Arc Inspirations acquires Wildwood venue in Ilkley for seventh Banyan site: Arc Inspirations has acquired the lease of a site that formerly housed Tasty brand Wildwood in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, for its rapidly expanding flagship brand Banyan Bar & Kitchen. The company said the deal followed a record-breaking three-day exchange. Arc Inspirations plans to reopen the 5,000 square foot site in late October to feature a new bar and restaurant over two floors, creating 35 jobs. The venue will be the seventh Banyan Bar & Kitchen in the north of England. Arc Inspirations chief executive Martin Wolstencroft said: “I’m proud to have exchanged on this venue in fewer than three days – that’s a record for us. The results we’ve seen in the past 12 months truly demonstrate our vision of ‘nobody does it better’ and I’m looking forward to an even more successful 2018 for Arc Inspirations with more openings planned.” Last month, Arc Inspirations reported record financial results as Ebitda increased 88% to £2.6m and total sales rose 18% to £22.5m. The company also appointed new managing director Anni Opong. Founded in 1999, the company operates 16 bars and restaurants across seven brands grouped into five core markets – student suburban bars, aspirational neighbourhood venues, American bars, high-street retail, and late-night experience.
Concerto Group kicks off Apex Hotels partnership with Pepys-themed City of London restaurant: Hospitality events company The Concerto Group has started its partnership to provide food and drinks at Apex Hotels’ London sites by opening The Lampery restaurant, bar and terrace at Apex City of London Hotel in Seething Lane. The restaurant offers modern British cuisine with its name inspired by Seething Lane’s most illustrious resident – diarist Samuel Pepys. Chief executive Adam Elliott said Concerto Group division Create would work with Apex to create unique concepts at each hotel. He said: “Pepys can be considered the first food blogger and made countless entries in his diaries about meals he enjoyed. The Lampery is going to provide a unique experience to ensure guests feel relaxed and comfortable, with the delivery of exceptional food.” Apex chief executive Angela Vickers added: “It can be hard for two cultures to come together and work effectively but Adam and Concerto are passionate about hospitality and we have a shared vision to create something exceptional. Our belief is the restaurants will enable us to play more active roles within the local business communities as well as provide an outstanding dining experience for Apex guests. The restaurant is the place where there’s no pomp, just honest cooking – just as Pepys preferred.”
All Our Bars to reopen Bracknell pub next month: All Our Bars will reopen The Boot pub in Bracknell, Berkshire, on Thursday, 7 September following a £500,000 refurbishment in partnership with brewer and retailer Greene King. The Park Road pub will feature an extended trading area, with the addition of beach huts for alfresco meals and a more formal dining area that will be available to hire for private functions. The venue has also been refloored and redecorated throughout, while the cask and real ale range has been extended and new craft beers and ciders introduced. The offering will also include premium spirits and fine wine with food served daily focusing on locally sourced and seasonal dishes. The pub will also open early for cake and coffee mornings. All Our Bars chief executive Paul Wigham said: “The designers have come up with some amazing ideas to show what a beautiful building it is. Once again, it has been a brilliant experience working with our partners Greene King, who have been hugely supportive throughout a long renovation process. This is a true retail/pubco partnership that transcends many of the industry issues that are making headlines for the wrong reasons. We look forward to continuing our partnership.” Kent-headquartered All Our Bars operates 18 sites in London and the south east.
