Signature Living reports turnover and pre-tax profit surge: Aparthotel developer and operator Signature Living has reported a surge in turnover and pre-tax profit. The company, founded by Lawrence Kenwright, saw turnover jump to £8,253,634 for the year ending 31 March 2016, compared with £3,551,527 the year before. Pre-tax profit climbed 250% to £5,641,458 compared with £1,595,083 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The company stated: “The Signature Living Group continued to improve the performance of its core operations in the year ended 31 March 2016, as well as exploiting further development opportunities. During the year hotel operations pertaining to Shankly Hotel, 30 James Street and Stanley Street were transferred out of the parent company and into standalone subsidiary entities, thereby allowing management to more closely monitor and control their financial and operational performance. The opening of the first phase of the Shankly Hotel in August 2015 added a further 60 bedrooms to an already growing hotel portfolio. During the year the group expanded its operations to include additional hotel and food and beverage operations and car parks, and by tenanting properties. The group has also been in the process of building out and delivering in excess of 300 residential units. The directors continue to seek additional property development opportunities with a view to further growing its development pipeline and expanding the group’s operations in the hotel, leisure and residential sectors. The group has continued to trade profitably in the current financial year with a full year of trading in all of the established hotel operations, all of which generated healthy trading profits. In addition, further development projects have been initiated in the following Liverpool-based locations – Old Hall Street, Arthouse Square and the Cotton Street Warehouse. The group secured incremental funding in the current year through the disposal of leasehold interests in the Daniel House development, which is expected to provide a mix of student and private accommodation.”
Michael O’Hare has plans approved to move Michelin-starred restaurant: Celebrity chef Michael O’Hare has had his plans to relocate the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Leeds approved. O’Hare launched The Man Behind The Curtain in April 2014, winning a Michelin star two years later. The chef now wants to relocate the restaurant from the third floor of the historic Coronation Building into the larger basement as his venue is booked up months in advance. Acting on behalf of Town Centre Securities, Carey Jones Chapman Tolcher has drawn up designs for alterations to the building in Vicar Lane. A spokesman for the company told Insider Media: “We’re looking to start as soon as we can, with work probably starting in June.” The Man Behind The Curtain’s relocation follows a significant change in the area since Hammerson’s development of the Victoria Gate retail complex in the city centre. O’Hare is set to open a trio of restaurants in Manchester with GG Hospitality, co-owned by former Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, entitled The Man Who Fell To Earth, Are Friends Electric, and The Rabbit In The Moon.
VQ launches fourth London site, plans ten 24-hour bar restaurants in next three years: London-based cafe and diner VQ has launched a 24-hour bar restaurant in Aldgate and said it plans to open ten similar venues in the next three years. The venue, VQ’s fourth in the capital, has opened on the ground floor of the new Dorsett City Hotel, which officially launches on Sunday, 2 July. The venue features a 60-cover restaurant, with seating for a further 60 people outside and a 30-cover bar. The decor features wood panelling, leather banquettes and booths to make guests feel at home, whatever the hour. The all-day menu features small dishes such as halloumi fries with tzatziki and Merguez sausages with harissa and aioli dips, alongside pasta, burgers, salads and classics mains and desserts such as beer-battered haddock and apple crumble and custard. It will also offer a 24-hour breakfast menu, with dishes including eggs benedict and buttermilk pancakes. A VQ spokesman said its other three London restaurants, in Bloomsbury, Chelsea and Notting Hill, serve more than 35,000 customers a month, with the latest opening a “push for the brand as it aims to reinvigorate the capital’s night-time offering and become a leading all-day dining player”. Dorsett City, which is next to Aldgate tube station, will feature 267 rooms and suites, a rooftop bar and 1,600 square metres of meeting space.
