Fireaway set for further rapid expansion by doubling estate in 2021, heading international: Fast pizza brand Fireaway is set for further rapid expansion, and is also heading abroad. The company, launched in London in 2016, now has 55 outlets across the UK and that number will double by the end of 2021. A total of 25 new branches are opening in the next 27 weeks while a further 20 franchise agreements have been signed and locations for them are being sought. In addition, master franchisees have come on board in Canada, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Founder and chief executive Mario Aleppo said eventually he would like to see several Fireaways in every city in the UK. He also believed global growth for the concept was “unlimited”. Aleppo opened the first branch in Mitcham, and the company’s initial expansion was largely coincidental. He said: “Our pizzas went down very well with our customers right from the start. Within a few weeks one of my regulars asked if he could become a franchisee and within six months he’d opened a branch in Streatham. It started with a new franchise opening every six months. A year later it was every three months, then one a month and now it’s roughly one a week. During the second half of last year, despite all the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, we opened 20 new branches in 20 weeks.” Aleppo said he originally thought of opening a Subway franchise but “changed my mind and decided to do my own thing”. He added: “However, I was impressed by Subway’s methods and incorporated some of them into Fireaway.” The brand offers four different bases, four types of cheese and four types of meat as well as 20 toppings for diners to customise their pizza with the price remaining the same regardless of the combination. The pizzas are cooked in 180 seconds.
Center Parcs set to reopen villages in April and operate restaurant delivery service: Center Parcs, which offers 4,300 units of accommodation across five sites in the UK, is set to reopen its holiday villages on 12 April – subject to the government moving to the next stage of its roadmap. The sites will operate a restaurant delivery service while the majority of outdoor activities will be available. A spokesman said: “In line with the guidance issued, guests will be able to visit with their own household in our fully self-contained lodges, but will not be able to book accommodation in either our hotel or apartments. We are currently reviewing the guidance to understand exactly what restrictions will be in the place and will provide an update on this as soon as possible. Guests with existing bookings who no longer wish to visit will be given the option to move their dates with no amendment fee or cancel their break and receive a full refund, in line with our ‘Book With Confidence’ guarantee. Any guests with breaks booked up to 11 April will be offered the same options.”
Yori to open in Ealing for fifth site: Korean barbecue brand Yori is to open its fifth site, in Ealing, west London. The company is opening the outlet in The Green next week in the premises previously occupied by Turkish restaurant Mythos. Due to the current coronavirus restrictions, the restaurant will only offer delivery and takeaway. Yori, which means “cooked food” in Korean, was founded in 2016 by Jong Soon Kim, who is also behind Japanese restaurant Nori and Korean dessert cafe Cake & Bingsoo, both in New Malden, Surrey; and Japanese dessert parlour Café Mori in Wimbledon. Yori opened its latest site last month in Lavender Hill, Battersea, joining its other sites in Covent Garden, Piccadilly and Wimbledon.
Gordon Ramsay reveals he’s lost £55m during covid crisis: Chef Gordon Ramsay has revealed he lost £55m during the coronavirus pandemic as his 35 restaurants nationwide leaked cash. Talking to The Sun, Ramsay said: “In December we had £10m worth of reservations wiped out overnight. As of 19 March to 3 February this year we’ve suffered £57.5m worth of turnover down. I’m in it.” Ramsay currently has 18 restaurants across London, with five more due to open once normality returns, as well as a further 17 worldwide. He said: “Lockdowns have caused utter devastation. When covid first hit, we all thought it would be over and done within a couple of weeks. But it’s been long-haul.” Ramsay said he was forced to take up the government’s furlough scheme in a bid to save hundreds of jobs nationwide. He said: “It’s been so hard to keep youngsters motivated, and I do feel under pressure to give my younger members of staff, especially, some hope, and the sense that we can get out of this. There have been so many tears, people at their wits’ end.” Despite using the furlough scheme, Ramsay said he had still taken a hit on his own bank balance after opening three new restaurants last year. He said: “Since 1998, when I started, I have always put my money back into the business. I’ve never been greedy, I’ve always been very, very generous. I get criticised for being wealthy, but the responsibility on my shoulders – the livelihoods at stake – is huge. I feel that pressure enormously, and the impact of all this has been devastating and incredibly costly.”
Glasgow-based seafood restaurant looks to double up: Glasgow-based seafood restaurant Crabshaak is looking to double up in the city. Owner John Macleod has lodged plans with the city council for a site in Vinicombe Street, in the former Botanics Garage premises. The proposals also include an outdoor seating area and an adjoining florists, reports Glasgow Live. A statement accompanying the application stated: “The proposed florist shop retail concession is seen as complementary to the prime restaurant use. It will add to visual interest and activity within the street during the daytime.” Crabshaak’s existing site is in Argyle Street.
