Comptoir Libanais owner reveals flotation plans: Levant Restaurants Group, the operator of Comptoir Libanais and Shawa brands, has revealed plans to float on the London Stock Exchange. The business was founded by Tony Kitous and opened its first branch in 2008. The majority of its 15 sites are in central London but it also operates a restaurant in Manchester, which opened in 2015 and is set to launch shortly at the new Queen Street dining quarter development in Exeter. Levant operates 11 Comptoir Libanais restaurants and also generates franchise revenue by franchising the brand to other restaurant operators. The group also operates two smaller Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean outlets under the Shawa brand and a further two standalone high-end restaurants called Levant and Kenza. Admission to the stock exchange’s AIM market is expected to take place this month, reports Insider Media. Details of market capitalisation and the capital raised will be revealed at a later date. Cenkos Securities is the nominated advisor on the flotation.
Jamie Oliver ditches plan to open restaurant in New Zealand as backers pull out: Backers of what was to be Jamie Oliver’s first New Zealand restaurant have walked away from the project. The celebrity chef was to open a Jamie’s Italian in Wellington in the Old Public Trust building, refurbished last year at a cost of $10m. Originally planned to open at the start of 2015, the Jamie’s Italian launch has been repeatedly delayed. Old Public Trust landlord Maurice Clark has now confirmed the venture is not going ahead. Clark told Business Day: “Jamie has decided to not open a restaurant in Wellington. They won’t give me a reason why, they are just walking away from the lease.” It is unclear why Australian company The Keystone Group, which has Australian and New Zealand master franchise rights for Jamie’s Italian, has pulled out but Clark believed new liquor laws in Sydney may have hit profits from its many city-centre bars. The “Sydney lockout” means bars and restaurants are unable to let in new customers after 1.30am and must close at 3am. Wellington has been promised a Jamie’s Italian before. Pacific Restaurant Group, licensees for Jamie’s Italian, were hunting for a 200-seat venue in the city in 2012, but nothing came of it. Pacific Restaurant was bought out by The Keystone Group in 2014. The first Jamie’s Italian in Australia opened in Sydney in 2011. There are now six restaurants in the country.
Glendola Leisure ventures into beer market with Shilling Brewing Co concept, opening £1.5m Glasgow city centre brewpub:Glendola Leisure, led by Alex Salussolia and which operates Irish brand Waxy O Connor’s and The Rainforest Cafe, has ventured into the beer market with the creation of brewpub concept Shilling Brewing Co. Glendola Leisure has invested £1.5m to transform a Bank of Scotland site in Glasgow city centre into a 160-seat brewpub that will also serve artisan pizzas made using locally sourced ingredients and brewers’ yeast. Shilling Brewing Co will open on Friday (10 June) creating 20 jobs, with customers able to view the on-site brewing process. Salussolia said: “Our philosophy and aspiration is to create the best hospitality outlets by delivering the best product with expert service from a stunning, design-led environment. I feel Shilling Brewing Co is a shining example of this. This is our first step into the brewpub market; a new on-trade experience where the art and science of brewing can be observed by everyone who visits. At the forefront of this experience is our own core range of beers; designed to be enjoyed fresh from the source, just metres from where the beer is brewed. Glasgow has led the way in Scotland’s beer heritage for centuries, and we are excited to be playing our part in contributing to the next chapter in the city’s beer story.” Shilling Brewing Co is licensed until midnight, Sunday to Thursdays, and until 2am on Friday and Saturdays.
