Pret A Manger to open store run exclusively by Rising Stars: Pret A Manger is to open a store run exclusively by graduates of its Rising Stars programme. Writing in his blog, chief executive Clive Schlee said enough people had come through the programme at management level to make the idea possible. He said: “We have been running our Rising Stars programme for ten years and have given jobs to more than 400 ex-homeless people since we started. Every summer I take a group of Rising Stars to Austria to hike up a mountain. Two years ago, one of the Stars came up with the idea of a Pret shop run exclusively by Rising Stars. My fellow hikers were enthusiastic. Our shop idea lost momentum when we returned home. People pointed out we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed. I’m pleased to say the situation has changed. Enough Rising Stars have now developed through the ranks to become managers, team leaders, baristas and hot chefs. This means we can now build what we like to call a ‘family tree’ – the ideal team structure to run a Pret shop. We have learned so much in ten years of running this programme and it feels like the right time to give our Stars their next challenge and opportunity.” Schlee added he hoped the move would encourage other companies to “employ more people from disadvantaged backgrounds”.
Starbucks to roll out trial of 5p paper cup charge across UK estate after 126% rise in reusable cup use: Starbucks is to roll out its trial of a 5p charge for paper cups across its 950 stores in Britain after an initial test led to a 126% rise in reusable cup use. The trial will begin on Thursday, 26 July with all stores adding 5p to the cost of any drink purchased in a paper cup. Customers using reusable cups already receive 25p discount off any Starbucks drink. During the initial three-month trial in London, Starbucks worked with environmental charity Hubbub, whose report showed the number of customers bringing in their own cup rose from 2.2% to 5.8%. Mornings saw the highest volume, with 8% of all hot drinks served in a reusable cup. Starbucks said it would work with the industry to share findings from the trial, while funds raised from the 5p charge would support recycling and sustainability efforts. Martin Brok, president, Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “We saw encouraging results from the first three months of this trial. Extending this to all our stores across Britain is an exciting step and we hope this charge will remind customers to rethink their use of single-use plastic, as it has with plastic bags.” Hubbub founder and chief executive Trewin Restorick added: “Customers have an increased awareness of the need to reduce waste from single-use cups. A 5p charge is an effective way to prompt this change.” Earlier this week, Starbucks announced plans to eliminate single-use plastic straws across its global estate by 2020.
Daisy Green Collection passes £1m mark as it raises double initial crowdfunding target to accelerate growth: Australia-inspired restaurant group Daisy Green Collection has passed the £1m mark in its first equity raise as it looks to accelerate growth – double its original target. The company, founded in 2012 by former City bankers Prue Freeman and her husband Tom Onions, is raising the funds on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. It was seeking £500,000 while offering 4.70% equity in return for the investment – but smashed that target having raised almost £900,000 within hours of its public launch. So far, 210 investors have pledged 1,041,990 and the campaign continues to “overfund” with 29 days remaining. The business has grown from humble street food beginnings in 2012 to a collection of nine sites across central London. The independent business has grown revenues at circa 85% per annum over the past four years with the fund-raising set to enable them to open in areas such as Canary Wharf, Liverpool Street, London Bridge and Tower Bridge. The company has a run-rate site Ebitda of £2m. The group is currently achieving run-rate revenues of circa £10m, with site Ebitda margins at about 20%. The company’s business plan forecasts growing to more than 17 sites with revenues of £25m-plus within four years. The business, currently 100% owned by the founders, raised a £775,000 bond through Crowdcube in 2015, which was oversubscribed within 24 hours. In 2017, its “Bondi Bond” became the first to be repaid as part of a £3.25m refinancing by OakNorth.
Crussh opens first site outside London as it strengthens Everyone Active partnership: London-based healthy food and juice brand Crussh has opened its first site outside the capital as it strengthens its partnership with Everyone Active Leisure Centre Group. Having opened the debut venue with Everyone Active in the Westway Sports Centre in North Kensington, Crussh has opened two more sites – at Moberly Sports Centre in Kensal Rise and Westminster Lodge in St Albans – its first outside London. Both sites are company-owned and serve Crussh’s traditional menu including all-day items such as avocado on sourdough alongside freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juice, blended smoothies and organic coffee. As well as a daily cafe menu, Crussh will cater for the Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre’s children’s parties and offer packed lunchboxes and hot dishes for younger customers. In addition, Crussh will cater for private events and overhaul the Westminster Lodge Verulamium Spa menu. Crussh chief executive Shane Kavanagh said: “We are delighted to expand our partnership with Everyone Active. With health and well-being at the core of both businesses, there is a natural synergy between brands.” Everyone Active general manager Lesley Garner added: “We are excited to partner with Crussh and believe its healthy food and drink options will complement and support the active lifestyles of our members.” The openings bring the Crussh estate to 33 company-operated stores and one franchise.
