Vapiano partners with HMSHost International to open restaurants at UK airports and train stations: Vapiano has partnered with HMSHost International to open restaurants at travel hubs in northern Europe. The brand format is being developed by the companies as a franchise model that will launch through subsidiary Vapiano Franchising International. Locations will include airports, railway stations and outlet centres in the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands. The restaurants will be specifically designed and engineered towards the needs and demands of travel locations, offering eat-in and takeaway options. Vapiano chief executive Jochen Halfmann said: “This collaboration will enable us to open more Vapianos in international locations and further increase our profile. After a successful test phase of our pilot, we will make a joint decision about further strategic expansion.” HMSHost International chief executive Walter Seib added: “We are proud to start this new partnership with Vapiano. The brand is an enrichment for our organisation and reflects the need of our guests. Vapiano is known for preparing its food ‘a la minute’ in front of guests. We believe passionately in the power of this brand at high-traffic locations and look forward to building our partnership.” Vapiano has developed a portfolio of more than 200 restaurants in 35 countries across five continents. In February, the company launched a Glasgow venue for its fifth site in the UK. HMSHost International, part of the Autogrill group, operates food and beverage outlets at 42 airports and 21 railway stations worldwide.
Hospitality chat app Yapster puts crowdfunding campaign on hold to ‘explore alternative opportunities’: Yapster, the chat app for hospitality and retail teams, has put its £650,000 crowdfunding campaign on hold to look at “alternative opportunities”. Co-founder Robert Liddiard said the company was exploring an option to access the government’s Open Innovation grant, while it had decided to put its Crowdcube fund-raise on hold in favour of a “smaller, private, bridge financing round from known investors who had already expressed interest”. The company, which includes Caffe Nero among its customers, was offering a 6.5% equity stake in return for investment to fuel growth. At the time of the announcement, the campaign had reached 24% of its target with six days remaining. Liddiard stated on Crowdcube: “The interest we’re currently getting is further validation of our growth potential and the need to raise additional capital to fund this. However, some recent positive developments mean we are changing the way our raise is structured. As a result of the interest we have generated through the Crowdcube platform, we have been approached by a number of potential institutional investors who are able to deploy larger amounts of capital (including future follow-on capital if needed). We have been advised of an opportunity to access the government’s Open Innovation grant, potentially worth up to 70% of a £1m investment. To give us sufficient time to explore these opportunities while ensuring we do not lose our current momentum, we have decided to put our public raise on hold in favour of a smaller, private, bridge financing round from known investors who have already expressed interest.” Yapster was founded by Liddiard and Craig McMillan. The app enables “more effective and efficient communication” for companies with mobile workforces. Staff can send one-to-one and group messages, initiate flash polls and post to the company newsfeed.
More than 12,000 people join campaign to save The Roadhouse: More than 12,000 people have joined a campaign to save The Roadhouse, which is operated by Maxwell’s Restaurants Group and one of Covent Garden’s oldest live music venues. The Roadhouse is “facing eviction” if landlord Capital & Counties (Capco) is given planning permission by Westminster Council next week to develop part of the building. In addition to the campaign, which has been backed by MPs and musicians that include Bill Wyman, 300 Jubilee Hall market traders and a number of local community organisations have signed a further petition and registered their objections against Capco’s plans. Objections received by the council primarily relate to the listed building and its archaeological heritage as well as to the noise, disturbance, vibration, traffic and pollution that would arise from building works. Objections have also been raised on grounds the proposals are “unnecessary” and “an attempt to remove The Roadhouse”. Brian Stein, founder and owner of The Roadhouse, said: “We are looking to Westminster Council to do the right thing and tell Capco it cannot abuse the planning system to close The Roadhouse. It will be a tragedy if we are forced out by a huge property development company, which wants to turn our premises into yet another upmarket restaurant. We want Westminster Council to stand up to the property developers and support the people who live, work and socialise in central London.” A Capco spokeswoman told Propel: “The lease relating to The Roadhouse has expired and we plan to redevelop the unit, significantly improving the space, including providing disabled access, and bringing the unit up to modern-day standards. We have been, and remain, in regular dialogue with The Roadhouse. We are currently going through the appropriate processes necessary to undertake redevelopment works. Capco Covent Garden is a responsible landlord and long-term investor in the area. We are proud of our track record of stewardship of the neighbourhood, improving the experience for visitors, occupiers and residents. More than 100 new brands have been introduced and significant investment continues to be made.”
