MeatLiquor to close debut site to make way for hotel development as expansion plans continue: MeatLiquor is preparing to close the doors of its original W1 site in central London and begin its next chapter with plans to continue expansion in the UK. The Marylebone site opened with only a two-year lease but is now shutting five-and-a half years on because the building is being demolished to make way for a luxury hotel. With the closing date still unconfirmed, W1 will remain open on a month-by-month basis. MeatLiquor co-founder and managing director Scott Collins said: “We are shutting the doors of W1 as a heart-breaking necessity. We continue to invest in the steady growth and expansion of MeatLiquor in the UK. Having originally taken over that site from a failed Italian restaurant in an area with no footfall and very little trade, we are so proud to have grown W1 into a site that has been the bedrock of the MeatLiquor business.” The look and feel MeatLiquor is now synonymous with was born out of a financial necessity at W1, with exposed cabling, poor lighting and graffiti offering cost-effective interior design options. Subsequently forming the DNA of the MeatLiquor brand, the design has evolved but continues to be incorporated across all 12 sites – including recently launched MeatLiquor Queensway and the King’s Cross site due to open in August. MeatLiquor now employs more than 300 staff and has a policy of promoting from within. More than two-thirds of the assistant managers and general managers have worked their way up from positions working on the restaurant floor or behind the bar.
Westgate Oxford development to feature communal food space with six restaurants: The £440m Westgate Oxford development is to feature a ground-floor communal food space featuring six restaurants and anchored by mini-golf company Junkyard Golf Club. Three brands – Mexican restaurant Benito’s Hat, Indian street food brand Rola Wala and Comptoir Group-owned Shawa Lebanese Grill – have confirmed they will open in Westgate Social, with customers able to choose food from any restaurant to consume in the communal space. Junkyard Golf Club offers scrapyard-themed mini-golf featuring neon lights and cocktails. Co-founder Chris Legh said: “We have a huge space to play with so we’re going to fit in three courses with crazy installations. Look out for slides, cars, boats and the usual UV and jungle madness that has made our venues famous. Our mission in life is to keep making crazy golf epic.” The 800,000 square foot Westgate Oxford development is due to open on Tuesday, 24 October with confirmed brands including Nando’s, The Alchemist, Dirty Bones, Pizza Pilgrims, Polpo, Pret A Manger, Shoryu, Comptoir Libanais, The Breakfast Club, Sticks ‘n’ Sushi and Pho. Davis Coffer Lyons advises Westgate Oxford on restaurant property leasing.
JIA Group to launch Duddell’s restaurant and arts space in London Bridge for company’s UK debut: JIA Group, founded by restaurateur Yenn Wong, is to launch a branch of its two Michelin-starred Duddell’s restaurant in London for the company’s first UK site. The restaurant and arts space will open within St Thomas Church in London Bridge offering authentic Cantonese cuisine, including hand-crafted dim sum. The kitchen will be headed by former Hakkasan Group executive sous chef Daren Liew. Duddell’s London will host a pop-up art exhibition in the church from next Tuesday (20 June) until 15 July before construction work begins on the venue ahead of an autumn opening. The restaurant will feature a destination bar offering wine and cocktails, while a mezzanine level will offer a semi-private dining space overlooking the restaurant. JIA Group launched Duddell’s in Hong Kong in 2013 to create an “inspiring backdrop where people can meet, eat, drink and socialise while surrounded by museum-quality art exhibitions”. The company owns and operates 11 restaurants in Hong Kong, including Aberdeen Street Social in partnership with celebrity chef Jason Atherton.
Former Jason Atherton’s Social chef to head kitchen at new Clapham Common restaurant: Jake Boyce, former head chef at Jason Atherton’s Social Wine and Tapas, will head the kitchen at Minnow, a new all-day seasonal European restaurant that will open next month at Clapham Common. Boyce, who has also worked at Dean Street Town House and Pollen Street Social, will offer a main menu that features Robata-grilled whole roast poussin, caramelised watermelon with Campari sorbet, and baby octopus with curry-leaf paste. There will also be brunch and cocktails on offer, while the venue will include a walled garden. Street-side seating will be accompanied by a “juice honesty box”, while wine will be served in “pay as you drink” bottles. Cocktails will take inspiration from local heroes and landmarks alongside local beer on tap. Minnow is the brainchild of Chris Frichot, formerly of Caravan, Hawksmoor and Hoi Polloi, and fiancée Saba Tsegaye. Frichot said: “We’ve decided to call ourselves Minnow because we know we’re going to be a small but fiercely independent fish in a big pond – it’s something we’re proud of.”
