Chocolate and patisserie brand R Chocolate London to open second site next month, in Belgravia: Chocolate and patisserie brand R Chocolate London will open its second site next month, this time in Belgravia. The company, founded by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Jessica de Rothschild and entrepreneur Ben Elliot, will launch the venue in Ebury Street at the end of September. R Chocolate’s Belgravia kitchen and tea room will feature a dessert bar with four to six covers as well as being a space for chocolate masterclasses. Guests can enjoy an array of chocolate including its signature Caramel Chocolates in a variety of different flavours and its “Memory Lane” collection of retro bars. Director Dilou Haddou said: “This is a project born out of passion, adoration and an overall love for chocolate and we have worked hard to create a range of products which showcase this. Each item in-store has been specially created for our customers and we are excited to be bringing such a special brand to the UK.” R Chocolate’s original site is in Richmond, south west London.
Freehold of Newark pub home to FunFair Brewing Company goes on market: The freehold of a 19th century pub and brewery near Newark, Nottinghamshire, that dates more than 170 years has gone on the market for £325,000. The Chequers Inn in Toad Lane, Elston, was built in 1840 and is owned by Abi Cutts and her partner David Tizzard. It is home to the FunFair Brewing Company, which includes a ten-barrel brewery at the rear of the property. The couple has been brewing for 12 years and has operated the pub for six. Cutts said: “We’ve loved operating the Chequers and living in Elston, but now we feel the time is right to move onto the next thing.” Tom Rawlinson, business agent at Christie & Co, which is marketing the property, added: “The Chequers Inn is a pub which has retained its integrity as a traditional watering hole, and this is shown in the way that all of the owners have kept the original beams in place, which add to the character of the pub. The Chequers really is of its age and Elston is a fantastic place to run a business such as this one.”
Pepe’s Pirri Pirri to open restaurant in Bolton: Chicken restaurant brand Pepe’s Piri Piri is to open a site in Bolton. The company has agreed a deal for a unit next to Prezzo in the restored historic vaults beneath the Market Place Shopping Centre. The site is currently being refurbished and is due to open before the end of September. The vaults opened earlier this year after undergoing a major refurbishment as part of the overall £30m redevelopment of the shopping centre. The area has played a key role in this year’s Bolton Food and Drink Festival, with the launch event taking place in the specially created Chefs Quarter. Tim Vaughn, chief executive of the Moorgarth Group, which owns Market Place, told the Bolton News: “Our intention is for this to be the destination for food and drink in Bolton and so it has been fantastic to have played a key role in the fantastic food and drink festival.” Pepe’s Pirri Pirri has 51 sites across the UK.
Merseyside-based multi-siter gets go-ahead to open Asian fusion restaurant at Southport hotel: Merseyside-based multi-site operator Paul Adams has been given the go-ahead to open an Asian fusion restaurant at his hotel The Vincent in Southport. The Vincent Pacific restaurant will open on Friday, 19 September at the hotel in Lord Street, which also houses the V Cafe, following approval by Sefton Council. The new restaurant will offer an affordable menu, with dishes such as chicken and pork dim sum, miso black cod, and seared wagyu beef. Adams told the Southport Visiter: “We are delighted to be opening the new restaurant at our hotel to provide even greater choice to our guests. I have a particular passion for Pacific rim food and after many months of menu testing with our chefs I am excited that we have created a menu that we hope will be very well received by our diners.” Earlier this month, Adams was chosen as the operator for a new £20m 116-bedroom aparthotel in Liverpool’s historic Ropewalks district, which includes the city’s first rooftop pool.