West Berkshire Brewery passes £1.5m crowdfunding target: West Berkshire Brewery (WBB) has passed its £1.5m target on crowdfunding platform Seedrs and signed an agreement for a new brewery that will allow it to increase production ten-fold. The company, led by beer and pub entrepreneur David Bruce, has also confirmed it will open its first urban pub in Islington, north London. It is offering an equity stake of 17.59% in return for the investment and so far 591 investors have pledged £1,704,006 and it is now “overfunding”. The new brewery and packaging line is expected to be operational from early 2017. It will be situated in a former dairy just a few hundred yards from the current site. Heads of terms have been agreed with current landlords Yattendon Estates. The new three-vessel brewery will feature state-of-the art equipment capable of creating a vast range of beer styles and also allow WBB to provide packaging facilities for other breweries with the capability of packing 7,000 bottles or 12,000 cans per hour. It is hoped a shop, complete with bar and beer garden will be included, along with the provision of public brewery tours. The London pub, Shillibeers, will allow the brewery to showcase its traditional cask ales, alongside the new craft beers from its Renegade Brewery range. A new food menu designed to pair with selected beers will be introduced at the venue, which is split across three levels and includes a kitchen and deli. Bruce said: “This is a real turning point for us at West Berkshire Brewery. We are thrilled to have secured such a fantastic site in one of London’s most exciting areas. For the first time we can proudly serve our beers directly to customers. Our pub will be full of atmosphere and showcase a stunning range of beers and ciders from all over the world, including those we make ourselves. It will really put our brewery on the map. We’re just as excited to have signed an agreement for our new brewery. We have a fabulous brewing team who are full of ideas and our new equipment will enable them to let their creativity loose. It also means that we can significantly increase our production, allowing us to spread our wings further than our current distribution heartland; it’s truly an exciting time.” Founded by Dave and Helen Maggs in 1995, the business has annual sales of about £2m.
16 Hospitality reports record 11.4% like-for-like sales increase: 16 Hospitality, the pub, bar, hotel and restaurant business run by Edward Barlow, has reported a record 11.4% increase in like-for-like sales for the 22 weeks to 3 June at £2.09m. The company, which was founded last year and has four sites in Cheshire and Anglesey, is planning further expansion in 2016. The increase in sales across 16 Hospitality’s sites comes following the company’s acquisition of two pubs in Anglesey – The Oyster Catcher in Rhosneigr and The White Eagle in Rhoscolyn, in August 2015. Sales at the two North Wales sites between January and May have seen a total increase of 16.2% following on from the same period the previous year. Each of the newly acquired sites underwent a period of consolidation and a new training programme, The Hub, was launched at each site this year. The Hub aims to encourage people to enter the hospitality industry and develop talented individuals, supported by the existing experienced teams. Operations manager Matthew Parker said: “We’re pleased to see our local communities and customers have supported our efforts over the last year. I think their support is a true testament to the welcoming environments we create thanks to our trained staff teams, and the great food and drink offering we have developed with our team of experts. Managing director Barlow added: “The vision that underpins all of 16 Hospitality’s venues is that each customer is delighted by every aspect of their visit, from its service and food to its surroundings, whether it’s a country pub, a restaurant or traditional coaching inn. Of course, none of this can be achieved without the right people in place, so I believe that recruiting, retaining and training individuals who are passionate about providing good service is key to 16 Hospitality’s success. We anticipate an exciting year ahead, and hopefully our growth continues in the same trend. 16 Hospitality’s aim is to become one of the leading independent hospitality operations in North Wales and the north west of England, and we hope to continue to expand our portfolio with pubs of equal quality to our existing sites.” The company’s two sites in Cheshire are The Swan in Tarporley and The Crown in Goostrey.
Provenance Inns acquires five-star-rated North Yorkshire hotel and fine dining restaurant, ninth venue: Provenance Inns has acquired five-star-rated hotel and restaurant The Cleveland Tontine in North Yorkshire. Chris Blundell, who spent 25 years at Morrisons, and publican Michael Ibbotson set up Provenance Inns in 2009 with the acquisition of three North Yorkshire pubs. The Cleveland Tontine, located between Northallerton and Stokesley, is the ninth acquisition for the Group, which also owns The Black Bull in Moulton, The Carpenter’s Arms in Felixkirk, Welburn’s The Crown and Cushion, The Durham Ox in Crayke, The Oak Tree in Helperby, Harrogate’s West Park Hotel, West Acre Lodge in Boltby, and The Punch Bowl in Marton cum Grafton, which was once under the control of Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey. The restaurant will trade under its new ownership from Tuesday, 14 June. The Tontine has seven, five-star-rated, recently refurbished bedrooms. Blundell told BDaily: “The Cleveland Tontine has built an excellent reputation over a number of years and we are delighted to have the opportunity to build on this. We will be exploring the possibilities of creating more bedrooms, while underpinning its standing as a fine dining establishment by offering our own seasonal and locally sourced produce.”