Crussh opens first Debenhams concession: Crussh, the London-based healthy food and juice brand, has opened its first concession in partnership with Debenhams. The 100-cover fit food cafe has opened in Debenhams’ flagship store in Oxford Street. The cafe features a deli counter serving a range of dishes such as turmeric chicken, vegetable frittatas, fresh salads and a new gluten-free cake range. This sits alongside other Crussh products including spelt sourdough toasties, freshly pressed green juices and turmeric lattes. Crussh chief executive Shane Kavanagh said: “We are thrilled by the opportunity to create a unique, landmark fit food cafe in Oxford Street. Creating our 100-cover cafe in this store gives us the opportunity to take our brand into new avenues and extend our core offering outside food-to-go.” Steve Lightfoot, Debenhams director of trading for home, furniture, gifts and food, added. “As part of the Debenhams ‘redesigned’ strategy, we are looking to further enhance our food offering to customers. Through teaming with Crussh we are able to offer a contemporary third-party brand that is highly credible with an inviting menu of healthy foods to give the customer further reason for dwell time in our flagship store.” Earlier this week, Crussh strengthened its retail partnerships by opening a Food & Juice Bar concession within the Holland & Barrett store in Oxford Street. Crussh has 30 outlets across the capital, including a concession at Sainsbury’s in Pimlico.
Walthamstow-based Wild Card Brewery raises £300,000 within hours of launching crowdfunding campaign: Walthamstow-based Wild Card Brewery has closed it fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after raising £300,000 within hours of launch. The company, founded by William Harris and Andrew Birkby, was offering a 7.15% equity stake as it looked to raise £250,000 to expand its production and bar facilities. A total of 23 investors pledged £300,000 and the campaign has now closed. The pitch stated: “Wild Card Brewery is an award-winning brewery and bar operator. We create no-nonsense, uncompromising beers and inclusive drinking spaces from our base in Walthamstow in London. The company has been on an exhilarating growth story – from hobby, to shoestring startup, to becoming a leading London craft brewery. We currently produce a range of five core beers complemented by small batch brews. Right now, demand for our beer outstrips supply and we’re ready to take a big step forwards. The money will be used to open a bigger production facility at Lockwood Way, significantly increasing our production capacity from 8,400 litres to 21,600 litres. We will also open a second bar at our Lockwood Way site, creating a new and vibrant drinking space for the Blackhorse area in Walthamstow. We will refurbish our existing bar at our site on the Ravenswood Industrial Estate to increase service speed and introduce serving tanks and launch our barrel-aged beer programme at our existing site. In the year to July 2016, we had turnover of £555,032 and net profit of £26,857, yet in the year to July of this year we had turnover of £694,000 and an expected net profit of £46,500. We believe an exit would most like come in the form of a full/partial trade sale, though we’ll also look to create exit opportunities for shareholders at future funding rounds as Wild Card continues its growth story or in a secondary market.”
Patisserie Valerie opens second Republic of Ireland site: Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, has opened its second site in the Republic of Ireland. The company has opened the outlet at the Ilac Centre in Dublin. The cafe offers the brand’s patisserie and cake range, with items hand-made on-site. Patisserie Valerie made its debut in the country in May when it opened a cafe within the Debenhams store in Blanchardstown. Patisserie Valerie, launched in 1926 in Soho by Belgian-born Madame Valerie, has more than 120 sites across the UK.
McDonald’s to cut antibiotics in global chicken supply chain in 2018: McDonald’s has said it will start to curb the use of high-value human antibiotics in its global chicken supply chain in 2018 as it ramps up its fight against superbugs. The company, which already operates an antibiotics ban for chickens in the US, said it was working on similar plans for dairy cows and laying hens. McDonald’s will require chicken suppliers to start phasing out the use of antibiotics defined as “highest priority critically important antimicrobials” (HPCIA) in human medicine. By the end of January 2018, HPCIAs will be eradicated from McDonald’s chickens in Brazil, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Europe – meaning 74% of the company’s global chicken sales would comply with the policy. By the end of 2019, suppliers in Australia and Russia will stop using HPCIAs. Suppliers in all other markets will comply by January 2027, although McDonald’s said its goal was to have the policy “implemented before this date”. Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, told Reuters: “If fully implemented, the plans could transform the market place given the company’s massive buying power.”
