Jamie Oliver set for another hit with Barbecoa ‘on brink of collapse’: Jamie Oliver’s steak restaurant Barbecoa is on “the brink of collapse”, as the company scrambles to avoid administration. The management is understood to be having one last attempt to save the chain this week, with 160 jobs at stake. Last week, property agent Christie & Co confirmed it was engaged in finding buyers for the leases on the chain’s two sites. But sources told City AM the brand was having trouble finding takers for the expensive venues. The restaurants, at One New Change near St Paul’s and in Piccadilly, are understood to have a rent of more than £1m per year between them. A third restaurant had been planned for Victoria, but this has now been scrapped. If the rescue attempt is unsuccessful, the brand, which is part of the Oliver’s restaurant empire but separate to Jamie’s Italian, could enter administration as soon as this week. It is thought that some senior staff at Barbecoa have even begun looking for alternative employment. Jamie Oliver Group confirmed it had instructed real estate experts to ascertain “potential value and market suitability of two of our sites” but declined to comment further. It comes as Jamie’s Italian agreed to close 13 sites as part of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), resulting in the loss of 450 jobs. It previously closed six restaurants, citing the impact of Brexit.
Shorting of Greene King stock has increased since the start of the year: Shorting of Greene King stock has increased since the start of the year, The Sunday Times has reported. Short-selling is a bet on the value of a company’s shares going down. Some 16% of the company’s shares are out on loan to investors – up from 12% at the beginning of January and the highest level in three years, according to the analyst IHS Markit. The increased position, equivalent to £250m of the stock, suggests short sellers are hoping for a repeat of last year, when the share price fell 20%. GLG Partners, DSAM Partners and AQR Capital Management are among the firms that have upped their positions over the past few weeks.
Hickory’s eyes Hale opening: Smokehouse and barbecue chain Hickory’s, backed by private equity firm Piper, is planning to open a restaurant in Hale. The company has submitted an application to create a 2,800 square foot restaurant and bar on the site of the former Hogan’s of Hale restaurant in Crown Passages. Founded by Neil McDonnell, the first Hickory’s opened in Chester in 2010 and now operates seven sites, including West Kirby, Rhos-on-Sea, Birmingham and Southport. In a letter sent to neighbours adjoining the site, the company said it would make a “major investment” in the project that will “completely transform” the venue. “Our ambition is to create something truly special in Hale Village, and we are looking forward to becoming part of the Hale community,” the letter stated. A number of restaurants, including French brasserie Côte and Stockyard, have closed in Hale in recent weeks.
Yard Sale Pizza to launch Leytonstone restaurant next month for fourth London site: Yard Sale Pizza, winner of Time Out’s “most loved restaurant” in the 2016 Love London Awards, is to open its fourth London restaurant, in Leytonstone next month. The venue will launch in High Road on Monday, 12 March offering the brand’s hand-made, stone-baked pizzas made from double-fermented dough. Pizzas come in 12-inch and 18-inch sizes and include The Holy Pepperoni (Cobble Lane pepperoni, Napoli piccante and crumbled Nduja sausage), and TSB (broccoli, parmesan, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil). The brand also offers homemade dips, salads and sides such as cheesy marmite garlic bread alongside London beer and wine. The Yard Sale Pizza team told Hot Dinners it would explore more “love ins” – mash-ups with other street food operators – such as a cheeseburger pizza created with better burger brand Patty & Bun. Yard Sale Pizza opened its debut site in Clapton in 2014, going on to open sister restaurants in Finsbury Park and Walthamstow.
D&D London reveals further details of 20 Stories rooftop restaurant in Manchester: D&D London has revealed further details of its rooftop restaurant 20 Stories that will launch in Manchester on Thursday, 1 March. The restaurant on the 19th floor of No.1 Spinningfields will offer a restaurant, grill, two bars and a roof garden with views of Manchester’s skyline. New York-based company CetraRuddy collaborated with UK design agency DesignLSM to create interiors for the 15,263 square foot space. The main bar will sit between the restaurant and grill, with a second bar on the rooftop terrace. Chef director Aiden Byrne’s modern British menus will celebrate local produce with vegetables from the restaurant’s own farm in Cheshire and meat sourced from small suppliers in Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. He said: “The different food we’ll serve in the restaurant and grill means we will have something for everyone. I am equally passionate about both styles of food – what matters to me is they share the same ethos and integrity and are prepared using the same excellent local produce.” Last month, D&D London chairman Des Gunewardena told Propel the company remained focused on expansion with a number of “good opportunities” for the second half of 2018 and beyond. D&D London was founded by Gunewardena and David Loewi in 2006 following a buyout of Conran Restaurants. The company currently operates 34 restaurants and a hotel.