Former Laine Pub Company operations manager opens debut site: Evan Eksteen, former operations manager for Laine Pub Company, has opened a first pub under his new venture, Black Rabbit Pub Company. Eksteen has launched Black Rabbit in Maldon, Essex, and has plans to expand to other areas across the east of England. He has transformed The Ship & Anchor in High Street, which has reopened under its new name following a three-week refurbishment. It offers an all-day street food menu with experimental cocktails. There is a focus on entertainment, including table tennis, foosball and arcade games. There is also a secret function room and bedrooms. Eksteen said: “The previous owners did a great job at this site and we hope to continue and add to the reputation they worked tirelessly to build. Great customer service is my passion and I want to make sure we are creating a place that can become the heart of Maldon.”
Cote signs for Basingstoke shopping centre site: French brasserie Cote has agreed a deal for a site at Festival Place shopping centre in Basingstoke, Hampshire. The company will open the 3,350 square foot restaurant in Festival Square, the scheme’s dining and leisure quarter, next to the recently revamped ten-screen Vue Cinema. The new venue, which will feature an alfresco area, will join restaurant brands at the quarter that include Casual Dining Group-owned Las Iguanas, PizzaExpress, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Nando’s and Wagamama. Cote property director Steve Seager said: “With a large outdoor seating area at Festival Place, we will create the feel of a Parisian pavement bistro with a real buzz.” Cote, which is owned by private equity firm BC Partners, currently operates 92 sites under its eponymous brand. Festival Place has been owned by property company AEW UK since 2015.
Andrew Wong reveals further details of second London site: Michelin-starred chef Andrew Wong has revealed further details of his second site in the capital. Wong will launch Kym’s at Bloomberg Arcade in the City of London in September. The venue will offer Wong’s own take on classic Chinese dishes, while the space will span two floors and seat more than 120 diners. There will be a standalone circular bar capable of seating 30 and a private dining area for 50 on a mezzanine level. Kym’s was the original name of Wong’s Michelin-starred restaurant A Wong in Victoria when his parents ran it. Wong said: “This time it’s about my community and my own journey. The name is something very personal to me and my family. I’ve been considering the idea of somewhere we would be able to open all day for a while. When the opportunity for Bloomberg Arcade came along, we knew it would be perfect.” The menu will feature small plates and sharing platters while Wong plans a “big emphasis” on Chinese ‘roasting’ meat, including poaching and a Chinese Sunday roast menu. He added: “It is also about celebrating and paying my respects to the contribution the Chinese community has had over the past 100 years to British gastronomy. I think we’ve all evolved and I want to offer casual Chinese food away from what guests have come to expect.”
Utopian Brewing increases equity offer in £350,000 crowdfunding campaign: Utopian Brewing, chaired by Faucet Inn founder Steve Cox, has increased the equity offer in its £350,000 crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. The company is now offering 23.49% for the investment instead of the original 19.1%, resulting in a reduction in the pre-money valuation from £1,485,000 to £1,140,000. So far, the company has raised £178,740 from 83 investors with 15 days remaining. In its pitch, the company stated: “This funding will enable us to build out our 3,500-litre brewhouse with sufficient vessels to produce more than 8,000 hectolitres per annum. We will aim to install sufficient infrastructure and have space to add vessels later to increase production to more than 15,000 hectolitres per annum. All our ingredients will be sourced from UK producers. We aim to sell draught product to pubs and bars locally and through national distribution. We have provisionally agreed to supply 15 sites and believe our industry contacts will give us a head start in rapidly adding new outlets. We plan for a packaged product to be added as soon as possible for both online and retail sales.”
Former MasterChef winner opens ‘express’ site for Nanban concept: Former MasterChef winner Tim Anderson has opened an “express” site for his Japanese soul food restaurant Nanban. Anderson, who won the BBC television show in 2011, opened his first permanent restaurant in Brixton, south London, in 2015. Now he has launched Nanban Express, a hatch in Electric Lane, Brixton, serving a “grab-and-go menu of Japanese sandwiches and salad”. The hatch is open from Tuesday to Saturday from midday to 3pm. The menu features three katsu sandwiches – classic pork with shredded cabbage, tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mayo; chicken curry with fried chicken thigh, curry mayo and pickled ginger; and sweet miso aubergine with honey miso mayo. There are also three salads – spicy heritage tomatoes with ponzu dressing and shichimi; poached chicken thigh with roasted sesame dressing; and roasted Asian aubergine with lime ponzu dressing and fresh mint, reports Hot Dinners.
Mowgli lodges plans for Nottingham site: Indian street food restaurant Mowgli, which is backed by investment company Foresight Group, has lodged plans for a site in Nottingham. The company, founded by barrister and food writer Nisha Katona in 2014, has applied to the city council to open the venue in Stoney Street. Katona aims to open the restaurant at the end of the month, reports The Business Desk. Mowgli has two restaurants in Liverpool, with other venues in Manchester, Birmingham and Oxford. Further openings are planned for Leeds and Cardiff.