Chipotle reports investigation findings after most of its US restaurants hit by credit card hackers: Chipotle has reported the findings from an investigation after most of its US restaurants were hit by credit card hackers. The investigation identified the operation of malware designed to access payment card data from cards used on point-of-sale devices at certain Chipotle and Pizzeria Locale restaurants between 24 March and 18 April. Chipotle said the malware searched for track data, which sometimes has a cardholder’s name in addition to card number, expiration date and internal verification code, read from the magnetic strip of a card as it was routed through the POS device. It said there was no indication other customer information was affected, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. During the investigation, Chipotle removed the malware and said it continued to work with cyber security firms to evaluate ways to enhance its security measures. It is also working with the payment card networks so banks could be made aware and initiate heightened monitoring.
Gladwin brothers launch London Farmer’s Markets partnership: Richard, Oliver and Gregory Gladwin who own three restaurants in the capital – The Shed, Rabbit and Nutbourne – have joined forces with London Farmers’ Markets to bring the “spoils of the countryside” to Battersea. The Ransome’s Dock Farmers Market will launch on Saturday, 10 June in Nutbourne’s courtyard and support independent farmers and producers from across the country. The market will host 25 food stalls every Saturday, from 10am to 2pm. The Gladwins will host their own pop-up stall at the market, selling a different seasonal dish each week and wine from their family vineyard in West Sussex. Nutbourne will also offer a wide range of brunch and lunch options while the market is open. The Gladwins said the initiative was a “natural evolution” of their farm-to-plate and sustainability ethos. The brothers’ restaurants only serve seasonal ingredients foraged or grown locally. London Farmers’ Markets hosts 22 weekly markets across the capital.
Soho Coffee Co opens fourth London site, at O2 Centre: Artisan fresh food and coffee brand Soho Coffee Co has opened its fourth store in London, at the O2 Centre shopping complex in Finchley Road. The store, which follows the launch of its Baker Street site this month, is the brand’s second opening in the capital this year and 39th in total. It is also the first London store to carry Soho Coffee Co’s children’s range, which includes small-sized sandwiches, fruit and veggie pots, and gingerbread figures. Managing director Penny Manuel said: “Openings in London are a recent undertaking for the brand but ones that are outperforming expectations and targets. We’re delighted with the positive response from our customers to the design of the stores, our signature food-led coffee offering, and our in-store teams who are working hard to create the right atmosphere.” Soho Coffee Co said it continued to eye expansion across London in 2017, with fitting already under way in yet-to-be-revealed locations. The company has 11 outlets opening this year, of which the O2 Centre is the fourth.
BrewDog to open third Ohio bar: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is to open its third bar in Columbus, Ohio, in October. The company, which is currently test brewing at its $30m brewery and headquarters in Canal Winchester that also houses its debut US bar Columbus Dogtap, lodged plans last week to open a venue in the Franklinton area of the city at a former auto-repair shop in West Town Street. BrewDog has now announced a third bar will open in October, this time in the city’s Short North area. The bar will replace the Raw Material Salon in North High Street and be “considerably smaller” than the DogTap and Franklinton sites. However, the company is looking to “make the most use of the space”, with an open-plan concept and patio. BrewDog head of sales and marketing Ben Stewart said: “The Short North is one of my favourite areas in town. There’s a really good demographic – a lot of choice in terms of restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries.” He added that BrewDog’s initial focus in the US would be “still on Ohio” while it grew the “beer side” of the business.
Rileys Sports Bars eyes extended space to test new concepts: Rileys Sports Bars has revealed plans to extend its Nottingham site that would give it a chance to test an “exciting development project”. The brand’s owners, private equity firm Weight Partners Capital, which bought the Rileys business out of administration in December 2014, has submitted plans to extend its site in St James’s Street into Brown Betty’s cafe next door, which it has acquired. The company’s plans for the space include “fun darts” and a larger restaurant. Brown Betty’s is Nottingham’s oldest family-run cafe but will close on Friday, 23 June. A Weight Partners Capital spokesman told the Nottingham Post: “Rileys recently undertook a wide-ranging customer research project in key sites. The fundamental aim of the research was to understand what our customers wanted from a new-design venue and how best we can meet a wide range of needs. Some of the exciting new concepts we have looked at with our focus groups are fun darts, an exciting automatic scoring darts board, an improved food offering, concept party areas where people can celebrate birthdays, stag or hen do’s or even work events, and improved areas for sports viewing.”
