Barons Pub Company reports turnover and profit boost: Surrey-based Barons Pub Company has reported turnover rose to £11,524,544 for the year ending 30 September 2017, compared with £9,666,464 the year before. Pre-tax profit increased to £432,269 compared with £269,046 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Barons Pub Company had 340 employees at the end of the period compared with 270 the year before. It operates seven sites – six in Surrey and The Black Boy in Reading.
REL Capital buys Union Bars site, seeks further acquisitions with two more in legals: REL Capital, led by leisure property entrepreneur Andy Scott, is seeking further opportunities having bought one of Chelsea’s oldest pubs – The Pig’s Ear – from Union Bars. REL exited the pubs and bars sector after its 1 Leicester Square “super club” was developed for hotel use in 2015. It also sold regional sites in Guildford, Watford and Crawley to focus on other portfolio businesses, including the development of ten Hawthorn freehold development sites, and growing its central London entertainments business Contraband Events. REL has taken on Ian Newman, former head of property at Carluccio’s and Ivy Group, to spearhead its acquisitions. It has two further sites in legals and is actively looking for opportunities in the bar group and central London pub, bar and late-night sectors.
South Yorkshire-based bakery chain acquired in pre-pack deal after entering administration: South Yorkshire-based bakery chain Cooplands Retail, trading as Cooplands Bakeries, has been acquired in a pre-pack deal after entering administration. A report to creditors has lifted the lid on the reasons behind the appointment. Cooplands Retail went into administration on 10 April 2018 with Antony Batty & Company appointed to oversee the process. The company had acquired the business and assets of Alison’s Coffee Shops through a pre-packaged sale in November 2016. At the time, it traded from 29 stores and was loss-making. It now has 28 stores – eight on active leases and 20 on informal arrangements with landlords. The administrators’ report said sales increases of about 8% had been achieved from summer 2017. However, an internal accounting audit found VAT had not been properly accounted for on hot food sales, resulting in a potential liability to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). This led to cash flow problems and a notice of intention to appoint administrators was filed on 27 March 2018 following discussions with secured creditor Resolve Capital. Following the appointment of administrators, a pre-packaged sale of the company’s business and assets was completed to connected company GKB Retail for a total consideration of £621,750. Of this, £591,750 represents an effective non-cash roll-over of Resolve’s debt. Cooplands said the restructuring hadn’t affected staff or shops and was the result of historical issues unrelated to existing management. It emphasised the business was profitable and targeting growth. The administrators have estimated a deficiency in regards to unsecured claims, including HMRC and trade creditors, of about £1m.
Former Caffe Nero head of international food joins GLH Hotels: Former Caffe Nero head of international food Marco Zacharia has joined GLH Hotels as food and beverage director. Zacharia is tasked with evolving the hotel group’s culinary offering to deliver “consistently compelling” dishes across its five individual brands and 17 properties. The newly created post will see him working with chefs in each hotel to develop menus focusing on locally sourced produce while developing talent and creating destination restaurants across the estate. Zacharia’s career spans almost 40 years in the hospitality sector, including as a chef on board the QE2, and nine years at John Lewis, where he oversaw the launch of John Lewis Brasserie. He also launched the Fortnum & Mason brand in Dubai. GLH Hotels operations director Mike Magrane said: “It is a milestone moment for the group as we continue to evolve our offering based on our guests’ feedback. Food and beverage is a key focus across all our properties and I can’t wait to see and taste what Marco has planned.”
Tim Hall – acquisition of second site for Three Joes down to malaise in casual dining market, independents will have similar opportunities: Tim Hall has told Propel the acquisition of a second site for his Three Joes concept is down to the “malaise in the casual dining market” – and he believes other independents will have similar opportunities. Hall, who founded London-based healthy eating brand Pod in 2005 before leaving the business ten years later, will open the new, 110-cover Three Joes restaurant in Great Minster Street, Winchester, in mid-June. Hall launched the concept last year with ex-Pod food director Emma Blackmore and former Byron operations director Peter Bruton in Fareham, Hampshire, with a 110-cover restaurant in West Street. While sourdough pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven is the main focus, the menu also features a variety of slow-cooked dishes such as shoulder of pork. Hall said: “Because of the way the casual dining market is currently, the Winchester site is one we wouldn’t have had a sniff at previously because there would have been too much competition from the chains. There are certainly opportunities there for independents such as us. We don’t have a roll-out strategy as such – we are looking at sites but there’s no rush. If we don’t open another one for two years so be it. You’ve seen what has happened to some casual dining brands that have gone on mass roll-out programmes. It makes sense for us to focus on opening within a certain geographic. We want to avoid London but I can see us certainly heading west – places such as Bath and Bristol for example.” Hall said the difference between Three Joes and similar brands such as Franco Manca was his brand is more “occasion-led”, with customers tending to spend more time on-site. He added: “We’re trying to offer a broader experience for our customers – we’re not just about a quick in and out.”