Wellingborough-based operator to open Kettering town centre pub for fourth site: Wellingborough-based operator Sanjai Tailor is to open a pub in Kettering town centre for his fourth site in Northamptonshire. Tailor will launch late-night bar Pop Central in Horsemarket on the first weekend in March at a site formerly occupied by Henry’s bar, which closed in October 2016. The 270-capacity venue will offer two bars, a dance floor and a lounge with booths that will be available to hire. Tailor told the Northants Telegraph: “I am really proud of the venue. It looks amazing.” He also operates The Kingfisher, Raffs Bar and Temple in Wellingborough.
Oodles opens Birmingham site for fourth restaurant, plans five more in Midlands by 2020: Chinese restaurant Oodles has opened its fourth site, this time in Birmingham, and has revealed it plans to open five further restaurants in the Midlands by 2020. The company has opened the venue in Ladypool Road in the Sparkbrook area of the city offering Indo-Chinese food. There is a mix of Chinese, Malaysian, Manchurian, Singapore and Thai dishes on the menu with customers choosing starters and mains in small, medium or large boxes. The 50-seater restaurant features interiors with Chinese influences and an open plan kitchen. Director Mohammed Umar told Birmingham Live: “We are delighted to open our first store in Birmingham, which is well overdue and definitely due to demand. Our aim is to really drive our expansion in the Midlands and we want this Ladypool Road site to be the first of a long chain in the region creating jobs. We are actively looking for new sites and franchise partners in the region and across the UK to help us achieve our expansion plans.” Oodles also operates two sites in Leicester and one in Derby.
Soho House signs deal to open 85,000 square foot central London workspace: Soho House has signed a deal to open a large-scale work and events space in London, the Evening Standard has reported. It said Soho House has taken an 85,000 square foot site at 180 The Strand, close to Temple station, to expand its Soho Works workspace business. The building already hosts creative events, and Soho House’s new space could be used by more than 1,000 people. Soho Works is a workspace with a standalone membership from Soho House. Startups and entrepreneurs pay from £400 per month for 24-hour access to desks, meeting rooms and studios. There is currently a 16,000 square foot Soho Works site in Shoreditch, and one set to open in Los Angeles. The new lease is with a private UK landlord and the site is expected to open before the end of 2018. Local property agents welcomed the latest London signing. Jules Hind, a partner at Farebrother, said: “This will further underpin the whole south side of Aldwych as a magnet for the creative industries, adding to the vibrancy and buzz of the Courtauld Gallery, the cultural hub of Somerset House and the King’s College campus.”
Frank Yeung starts expansion of Taiwanese concept Mr Bao with Tooting sister site: Frank Yeung, co-founder of burrito brand Poncho8, has started expansion of his Taiwanese concept Mr Bao by opening a sister site in Tooting, south London. Yeung, who launched Mr Bao in Peckham, has opened the new restaurant, Daddy Bao, in Mitcham Road offering speciality bao buns and Taiwanese snacks. The new venue is named after Yeung’s restaurateur father Joe, who was instrumental in the success of Mr Bao. Steamed buns come with fillings such as slow-braised chicken with red cabbage pickle and spicy honey sauce, and beer-marinated prawns with pickled mooli and spiced spring onion. There are also sharing plates such as golden kimchi and pork dumplings, while there is bottomless brunch at weekends and a drinks list focusing on cocktails.
