Dishoom begins reopening sites for delivery: Indian restaurant concept Dishoom has begun reopening sites for delivery. The company has reopened its Kensington, King’s Cross and Shoreditch outlets, which are offering the service via Deliveroo daily between 11.30am and 10.30pm. The menu includes its vada pau, keema pau, chicken ruby and house black daal alongside cocktails such as Pallonji’s Raspberry Soda. Everyone who orders will also get a recipe in their delivery on how to make the Dishoom masala chai at home. Dishoom closed all seven of its restaurants in March.
Billy Allingham realigning crazy golf venture to attract families, gets go-ahead for second site: Billy Allingham, managing director of Leicestershire-based Steamin’ Billy Brewing, has told Propel he is realigning his Caddyshackers crazy golf venue to accommodate and attract families post-lock-down – and has been given the go-ahead for a second site, in Nottingham. The existing venue in Leicester city centre was aimed at the 18 and over market, but Allingham is changing tact – at least temporarily – as he believes families will be “looking to get out and enjoy themselves in a safe and fun environment”. He added: “We are also creating a treasure hunt nature walk near to one of our pubs where families can claim a prize at the bar once the trail has been completed, transitioning to hopefully appeal to the new consumer before normality returns.” Meanwhile, Allingham has been granted permission by Nottingham City Council to convert the former Tales of Robin Hood building into a Caddyshackers. The 16,800 square foot unit, which was last used in 2009 and is owned by Tesco, will be transformed to house two indoor courses with different themes, using wall projections creating different zones; interactive darts; pool tables; air hockey and basketball machines; and a full cocktail and craft beer bar. Allingham said he would think “long and hard” about when to start the project, but hopes to begin work this year. Allingham launched the Caddyshackers venture along with bowling concept East Street Lanes at the end of 2018 with his children – Tabitha, Jessica and Kipp – to “capitalise on the rise of competitive socialising and experience-led drinking venues”.
Turtle Bay to reopen six further sites for delivery and collection: Turtle Bay, the Caribbean restaurant brand backed by Piper, has reopened six further sites for delivery and collection, Propel has learned. The 44-strong company reopened its outlets in Bristol’s Cheltenham Road, Crawley, Colchester and Nottingham last month. It has now added Southampton, Bristol Broad Quay, Cardiff, Ealing, Manchester Oxford Road, and Peterborough to that list for delivery, click-and-collect, and call-and-collect options. It shuttered all of its sites across the country in March.
Vianet already receiving orders and enquiries from pubs for Smart Zones system ahead of reopening, secures several key contract renewals: Vianet Group, the international provider of actionable data and business insight through devices connected to its Internet of Things platform, has reported it is already received orders and enquiries for its Smart Zones system as pubs look towards reopening. The company also said it has secured several key contract renewals, including Charles Wells, Greene King, Hawthorn, Hydes, JW Lees, and Punch. Vianet said despite continued pub disposals in the UK, its Smart Zones division saw adjusted operating profit increased to £4.57m for the year ending 31 March 2020, compared with £4.48m the year before, helped by its “technology refresh” programmes. Smart Zones recurring revenue per device increased 9.5% to £58.00, compared with £52.99 the previous year, reflecting the “higher quality recurring revenue streams that has resulted from customers’ disposal of relatively lower performing pubs during their estate rationalisation programmes”. Smart Zones average adjusted operating profit per device increased circa 7.5% to £19.39, compared with £18.03 the year before, reflecting “sustained profitability against a lower estate size”. Vianet made Smart Zones technology upgrades in 2,518 pubs, compared with 1,901 pubs the previous year, with a further 900 in the pipeline for the new financial year. The company saw revenue overall increase 3.8% to £16.3m, compared with £15.7m the previous year. Pre-tax profit was down 11% to £2.4m, compared with £2.7m the year before. The board decided to withdraw its recommendation to pay a final dividend due to coronavirus, which would amount to about £1.16m.