Deltic Group opens third Atik nightclub following £400,000 rebrand of Colchester site: Nightclub and bar operator Deltic Group has reopened its former Liquid Envy venue in Colchester following a £400,000 rebranding to transform it into the company’s third Atik site. Key features of the redevelopment include a new “Vinyl” room on the ground floor, where clubbers can enjoy an illuminated dance floor and pop classics, as well as 17 new party booths with table service. The opening night was hosted by reality TV star Jeremy McConnell. Deltic Group chief executive Peter Marks said: “Our mission is to provide exceptional service and high-quality entertainment for our customers. We’re excited to do just that through the launch of our new Atik site in Colchester – clubbers will be able to enjoy the premium drinks and great music our clubs are known for.” The building in High Street, known as the Grand Theatre, has been run as a nightclub since 1986, when it was the Hippodrome. It continued to trade with other variations of the name until 2008, when it was converted into Liquid Envy by former owners Luminar, which later changed its name to Deltic Group. Deltic operates two other Atik nightclubs – in Windsor and Oxford – and 58 venues in total across the UK. Last month, the company announced record Ebitda growth of 16.8% to £13.4m, a fourth year of consecutive growth for the business.
Enterprise rolls out new tenancy agreement for its publicans: Enterprise Inns is rolling out a new tenancy agreement – Partnership Tenancy Plus – a five-year agreement available on a select number of pub business opportunities to new publicans or existing Enterprise publicans at the end of their current term. The agreement includes a commitment from Enterprise to ensure all trading areas and living quarters are in strong decorative order, with Enterprise taking responsibility for internal as well as external repairs, and a contribution of up to £1,000 per year towards pub maintenance costs. Enterprise said it would also provide “pound for pound” match funding alongside publican investment. Its publicans will be free of tie on wines and spirits, while still having access to the company’s tied drinks range. In addition, RPI on rent will be capped at a 2% increase per year. The roll-out is part of Enterprise’s five-year strategic plan, which includes a revitalised leased and tenanted business designed to strengthen the range of agreements already offered to publicans. Enterprise sales and marketing director James Armitage said: “We are always looking at ways to evolve our business and provide innovative new agreements that work for our publicans. This agreement is all about taking some of the distractions away so publicans can focus on running great pubs. We developed it using insight from independent industry research and feedback from existing and potential publicans, which revealed property condition and ongoing repairs and maintenance were among their biggest concerns. With this agreement we will support publicans by taking some of this responsibility away.” With agreements already in the pipeline, the company said it expected to sign 50 new deals in the next few months.
Fuller’s introduces click and collect service: Brewer and pub retailer Fuller’s has launched a click and collect option on its online shop to offer customers free delivery to their nearest Fuller’s-managed pub. The online shop offers a full range of Fuller’s beers – including every Vintage Ale from 1997 to the present day – as well as a wide range of Cornish Orchards ciders and numerous items of merchandise. Shoppers can also purchase gift and brewery tour vouchers, with an option to have many items gift-wrapped prior to delivery. The new click and collect system ensures liquid products in glass bottles are delivered by a Fuller’s dray crew. There are about 200 managed pubs, from Bristol to Bromley and Birmingham to Brighton, participating in the new scheme. Fuller’s group digital manager John Skinner said: “Click and collect offers our online customers a great deal with free delivery on all orders, making it easier than ever to pick up those brands that aren’t readily available through more conventional channels. Plus, of course, there’s the added benefit that customers can treat themselves to a great pint of cask ale when they go to collect their shopping.”
Camerons strikes Head of Steam kitchen deal in Hull as part of move to partner with local, new-start companies: Camerons Brewery has struck a deal with KerbEdge for the burger company to run the kitchen at its latest Head of Steam venue, which will open in Hull next month. Camerons’ ninth Head of Steam is on the site of former gourmet burger restaurant Purple Pig in Kings Street. Camerons chief executive Chris Soley said: “When we set up a new venue we are always looking to work with local brewers for the supply of their brands into our pubs. We have taken this strategy one stage further and are now looking for local food operators to run the kitchens in our venues. We started this concept recently with Newcastle-based Longhorns BBQ Smokehouse and the partnership has been very successful. As we look to grow our Head of Steam brand nationwide, we will look for local new-start companies in the area to tender to run our kitchens. We were really impressed with the team from KerbEdge. They understood and were passionate about our business and, more importantly, their range of burgers were truly fantastic.” Hull-based KerbEdge was founded by Adam Bryson in 2014, initially operating from one food truck and expanding to three. Bryson added: “As an ambitious growing business, Head of Steam is an ideal partner for us.”
