TV chef Stacie Stewart launches restaurant that allows diners to ‘pay’ for their meals by tweeting: TV chef Stacie Stewart has partnered with kitchen appliance brand NEFF to launch the “world’s first” restaurant where diners can “pay” for their food in exchange for a tweet. To pay at Cookaholics Kitchen, diners upload their own personal take on a traditional recipe to Twitter or Instagram, accompanied by the hashtag #CookaholicsKitchen. If the recipe is chosen by Stewart and NEFF to be used at the venue, diners receive a five-course meal for two. Stewart has already created a range of dishes with unusual combinations for Cookaholics Kitchen, which is based at the Waitrose Cookery School at Granary Square, King’s Cross, including fish pie with black pudding crumble, and quinoa salad with sumac and gluten-free sweetcorn fritters. Stewart told the Mirror: “Cookaholics Kitchen is about celebrating the inventive and distinctive ingredients we add to our home cooking to make dishes our own. I love to try out new things and bring my own flair to classic combinations and hearty home-cooked meals, which I know will make them taste amazing and I can’t wait to see what other ingredients and tricks the UK’s ‘cookaholics’ suggest.”
First crowdfunded nightclub Alter Ibiza hits target: Alter Ibiza, the first nightclub to launch a crowdfunding campaign, has passed its £45,000 target on the Seedrs platform. The team behind the project, which hopes to open the club on the Balearic island next month, is offering a 14.75% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 58 investors have pledged £79,820 and it is now “overfunding”. Alter Ibiza would be the only nightclub at the San Josep resort and operate an over-25s policy tailored towards the “original one-nighter generation”. The pitch stated: “(We will be) drawing on our local knowledge, experience, professional strengths, skillsets, extensive international music industry contacts and connections within the entertainment, tourism, hospitality and press sectors. Designed by Lluis Güell – the mastermind behind the Café del Mar and Es Paradís – the venue is the transformation of a basement into a spectacular space filled with split columns and marble staircases with angels and sculptures adorning the walls and ceilings. Alter Ibiza intends to serve up quality entertainment and beverages for the more mature, affluent clubber (25-plus) now representing the majority of Ibiza’s fast-moving tourism sector. (A place) where music-lovers can enjoy a relaxed, stylish, intimate setting with a soundtrack from teams of proven promoters and artists with huge, loyal followings and simply spectacular brand experience and histories.”
City Fund Pub Company to launch Button Factory in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter: City Fund Pub Company is to launch The Button Factory in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter following a multimillion-pound revamp of its Vertu Bar on the corner of Frederick Street and Regents Street. The Victorian building was one of Birmingham’s first button factories and dates to 1824. It will be the sixth site for operator City Fund Pub Company, which started trading in June 2015. It also has venues in London and Cheltenham. Peter McDonald, chief operating officer of the City Fund Pub Company, said: “Our aim is to bring together the very best of what we all love about our favourite restaurants, coffee shops and bars. We hope The Button Factory will fast become a much-loved foodie destination in this vibrant and exciting quarter of Birmingham. We cannot wait to throw open our doors this June and share what we’ve been up to with our guests.” Stephen Gadd, executive chef of The Button Factory, added: “Our menu focuses on seasonal ingredients cooked over the open flame, taking influences from Argentina to the Middle East with a view to introducing a unique dining offering in Birmingham.” The City Pub EIS Fund is an investment vehicle launched by pub entrepreneurs Clive Watson, John Roberts and David Bruce. The fund launched a £15m second round of fund-raising in March. Its prospectus stated: “First, the freehold of The Garrison in Bermondsey was purchased in June 2015 and has traded at a high level averaging over £40,000 gross sales per week. Other sites trading comprise Vertu in Birmingham; The Aleksander, near Richmond; The Case is Altered, near Pinner, Middlesex; and Walker’s of Whitehall in Westminster, which have all had encouraging starts. The sixth site, The Lord Cardigan in Bow, is currently, and the seventh site, The Fire Station in Cheltenham, will shortly be, undergoing refurbishment. It is also anticipated that an eighth site will be exchanged in Warwick in the near future.” The prospectus added: “Clive Watson believes there is still an astonishing lack of variety in most town and country pubs, where drinkers and diners do not get a distinctive enough choice, and that the same is true for coffee drinkers and teetotallers. Sites are, therefore, expected to offer a varied selection of home-made cordials and soft drinks, complemented by both premium and eclectic coffee and hot beverage choices.”