Burning Night Group eyes Harrogate site for sixth Potting Shed: Burning Night Group is to open a sixth site for its “truly home-grown Yorkshire brand” The Potting Shed, this time in Harrogate. The company has submitted plans to open a site in the grade II-listed Royal Baths in Montpellier Road at a unit that previously housed Rift & Co bar. The venue would undergo a full internal refurbishment, including removal of booth and fixed seating and some suspended ceilings and wall boarding to return areas to their original proportions. The bars would be retained but remodelled, Insider Media reports. Burning Night Group launched The Potting Shed concept in Bingley in April 2015, opening a site in Beverley in August last year. Further openings are set to take place in Northallerton and Guiseley, while the company will also launch a site at Trinity shopping centre’s rooftop development in Leeds. Burning Night Group has raised more than £6.5m on peer-to-peer lending platform Crowdstacker to fund its next stage of growth. The company, which was initially looking to raise £3.5m, has so far secured £6,551,679 with ten days of the campaign remaining. The company is offering a mini-bond paying 7% per annum interest and is looking to raise £7m to continue the roll-out of its Bierkeller, Shooters and Around the World three-venues-in-one concept.
Joe & The Juice to open two new central London sites: Danish-based smoothie and juice chain Joe & The Juice is opening two new stores in central London as part of its international expansion drive. It has signed a ten-year lease on a 2,000 square foot site at 115 Baker Street, which will be the brand’s second store in the street having recently opened a venue at the Portman Square end. The company has also signed a ten-year lease on a 900 square foot corner unit at the Thackeray Estate development in Eastcheap in the City of London. This takes its number of City stores to three, with a presence at Cannon Street and Watling Street. The latest central London sites will take Joe & The Juice to 18 stores in the capital and 27 in the UK. Richard Willcox, of Harper Dennis Hobbs, which has been advising Joe & The Juice on its expansion plans during the past two years, told Property Week: “Joe & The Juice is an ambitious and successful brand with a concept that works across a wide range of locations. Our brief two years ago was to explore opportunities within high streets, shopping centres, airports and train stations in all four corners of the globe and get them up to 300 sites by 2018.”
Atlas Pub Co to bring Buca Di Pizza to Beverley, aims to build brand to ten sites in three years: Leeds-based Atlas Pub Co is bringing its Buca Di Pizza brand to Beverley, East Yorkshire. The company, founded by brothers Geoff and Nicolas Thornton, is opening the restaurant at the Flemingate shopping centre, which will be the brand’s fourth site in total. Buca di Pizza is investing £350,000 to fit-out the 3,200 square foot site, which will have 120 covers and create 20 jobs. The Thorntons are focused on growing the Buca di Pizza brand, aiming to establish a string of ten restaurants across the M62 corridor in the next three years. Buca Di Pizza offers unlimited “tutto” pizza and prosecco deals, boozy bottomless brunches and “traditional classics with modern twists”. Pizza varieties include the Snake Charmer (Goan coconut curry sauce, chilli-glazed paneer, lamb koftas and onion bhajis). Buca di Pizza also offers pasta dishes, cicchetti and cocktails. Geoff Thornton told The Business Desk: “Beverley feels just right for us. It’s a historic market town with a sizeable and growing local population as well as incoming trade from tourists and the surrounding towns and villages.” The first Buca di Pizza site opened in Leeds in late 2014, followed by a second in the city’s grade II-listed Stratford House last year and a third site, in Manchester, launching earlier this month.
Harviestoun partners with D&D London as it launches first tank beer: Scottish craft brewer Harviestoun has launched its first tank beer offering in collaboration with restaurant group D&D London’s South Place Hotel. Harviestoun will supply the City of London hotel’s Secret Garden bar, 3 Bar and South Place Chop House restaurant with its Scheihallion lager. The beer is pumped straight into pressurised tanks after it is brewed, meaning it bypasses pasteurisation and can be transported from brewery to tap swiftly. South Place Hotel’s director of food and beverage Thomas Schuerch said: “Tank beer has taken Britain by storm and we are thrilled to be working with the Harviestoun team, which we feel delivers the very best in the market.” Harviestoun managing director Toby Knowles added: “We’re delighted to be partnering with the fantastic D&D team to showcase our range of iconic craft beer across all of its premium London venues. In particular, the Schiehallion tanks at South Place Hotel mark a first for Harviestoun, and another stride forward in our mission to bring quality craft beer into the premium hospitality sector.”