Hollywood Bowl Group continues investment programme with £750,000 rebrand of Portsmouth site: Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest tenpin bowling operator, has invested £750,000 in the refurbishment and rebrand of Bowlplex Portsmouth. The venue remained open for the duration of the project and is the fifth Bowlplex centre to be rebranded since the 11-strong company was acquired by Hollywood Bowl Group last year. The rebranded “new generation” Hollywood Bowl Portsmouth includes 26 pre-bookable, fully computerised lanes; four exclusive VIP lanes; a new “Hollywood Diner” concept and upgraded bar; and new decor “celebrating all things Americana”. The centre’s amusement offer has also been transformed.
Chef Matthew Nutter to open second site, in Manchester serving ‘medicinal food’: Chef Matthew Nutter is to open his second site, a cafe serving vegan “medicinal food” in Manchester. Nutter, who launched vegan fine dining venue The Allotment Vegan Restaurant in Stockport last year, is opening Roots Cafe in the city centre. He is taking over the kitchen at The Wonder Inn in Sudehill offering a small and informal menu, including sharing platters, salads and hot meals. Nutter, who earned his stripes working in France, told the Manchester Evening News: “I’ll be working with a nutritionist to make sure my dishes have some kind of healing properties. We’ll be using combinations of food, such as turmeric and pineapple, which calm inflammation, to help anyone battle their health problems or help prevent future ones. My aim isn’t just to bring incredibly tasty plant-based food to Manchester but to bring it to the whole of the UK, and make it a little more mainstream.”
Franco Manca opens Richmond restaurant: Pizza brand Franco Manca, which is owned by Fulham Shore, has continued its expansion by opening a site in Richmond, south west London. The company has opened the 94-cover restaurant in Red Lion Street on the site of a former police station. Restaurant manager Christian Pompetti told Get Surrey: “With Richmond’s vast green parks and riverside views, it is the perfect spot to enjoy a Neapolitan sourdough pizza before a stroll.” Franco Manca has 35 sites and expects to open another ten in the next year.
Cleethorpes bar and restaurant owner opens third site: Cleethorpes bar and restaurant owner Brett Smith has opened his third site in the Lincolnshire town. Smith, who operates Society and the People Bar & Kitchen, has launched Copper in Alexandra Road. The seafront bar serves a variety of cocktails, flavoured vodka, gin, whisky and wine. The menu includes mezze, including crispy-fried cod cheeks with chilli jam, mozzarella affumiacata, and calabrese picante, reports the Grimsby Telegraph. “Slates” include wood pigeon with broad bean and wild mint hummus, and pan-seared scallops with pea and smoked bacon risotto, while the breakfast menu includes a Lincolnshire poached muffin with Copper’s own infused sausage, fried onion and mushroom mix, and a basket of bread with homemade preserves.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen opens Maidstone site: Gourmet Burger Kitchen has opened a site in Maidstone, Kent. The company has signed a 25-year lease for a 3,145 square foot (292 square metre) unit at the new Lockmeadow leisure complex after agreeing a deal with owner Kames Capital. Anchored by an Odeon cinema, a Hollywood Bowl bowling alley and trampoline park Gravity, Lockmeadow is also occupied by David Lloyd, The Restaurant Group brand Frankie & Benny’s, Greene-King-owned The Feathers, and Burger King. Gourmet Burger Kitchen operates more than 80 sites in the UK.
Glasgow-based fish and chip restaurant Catch to open third site: Glasgow-based fish and chip restaurant Catch is to open its third site in the city. Owners Giancarlo and Fabia Celino will open the new site in Gibson Street in September, reports Glasgow Live. According to its website, Catch is known for its upmarket take on fish and chips “without the stuffiness and the price tag”. The restaurant also has a bar offering craft beer from Scotland as well as a carefully selected choice of wine. The Celinos launched Catch in January 2015 in Fenwick Road before opening their second site earlier this year in Clarkston Road.