Meatcure reveals more than 90% of £350,000 crowdfunding target already pledged ahead of campaign launch: Gourmet burger restaurant company Meatcure has revealed it has more than 90% of its £350,000 crowdfunding target already pledged ahead of the campaign launch on Monday (13 June). The company is offering an 8.56% equity stake in return for the investment on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to fund five new venues over the next two years. Director Rob Martyniak, who runs the company with Sam Rooker-Roberts and Paul Rigby, told potential investors: “At present we have 92% of our target total pledged to a total of £315,000. We are set to launch on Monday, 13 June. We’re confident we will hit our target, even more so after featuring on the top line of Seedrs’ weekly round-up this week. Overall, the support has been overwhelming, for which we are grateful. By investing in our great business you have the opportunity to win two flights to New York City along with instant discounts within our restaurants. I really hope you decide to invest, enjoy our restaurants and become part of our family.” Meatcure opened its first site in Market Harborough in 2014 and has restaurants in Leicester and Leamington, with its fourth outlet in Bedford due to open this month.
Chiquito to trial delivery service in partnership with Deliveroo: Chiquito, the Tex-Mex brand owned by The Restaurant Group, is to trial a delivery service in partnership with Deliveroo. The brand said it would offer the service at 11 of its venues. It stated: “Chiquito is officially joining up with Deliveroo takeaway across 11 of our restaurants to deliver our best-loved Tex-Mex dishes right to your door. Nights in have never looked so mexy! We’re all over a full-on, home-style fiesta – fajitas, nachos, burgers, southern-fried chicken, Mexican garlic bread.” Chiquito has also launched its first app, which features menus, a table booking service, games and rewards, with users given £10 off their food bill when they sign up. There is also a “cocktail maker” for budding bartenders to test out their skills, while there is also a photo booth section. Chiquito’s parent company The Restaurant Group issued another profit warning at the end of April when chief executive Danny Breithaupt announced a strategic review, the results of which will be announced in August. He said at the time: “We are focused in the short term on the operational levers that will improve our trading performance. In the medium term, we are reviewing the core strategic assumptions that differentiate our operating model to ensure we optimise returns for shareholders.”
Camerons lines up tenth Head of Steam venue: Brewer and retailer Camerons has secured its tenth Head of Steam venue, which will open on Newcastle Quayside later this summer. The venue will be located in one of the brewery’s current outlets, the Eye on the Tyne, which Camerons took over from Greene King in November 2015. Work will begin at the venue on Monday, 13 June, with the new venue due to open in early August. There will be more than 20 full-time jobs at the site. The Head of Steam, which is renowned for its array of great beers, will have 16 keg lines with a selection of rotating craft beers from UK and world brewers, eight cask ale lines, including beers and real cider from around the region and beyond, plus a selection of premium cocktails, spirits and soft drinks. Camerons food development chef Kieran Burke is currently finalising the food menu, which will include a brunch menu as well as a range of British pub classics with a “twist”. Chris Soley, chief executive of Camerons Brewery, said: “When we took over the Eye on the Tyne it was always our intention to turn this into a Head of Steam pub. The location is perfect and we are really excited to have a venue in an area that is now associated with craft and cask beers. We are delighted to be opening a new Head of Steam back in the city where Tony Brookes first started the group. The design and style of the venue will be in line with our recently opened Head of Steam pub in Sheffield, which opened in April and has been a huge success.” News of the Newcastle development follows Camerons’ recent announcement it would open a Head of Steam venue in Hull in July. The brewer continues to look for other potential venues in cities and major towns in the north of England to grow its retail pub estate.
