would be very surprised if many people, including those at the younger end of the average consumer age spectrum, had not heard of him. There may be some exceptions, but this is likely to be few and far between.”
Victor’s brand to open in Oxford: East Coast Concepts is to expand its Victor’s brand from Manchester into Oxford. Victors offers an “American execution of international cuisine with flavours and ingredients determined by the East Coasts’ diverse gastronomic experience with a distinct European flourish”. A site is planned for Oxford’s Westgate Centre. Victor’s in Hale, south of Manchester, has attracted footballers, soap stars and reality TV stars since it opened in 2014. There will be room for 100 diners at the new site, with a bar and lounge. There will be 25 new restaurants and cafes at the centre, with John Lewis opening a flagship department store. Last week, city councillor Colin Cook warned new restaurants and cafes at the shopping centre would provide “stiff competition” for those elsewhere in the city centre.
Young’s boss praises customers for use of terror-hit Borough pub: Young’s chief executive Patrick Dardis has praised customers for continuing to use its pub in Borough in the wake of the terrorist attack in the area. Dardis was speaking five weeks after the London Bridge attack in which eight people were killed. His company’s Wheatsheaf pub was one of the venues at the centre of the atrocity. Dardis said: “I have been astounded and impressed by the number of people who have flocked to the Wheatsheaf. Londoners have demonstrated defiance and shown this awful attack won’t stop people going out.” Young’s revealed like-for-like sales increased 8.6% in the 13 weeks to 30 June.
D&D London reveals new food initiatives at Chop House sites: Restaurant group D&D London has revealed the first of a number of food initiatives at its three London Chop Houses. South Place Chop House in Moorgate, Butlers Wharf Chop House in Shad Thames, and Paternoster Chop House next to St Paul’s Cathedral have launched Coast to Coast, a lighter, limited-edition fish and seafood menu available throughout July. The menu starts with Cornish mussels with smoked bacon and Somerset cider or Scottish hand-dived scallops with Chop House butter and samphire followed by grilled Isle of Gingha halibut and tartar hollandaise or fish of the day. D&D London operations director Michael Farquhar said: “From now on, D&D London’s three Chop House restaurants will collaborate more closely in showcasing the very best of British food, prepared using traditional cooking methods, with dishes ranging from simple chop house classics to more indulgent sharing dishes.”
New all-day crab restaurant concept to open in London next month: A new all-day restaurant concept with one star ingredient, the red king crab, will open in London early next month. Fancy Crab, which will source its wild crabs from the cold, open waters of the North Pacific Ocean, is launching in Wigmore Street. The 150-cover restaurant will feature playful crab claw illustrations on the dining room walls alongside green velvet booths. The menu will feature crab that is cold on ice with dipping sauce and pickle; grilled with butter, thyme and hollandaise sauce; and tempura crab claws. Larger groups can order a whole king crab to share. Other options will feature a whole chicken cooked inside a charcoal Bertha oven, a fancy crab beef burger as well as oysters and a selection of raw dishes such as scallop ceviche and tuna tartar.
Former MasterChef The Professionals star Tom Simmons opens debut restaurant, at Tower Bridge: Former MasterChef The Professionals star Tom Simmons has opened his debut restaurant, at the One Tower Bridge development in London. The eponymous venture joins a new Ivy brasserie, Rosa’s Thai Café, Coal Shed and a 900-seat theatre at the development. The Welsh chef was the youngest competitor to reach the quarter-finals of the BBC television show in 2011. Set over a mezzanine split level, the restaurant’s interior is a mixture of rustic and contemporary design with wood-panelled walls, a slate bar and Welsh oak tables. Influenced by British and French cuisine and with an emphasis on Simmons’ Welsh heritage, the menu includes roast cod loin with asparagus, haddock scotch egg and hollandaise; and salt-baked beetroot with goat’s cheese and apple salad. Speciality beers and wine by the glass sit alongside a wide list of bottles. Most recently Simmons, who previously worked with Mark Sargeant and Tom Aikens, headed the kitchen at Wolfscastle Country Hotel, where he was awarded two AA Rosettes in a year.
Liberation Group bans plastic straws: Channel Islands brewer and retailer Liberation Group has stopped offering plastic straws in its pubs. The move makes Liberation the largest pub group to ban plastic straws, phasing them out from its 100-strong estate across the Channel Islands and West Country. Plastic straws are made from polypropylene, which is particularly harmful to marine life, with more than one million seabirds and 100,000 mammals killed by plastic waste each year. It is estimated that unless there is a significant shift, plastic refuse is set to outweigh fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. Liberation Group has switched to biodegradable paper straws. Jayson Perfect, managing director – pubs and inns, said: “Our pubs use millions of straws each year so we see the switch really benefiting the environment. Plastic straws are a blight on our coastlines, marine life and oceans. This is a problem that is entirely avoidable. As an island company, I feel we also have a moral obligation to help marine mammal life where possible.”