Macellaio RC to open third London site this summer featuring theatrical in-house butchery and Ligurian bakery: London-based Italian restaurant Macellaio RC will open its third site this summer featuring two new concepts – a theatrical in-house butchery and a Ligurian bakery. The company, founded by Roberto Costa, will open in the recently refurbished Union Yard Arches in Union Street, Southwark. The beef will be dry-aged on site for five to seven weeks and hung behind glass. Inspired by the numerous theatres in the area, a stage will extend into the restaurant between two large banquet tables on which the Macellaio RC team will showcase the best cuts of the day. A white marble butcher’s block will be framed by curtains in the ground-floor dining hall, where butchers and chefs will prepare steaks, carpaccios, tartars, and cured meats in front of diners. It will also be the first restaurant by Genoa-born Costa to feature his take on a Ligurian bakery or “Pizzeria secondo me”, where hand-made dough, which takes 48 hours to prepare, will be produced daily using only water, natural yeasts and Italian flour. The bakery will serve a range of traditional Ligurian breads, vegetable tarts, fresh pasta and pastries. The restaurant menu itself will feature Fassona beef from small artisan farms in north west Italy. The dishes will be prepared simply, seasoned with rock salt and Tuscan olive oil to allow the natural flavours to take centre stage. Macellaio RC’s other sites are in South Kensington and Exmouth Market.
CH&Co Group launches dedicated training programme and chef academy: Contract caterer CH&Co Group has partnered with education and training provider Learning Curve Group (LCG) to launch a dedicated training and development programme for its 4,500 employees as well as the group’s first Chef Academy. LCG will provide apprenticeships and accredited training to enhance the skills of CH&Co employees, including chefs, waiting staff, bar staff and baristas. The collaboration will also see the creation of the CH&Co Group Chef Academy, which will provide places for 50 trainee chefs to undertake a one-year level 2 cookery apprenticeship, including a week’s residential training. It will also support the ongoing development of chefs already working for the business. CH&Co human resources director Alison Gilbert said: “The new training and development programme and chef academy will empower all our people with the right skills and dynamism to consistently deliver first-class service to clients as the business continues to grow.” CH&Co Group’s portfolio of clients ranges from City law firms and energy companies to call centres, tourist destinations and schools. Earlier this month, the group entered into a joint venture with artisan fresh food and coffee brand Soho Coffee Co centred around the Apostrophe cafe chain. The venture involves Soho Coffee Co’s dedicated management and development structure acquiring all Apostrophe sites, using the support of CH&Co Group’s back-of-house systems and procurement services.
London-based bakery and coffee shop concept Tart raises nearly £230,000 as it completes crowdfunding campaign to open second site: London-based bakery and coffee shop concept Tart has completed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Seedrs having raised nearly £230,000 to open a second site in the capital in East Dulwich. The concept, which was launched in Clapham Common in December 2014 by Adam Harris and Jason Smith, was aiming to raise £180,000 in return for a 16.50% equity stake. It has now completed the campaign with £229,294 being raised. The pitch stated: “Tart is a profitable bakery and coffee shop concept serving high-quality savoury tarts, imaginative salads, baked goods and gourmet hot drinks. The focus is convenience through ready-made baked goods for the grab-and-go customer and comfortable surroundings for those looking to eat in. The first store, overlooking Clapham Common, has been a great success. Open for just over a year, Tart is looking to scale revenue through additional stores. This funding round will enable the launch of our second store in East Dulwich. Our objective is to open four more London stores by 2019, giving a total of five stores.”