Gloucester-based Thai restaurant owners open pie shop in city: Gloucester-based Thai restaurant owners Thitpha and Steve Martin have opened a pie shop in the city. The Martins, who own So Thai in Longsmith Street, have launched So Pie in Llanthony Road, the first specialist pie shop in the county, reports Gloucestershire Live. The venue offers a rotating menu of seasonal pies alongside Cornish pasties and sausages to eat in or take away. So Pie also offers locally brewed craft beer and wine, matched to suit the pies. Steve Martin said: “We always hope to have at least eight different types of pie available and we will also launch a breakfast menu. We’re confident it will go well.”
FSK Group to reinvent Sutton Coldfield restaurant as prosecco bar: FSK Group, led by Alan Rees and Benjamin Smith, is to reinvent its Fleet Street Kitchen restaurant in Mere Green, Sutton Coldfield, as a prosecco bar. FSK closed the restaurant last month citing the arrival of new competition in the town from private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre and cafe bar brand Loungers. The venue will now reopen in late June specialising in afternoon tea with a pastry chef preparing treats to give the place a “mothers and daughters” vibe. Rees told the Birmingham Mail: “We want to offer high-quality afternoon teas and be a place where mums and daughters can take each other out. We think there is great potential for that in Mere Green.” FSK Group acquired the Mere Green venue and another Fleet Street Kitchen site in Summer Row, Birmingham, when it bought Town and Country Inns out of administration in November. The deal also included neighbouring Summer Row sites Apres, a sports bar that Rees said is due to undergo a refit soon, and nightclub Mechu, which the company relaunched as M Club aimed at the over-30s crowd at the weekend. The Apres venue in Cheltenham, the only Town and Country Inns site outside the Midlands, closed following the November buyout.
OakNorth completes £21m loan for development of luxury hotel in Holborn, largest deal to date: OakNorth, the bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, has completed a £21m loan for the development of a new hotel, L’Oscar, in central London – its largest deal since launching in September 2015. The luxury hotel, situated in Southampton Row, Holborn, in a grade II-listed former baptist church headquarters, is expected to open in early 2018. As well as the £21m being provided by OakNorth for the project, RM Funds is lending a further £3m. L’Oscar will be managed by Michael Voigt, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the luxury hospitality sector. The hotel is being designed by Jacques Garcia and on completion will comprise 40 bedrooms as well as a bar, restaurant, café and conference facilities. Garcia was behind the design of Hotel Costes in Paris as well as the Nomad in New York and Vagabond Hotel in Singapore. OakNorth head of debt finance Ben Barbanel said: “We’ve worked on a number of hotel deals since our launch in September 2015 – the development of a 200-bedroom aparthotel in Liverpool, the acquisition of the Ramada Plaza Southport Hotel, the merger between Whittlebury Hall and Whittlebury Park – but this is the first we’ve done in the hotel development space.”
Liverpool-based coffee shop operators take over bar restaurant for second city site: The team behind Liverpool coffee shop Writer’s Block has taken on City Wine Bar and Kitchen as their second site. Jordan Brooks and Nicky Dargan have reopened the bar restaurant in Old Hall Street with a new menu that includes sandwiches, burgers, salads, sharing and deli boards and main meals such as fish and chips, linguine and steak. The venue also offers an extensive wine list, alongside gin and cocktails. Brooks told the Liverpool Echo: “We wanted to make it a lot more accessible and approachable for the working crowd around the city centre. The menu is now more suited to quick lunchtimes – it’s more affordable and better value for money. When everyone finishes work it becomes a social bar where workers can relax and unwind.” Dargan added: “The potential here is massive. We just want to bring the charm back into the venue that people say it lost.”
