TRG launches exam results offers for Chiquito and Frankie & Benny’s: The Restaurant Group (TRG) has launched offers for students celebrating their exam results for its Chiquito and Frankie & Benny’s brands. A-level students will receive their results on Thursday (15 August) and GCSE students a week later. On those days they can claim a free tortilla dish from Chiquito, regardless of their grades. Students can choose chimichanga, tacos, enchilada or a burrito by showing their results and student ID between 15 and 17 August and 22 and 24 August. Chiquito managing director Angelo Gabrilatsou said: “For 30 years we’ve supported students with our ‘always on’ 25% off for students. This year we wanted to give something back so all Higher, A-level and GCSE students will receive free food on results day.” Meanwhile, Frankie & Benny’s will give away free main courses to A-level students when they order a bottle of Coca-Cola or pint of Budweiser. TRG is also encouraging students to discuss job opportunities at its Frankie & Benny’s sites. Frankie & Benny’s senior brand and partnerships manager Gabriele Barysaite said: “Commiserate with friends, family and treat yourself to your Frankie’s favourites. While you sink your teeth into your burger, Frankie and Benny’s is here to talk to you about job opportunities – whether apprenticeships, part-time or full-time.”
Cutter & Squidge to open Victoria site for third venue: Cutter & Squidge, the sister-owned Soho bakery, is set to expand south of the river with a pop-up in Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria. The venue will open on Thursday, 22 August to continue a year of growth for a business started by Annabel and Emily Lui, who began with a market stall at St Paul’s before opening a permanent site in Brewer Street, Soho, in 2015. They opened a second site in February this year at the Royal Exchange building in the City of London. The brand offers freshly baked cakes, brownies, macarons, cake truffles, cookies and afternoon tea, while the Victoria shop will offer a bespoke limited edition biskie – a cross between a cookie and a cake made into a sandwich. The Royal Biskie is flavoured with strawberry, vanilla, lychee and rose with a little bit of 24-carat gold leaf. Cutter & Squidge will also publish its first book, Afternoon Tea At The Cutter & Squidge Bakery, in October.
Bear to launch debut shopping centre site in Derby for fifth coffee shop:Midlands-based cafe bar concept Bear is to make its shopping centre debut by opening a site at Intu Derby. The 3,000 square foot venue will be Bear’s fifth coffee shop when it opens next month. Craig Bunting and Michael Thorley founded Bear five years ago inspired by Australia’s coffee shop culture to create a speciality coffee, casual dining and craft cocktail offer for the UK market. They hope to open 30 sites in the next five years. Bunting said: “We have traded successfully on the high street for a few years so we’re excited to take space within such a hugely popular shopping centre for the first time. This forms part of our expansion strategy as we explore how a proudly independent business like Bear can flourish within a high-footfall retail and leisure destination such as Intu Derby. Our ambition has always been to create something different for the UK by offering sociable spaces with a coffee-focused, all day and evening offer so we think we can complement Intu Derby’s great mix of brands.” Intu regional managing director Nick Round added: “Bear is an exciting concept that will offer a fantastic new experience for Intu Derby.” Bear already operates a site in Derby – in Iron Gate – with its other outlets in Stone, Uttoxeter and within Jack Wills’ flagship store in Soho.
BrewDog launches Punk Day for investors as fund-raise nears £6m: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched an annual rewards day for its Equity Punk investors. Punk Day will take place on the first Saturday in September. BrewDog stated: “The support we have been shown by our legion of shareholders has been amazing, particularly for those who have gone the extra mile and invested £1,000 or more into the company we now own together. These are our Alpha Dogs and to thank those who have reached this mark in the most recent round of Equity for Punks we are introducing a new annual tradition. We are emailing a code to all BrewDog Equity Punks who have invested £1,000 or more in this latest round of Equity for Punks or those who have increased their shareholding in this round to reach that figure. They can take it to their nearest BrewDog bar on Punk Day – which this year is set to take place on Saturday, 7 September. Show that code to our bar crew and you can redeem it for a thank you meal on us. All new Alpha Dogs (and those on above tiers) will score a free meal and two free drinks for them and the same for a guest.” The latest Equity for Punks campaign aims to raise £7m and has a stretch goal of £50m. Last month the company extended it to April 2020. So far, more than 27,800 investors have pledged almost £6m.