Dunkin’ Donuts rolls out mobile ordering and payment app across US: Dunkin’ Donuts has rolled out a new app across the US that allows loyalty members to order and pay ahead so they can skip queues when picking up their food. The move follows testing of the On-The-Go app in Boston and the New York metropolitan area in the past few months, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. The move brings 11,000-unit Dunkin’ Donuts in line with rival Starbucks, which rolled out mobile ordering and pay-ahead across its 7,500 company-owned locations in the US last year. During parent company Dunkin’ Brands Group’s earnings report in April, chairman and chief executive Nigel Travis called the roll-out of On-The-Go “one of the most game-changing initiatives” in company history. He added: “Not only is it a way to drive membership to our loyalty programme, but it is a clear demonstration of our commitment to enhancing convenience for our guests through technology-based initiatives.” Later this year, Dunkin’ Donuts will test a delivery service in areas that lack one of its drive-thru sites. It has also been trialling a partnership with on-demand restaurant delivery company DoorDash, with the goal to link On-The-Go with a delivery service.
Leon launches new summer menu with a ‘gut feeling’: Natural fast food brand Leon launched its new summer menu today (Wednesday, 8 June), offering “more food that is good for our insides”. The menu introduces a Blueberry & Elderflower Kefir, a fermented shake full of nutrients and probiotics, plus the addition of turmeric to its Carrot, Apple & Ginger juice – a spice that has anti-inflammatory benefits and an ability to help people to better digest proteins and fats. The menu also sees the return of Lamb Kofte Salad, served with a pickle-kraut relish “packed with the power of plants and good-for-the-gut acids”. Leon has also introduced the Hot Smoked Salmon Superfood Salad after recently partnering with Wester Ross – an independent high welfare salmon farm in Scotland. Leon brand and marketing director Kirsty Saddler said: “We always start by thinking about what would really tickle the taste buds, and be new to the food scene. When we really focus on this and what we have set out to do as a brand, it will usually happen that the end result is good for you too.” A company spokeswoman added: “There has been a lot of research recently on how we digest, and all the findings show our guts do so much more than we have been giving them credit for. We have always known food is linked to happiness. Science is now showing that having a healthy gut is critical to the overall health and happiness of our whole body.” Leon operates 36 restaurants across the UK.
Marston’s set to resubmit plans for newbuild pub restaurant at Chatham Docks: Marston’s is set to resubmit plans for a 150-seat newbuild pub restaurant at Chatham Docks in Kent. The company previously tabled proposals as part of a phase of the wider Chatham Waters regeneration scheme, but Medway Council refused planning permission in 2014. The reason given was the scale and location, which would have resulted in the loss of the designated heritage asset dock wall on the eastern boundary. Marston’s is now proposing to build the pub restaurant at the Gillingham Gate Road/South Side Three Road roundabout, reports the Maidstone and Medway News. The 5,800 square foot building would be constructed with brick, render and timber boarding. A timber dining terrace would be located south of the pub restaurant, along with a playground and beer garden to the north and south. Marston’s asked the council whether an environmental assessment of the site would be required and the authority decided it would not. The company said a full planning application would be submitted in due course.
JD Wetherspoon to open £2m pub in former Merseyside Conservative Club next month: JD Wetherspoon will open The Lifeboat pub on the site of the former Conservative Club in Formby, near Liverpool, on Tuesday, 12 July following a £2.1m investment. Planning permission for the pub in Three Tuns Lane was hit by long delays after Sports England objected to the scheme because of the loss of a bowling green. However, the go-ahead was given in July 2015 and the green has been turned into a beer garden. The Lifeboat’s launch will create 40 jobs. The site opened as Formby Catholic Club in the 1890s, becoming the Conservative Club in 1926. A JD Wetherspoon spokesman also confirmed the opening date of another Merseyside pub – The Nine Arches will launch in Newton le Willows, near St Helens, on Tuesday, 28 June. JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin told the Liverpool Echo: “We have enjoyed great success in the region and are confident both pubs will appeal to a wide range of customers. We also hope the new investments will act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in their respective towns.”
