Carluccio’s chief financial officer to step down, Stephen Critoph appointed on interim basis: Carluccio’s chief financial officer Jonathan Blanchard is to step down at the end of the month. Blanchard joined the company in September last year from cycle retailer Evans. Stephen Critoph, formerly of The Restaurant Group, has joined Carluccio’s as interim chief financial officer while a replacement is found. Carluccio’s chief executive Neil Wickers said: “Jonathan Blanchard is leaving Carluccio’s at the end of September to pursue a new opportunity outside the sector. Jonathan has been a valued member of the team and has made significant improvements to the business. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his contribution and wish him all the very best for the future. Stephen Critoph has joined Carluccio’s as interim chief financial officer until a permanent replacement is found. Stephen is a skilled finance professional with extensive experience in the hospitality sector, most recently as chief financial officer of The Restaurant Group, where he saw the business grow from 200 to more than 500 restaurants.”

Oliver to launch Jamie’s Deli in Asia with Hong Kong opening: Jamie Oliver will bring his Jamie’s Deli brand to Asia with the opening of a site in Harbour City in Hong Kong next month. Jamie’s Deli offers salads, hot deli items, artisan pizza, sandwiches, lunch boxes and pastries to eat in or take away. The brand currently has four venues – in Bath and airport sites in Oslo, Düsseldorf and Nice. Jamie’s Deli will join two Jamie’s Italian sites in Hong Kong – one in Harbour City and a flagship site in Causeway Bay. The concept is operated by Big Cat Group, which manages three Jamie’s Italians in Hong Kong and Taiwan with plans to open several more outlets throughout Hong Kong and greater China in the next five years, Lifestyle Asia reports.

Byron seeks early exit from Corn Exchange site as it looks to consolidate Manchester estate: Better burger brand Byron is seeking an early exit from its site at the Corn Exchange in Manchester, reducing its number of restaurants in the city from three to two. The company opened the ground-floor venue in the 141,700 square foot dining destination in Exchange Street in September 2015 after the first phase of the Aviva Investors and Queensberry Real Estate development was completed. Byron is now looking to exit in early 2018 and would be the first restaurant in the renovated building to do so. The company will not stop trading in the Corn Exchange until an assigned lease is completed, whereby all rights of the property would be transferred to another party, including lease length. This means Byron, which is backed by Hutton Collins Partners, would not have to pay an early exit fee. Byron’s other Manchester restaurants are in Deansgate, which opened in 2013, and Piccadilly Gardens, which launched two years later. An Aviva Investors spokesman told Place North West: “We can confirm we are in talks with Byron as it looks to consolidate its offer in Manchester from three restaurants to two. While still at an early talks stage we have already received multiple offers of interest in the unit should we collectively decide to move forward with lease negotiations.” This week, Byron confirmed the appointment of Simon Cope as chief executive having joined the company as managing director in July from Wagamama.

Fuller’s evolves offer at Canary Wharf pub: Fuller’s, the London brewer and premium pub company, has converted its Tea Merchant pub in Canary Wharf into the Merchant, with a greater focus on craft beer. The Merchant has undergone a four-week transformation that includes a new bar area to cater for the site’s improved craft beer range. A new function room, more all-weather outside seating and a games room are other additions to the venue. Jonathon Swaine, managing director of Fuller’s Inns, said: “This has been a great site for Fuller’s since we took it on but The Merchant really brings the pub up to date. It is an amazing scheme. We’ve gained extra bar space, a fantastic private function room, a games room, and a range of interesting craft beers that complement the fantastic brands we brew in Chiswick. Add to that an interesting range of food aimed at social dining and a great wine list and interesting cocktails.”

Stonegate reopens former JD Wetherspoon pub in Walton-on-Thames following £325,000 investment: Stonegate Pub Company has reopened a former JD Wetherspoon pub in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, following a £325,000 investment. Stonegate has transformed the Regent in High Street having acquired the site from Wetherspoon in February. As well as modernising the pub, Stonegate has introduced music and televisions showing sport and continued its real ale focus. Manager Matt Lettington said: “We’re proud of our beer reputation, that won’t change, but by adding such a modern sports offer it makes us the best pub on the high street.” Locals generated a 498-signature petition against the pub’s closure when Wetherspoon put it on the market in May last year.

