TGI Friday’s reports more than 20,000 job applications received in a year: TGI Friday’s, which created 350 jobs in 2016 and plans to create 150 more this year as it plans six openings, has reported it received 20,332 job applications in the past year. The brand, headed by Karen Forrester, celebrated its 30th anniversary in March, with the first UK Friday’s launching in Birmingham in Hagley Road in 1986. Dawn Cheetham, head of culture and development at TGI Friday’s UK said: “We’re extremely proud to have continued our expansion of TGI Friday’s throughout 2016, our landmark 30th year in the brand’s UK history, allowing us to bring the fun, unique Friday’s atmosphere to more guests across the country. Our people are the beating heart of our business, and so we’re delighted to be creating almost 500 careers this year right across the UK. If you’re passionate about embarking on an adventure in the hospitality industry, then take a look at our website – we’d love to have you in the Friday’s family!”
Zetter Group to open fourth site and first outside London, in Manchester: London-based boutique hotel operator The Zetter Group is to open its fourth site and first outside the capital, in Manchester. The company has been confirmed as the operator for the redeveloped London Road Fire Station by developer Allied London. Zetter Group co-founder Michael Benyan told The Business Desk: “We are delighted to have finally found the perfect opportunity to open a Zetter property in Manchester. London Road is an iconic building and a real gift for us as hoteliers. We want to preserve the existing beauty and magic of the building and use it to help create a unique experience for our guests. Allied London should also be applauded for its vision and ambition for the regeneration of the area – it’s an exciting project to be a part of.” Allied London chief executive Michael Ingall added: “We were delighted with the level of interest shown in London Road and humbled by the brands that took the time to travel to view the building and submit proposals. Ultimately, however, we were taken by the hands on approach of the Zetter owners, which we felt was vital in establishing London Road as the new benchmark for hospitality in Manchester.” Zetter Group, which was formed in 2003 by Benyan and Sustainable Restaurant Association founder Mark Sainsbury, currently operates three hotels in London as well as the Grain Store restaurant in King’s Cross.
Former La Tasca manager opens Swedish-inspired cafe in Newcastle: A former La Tasca manager has opened a Swedish-inspired cafe concept in Newcastle. Jonatan Ek has launched Dala Swedish Cafe in an empty unit on Newcastle Quayside. The venture has been privately funded, costing about £50,000 to set up, initially creating three jobs. It offers Swedish-inspired food, such as speciality open sandwiches, cakes and goodies as well as a selection of deli items for customers to take away. There are also a selection of “standard” cafe options, such as paninis and jacket potatoes. Ek told Chronicle Live: “I worked at La Tasca as a manager for a number of years and was then involved in setting up El Coto as a small shareholder in 2004. I then sold my share and went to Northumbria University to undertake an MA in business and finance in 2006. After completing that, I joined P&G in 2008 undertaking various roles. I then left P&G in April of this year in order to set Dala up. I’m hoping my place will be seen as a lovely, classy and friendly little independent flavour of Sweden.”
Star Pubs & Bars completes biggest external investment of 2016, a new garden by the Thames in Shepperton: A new £160,000 St Tropez-style pub garden has opened on the River Thames at the Red Lion in Shepperton, Surrey, a joint investment by Star Pubs & Bars with licensees The Shepperton Pub Company. The Red Lion’s garden has involved nearly two years of planning and required special permissions from the Environment Agency and local council. Construction has taken 12 weeks and is Star Pubs & Bars’ biggest external investment of 2016 so far. It has included installing a 20-metre jetty with mooring for five riverboats and cruisers and rebuilding the crumbling riverbank, renovating the original wall where possible and putting in gabion baskets. The investment has added seating for 70 people to the Red Lion. It has transformed a grassed area with picnic tables into a garden, which is furnished and planted and lit up at night with candles and strings of lights. It includes an outside bar, stylish tables and chairs and a lounge complete with comfortable outdoor sofas. The Shepperton Pub Company is now considering installing an outside wood fire pizza oven to serve the area in a second phase of the project next year. Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs & Bars managing director, said: “The Red Lion’s garden will be one of the top spots on the Thames. Investment in external areas is a cost effective way of increasing covers, and licensees that don’t invest risk losing custom to competitors during good weather.” The Red Lion is the Shepperton Pub Company’s first pub. Directors Steve Orme, James Thomson and Jack Sutton, who also run the award-winning Fish Club restaurant in Clapham, are now looking for more undeveloped long lease Full Repairing and Insuring sites with potential in the London area, with a view to ultimately creating a group of five pubs. Orme said: “We’re firm believers in sweating our assets. The new garden will be like a small business in its own right. It’s in a prime location and we estimate it will increase our customer base by a further 25% to 30%.”
