New Peruvian restaurant concept Butifarra opens in Soho: A new Peruvian restaurant concept has opened in Soho. Entrepreneur Ali Malik has launched Butifarra in Rupert Street. Named after the Peruvian street snack (a bread roll with slow-cooked meat and salsa), it serves authentic sandwiches and ceviche alongside “cevushi”, a ceviche-sushi hybrid, from 8am to 7pm daily. Sides include a vegan taku taku rice dish and Peruvian alfajor cookies. Own-brand coffee and freshly made juices sit alongside more unusual offerings such as the chichi morada (a purple fruit juice made with corn). Drawing on Peruvian supplier Andes Export’s expertise of the culinary traditions of its homeland plus Davidson’s own travels across Peru and South America, Butifarra’s menu offers eat-in, takeaway and delivery options. It does not take reservations. The restaurant includes giant murals and will also sell authentic Peruvian sauces created in conjunction with Andes Export.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen reopens first rebranded Dublin restaurant after buying back Irish franchise rights: Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) has reopened the first of its rebranded restaurants in Dublin since the company bought back its Irish franchise rights from local businessman Graeme Beere. GBK is spending €3.5m on refurbishment of the five sites operated by Beere, with the site in Temple Bar the first to be completed. To celebrate the reopening, the restaurant gave away 500 free cheeseburgers to customers on relaunch day. GBK’s other sites in Dublin are in South William Street, South Anne Street, Liffey Valley and Swords. GBK chief operations officer Keith Bird said the company was also “actively looking for more sites in Dublin and further afield, with a view to growing by one or two restaurants a year over the next five years”. Beere bought the franchise rights for GBK in 2008, with plans to create more than 600 jobs. He claimed there was scope for more than 40 outlets in Ireland. Beere owned the franchise rights through Master Burger Investments, a subsidiary of Abrakebabra Investments. Master Burger investments had losses of €4.8m to the end of December 2014.
Hakkasan Group appoints marketing agency to develop digital strategy as part of global innovation drive: UK-based restaurant and nightclub company Hakkasan Group has appointed marketing agency Dare to develop its digital strategy as part of a global innovation drive. Hakkasan Group is planning the push with its Asian Luxury Collection channel, which includes brands Hakkasan, Yauatcha, Sake no Hana, HKK, and Ling Ling, into the US, Europe Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions. Dare won the work as part of a competitive pitch and will focus on optimising the customer experience across all digital touchpoints, encompassing content, social and the brand’s individual websites. Claire Ashman, executive director of global brand marketing at Hakkasan Group, told BDaily: “It’s been 15 years now since we opened our first restaurant in Hanway Place. Since then, Hakkasan Group has grown from strength to strength. We’re certain that Dare, with its extensive customer experience and digital transformation work, will help keep this momentum going by boosting our digital offering, through creating experiences our customers will really relate to.” Dare managing partner Jamal Cassim added: “Hakkasan Group is a world leader in hospitality. This move to create a coherent, customer-first digital experience that speaks directly to changing times is testament to that. We’re looking forward to using our expertise to help take Hakkasan Group to the next level.”
Amber Taverns to open former JD Wetherspoon pub in Gloucester as sports bar next month: Managed operator Amber Taverns will open a former JD Wetherspoon pub in Gloucester as a sports bar next month. Amber Taverns has invested nearly £500,000 to refurbish the former Water Poet in Eastgate Street, which it acquired from Wetherspoon earlier this year as part of a three-site package. It will reopen as a wet-led sports bar on Thursday, 1 September under new name The Doctors. Operations director Gary Roberts said the name was a nod to the old Dr Foster went to Gloucester nursery rhyme. He told Gloucestershire Live: “We will have a great selection of beers and ales, lots of nice cocktails and gins to try. We are installing a video wall to show the live sport and have booked all the HD sports packages from BT and Sky.” The Doctors is one of about 20 pubs Amber Taverns hopes to open in the next few months. The company, which has about 120 sites, acquired the Water Poet from Wetherspoon in May as well as the Edward Rutland in Stourbridge and the John Capel Hanbury in Pontypool. In June, Amber Taverns acquired two more Wetherspoon sites – The Zachariah Pearson in Hull along with the Old Angel in Doncaster – as it looks to strengthen its operations in Yorkshire. All five pubs were part of a 50-strong package Wetherspoon put up for sale in November last year.