Bradford Brewery doubles sales as it looks to develop ‘other revenue streams’: Bradford Brewery has doubled sales following a “refocus” as the company ramps up to reach “the next level”. The brewer is also looking to open a new bar and offer a more extensive programme of events at its brewery tap site as it looks to “develop other revenue streams”. Bottling and kegging operations have been reintroduced through a partnership with Cumbria Bottling, while its brewery now hosts Leeds-based Eyes Brewing to bring it up to full capacity. The restructure is being led by new managing director Phillip Ogg and financial director Mark Lister. Ogg said: “We’re into a completely new era and are taking things to the next level, driving growth and innovation. Just by refocusing our sales direction through wholesalers and chains and beginning to develop other revenue streams, we’ve already been able to double our sales.”
The Ivy Collection gets go-ahead for Harrogate site: Richard Caring-backed group The Ivy Collection has been given the go-ahead to open a site in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. The company has been granted permission by the borough council to convert the Edinburgh Woollen Mill shop in Parliament Street into a restaurant. The venue is expected to open in November, creating 110 jobs, reports the Harrogate Advertiser. The Ivy Collection has continued its regional expansion by opening brasserie sites in Cobham in Surrey, and Marlow in Buckinghamshire, and has also signed a 25-year lease to open its first site in Scotland, in Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square.
Smoke & Salt replaces Kricket at Pop Brixton: Aaron Webster and Remi Williams, who met while working at Gladwin Brothers’ The Shed in Notting Hill, have relocated their concept Smoke & Salt to Pop Brixton. The chefs have taken over a space formerly occupied by small Indian plates concept Kricket, whose owners have decided to focus on opening a second permanent restaurant in London. Smoke & Salt offers modern, seasonal cuisine using techniques such as brining, curing, fermenting and smoking. Webster and Williams state on the Smoke & Salt website: “We’ve been touring London with some successful pop-ups in different corners of this great city. We’re learning and growing by cooking and meeting amazing new people. We love what we do and can’t wait to serve everyone as we continue on the journey to our own bricks and mortar.”
Bill Granger to open Granger & Co in Chelsea next week, fourth London site: Celebrity chef Bill Granger is to launch a fourth site in London for his all-day cafe concept Granger & Co, this time in the Pavilion Road development in Chelsea. The venue will open on Monday (19 June) offering Granger & Co favourites alongside dishes exclusive to the new site, including crab and kohlrabi salad with tarragon and lemon zest, lovage borani with roast summer beans and walnuts, and dairy-free chocolate pot with fresh turmeric crumb. The venue will seat 100 diners over two floors, including a “hidden outdoor courtyard” and a small first-floor terrace as well as Granger & Co’s first private dining room. Granger told Hot Dinners: “I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant in Chelsea. I’ve been looking for a site for the past ten years.” The other Granger & Co sites are in Clerkenwell, King’s Cross and Notting Hill.
Former Hollyoaks heart-throb takes on Oldham pub for second site: Former Hollyoaks star Rob Norbury has taken on a historic Oldham pub as he starts to expand his hospitality business. The actor, who launched restaurant Muse in the Greater Manchester town in November, has now acquired 18th century pub the Farrars Arms, which will undergo a quick refurbishment. Norbury, who spent three years on the Channel 4 soap, told the Manchester Evening News: “It’s still very much a pub. I’ve been really getting into the cask ale side of things and we’ve kept the food casual dining with a twist, so you can still get your pie and chips, sausage and mash, but keeping things under a tenner. We get a lot of walkers around this area and you can bring the dog in.” Hollyoaks and the hospitality industry are becoming entwined with actors Ashley Taylor-Dawson opening Symposium bar in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in October and Kieron Richardson launching health cafe concept Strip in Salford in February this year.
Roomzzz to open first Scottish aparthotel after signing for Edinburgh scheme: Aparthotel group Roomzzz has signed to open its first site in Scotland – at the £1bn St James development in Edinburgh. The company has agreed a deal with landlord TH Real Estate for a 73-room aparthotel at the scheme, which is now fully let. The Edinburgh property will feature a rooftop terrace and balconies throughout. The St James retail-led mixed-use development will cover a total of 1.7 million square feet. The scheme, scheduled to complete in 2020, will have 850,000 square feet of retail space and will also house a five-screen Everyman cinema. Roomzzz chief executive Naveen Ahmed told Property Week: “Our expansion into the Scottish capital is a significant milestone for Roomzzz as we look to grow our successful portfolio of luxurious aparthotels across the UK.” Roomzzz has locations in cities including London, Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, where guests can stay for one night to a year. JLL acted on behalf of TH Real Estate while Christie & Co represented Roomzzz.