The Ivy Collection to open first Scottish site next month: The Ivy Collection is to open its first site in Scotland next month. Ivy Brasserie will open in St Andrew Square on Wednesday, 20 September after the company signed a 25-year lease earlier in the summer. The 130-cover restaurant will also feature a bar and 20-cover Parisian-style terrace. The kitchen will be overseen by executive chef Sean Burbidge, former head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Pétrus. The group, backed by Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings, has also lodged a planning application with Glasgow City Council to open a venue in the city’s Buchanan Street as part of its expansion outside London. In the past week, The Ivy Collection has been given the go-ahead to open a brasserie in York and an Ivy Cafe in Blackheath, London. The Ivy Collection currently operates nine brasserie sites, with others “opening soon” in Bath, Cheltenham, Guildford, Harrogate and Tunbridge Wells. There are currently four Ivy Cafe sites, all in London. The company has forecast a total of 30 venues by the end of 2018.
East Coast Concepts to open third Neighbourhood site next month, in Leeds: East Coast Concepts will open the third site for its Neighbourhood brand next month, this time in Leeds. Neighbourhood, which has sites in Manchester and Liverpool, will open the venue in Greek Street following the £1.7m renovation of a former Carluccio’s restaurant. Neighbourhood will operate as an all-day restaurant but host weekly themed events and monthly champagne brunch parties with DJs, performances and live entertainment in the evenings. East Coast Concepts chief executive and founder James Hitchen told BDaily: “We’ve been planning to open in Leeds for a while and now feels like exactly the right time – there’s nothing else like it in the city and we can’t wait to throw an unforgettable party for everyone here.” East Coast Concepts launched Neighbourhood in Manchester in 2012, opening a second site, in Liverpool, in November last year. Last month the company announced it would start expansion of another of its brands, Victor’s, by opening a site in Oxford’s Westgate Centre. Victor’s in Hale, south of Manchester, has attracted footballers, soap stars and reality TV stars since it opened in 2014. The company secured a multimillion-pound cash injection from private equity firm NorthEdge Capital last year to expand both brands.
M&B integrates Flypay and Eagle Eye voucher redemption into branded apps: Mitchells & Butlers has started integrating Flypay’s payment platform into the functionality of all its branded apps, while also incorporating Eagle Eye’s voucher redemption technology at point of payment. The new functionality incorporates Flypay’s Pay At Table and Bar Tab services, while the app will also enable guests to redeem vouchers and promotions within one platform – a first for the pub and restaurant industry, the company said. Mitchells & Butlers said it would continue to drive digital innovation as more guests sought flexibility to pay for food and drink on their smartphones. Mitchells & Butlers commercial and marketing director Chris Hopkins said: “We’re seeking to make our digital apps a one-stop shop for all customer needs. The introduction of faster payments through Flypay and its integration with digital vouchers served by Eagle Eye is a significant step towards this end goal.” Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery has launched the functionality while All Bar One will follow suit before the end of August. The rest of Mitchells & Butlers’ portfolio will go live by the end of the year.
Tasty to open Wildwood site in Skipton next month: Tasty is to open a site for its Wildwood brand in Skipton, North Yorkshire, next month. The company will open the restaurant in a grade II-listed building as part of the transformation of Skipton Town Hall. Tasty has signed a 25-year lease with Craven District Council for the site, which will span three floors. Wildwood managing director Jo Bargery told the Craven Herald: “We are excited about the new Wildwood restaurant opening in such a beautiful historic building in Skipton. The restaurant will be set over three different floors to accommodate all our diners!” Wildwood currently operates 58 sites across the UK. Earlier this month, Tasty reported trading was below management’s revised expectations.