New plant-based restaurant concept Rawligion launches in central London: A new plant-based restaurant concept has launched in central London after former professional poker player John Tabatabai opened Rawligion in Tottenham Street. It aims to “revolutionise the way Londoners perceive plant-based food by going back to basics and providing delicious nourishment in its rawest possible form”. Under consultant chef Kate Magic, the menu is inspired by the raw food trends of America’s East Coast, using local, seasonal and organically grown vegetables, fruit, herbs, spices, sprouts, seeds, sea vegetables and cold-pressed oils. There are no grains, dairy or animal products on the menu – with the exception of honey in small amounts. Dishes include massaged kale with activated sunflower seeds and maitake mushrooms; raw cauliflower sushi with seaweed caviar; pizzas with crusts made from a combination of dehydrated grated courgette and seeds; and breakfast coconut, banana and almond butter wrap, with the wrap made purely from coconut meat, Hot Dinners reports. Desserts feature a range of raw chocolate. Drinks include London’s first Oji Cold Drip Coffee Tower – an artisan coffee served hot or cold – in addition to a range of smoothies, freshly pressed juices and special milks.
C&C Group executive directors to receive first salary increase in seven years: C&C Group, the branded cider, beer, wine and soft drinks producer, is to give its executive directors their first pay rise in seven years with a 1% increase, the company’s 2016 annual report has revealed. Chief executive Stephen Glancey will see his salary increased from £585,000 to £590,850 while chief financial officer Kenny Neison’s will rise from £420,000 to £424,200. The company said the increase “reflected the average increase above the wider workforce”. There will be no changes to either the benefits or pension received by Glancey or Neison. The maximum bonus opportunity will be 80% of salary, compared with a policy maximum of 100%. The company said this would be based on “stretching performance conditions” based on adjusted operating profit (75%) and cash conversion (25%). Remuneration committee chairman Breege O’Donoghue said: “We proposed new long-term incentive plans and a new directors’ remuneration policy to shareholders at the 2016 AGM, and were delighted with the strong support from shareholders. Going forward, we will operate that policy and those plans (as we have the previous policy and plans) in a responsible way, ensuring executive directors are appropriately rewarded for the delivery of value to shareholders without encouraging inappropriate behaviours. The new plans will be operated for the first time in FY2017. Salaries for the executive directors were not increased for FY2016, extending to seven years the period in which the group chief executive officer and group chief financial officer did not receive a salary increase.” The company’s AGM will take place on Thursday, 7 July.
Jason Atherton inks deal with Heathrow to offer exclusive menu for airport’s VIP service: Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton has signed an exclusive deal with London Heathrow to bring his award-winning dishes to passengers using the airport’s VIP service. Heathrow VIP can only be booked by business and first-class passengers. The service includes a private lounge where passengers can enjoy a meal from Atherton’s new menu, which focuses on the best in British cuisine. The menu will be updated monthly, with those using the VIP service in June enjoying a selection of canapés, followed by a Berners Tavern summer salad starter and a roasted stone bass, caramelised cauliflower, fennel and cockle velouté main course. For dessert, passengers can tuck into a French meringue, fresh berry compote and strawberry sorbet. Atherton told Travel Daily: “Having experienced the Heathrow VIP offering first hand, I’ve always been impressed with how the service transforms the way you travel and so I was delighted to help make the dining experience a true occasion for passengers. With the help of my team and the Heathrow VIP chefs, we’ve created a range of exciting dishes to suit even the most experienced palate. We hope this will enhance the premium experience when travelling through the VIP suite at Heathrow.”
Giggling Squid hires Faith Locker-Marsh as head of people: Thai restaurant brand Giggling Squid has hired Faith Locker-Marsh as its new head of people. Having previously worked at The Big Easy as people and talent manager, and AMT Coffee as recruitment manager, Locker-Marsh will now lead recruitment and training programmes at all 15 Giggling Squid sites, including the most recent opening in Bury St Edmunds and the soon-to-launch Berkhamsted restaurant. Since the opening of the first site in Hove 2009, Giggling Squid is on course to hit its target of 50 UK restaurants within four years. Pranee Laurillard, co-owner of Giggling Squid, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have Faith on board and very excited to work with her on our bespoke recruitment strategy and training programmes. Faith’s experience speaks volumes and we look forward to benefiting from her knowledge. We are confident that Faith will help us elevate Giggling Squid’s profile further, so we can continue to recruit an exceptional and aspirational giggling team.”