Michelin-trained chef gets go-ahead to open restaurant in Nottingham: Michelin-trained chef Alex Bond has been given the go-ahead to open his own restaurant in Nottingham. Bond has worked under chef Sat Bains and at Abac, a two Michelin-starred restaurant in Barcelona, and El Bulli in Catalonia, which held three stars before its closure. He has now been granted permission by Nottingham City Council to open the 2,430 square foot restaurant in Derby Road, creating 13 jobs. Bond revealed the venue would have about 40 covers but has yet to be named. He told Insider Media: “I think there’s a lot happening in Nottingham at the moment as far as regeneration goes. I think Sat Bains has proved it can be done. Ultimately, I don’t want to create the best restaurant in Nottingham, I want to create one of the best in the country. In the next three years we hope to have a Michelin star. I’d like to join the elite and put another star on the Midlands map. You don’t have to travel to London – I could name a dozen, if not more, starred restaurants in the Midlands. The food scene is changing and we want to be part of that.”
HospitalityGEM secures Greene King, Punch and St Austell Brewery as clients, boosts revenue by more than £300,000: Guest experience management expert HospitalityGEM has secured major pub brands Greene King, Punch and St Austell Brewery as clients, which has increased its portfolio by more than £300,000 in revenue. Punch has introduced mystery guest visits to about 400 of its pubs per month, with a particular focus on supporting pubs undergoing change. Similarly, Greene King has also decided to use mystery visits to support trading objectives in its tenanted division, with about 2,500 scheduled to take place annually at targeted sites. This activity will focus on the pubs that will benefit most from structured feedback. Meanwhile, St Austell Brewery has expanded an initial agreement to provide its 30 managed pubs with monthly mystery visits to include biannual visits to 135 tenanted pubs. HospitalityGEM has also taken over and branded the “Smiles” survey site, which St Austell uses to engage with and listen to its guests. HospitalityGEM managing director Steven Pike said: “The main theme that seems to run through the requirements of each of our new pub clients is the need to provide detailed and dependable reports on individual guest experiences that pub managers can use to reflect, learn and improve. In the tenanted market in particular, it’s being viewed as a service to publicans rather than as a standards audit – there to help them be successful and to grow their business in an ever changing, challenging market place.”
Epic Pubs opens third site, in Oakham, first with accommodation: Epic Pubs has opened its third site, the Mill Street Pub & Kitchen in Oakham, Rutland. The pub, leased from Punch, has undergone an extensive refurbishment, with the interior and exterior completely remodelled. The 180-cover pub features an open kitchen and two private dining rooms, including one with a private bar, with the interior comprising a mix of exposed brickwork, bright furnishings and a rusted steel bar. Meanwhile, the pub’s courtyard garden, featuring banquette seating, offers space for up to 80 customers. It is also Epic’s first site to feature accommodation, offering seven boutique bedrooms. Epic operates two other pubs in Northamptonshire and Berkshire and secured its fourth site last month in Apsley Guise, near Milton Keynes. It is led by managing director Andrew Coath, who has worked in the pub and hotel industry for 20 years. He said: “We are really excited to be entering the next phase of Epic’s development with this new pub, which will build on the success of our two existing businesses. Each Epic establishment is unique in character and style, but with the same consistent standards of excellence in our food, drink and service.” Punch development manager Wayne McGarry added: “We are delighted to be working with Epic Pubs who, like us, have an uncompromising commitment to quality. The results at Mill Street are truly stunning. They have created a sensational new venue in Oakham and we are confident it will prove a real success with customers.”
London-based Jamaican restaurant concept Rudie’s eyes second site: London-based Jamaican restaurant concept Rudie’s is eyeing expansion as it prepares to mark the anniversary of its first site in Dalston. The 60-cover restaurant has seen a strong upward trend in footfall and sales, and regularly turns tables on busy nights at least two or three times. Rudie’s is full most days and has been turning away diners due to limited capacity since opening last October. Rudie’s, which provides customers with a “truly authentic taste of the very best of Jamaica” also welcomes new head chef Anthony Camberbatch this month. Camberbatch has worked in London restaurants such as D&D London’s Quaglino’s and Caprice Holdings’ The Ivy, as well as Caribbean eateries including Bubba, Bamboo Grove and Caribbean Scene. Rudie’s co-owner Matin Miah said: “The majority of our customers are Hackney locals but there’s clear evidence we are becoming a destination restaurant, with people coming from across London and beyond and asking when we will open another Rudie’s closer to them! We are thrilled to welcome our new head chef Anthony to the team and firmly believe he can take us to the next level by pushing the boundaries of contemporary Jamaican cooking as we approach our first anniversary.”