JD Wetherspoon to open £3m Bexhill pub next week: JD Wetherspoon is to open its £3m pub in Bexhill (population 41,171) next week, creating 70 jobs. The Picture Playhouse will open in a former cinema in the East Sussex seaside resort on Tuesday, 18 July. The pub in Western Road will feature a ground-floor bar and large rooftop terrace, with a smoking area at the front. Historical photos and artwork will be on display, together with information boards relating to local history. Film projectors found on-site will be prominently displayed, while much of the original cornicing has been restored. The Picture Playhouse will specialise in real ale and craft beer, including those from local and regional brewers. Manager Becky Dunkley told the Bexhill Observer: “Myself and my team are looking forward to welcoming customers into the pub and we’re confident it will be a great addition to the Bexhill community.” JD Wetherspoon submitted its planning application for the pub in May 2015.
Hubbox opens sixth site, in Bristol: Hubbox, which runs neighbourhood restaurants specialising in burgers, hotdogs and beer, has opened its sixth site, in Bristol. The brand has opened the venue in Whiteladies Road on a site previously home to Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas. Hubbox also operates in Truro, Exeter and Plymouth, has a beach bar on Pentewan Sands and a mothership – Hub – in St Ives. Dishes include the Big Kahuna burger, which consists of two four-ounce beef patties, barbecue pulled pork, Swiss cheese, barcecue sauce, mayo, red onion, lettuce, tomato and onion rings. Sides include crispy chicken strips, barbecue burnt-end beans, mac and cheese topped with smoked bacon and blue cheese, and sweet potato fries. Managing director Richard Boon told the Bristol Post: “I grew up here and always wanted to own a restaurant in the city. But it had to be exactly the right location, with a great interior fit-out and the infrastructure to allow us to bring our favourite suppliers’ ingredients to Bristol.”
200 Degrees trebles capacity with new roastery: Nottingham-based coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees has trebled capacity with the launch of its new roastery in the city. The facility is next to Notts County Football Club’s stadium in Meadow Lane and features a £60,000, 30kg roaster. The investment means 200 Degrees is currently producing a ton of coffee a week or 58,000 cups of coffee, while capacity can be increased to 3.5 tons in the future. The company operates two venues in Nottingham and one each in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds and Leicester. In April, 200 Degrees said it was targeting a ten-strong estate by the end of the year. The company told the Nottingham Post a host of wholesale customers had also been vital for it to increase production. The company is set to launch a subscription service so caffeine-lovers can taste a range of different coffees at home.
Burning Night Group creates new cocktail menu: Burning Night Group has created a new cocktail menu, adding 18 drinks to its offer. The new menu has been introduced at all Bierkeller Entertainment Complex sites in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Nottingham. It includes a passion fruit margarita, strawberry mojito, coconut and lime daiquiri, and an English country garden made with Hendricks gin, elderflower liqueur and lemon, topped with prosecco. Burning Night Group head of marketing and promotions Isaac Mayne said: “Around the World, within the Bierkeller Entertainment Complex, specialises in cocktails so we wanted to come up with a list that uses a wide variety of spirits to appeal to every palate. We didn’t just want a whole gin menu or a whole rum menu because then you exclude a lot of customers.” Group stock controller Stephen McKnight said cocktails had become a favourite with both sexes, with men increasingly switching from beer.
Atlanta-style barbecue pop-up Miss P’s to open bricks and mortar site in Croydon this month: Miss P’s Barbecue, which has offered Atlanta-style barbecue food as a pop-up and at events around south London for the past four years, is to open a bricks and mortar site in Croydon. Gianluca Ivaldi, who founded the company with his mother Pauline in 2013, will open the site at the former Cricketers pub in Addiscombe Road at the end of July, operating the venue as both a pub and restaurant. Miss P’s Barbecue will offer authentic Atlanta-style barbecue food cooked in a large smoker burning locally sourced oak and charcoal. Meat – pulled pork, beef brisket or fried chicken – is offered in a sandwich or on a platter and comes with house coleslaw and a choice of barbecue sauce. There are also Cajun catfish and vegetarian mushroom and halloumi options. Gianluca Ivaldi told the Croydon Advertiser: “Such a big part of the barbecue experience is having a beer to go with your smoked meat. We’ll finally be able to serve beer with our food, which we haven’t been able to do moving around. It’ll be the total barbecue experience.”
TGI Friday’s chooses cocktail contest finalists: TGI Friday’s has selected the three finalists of its national mixology competition, with the winning cocktail to be permanently added to the company’s drinks list from September. TGI Friday’s, which created the drink Long Island Ice Tea, has based this year’s competition on Southern Comfort-based creations, with Alex Seeley, from Manchester, Katy Sharpe, from Leicester, and Enfield’s Jack Shelton making the final. Each of their cocktails will be available across TGI Friday’s UK sites until Sunday, 13 August with the highest-selling drink named the winner. TGI Friday’s head of food and drink Terry McDowell said: “We had a huge number of entries from our bartenders and it was a tough challenge to pick only three to be in the final. We hope our guests enjoy the cocktails.”