Kitty Fisher’s team to open second restaurant: The team behind Kitty Fisher’s in Mayfair is to launch its second restaurant, Cora Pearl, in Covent Garden. Owners Tom Mullion, Oliver Milburn and Tim Steel will launch the venue on Monday, 18 June in Henrietta Street. Following the narrative of its sister restaurant, Cora Pearl is named after a celebrated British-born courtesan. Originally from Covent Garden, Pearl became the party queen of Paris. The the trio said the restaurant would “reflect the drama and excitement of her glamorous demi-monde life”. The restaurant will seat 60 covers over two floors of a historic townhouse. The interiors will be influenced by Pearl’s era, with parquet flooring, dark textiles, ferns, upholstered wall-panels, tarnished mirrors and vintage lights. The ground floor will house the main dining room, while the lower ground floor will feature an open kitchen and cocktail bar. The kitchen will be led by George Barson, head chef at Kitty Fisher’s for the past 15 months, who will continue to head up both sites as executive chef. The menu will draw inspiration from the British and French influences of Pearl’s life, with dishes such as fish stew, confit pork belly with smoked quince, and brill and devilled crab alongside daily specials. The drinks list will feature cocktails, Martini and an old world wine list. Mullion said: “It’s been a long time coming but we knew the building and the area had to be absolutely right for what we do, and we finally found that alchemy in Henrietta Street. We can’t wait to open the doors and let Cora Pearl work her magic.”
Merlin Entertainments completes bank refinancing: Merlin Entertainments has completed refinancing of its banking facilities. The company stated: “Specifically the revolving multi-currency credit facility has been increased from £300m to £600m with the repayment date extended to April 2023. A total of £294m equivalent has been drawn down from this facility and, along with cash on the balance sheet, used to repay £377m equivalent of sterling and US dollar-denominated term loans. Following this transaction, therefore, Merlin’s facilities are $311m term loan maturing in March 2020 (previously $540m), £43m term loan maturing in March 2020 (previously £250m), £600m multi-currency revolving credit facility maturing in April 2023, of which £294m is drawn (previously £300m facility maturing in March 2020 with £0 drawn), and €700m of notes maturing in March 2022 (unchanged). Merlin continues to expect a financing charge of approximately £50m in 2018.”
Freehold of Harrogate building let to Wagamama goes on market for more than £1.9m: The freehold of a building in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, let to Wagamama has gone on the market for offers in excess of £1,973,000. The property in Parliament Street, which is being marketed through agents Allsop, comprises a double-fronted unit arranged over ground and basement floors totalling 3,661 square feet. The unit is let to Wagamama for a term of almost another 15 years at a passing rent of £97,500 per annum. Residential accommodation on the upper floors produces an additional £2,000 per annum of ground rent income, subject to Retail Price Index uplifts. The price reflects a net initial yield of 4.75% after purchaser’s costs of 6.27%.
San Carlo group to continue Selfridges partnership with Oxford Street rooftop restaurant: Italian restaurant group San Carlo is to continue its partnership with Selfridges by opening a rooftop restaurant next week at its flagship store in London’s Oxford Street. Alto will take over Selfridges’ fifth-floor space on Thursday, 26 April. On stepping from the lift, customers will wander through a corridor lined with greenery and chinotto fruit. On the terrace itself there will be a bar offering cocktails, wine, champagne, beer and soft drinks. The all-Italian menu will include fillet of sea bass cooked in black volcanic salt from Mount Etna, Sicily-roasted shellfish sharer for two, and spaghetti lobster. San Carlo Group managing director Marcello Distefano told Hot Dinners: “Whether heading to the bar on the terrace or dining in the restaurant, we want people to feel they’ve escaped the city to discover a real celebration of the best in Italian food, service and style.” San Carlo Group currently operates about 20 restaurants in the UK, including a couple of restaurants in each of the Selfridges stores in Manchester and Birmingham, as well as international sites in Qatar, Bahrain and Bangkok.
