Five Guys signs for Derby site: Better burger brand Five Guys has signed to open a site at Intu’s shopping centre in Derby. The company will open a 2,612 square foot space in December, close to Hollywood Bowl and Paradise Island Adventure Golf. Five Guys head of property Neville Maling said: “Securing a prominent space alongside the city’s best new leisure extension is an important part of our expansion plans. With this exciting leisure offer, 23 million visits each year and 2.2 million catchment population, Intu Derby is the perfect fit for Five Guys.” Intu regional managing director Nick Round added: “We’ve been well placed to support Five Guys’ UK expansion in recent years, with new openings across our national portfolio of shopping centres. The restaurant will perfectly complement the centre’s rapidly growing leisure offer.” Five Guys, which was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family, has 72 sites in the UK. It opened its first in Covent Garden in 2013, while last month the company secured a site in Cheltenham that is due to open in October.
Showcase Cinemas operator reports lower attendances leading to £3m pre-tax loss: The company that operates Showcase Cinemas has reported lower attendances have led to a pre-tax loss of £3m. NATL Amusements (UK) saw turnover fall to £92,945,140 for the year ending 29 December 2016, compared with £94,721,041 the previous year. It made a pre-tax loss of £3,035,154 compared with a profit of £2,722,913 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The company said attendance in 2016 was 6% lower than the previous year. It added: “NATL’s cinema business is based exclusively in the UK and so it is exposed to UK economic conditions and consumer confidence. The company’s business and future success depends on the availability of films for screening in its cinemas and appeal of such films to its customers. As a leisure activity, cinema may be affected by the general level of consumer spending on leisure activities and may also be affected by changing consumer preferences. The directors expect the present level of activity will be sustained for the foreseeable future.”
Hong Kong-based JIA Group to bring Duddell’s brand to London in November for company’s UK debut: JIA Group, founded by restaurateur Yenn Wong, is to launch a site for its Duddell’s restaurant and art space concept in London for the company’s first UK site. Duddell’s London will open in St Thomas Church in November and, as at its two Michelin-starred counterpart in Hong Kong, will showcase authentic Cantonese dishes and handcrafted dim sum. The kitchen will be headed by former Hakkasan Group executive chef Daren Liew and will offer dishes such as chargrilled black cod with Chinese-aged vinegar, and Guandong crispy salted chicken. Duddell’s London will also feature a destination bar focusing on wine and craft cocktails, while a mezzanine level will offer a semi-private dining space overlooking the restaurant. Designed by Michaelis Boyd, the space will maximise elements of the grade II-listed building, with an altar retained on the ground floor alongside a new open dim sum kitchen. The bar will have the retro feel of a 1960s Hong Kong “tea restaurant”. JIA Group launched Duddell’s in 2013 to create an “inspiring backdrop where people can meet, eat, drink and socialise while surrounded by museum-quality art exhibitions”. The company owns and operates 11 restaurants in Hong Kong, including Aberdeen Street Social in partnership with celebrity chef Jason Atherton.
South Wales-based Papa John’s franchisees open sixth site in 18 months, target 15-strong estate: South Wales-based Papa John’s franchisees John O’Brien and Clif Roberson have opened their sixth site within 18 months. They have opened the latest outlet in Yate, Gloucestershire, which is their first outlet outside Wales, and are targeting a 15-strong estate. Roberson said: “We put a management structure in place from day one to enable us to expand rapidly. We are delighted all our store managers have been selected through internal promotion from our original staff. From an operations point of view, we have been able to take advantage of Papa John’s current incentive scheme to open in Yate. This deal will also come into effect with our next Papa John’s opening scheduled for next month. We are currently on track to have a total of 15 Papa John’s up and running within the next couple of years.” Papa John’s was founded in the US in 1984 and has more than 4,800 stores in 40 international markets and territories, including 300-plus stores in the UK.
TGI Friday’s to expand technology offering as US online orders rise 30%: TGI Friday’s is to expand its technology offering in the wake of a 30% growth in takeaways ordered online during the past year. Since September 2016, TGI Friday’s has deployed a chatbot on Facebook Messenger that answers customer questions and offers reservation capabilities at some venues. The chatbot, created with Conversable, has now been expanded to Twitter. The company said its average online order ticket was 7.2% higher than its in-restaurant tickets, with guests younger than 40 accounting for more than 60% of all delivery orders. More than 70% of online orders in the past year have come from new TGI Friday’s customers, the company said, while 48% of new Rewards programme members in 2017 have been millennials. Caroline Masullo, TGI Friday’s vice-president of digital and e-commerce, told Nation’s Restaurant News: “Online ordering is a proven sales driver for Friday’s so we are going all-in on making it easier than ever for our guests to recreate the Friday’s experience at home. We are investing heavily in digital technology because, as an iconic brand, Friday’s must evolve along with the lifestyle of our guests.” TGI Friday’s, which operates more than 900 restaurants in 60 countries, said it was also testing delivery through its smartphone app in certain US locations.