Hackney wine bar and restaurant Farley Macallan to become coffee shop by day: New Hackney wine bar and restaurant Farley Macallan, run by Luke Ramsden, is set to diversify by becoming a coffee shop during the day. The 100-seat venue in Morning Lane offers wine by the glass and bottle, with a “specially curated list of biodynamic wines” chosen by sommelier Mark Sheppard. It also offers beers from Five Points Brewery and a short cocktail list. From Saturday, 18 June the venue will serve dishes courtesy of E5 Smokehouse, including grilled broccoli with smoked tomato hemp and London feta, cauliflower fritters with curried yogurt and cucumber, and strawberries with marshmallow, whipped Jersey cream and lemon verbena. New coffee shop space The Workers Cafe will open two days later (20 June), from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, before the wine bar opens. It will offer all-you-can-drink quality filter coffee for consumers who pay a £5 daily membership fee, Hot Dinners reports. It will also feature a basement arts space.
Sector law firm Freeths posts 14% turnover increase to £63.8m: Sector law firm Freeths, which has four offices across the Midlands, has hailed its “most successful” financial year to date. Freeths reported an annual income of £63.8m in the year to March 2016, a 14.37% increase on the previous 12 months. Chris Freeston, managing partner of Freeths’ Nottingham office, said: “The news of our financial achievements, locally and nationally, is testament to the hard work of our staff. We recognise that these successful financial results were only achieved by all members of staff putting in a great deal of hard work and commitment over the past 12 months.”
Adam Handling launches The Frog in Spitalfields, first of planned new restaurant and bar brand openings: Award-winning chef Adam Handling, backed by Toucan Ventures, has opened The Frog in Spitalfields, London. He said: “This will be the first of a number of restaurants to be opened under my new restaurant and bar brand over the next five years, with three openings over comings months, including a new location for my signature Restaurant Adam Handling.” The Frog offers dishes such as crab doughnuts, and nitro salmon with peas and wasabi. The 60-cover venue is furnished with an eclectic combination of tables, crockery, sofas and cushions, with a private dining room for up to 15 on a mezzanine floor overlooking the kitchen. The venue offers an exclusive The Frog gin, curated by Portobello Gin, with BrewDog supplying the beers. Ely’s Yard is next to the Old Truman Brewery in east London. Handling has left Adam Handling at Caxton, in St Ermin’s Hotel, Westminster, where he gained three AA rosettes in its first year under his name, as well as winning Best Newcomer of the Year 2015 in the Food and Travel Magazine awards. He has won Young Scottish Chef and Scottish Chef of the Year, and British Culinary Association Chef of the Year 2014. Handling was a MasterChef – The Professionals finalist in 2013.
Pret signs for new-look Oxford shopping centre: Pret has signed to open a site at the new-look £440m Westgate Centre in Oxford. The company was among the latest brands to be confirmed for the shopping centre, which is due to reopen in October 2017. Developer Westgate Oxford Alliance said there were 22 new confirmed retailers and restaurants, making a total of 35 brands committed to the scheme. Work started in February to extend the centre, which will cover 800,000 square feet and include more than 100 new stores, 25 restaurants and cafes, a boutique cinema, rooftop terrace and new public space. Boutique cinema company Curzon Cinemas and restaurant Sticks ‘n’ Sushi have previously confirmed they are opening at the complex. Leasing director at Westgate Oxford Alliance Naomi Howard told the Bicester Advertiser: “We are thrilled so many great brands are already committed to Westgate Oxford and that we are delivering such an impressive premium line-up. With less than 18 months to go, we’ve secured more pre-lets at this stage in development than any other major UK shopping centre so far this decade. This demand is testament to Westgate’s unique offering – a large, affluent catchment and an as yet unfulfilled retail potential set in the heart of a world-class city.”
Bao to open Taiwanese street food site in Fitzrovia – second London venue: Taiwanese street food concept Bao will open its second site in London, this time in Windmill Street, Fitzrovia, on Wednesday, 6 July. The restaurant will offer a similar menu to its Soho site, which opened in April 2015, of Chinese snacks and steamed buns, along with new sharing dishes. The no-reservations policy will still apply, with the restaurant seating 45. There will also be an expanded drinks list to include cocktails and champagne. The Fitzrovia menu will include beef cheek and tendon nuggets, day boat-caught mackerel with aged white soy, and razor clam with tobiko and century egg. Sharing dishes will include squid noodles in trotter sauce and lamb with sour green chilli dip, while there will be some new rice dishes such as sweet potato with pork and egg congee and a new dessert – a Choc Horlicks ice-cream stick. Wai Ting Chung, who started Bao as a street food stall with her brother Shing Chung and his wife, chef Erchen Changold, told Hot Dinners: “We were overwhelmed by the success of Bao Soho but the small space always meant we would be restricted in the dishes we could offer.” The enterprise is backed by JKS Restaurants, whose venues include the Michelin-starred Gymkhana in Mayfair.