Esquires Coffee to open 25th site, in Buckingham: Esquires Coffee will open its 25th franchised site on Monday (8 August), located in Buckingham’s West Street – the franchisee is Chris Rance. Esquires has targeted a minimum of five new locations by the end of 2016, including sites in Yate, Dartford, Guildford, Bradford and the brand’s first site in Wales, in Newport.
Tesco opens pop-up wine bar in Soho: Supermarket Tesco has opened a pop-up wine bar in Soho, London. The company is running the 11-day pop-up Tesco Finest Wine Bar in Wardour Street, in between Kettner’s and Waxy’s Little. More than 50 wines from the Tesco Finest range are available to taste by the glass for free, with wine experts on hand to offer advice to novices. Visitors will also be able to choose from a series of “discovery wine flights”. Designed to introduce consumers to “exciting alternatives that are beyond their usual repertoire”, each wine flight will comprise three glasses of similar or different wine styles for consumers to compare and contrast. Tesco senior brand manager Elisabetta Farroni told the Metro: “Showcasing the range through a pop-up wine bar is the perfect way to demonstrate the high quality of our wines directly to the public.” The pop-up wine bar is open every day until Saturday, 13 August from noon to 11pm, except on Monday (8 August) when it will be closed.
Peel Hunt issues ‘Buy’ note on Greggs: Peel Hunt leisure analysts Ali Naqvi and Ivor Jones have issued a ‘Buy’ note on Greggs shares following its trading update. They stated: “After a period of share price volatility post-Brexit, Greggs put out a reassuring reiterating business as usual in half one 2016 and reporting an encouraging start to the second half of 2016. Like-for-like sales grew 3.8%, driven by the continued success of healthy choice, new ranges and drinks. This was against a tough comparative (5.9% in the first half of 2015) and despite poor weather in June. Store refurbishment and capex programmes are on track and are expected to deliver cost synergies as they near completion. We maintain our ‘Buy’ recommendation and 1,320p target price and believe Greggs, as the UK’s leading food-on-the-go value retailer, will outperform in this period of investor uncertainty. Greggs highlighted that current trading has been encouraging going into the second half of 2016, which should be seen positively given the post- Brexit wobbles in the shares and concerns raised by up and coming branded operators. Management is confident of meeting full-year expectations. Buy.”
New tapas restaurant and bar concept set to open in Hedon: A new tapas restaurant and bar concept is set to open in Hedon, East Yorkshire. Ben Fisher is launching El Molino in Market Place on the site of an old mill. It will offer traditional Spanish tapas as well as drinks with the site currently being refurbished ahead of opening in October. Fisher told HU12 Online: “The building was actually an old mill and still contains some of the ancient machinery. It was built with bricks from the old Hedon brickyard. El Molino hopes to capture some of that history in the style and character of the place. The frontage and signage on the building will stay as they are now but just reflect the new El Molino name.”
Chopstix and Yorkshire-based seafood restaurant Graveley’s secure sites at Doncaster shopping centre: Noodle brand Chopstix and Yorkshire-based upmarket seafood restaurant Graveley’s have both signed to open sites at the Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster. Chopstix has secured a 1,250 square foot outlet while, Graveley’s, which has a restaurant in Harrogate, will open a 2,500 square foot venue. Both sites are due to open later this year. They will be joined by fitness operator The Gym Group, which is opening a 21,000 square foot gym at the shopping centre in November. The new additions to Frenchgate’s leisure offer follow the recent openings of Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, and Ed’s Easy Diner, which have both launched in the past six months. The new signings form part of extensive leasing and development plans underway at Frenchgate, constituting more than 83,000 square feet and about £2.75m of investment in store fit-outs. Time Retail Partners and Rawstron Johnson acted for Frenchgate, which is managed by Lambert Smith Hampton’s Belfast office.