Maguires Country Parks acquires eighth site, in North Yorkshire: North east-based holiday park operator Maguires Country Parks has acquired a site in North Yorkshire for its eighth venue. The company has bought a country park in the Vale of York previously known as Swaleside Holiday Park. It is located on the banks of the River Swale near the village of Topcliffe. Business owner Billy Maguire said: “The park has been carefully and beautifully developed over the years by a family who, like us, are committed to providing the highest possible standards for customers. The location is stunning, and a perfect retreat for those seeking tranquil surroundings for breaks and longer stays throughout the four seasons.” The Maguire family started out in business 40 years ago.
Dandi team secures £5.6m loan from OakNorth to convert former pub and hotel into apartments and cafe: The team behind property developer Dandi has secured a £5.6m loan from OakNorth Bank to convert a former pub and hotel into a mixed-use scheme with 60 Studip apartments and a ground-floor cafe. The Antigallican Hotel in Charlton, south London, closed in 2018 and has been vacant since December of that year. The two-storey site’s apartments will be managed by Home Studios 4U. The loan has been received by Gallican Investments, which is led by the management team of Dandi. Dandi chairman and founder Ali Reza Ravanshad said: “This project will bring dozens of new homes to an up-and-coming part of London, by breathing new life into a building that has been vacant for two years.” OakNorth Bank associate director of debt finance Max Saidman added: “Charlton is going through a huge regeneration phase and is becoming an attractive location for young professionals and families.”
Former JD Wetherspoon pub in Oldham earmarked for new restaurant with glass-covered rooftop terrace: A former JD Wetherspoon pub in Oldham could be transformed into a new restaurant with a glass-covered rooftop terrace. The application to convert the ex-Squire Knott premises in Yorkshire Street has been submitted to Oldham Council by Ibrahim Rasul, on behalf of Istanbull Restaurant. The proposal would see a covered rooftop restaurant built on the first floor, changes to the inside of the site, and a revamp of the front of the building that has been vacant for the past year, reports The Business Desk. A design and access statement said the covered rooftop terrace would complement the ground floor restaurant, which would create a “vibrant environment for people to enjoy”. Access to the restaurant would be via a York Street door on the ground floor leading to a stair leading on to the first floor. The restaurant would open between 11am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 9pm on Sundays and bank holidays. JD Wetherspoon sold the site for £435,000 in November 2017.
Domino’s appoints former William Grant & Sons chief executive Stella David to board: Domino’s Pizza UK has appointed Stella David as a non-executive director. David will be a member of the board’s remuneration and nomination committees. She is a non-executive director of home repairs business Homeserve and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. David was previously chief executive of William Grant & Sons and global chief marketing officer of Bacardi. She served for seven years as a non-executive director at Nationwide Building Society and, until recently, was chair of footwear manufacturer and retailer C&J Clark. Domino’s chairman Matt Shattock said: “Stella brings huge experience of value creation with high-profile consumer branded companies, coupled with a depth of experience from serving on the boards of other listed companies. Her appointment marks another step in our process of refreshing the board and increasing board diversity.”
Burleighs Gin secures £250,000 investment to launch two variants and expand global sales: Burleighs Gin will launch two products and expand its global sales after securing a £250,000 investment. The Leicestershire distillery has won the finance from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), which will help it take on five full-time sales and operations jobs. The financing will allow Burleighs to build export sales in Europe, the far east and the US. Burleighs Gin commercial director Sam Watson said: “We are aiming to expand the brand overseas and continue to grow in the UK. We are due to launch two new marketing campaigns to support the forthcoming product launches.” The MEIF package was provided by The FSE Group and backed by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Last year, a crowdfunding campaign brought in £130,000 from 260 investors, who gained a total 5.25% stake in Burleighs. The campaign valued the business at £2.3m. The MEIF project is supported by the European Union.
Lincolnshire Wolds holiday park Caistor Lakes sold for £1.9m: Lincolnshire Wolds holiday park Caistor Lakes has been bought by Sheffield-based investment company Evogo Group for £1.9m. The park, which has a £1m turnover, covers a seven-acre area on the outskirts of Grimsby and includes five holiday lodges, pitches for 28 caravans, a 110-cover restaurant and three fishing lakes, plus planning consent for the development of a further ten lodges. It is currently undergoing a third phase of development that will see six of the new luxury lakeside lodges completed by April. Led by Jeremy Levine and Lee Streets, Evogo Group is a £68m business that specialises in car hire and sales. Caistor Lakes holiday park was founded by owner Drew Thompson in 2013 and the site has been sold by commercial property estate agent Ernest Wilson.
Joël Robuchon International to launch online shop for Le Deli Robuchon this week: Joël Robuchon International is to launch an online shop for its Le Deli Robuchon restaurant on Friday (26 February). La Selection Robuchon will feature a handpicked collection of food and drink from across France, England, Spain and Italy, many of which Joël Robuchon chose and championed himself. The range, which will be available for nationwide delivery, will include fine wine, premium tea, freshly baked bread and pastries, artisan jam, pickle, olive oil, cheese and charcuterie.