Clive Schlee – veggie Pret A Manger is here to stay, even Paul McCartney emailed to give thanks: Pret A Manger chief executive Clive Schlee has reported that the vegetarian Pret A Manger is to stay open – and more may follow. He also reported that Sir Paul McCartney was among the 20,000 people who emailed in support. In his blog, he stated: “Twelve weeks ago, we opened Veggie Pret as a month-long pop-up in Soho. We were so overwhelmed by the public response we kept it open for the summer. I can now tell you we’ve taken the decision to keep it open forever and, if we can, to open more Veggie Pret shops in the future. The reason is simple: we expected sales in the shop to decline as a result of the pop-up. After the massive hype of the first few weeks, sales at Veggie Pret are still well up on where they were before the conversion. It started out as an experiment in response to customer feedback and our customers have spoken loud and clear, so Veggie Pret is here to stay. What is it about the shop that has struck such a chord? Clearly, the move towards a plant-based diet is gathering momentum, especially among millennials. Vegetarians and vegans are an articulate and social media-savvy group. Many of you have been advocating eating less meat for years and have been thrilled to see a major UK business take up the cause. We have had over 20,000 customer comments in the past 12 weeks and many of you have offered heartfelt thanks to Pret for making a bold move. Even Sir Paul McCartney emailed.”
Roy Ellis – we are planning three to four Flying Pig & Lobster openings a year: Flying Pig & Lobster, the pub operator set up by Revolution vodka bar founders Roy Ellis and Neil Macleod and celebrity chef Simon Rimmer, is planning three or four new openings a year. Ellis said: “We aim to open more pubs and restaurants in towns or busy villages across the north of England. Our previous business, Revolution Bars, grew to 75 outlets over a period of 20 years. We aim to grow at a similar pace of three-to-four outlets per year with our latest business. The company opened its third venue using a £600,000 funding package from Santander Corporate & Commercial. The Viking Pub & Bakehouse in West Kirby was launched by Flying Pig & Lobster in June this year, with the bank now revealing its role in the expansion. Santander said the loan was the 100th Growth Capital deal it had completed since launching the £200m fund in 2011. Flying Pig & Lobster has two outlets in Woolton – The Elephant and The Liberty Tavern. The Viking Pub & Bakehouse has already created 60 jobs. All new employees received training in partnership with Wirral Metropolitan College.
Arc Inspirations to rebrand two sites under Banyan label: Bar and restaurant operator Arc Inspirations is to rebrand its Napa and Kobe sites in Roundhay and Horsforth under its Banyan Bar & Kitchen brand as part of a £750,000 investment. Napa in Roundhay will close its doors on Monday, 3 October and reopen following an overhaul as Banyan Bar & Kitchen, Roundhay, on 21 October. The 3,000 square foot site will include an indoor and outdoor dining area, accommodating 200 covers. Kobe in Horsforth will close on Monday, 31 October and reopen as Banyan on 18 November. The 3,500 square foot site will incorporate 180 covers. The recent refurbishments form part of Arc Inspirations’ development plan, with an additional Arc site set to open in Leeds in early 2017. Chief executive Martin Wolstencroft said: “We have had an incredible response to our new-look Banyans in Manchester, Harrogate and Leeds City Square – not only from our customers but from our staff too. It was a no-brainer to transform our Napa and Kobe sites into the stylish, genuine and beautiful Banyan to give customers a sophisticated setting, no matter the occasion – whether it’s catch-ups over cocktails, a leisurely lunch, delicious dinner, or an upbeat evening out with friends.”