The Real Greek and Project Pie sign for WestQuay Watermark scheme in Southampton: Mediterranean restaurant The Real Greek, which is owned by Fulham Shore, and US build-your-own pizza brand Project Pie have signed to open sites at WestQuay Watermark, the £85m dining and leisure scheme in Southampton being developed by Hammerson. The Real Greek’s 325 square metre venue on the scheme’s lower promenade will be the brand’s second restaurant outside of London. Meanwhile, Project Pie has secured its third UK site and will open the 130 square metre venue on the Long Room floor. Fulham Shore chairman David Page said: “We’re very excited to be bringing The Real Greek to Southampton for the first time, and are looking forward to welcoming the city’s diners. WestQuay Watermark is an ideal location for us to open our second restaurant outside London – a new and vibrant scheme, it is well positioned on the south coast and will be a big draw for customers from Southampton as well as the surrounding area.” Project Pie UK director Susan Canavan added: “The premium destination will allow for a wide variety of people to enjoy our authentic build-your-own pizzas. We are proud to be expanding and be able to provide more people with the chance to experience our artisan pizzas and the fresh ingredients that we boast as part of our food offering.” Sarah Fox, head of restaurants and leisure at Hammerson, said: “We are delighted to welcome both Project Pie and The Real Greek to the scheme. Each restaurant allows visitors to enjoy a different taste from around the world, building on the vibrant mix of global cuisine that the development already promises to deliver.”
Berkshire-based cafe operators open fine dining restaurant: Berkshire-based cafe operators Karin Edlind and Tim Lawrence have started expanding their portfolio by opening a fine dining restaurant. Edlind and Lawrence, who opened the Old Post Office cafe in High Street, Wargrave, in 2013, have launched Weir Grove in the same road. The venue is housed on the former site of Indian restaurant Haweli, which moved to a new building across the road earlier this year. Edlind, who has a background in catering and is also a chef, told the Henley Standard: “This place is very different, it’s not a cafe and doesn’t serve the big portions we are known for. It’s more delicate fine dining. We had been looking for a restaurant for a while and were approached by the people who own this building when Haweli moved across the road. There’s a slight danger of competing with ourselves but we hope it will mean more people come to the village.”
Starbucks’ first global franchisee opens drive-thru in St Leonards: The company that became Starbucks’ first global franchisee, UK-based 23.5 Degrees, has opened a drive-thru in St Leonards, Hampshire, creating 20 jobs. The new store in Ringwood Road is the first drive-thru in the area. Replacing a converted fireplace shop off the A31, the new store has a gas fireplace in the centre of the cafe. Its location serves those travelling through the New Forest. 23.5 Degrees director Mark Hepburn said: “Our aim is to create a warm and inviting place for locals and commuters to grab a coffee, as well as tourists driving through or to the area. We’re looking forward to building relationships with the local community and getting to know our neighbours.” Karen Fenwick, director of franchising and licensing, Starbucks UK, added: “We’re delighted to have opened our new store in St Leonards and we have been overwhelmed with the warm welcome we’ve received from the locals.” 23.5 Degrees has been allocated a developmental territory including Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Essex and Dorset as well as 23 boroughs within the Greater London area (Hillingdon, Harrow, Brent, Ealing, Hounslow, Richmond, Hammersmith & Fulham, Wandsworth, Kingston, Merton, Sutton, Croydon, Bramley, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Havering, Barking & Dagenham, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham, Greenwich, and Bexley). The three directors, Hepburn Anil Patil and James Garner have a track record of success in foodservice franchise businesses, including Domino’s Pizza, Burger King, Costa Coffee and KFC. Having opened its first store in February 2013, 23.5 Degrees now operates 35 sites. Starbucks plans to open 1,000 franchise stores in the UK over the next five to seven years, partnering with a maximum of 25 franchisees.
Award-winning multi-operators David and Becky Salisbury reopen pub after fire repairs: Enterprise Inns’ Alford Arms, in the Hertfordshire hamlet of Frithsden, has reopened after publicans David and Becky Salisbury completed a £400,000 refurbishment to repair extensive fire damage. The blaze, in February, was started by spontaneously combusting kitchen towels just out of a tumble dryer, and ravaged the top two floors of the pub. The multi-award winning duo also run Enterprise’s Royal Oak, in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. All members of the team were retained on full wages while the work took place, and the pair have taken the opportunity to update the premises. David Salisbury said: “Considerable investment has been made to improve our energy efficiency and technology, such as an online reservations platform on our website.” Becky Salisbury added: “We’ve been totally overwhelmed by the comments and warm wishes we’ve received, whether via social media, on the phone, or in person when we’re at our other pub in Marlow or in the local high street. When we took over The Alford Arms, almost 18 years ago, we set out to create a pub that we’d want to drink and eat in. Fortunately, the local community seemed to share the same idea, quickly took us under their wing, and we can’t wait to welcome them back to the Alford.” Since 2003, The Alford Arms has been awarded Herts Dining Pub of the Year ten times by the Good Pub Guide; recently appeared in the list of Sunday Times Top 20 Gastro Pubs; and was national winner in the inaugural FreeFrom Food awards, which recognised the pub’s “amazing hospitality regardless of individual customer allergies”. David Salisbury added: “Enterprise Inns appointed the project manager, quantity surveyor and main contractor for the rebuild, and they have all been absolutely superb. The quality and clarity of communication has been first class, and we couldn’t be happier with the way the work has been done.”