Ei Group names award winners: Creative Hospitality Group, led by Bruno Nunes, has been named best multiple operator by Ei Group as part of its national awards scheme. Nunes picked up the accolade at the Ei Group Awards for Excellence, held at Coombe Abbey in Warwickshire. It was one of 11 categories to feature in the company’s revitalised awards programme, with Dirty Liquor, the partnership with operators Hugh O’Boyle and Caroline Jones, winning the managed investments award. Meanwhile, The Lion Hotel in Treorchy, South Wales, led by publican Adrian Emmett, was crowned pub of the year in recognition of its role as a “vital community hub” and “long-standing contribution to the lives of so many people in the area”. Ei Group chief executive Simon Townsend said: “Judging our new awards scheme was not an easy task. We saw an impressive number of entries and our group of expert judges were struck by the extraordinary levels of dedication and passion to the industry demonstrated by every single publican that entered. Our new awards programme has offered us the opportunity to celebrate the most outstanding operators across our estate, learn from the best, and inspire other publicans to further raise retail standards and business performance. We are incredibly proud of all of our finalists and, in particular, Adrian at The Lion, who runs an outstanding pub and is a worthy winner.”
 
Latin American restaurant and bar Zuaya opens in Kensington: Latin American restaurant and bar Zuaya has launched in High Street Kensington, west London. The concept is the brainchild of Spanish twins Alberto and Arian Zandi, whose venue covers 2,500 square feet and includes a ground-floor marble bar, a 66-cover dining area spread across two floors, and a 12-cover terrace with separate bar. The venue hosts live jazz and DJs at weekends, while the kitchen is headed by Francisco Lafee, who has worked at a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in South America and London, including Barrafina. Dishes are inspired by Peru, Argentina and Mexico, while interiors feature a palette of green and gold with botanical artwork, a feature moss wall and bespoke pendant lighting. Alberto Zandi said: “Our aim is to provide a new customer experience in London from a gastronomic, design and service perspective.”
Star Pubs & Bars introduces rotational craft beer scheme: Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars has introduced a rotational craft beer scheme. The scheme offers pubs with an established craft offering a selection of ten draught craft beers from a number of third-party brewers as well as Heineken on a six-month rotation. Craft brands likely to have a strong consumer appeal are selected based on category insight, market share and performance, and an understanding of what would work in the different pubs across the company’s segmentation model. Star Pubs & Bars expects about 275 of its pubs will be using the scheme by the end of the year. The scheme adds to Star Pubs & Bars’ partnership with the Society of Independent Brewers and the recently announced extension to its cask ale range, giving licensees access to 300 beers. Star Pubs & Bars buying director Steve Dancer said: “Craft beer is an important growth area. It is served in more than half the pubs in the UK. It’s not a passing fad – it is here to stay. Craft sales are increasing in volume by 25% year-on-year and the category is predicted to make up 10% of total beer market volumes in the next three years. We want to help craft-focused pubs with a proven demand to capitalise on this growth, build on their speciality and enrich their customers’ experience by widening the choice of craft on tap.”
Bottles & Battles co-founders open Italian wine bar in Spitalfields Market:Franco Mancini and Daniele Marano, co-founders of wine merchant Bottles & Battles in Mercato Metropolitano in Borough, have launched an Italian wine bar in Old Spitalfields Market. The pair have teamed up with pop-up restaurant Sood for the venture, which focuses on regional Italian wine made by independent producers and small farms, often exploring forgotten grapes. The wine list also features international varieties among its 180 labels. Sood’s food offer follows a year-long residency at Kitchens in the market. The menu includes wild sea bass crudo with spicy cantaloupe sauce and octopus tortelloni. The venue offers 50 covers spread over two floors plus a heated terrace with additional seating for 25 people. The first floor features a refrigerated display of cured meat and cheese, while a bespoke mozzarella bar lies at the market entrance.
Malhotra Group secures new headquarters in £4m deal: Newcastle-based pub, restaurant and hotel operator Malhotra Group is to relocate its head office following a £4m property acquisition. The company has purchased 42-50 Grey Street and will relocate head office staff to the site from its current bases at Groat Market and Scottish Provident House. The move is expected to take place at the end of 2018 following refurbishment of the three floors of office accommodation. Once complete, the property will be renamed Malhotra House. Group chairman Meenu Malhotra told Insider Media: “We have been conscious for some time – particularly as we are extending the construction side of the business – that we are outgrowing our current premises. Not only is the Grey Street site large enough to accommodate our head office staff, which numbers about 60, but as we already own several adjacent properties, it seems like a natural move for us. It is not only a positive move for the group but also an indication of our continuing commitment to Newcastle city centre.”
Contemporary kosher restaurant and bar to open in Belsize Park: A contemporary kosher restaurant and bar is to open in Belsize Park, north west London, this month. David Levin will launch Tish on Sunday, 29 July in Haverstock Hill. The venue will have capacity for 160 diners across a dining room, bar and terrace and feature an open kitchen. The dairy-free, all-day menu will offer modern classics and seasonal new dishes alongside Jewish heritage favourites. Main dishes will include dry-aged rib-eye steak with truffle chips and field mushrooms; seared salmon fillet with green kale salsa, pickled fennel, crispy pearl barley and pomegranate; and Tish chicken schnitzel with roasted fingerling potatoes, peppers and caper berries. The menu will also have a selection of fresh salads and sandwiches. The drinks list will include wine, cocktails, coffee and fruit juice.