Northern Ireland-based KFC franchisee acquires almost 30 sites following £27m funding boost: Northern Ireland-based The Herbert Group, which is one of the largest KFC franchises in central Europe, has acquired almost 30 sites after securing a £27m funding boost from Danske Bank. The Belfast-headquartered company controlled by businessman Michael Herbert owns 145 stores with a further 20 contracted for the first quarter of 2018. Included in its portfolio are the latest 27 sites to be snapped up as part of the company’s plans to expand its presence across Great Britain and Ireland. As part of the investment, 80 roles will be created to support the roll-out of home delivery services across Northern Ireland, as well as 20 positions at Herbert Group’s head office in Belfast. Group finance director Jason Carlisle told Insider Media: “Our latest acquisitions are aligned to growth plans for the group and the store portfolios acquired are a great strategic move for our expanding operations in the UK and Ireland. The transaction with Danske Bank provides the group with the platform and funding structure to pursue further acquisitions.” Danske Bank corporate banking manager Brian Shane added: “Danske Bank has a long-term relationship with The Herbert Group via the provision of our market-leading cash management and liquidity solutions, and foreign exchange risk management. The firm is well positioned for future growth and with a strong management team in place, the business continues to go from strength to strength.”

Gaucho to open £1.5m Edinburgh restaurant in November for first Scottish site: Gaucho has announced it will open its £1.5m flagship restaurant in Edinburgh in mid-November for the brand’s first Scottish site, creating 50 jobs. The company, which also operates Argentinian-inspired brand CAU, is opening the 120-cover restaurant on the recently rebuilt south side of St Andrew Square, which now features a cluster of fashionable restaurants including The Ivy and Dishoom. Gaucho is best known for its steaks but also offers special fusion dishes that in Edinburgh’s case will include haggis empanadas. Gaucho chef director Jamie Robertson told said: “Being from Bonnyrigg, this is something of a homecoming for me. I’m enjoying the opportunity to create exclusive dishes for our new Edinburgh restaurant that celebrate and fuse the provenance of Argentinian beef with Scotland’s enviable natural larder. I’m looking forward to bringing Gaucho’s world-famous menu to a home crowd.” Gaucho group chief operating officer Tracey Matthews added: “Edinburgh’s food and drink scene is flourishing and we see Gaucho making a significant contribution.” Gaucho opened its first site in Piccadilly in 1994. In May, the brand opened its first eponymous UK restaurant in seven years, in Birmingham, taking its total UK sites to 15. Gaucho also has restaurants in Dubai, Hong Kong and Buenos Aires.

Lantana to open fourth site, at London Bridge next month: London-based cafe chain Lantana is to open its fourth site in the capital, this time at London Bridge. The brand, which already has sites in Shoreditch, Camden and Fitzrovia, will open a venue at Thrale House in Southwark Street, on the edge of Borough Market, on Tuesday, 10 October. The 84-cover site consists of 3,313 square feet arranged over the ground floor and basement. In May, Lantana signed a new 25-year lease at a rent of £65,000 per annum exclusive. Rob Meadows, director of agents Davis Coffer Lyons, which acted for landlord Amazon Properties, told CoStar: “The Lantana concept has been pioneer of the Australian-run modern cafe scene in London, testament to the growth and proliferation of some exciting boutique coffee-led concepts in the sector of the market. There is a distinct and growing trend for these brands to offer a quality, all-day food menu, which can evolve to also capture evening trade.” Lantana was launched in 2008 by Shelagh Ryan, Michael Homan and Caitlin Ryan and offers dishes such as Mauritian chilli cakes, shredded duck tacos, and twice-cooked chicken wings.

