First Jamie’s Italian to launch in South Africa in November: The first South African restaurant in celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s signature chain Jamie’s Italian will open in Melrose Arch in Johannesburg in November. Venture capital company Lucid Ventures, which was launched earlier this year by kulula.com founder Gidon Novick, announced it has acquired a 20% stake in Jamie’s Italian restaurant chain in South Africa as its maiden investment. Lucid has an initial capital base of R80m (£4.5m) and is an investor group comprised of experienced South African entrepreneurs. The initial focus of the fund is on businesses in the casual dining sector. It is approved by the Financial Services Board and benefits from a tax incentive to encourage investment in new ventures and high-growth small and medium-sized enterprises, news24 reports. Jamie’s Italian was founded in 2008 and operates 40 restaurants worldwide. There are plans to open a further four restaurants in South Africa during the next few years.
Father and son multi-site operators increase Devon pub’s trade by 25% following joint investment with Enterprise Inns: Father and son multi-site operators Graham and Alex Moore have seen a 25% increase in trade at The Globe in the Devonshire village of Sampford Peverell, following a joint investment with Enterprise Inns. The Moores invested £60,000 to go alongside £200,000 from Enterprise Inns, which has invested more than £2.5m in pubs in Devon and Cornwall so far this year. The Globe, which backs on to the Grand Western Canal, has been extensively redecorated inside and out. Enterprise regional manager Peter Gatling said: “The changes have created a more appealing environment for customers, while retaining a traditional feel, and with Graham introducing an improved food offer and bed and breakfast experience, he’s made The Globe one of the best destination pubs in the area.” Other pubs in the region to benefit from Enterprise investment include two in the Cornish town of Saltash – The Notter Bridge Inn and The Railway Inn, which is also the first pub in the county to be operated under Enterprise’s Beacon managed tenancy model. Enterprise divisional director Andrew Younger said: “We will continue to invest in the region, working in partnership with our publicans to help them run great pubs that are at the heart of the local community.”
Dominique Ansel makes European debut with Belgravia launch: Renowned pastry chef Dominique Ansel, who operates sites in New York and Japan, has made his debut in Europe by launching Dominique Ansel Bakery London in Belgravia. The venue in Elizabeth Street offers Ansel’s creation “The Cronut” – a cross between a croissant and doughnut – and the New York store’s best-selling “DKA” (dough layered with butter and sugar then baked, creating a caramelised crunchy crust). Also on offer are “The Cookie Shot” (a chocolate chip cookie shaped like a shot glass and filled with ice-cold milk infused with Tahitian vanilla bean), and “Frozen S’mores” (Tahitian vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate wafer crisps and honey marshmallow, which is torched and served on a smoked willow wood branch). There are also exclusive creations made from local British ingredients. The venue features the bakery on the ground floor and open pastry kitchens on the second floor with the seating area including high top tables and banquettes. There is also a courtyard with retractable roof and a vertical garden with seasonal plants and fresh herbs for use on the menu. Ansel said: “It’s important for us not just to cut and paste, but showcase the talent of our team and the local inspirations we get for every bakery. We spent over half a year developing our London-only items, and can’t wait to reveal them.”
Tiny Rebel secures six-figure investment towards new £2.6m brewery: South Wales-based brewer Tiny Rebel has secured a six-figure investment from Lloyds towards its new £2.6m brewery and community space in Newport. The £360,000 funding from the bank has supported the purchase of the 65,000 square foot site that will increase capacity more than five-fold. The new site, which will launch in April and create 20 jobs, will be open to the public for brewery tours and also contain a shop and bar for up to 200 people. The company has expanded recently after winning the Champion Beer of Britain award in 2015 and being awarded the title of Best UK Brewery at the International Beer Challenge. As a result of the expansion, the company expects to achieve a turnover of about £4m by April. Tiny Rebel exports to 14 countries and the extra capacity will also allow the business to start exporting to Norway and other Scandinavian countries. Bradley Cummings, who co-founded the business with Gareth Williams in 2012, told Insider Media: “The past four years have been extraordinary for us, and we’ve managed to turn a hobby we loved into a successful business with bars in Cardiff and Newport. It was obvious we needed to move to a new premises to help the business to continue to expand successfully, and we can’t wait to move to the new site next year.”