Manchester multi-site operator MAD to open Ibiza-style bar: Manchester-based multi-site operator Mark Andrew Developments (MAD) is to open an Ibiza-style bar in the city. The company will launch Lazy Lizard – its largest venue to date – at The Printworks in November on the former site of Entourage. The bar will focus on a “VIP experience” and span two floors, with an overall capacity of 800 and a mezzanine level for up to 200. It will also feature luxury booths and table service. DJs will play a mix of techno, deep and classic house music until 4am every weekend, while Ibizan club nights will be brought in once a month. MAD managing director Mark Andrew told the Manchester Evening News: “This is the biggest site in the MAD portfolio so it is very exciting for us and a concept we have been working on for a long time. Ibiza is all about crazy parties and carefree fun in beautiful places, which is what we are creating with Lazy Lizard. There’s nowhere else in the city you’ll be able to experience quality house music in a venue as cool as this, which has a faithful resemblance to a true Balearic club.” The company has eight other bars located across Manchester’s Northern Quarter, West Didsbury and Heaton Moor. Earlier this month, the company secured a multimillion-pound funding deal with Allied Irish Bank to support its growth strategy as it expands across the city.
Former Tom Sellers head chef launches bento box pop-ups, eyes permanent sites: Angelo Sato, former head chef of Tom Sellers’ Michelin-starred Restaurant Story in Bermondsey, east London, has launched two bento box pop-ups nearby. The venues – a 20-cover restaurant in Old Street tube station and a 15-cover site in Bermondsey Street – offer classic bento boxes alongside a range of traditional donabe onigiri (stock-cooked rice balls wrapped in bamboo leaves). Bento boxes include Humble Chicken, Fantasy Salmon and vegetarian option Gifts From The Garden. Japanese-born Sato, who has also worked in Gordon Ramsay’s Grill Royal Hospital Road in London, and Eleven Madison Park in New York, said he hoped to improve Londoners’ experience of “everyday sushi” and “redefine people’s perception of fast food”. He said the pop-ups would be the beginning of what he hoped would become a “fast-growing restaurant group”.
Healthy eating cafe Farm Girl to open Soho gym concession: Healthy eating cafe Farm Girl is to open a gym concession in Soho after teaming up with clothes chain Sweaty Betty. Farm Girl was founded in Australia and launched its first UK venue in Portobello Road in 2015. The new venue will open on the first floor of Sweaty Betty’s three-storey flagship store at 1 Carnaby Street on Thursday, 7 September. It will serve guilt-free food, including coconut BLTs and gluten-free doughnuts, and feature a bar offering fair-trade vodka and biodynamic wine. The kitchen will be headed by Benoit Marmoiton, who has worked in various Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris and London, Hot Dinners reports. His menu will feature dishes “packed with beneficial, natural antioxidants” alongside superfood lattes and “therapeutic smoothies” such as the Muscle Recovery made with cashew milk and espresso, alongside build-your-own breakfast bowls, salads and toast. The drinks list will include superfood cocktails such as strawberry and lavender-infused fair-trade vodka and bio-wine. Farm Girl said it would open a second west London site later this year that would be a standalone cafe. The Farm Girl concept was inspired by owner Rose Mann’s childhood on a rural farm outside Melbourne.
Di Maggio’s Group to open new Glasgow site next month: Scottish restaurant operator Di Maggio’s Group is to open a site in the former newspaper printing building in St Vincent Place in Glasgow next month. The company, which operates The Atlantic and Anchor Line restaurants, is transforming the site into a newspaper-themed bar and eatery named The Citizen, which will launch on Wednesday, 6 September. The restaurant team is lining the walls with old editions of the newspaper in homage to the building’s history, reports Glasgow Live. Di Maggio’s Restaurant Group, which owns 18 restaurants across Scotland including Amarone and Café Andaluz, saw turnover increase 12.4% to £33.7m for the year to 30 April 2016. Pre-tax profits increased 22% to £5.76m. At the time of its results, joint managing director Mario Gizzi, who co-founded the business in 1983, said: “Our strategy of reinvesting in the business helps us to set the pace with new restaurant concepts and the latest additions.”