New World Trading Company to open 16th The Botanist, in Nottingham next month: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group New World Trading Company is to open a site for its The Botanist brand in Nottingham next month. The company is opening the bar and restaurant on Monday, 9 October in the former Fire and Ice building in West Bridgford, creating 50 jobs. The venue in Bridgford Road will be the 16th The Botanist for the company. The concept draws inspiration from all things botanical, with a cocktail menu of more than 45 creations, many with a plant-based twist. There are also beers and ales. The food menu includes prawn and chicken gumbo, deli boards, and The Botanist’s hanging kebabs. General manager David Derney told the Nottingham Post: “We have always loved the vibrancy of Nottingham and we really saw a home for The Botanist in West Bridgford, not only to bring our own distinctive and unique flavour to the area but also to complement a buzzing and cultural scene already thriving there.”
Barburrito launches Apprenticeship Academy: Barburrito, which is backed by the Business Growth Fund, has launched its nationwide Apprenticeship Academy. The company, which has 21 sites across the UK, has chosen HIT Training to support it in delivering the programme, which will be initially open to new hires but with a long-term strategy to develop further programmes for existing team members, as well as a management development programme. The 12-month programme involves working full-time in a Barburrito restaurant, gaining practical skills and experience while working towards a nationally recognised level-two hospitality qualification. HR manager Jo Branney said: “Investing in our people and developing their skills is our top priority. While we are very proud of our existing training programmes we wanted to do more to support our local communities and offer a real opportunity to develop a career in hospitality. Our new Apprenticeship Academy provides real experience of every aspect of working in a busy branded restaurant environment. It’s much more than an apprenticeship, it’s the opportunity to grow and develop personally and start a rewarding career.” HIT Training academy principal Paul Mannering added: “With an industry-wide demand for talent affecting the hospitality sector, there has never been a more crucial time to invest in staff training and equip team members with the skills to fill higher-level vacancies. We are proud to support Barburrito in taking up this challenge.”
Camile Thai owner hunts franchisees to help Northern Ireland expansion, struggles to source chefs for latest site: Dublin-based healthy food delivery company Camile Thai is on the lookout for new franchisees to help expand the business across Northern Ireland. Owner Brody Sweeney is looking to grow the business as he prepares to open his second site in Belfast this month. Sweeney, who opened his first Northern Ireland branch of Camile in Lisburn Road last year, is preparing to launch in Ballyhackamore. However, Sweeney said he was struggling to source chefs for the new restaurant, blaming a skills shortage and lack of immigrant workers. Sweeney told Independent.ie: “There is a shortage of chefs in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland and those roles are being filled by young immigrants. We would be the first to employ Northern Ireland natives – but the staff isn’t there.” Sweeney added he hoped to open a further five or six Camile outlets in Northern Ireland during the next year as franchised restaurants. Camile Thai also operates 14 sites in the Republic of Ireland and one in London, in Tooting Bec.
Zizzi and Byron to launch restaurants at new £19m Bath casino: Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi and better burger brand Byron are to launch restaurants at a new £19m casino in Bath alongside a 150-bedroom Z Hotel. Zizzi will open its restaurant at Christmas while Byron, Z Hotel and the casino itself will open gradually during the next six to nine months. The Byron and Zizzi units will both feature alfresco dining and cover about 4,000 square feet each, Sportpulse.net reports. The area opposite Bath’s Theatre Royal is being transformed, with the addition of lighted walkways and dedicated pedestrian areas in a bid to boost the city’s night-time economy. The casino is being built in Saw Close next to a site that will house a new restaurant from Thai restaurant group Giggling Squid.
Former Wahaca chef opens new Santo Remedio site in London Bridge: Former Wahaca chef Edson Diaz-Fuentes and wife Natalie have opened a new site for their tacqueria concept Santo Remedio Cantina & Comedor in London Bridge. Earlier this year, the couple raised more than £40,000 via a fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to launch a new site following the closure of their original Shoreditch restaurant. The new two-storey venue in Tooley Street offers traditional Mexican tacos with a charcoal grill, as well as a standalone tequila and mezcal bar on the ground floor. Cocktails at the bar include mezcalita with pineapple and jalapeno, alongside tacos and bar snacks such as guac with grasshopper. Alongside signature tacos, the 90-cover restaurant offers South American seafood and meat dishes such as short rib with mole negro and octopus tostadas with avocado and peanuts, Hot Dinners reports. The Santo Remedio website states: “At Santo Remedio we strive to deliver the most authentic Mexican experience possible using traditional cooking techniques, herbs and chillies sourced from Mexico combined with British produce.”