The ONE Group makes Canada debut with STK Toronto opening: The ONE Group has opened a site in Toronto for its international steak restaurant brand STK, marking the company’s first foray into Canada. The restaurant is in the former Four Seasons Hotel, in the centrally located Yorkville neighbourhood. The ONE Group chief executive Jonathan Segal said: “Our first Canadian location has been a long time coming, and we are thrilled to be expanding our North American presence in the vibrant, luxurious Yorkville neighbourhood. As one of our managed locations, STK Toronto is an important element to our company’s strategic plan, and enables us to bring our signature vibe dining experience to a fifth country.” STK Toronto encompasses 8,800 square feet with seating for 225 diners and features the restaurant’s signature rosewood-framed white rollback banquettes. The space includes two private dining rooms, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows. Additional STK restaurants currently in development include Edinburgh, San Diego, Denver, Boston, Dallas, Austin and Puerto Rico.
Contemporary tea brand Tiosk hits £120,000 crowdfunding target: Contemporary tea brand Tiosk has hit its £120,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, founded by Natasha Kelly and Nicola Simpson, is offering a 10.71% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, it has raised £132,680 from 118 investors and is now “overfunding” with 24 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £56,000. Tiosk opened its first tea bar and store in Hackney, east London, in 2014 and is looking to open further concept stores and “pocket shops” in the form of kiosk-style takeaway tea bars. The pitch states: “The heart of the business across all platforms is premium loose leaf tea, with tea-ware and associated lifestyle product being the secondary growth driver. Our tea bars will also serve ready-to-drink tea, tea-based drinks and a concise selection of complementary food and alternative beverages. We project that in the next 12 months our turnover will grow to £548,000. Driving this growth will be the launch of e-commerce, roll-out of wholesale and consolidation of our retail performance. Funds raised this round will be used for development of our new dry tea packaging, launch of e-commerce, research and development of new product concepts and remodelling of our flagship store to house our packaged dry tea and tea ware. There have been a number of high-profile acquisitions in this sector in recent years. Starbucks acquired family-owned tea shop chain Teavana in November 2013 for $640m. In the same year, Unilever acquired family-owned Australian tea brand T2 for approximately $60m. We believe that by 2020, with a national retail and wholesale footprint, supported by a strong e-commerce business, Tiosk will represent an attractive acquisition prospect.”
Laine Brew Co launches brewery and unveils first craft beers: The Laine Pub Company, backed by Luke Johnson and which operates four micro-breweries among its 48-strong London and Brighton pub estate, has upscaled its craft brewing capability by opening a new brewery. The 65-hectolitre (40 BBLs) plant is in the Sussex Downs on an ancient Roman road that ran between London Bridge and Chichester. Its debut portfolio of cask beers includes best bitter Bestest and golden ale Doubloon. The brewery’s Beer Lab has released limited edition sour beer Twisted Lips and 9.2% ABV Neon Angel. Keg beers include pale ale Source, two IPAs – Ripper and Revelator – and craft pilsner Word. To keep evolving the portfolio, Laine Brew Co will use the micro-brewery at the People’s Park Tavern in Hackney as a beer lab to develop experimental and small batch craft beer. Brew Co director Jack Hibberd said: “The beers are tasting fantastic and we can’t wait to hear what Brighton’s beer drinkers think.” Head brewer Nic Donald added: “The beers take their inspiration from a combination of the stories, spirit and good times associated with Laine’s pubs, so design and taste are bright, fun and off-the-wall. Our drinkers should always expect the unexpected.”
Rusk & Rusk to launch The Spanish Butcher concept in Glasgow, group’s third city site: Independent restaurant group Rusk & Rusk is set to launch its latest concept, The Spanish Butcher, in Glasgow this November, the group’s third venue in the city. The new 3,600 square foot venue in Miller Street in the city centre will feature a 100-cover restaurant with a wine and cocktail bar, creating 40 jobs. The menu will feature high-grade Galician beef, Iberico ham and fresh seafood alongside a wide selection of Spanish wine, beer and cava. The decor will feature New York loft-inspired interiors, including exposed brickwork and highly polished concrete flooring. Co-founder James Rusk told Glasgow Live: “We are well known in Glasgow, and beyond, for serving the most flavoursome cuts of Scotch beef. With The Spanish Butcher we are taking this approach further afield, introducing a very different flavour profile.” Co-founder Louise Rusk added: “Combining our focus on food, service and design, we love to create lifestyle dining environments that are dynamic yet relaxed, spaces we to love to dine in.” Rusk & Rusk also operates Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie and The Butchershop Bar & Grill in the city.