Hakkasan Group extends Las Vegas residency of Calvin Harris for £200m: UK-founded restaurant and nightclub business Hakkasan Group has extended the Las Vegas residency of Scottish DJ and producer Calvin Harris for a reported £200m. The Dumfries-born musician has been the resident DJ at Omnia nightclub in Caesar’s Palace since 2015. In a Facebook post, he confirmed the lucrative residency would be extended until 2020. He has been named the world’s highest paid DJ by Forbes and is 40th on its celebrity rich list. Harris, 34, is booked to play 25 gigs at Omnia this year, beginning on Friday, 9 March. Nick McCabe, chief executive of Hakkasan, said the DJ was “integral” to its artists’ roster. “To have an artist of his calibre performing regularly in our venues allows us to continue our mission of creating extraordinary experiences and providing our guests access to the world’s greatest artists,” he said.
Kent-based pub company Ramblinns acquires fourth site: Kent-based pub company Ramblinns has acquired its fourth site. The company has taken on The Happy Frenchman in Folkestone. The 160-year-old pub in Christ Church Road, which has been closed since May last year, is now being refurbished ahead of reopening in May as The Earl of Radnor in a bid to reflect the area’s heritage. All dishes on the menu will be created using locally sourced ingredients with drinks supplied by local wine merchants and breweries. Ramblinns owner John Rogers told Kent Live: “It will be similar in the way it operates to our other pubs, all of which are good-quality freehouses. We want to keep all the building’s interesting details while putting something back in that makes it an attractive, comfortable, safe and accessible place for all kinds of people to enjoy.” Ramblinns also operates The Five Bells in Brabourne, near Ashford; the Woolpack Inn in Warehorne, Ashford; and the Globe Inn Marsh in Rye.
Randy’s Wing Bar opens City restaurant for second London site: Randy’s Wing Bar has started expansion by opening a second site in London, in Aldgate. Following pop-ups and pub residencies, founders Richard Thacker and Andy Watts opened a permanent site for their concept in Hackney Wick in 2016. They have now signed a 15-year lease on a 2,000 square foot, ground-floor site in the Minories. New items on the menu at the 56-cover venue include boneless wings, baked oysters, sliders and a homemade sauce. The venue also offers City workers salad boxes, wraps and boneless wings to take away, alongside cocktails and craft beer. Oliver Green, director in the central London retail team at Savills, which brokered the deal, said: “The brand has established an excellent reputation in the past few years and will be a strong addition to the hub of food and beverage operators in the Minories.” The debut Randy’s Wing Bar opened at Here East, the canal-side dining and drinking area on the site of the former press centre for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Leicester Tigers chief tackles hotel ‘misconceptions’: Simon Cohen, chief executive of Leicester Tigers, has hit back at “misconceptions” surrounding the Premiership rugby club’s bid to build a £20m hotel next to its Welford Road stadium. Speaking at a meeting with 300 fans, Cohen said a developer would pay for the land and hotel and retain it on a long lease. He said the club would get a third of the land back for “fanzone activities”, while the project would have no impact on the playing budget, Insider Media reports. Cohen said: “There are a lot of misconceptions about the hotel, the main one being we are spending a lot of money we could put into the playing side, which I can put to bed. We think we have a good deal that costs the club nothing and is better for the future of the club.” The 165-bedroom, five-storey hotel would also offer conference facilities, meeting space and restaurants, while the wider scheme would include a leisure complex with fitness suites, a restaurant and sky bar. The development, still subject to planning approval, could be completed for the 2019-20 season.
Local authority property company invests in building occupied by Caffe Nero and Wagamama: Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils have set up their own property investment arm to buy commercial buildings to provide the two authorities with a revenue stream through the rents they collect. One of the first three buildings it has bought is the building occupied by Caffe Nero and Wagamama in Peterborough. The councils have borrowed a total of £50m from the Public Works Loans Board to help finance their property deals – a move that has irritated the opposition Green group on Mid Suffolk Council. The councils have not made the investment directly. They have set up a property company, CIFCO Capital, which is owned 50/50 between the two authorities. CIFCO Capital was incorporated in June last year and between December and the start of this month the purchase in Peterborough was registered with Companies House. However Green Party councillor Rachel Eburne said: “We don’t have any problems with investing money to make a return – but why is it being spent to buy commercial properties far away from our districts?”