Property company launches hotel management arm: Property development company Henley Homes has launched a hotel management arm with a portfolio that will include a venue in Cambridge. The Hobson in St Andrews Street will comprise 59 rooms once complete. It is set within a former police station near the banks of the River Cam. Other hotels under Rogue City Hotel Group will be Dunalistair Hotel Suites in the Scottish Highlands and another new-build venue, The Wellington in Glasgow. Nassar Khalil, who co-founded Rogue City and is chief executive of the business, said: “I co-founded Rogue City Hotel Group to disrupt the status quo in conventional hospitality by delivering an alternative luxury hotel brand that fully aligns its interest with that of its guests. Our primary focus is to make design-led luxury accommodation and exceptional service accessible to all demographics through an affordable pricing policy.”
Ghetto Golf founders open second Birdies Bar, in Birmingham: The founders of Liverpool-based cocktails and mini-golf concept Ghetto Golf have opened a second site for their beach bar-themed concept Birdies Bar, in Birmingham. Kip Piper and Danny Bolger have opened the venue next to their Ghetto Golf site at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. The 300-capacity bar features tropical island-influenced decor including fake palm trees and colourful paintings on wood for a “surf shack feel”. The drinks list includes cocktails, spirits, beer and wine, while the barbecue menu comes from street food trader Apocalypse Cow, which also provides food at Ghetto Golf. Piper told Birmingham Live: “Since we opened Ghetto Golf in Digbeth two years ago we’ve been warmly welcomed into the area and setting up Birdies Bar next door was the perfect step.” Bolger added: “Our second Birdies Bar is inspired by a resort-style getaway with a laid-back vibe, ideal for casual drinks or a night of dancing. We’re excited to finally open our doors after months of planning in a bid to create Birmingham’s best bar.” Piper and Bolger launched Ghetto Golf in 2016. It also operates a site in Newcastle.
Black Bear Burger to open debut bricks and mortar site, in Brixton Village: Black Bear Burger, operated by husband and wife Liz and Stew Down, is to open its first bricks and mortar site, in Brixton Village, south London. The concept has been operating at Broadway Market, Boxpark Shoreditch and Kerb but will launch a first restaurant in the autumn in Market Row. The brand’s burgers are made using grass-fed and dry-aged beef sourced from native breeds raised in the south west. The menu includes the Black Bear burger (aged beef patty with American cheese, onion jam, pancetta and garlic mayo), buttermilk-fried chicken nuggets with buffalo and blue cheese dipping sauce, and buffalo wings with house-made blue cheese dip. The move to bricks and mortar means the menu will also expand to include chicken and vegan burgers, brisket spring rolls and smoked barbecue specials, Hot Dinners reports. The Brixton spot will also have an alcohol licence to offer cocktails, jugs of beer and shots.
YO! appoints Pablo to move further away from sushi-only tag: Global multi-brand, multi-channel Japanese food group YO! has enlisted agency Pablo to communicate to customers how much it has diversified its menus and product range. The company officially dropped the “Sushi” from its logo three years ago and Pablo will be tasked with creating a long-term multi-platform campaign that ensures customers know sushi accounts for only 30% of YO!’s menu. The agency will also be charged with promoting its range of supermarket sauces and Tesco kiosks as well as its recently opened White City concept restaurant, reports The Drum. At the end of July, YO! chief executive Richard Hodgson said: “In the UK in particular we’ve spent the year identifying how to leverage our new combined knowledge to create new formats and products to broaden our appeal among UK consumers.”
SSP brings healthy eating concept Dean & David to Bremen: SSP Group, the UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist, has opened a site for fresh food brand Dean & David at Bremen airport. The venue is next to the entrance of Terminal 1 and will also cater for people working in the nearby Airport City business district. Customers can choose to eat in or take away from a menu that includes Asian curries, soup, “good life” bowls, salads, wraps and grilled sandwiches. Dean & David opened its first store 12 years ago in Munich and recently opened units in Austria and Switzerland. Michael Glatz, head of business development at SSP Germany, said: “Dean & David is a young, trendsetting fast-casual concept that, thanks to its partnership with SSP, serves travellers at several German train stations and airports.” SSP operates three other units at Bremen airport – beer bar Roland, Time Out snack bar and Kamps Backstube bakery. The move comes as global information company The NPD Group revealed the value of the UK’s travel hub foodservice market increased more than 11% for the year ending June 2019, from £2.47bn to £2.75bn. Visits were up from 576 million to 619 million, an increase of more than 7%.