Turtle Bay to appeal Sheffield stairs ban: Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay said it will appeal a council decision banning waiters carrying food and drink to the upper floor of its proposed restaurant at the former National Union of Mineworkers building in Sheffield city centre. Three weeks ago, Sheffield Council gave planning permission for Turtle Bay to open the restaurant in Holly Street but with one condition – waiters could not carry food and drink on the stairs to the mezzanine level, where an extra 32 covers would be situated. Council health officers claimed the staircase posed a “serious risk” of potential “conflict” between staff and customers. A source at Turtle Bay told The Star it was still keen on moving to Sheffield but the current licensing condition was “unworkable”. He said: “We want to press the button to get this going but this whole process will push it back by at least six months. We’ve had no problems with any of (our) 34 restaurants, including the six that allow staff to use the stairs to transport food.”
Kent-based Wantsum Brewery launches £250,000 crowdfunding campaign to expand operations: Kent-based Wantsum Brewery has launched a £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand its operations. The company, which was founded by James Sand in 2009 and has former Greene King employee Mark Grimsdale as managing director, is offering a 14.29% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “We are a craft brewery, producing largely cask ales and looking to increase our UK trade with additional lines such as canning, key keg and craft keg lager, along with developing our bottle sales and export sales. The business has grown year on year, however, we require a significant expansion in our brewing plant to maintain and explore new areas such as cans and key kegs plus the opportunities of export, retail (Wantsum alehouses) and brewpubs. We will use funds to move site and aim to expand the brewery plant and to purchase new fermenters, a canning line, keg and key keg fillers, and additionally, open a Wantsum alehouse. We then aim to significantly increase the level of growth by removing the high rental charges on premises, casks and vehicles to immediately make significant improvements in profit; and increasing production volume without a large increase in employed staff. In future, by realising our growth forecasts we aim to float on a recognised exchange. Alternatively, further consolidation within the sector can be expected as proven with the recent sale of Camden Town Brewery for £85m. We believe our growth strategy would make us an attractive proposition for anyone looking for a diverse range of quality products.”
London-based multi-site operator acquires fourth site: London-based multi-site operator Andy Bird has acquired his fourth site in the capital. Bird has secured the free-of-tie lease at the Dartmouth Arms pub in north west London from landlord Kicking Horse through agent Savills. The end-of-terrace pub fronts York Rise and sits within the Dartmouth Park Conservation Area, which is east of Parliament Hill. The 2,267 square foot property, which is arranged over ground floor and basement, has a rent of £70,000 per annum. Bird has begun a three-month refurbishment of the site and is considering a crowdfunding initiative that would allow local people to directly invest in the business. Once open, the new-look pub will focus on serving local beers and a Sunday roast offer, while all staff will be paid the London Living Wage. Chris Bickle, licensed leisure director at Savills, said: “Demand for free-of-tie leases remains very strong, particularly in sought-after London neighbourhoods such as Dartmouth Park and Highgate, where Savills recently sold The Bull to Gorgeous Pubs.” Bird also owns Fanny Nelson’s and The Chesham Arms in Hackney and is co-owner of the Happiness Forgets in Hoxton.