Devon-based multi-siter acquires former Lifestyle Hospitality Group-owned nightclub in Exmouth: Devon-based multi-site operator Sean Kelly has acquired his third site – the Q Club in Exmouth – which closed earlier this year after former owner Lifestyle Hospitality Group went into liquidation. Kelly has reopened the Manchester Street nightclub having acquired the lease in a deal brokered by agent Christie & Co. Kelly, who also runs The Queens Head in Exmouth and The General Buller in Exeter, told Insider Media: “It’s great to be back in the nightclub trade and in the town in which I first started my career as a DJ at The Smugglers Bar Disco, Sandy Bay, way back in the 1980s. I am passionate about bringing a safe and great atmosphere to the Q Club and look forward to greeting my customers on Friday and Saturday nights.” Stephen Champion, business agent at Christie & Co, added: “We were approached by Mr Kelly who was interested in acquiring the lease of Q Club when the news broke of its closure. After a meeting with the freeholder, a deal was brokered to set up a new lease for the ingoing tenant. We are delighted to see the club open again and in the hands of such an enthusiastic operator.” Lifestyle Hospitality Group was placed into liquidation earlier this year. It went into administration in January about eight weeks after aborting a £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand its Burgerfest brand.
Be At One to open 33rd site, in Nottingham: Cocktail bar brand Be At One is set to open a venue in Nottingham. The company has secured a site in Victoria Street in the Hockley area of the city – its 33rd in total. It stated on its website: “A cocktail institution – you can expect great service, an unbeatable party atmosphere and a pretension-free attitude! Our Nottingham bar will have a late licence so we will be able to keep partying with you well into the night.” Be At One, which was founded by Steve Locke, Leigh Miller and Rhys Oldfield in 1998, offers a range of more than 150 cocktails. The company opened a bar in Birmingham last month and is set for further expansion with a site in Seel Street, Liverpool.
Caprice Holdings to transform J Sheekey Oyster Bar into new concept with summer terrace: Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings is transforming its J Sheekey Oyster Bar venue in Covent Garden into new concept J Sheekey Atlantic Bar, with a new menu and summer terrace. The venue will reopen under its new name on Wednesday, 22 June, with the menu featuring a new lobster section, which will run until Saturday, 10 September, when the native oyster menu kicks in. Lobster dishes will include chilled golden tomato soup with lobster, avocado and chilli oil; lobster and shrimp burger with tomato and horseradish sauce; and sautéed cod cheeks with lobster gyoza and dashi broth. Old menu favourites such as whole Devon cock crab, Isle of Mull scallops, and Sheekey’s fish pie will remain. The new terrace will seat 50 and open from midday until late. The bar side of the terrace will feature deep green chairs and copper and zinc tables, while the restaurant side will be more formal, Hot Dinners reports. The launch menus will feature specially commissioned “Life Under the Atlantic” artwork by Quentin Blake. J Sheekey Oyster Bar opened in 2008 and was extended to feature an open kitchen in 2012.
London-based Angel Comedy Club reveals further funding goals after hitting £20,000 crowdfunding target: London-based Angel Comedy Club, which has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund a permanent home, has revealed further plans after hitting its initial £20,000 target. The club, which has been operating in a small room above the Camden Head in Islington for the past six years, has secured the lease on a nearby Victorian pub formerly known as The Mucky Pup. It launched the £20,000 fund-raise on Kickstarter to fit out the site and so far 566 investors have pledged £23,139 with 42 days remaining. Now, having exceeded its target, it has revealed a further set of goals. If the club manages to raise £28,000, it plans to convert the upstairs of its new home into a teaching and rehearsal space. If it hits £34,000, it will transform a subterranean room into a recording and editing suite. Hitting its next three targets of £39,000, £44,000 and £49,000 will result in the development of projects for youngsters, adults and the over-65s respectively. If it raises £52,000 it plans to offer a residency to an artist to create and curate art for the venue and £60,000 will allow the club to produce a comedy web series. If it manages to raise more than £60,000, the club will “reveal more details” about proposed projects. The club hopes to open its new site in September.