Marston’s opens £3m new-build pub at Chatham Waters: Marston’s has opened a £3m new-build pub restaurant at Chatham Waters, near the Kent town’s docks. The company has launched The Mast & Rigging, creating 50 jobs. The 150-cover venue features an open-plan pizza kitchen and also offers a grills menu with a range of chargrills and steaks. Marston’s operations manager Paul Beynon told Kent Online: “We’re excited about The Mast & Rigging and hope it will build a great reputation – offering top-quality, value-for-money pub food and an unrivalled selection of drinks, including cask ales from across the country.” Marston’s originally proposed to build a pub as part of the Chatham Waters regeneration scheme but was refused planning permission by Medway Council in 2014, leading the company to submit plans for the new location between an Asda store at Gillingham Pier and the docks.

Former Nobu chef launches Japanese restaurant concept in Surrey: Former Nobu chef Taiji Maruyama has launched a Japanese restaurant in Surrey. The Dining Room Japanese Grill has opened in the Beaverbrook hotel in Leatherhead with a menu focusing on fish delivered daily from Cornwall and ingredients sourced locally or grown in the hotel’s gardens. Dishes include halibut with watercress, pink pepper, yuzu soy and sesame oil, and sea bass with crispy ants, clover leaf and sea salt, Get Surrey reports. Maruyama has worked at Nobu in London and Monaco and was chef patron of Kiru restaurant in Chelsea. Pastry chef Chris Underwood, who has worked at Fera in Claridge’s, is behind the dessert menu, while The Parrot Bar next to the restaurant offers cocktails paired with Maruyama’s cuisine.

Apex Hotels launches first site outside London, in Bath city centre: Apex Hotels has opened its first site outside London, in Bath city centre. The £35m, 177-bedroom Apex City of Bath Hotel takes the company’s portfolio to ten hotels across the UK. It is the city’s largest hotel in terms of number of rooms and is Bath’s only purpose-built city centre conference facility – with capacity for 400 delegates. It also features a restaurant, bar, gymnasium and pool, with the opening creating 130 jobs. Apex Hotels chief executive Angela Vickers told ITCM: “Our portfolio is at its strongest but that doesn’t mean we’ll take our foot off the gas. With Apex City of Bath open for business, we will turn our attention to new opportunities that will strengthen our presence in key cities across the UK.” The company is currently carrying out a £1.5m refurbishment of Apex City of London Hotel that includes last month’s launch of The Lampery, a Samuel Pepys-themed restaurant that is the first of a partnership between Apex and hospitality events company The Concerto Group. Refurbishment plans are also in the pipeline for hotels in Edinburgh and Dundee, with £6m invested in a 20-bedroom extension, wine bar and cellar at Apex Temple Court in London.

Carlisle-based operator to open fourth site: Carlisle-based operator John Van Lierop is to open his fourth site in the city. Van Lierop will launch brewhouse and kitchen Coco Mill on Friday (29 September) in Lowther Street on a site formerly occupied by Robertsons Bakery. The venue will operate on one floor with a kitchen upstairs, creating 15 jobs. The menu will include steak, burgers, platters and main courses such as chicken parmesan, moules frites and slow-baked salmon. Drinks will feature beer, gin, handcrafted cocktails, wine and locally roasted coffee. Van Lierop’s son, Tony, told the News & Star: “We’ve spent a lot of time developing the structure of our family-run company, enabling us to grow our business. We felt it was the right time to expand.” Van Lierop also runs The Last Zebra bar and Concrete nightclub, both in Lowther Street, and the Eaten By Monsters restaurant in Devonshire Street.

Carmarthen-based multi-site operator to start expansion of Diablo’s brand with Swansea site: Carmarthen-based multi-site operator Alex Luck is to start expansion of his Diablo’s brand by opening a second site, this time in Swansea. Luck opened his first Diablo’s almost a decade ago in Carmarthen as a cocktail bar selling British tapas and more recently launched a gastro-pub in the town. Now he will open a Diablo’s site in Swansea next month with plans to expand further across Wales. He told Insider Media: “I wanted to move along the M4 and create a city restaurant. The site is currently Garbo’s and we’ll be rebranding as Diablo’s SA1 in October.” For the future, Luck’s plan for Diablo’s is to move further along the M4. He said: “Cardiff would be great – it isn’t the end goal but it’s definitely in my sights. I really like old buildings and something with character so I’d also be keen to explore options in Bridgend and Newport.”