AB InBev fined £4.6m by US watchdog for paying bribes to officials: The world’s biggest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has been fined £4.6m after being caught bribing officials in India into promoting its beer – and then trying to silence a whistleblower by threatening them with a £190,000 fine, the Daily Mail reports. The allegations of bribery date to 2009, when an Indian subsidiary of AB InBev hired a promoter who had no experience in the alcohol industry. The promoter was found by US investigators to have been paid “excessive commissions” and reimbursements for “questionable promotional charges”, which it used to pay the bribes. AB InBev, which employs 150,000 people, recorded these costs as legitimate business expenses. Due diligence checks were not carried out on the promoter, but staff tried to cover it up by backdating forms to make it look as though they had been completed. In 2010 and 2011, an employee told AB InBev bosses the promoting company had been “taking care of” government officials. The employee also questioned the promoter’s lack of experience, staff and infrastructure. But instead of looking into the claims, AB InBev sacked the worker and made them sign an agreement promising to remain silent or face a £192,380 punishment. The worker had also been talking to US investigators but stopped after signing the confidentiality agreement and only passed on information after the investigators issued a legal request. AB InBev staff also attempted to destroy evidence of the bribery. US watchdog the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has now fined the firm £4.6m for the offences. AB InBev said it was pleased to have resolved the SEC probe, adding that the US justice department had closed its parallel investigation. The company said Indian employees had since been given extensive training.
Chester-based Italian restaurant La Fattoria to start expansion with second city site: Chester-based Italian restaurant La Fattoria is eyeing expansion with a sister site in the city. The company has submitted a planning application to Cheshire West and Chester Council to turn a Co-op food store in Faulkner Street in the suburb of Hoole into a 70-cover restaurant. The landlord has already been granted permission to change the use of the site from retail to restaurant after the chain store disclosed it would not extend its lease. La Fattoria has offered traditional Italian fare from its Lower Bridge Street home since 2007. Its owners have submitted a design for the new site by Andy Foster Architects. As well as the restaurant, the company has applied to construct a reception, waiting area, bar and feature pizza oven, the Chester Chronicle reports. The design and access statement suggested a new eating place would “add to the diversity and vitality of Faulkner Street” and ensure the property wasn’t vacant for a prolonged time and would be “redeveloped to provide employment and an attractive destination for the local community”.
Void nightclub launches in Liverpool with high-end table service: Void, a new nightclub for over-21s featuring high-end table service, has launched in Liverpool city centre. The venue in Stanley Street is the brainchild of Joe McMahon, Adam Ramsey and Dan Friend, whose expanding portfolio also contains Graffiti Lounge & Bar and Wall of Fame bar and restaurant. A spokesman for the group told BDaily: “Being the fourth venue of our evolving hospitality portfolio, we have devised something that adds a completely new dimension to Liverpool’s bar and club scene. We have worked tirelessly to create a venue that ticks all the boxes when it comes to providing an elitist vibe and atmosphere. Notable interior features include a mirrored wrap-around video wall and dramatic mood lighting.” Void’s bottle service provides guests with their own table complete with drinks and mixers, together with a hostess on hand to serve drinks. Those not opting for bottle service can still enjoy drinks at the venue but must also be included on a guest list to gain entry. The spokesman added: “We wanted to create a venue ideal for the more mature crowd whose feeling towards nightclubs has shifted.”
The Light cinema agrees deal for site at Wakefield shopping centre leisure-focused extension: The Light has agreed a deal to open a nine-screen cinema as part of a new leisure-focused extension at the Trinity Walk shopping centre in Wakefield. The extension, which is due to be completed in 2018, will also feature six restaurant units ranging from 1,500 square feet to 9,063 square feet, of which two are already under offer to undisclosed national branded restaurants. A planning application is due to be submitted this autumn following the deal with Orion Capital Managers and Sovereign Centros. The cinema will be the 12th to be developed under The Light brand. Trinity Walk offers 559,000 square feet of retail space, houses more than 60 brands and has an annual footfall in excess of 11 million. The Light chief executive Keith Pullinger told The Business Desk: “We are delighted to have secured this space in the exciting extension to Trinity Walk, which will add a much-needed leisure offer to the town centre.” Orion head of retail Richard Low added: “Trinity Walk is doing really well, with lots of exciting new lettings in recent months as well as increased footfall and spending. The leisure development will give consumers another reason to come, stay longer and spend more.” Savills and AGL represented Orion Capital Managers and Sovereign Centros and has also been retained as retail letting agents at Trinity Walk.