Creams Cafe to launch Leicester site: Dessert cafe operator Creams Cafe is to open a site in Leicester. The new restaurant will open in Granby Street in early October, the Leicester Mercury reports. Creams Cafe serves waffles, milkshakes, freakshakes and 36 varieties of Italian gelato-style ice cream. It also offers a wide range of sundaes, including the hot chocolate fudge volcano, and crepes such as the Belgian banana burrito. The company, which was founded in London in 2008, currently operates 50 cafes in the UK, with the nearest sites to Leicester in Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham and Worcester. The company also lists venues in Bournemouth, Edgware, Enfield, Ilford and Ipswich on its website as “opening soon”.
Chopstix opens Bristol shopping centre site: Oriental brand Chopstix has opened a site at the Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol. The company, founded by Sam Elia and Mensche Sadik, has opened the outlet in the food court on the upper ground floor. It serves freshly prepared chicken and vegetarian dishes accompanied by a choice of noodles or rice. Elia told the Bristol Post: “We are offering busy shoppers something new and exciting in the food court with our value-for-money and tasty dishes that also offer a faster, fresher and healthier alternative.” Chopstix currently operates 71 sites, with the Bristol opening the brand’s 13th this year. It has doubled its number of venues in less than 18 months.
Brighton-based operators acquire Dorset village pub for second site: Husband-and-wife team Simon and Sarah Colquhoun, who operate a leasehold pub in Brighton, have acquired The Gaggle Of Geese village pub in Buckland Newton, Dorset, in a deal brokered by agent Christie & Co. The pub, which comes with four acres of land, closed in October 2014 after previous owners were prevented from converting the pub into a home. It was given Asset of Community Value status and reopened for a short time before subsequently closing again. The Colquhouns plan to reopen the pub towards the end of the year following a refurbishment, the addition of a food offering, and the installation of accommodation in the form of shepherd huts in the grounds. Christie & Co director Nick Calfe said: “This is a great pub with a proud history and has always been supported strongly by the local community. It’s great that after so long the pub is being brought back to life. We had a huge amount of interest in the business with a lot of cash buyers who saw its potential, particularly with the land. Traditional village pubs are here to stay and although owners have to adapt to changing consumer needs, they can still bring great rewards.”
Stonegate Pub Company launches ‘bingo remix’ for Venues estate: Stonegate Pub Company has launched a “modern-day remix” of bingo with a ten-date tour of a game show-style event around its Venues estate. “Blingo Bingo” is a three-hour game show-style twist on the classic game hosted by MC grannies with a hip-hop soundtrack and bling prizes on offer. The company teamed up with Jagermeister and Plank Productions to launch the concept at the opening of its £1m superclub Rosies in Birmingham. Venues head of marketing Alan Armstrong said: “We’ve created the event with the millennial consumer in mind. We looked at several other concepts and decided Blingo Bingo was new-wave, hedonistic and disruptive and offers guests an alternative reason to visit us early doors.” Stonegate Pub Company operates more than 690 pubs split into two divisions – Branded (Slug and Lettuce, Yates’s, Walkabout, Common Room and Venues) and Traditional (Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, and Classic Inns).
TGI Friday’s crowns mixology contest winners: TGI Friday’s has added two cocktails to its menu after crowning the winners of its in-house mixology competition. This year’s mixes had to feature Southern Comfort, with Katy Sharpe, from Leicester, crowned champion for her Wonderland Comfort cocktail featuring limoncello, apple, raspberry and cranberry. The drink will feature on the cover of TGI Friday’s menus across the UK from September. Jack Chelton was runner-up for his Mardi Gras cocktail (with Dark Cacao, vanilla ice cream and cherry syrup topped with a doughnut). Sharpe and Chelton won an all-expenses-paid trip to New Orleans, the home of Southern Comfort, where they will take part in a cocktail tour and a boat ride into the swamplands. TGI Friday’s ran a “cake or shake” offer for GCSE students who received their exam results on Thursday (24 August) following the same offer it ran for A-level students last week.