NYC chef Marcus Samuelsson brings Red Rooster to Shoreditch: New York City chef Marcus Samuelsson, who has cooked for everyone from Barrack Obama to John Legend, has brought his Harlem restaurant Red Rooster to Shoreditch. The restaurant has opened at The Curtain hotel in Curtain Road focusing on Southern soul food such as fried yard bird, devilled eggs, and cornbread with honey butter. New dishes for the Shoreditch site include duck kitfo with foie gras ganache and jicama; steamed bass with poached egg, brisket, pickled vegetables and broth; and Aunt Maybel’s dumplings with lamb neck, olives and gnocchi. Samuelsson has also opened Tienda Roosteria, an all-day bar on the ground floor of The Curtain, offering Mexican-style breakfast from 7am to 11am, followed by tacos and tequila until 2am. Newly opened, The Curtain hotel and private members’ club is operated by American multimillionaire Michael Achenbaum, president of the luxury Gansevoort Hotel Group. The venue centres around 120 guest rooms, including six suites, with a rooftop pool, ballroom, and additional members-only club, restaurant, bar and live performance spaces.
Casino 36 lines up £12m new-build site in Dudley: Casino operator Casino 36 is lining up a £12m new-build site in Dudley, West Midlands. The company wants to relocate its venue in Castle Hill to the Castlegate Leisure Park along with a 450-seat bingo hall, creating 74 jobs. Casino 36 director Adrian Ballard told the Birmingham Mail: “Dudley has always been a leading market town. When considering which new facilities to offer, we didn’t want to just cater to an existing client market. We are determined to provide something the area is lacking and we’re focused on providing new facilities in a friendly and safe environment where people can relax in an exciting and fresh new setting.” Casino 36 opened a site in Wolverhampton last year and also has a venue in Stockport.
Marston’s to open new-build pub at former Skegness Town football stadium in July: Marston’s has said it will open its new-build pub The Twelve Oars, at the former Skegness Town football ground, in July. The venue in Burgh Road is part of a retail park due to fully open in the autumn. The Twelve Oars is set to open at the end of July featuring an open plan kitchen that will allow customers to watch pizzas being hand-made and cooked. Pub manager Louisa Whitehead told the Skegness Standard: “We can’t wait to welcome the community.” Meanwhile, Marston’s has submitted plans to build a family pub with 150-cover restaurant in Workington, Cumbria. The development would be beside the river Derwent and create up to 45 jobs. The 568 square metre pub would be built on greenfield land off New Bridge Road, with plans including outdoor seating for up to 50 people, 53 parking spaces, and staff accommodation. Marston’s agreed terms earlier this month to acquire Charles Wells’ brewery and brand sales interests for a cash consideration of £55m plus working capital adjustments. The other Charles Wells assets – pubs in the UK and France – are not included in the sale.
Sunderland-based bar operators open second site in city: Sunderland-based bar operators Chris and Rachel Royal have opened their second site in the city. The husband-and-wife team have launched speakeasy bar Libby May’s in St Thomas Street on the site of the former Backwaters restaurant that has been empty for about three years. It is named after an amalgamation of their daughters’ names, Libby, nine, and Amy, 11. The couple already own Sam’s Bar in Sunniside, named after their 19-year-old son. The decor includes period telephones, retro suitcases, cinema-style seating and images of flapper girls. Chris Royal told the Sunderland Echo: “Because of the basement setting it really lends itself to the speakeasy theme. We’d looked at a few other sites that weren’t suitable but we could immediately see the potential of this site as soon as we walked in.”
Nottinghamshire-based operators lodge plans for second site: Nottinghamshire-based operators John Noble and Max Harman have lodged plans to open their second site. The duo, who run the Three Crowns in the village of Ruddington, have applied to Nottingham City Council to turn the former Amplifon hearing aid centre in Friar Lane into a bar. The as-yet-unnamed venue would open from 11am to midnight, Monday to Saturday, and midday until 10.30am on Sundays and bank holidays, reports The Business Desk. Harman and Noble have operated the Three Crowns since mid-2013.