Worthing-based bar and restaurant operator gets go-ahead for second site, in Chichester: Worthing-based bar and restaurant operator Igor Beaulieu is set to start expanding his Rocking Horse concept after being given the go-ahead to open a second site, in Chichester. Beaulieu, who launched the concept two years ago, has been granted permission by Chichester District Council to open the new venue in Southgate on the former site of the Knife and Fork restaurant. He aims to open the new outlet by the end of the year. Beaulieu told the Chichester Observer: “The Chichester site will be identical to Worthing. The success of the Worthing bar has been unbelievable. I think the Chichester bar will be even better and attract even more customers during weekdays than we do at Worthing.” Beaulieu previously said he was planning further expansion and eyeing a third site – “somewhere between Tunbridge Wells in the east and Portsmouth to the west”.
New German bar and restaurant concept Bierhaus to launch in Reading: New German bar and restaurant concept Bierhaus is set to launch in Reading town centre. The new venue will open in Queen’s Walk and offer freshly made “Haus” specials, schnitzels and steins filled with a selection of German and Belgian draught beers. There will also be premium pilsner and flavoured beers, as well as a wide variety of bottled beers, wines and spirits from around the world. The decor will include Semperoper in Dresden wallpaper, which will cover the bar and wine cellar function room. Bierhaus owner Mariusz Turek told Get Reading: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to open the first German bar and restaurant in Berkshire. I want to give people a chance to experience Germany in Reading without travelling the distance. We look forward to showing you how to eat and drink like a German at the Bierhaus.” An opening date has yet to be confirmed.
Matthew Clark bolsters premium wine portfolio with pioneering producers: Drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark has bolstered its premium wine portfolio by taking on maverick producers from ten different countries. New additions include wines from innovative producers in Spain, Greece, Australia, Argentina and California. Old World wines include Matthew Clark’s first Greek wines, with Moschcofilero-Roditis and Agiorgitiko from producer Katogi & Strofilia. Other producers include Santiago Ruiz of Spain, Larry Cherubino Wines from Western Australia, Argentina’s Alpasión, and California’s “trailblazer” Freemark Abbey, previously distributed by Armit Wines. Judith Nicholson, Matthew Clark wine-buying co-ordinator, said: “We always look to bring in great wines, and great wines with stories are even better. Stories help a wine sell – they make it more memorable for the consumer, and they make wine more exciting and more personable.”
New French-Mediterranean restaurant concept set to open in Liverpool: A new French-Mediterranean restaurant concept is set to open in Liverpool. Phil Melia, whose background is in interior design businesses, is launching Verdant this month in Allerton Road, reports the Liverpool Echo. It will seat 60 to 80 people and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as hot drinks and cocktails. The a la carte menu will offer traditional French-Mediterranean cuisine with a modern twist.
Horsham nightclub closes after building is sold to new owners: A nightclub in Horsham, West Sussex, has closed after the building it was based was sold to new owners. Ambar took over the unit, below Horsham Superbowl in Albion Way, more than a year ago, reports the West Sussex County Times. The company said on its Facebook page: “The building we are in has been sold to new owners and as such, Ambar will not be operated by the same team. Thank you to every single person who has supported the venue since we relaunched it going from 30 or 40 people on a Saturday night (whilst Chameleon) right up to full house events pretty much every week! We, the promotions team behind the rebrand and operation of the venue are now looking for suitable units in and around Horsham where we can relocate! We are not sure if/when the current nightclub will reopen but we wish the very best to the new operators.”
Mellors catering manager wins Big School Bake Off title: Mellors Catering Services catering manager Sarah Levenson has won the Big School Bake Off final. Levenson scooped the title by preparing afternoon tea to impress the judges in the contest, run by Unilever Food Solutions, at Unilever House, Surrey. As well as the title of Big School Bake Off champion 2016, Levenson also won a day with head judge Jo Wheatley, winner of the television Bake Off programme, at her school, where she will host a baking extravaganza. Mellors marketing manager Helen Roughley said: “We are incredibly proud of what Sarah has achieved. She is such a talented catering manager and so humble with it – she really deserves this accolade. Mellors Catering Services has a history of talented women bakers, including the Mellors bakery founder Amelia Jane Ashworth, and Sarah is no exception.” Mellors Catering Services operates across the north of England.