First Frontier Pubs site set to open: Frontier Pubs, the “managed expert” partnership between Enterprise Inns and Food & Fuel, is set to open its first pub, The Chandos in Honor Oak Park, south London, tonight (Wednesday, 7 September). Following a combined investment of £350,000, the pub has undergone a major refurbishment to create a modern pub designed to be a welcoming community hub for locals. The pub will focus on craft beer, with a wide range on draught and many more bottled and canned beers. It will also serve freshly made pizzas and appeal to sports fans by showing all major sporting fixtures. Food & Fuel commercial director Peter Myers said: “We’re very excited to be opening our first Frontier Pubs venue. The Chandos has huge potential as it’s in a great area that isn’t particularly well served by pubs with the offer we have created. Working with Enterprise has been seamless. They’ve been actively involved with the refurbishment and offered us some great opportunities to work with their suppliers. I’m confident the partnership will continue to be a successful one.” Enterprise chief executive Simon Townsend added: “Food & Fuel has been fantastic to work with and we are delighted with the transformation the pub has undergone.” The partnership with Food & Fuel, announced in April, is due to expand with two further London sites expected to open later in the year. Enterprise Inns’ managed experts business allows the company to partner with industry-leading managed house operators to benefit from their retailing flair and capability. There are currently five managed expert partnerships in operation. Hippo Inns, the first such partnership announced with Rupert Clevely in October 2015, is also set to open its fifth pub. The Lillie Langtree in West Brompton has been restored following a major refurbishment and will offer fine wines, local ales and elegant cocktails alongside great food. Other Hippo pubs include the Duke of Sussex, near Waterloo Station, and the Black Horse in Kingston.
Nando’s takes final unit in Orpington shopping centre: The last restaurant unit in the new Crown House redevelopment at Walnuts Shopping Centre in Orpington has been let to Nando’s. The company has taken the unit at a rent of £32.50 per square foot on a 20-year lease, with a break option after 15 years. Nando’s is expected to open in December following a £1m fit-out. The lease to Nando’s follows another recently completed letting to 36-siter dessert cafe operator Creams Cafe, which has opened opposite the entrance to the new seven-screen Odeon cinema. Walnuts Shopping Centre is in Orpington town centre and provides 205,000 square feet of retail and leisure space, as well as a new 22,800 square foot Premier Inn. The centre was acquired in November 2015 by Rockspring Property Investment Managers on behalf of UK Value 2 LP fund. Shaun Hose, asset manager at Rockspring, said: “Nando’s is an important letting for the Walnuts and is testament to both the strength of the shopping centre’s location and the new leisure offering. We now have a cinema, gym and hotel, as well as restaurants and cafes, bringing leisure and hotel elements to the shopping centre – increasing visits and dwell time, which has seen our footfall increase dramatically as a result. We look forward to working with Nando’s and engaging with new occupiers who wish to sit alongside the great names Walnuts already has.” KLM Retail acted on behalf of Rockspring.
New US-themed restaurant to occupy former RBW unit in Corby: A new US-themed restaurant is to open in the former RBW unit in Corby’s leisure quarter. Developer Mulberry Property Developments refused to reveal information on the new operator until contracts had been signed, but a spokesman confirmed a lease is about to be signed for a restaurant that will serve US-style food with an English twist. The London Gazette has reported that the South African owner of RBW – which stands for ribs, burgers and wings – has entered insolvency. The RBW restaurant closed in July after 12 months at the site in Corby town centre. At the time, owner Larkspur Ten posted a message on its website that stated: “All good things must come to an end. Spur RBW has permanently closed.” Now the firm, along with its sister outlets which ran restaurants in Dublin, Belfast, and Staines, has entered insolvency. Mulberry Developments development director Mark Day said: “I am delighted to say that we have agreed a new letting of the former Spur RBW restaurant to a local restaurant operator. They are working very hard behind the scenes to open the new restaurant in October, which will be an American-style diner with an English twist, serving smoked and barbecue meals. We are very excited.”