James Cochran launches virtual chicken brand: Great British Menu winner James Cochran has launched virtual chicken brand Around the Cluck, operating out of his Islington restaurant, 1251. Cochran said he had been using lock-down to develop his signature fried chicken, which has led to the launch of Around the Cluck, which is available daily via Deliveroo and UberEats within a 2.5-mile radius. The menu includes fried pieces and crispy wings paired with roast gravy mayonnaise as well as buttermilk fried pieces with blue cheese mousse. There are also seasonal salads and sides as well as a range of desserts. Cochran said: “Fried chicken is the ultimate accessible luxury; it brings that bite of comfort so many are after right now. Fried chicken has been a solid part of my culinary journey from winning me a Great British Menu dish to this exciting project we’re working on here.” Cochran launched 1251 in Islington in August 2018 after closing his two other restaurants nearby. He won the BBC’s Great British Menu in the same year.
Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant Lima to offer two delivery options: Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant Lima in London’s Fitzrovia is launching two delivery options. Lima at Home offers some of the restaurant’s signature dishes including sea bream, scallop ceviche, and slow-braised suckling pig with parsnip and sweet chilli sauce. In addition, there is a more casual version called Barranco by Lima, which is named after one of the districts of Lima in Peru. That menu features half or whole slow roast chicken with Peruvian sauces, and slow-braised pork brioche, reports Hot Dinners. Both options are available from Wednesday (3 June).
American Football club owner to open restaurant in Leicester: Guy Kersey, the owner of the Leicester Falcons American Football Club, is to open a restaurant in the former Queen Victoria Arts Club in the city. Orton’s Brasserie, named after famous city playwright Joe Orton, will open in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter when the government gives the go-ahead for restaurants to start trading. Until then, the new venue will focus on delivering a brunch-based menu from Saturday (6 June). Kersey told The Business Desk: “We are excited to be able to offer something a little different to the city’s food offering at this time. With many of our favourite eateries closed for business, and after lots of conversations with the people of Leicester, we discovered, of all the meals out that people were missing the most, brunch was by far the biggest.”
Thatchers reports turnover and profit boost following investments: Somerset-based cider-maker Thatchers has reported a boost in turnover and profit following a year when the family business made multimillion-pound investments. The company saw revenue increase 6% to £106.6m for the year ending 31 August 2019, compared with £100.7m the previous year. The rise was attributed to increased distribution and the popularity of its brands, including its Thatchers Gold, Thatchers Haze, Thatchers Katy and the introduction of Thatcher Rosé. Pre-tax profits rose to £11.8m, compared with £9.3m the previous year. During the year Thatchers invested £18m into its production and warehouse facilities, sustainability initiatives and marketing campaigns – up from £4m the previous year. Managing director Martin Thatcher said: “Investing in our brands is crucial for the continued success of the company. Our focus on keeping our cidermaking and packaging processes under one roof at Myrtle Farm means we are able to guarantee the quality of our cider. Furthermore, it puts us in a position to respond quickly and positively to outside influences, such as the 2018 carbon dioxide shortage, and increased demand from retailers this spring during the current coronavirus pandemic.”
Food bank launches in Covent Garden with Shaftesbury support: A new Covent Garden Community Centre (CGCC) food bank initiative has been launched, in collaboration with the Felix Project and Camden Council, to support vulnerable adults and families in the local area due to the effects of coronavirus. Shaftesbury has selected the Dragon Hall Trust and CGCC project as one of the many local charities and community groups in the West End it is supporting under a newly formed “Community Fund” initiative. The fund was established following the decision by its board to reduce their salaries and pension contributions by 20% for three months from 1 April. Shaftesbury’s non-executive directors have made a 20% reduction to their fees for the same period. The food bank is located within the Seven Dials Club in Earlham Street. The Dragon Hall Trust and CGCC joins other retailers from the Seven Dials community such as Tatty Devine, Deciem, Kiehl’s, and Neal’s Yard Remedies, which are supporting front line workers during this time by raising funds, offering significant discounts and providing personal protective equipment and products for NHS staff. Restaurant brands including 26 Grains, Homeslice and Shake Shack have been donating thousands of meals for local charities and front line workers.