Greggs launches breakfast click-and-collect trial: Food-on-the-go retailer Greggs has launched a breakfast click-and-collect trial in Manchester city centre. The service has launched in three stores allowing customers to pre-order and collect breakfast through the new Greggs Collect Manchester app, which is powered by ordering technology provider Preoday. The service enables customers to order breakfast days or even minutes in advance of collection from the Greggs stores in King Street, Parker Street and Manchester Victoria Station. Greggs’ breakfast menu includes pastries, porridge, granola, sandwiches, baguettes, wraps and freshly ground Fairtrade coffee, including a new pumpkin spice latte. Retail and people director Roisin Currie said: “The breakfast click-and-collect trial is the latest initiative we’re looking at to help make life easier for our customers by offering them quick and convenient access to our great-tasting products during the morning rush hour. Our strong customer base in Manchester makes it an ideal place to trial this service, which is designed to make life more convenient for customers in a busy inner city. If the trial is successful, we will look at rolling this service out to other locations.” Preoday chief executive Nick Hucker added: “It has been a pleasure working with Greggs on its new service. The company’s strong brand and the city’s convenience-craving community leaves us in no doubt its customers will be excited to give it a try.”
Shake Shack launches innovation kitchen: Shake Shack has launched the brand’s first full-scale innovation kitchen as part of its latest restaurant, allowing instant feedback from customers as it trials new menu items. The kitchen has opened below the restaurant in New York’s West Village. In addition to its regular menu, customers can order items such as chick’n bites, black sesame shakes and cold brew matcha lattes that no other Shake Shack site in the US is serving. The dishes have been developed in the innovation kitchen that, until now, had been housed for more than a decade in a “tiny basement” in Manhattan. New recipes that prove popular will end up on the brand’s nationwide menu. Chief executive Randy Garutti told Forbes: “We are continuing to think about what our guests want next. Our innovation kitchen is testing ideas with guests right away. This will give us more immediate feedback. Customers may come back to the thing they love but every now and then they will come more often to Shake Shack when they can have something a little different.”
Indoor mini-golf concept launches £150,000 crowdfunding campaign to open first of five regional sites: Indoor mini-golf concept Pixel City Golf has launched a £150,000 crowdfunding campaign to open the first of five multi-activity sites outside London by 2022. The company is offering 4.76% equity in return for the investment, with funds being used to open a first venue plus “marketing to drive awareness”. The company said it aims to take advantage of the fast-growing competitive socialising industry, expected to be worth £129bn this year. The Pixel City Golf team has 25 years of experience in complementary industries and businesses. The pitch states: “We believe the UK is lacking indoor entertainment venues that offer the customer something different – fun for all age groups and with pricing aimed at capturing the majority, not the minority. Pixel City Golf aims to open a multi-activity indoor entertainment and leisure venue designed for all age groups and private hire, offering a 36-hole indoor mini-golf experience. In the UK, there are more than 700 mini-golf venues. However, in Germany we estimate there is one mini-golf venue for every 16,520 people, with 15 million people playing every year. In the US we estimate there is one mini-golf venue for every 10,770 people, with millions playing each year. Compare that with the UK, where our estimation is there is one mini-golf venue for every 93,771 people! In addition, Brits have been spending less on new clothes, cars and foreign holidays and are anticipated to spend more on UK-based leisure activities.”
Wine Inns sees pre-tax profit more than double following turnover boost:Wine Inns, which runs bars and nightclubs in Belfast and is led by Patrick Hunt, has reported turnover increased 4% to £14,493,366 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £13,966,276 the previous year. Pre-tax profit more than doubled to £520,844 compared with £243,007 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Gross profit margin increased to 35%, compared with 33% the previous year. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The directors are encouraged by the performance year-on-year and will continue to seek every opportunity to increase turnover and profitability where possible.”