Pret A Manger opens first motorway services venue at Welcome Break site: Motorway services operator Welcome Break has opened the first Pret A Manger site on the motorway network. The store has opened at the company’s South Mimms services on the M25 (junction 23) as part of a trial partnership. Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie said: “Welcome Break is very excited to be working with Pret on the UK motorways and, indeed, putting the much-loved Pret brand on the header boards for the first time. I am confident this trial will be successful, lead to a long-term partnership with Pret A Manger and bring this amazing brand alongside our world-class portfolio of brands to offer even greater choice to the travelling UK public.” Pret A Manger chief executive Clive Schlee said: “This is a new area for the Pret business and one we’re looking forward to exploring. We’ll obviously have our own kitchen on the premises, allowing us to serve motorway customers with fresh, natural food, hand-made throughout the day. I’m sure this natural food and our organic coffee will be well-received by motorway customers.” The first site will be a 12-month trial with Welcome Break and, if successful, will lead to other Pret stores opening in Welcome Break service stations. Schlee added: “We will watch the results of the South Mimms shop with interest and look forward to seeing how customers respond to Pret in this new environment.”
McDonald’s female franchisee wins place in Franchise Awards final: A former British Army officer who runs a McDonald’s franchise in Essex employing 475 staff is a finalist in the female category of this year’s HSBC Franchisee Of The Year Awards, organised by the British Franchise Association. Cherry Lewis-Taylor, who operates four McDonald’s restaurants within her franchise in Essex, is one of four women shortlisted for the award. During her 20-year career for the quick-service food chain, Lewis-Taylor has pioneered a number of initiatives, including the five-booth drive-thru, which she invented. She was also the business lead organiser in the award-winning “I Love Essex” anti-litter campaign, which has now extended to Kent and Suffolk. Her original McDonald’s restaurant in Braintree has seen its turnover increase five-fold in 20 years, while her business as a whole has enjoyed a five-year sales growth of more than 45%. She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have been shortlisted for this most celebrated award. This recognition, though, is also about my franchisor and my employees, as running a McDonald’s franchise is very much a team effort.” The Franchisee Of The Year Awards recognise the UK’s most exceptional operators in a range of categories, for their business growth and development, service excellence and ethical franchising practice. The awards are the oldest and most prestigious in the franchise sector, running for almost 30 years, and recognise franchising at its best across the UK’s £15bn franchise sector.
Starbucks extends UK water partnership into Europe: Starbucks has extended its UK partnership with ethical water brand One Water into five new European countries. The deal means the bottled water sold in more than 700 Starbucks stores in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands will now be exclusively One Water. The move marks the first time co-operation between the two organisations has been extended to continental Europe and follows the celebration by Starbucks and One Water of passing the milestone of raising £200,000 through sales in its UK stores since 2013. The One Brand, which uses its profits to fund water projects in the world’s poorest communities, has raised more than £14m to date and transformed the lives of over three million of the world’s most vulnerable individuals. The £200,000 raised through sales of One Water across Starbucks’ UK stores has brought clean drinking water to more than 30,000 people in Ethiopia, where Starbucks sources some of its coffee. Frank Wubben, vice-president of operations – equity stores for Starbucks EMEA, said: “We are committed to helping communities – and we know our customers are too. By now stocking One Water in more than 700 of our European stores, we have a big opportunity to support coffee-growing communities in Africa.”
McDonald’s ‘encouraging smaller franchisees to sell out’: The owner of a US restaurant brokerage has said McDonald’s is “encouraging the smaller franchisees to sell out” to save the company money. McDonald’s is known for its owner-focused franchise system, yielding better customer service. However, since 2014 the number of US McDonald’s franchise owners has dropped 2.6%, while the number of franchised locations has grown 1.2%, according to data compiled by researcher FranchiseGrade.com. The chain’s biggest franchisees are getting larger, while those that own five locations or fewer are on the wane. Getting rid of smaller franchisees could allow McDonald’s to speed renovations and implement new technology, such as self-ordering touch screens. Rob Hunziker, owner of restaurant brokerage Advanced Restaurant Sales, told Bloomberg: “They’re encouraging the smaller franchisees to sell out. When you have thousands of franchisees you need to keep monitored or updated, it’s just difficult and expensive for the parent company.” Ted Lezotte operated McDonald’s restaurants for more than three decades before selling the last of his six stores in Michigan last year. He said looming costly remodelling – one rebuild was estimated at $1.9m – spurred his decision. He added that McDonald’s was looking for franchisees with eight to ten locations as “ten kind of gives you a good footing” in case one isn’t doing so well. Of his six stores, one was closed while the rest were sold to larger McDonald’s operators.