Nando’s and Frankie & Benny’s confirmed for Inverness retail park: Nando’s and The Restaurant Group-owned Frankie & Benny’s have confirmed they will open at the Inverness Shopping Park in Scotland. The restaurant brands are moving into two of the three new units that have been created at the retail park following a refurbishment of the former Comet site. Inverness Shopping Park manager Kirsteen Gunn said work on the three restaurants would start next week. She told the Inverness Courier: “It’s very exciting to be able to unveil the first two restaurants as Nando’s and Frankie & Benny’s. They will be open for business in time for the Christmas period.” Plans for the restaurant units first surfaced in 2011 but Highland Council rejected two different applications before the current scheme was given the go-ahead in January this year. TGI Friday’s is believed to be the third restaurant moving into the site but has so far remained tight-lipped.
BLOC Hotels plans second Birmingham site: A Birmingham-based hotel group is planning its second venue in the city after submitting plans to demolish a 1960s office block to make way for a 25-storey tower with more than 200 rooms. BLOC Hotels, which launched its first venue in the Jewellery Quarter in 2011 and also has a second site in Gatwick, West Sussex, lodged the application to demolish Gallan House at 32-34 Hill Street last week. It’s located opposite the southern entrance of New Street Station and Grand Central shopping centre and lies near other major attractions such as The Mailbox, Electric Cinema and The Hippodrome Theatre. If the plans are approved by Birmingham City Council, the building will be demolished to make way for a 25-storey tower with more than 200 bedrooms, which will become a “flagship” venue for BLOC. The ground floor will comprise a cafe/restaurant and there will be an open-air roof terrace for guests. The new plans come after BLOC added 30 rooms to its hotel in Caroline Street in the Jewellery Quarter. A statement filed with the plans said: “The popularity of its Birmingham hotel has led to a recent extension with continued demand leading to a requirement for a new BLOC hotel in Birmingham. BLOC Hotels is committed to extending its existing high quality yet affordable brand through the development of a new hotel in Birmingham city centre.”
Pod launches summer menu: The 22-strong London-based healthy eating brand Pod has launched its summer menu inspired by flavours and tastes from around the world. The new breakfast offer includes avocado, feta and chilli on toast, a Caribbean-inspired summer glow mango porridge and a non-alcoholic Pina Colada Blitz, hand-made with fresh pineapple, spinach, coconut and orange, with zero added sugar. The lunch range features an Indian pasanda, with or without chicken, sunshine beef stew, and chefs specials such as piccalilli pulled pork and Cape Malay chicken, which are available for two weeks at a time. There is also a new Balinese chicken salad and wrap, a banh mi pulled pork baguette, and Italian-themed Mediterranean tomato, nut-free pesto and mozzarella salad with an olive oil dressing. Snacks also include a matcha yoghurt made with quinoa and pistachio and a strawberry yogurt topped with micro basil. The company is also offering a free salad for every nine bought with a summer food adventure-inspired loyalty card.
Parkfield Snowdonia buys ‘Ingrid Bergman hotel’: A Snowdonia hotel which can trace its history to 1802 and once hosted Ingrid Bergman during filming of The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness has been sold off an asking price of £875,000. The Royal Goat Hotel in Beddgelert has been bought by Parkfield Snowdonia through Colliers International, acting on behalf of previous owners Ben and Vicky Doodson. The previous owners have sold the business to concentrate on a recently launched restaurant venture in Abersoch. David and Michelle Cattrall, directors of Parkfield Snowdonia, operate the recently refurbished Saracens Head pub restaurant with accommodation in Beddgelert, and plan to invest in the Royal Goat. Neil Thomson, associate director, hotels agency at the Manchester office of Colliers International, said: “This improved hotel landscape throughout the region has been, and continues to be, driven by a strengthening economy and the subsequent rise in hotel trading performances within popular destination locations such as the Snowdonia National Park.”