M&B to open Miller & Carter site in Chester next month: Mitchells & Butlers will open a Miller & Carter steakhouse in Chester next month. The company is opening the site on Friday, 9 September on the ground floor of the Cheshire West and Chester Council building in Nicholas Street. The restaurant, which will feature booth seating and modern artwork, will have capacity for more than 150 diners. Tim Ellis, regional business manager at Miller & Carter, told the Chester Chronicle: “Bringing a new Miller & Carter to Chester is extremely exciting for the brand and the new restaurant will offer the best steaks and service that Miller & Carter is renowned for across the UK.” Miller & Carter has more than 40 sites in the UK and opened its latest restaurant in Bagshot, Surrey, earlier this month having converted a Harvester restaurant.
Turtle Bay debuts in East Anglia: Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay has opened its first site in East Anglia with a branch in Swan Lane, Norwich. The 180-seater restaurant has opened in the former Fabric Warehouse building. The grade II-listed building has been converted into the restaurant over two floors and complete with a bar designed like an island hut, an open street food style kitchen and a VW camper van renovated into a seating area. Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema and has 28 sites across the UK, having opened its first site in Milton Keynes in 2010.
Tankard Services acquires Triniteq Services: Tankard Services, which is led by Burning Night Group founder Alan Harper and is a cloud-based operating systems for the licensed trade, has acquired Triniteq Services from its Australian parent, for a sum in the region of £5m. Triniteq, one of the UK’s longest established EPOS companies and owner of IP rights for Waiter PAD and Waiter POS, has pioneered the development of handheld leisure and hospitality devices for many years. John Tankard, chairman of Tankard Services, and Gary Smith, chairman of Triniteq, described the transaction as the bringing together of two major UK-based EPOS businesses to create a leisure, hospitality and retail services group with global reach. “There is a technology explosion around the use of handheld devices in the retail and leisure sector, backed up with the wealth of management information provided by an integrated system,” said Harper. “Our enlarged group aims to be at the forefront of further development.”
First phase of London Bridge station opens, local and large foodservice chains to feature: The first phase of the new ground-level concourse at London Bridge railway station has opened after a year of building work. Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne predicted that London Bridge will become an “iconic destination station” like King’s Cross and St Pancras. He said London Bridge showed that the company was successful in “harmonising 21st century architecture with the Victorian heritage” of the railway network. New shops already open on the concourse include Krispy Kreme while Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee and natural fast food brand Leon will open branches on the “paid” side of the ticket barriers. While St Thomas Street will feature Caffe Nero and YO! Sushi, some of the arches have been set aside for small businesses. Thameslink programme director Simon Blanchflower told the SE1 website: “A number of the retail outlets are reserved for more local businesses, so they are not let out to the major chains. We’ve set up a graded rent through the first five years to enable new businesses to get a foothold in the station area.”