Creams Cafe to open Chelmsford site: Dessert cafe operator Creams Cafe is to open a site in Chelmsford, Essex. The new restaurant will open at The Meadows in High Street at the end of June or beginning of July, reports Essex Live. Creams Cafe serves waffles, crepes, sundaes, milkshakes and 36 varieties of ice cream in the style of Italian gelato. It has 49 sites in the UK and is set to continue expanding with another 54 venues listed as “opening soon” on its website. The brand currently has only two sites in Essex – in Southend and Harlow – but submitted a planning application in April to open a venue in Brentwood High Street.
North Wales-based adventure company bids to build hotel featuring giant slide, caves and climbing walls: North Wales-based adventure company Zip World has submitted plans to build a hotel featuring a giant slide, climbing wall and caves. The company wants to meet a need for hotel rooms to accommodate tourists attracted to adrenalin-fuelled attractions in the region. The proposed Gwesty Antur Adventure Hotel at Parc Tŷ Gwyn, on the outskirts of Llanrwst, would have 75 bedrooms, a restaurant, sauna and pool. In addition, proposals by the company also include a slide from the top to the ground floors, an external climbing wall and virtual reality pods. Construction would begin in 2018. Zip World director Sean Taylor told the Daily Post: “Our customer research shows a high percentage of holidaymakers who visit our adventures stay outside North Wales – as far afield as Chester, Manchester, Liverpool and Shrewsbury. The North Wales tourist industry is booming and we want to make sure what we offer benefits the wider economy. The hotel will promote local attractions and facilities, and visitors can preview local adventure tourism in the hotel’s virtual reality experience pods. Visitors will be able to book their adventure then and there.” Zip World employs about 300 staff at sites in Bethesda, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Betws-y-Coed and Llanrwst.
Former Breads Meats Bread team to launch gourmet burger concept in Glasgow: The former team behind Glasgow-based burger restaurant concept Bread Meats Bread is to launch a gourmet kebab concept in the city. Babs, which is billed on its website as “kebabs done right using ethical and local Scottish seasonal produce” is opening in West Nile Street on Thursday (15 June). The British, Greek, Mediterranean and Turkish fusion food will be served for lunch and dinner and there will be a takeaway service, reports Glasgow Live.
Simon French issues ‘Hold’ note on Merlin Entertainment shares following trading update: Cenkos Securities leisure analyst Simon French has issued a ‘Hold’ note on Merlin Entertainments shares with a target price of 503p following its trading update. French said: “Merlin Entertainments has announced a slightly disappointing trading update reporting group trading year-to-date broadly in line with expectations. This reflects in-line trading at Legoland parks and resort theme parks but a recent softening in domestic demand at Midway London attractions following the Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge terror attacks. Given the typical lag between holiday bookings and visitation, the group is cautious on overseas visitor trends over the coming months despite a weak sterling that had benefited trading in the early part of the year. The group has opened three Midway attractions, Legoland Japan and 250 hotel rooms so far this year and the group remains confident of delivering its 2020 milestones. Consensus estimates for 2017 are for £499m Ebitda (Cenkos estimates £493m) and we would expect these to edge down slightly to reflect the comments in the trading update. The stock trades on a 2017E price-to-earnings ratio of 23.3 times and an EV/Ebitda of 11.9 times, which doesn’t offer any room for error, even if not self-inflicted. We reiterate our ‘Hold’ recommendation acknowledging the group’s leading global footprint of visitor attractions and strong cash flow generation.”
Krispy Kreme eyes Ireland: Krispy Kreme is to open its first store in Ireland. The company is advertising for staff to work at a site in the district of North Down, Northern Ireland. A Krispy Kreme spokesman told The Irish News: “We are actively scouting a number of locations to open our first Irish store. Although nothing is confirmed at this stage, we’re very excited to spread the joy of Krispy Kreme across the Irish Sea in the near future!” Meanwhile, Krispy Kreme will open a site in Harrow, Greater London, on Thursday, 22 June. Doughnuts will be delivered daily to the venue in St Ann’s shopping centre from the company’s Hotlight store in Enfield. Krispy Kreme operates stores in 31 countries, with development agreements in several others, including more than 70 sites in the UK.