Soho House launches Dumbo House club above first stand-alone New York restaurant: Soho House has launched private members’ club Dumbo House above its Italian restaurant Cecconi’s, which is the company’s first stand-alone restaurant in New York. Dumbo House occupies the top two floors of Empire Stores, the repurposed 19th century warehouse in the shadow of Brooklyn Bridge. Dumbo House features an outdoor terrace and prime views via floor-to-ceiling windows of the up and coming Dumbo (down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass) area of New York. Soho House founder Nick Jones told WWD: “It’s such a great area – you can see why so many people have moved here. I think one of the reasons we came here is we wanted to make Dumbo House a club for the local people of Brooklyn. I see it being a really lovely addition to what we have already. Our Soho House New York members are going to love it because there’s more roof space, more outdoor space – we suffer at the Meatpacking District because of that.” Dumbo House has joined Empire Stores tenants that include eatery Vinegar Hill House, a rooftop beer garden, and a storefront for hip watchmaker Shinola. Soho House operates two other New York clubs – both in Manhattan – and was founded by Jones in 1995 in Greek Street, Soho. It has since expanded to have “houses” around the world.
Hubbox to open Barnstaple site: Hubbox, which runs neighbourhood restaurants specialising in burgers, hotdogs and beer, is to expand its Devon portfolio with a site in Barnstaple. The business, led by Richard Boon, currently has sites in St Ives, Bristol, Exeter, Pentewan, Plymouth and Truro and is set to launch a restaurant in Taunton and a second site in Plymouth. However, during the launch of its latest menu on social media, Hubbox listed the location of its existing outlets as well as those “coming soon”, which mentioned Taunton and Barnstaple. A Barnstaple restaurant would be the company’s first foray into north Devon. The company has received £3.4m of external investment and has Loungers co-founder and chairman Alex Reilley as non-executive chairman. It has previously said it is looking to grow its estate to 20 sites in the next four years.
Porridge Cafe owner launches plant-based concept in London Fields:Porridge Cafe owner Nik Williamson has launched plant-based concept The Field, in London Fields. Williamson has teamed up with chef Ryan Petty to launch the venture inside the courtyard of Fount London in Westgate Street. The Field offers weekly changing three and five-course menus with vegetables as the main course and meat and fish as side dishes that can be added. Current mains include zucchini with white asparagus, barley and almonds; and sweetcorn custard with lion’s mane tart. There are also health bowls such as red wild rice and grilled romaine lettuce salad for lunch, alongside snacks such as spring rolls and smashed avocado on sourdough, Hot Dinners reports. Williamson launched The Porridge Cafe as a pop-up near Old Street in 2015.
Butcombe brings in new hires to drive national growth: Butcombe Brewery, part of Liberation Group, has appointed two new senior managers to support the brewery’s expansion. John Breading has been appointed UK sales director. He previously worked for The Beer Seller and Magners UK, and latterly developed a national sales strategy with Frobishers Juices. He will be responsible for Butcombe’s on and off-trade sales, including trade marketing. Breading said: “My role will involve supporting our sales team’s passion for customer care and ensuring our focus is on quality. We plan to build on the brewery’s success in the local beer market, growing our loyal West Country customer base as well as increasing sales further afield.” Meanwhile, Phil Rowsell has joined Butcombe as operations manager at its new 54,000 square foot distribution centre in Bridgwater. The site has four new sections including a craft beer production unit, a bottling and kegging line, and a beer storage and delivery facility. Rowsell was previously general manager of DHL Tradeteam working in partnership with companies such as Molson Coors, Carlsberg, Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers. Rowsell said: “The site will allow us to increase our production to keep pace with growing demand and serve our customers more effectively at a lower cost. Butcombe intends to reinvest the savings into the development of the Butcombe beer brands to secure its future growth.”