Yotel signs $250m strategic partnership deal with Starwood Capital Group ahead of international expansion: Yotel, the budget accommodation chain launched by YO! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe, has signed a $250m (£185.5m) strategic partnership with global private investment firm Starwood Capital Group. The deal includes Starwood acquiring a 30% stake in Yotel and investing in acquisitions to build, convert and adapt properties as the brand expands internationally, with a focus on Europe, North America and Asia. Starwood has already secured city centre sites in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Amsterdam that are expected to open as Yotels by 2019. Starwood Capital Group chairman and chief executive Barry Sternlicht told PR Newswire: “Yotel has global appeal and can be easily scaled up with key strategic acquisitions and developments in desired city centre and airport locations.” Starwood Capital Group head of European hotels Cody Bradshaw and senior vice-president Sarah Broughton will join the Yotel board of directors, alongside representatives of the company’s major shareholders including the Jassim Al Bahar Group, IFA Hotels & Resorts, United Investment Portugal, and Aqarat, which jointly own a 65% stake in the company. Yotel chairman and lead investor Talal Al Bahar said: “Starwood Capital Group’s investment provides strength and stability at a critical expansion stage and opens up new horizons for Yotel to become the leading affordable luxury hotel brand.” Yotel currently has 15 hotels in various stages of development, while openings this year include Boston and San Francisco, with Yotel’s first hotel in Asia to launch in Singapore on Sunday (1 October).

Paris-based soba noodles specialist Yen to make UK debut at the Strand: Paris-based soba noodles specialist Yen is to make its UK debut by opening a restaurant in the Strand, London. Yen, which launched in the St Germain de Prés area of Paris, will open its London restaurant in Arundel Street in November offering traditional Japanese noodles, tempura and a sushi counter. As with its French flagship site, buckwheat soba noodles will be the main focus in the Strand restaurant, made in-house twice a day. The Parisian menu includes noodle dishes such as mori soba with soy sauce and kamonamban soba with minced duck, Hot Dinners reports. The Yen website states: “Located in the new 190 Strand development, the restaurant will host a cocktail bar in the mezzanine area with outside seating, an open kitchen, a sushi counter, and a private room within the main restaurant. Soba noodles will be prepared daily in the main restaurant inside the soba room, where our highly-skilled chefs will knead the dough and cut it fresh for each service.”

Nottingham-based Indian restaurant Tamatanga to open second site, in Birmingham next week: Nottingham-based Indian restaurant Tamatanga is to open its second branch, in Birmingham next week. The company, which has been trading in Nottingham for almost nine years, will launch the venue in Navigation Street on Monday (2 October) on the site of a former kitchen tap showroom. The 140-cover bar and restaurant will offer all-day, home-style Indian cuisine with an extensive cocktail menu. The main menu will feature dishes such as lamb chops and tandoori chicken cooked in a clay oven. There will also be biryani and curry bowls as well as Tamatanga’s speciality, thalis. Operations director Rahul Khurana told The Birmingham Mail: “We see ourselves as the Indian equivalent of places such as Wagamama and Turtle Bay and we want to be known for offering consistently good-quality food, service and atmosphere. It’s about serving comforting food that just happens to be Indian.”

Atlanta-style barbecue pop-up Miss P’s opens bricks and mortar site in Croydon: 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, has opened a bricks and mortar site in Croydon. Gianluca Ivaldi, who founded the company with his mother Pauline in 2013, has opened the site at the former Cricketers pub in Addiscombe Road following a three-month renovation. Miss P’s Barbecue offers authentic Atlanta-style barbecue food cooked in a large smoker that burns 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. Drinks include draught beer, spirits, wine and cocktails. Ivaldi told the Croydon Advertiser: “Smoked meat is the regional dish for southern American states and it’s a big part of their culture. No-one does that in the pure sense (in the UK) – with a large smoker running just on wood and coal – but that is what we are offering.”