EU ends investigation into McDonald’s back taxes: The European Union has ended its three-year investigation into McDonald’s back taxes after concluding it did not receive unlawful state aid from Luxembourg. The European Commission said the “non-taxation of certain McDonald’s profits in Luxembourg” did not clash with the EU’s tough rules curbing government subsidies. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager told Bloomberg: “Our in-depth investigation has shown the reason for double non-taxation in this case is a mismatch between Luxembourg and US tax laws, and not a special treatment by Luxembourg. Therefore, Luxembourg did not break EU state aid rules.” EU officials have often described the McDonald’s case as challenging because they had to take double-tax and other international treaties into account. Two years ago, Apple was handed a record multibillion-euro tax bill over its revenue arrangements in Ireland, while Google has been fined about €6.7bn to date and still faces a further anti-trust probe.
Whitbread outlines requirements as it steps up search for suitable Premier Inn sites in UK, Ireland and Germany: Whitbread has outlined its requirements for retail and town centre sites in the UK, Ireland and Germany for its Premier Inn brand as the company steps up its search for suitable locations. Whitbread secured 31 hotel locations in the UK in its 2017/18 financial year and is targeting a similar number of sites nationwide this year. The company said it would match hotel types – standalone, joint sites with restaurants and smaller format (60-plus bedrooms) – to match locations. Standalone sites should preferably be in large town or city centres and could be new-build (freehold or leasehold), part of mixed-use schemes or office conversions. In Ireland, the company is looking for property partners and freehold development sites in Dublin and other major cities as “we seek to grow Premier Inn across Ireland”. In Germany, Whitbread is targeting “at least 31 Premier Inns by 2021”. A company mailshot states: “We are on the hunt for the next generation of outstanding hotel locations. Today we have more than 780 hotels in the UK and Ireland and are targeting 85,000 Premier Inn bedrooms by 2020. To support our expansion we are looking for freehold sites, leasehold opportunities and going-concern sales across the UK, Ireland and Germany. We also have an excellent track record of successful joint ventures and opportunity-led developments across the country.”
Idris Elba to open cocktail bar and music venue in Aldwych: Actor and producer Idris Elba is to open a cocktail bar and live music venue in London. Elba will team up with identical twin brothers Lee and Nicky Caulfield to launch The Parrot within the Waldorf Hilton in Aldwych in early October. Visitors to the 60-seater bar can expect a “host of surprises”, including a hidden cocktail menu, unannounced secret shows and an exclusive guest list. Inspired by the tropical home of its namesake, The Parrot’s menu will offer an “inspired choice” of cocktails alongside small plates created by The Waldorf’s executive chef Karl Richardson. The Yamaha London Stage At The Parrot will provide nightly entertainment, with a house band performing covers. In an exclusive partnership with Aston Martin, The Parrot will also be the first bar in London to offer its own chauffeur-driven car. It will be branded with The Parrot logo allowing VIP guests to “arrive and leave in unrivalled luxury”.
Try Market Halls to launch Victoria venue in November for second London food hall: Try Market Halls, the company launched by former property investor Andy Lewis-Pratt and Simon Anderson, the restaurateur behind London’s Pitt Cue Co, is to launch its latest “next-level” food hall, in Victoria in November. Victoria Market Halls will open in Victoria Street Arcade in front of the station. The derelict building is being restored and the resulting space will be divided over three floors with seating for 400 people and featuring 11 kitchens, with traders yet to be revealed. There will also be three bars and a coffee shop, Hot Dinners reports, while a roof terrace will open next year. Market Hall Fulham opened in May featuring nine operators, a bar and a 180-capacity communal dining space. Try Market Halls is looking to open a further London site, in Oxford Street, while eyeing possible venues in Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh and York.