Starbucks raises US prices: Starbucks has increased its prices in the US by between ten and 30 cents on selected items. The company has raised prices on 10% of menu items, including some sizes of brewed coffee, select espresso drinks, bacon Gouda breakfast sandwiches, and cookies. The increase is not national, although the company has not said how many of its 8,000 US locations had raised prices. Starbucks spokesman Sanja Gould told Business Insider: “We expect 10% of the average customer ticket to increase by about 0.5% as a result of these beverage adjustments. Pricing is continually evaluated on a product by product and market by market basis in our stores in order to balance business needs while continuing to provide value to our loyal customers.” The last notable Starbucks price increase came in November, when it raised prices on 10% of its offerings including cold drinks, such as cold brew, and certain bakery items. Starbucks has struggled to grow consumer visits recently, with the number of customer visits to US stores staying roughly the same or dropping every quarter for the past year. However, it has managed to increase US sales by convincing customers to spend more when they do visit Starbucks.
Fragrance Group acquires Blackpool seafront hotel: Fragrance Group has acquired the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool from a private vendor off a guide price of £6.5m in a deal brokered by agent Savills. The four-storey hotel features 141 bedrooms, three bars, a lounge and function room and is arranged as two traditional Victorian blocks occupying a detached island site on Blackpool’s central promenade, close to the resort’s main attractions. Tom Cunningham, hotels director at Savills, said: “The hotel market in the north remains particularly attractive to investors due to the prices and returns available. The Lyndene Hotel ticked all these boxes and we are pleased with the strong sale price achieved on behalf of our client.” Martin Rogers, head of UK hotel transactions at Savills, added: “The regional hotel market continues to perform strongly in 2017, with the north accounting for 36% of all hotel transactions in the first half of the year. Overseas investors are particularly active as they seek long-term income from prominent local hotels.” The property will be managed by Bespoke Hotels. The vendors were represented by Howard Gill and Tim Gower, of CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, while the purchaser was represented by Forsters and Maples Teesdale.
Butcombe Brewery reopens historic Wiltshire pub, restaurant and hotel: Butcombe Brewery, part of Liberation Group, has reopened historic pub, restaurant and hotel The Methuen Arms in Corsham, Wiltshire, following a major refurbishment. Butcombe bought the former coaching inn in November and has worked alongside design and build company Concorde BGW to include a new garden and lounge while transforming the bar and restaurant. A “Green Room” has also been added, which features bespoke seating and botanical artwork, while the restaurant now features a “scullery” room for private dining. Head chef Leigh Evans has created a menu that includes seared scallops with crispy ham hock, while dishes available in the pub area include Butcombe-battered haddock with hand-cut chips plus 28-day dry-aged steaks. Butcombe Brewery has also acquired planning permission to restore the venue’s stables into five hotel bedrooms and an old barn to a function room for private hire. Jayson Perfect, managing director of pubs and inns at Liberation Group, said: “The Methuen Arms was a fascinating project because the space was steeped in history and had so much potential – but it needed to be unlocked. The more we looked, the more gems we found.”
Host Coffee opens debut bricks and mortar site, in Covent Garden: Coffee shop concept Host Coffee, which has operated as a pop-up in London’s Old Street, has opened a bricks and mortar site in Covent Garden. The new venue has launched in Henrietta Street next to The Oystermen restaurant. The concept is the brainchild of school friends Max Thomas and Michael Bird, who are pitching Host Coffee to sit between the chain coffee store and artisan venue markets, Hot Dinners reports. The site will generate the least amount of waste possible by using 100% biodegradable cups, coffee supplied by Wimbledon-based Alchemy Coffee Roasters, and bread and pastries from Flourish Bakery in Watford.
Belfast site occupied by Boojum ‘substantially exceeds’ asking price: A site in Belfast occupied by Ireland-based Mexican brand Boojum has “substantially exceeded” its asking price. The site in Botanic Avenue was on the market for £450,000, with agents Osborne King confirming it had been acquired by a local investor. Thomas Osborne, of Osborne King, told Insider Media: “There was strong interest in the property and we had a significant number of offers from credible parties, including those from overseas investors. Undoubtedly the location of this investment opportunity, which is popular with students and young professionals, coupled with the fact it is fully let to Boojum, attracted a great deal of interest from investors. The sale demonstrated the level of confidence within the local market and current lack of investment product combined with high demand means good-quality investments will achieve strong prices.” Boojum, owned by brothers David and Andrew Maxwell, operates four sites in Belfast and six in the Republic of Ireland.