JD Wetherspoon takes a step closer to opening in North Walsham: JD Wetherspoon has taken a step closer to opening in North Walsham (population 12,000), paving the way for a £1.6m investment and dozens of jobs in the Norfolk town. The outlet is set to occupy a building currently used by the town council in New Road. The council will move into North Walsham registration office in King’s Arms Street, borrowing its marriage room as a council chamber. The agreement to sell the property had been dependent on the owner North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) finding another base for the town council. Alternative homes have been found for the building’s other tenants, with the Citizens Advice Bureau moving to a unit in St Nicholas’s Precinct while, North Norfolk Community Transport has already moved to the North Walsham Industrial Estate. Hopes of relocating them all into a former doctors’ surgery in Northfield Road were dashed just before Christmas when the NHS rejected an improved and final offer for the building from the district council. NNDC leader Tom FitzPatrick said: “We are very pleased to be close to being able to offer freehold vacant possession allowing Wetherspoon to move forward with its proposals for a pub-restaurant in the town, subject to planning and licensing consents.”
Leasehold of Filthy Cow comes on the market with quick sale price of £25,000: Agent Christie & Co has been appointed to sell the leasehold interest in Manchester’s top bar and burger joint Filthy Cow. Located in Tib Street, the 72-cover Filthy Cow opened its doors in Manchester in February 2015, taking over the former Lounge Ten restaurant. Filthy Cow is the brainchild of young entrepreneur Jordan Gallimore, who was backed by two existing business owners in Manchester. She had spent 12 months researching the burger world in a quest to recognise where there was a gap in the market, with time also spent in kitchens of various restaurants and diners. The “farmyard industrial crossed Soho-neon” interior, which includes stripped back floorboards, exposed brickwork and graffiti art, has been a huge hit with the restaurant’s customers and the business has built up an enviable reputation with its clients for providing great quality, locally-produced food offering great value for money. Ashley Cobban, business agent at Christie & Co’s Manchester office, said: “Manchester has seen something of a boom in the burger market in recent years, but this didn’t stop Filthy Cow from boldly claiming it would ‘change the face of dining in Manchester’ and it has certainly lived up to this. It has set the benchmark for a memorable dining experience in a city which has a numerous amount of times been voted the best city to live in the UK. The current owner now feels it’s time to sell the business and focus her attentions elsewhere. This presents a fantastic opportunity for a new owner/operator to take over an already established and successful business and continue along its success, further increasing trade and profit.” Christie & Co is seeking offers in the region of £25,000 for a quick sale of the leasehold of the business.
CPL Training claims record market share for personal licence training in sector: CPL Training has claimed a record market share in personal licence training in the first quarter of 2016. The Merseyside-based company now claims 34% of the market for the Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) training in England and Wales. CPL Training recorded its best performance to date, which saw more than 4,900 APLH delegates train with the company from January to March, across its 75 centres. To reward customers for their continued loyalty, CPL is set to offer a £34 discount on APLH courses scheduled in England and Wales. This limited time offer will run until Friday, 9 September and can be redeemed by calling and quoting “CPL 34”. In the past 18 months, CPL acquired one of its largest competitors – Abv Training. Currently, about 20,000 individuals per year undertake personal licence training with CPL. This figure has been on a steady increase for the past five years. Chief executive Dan Davies said: “We are delighted to have further cemented our position as the largest provider of the APLH qualification. Since the turn of the year, we’ve experienced an increasing flow of new customers and great loyalty from existing clients – demonstrating the great experience of training and booking with CPL Training. As we look to expand our APLH delivery through the acquisition of other training companies, it’s a great time to be a part of the CPL family.”
Company directors disqualified over illegal workers: Two directors of a restaurant in Bristol who put their business into liquidation to avoid paying fines for employing illegal workers have received lengthy bans. Kahir Uddin Chowdhury and Bedar Chowdhury, the directors of Jamuna Restaurant, which traded as Cinnamon Restaurant in Bristol, have each been disqualified for six years. On 17 July 2015, Home Office immigration enforcement officers visited the restaurant and discovered four illegal workers. The Home Office issued a civil penalty for £40,000 on 8 September 2015. The starting fine is £15,000 for each illegal worker, but this was reduced to £10,000 as the company had co-operated. However, the fined went unpaid paid and the directors placed the company into creditors voluntary liquidation in January this year. Vicky Bagnall, director of investigation and enforcement at the Insolvency Service, said: “Employing illegal workers is not a victimless crime. These directors sought an unfair advantage over their competitors by employing people under the radar who were not entitled to work legally in the UK.”