Training firm releases ‘next generation’ e-learning courses: Sector training firm CPL Online has announced the immediate release of three “next generation” e-learning courses – Award for Licensed Premises Staff (ALPS), Scottish Award for Licensed Premises Staff (SALPS) and First Aid. In an effort to make learning more engaging and intuitive, the revised courses are now fully built for mobile learning and feature multi-lingual translation, video animation, and gamification. The courses are also complete with big data tracking to monitor user performance and suspicious activity. The ALPS course, which is designed for all licensed retail staff, delivers an engaging and comprehensive overview of licensing law in England and Wales. As a legal requirement for all bar and counter staff in Scotland, the SALPS course is an efficient way of educating the fundamentals of licensing law. The First Aid course is highly recommended for those responsible for emergency first aid in the workplace, from minor injuries to resuscitation. David Dasher, managing director of CPL Online, said: “I’m pleased to announce the launch of the ALPS, SALPS and First Aid courses in the ‘next generation’ format. From mobile learning to language translation, we’ve introduced a range of stimulating features to make the content more accessible for each user. Thanks to our open source big data platform, advanced tracking on user performance and suspicious activity has been a real game changer. Learning and development managers can strategise directly from the detailed reports on trends, patterns, and interactions – looking deeper into the effectiveness of company training.”
Former pub licensee opens fish and chip restaurant concept in Birmingham: A former pub licensee has opened a fish and chip restaurant concept in Birmingham. Sarah Thornton has launched Fishylicious off Pitsford Street in the city’s Jewellery Quarter. The restaurant, which features a bright blue exterior, has capacity for 27 diners inside and a further 28 in an outdoor courtyard. It serves traditional fish and chips with tartar sauce and pea puree as well as offering a dessert menu. Thornton, the former licensee of the Lord Clifden, which is also in the Jewellery Quarter, told the Birmingham Post: “Everyone knows fish and chips tastes better by the sea and in fish and chip paper. That’s exactly how I’ll be serving them on the plates. Birmingham is not great for seafood, so I knew it would be something really great for the city. After leaving the Lord Clifden last April, I started looking at potential places to launch. I had three other premises in the Jewellery Quarter fall through for various reasons. And then I came across this. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to paint it blue. It took a while to get the right shade but I think it’s perfect now.”
Agents instructed to sell Wiltshire freehold: Agents Davis Coffer Lyons and Savills have been instructed to sell The Barge Inn at Honeystreet, near Pewsey, Wiltshire, off a guide price of £900,000 on behalf of a private client. The three-storey, grade II-listed pub offers open plan seating for up to 60 customers plus a canal side beer garden, and dates to the 1800s. The land also includes a one-acre camping and caravan site that is located in the grounds, as well as a newly-built 3,500 square foot oak barn, which could be converted into holiday accommodation subject to planning consent. Keith Goodwin, associate director, Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “This is not only a very exciting opportunity for a buyer to invest in a traditional public house with heaps of character, but the on-site camping and caravan site provides the potential new owners with a means to expand upon existing trading levels and capitalise on multiple income streams that the site offers.” The pub along with part of the car park and front beer garden are also available to purchase separately from the barn and campsite with a guide price of £550,000.
Andrew Brownsword Hotels reports profits lift: Pre-tax profit has risen at the portfolio of luxury hotels owned by businessman Andrew Brownsword, including Gidleigh Park in Devon and five-star The Bath Priory, boosted by increased occupancy rates across the industry. The group operates Gidleigh Park in Devon, The Bath Priory, Lower Slaughter Manor, The Slaughters Country Inn and Buckland Manor in the Cotswolds, Sydney House in Chelsea, and Amberley Castle in West Sussex. It also runs venues in Exeter, Chester, Manchester, Glasgow, and Canterbury city centres under the Abode Hotels brand. The group recently acquired The Old Swan & Minster Mill in Oxfordshire, which becomes the 13th property in the Andrew Brownsword Hotels collection. Andrew Brownsword Hotels saw pre-tax profit of £302,443 in the year to 3 January 2016, up from a figure of £189,919 in 2014/15. Turnover also increased slightly to £18.8m from £18.7m the year before. Brownsword is the entrepreneur behind the Forever Friends brand of cards and gifts as well as a former owner of Bath Rugby.