Festival operator Hope & Glory goes into liquidation: A company that ran a shambolic music festival in Liverpool last month has gone into liquidation with debts of almost £890,000. Hope & Glory Festival was abandoned on Sunday, 6 August with acts Charlotte Church and Lightning Seeds axed from the bill because of long delays. Insolvency firm Butcher Woods said 32 creditors, including Liverpool City Council, were owed £888,984 by Staffordshire-based Hope & Glory Festivals Ltd. The council said it was “seeking recovery of costs associated with the clean-up operation”. Ticketing websites Eventbrite and Skiddle said they had given full refunds to people with tickets for the cancelled day and a 50% refund for weekend ticket holders. An Eventbrite spokesman said the company paid festival organisers for the funds collected from ticket sales up front and was now “aggressively pursuing Hope & Glory” to get the money back. Skiddle director Ben Sebborn told Insider Media that despite attempts to “co-operate with the festival owners it became clear our customers would remain out of pocket unless we intervened”. He said it was “very unlikely” Skiddle would receive reimbursement from the festival organisers. Up to 12,500 festival-goers suffered long queues and poor access to toilets and food and drink facilities. Hope and Glory Festival director Iain Kerr was unavailable for comment.
Rowley Leigh takes over offering at London’s Design Museum: Chef, restaurateur and author Rowley Leigh has been appointed chef patron of the Design Museum in London, taking over every aspect of food at the Kensington venue, from the ground-floor cafe to top-floor restaurant Parabola. Peter Prescott, who runs Parabola with Terence and Vicki Conran, told Hot Dinners: “Rowley has been working with us at the Design Museum since the beginning. He was our first and most successful chef as part of the Guest Chef series and also returned a few months ago to help curate a series of dinners celebrating Californian cuisine. Everything we’ve done with Rowley at the (museum) has been a success so we asked him to get more involved and he’s now going to run the whole operation for us – everything from the ground-floor cafe to large events and private dining, with Parabola being the flagship. One of Rowley’s main intentions is to reopen Parabola in the evening with his own menu.”
Goodbody – long-term outlook for Dalata remains positive: Goodbody leisure analyst Gavin Kelleher has said the long-term outlook for Ireland’s largest hotel operator Dalata remains positive. Issuing a ‘Hold’ note on the shares, Kelleher said: “Group revenue was €162m, up 24% (Goodbody: €154m) and Ebitda was up 27% to €45m (Goodbody: €44m). Group revpar increased 10% year-on-year to €82.27, driven by occupancy up 120 basis points to 80.2% and average room rate increasing 8% to €102.63. Dublin revenue was €93m in the period, which compared with our forecast of €89m. Dublin revpar increased 11.2% (Goodbody +7% and STR 7.2%), with the group noting the dilutive effect of including the Burlington meant revpar was up 8%. Regional Ireland revenue was up 19% year-on-year to €34m (Goodbody: €33m). Like-for-like revpar increased 9.2% (STR: +10.4% and Goodbody +9.6%). UK revenue was £29.2m (up 18% year-on-year) compared with our forecast of £27m. Occupancy was up 480 basis points to 82% and average room rate 8% to £77.71. The group also announced it has entered an agreement for the lease of a 300-bedroom hotel in Manchester city centre, which is being built by Property Alliance Group and expected to open in mid-2020. On current trading management has said the performance of hotels across all three regions has been strong in July and August and the outlook remains positive for the rest of the year. While weaker sterling has had an impact on UK overseas visitors, this has been offset by an increased demand from North America, Europe and other markets. Net debt at the end of the first half was €178m, leaving a net debt/Ebitda of 1.9 times. Overall this is a good update from Dalata, with the group delivering strong performances across its three divisions during the first half. In terms of our forecasts, we do not expect to make any changes to our FY17 Ebitda expectations of €102m. However, given the fact the depreciation charge will be lower (which was guided upwards in March this year) there is likely to be 5% to 10% upgrade to earnings per share in FY17 and FY18. The long-term growth outlook for the business remains positive. We retain our ‘Hold’ recommendation.”
Lunya to move to new Liverpool ONE site: Spanish restaurant and deli concept Lunya is to move to a new site in Liverpool ONE. The family-owned company has agreed a deal with Grosvenor Europe to leave its current home in College Lane for a 5,500 square foot site that will open in October on the corner of College Lane and Hanover Street. The new site will offer more integrated dining, bar and deli room and allow Lunya to consolidate its business, expanding the range available in its deli and increasing the number and size of its regular events, which range from wine and food-tasting evenings to gin experiences. Founders Elaine and Peter Kinsella are injecting an added £150,000 investment into the new site and will create ten additional jobs, taking its Liverpool workforce to 55. Elaine Kinsella said: “Although we and our customers love our existing site in Liverpool ONE, an opportunity arose with a new location offering all the extra space and facilities that was just too good to miss.” Metis Real Estate and Cushman and Wakefield acted for Liverpool ONE, while Lunya dealt direct.