Black and White Hospitality to bring Marco Pierre White’s New York Italian brand to Essex and Milton Keynes: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to five restaurant brands belonging to Marco Pierre White, is bringing its New York Italian brand to Essex and Milton Keynes. The company will open its first venue in Essex in Brook Street, Brentwood, next to a Holiday Inn. The restaurant, which will open daily from midday to 10.30pm, will launch next month, reports Essex Live. Meanwhile, a New York Italian will open in a Holiday Inn in Milton Keynes “later this year”. Black and White Hospitality’s other Marco Pierre White brands are Steakhouse Bar & Grill, New York Italian, Wheeler’s of St James’s, and Bardolino Pizzeria, Bellini & Espresso Bar. It operates 46 sites across the UK having closed its New York Italian restaurant in White’s home town of Leeds last month.
Greene King expands Pub Partners’ guest ale range: Brewer and retailer Greene King is expanding the range of guest ales on offer in its Pub Partners division as part of a new campaign – Ex-BEER-ience – which aims to celebrate the craft of brewing and explore new flavours. It means partners at more than 1,000 Greene King leased and tenanted pubs will also have access to a variety of beer promotions, tools to help them host their own beer festival and access to a virtual tour of the brewery. The aim of the campaign is to encourage Greene King partners to mark Oktoberfest and educate their customers on the new flavours available. Greene King Pub Partners managing director John Forrest said: “We have worked hard to create a package of beer-related opportunities for our partners, working alongside our brewing colleagues and other suppliers. We’re also excited to invite up to 100 of our premium partners to the Greene King brewery in Bury St Edmunds in October for a tour so they can see how our award-winning beers are created. We’re passionate about good beer and hope this campaign helps share that passion and enthusiasm for brewing and makes beer drinking even more accessible for everyone.”
Alton Towers roller coaster crash victims launch lawsuit against Merlin: Merlin Entertainments is being sued for millions of pounds by two women who each lost a leg in the Alton Towers roller coaster crash. Leah Washington, 20, and Vicky Balch, 23, had been in the front seats of the Smiler ride when it smashed into a stationary carriage in June 2015. Balch’s lawyers said her injuries were caused by the “negligence and/or breach of statutory duty” of Merlin. Her claim, lodged at the High Court, accused the company of “failing to take any or adequate care to ensure the reasonable safety of the claimant while on the Smiler”. In 2016, judge Michael Chambers branded the events that caused the crash in which 16 people were injured a “catastrophic failure” and fined Merlin £5m. He added: “This was a needless and avoidable accident in which those who were injured were lucky not to be killed.” Paul Paxton, of law firm Stewarts, told The Mirror: “Our clients suffered life-changing injuries as a result of the accident. While money cannot make up for what they have endured over the past three years, financial security can at least help the victims lead a full and active life.” Merlin said: “From the outset we have admitted liability and have engaged fully at all times to achieve settlement for all the claimants as quickly as possible.”
Leicester-based operators to open gin and rum lounge for fourth site: Leicester-based operators Nirad and Payal Solanki are to open a gin and rum lounge in the city for their fourth site. The Solankis will launch The Dog House in Braunstone Gate next week. The venue will feature an industrial look with the operators making the furniture themselves out of scaffolding pipes and boards. There will be a selection of 75 rums, cognac, whisky and 25 vodkas. The bar will also show live sport and play music from the 1980s and 1990s. The Solankis launched their first pub two-and-a-half years ago in Rugby and have opened further sites in Tewkesbury and Stoney Stanton. After initially buying beer from brewers and wholesalers they decided to brew their own and launched Elmesthorpe Brewery Co a year ago, which now brews three cask ales. Explaining the name for the new venue, Nirad Solanki told Leicestershire Live: “I was in the dog house too many times, what with working 120 hours and then sleeping at the pubs as well. I said to my wife: ‘I am calling it The Dog House because I’m going to be in it when I get home so I may as well start in it!’”