Barbecue brand Prairie Fire to launch residency at revamped London Fields Brewery: Kansas City-style barbecue brand Prairie Fire will launch a six-month residency at the newly refurbished London Fields Brewery in Hackney next month. Founded in 2013 by Michael Gratz, Prairie Fire took a permanent residency at Mercato Metropolitano in Borough in 2016 and operates at food markets and festivals throughout London. The residency will see Prairie Fire serve a range of smoked meat including 14-hour applewood-smoked pork in a bun, smoked chicken wings, and its signature 16-hour hickory-smoked brisket. Meat platters designed for sharing include pulled pork and sausage as well as vegetarian options. Dishes will be paired with London Fields’ new brewery-fresh tank beer. Gratz said: “We’re really excited to open at London Fields Brewery and introduce east London to traditional slow-smoked Kansas City-style barbecue. The brewery is going to be fantastic and we’re looking forward to pairing our dishes with a range of new and innovative craft beers. Nothing goes better with barbecue than a good beer!”
Luxury Lake District hotel and spa sold: The Rothay Garden Hotel & Riverside Spa in Grasmere, Ambleside, has been acquired for an undisclosed price by Fairtree International on behalf of a private investor in partnership with Providence Hospitality. The venue comprises 30 luxury bedrooms and has been owned for the same number of years by Chris Carss, who was the driving force behind the development of a new garden restaurant and riverside spa. Carss now aims to retire from hotel-keeping after 45 years in the industry but has other business interests to work on. “I have really enjoyed getting to know the teams at Fairtree International and Providence Hospitality and am delighted Rothay Garden will remain in safe and capable hands,” he said. “A bright new chapter is beginning for the hotel, its staff and guests.” Fairtree International and Providence Hospitality have a strong track record of owning and operating boutique and niche hotels. Providence co-founder Joe Bester said: “We aim to be well represented country-wide and establish a reputation as one of the top hotel operators in the UK and South Africa. We plan to continue growing our quality portfolio in the UK and the addition of Rothay Garden is a great step towards that.”
Halal Guys opens second UK site: US street food brand The Halal Guys has opened its second UK site. Restaurant operator ITICO F+B, which owns franchise rights for The Halal Guys in the UK, has opened the venue in London’s Earl’s Court, adding to the brand’s debut European restaurant that opened near Leicester Square in the spring. ITICO F+B is targeting 20 Halal Guys sites across the UK within five years. The brand offers a basic menu of grilled chicken and gyro beef in a pitta, wrap or on a bed of rice. There is also a vegetarian alternative made with falafel. Egyptian immigrants Mohammed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka and Abdelbaset Elsayed launched The Halal Guys as a cart on a New York street corner 28 years ago catering to Muslim taxi drivers. As the company name suggests, all meat is slaughtered according to Islamic law. There are now 85 outlets under The Halal Guys brand across North America and Asia, with 400 more in the pipeline.
David Gibbs named as next Yum Brands chief executive: Yum Brands has named company veteran David Gibbs as chief executive, succeeding Greg Creed who will retire at the end of the year. Gibbs, 55, has been with the company since 1989, holding several senior roles including chief financial officer for three years before taking charge as chief operating officer earlier this year. Creed, who has been with Yum for 25 years, will remain as chief executive to the end of 2019. He will serve as a part-time adviser next year and also remain on the company’s board. The 62-year-old has held the chief executive role since 2015 and executed the 2016 spin-off of Yum China. The company’s stock has more than doubled since Creed took the helm. Yum has more than 48,000 Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC restaurants across the globe. It bought a stake in food-ordering company Grubhub early last year to improve its delivery services. Gibbs, who will assume the new role on 1 January, served as chief strategy officer when he revamped Yum’s global restaurant operations model. He was also chief executive of the global Pizza Hut division.
Online food delivery business Lean Lunch extends £120,000 crowdfunding campaign: Online food delivery business Lean Lunch, which aims to “improve well-being for people and the planet”, has extended its £120,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Launched by Sat and Charlotte Mann, Lean Lunch delivers chef-prepared, sustainably packaged food to city centre offices by cargo bike. The company now aims to scale up and is offering 11.32% equity in return for the £120,000 investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £940,000. The campaign has been extended for a further 14 days and so far 121 investors have pledged £85,110 with 19 days remaining. The company stated on Crowdcube: “We have extended our campaign by 14 days to close on 1 September. We’re currently in discussions with some investors who have expressed an interest in investing larger amounts and need to allow more time for those to conclude.” The pitch states: “In the first quarter of 2019 we’ve produced 10,530 meals, doubling the first quarter of 2018. Our vision is to scale the business to become the de-facto provider of nutritious, sustainable food for workplaces in every city we operate in.”