Stonegate Pub Company to turn Slug and Lettuce in Chichester into ‘urbanised pub’: Stonegate Pub Company has started work on its Slug and Lettuce site in Chichester to turn it into an “urbanised pub” called The Chantry. The site in South Street is undergoing a £250,000 redevelopment, which is set to be completed by the end of the month ahead of an official launch party planned for Friday, 23 September. Stonegate branded The Chantry as an “urbanised and premium pub”, with the opening creating 12 jobs. Manager Neil O’Hagan said his new team of front of house and kitchen staff had started training. He said the name of the new pub was a nod to Chichester’s nearby cathedral, with “Chantry” being a derivative of a Latin word meaning “to sing”. He added: “There might be a few quirky nods to the theme in the final touches.” Earlier this month, Stonegate Pub Company chief executive Simon Longbottom told Propel there is an opportunity for the 660-strong operator to grow by “hundreds of sites” as it consolidates the drinks-led part of the market. One change Longbottom has made since he became chief executive two years ago has been a focus on ensuring local micro-markets are thoroughly understood to enable Stonegate’s pubs and bars to focus on unmet customer demand.
Multi-site operator to open his first Turkish restaurant in Wales, fifth site in total: Cevet Mutlu, who operates Turkish restaurants in Hertford, Hitchin, Peterborough and Woking, is set to open his first venue in Wales. The Turkish Kitchen & Bar will open in Eagles Meadow, Wrexham, later this month. The 5,200 square foot venue is on the site of a former Chinese buffet restaurant. Mutlu told the Daily Post: “There is plenty of space, so we’ll have places for 220 diners and there will also be an open-plan kitchen where customers can watch their meals being prepared. We’ll have a staff of between 15 and 18 and my first priority is to employ local people, which means about 12 of them will be people from the area. I’m also a specialist in restaurant projects and refurbishment and act as a consultant for people running places in need of improvement. I suppose it’s a little bit like Gordon Ramsay does on his TV programmes – but I do it without any of the swearing.”
Koh Thai Tapas secures site for 12th restaurant: Koh Thai Tapas has secured a site for its 12th restaurant – in Lymington, Hampshire. Contracts have been completed on a grade II-listed building in High Street that formerly housed restaurant La Vina. The acquisition, which has taken more than two years of negotiation, will be the Bournemouth-based company’s fourth opening this year. Kevin Marsh, of Savills, acted as an agent on the deal. The new 100-cover venue is due to open in December with room for another 80 diners outside. It will be the fifth Koh Thai Tapas restaurant in Hampshire. Founder and chief executive Andrew Lennox told the Daily Echo: “Lymington has been in our sights for some time now and we are delighted to announce this acquisition. We know we have a fan base in Lymington of loyal customers who have been visiting our Ringwood and Christchurch branches. The site itself is extraordinary, with bags of character and an outdoor space that will set us apart from competitors.” The company said the building would be fitted out with the company’s signature hand-painted murals, fretwork and wood-clad bars. Last week, Koh Thai Tapas reported a profitable first month at its latest site to open – in Romsey, Hampshire, with the restaurant ranking top in the company for beating budget. The first Koh Thai Tapas restaurant launched in Boscombe, Dorset, in 2009 and the company aims to have 30 sites open by 2020.