Solita closes Preston restaurant but seeks alternative site: Manchester-based burger and steak company Solita has closed its restaurant in Preston – but is looking at alternative sites in the city. The company has shut the site in Winckley Square, which opened in July 2016, reports Blog Preston. In a statement posted on Facebook, the company said: “We have taken the regretful decision to close our Winckley Square, Preston, site. We looked for an alternative site in Fishergate but unfortunately we were unsuccessful in finding one that met our size and location requirements. We’re still actively looking for an alternative site and hopefully will be back in Preston very soon.” As well as steak and burgers, Solita also offers wings, nachos, sharing plates, salads, grilled seafood, and hotdogs. Sides include pizza fries, buttered spinach, and salt-baked new potatoes. Solita also owns restaurants in Didsbury, Manchester, and Prestwich.
KungFu to open Newbury site next month: All-you-can-eat, pan-Asian buffet restaurant KungFu is to open a site in Newbury, Berkshire. The company will open the venue at the Kennet Centre next month. The 4,500 square foot restaurant will offer cuisine from Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. KungFu trades from 23 other locations nationwide and in the past year has opened in Kingston, Worcester and Earl’s Court, with further launches planned in Chelmsford and Leamington Spa. Kennet Centre manager Mag Williams told Newbury Today: “We are delighted to welcome KungFu and its customers into the centre and look forward to the excitement this new letting will bring. The restaurant will help complement our food and leisure operators – Vue, Nando’s, Subway, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, PizzaExpress, Boswells and Caffe Nero.”
Creams coming to Leamington: Dessert parlour operator Creams Cafe is to launch a site in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. The venue will open in the Regent Court shopping area, the Leamington Courier reports. Work is still taking place inside the cafe but, according to its Facebook Page, the venue will “open soon”. Creams serves waffles, milkshakes, freakshakes and 36 varieties of Italian gelato-style ice cream. It also offers a wide range of sundaes, including the hot chocolate fudge volcano, and crepes such as the Belgian banana burrito. Creams Cafe was founded in 2008 and operates more than 70 sites in the UK. The nearest sites to Leamington Spa are in Coventry and Birmingham.
Chef to music artists shuts restaurant: A restaurant opened in Rutland by a chef who has cooked for music artists such as Take That, Olly Murs, Bastille and Sir Elton John has closed. Sam and Romy Letteri launched Fish Tank Sushi in Oakham in September 2017, Insider Media reports. In a statement on social media, Sam Letteri said: “Like the summer sun, The Clash and one-hour free parking, all good things must come to an end. After an amazing year full of soy sauce, sweat, tears and laughter, Sam is folding away his sushi mat (for now) and has closed the Fish Tank doors to focus on the next exciting chapter. Fish Tank will remain full of exceptional memories thanks to the local support and teamwork. I look forward to the next appetising project and another mouth-watering venture.”
Coffee shop concept opens second site, in Petts Wood: Coffee shop concept Arabica Coffee House has opened its second site, in Petts Wood, south east London. Owners Jaafar Touili and Mohammed Alnassar opened their debut venue in Crawley, West Sussex, last year. Now they have launched an outlet in Chatsworth Parade, Petts Wood. The venture takes its name from the arabica beans staff use to make the coffee. The food menu includes crepes, waffles and bagels. Touili told News Shopper: “We have been working on the concept to make sure we’re offering people something they can’t find elsewhere.”
Hereford-based micro-brewery opens taproom: Hereford-based micro-brewery Wobbly Brewing Company has opened its own taproom. The company, based in Beech Business Park in Tillington Road, brews six core beers that are sold nationally and are available in the new bar. The taproom is open Monday to Wednesday, from 5pm to 9pm, Thursday to Saturday, from 5pm to 11pm, and from midday to 7pm on Sundays. Managing director Jason Hughes told the Hereford Times: “We are the only brewery in the UK (I think) that can do a contract brew that can brew, can and distribute the beer all from the one brewery. We see ourselves as a major player in the craft beer market, not only for the core beers we make but also what we can do on contract brewing for other breweries.”