Kent-based hotel operator opens Indian restaurant in Dover: Kent-based hotel operator Andy Nanda has opened an Indian restaurant, in Dover. Nanda has launched Virsa in Park Place on the site of the former Park Inn pub that closed last year. The restaurant and takeaway also has a hotel upstairs, with the opening creating 25 jobs. Nanda, who operates The Fulwich hotel in Dartford, told Kent Live: “I saw the potential and I like challenges. Virsa means heritage, so we will provide traditional food.”
Carlsberg commits to zero carbon emissions at its breweries by 2030: The Carlsberg Group has committed to eliminating carbon emissions and halving water usage at its breweries by 2030 as part of its new Together Towards ZERO sustainability programme. It has also committed to an intermediate step that includes using 100% renewable electricity at its breweries by 2022. The programme is a part of Carlsberg Group’s SAIL’22 strategy and consists of four major ambitions – zero carbon footprint, zero water waste, zero irresponsible drinking, and a zero accidents culture. Other targets include offering 100% distribution of alcohol-free beer by 2022 to expand consumer choice, and providing responsible drinking messaging and nutritional information online as well as on packaging. The company said the Carlsberg Young Scientists’ Community would help foster further developments regarding carbon emissions, water wastage and sustainable brewing. Carlsberg Group chief executive Cees ’t Hart said: “Global challenges such as climate change and water scarcity require strong collective action, and with Together Towards ZERO we’re setting new industry standards for science-based and partnership-driven sustainability as part of our SAIL’22 strategy.” Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay added: “Carlsberg has taken a genuine leadership position on some of the most critical environmental issues the world faces.”
Whitbread gets go-ahead for Plymouth city centre Premier Inn: Whitbread has been given the go-ahead to open a 110-bedroom hotel in Plymouth city centre as part of the redevelopment of Derry’s department store. Whitbread has signed a 25-year lease, with work already under way ahead of an opening at the end of 2018. The hotel will occupy one of the upper floors and feature an in-house restaurant, while student accommodation will make up the rest of the upper floors, with commercial outlets on the ground floor. Premier Inn acquisitions manager Paul Smith told the Plymouth Herald: “This is a fantastic location for a new 110-bed Premier Inn and the hotel will offer customers excellent quality and greater choice, as well as providing £9.5m of investment for Plymouth.” London-based developers Thames Bank Property acquired the 224,536 square foot block in December. Managing director Colin Morris added: “I am delighted Premier Inn has chosen Derry’s for its central Plymouth hotel and its commitment for 110 hotel rooms and the Thyme restaurant means about half of the retail and leisure space is let or pre-let.” The move is part of Premier Inn’s expansion drive towards 85,000 bedrooms by 2020.
Bannatyne Fitness acquires Weybridge health club, seeks further sites: Bannatyne Fitness, the health club business operated by Duncan Bannatyne, has acquired the freehold of The Weybridge Health Club & Spa in an off-market deal. The company has bought the site, set in 30 acres of Surrey countryside, through agent Christie & Co. Bannatyne Fitness chief executive Justin Musgrove said: “The Weybridge Health Club & Spa represents a strategic purchase for the group as we extend our portfolio into the Home Counties. It is just the sort of business where we believe we can add value and enhance the customer experience with investment and attention to operational detail.” Christie & Co is seeking freehold and leasehold health clubs on behalf of Bannatyne Fitness that can provide 15,000 to 20,000 square feet with swimming pool and spa or the ability to develop these facilities. The clubs should also have at least 1,500 members, a minimum catchment population of 50,000 within a 15-minute drive, and at least 100 car parking spaces.
Portsmouth city centre site brought to market: Agent Fleurets has brought Rednex, formerly Skye Bar & V Bar, in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth, to market. The property is available on a new lease at nil premium and free from all trading ties with terms to be agreed. The historical building has Class A4 use and benefits from a late licence. Kate Dowd, of Fleurets, who is marketing the site, said: “Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth has an improving food and beverage offer and examples of recent additions include Brewhouse & Kitchen, Starbucks and JD Wetherspoon. With high volumes of students and workers, Guildhall Walk is once again ready to become the destination leisure area for pubs and bars in Portsmouth.”