Galvin brothers open their first Home Counties restaurant: Chris and Jeff Galvin have opened their first restaurant in the Home Counties – at the Centurion Club in St Albans, Hertfordshire. The 84-cover Galvin at Centurion features the signature Galvin experience, with dining available in the golf club’s main restaurant, bar or on the terrace, in addition to three adjoining private dining rooms that seat 12 to 14 guests each. Lunch and dinner is available daily featuring two and three-course set menus. Jeff Galvin said: “I was initially introduced to Centurion Club a few years ago through my passion for golf. The club has a relaxed, family-friendly feel without compromising on detail or quality, which echoes our own ethos at Galvin Restaurants. Soon after meeting the owners I realised how ambitious their plan was to create an exceptional, yet accessible and good-value restaurant that would complement their already world-class golf facility.” The Galvins opened their first restaurant, Bistrot de Luxe, in Baker Street and gained a Michelin star at Galvin at Windows and Galvin La Chapelle. In January they opened their first pub – HOP – in Spitalfields, with their latest restaurant – Galvin at The Athenaeum – launching in Piccadilly in June.
Turkish-inspired restaurant and ice cream parlour concept Pazzo launches in Hull: A new Turkish-inspired restaurant, takeaway and gelato ice cream parlour – Pazzo Gelato ‘n’ Grill – has opened in Hull. The new venue at North Point Shopping Centre in Bransholme offers Turkish-style dishes, burgers and grilled meat, as well paninis, wraps and sandwiches. Desserts include smoothies, waffles and freshly-made cookie dough, while Pazzo also offers 20 flavours of ice cream. North Point centre manager Louise Smith told the Hull Daily Mail: “It’s exciting to welcome different types of food to our shopping centre and I think our customers will really appreciate it. Their prices are also great and I think other places will really struggle to compete with it. I think it’s one of the best places to come to Bransholme.” The restaurant is open daily from 10am to 8pm and until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Historic London ice rink to reopen with new diner concept, bars and 12-lane bowling alley: London’s historic Queens ice rink, near Hyde Park, is undergoing a complete refurbishment to feature a restaurant, two bars, and 12 bowling lanes. Queens, which opened in 1930, will reopen on Wednesday, 16 November as Queens: Skate-Dine-Bowl. The 45,000 square foot site in Queensway will feature a new British diner concept by Jimmy Garcia, who owns catering and events company Jimmy’s Pop-up. The menu at Jimmy’s Diner will include a build your own burger option, Sticky Bangers (honey and mustard-glazed pork and apple sausages), and the diner’s own crispy chicken wing recipe, with a choice of mild green peppercorn, hot or super-hot sauce. The bars will be split into a main bar and lounge and a VIP bar, which will be available for hire, Hot Dinners reports. Both bars will serve a range of signature cocktails, including Cockney Ladder, an apple and pear cocktail made with Chase vodka, pear liqueur, pear puree and apple juice. Visitors to the bowling alley will be able to have cocktails, beer and sharing dishes delivered to their booth. The ice rink will also offer a retro arcade featuring games such as Pac-Man, Asteroids, air hockey and table football.
Glasgow-based pizzeria Paesano to start expansion with second city site: Glasgow-based pizzeria Paesano Pizza is set to start expansion after securing a second site in the city. The new restaurant will open in Glasgow’s West End early next year. Paesano, whose debut restaurant is in Miller Street, offers wood-fired artisan pizzas cooked in ovens manufactured in Naples, reports the Evening Times. On its website, the company stated: “We are the first to bring authentic, traditional Neapolitan pizza to Glasgow. Our pizza is a hybrid yeast and sourdough proofed for more than 48 hours. The long proofing time, together with cooking at an intense heat of 500C, produces a moist, light, soft, digestible crust that is aromatic and delicious.”
Healthy Italian restaurant concept Il Gusto Ristorante to launch in Belfast: Healthy Italian restaurant concept Il Gusto Ristorante will launch in Belfast at the end of September. The owners already operate two other restaurants in the city – Solo Kitchen & Bar in Wellington Place, which opened in January, and Ambrosia Caffe & Ristorante in Ormeau Road. Il Gusto Ristorante will open in Lisburn Road, specialising in authentic Italian cuisine featuring local sustainable produce. The restaurant, which is currently recruiting staff, will be open for lunch and dinner, offering dine-in and takeaway options, Belfast Live reports.