New Pacific/Antipodean-inspired restaurant concept Bronte to open in The Strand next month: A new Pacific/Antipodean-inspired restaurant concept is set to open in The Strand, central London, next month. Bronte, which is a nod to the nearby Lord Nelson, the first Duke Of Bronte, is taking over the space once held by The Strand Dining Rooms at Grand Buildings, reports Hot Dinners. The restaurant will feature “collector’s items” that hint at the inspiration behind the name. Private diners can have the mezzanine to themselves, while there will also be some outside seating. The Pacific/Antipodean-style menu has been created by Andrew Lassetter, former head chef with Joseph Ettedgui in Il Vaporetto. The menu will include rare-breed beefburger with chilli miso, quinoa onion rings and baby gem in a brioche bun; grilled sea bass with watermelon, wild garlic, samphire salad and rhubarb ketchup; and rare roast rare beef with paw-paw, cucumber, mint, coriander, bean sprouts, green chilli, peanuts and ground wild rice.
Frobishers buys Five Valley Cordials: Fruit juice and drinks company Frobishers Juices has acquired drinks producer Five Valleys Cordials. Exeter-based Frobishers Juices has been creating and supplying fruit juices and premium juice drinks to the on-trade since 1992. Frobishers products are available across the UK and internationally in bars, restaurants, hotels and casual dining outlets. Five Valleys Cordials was founded in 2009 by husband and wife Chris and Becky Verinder-Baker. The company, based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, sells a range of cordials, sugar-free cordials and sparkling juice drinks, available nationwide in Waitrose and through independent retailers in the Cotswolds and the south west. Steve Carter, sales and marketing director for Frobishers Juices, said: “The acquisition of Five Valleys Cordials is an exciting move for Frobishers and will be our first step into the off-trade market. Five Valleys Cordials is a great fit for Frobishers as our companies share a similar ethos of using all-natural ingredients to produce the finest quality juices and juice drinks. Our product lines appeal to the same discerning adult consumer, who will now be able to enjoy Frobishers when they are drinking and dining in bars and restaurants and Five Valleys Cordials when they’re at home.”
Admiral Taverns puts Bolton pub on market: Admiral Taverns has put the Top Bull pub in Bolton on the market. The company has decided to sell the Bury New Road site, which will close on Saturday (11 June). Over the years the community pub has welcomed some famous faces for charity events, including former Bolton Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce and comedian and television presenter Paddy McGuinness. Licensee Jan Bradford, who has run the pub for the past 25 years, told the Bolton News: “This is a community pub and it has brought the community together over the years. Unfortunately the decision has been made and it does hurt, but I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has visited and supported the pub over the years.”
Specialist pizza restaurant to open first site outside Italy in Shoreditch, plans up to five venues in London by end of 2017: A specialist pasta restaurant is to open its first outlet outside Italy in Shoreditch, London, and plans up to five sites in the capital by the end of next year. Turin-based Savure La Pasta è di Casa has taken a 15-year lease on a 1,500 square foot unit in Paul Street, occupying the ground floor of a new mixed-use development that also includes student accommodation. Agents Paul Belchak & Co advised Savure on the deal. Oli Cohen, from Paul Belchak & Co, told Property Week: “Shoreditch has a vast array of fantastic, fast-casual restaurants but nothing quite like Savure. This is fresh pasta as it is served in Italy. The location is ideal as a first venture for the brand, which targets local residents, students, office workers and shoppers for dining in or take-home, plus office meetings and parties. It is grab-and-go, really fresh food at its best.”