Liverpool-based multi-siters close Mr Miyagi restaurant in Bold Street to make way for new concept: Liverpool-based multi-siters Ryan McMahon and Alex Hannah have closed their debut site for Japanese and soul food brand Mr Miyagi to make way for a new concept. McMahon and Hannah launched the concept at the Bold Street site three years ago, and have opened two further sites in Merseyside – in Allerton Road and Derby Street in Ormskirk. Both sites will remain open. The new concept will be a joint venture with Liverpool DJ Anton Powers and local entrepreneur Mike Welch. In a statement on Facebook, McMahon and Hannah said: “We have been working on the new concept for almost 12 months and, after looking across the city for suitable locations, have come to the conclusion the best place for it is right here in Bold Street. More information on our new concept will be revealed in the coming weeks and we hope you’ll like what we have come up with.” Mr Miyagi describes itself as “Japanese soul food that meets ghetto Asian with Asian comfort food served to a Motown soundtrack”. It offers Japanese-style food with buns, skewers, fried chicken, small plates and ramen, alongside bespoke cocktails. McMahon and Hannah also operate Mexican restaurant Lucha Libre, and bars Berry & Rye, Jenny’s Bar and Aloha, all in Liverpool.

Farmer to open second Terroir restaurant in Derby: Farmer Tim Sidaway is to open a second restaurant in Derby after the success of his first, Terroir Bistro. He will open Le Petit Terroir at The Post House, which opened earlier this year in the former Post Office building in Victoria Street, on Friday (29 September). Terroir Bistro serves locally produced food, including Sidaway’s own livestock from fields near Matlock. Le Petit Terroir will serve different food to the Friar Gate venue, offering a range of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes. The Post House opened in May and houses several independently owned restaurants. Sidaway said the inaugural restaurant had gone from strength to strength. “We get very busy at the Bistro on weekends and have to turn people away because we are full,” he said. “An opportunity came up at The Post House and I thought it would be nice to get involved in that sort of venue and offer a slightly different version of what we are doing at Terroir Bistro but still with the same ethos of local and seasonal food. We are doing a simpler menu with classics such as sausage and mash, meatballs and pasta.”

Hampshire-based soft drinks company Thirstee Business to open first pub: Hampshire-based soft drinks company Thirstee Business is to open its first pub after acquiring The Lapstone in Horton Heath, near Eastleigh. The pub has been shut since March after owners Ei Publican Partnerships, formerly Enterprise Inns, put it on the market. Fears it would be sold for redevelopment prompted a Save The Lapstone campaign that resulted in it being registered as an asset of community value (ACV). Thirstee Business, which supplies about 300 pubs and clubs in the Solent area, will reopen the pub on Saturday, 5 November. Director Russ Kitching said he plans to turn part of the pub next year into a family-friendly restaurant with a wood-fired pizza oven. Gabriel Boland, who began the community campaign to save the pub and worked to secure the ACV nomination, told the Daily Echo: “I cannot begin to express my delight at this excellent news. Our nine-month campaign to save this lovely pub has come to a perfect conclusion. We will now work with Russ Kitching and his team to ensure The Lapstone thrives.”

JD Wetherspoon wins vegan award: JD Wetherspoon has won the best vegan noodles category at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Vegan Food Awards 2017 for its teriyaki noodles meal. PETA praised the dish, which comprises non-egg noodles and fresh vegetables in a teriyaki sauce with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and a hint of chilli. The meal has fewer than 500 calories and less than 5% fat. PETA director of vegan corporate projects Dawn Carr said: “Wherever you live or travel in the UK, you’re never far from a delicious hot vegan meal thanks to Wetherspoon’s vegan options.” Wetherspoon food development manager Oliver Addis added: “We are keen to offer our customers as wide a range of meals as possible and this includes a selection of vegan meals.”

Historic Sussex coaching inn put up for sale: A coaching inn in Lewes, East Sussex, parts of which are believed to date to 1610, has been put up for sale. Offers are being invited for the freehold of the family-run The Crown Inn in High Street, which is being marketed jointly by agents Fleurets and Cradick Retail. The Crown Inn occupies a prime site opposite the War Memorial in the town centre. Fleurets divisional director Nick Earee said: “I am delighted to be instructed to deal with this imposing and substantial property, which provides extensive accommodation to include 12 letting bedrooms.”