Aston Management acquires Cornish hotel for 12th site: Aston Management Company, led by Ravi Gupta, has acquired Hustyns Resort, a four-star hotel near Padstow, Cornwall, for an undisclosed sum. Agents Christie & Co completed the sale on behalf of CLC World Resorts & Hotels. Hustyns is in the village of St Breock and is set in 70 acres of grounds. The 37-bedroom hotel also offers two conference and banqueting suites, a restaurant and brasserie with bar. CLC World had owned and operated Hustyns since 2006. It has moved exclusive membership operations to its sister resort, Trenython Manor in Tywardreath, near Fowey, but will continue to operate luxury lodges in the grounds of Hustyns. Aston Management Company operates 12 hotels in the UK and the US. Matthew Smith, director at Christie & Co’s Bristol office, said: “The sale of Hustyns Resort further demonstrates the demand for hospitality businesses that offer a clear upside to developing the trading performance. Ravi Gupta is known to Christie & Co as this is the third hotel he has purchased through us in 12 months.”
Birmingham boutique hotel project backed by Premier League footballers gets go-ahead: A boutique hotel project in Birmingham backed by Premier League footballers and Olympic multi-gold medal rower Sir Steve Redgrave has been given the go-ahead. Plans to regenerate the former home of Snobs nightclub, on the corner of Suffolk Street and Paradise Circus, have been approved by the city council. The project will see the Beneficial Building converted into a 130-bedroom boutique hotel with retail and commercial units on the ground floor, reports Insider Media. The applicant is Beneficial House (Birmingham) Regeneration, a company incorporated in 2013 that lists 95 members at Companies House. Among those named as backing the company are Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. No operator of the hotel has been named in the application. The building has been largely vacant since 2008, when its previous owners fell into administration. It was the home of nightclub Snobs until September 2014, when the owners closed the venue to relocate it to Smallbrook Queensway.
Fruit and vegetable supplier Reynolds acquires greengrocer Solstice in administration sale: Independent fresh fruit and vegetable supplier Reynolds has acquired Wimbledon-based greengrocer Solstice in a pre-packaged administration sale. Solstice has supplied speciality fruit and vegetables, dairy and ambient products to the hospitality industry for the past 20 years. The deal has secured all jobs at the company. Reynolds managing director Tony Reynolds said: “Both businesses share similar family values of excellent quality and service but have their own unique and enviable customer base. I am incredibly excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.” Solstice founder Philip Britten added: “I am delighted at the prospect of working with the Reynolds family. I’ve no doubt that, by sharing best practices across both businesses, Solstice will have a very exciting and sustainable future.” Reynolds was advised on the transaction by Surinder Bougan, of EY, and Russ Hill, of Squire Patton Boggs.
Black and White Hospitality to open Marco’s New York Italian site in Blackpool: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to five restaurant brands belonging to chef Marco Pierre White, has agreed a deal to open a Marco’s New York Italian in Blackpool. The company will open the venue inside a new Holiday Inn, which will be part of phase two of the Talbot Gateway, after the city council approved a ten-year franchise. Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and economic development Mark Smith told the Blackpool Gazette: “This is a brand that has a reputation for quality and people will recognise Marco Pierre White as a renowned chef. We already have a good selection of Italian restaurants in Blackpool but this will bring a new dynamic.” The first phase of the Talbot Gateway scheme includes Mr Basrai’s World Cuisine but some units on the ground floor of Bickerstaffe House remain unlet. Cllr Smith added: “There has been more interest in the units and we hope further development in this area will increase footfall and act as a catalyst for more investment.” The council has borrowed £17.5m to build the hotel on the site of a Wilkinson’s store, which is set to move to new premises.
New craft gin and whisky distillery to launch in Yorkshire: A new craft gin and whisky distillery is set to launch in Yorkshire. Cooper King Distillery is installing a 900-litre copper still at its self-built facility in Sutton-on-the-Forest, near York. It will use locally sourced ingredients and botanicals where possible, with plans to turn the site into a destination venue. The first batch of Cooper King Gin will be available in May, with the first whisky expected in 2022. Products will be sold online, at the distillery, and through independent Yorkshire retailers. The launch, by founders Chris Jaume and Abbie Neilson, has been funded by a £75,000 funding package from NatWest and £65,000 through a founders’ club crowdfunding campaign. Jaume told Insider Media: “Britain is undergoing a boom in craft brewing, with people beginning to care more about where the spirits they drink come from. Cooper King will be at the heart of this revolution in Yorkshire.”