Just Eat appoints new lead agency for £6m media account: Online food ordering firm Just Eat has appointed Karmarama as its lead creative agency in the UK to run its £6m media account, following a competitive pitch. Just Eat marketing director Ben Carter briefed the agency, which triumphed over three competitors, to “evolve and elevate” the brand. It is believed there will be significant change of direction from recent music-led TV ads by former incumbent Red Brick Road, which did not enter the competition, featuring people singing famous songs but with lyrics replaced by the name of a takeaway dish. Carter told Campaign: “Our marketing activity to date has been hugely successful in driving awareness of the brand. It’s now the right time to evolve our approach to reflect our business ambitions. Karmarama’s progressive thinking and non-traditional approach makes them the perfect partner for us.” One of Karmarama’s first tasks will be to develop a creative campaign platform across all channels, targeting new customers as well as Just Eat’s 13.5 million active users in the UK. It will also engage with Just Eat’s network of 27,000 restaurant partners.
Gusto opens £1m restaurant in Leamington Spa, first site in Midlands: Gusto, the Italian restaurant brand operated by Living Ventures, has opened a site in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. The company has invested more than £1m in the 4,000 square foot restaurant and bar, which is its first venue in the Midlands. The 160-cover outlet, which also includes an outside terrace to seat 40 people, is within the town’s “food quarter” in Regent Court, Livery Street. Gusto managing director Sue Crimes told the Coventry Telegraph: “Leamington is a beautiful town and we are delighted to be opening here. The restaurant looks stunning and we hope to provide an aspirational dining experience for our customers.” Gusto, which launched in Alderley Edge in Cheshire in 2005, has 13 other sites across the UK. It is opening a restaurant in Birmingham this autumn, while it is also planning outlets in Nottingham and York.
New vegetarian and vegan coffee and juice bar concept to open in Cardiff next month: A new vegetarian and vegan coffee and juice bar concept is set to open in Cardiff next month. Rhys Bull and partner Amy Hopkins are launching The Moos in Whitchurch Road on the site of a former fireplace shop. It will offer a range of healthy, fresh smoothies and juices as well as coffees, salads and falafel. Bull and Hopkins will also create a vegetarian take on a pulled-pork bun. Bull told Wales Online: “I have always wanted to be my own boss and (Amy’s) very passionate about the diet and the environment so we put two and two together.”
Novus Leisure partners with Heineken to launch ‘ultimate Euro 2016 viewing experience’: Bar and restaurant operator Novus Leisure has partnered with Heineken for the Euro 2016 tournament, which kicks off today (Friday, 10 June). Novus Leisure is offering guests the “ultimate football viewing experience” at new “Heineken Rooms” in two of its London venues – Amber Bar in Ropemaker Street and Tiger Tiger London in The Haymarket. Each Heineken Room includes foosball and table tennis tables, as well as large screens to watch the games. Groups can choose stocked fridges for sharing or opt to pull their own draught Heineken from self-serve taps. The bespoke private rooms are available for hire or to book throughout the tournament. Packages, which start from £25 per person, can be pre-booked online through www.latenightlondon.co.uk. Novus Leisure sales director Rupert Macfarlane said: “We are thrilled to have partnered with Heineken to create the ultimate experience for our customers throughout this summer’s football. Once again, we have listened to what our customers want and used real innovation to create something memorable and exciting.”
Asda debuts advert featuring celebrity chef James Martin, focus on providing food and cooking inspiration: The first Asda ad featuring celebrity chef James Martin has debuted, marking the start of a new approach to its advertising following the recent appointment of Saatchi & Saatchi as its lead creative agency. Asda announced it had signed up Martin in April, with the struggling chain saying its aim was to give families “food and cooking inspiration”. Asda said the tie-up was part of its Project Renewal plan designed to transform its business and boost its “Save Money Live Better” brand strategy as the retailer looks to differentiate itself with customers both in stores and online. The advert aired during Coronation Street and shows Martin shopping at Asda to cater for a last-minute barbecue for hordes of people. A further three more TV ads will be shown over the coming month, focused on summer eating.