Ormer Restaurant Group to open Liverpool site: The Ormer Restaurant Group, which runs Michelin-starred restaurants in London and Jersey, is to open a site in Liverpool. The company will launch the restaurant in Water Street, which will bring a “new elegant style of dining and socialising” to the city. The bar and restaurant has been granted permission by the city council to stay open into the early hours. The company had previously warned that refusing permission for the bar to stay open past midnight would “clearly be against” the aim of making Liverpool a 24-hour city. Developers were originally given the go-ahead to convert the listed Il Palazzo building last June but had been trying to get the council to grant longer opening hours. The premises will now be able to stay open until 1.30am from Thursday to Saturday, as opposed to the midnight closing time previously imposed. As well as the bar and restaurant, two and three-bedroom apartments are planned for the upper floors of the building, reports the Liverpool Echo.
Great British Menu chef to launch his second restaurant in Wales: Former Great British Menu chef Tommy Heaney is to open his second restaurant in Wales. The chef, who operates Restaurant Tommy Heaney in Laleston, near Bridgend, will launch his new venture in Cardiff at a site formerly occupied by Arbennig Restaurant. The venue in Romilly Crescent will close on Monday, 25 June to undergo a four-week refurbishment. Arbennig staff will be kept on while Heaney’s partner, Nikki, will run front of house. Heaney told The Plate Licked Clean blog: “I never expected such a great location to come on the market. We fell in love with what they were doing but also saw how we could make it our own. Plus, living in Wales I think we really needed to hit the capital.” The chef, who appeared on Great British Menu last year, will also take on the Arbennig Emporium cafe next door. He said: “We are considering opening in the evenings while the refurbishment is going on. We will serve small samples of what’s to come.” Arbennig’s owners, John and Ceri Cook, are selling up after almost four-and-a-half years at the venue.
Black and White Hospitality to open Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill in Folkestone: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to five restaurant brands belonging to chef Marco Pierre White, is to open a Steakhouse Bar & Grill in Folkestone, Kent. The company will open the venue at the Best Western Clifton Hotel in The Leas following its transformation of The Garden restaurant, reports Kent Live. In a newsletter to customers, representatives of the hotel said: “We are proud to announce Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill will be coming to Best Western Clifton Hotel very soon.” 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 45 sites across the UK.
Camerons to open 15th Head of Steam site, in Birmingham next month: Camerons Brewery is to open its 15th Head of Steam site, in Birmingham next month, creating 35 jobs. The site in Temple Street will open on Thursday, 7 Junein time for the Head of Steam’s Euro Beer Festival, which will run throughout the month. The 504 square foot venue in Somerset House will offer locally brewed beer, including offerings from Birmingham Brewing Company and Dig Brew Co, alongside more than 100 craft beers, real ales, and world beer from 43 keg lines and fridges. The pub will also welcome dogs and their owners. Camerons regional operations manager Grant Dexter said: “Our aim is to create a welcoming atmosphere for all, including dogs. This has been a big success across the Midlands locations so far, with our four-legged friends becoming regulars. We will serve hearty signature food with a contemporary twist alongside specialist craft beer, cask ale and cocktails.” Camerons is currently refurbishing a number of its older Head of Steam sites, reopening its Durham pub earlier this month. Camerons’ estate consists of more than 70 venues. It acquired The Head of Steam brand in 2014.
Laurent Tourondel to open debut UK restaurant in London next month:French-born chef Laurent Tourondel is returning to London to launch his first UK restaurant. Tourondel will open the venue at Hotel Café Royal in Regent Street on Friday, 1 June. He is best known in the US, where he has restaurants in New York, Miami and North Carolina, while he also owns ventures in Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and the Caribbean. Tourondel trained in France before moving to London, where he worked in the kitchen at Boodles. The 110-cover Laurent at Café Royal will be on the first floor of the hotel, with an open kitchen, grill and sushi bar. Tourondel said: “I am thrilled to be returning to London. Having worked for years at Boodles, I cannot wait to create a new home in the iconic Hotel Café Royal.” Hotel managing director Guillaume Marly added: “We pride ourselves on bringing world-class chefs and cuisine to our guests. I am delighted to welcome Laurent to our hotel.”