Northampton-based operator acquires Brighton pub The Greys from Ei Group: Northampton-based operator Paul Hanna has acquired The Greys in Brighton from Ei Group. Hanna, who operates the Lamplighter in Northampton, will reopen The Greys in Southover Street on Friday, 27 April. The Greys, which is a well-known music venue in the city, was put on the market by Ei Group after the company failed to find a permanent tenant. Brighton and Hove City Council declared the pub an Asset of Community Value and residents in the Hanover area of the city banded together as Friends Of The Greys in a bid to save the pub. Hanna has said he wants to work with Friends Of The Greys to achieve a “sustainable vibrant pub that will be there for many years to come”, reports the BJournal. Performers at the pub during the past 30 years have included Georgie Fame, John Otway, John Cooper-Clarke, Kiki Dee, and The Fish Brothers. Hanna bought the Lamplighter, which was also owned at the time by Ei Group, in 2009.
Kingsland Drinks reports Ebitda boost as turnover soars to £263m: Greater Manchester-based wine and spirits supplier Kingsland Drinks has reported sales have soared past the £250m mark despite “aggressive competitive trading pressures and a flattening of customer demand”. Turnover increased to £262,976,000 for the year ending 30 June 2017, compared with £197,761,000 the previous year. Revenue in the UK rose to £255,970,000 compared with £192,460,000 the year before, while overseas sales were up to £7,006,000 compared with £5,301,000 the previous year. The company said wine volume sales increased by 19.3%. Ebitda was up to £5.7m compared with £5.1m the year before. Pre-tax profit fell to £3,247,000 compared with £4,594,000 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The company has continued building and developing for growth. There has been further investment in the company’s capabilities – both in terms of capital investment and people development. There is aggressive competitive trading pressure and a flattening of customer demand. The decision of the UK to leave the EU continues to generate uncertainty that is likely to impact the business for the foreseeable future. The consequential devaluation of sterling will have a negative impact on our business as the company has to achieve price increases to protect margins. However, sterling’s relative weaker position compared with other currencies will ensure the many advantages of packing wine in the UK will continue and be enhanced.” The company, which can trace its roots back to 1895, sells brands including Famile Quiot, Marisco, Sensi and Vespucci.
Daisy Green Collection reveals more details of Scarlett Green site in Soho: Australia-inspired restaurant group Daisy Green Collection has revealed further details of its largest site so far, which is set to open in Soho next month. Scarlett Green will launch at the former Timberyard site in Noel Street. Measuring 4,000 square feet across two floors, the restaurant and bar will offer daily bottomless brunch and the largest Australian wine list in London, with 24 available by the glass. The drinks list will also feature London craft beer, including the brand’s bespoke Freeman Frothie, which is brewed in partnership with Bermondsey-based Fourpure. Additions to the Soho menu will include Vegemite, truffle and cheese doughnuts, and Bondi hot prawns. There will also be ceviche and sashimi dishes using seafood delivered by Cornish day boats. There will be live acoustic music upstairs from 4pm daily and late-night DJ sets. Co-founder Prue Freeman said: “Daisy Green is focused on creating exciting, one-off local destinations that bring together laid-back Australian food, culture, art and design. Soho is incredibly exciting for us. It’s a beautiful space in one of the most buzzing and historic parts of London. We are looking forward to showcasing our authentic modern Australian cuisine with some childhood favourites and Aussie classics.” Last week, Daisy Green said it was targeting more sites in the City as it looked to have 14 venues in London by 2020. The Daisy Green Collection secured a new debt finance deal worth £3.4m at the end of 2017 from challenger bank OakNorth.