New vintage cocktail bar concept opens in Ware: A new vintage cocktail bar concept has opened in Ware, Hertfordshire, with its owner planning to add a mini cinema, restaurant and hotel rooms to the venue. Rose Evans has launched The Mixer in Baldock Street on the site of the former China Red restaurant. It is loosely based on a prohibition-era speakeasy, with handcrafted cocktails, a selection of East End craft beers and an East End bar snack selection, including cockle popcorn. Vintage furniture has been sourced to complement the interior decor of the grade II-listed building. Later this month, part of the first floor will become a restaurant space offering modern British classics with a twist. Evans plans to open a cinema with accompanying bar on the upper floor in November that will show an eclectic mix of classic films with food and drink service provided. At the start of next year, she plans to renovate the second floor of the property to add five boutique hotel rooms. Evans told the Hertfordshire Mercury: “I really love the London-based cocktail lounges such as the Nightjar, Callooh Callay and The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town – and that’s the inspiration behind this.”
Son of Indian restaurant pioneer opens second Mogal E Azam site: Mogal E Azam – an Indian restaurant that was one of the first in the UK to use a tandoor oven at its debut venue in Nottingham – has opened a second site, this time in Derby city centre. Sujat Sheikh claims to have invented chicken tikka masala at his Nottingham restaurant, which opened in 1977. Now his son James has opened a second restaurant in Midland Road, Derby. James Sheikh told the Derby Telegraph: “We are looking for people to try new things. We have a whole section of Mogal’s specialities that people are welcome to try. The market has moved on now – we all want to taste new things we haven’t tried before.” Sujat Sheikh said he wanted to address a lack of specially trained chefs in the sector. He said: “There is a lack of chefs at the moment because immigration rules are not allowing those people to come in, which is fine. But we can fill that gap by teaching local people how to cook.”
Starbucks launches new autumn range across North America: Starbucks has launched its autumn seasonal range across North America featuring new flavours such as chilli mocha and dark chocolate and caramelised banana oatmeal, alongside some returning favourites. For the 13th year running, the company will offer pumpkin spice latte, which has become Starbucks’ most popular seasonal beverage ever. The drink can be served over ice or as a frappuccino blend. As well as chilli mocha, the company will offer salted caramel mocha again this autumn. Almondmilk will also be available in more than 4,600 company-operated and licensed stores in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, New York, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions as a non-dairy alternative, kicking off a nationwide roll-out that will be complete by the end of September. Other new food offerings on the autumn menu include breakfast options hearty blueberry and classic oatmeal, while new desserts include caramelised apple pound cake, and pumpkin cheesecake bar. Returning autumn favorites include pumpkin cream cheese muffin, pumpkin scone, pumpkin iced sugar cookie, and bantam bagels. Pumpkin spice latte will also be sold in a variety of products at grocery stores.
Street food duo Butchies to launch first permanent site, in Camden this month: Street food duo Garrett and Emer Fitzgerald, known for their fried chicken pop-up Butchies, are set to open their first permanent site – Butchies’ Hatch – in Camden Market on Wednesday, 21 September. The pair aim to build on the huge following Butchies has built at its Broadway Market stall. Butchies cooks its free-range chicken using a pressure fryer, which makes it extra juicy, Hot Dinners reports. The new restaurant will offer a choice of five chicken sandwiches served in a soft butter-toasted bun. All the sandwiches are named after television and movie characters from the 1980s and 1990s, including The Clarice Starling (with buffalo sauce, blue cheese slaw and pickles); and The Clancy Wiggum (smoked streaky bacon, guacamole and smoked chilli mayo). There is also vegetarian option – The Margot (halloumi, guacamole and smoked chilli mayo) – as well as sides such as twice-cooked fries, cheese fries with red Leicester cheese dripping, and hot wings in buffalo sauce and blue cheese dip. Butchies’ Hatch will open daily from 11am to 10pm.