Crussh strengthens management team: Crussh, the healthy food and juice brand with 25 sites, has continued to strengthen its management team by appointing Laura Armstrong as head of design. Armstrong joins from Vital Ingredient, where she was responsible for new store design and roll-out, menu and packaging design, as well as the company’s website. In her new role she will work alongside the management team on the next phase of brand evolution and store expansion. She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining a leader in the healthy eating market. Crussh has a great heritage as a brand and has been leading the way with its freshly-pressed juices, smoothies, and delicious handcrafted food. There’s a real opportunity to spread this message and to get more people to enjoy the superb Crussh experience. It’s great to come on board to help evolve the brand and store design as we expand, bringing the innovative menu and brand values to the forefront.” Chief executive Shane Kavanagh added: “We are absolutely delighted to have Laura join our team at this hugely exciting time for Crussh. We have been London’s leading juice and smoothie business since 1998 and the recent strengthening of our management team has really set us up for the exciting opportunities we have lined up. We are moving into a major phase of growth over the next year with significant plans for expansion in London and beyond. Laura’s eye for design and detail will really add valuable experience to our marketing team that is headed up by Helen Jones.”
Pitt Cue returns to its Soho roots with Little Pitt launch: Wood-smoked barbecue restaurant Pitt Cue has returned to its roots by opening a second site – Little Pitt in Soho. Pitt Cue began as a food truck on the South Bank before its creators, Tom Adams and Jamie Berger, moved into tiny premises in Newburgh Street, Soho, with only five tables and a no-booking policy that resulted in long queues. The award-winning Pitt Cue then moved to much larger premises in the City, in Devonshire Square, with an extended bar and full wine list. Now Adams and Berger have returned to their original Newburgh Street site to launch Little Pitt. The pared-down version of Pitt Cue offers three buns – filled with pulled pork, smoked beef or chicken – two sides (green chilli slaw, and grilled hispi and herbs), and three extras (caramel ribs, pickled shiitake and kimchi). Little Pitt’s motto is “buns, bourbon and beer”.
Carlisle-based restaurateur opens second site in town: Carlisle-based restaurateur Chris Archibald has opened his second site after launching an American-inspired eatery in the Cumbrian town. Archibald has launched The Script @ No. 4 in Green Market, which aims to fuse local produce with the best of the US, creating ten jobs. He has invested £100,000 to convert a former pharmacy, hence the name “The Script”, shortened from “prescription”. The menu includes American staples such as pancakes, waffles and chicken wings. He got the idea for the venue, which is next door to his existing restaurant La Baguette, after making several trips across the Atlantic and is confident it will contribute to the city’s growing food culture. He told In Cumbria: “Our ethos is local produce fused with a New York state of mind. I got the idea from my travels around the world with my wife and children. We want to create a relaxed, informal atmosphere with high standards of service.”
Llangollen’s Wild Pheasant Hotel enters administration: A high-profile 19th century hotel and wedding venue in North Wales has closed after entering administration following health and safety concerns. All bookings were cancelled and all employees made redundant at the 46-bedroom Wild Pheasant Hotel in Llangollen. Steve Muncaster and Sarah Bell, managing directors of Duff & Phelps, were appointed as joint administrators of O&S Hotels, which trades as The Wild Pheasant Hotel, on 3 August. Muncaster said: “We’re conscious that in the busy holiday period there will be many disappointed to hear about the closure of the hotel. Anyone with an existing booking should get in touch with us and those that have paid in advance for bookings on credit or debit card should contact their provider for potential refunds.” The Wild Pheasant Hotel previously entered administration in August 2012 and was bought out by an investor. It was put up for sale in June 2016, with an asking price of £2.25m. The joint administrators are now seeking expressions of interest as they attempt to sell the property.
Northern Ireland couple launch new hospitality app: An entrepreneurial County Antrim couple have invested more than £50,000 in launching a new hospitality app. OhhSocial is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Kelly and Michael McClements. The company hopes to assist in the growth of the hospitality and leisure industry in Northern Ireland, which has “suffered in recent years”. OhhSocial has developed an app which features more than 150 exclusive, buy-one-get-one-free offers from businesses across the country in four key sectors. For a one-off payment of £19, users can choose from a range of offers from Wine and Dine, Health and Beauty, Leisure and Attractions, and Kid’s Activities categories. The tech start-up has already attracted and partnered with more than 50 businesses, while the McClements hope to have 3,000 active users by the end of 2016. Kelly McClements said: “Our idea is simple and was inspired by our travels in America, Australia and the Middle East, where we’ve seen similar ideas successfully operating. We love Northern Ireland’s thriving hospitality and leisure industry but understand it is a very competitive market.”