Stonegate to open 25th Popworld, in Milton Keynes next week: Stonegate Pub Company is to open a 25th site for its Popworld brand, in Milton Keynes next week. The company will launch the venue on Friday, 27 April following the £500,000 refurbishment of a site in Lower Twelfth Street formerly occupied by MK Social nightclub. Popworld features a soundtrack from the nineties and noughties alongside cocktails, bookable booths and cocktail masterclasses. Jamie Hogwood, general manager of Popworld Milton Keynes, said: “We’re delighted to bring our renowned style of retro pop action to Milton Keynes with the landmark 25th site! Popworld is loved all over the UK and with drinks deals and a jam-packed schedule of events, we’re the place to be for the town’s party people.” Stonegate operates more than 690 pubs split into two divisions – Branded (Slug and Lettuce, Yates’s, Walkabout, Common Room, and Venues, which includes Popworld) and Traditional (Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, and Classic Inns).
JD Wetherspoon reapplies to build pub in Felixstowe: JD Wetherspoon has reapplied to build a pub on the site of a former doctor’s surgery in the Suffolk town of Felixstowe (population 32,600). The company proposes to build the pub on the site of a former pharmacy at Central Surgery in Hamilton Road, creating 50 jobs. As well as the pub, the new plans include 24 apartments on top of the development. An application to demolish the former surgery was approved in August 2014, with permission granted for a two-storey pub. However, permission has lapsed and Wetherpoon has now lodged revised plans with Suffolk Coastal District Council, reports the Ipswich Star. In its application, Wetherspoon said the new building would be similar in size to the Orwell Hotel, which sits opposite the site. Wetherspoon doesn’t currently operate a pub in Felixstowe, with the nearest locations in Ipswich and Harwich.
SA Brain opens second Coffee#1 site in Evesham: Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain has opened its second Coffee#1 site in Evesham, Worcestershire. The company has added to its presence in the town with the new outlet in Market Place. The venue offers pastries, cakes, salad and soup and sells its own brands of single-origin coffee from Brazil, Guatemala and Costa Rica. Coffee#1 opened its first store in Cardiff in 2001, with SA Brain acquiring the business in 2011. It currently has 85 sites, including its other Evesham venue at The Valley.
Chick ‘n’ Sours to refurbish Haggerston site to include late-night bar: London-based fried chicken restaurant concept Chick ‘n’ Sours will close its debut site in Haggerston, east London, for a full refurbishment and reopen it to feature a late-night bar. The Kingsland Road venue will close on Sunday (22 April) for about six weeks as the downstairs space is transformed into a bar called Sub Culture. Chick ‘n’ Sours co-founder Carl Clarke said he wanted to create a “cool space for people to enjoy next-level cocktails and beer with their fried chicken, alongside wicked tunes”. He said with the “restaurant packed every night”, he felt “ready to dial up the activity”. The restaurant will reopen in June with a new menu. Additions will include kimchi pancakes with fried chicken and Chengdu buffalo sauce, Chongqing crispy rice sticks, and Viet Cajun fried chicken. The new space will allow covers to rise from 35 to 65, while there will also be cocktails and beer including an artwork collaboration with The Specials bassist Horace Panter. This week, Clarke and co-founder David Wolanski announced they would remodel CHICK’N in Baker Street to bring their single-site concept closer in style to the Chick ‘n’ Sours brand. Chick ‘n’ Sours launched in 2015, with a sister site opening in Seven Dials the following year.