Premier Inn rolls out solar programme to 70 more sites: Whitbread has extended its nationwide solar programme to a further 70 Premier Inns, cementing the hotel chain’s position as a leader in sustainability and energy efficiency. Installations will be designed and managed by renewables developer Anesco, with all work expected to be complete by the autumn. Anesco previously installed solar panels on 88 Premier Inns between 2013 and 2015. The new installations will mean more than 20% of Whitbread’s Premier Inn estate will have been fitted with solar panels at a total capacity of more than 3MW – equivalent to the energy required to power about 2.9 million washing machine cycles. Whitbread director of sustainability James Pitcher told BDaily: “Solar technology is a key part of our sustainability programme and helps ensure we always act as a force for good. As a long-term investment, solar is a fantastic proposition for us. We have seen from our previous work with Anesco that the technology is a great fit for us and, with this project, we are further demonstrating our commitment to sustainable, environmentally aware working practices.” Anesco executive chairman Steve Shine added: “What this project proves is that despite cuts to the feed-in tariffs, solar is still a viable option for businesses.”
Former Gaucho team launches west London seafood shack: A family who formerly worked for leading Argentine steak restaurant group Gaucho has launched a seafood shack in Westbourne Grove, west London. Georgie Godik Hayward, Adam Hayward and Patsy Godik have launched the concept – Bucket –offering sustainable seafood served in buckets and on boards. Under the banner “there are only so many fish in the sea”, buckets feature seafood such as prawns, whitebait, calamari and mussels served with a choice of four sauces – coconut chilli, lobster brandy, pancetta and tomato, and classic white wine. There are also boards of grilled fish and meat served with a signature house sauce, alongside crayfish burger, seafood spaghetti, and raw and cured seafood. The interiors resemble a “weather-worn yet rustically luxurious beach club”, Hot Dinners reports, while there is a separate bar offering snacks including lobster toastie, squid-ink crackers and a fish-finger sandwich. The restaurant also operates a takeaway service.
Edrington unveils Macallan distillery in Speyside: Spirits producer Edrington has unveiled its new distillery and visitors’ centre in Speyside for scotch whisky brand Macallan. The venue is on Easter Elchies estate, which has been home to the single malt since 1824. Macallan has become the leading international single malt by value, the company said. Edrington is investing £500m in the brand, with the £140m distillery as the centrepiece, which will increase production by a third. The visitors’ experience will launch on Saturday, 2 June. Edrington chief executive Ian Curle said: “We face the future confidently with this new distillery. It’s an authentic, abiding, ambitious investment that will match consumer expectations for generations to come. We expect this new Macallan enterprise to deliver significant benefits for the tourism industry, scotch whisky exports, and the economy.”
Team behind Huddersfield party venue to open Mexican restaurant: The team behind a Huddersfield party venue is investing £250,000 in a new restaurant. Victoria Allen and Ihjaz Khaliq, who run Popkidz in Marsh, will open Taquitos Mexican Restaurant tapas and bar in West Vale in August. Khaliq told the Huddersfield Examiner: “We talked about options for it. There is no Italian or Mexican and we wanted to incorporate a bar so we decided to go with a Mexican theme. There will be a tapas and tequila bar, the restaurant on the middle floor and a lounge and restaurant on the upper floor.” The couple, who have a number of businesses including a private day nursery and hair salon, will remain at Popkidz with a team working at the new restaurant venture. They have also just franchised Popkidz with a venue opening in Bradford.
Giraffe partners with Frizzenti to offer cocktails on tap: Giraffe, which is owned by Boparan Restaurant Group, has partnered with Frizzenti to offer cocktails on tap across its estate. The first five cocktails, including negronis and Aperol Spritz, will be available this summer, with five more to follow later this year. Cocktails are supplied in 20-litre kegs that attach to any dispense system. They are CO2 or nitrogen injected to maintain fizz and texture. Frizzenti founder George Workman said: “The natural assumption is on-tap is poor quality and we want to blow that perception away.” Meanwhile, Giraffe has banned plastic straws across its estate.