Greene King submits plans for second Gloucester Hungry Horse site: Brewer and retailer Greene King has submitted plans for a second Hungry Horse pub restaurant in Gloucester. The company has applied to the city council to build the part single-storey, part two-storey venue at the Railway Triangle development, which is already home to a Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee site and Morrisons supermarket. The proposed opening hours of the pub restaurant are 9am to 11pm, Monday to Thursday and Sundays, and from 9am to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, reports South West Business. The application stated: “This format of premises is designed as a family-orientated facility with an emphasis on family dining and value-for-money food. This site is suited to a Hungry Horse premises due to its size, its close proximity to high-density residential areas, and its proximity to a Morrisons supermarket, which will generate passing trade.” Greene King’s existing Hungry Horse site in Gloucester is the Royal Oak, near Hucclecote.
Turmeaus plans to open its second cigar sampling and fine whisky lounge in north west: Turmeaus Tobacconist, which operates seven specialist shops in the UK, is set to open its second cigar sampling and whisky lounge in the north west, this time in Liverpool. Turmeaus, which already operates two cigar shops in Liverpool, has applied for permission to open the “largest specialist tobacconist in the UK” after it acquired commercial premises at The Albany in Old Hall Street in the city centre. Customers would be allowed to sample cigars and pipes at the premises because their specialist nature means they are not covered by the smoking ban. The new venue would feature a whisky bar, two cigar sampling lounges, and a smokers’ accessories room. It would open until 11pm and also offer food and live music, the Liverpool Echo reports. Turmeaus Tobacconist was founded in Liverpool in 1817. Its other cigar sampling and whisky lounge is in Chester.
Former Living Ventures employee opens first pub after taking on JW Lees site: Former Living Ventures employee Caroline Terrington has opened her first pub after taking on a JW Lees site in Mobberley, Cheshire. Terrington is running the Plough & Flail in Paddock Hill Lane along with husband Martin. As well as working for Living Ventures, she has also previously managed Dutton’s Wine Bar in Chester city centre. The menu has been overhauled, with new additions including seabass with crab and dill potato cake and mussel salsa verde; and duck breast with soy caramelised chicory, dauphinoise potatoes and red wine jus. Terrington told the Knutsford Guardian: “We are very excited to take on a new challenge at the Plough & Flail. The pub is beautiful with so much potential we cannot wait to get stuck in creating menus and events for the local and wider community to enjoy.”
Domino’s Pizza to open first dine-in restaurant in Kent next month, in Maidstone: Domino’s Pizza will open its first dine-in restaurant in Kent next month, in Maidstone. The company is converting a former Spa store at Boughton Parade in Loose Road into the new venue, which will open on Saturday, 3 September. Alongside more traditional collection counters and waiting areas, the venue will also feature a 60-seat restaurant, reports Kent Online. Domino’s launched its restaurant venture in 2013 but only a handful have opened in the UK. Last month it lodged plans to open a 40-seat dine-in restaurant in Hull. Meanwhile, Domino’s has started selling salads across the US through a partnership with Ready Pac Foods to broaden the appeal of its menu amid intense competition and because “sometimes there’s that one person who only wants a salad on pizza night”.
Easyhotel to open third franchise hotel in Amsterdam: Easyhotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchisor of “super budget” branded hotels, has announced its Benelux franchisee will open a third hotel in Amsterdam. The 96-bedroom Easyhotel Amsterdam-Zaandam will be on the ninth to 11th floors of the Saentower in the Zaandam district, with construction expected to begin shortly and the hotel set to open early next year. Easyhotel chief executive Guy Parsons told LSE: “We are pleased to be further extending our presence in Amsterdam, which is an extremely attractive market for us with considerable demand for affordable tourist accommodation. This development, together with the agreements we recently signed for Istanbul, Lisbon and Bernkastel-Kues (Germany), will further increase our presence and awareness of the brand without direct capital investment across Europe.” The 80-bedroom Easyhotel Amsterdam City Centre opened in 2011 and is one of top-performing hotels in the Easyhotel network, while Easyhotel Arena Boulevard will open by the end of 2016.