North Wales-based hotel operator completes disposal of portfolio with sale of Mold site off asking price of £3.5m: North Wales-based hotel operator David Byers has completed the disposal of his portfolio after selling the Beaufort Park Hotel in the village of Mold off an asking price of £3.5m. The three-star hotel has been acquired by Sutton Coldfield-based JDP Hotels in an off-market deal through agents Christie & Co. Set in 3.7 acres of grounds, the hotel offers 106 en-suite rooms, a bar and restaurant, several conference facilities, and a two-bedroom owner’s apartment with lounge, kitchen and bathroom. Ryan Lynn, director at Christie & Co’s Manchester office, said: “We congratulate Mr Byers on his retirement and we are pleased to have assisted in the disposal of his hotel group, which included the Beaufort Park and Crown Hotel in Cumbria, which we sold in December last year. We look forward to seeing how JDP Hotels takes the business forward.” Burnetts Solicitors advised Beaufort Park Hotel on the sale, while SAS Daniels acted on behalf of the buyer.
Majorca nightclub operator to open site in Scottish home town: Majorca nightclub operator David Carroll is to open a site in his home town of Greenock in Scotland. Carroll will launch Rehab in Dalrymple Street in the former Cafe Roslin premises, creating about 30 jobs. The venue, which has also been known as Viva, Velvet, 204 and latterly Hangar 13 until it closed in March 2014, is expected to open in time for Halloween weekend. Carroll said he had lined up big-name acts to perform at the new venue via his extensive contacts from Majorca, where he has run Bananas and Carwash nightclubs in party resort Magaluf for the past 14 years. Carroll, who also runs Carrolls Furniture locally, told the Greenock Telegraph: “I want to use the contacts I’ve built in Majorca over the years and bring good acts and that holiday experience here every Saturday night. I could easily set up somewhere in Spain but I want to do something here because this is where I grew up and where I live.”
Manchester-based micro-brewery reports record year of production: Manchester-based micro-brewery Marble Beers has reported a record year of production. The company, which specialises in experimental ale, lager and beer, produced 4,140 hectolitres in 2017 – equivalent to about 730,000 pints. While planning to stay under The Small Brewers Relief threshold, the firm said production would rise by 500 hectolitres this year. Marble Beers attributed the growth to its collaboration projects and limited-edition releases for a “growing fan base in the UK, Europe and further afield”. Director Jan Rogers told BDaily: “This year is shaping up to be really exciting for us. Demand from foreign markets is seeing excellent growth, while our UK customer base continues to expand. We are always keen to experiment and this year have plans for three new ranges. We are planning a sour programme, a hoppy range and some big adjunct stouts.” The brewery, founded in 1997, is based in two railway arches in Williamson Street and employs 48 people. It also runs three beer-focused venues in Manchester – The Marble Arch Inn, Marble Beerhouse and 57 Thomas Street.
Tom Kitchin to launch seafood cookbook inspired by Scottish summer holidays: Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin will publish his latest book, Fish & Shellfish, this summer. The book has been inspired by the chef’s family holidays on the Scottish coast as well as the seafood he cooks at his Edinburgh restaurants The Kitchin and The Scran & Scallie. The book will feature more than 100 recipes. Kitchin said: “I have fond memories of going mackerel fishing with my family when I was younger and we continued the tradition with my own children. I wanted these recipes to celebrate the incredible seafood we have in this country and encourage readers to try new ways of preparing and cooking fish and shellfish.”
Gravetye Manor in West Sussex wins hotel of the year award: Gravetye Manor, near West Hoathly in West Sussex, has been named hotel of the year by Pride of Britain Hotels. The venue was honoured for delivering “outstanding hospitality in all areas including service, accommodation, housekeeping, food and overall luxury”. The 17-bedroom, grade I-listed Elizabethan mansion is set in 1,000 acres of parkland. Gravetye Manor managing director Andrew Thomason said: “We are thrilled to receive this prestigious award in the year we are celebrating the hotel’s 60th anniversary. It is a wonderful accolade for the team, which works so hard to make each guest’s experience unique and memorable.” Pride of Britain Hotels chief executive Peter Hancock added: “Each year our member hotels are visited by mystery guests. Gravetye Manor and its dedicated team was found to exceed expectations in every category.” Pride of Britain Hotels includes up to 50 members. Admission is subject to each hotel passing an anonymous overnight inspection and a ballot of membership.