Cubitt House launches fifth London gastro-pub, in Marylebone: London-based gastro-pub operator Cubitt House, whose sites include The Grazing Goat and The Thomas Cubitt, has launched The Coach Makers Arms in Marylebone for its fifth site in the capital. The three-story venue in Marylebone Lane had been closed since September but has now opened following a major refurbishment and features a ground-floor bar, first-floor restaurant and an underground cocktail bar. The gastro-pub offers seasonal food alongside beer on tap and in bottles, an “eclectic wine list” and cocktails. Executive chef Leigh Hartnett has created an all-day menu with an emphasis on daily specials, while the venue can be booked for private functions. Last month, Cubitt House reported turnover down 4.2% on a like-for-like basis to £10,621,481 for the year to 31 December 2016. Pre-tax profit was £476,252, compared with a loss of £1,642,678 the year before when the company had exceptional administrative costs of £2,089,117. The most recent year saw the exceptional administrative expense drop to £122,413. Cubitt House’s other gastro-pubs are The Orange and The Alfred Tennyson.
Julian Metcalfe – rising fast food prices can help Itsu crack US market: Julian Metcalfe has said the rising costs that are forcing US fast food operators to increase prices could help his mission to crack the market with healthy Asian food chain Itsu. The brand, which offers low-calorie food from Japan and Korea for less than £10, will start work on its first US restaurant on New Year’s Day in New York’s fashion district. Metcalfe wants to repeat the success of Pret A Manger, which he co-founded and took to America. He told The Mail on Sunday: “I had a ‘signature’ burger from McDonald’s the other day. It was £6 or £7. I was thrilled. The fried food giants are doing well but will they be in 25 years? Doctors used to smoke and tell you it was good for you and would calm your nerves. Do you really think we’re all going to be stuffing our faces with fried processed food in 50 years’ time? Not a chance.”
BrewDog offers £25,000 in shares as international bar hunter finder’s fee: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is offering shares worth £25,000 for anyone who nominates a site that is turned into an international bar or brewpub. Regarding international bar sites, the company is looking for a 300 to 400 square metre bar area with the majority of space on the ground floor and in a city centre or “up and coming area”. Corner sites with “lots of glazing” and those with external seating space are particularly sought. BrewDog is seeking similar assets for its brewpub sites, except they should be 400 to 700 square metres and in an “industrial or utilitarian location”. The company stated: “If you know of a location for an international BrewDog bar or brewpub let us know. If we open in it, you can score an epic reward – £25,000 of BrewDog shares, free.” The company is accepting submissions until Saturday, 30 December. BrewDog is currently operating its Equity for Punks V crowdfunding campaign during a period of major international expansion. The company is looking to raise £10m, with the potential to extend to £50m, by releasing 421,052 new B shares. So far, the campaign has raised more than £6.1m and will close on 15 January. Shares cost £23.75 each and are issued in blocks of two, with a minimum investment of two shares for £47.50.
Spanish operator in talks to acquire Elegant Hotels for more than £100m: Elegant Hotels Group, in which leisure sector investor Luke Johnson has a 12.5% stake, has received a bid approach from Meliá Hotels International, of Spain. The Times said it understands Meliá is set to make an estimated 120p-a-share bid, valuing the group at about £107m. Elegant Hotels owns and operates seven luxury hotels in Barbados as well as celebrity haunt Daphne’s Restaurant on the island. Meliá, which was founded in Palma 61 years ago by the Escarrer family, has 370 hotels in 43 countries and has outlined ambitious expansion plans. It is listed on the Spanish bourse and has a market value of about €2.5bn. The approach comes as Elegant takes its first steps beyond Barbados. Last year it secured a management contract for Hodges Bay Resort in Antigua and recently signed a marketing and sales services agreement with the Landings Resort And Spa in St Lucia. It also continues to look at opportunities on Barbados and acquired the 35-room Treasure Beach Hotel in May. Johnson became a non-executive director of Elegant Hotels earlier this year and owns 11.1 million shares. When he joined, chairman Simon Sherwood said: “We see significant potential for continuing to enhance the food and beverage offering within our portfolio, and Luke’s expertise in that sector will therefore be particularly valuable.” Neither company was available to comment.
Italian vegan food stall closes crowdfunding campaign after raising £160,000 to open permanent London site: Italian vegan food stall Pomodoro e Basilico has closed its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after passing its £150,000 target. The concept, founded by self-taught vegan chef Sara Mittersteiner, was offering a 20% equity stake in return for the investment, with the funds used towards opening London’s first Italian vegan deli-bistro. The campaign raised £163,000 from 451 investors and has now closed. The largest investment was £10,100. The pitch stated: “At the heart of our business is a popular vegan deli-bistro, born with the aim to fill a gap in the market for great, Italian-inspired vegan delis. It’s now time to open our first fixed premises in the heart of London. Previously trading as a sole trader, Pomodoro e Basilico has demonstrated multiple revenue streams including market stall sales, supper clubs, cooking classes and events, online and wholesale orders, festivals (UK and US), and recipe development. Now a limited company, the addition of a bricks-and-mortar location will provide the opportunity for in-shop sales of food, in-house events and office catering, and expansion of our popular online and wholesale revenue streams. This investment will be used to secure a location in London, including refitting costs, salaries, marketing, equipment, furnishings, insurance, accounting services and six months’ working capital. We have a four to six-year exit strategy and anticipate investors could make a return on investment via share repurchase in future funding rounds or in secondary markets and/or mergers and acquisitions or friendly sale.” Last week, Mittersteiner said she was in talks over a site in Fulham. She said: “It’s early in the negotiations phase but I am having serious conversations regarding taking over this premises.”
Former Kitty Fisher’s head chef reveals more details of Shoreditch solo venture: Tomos Parry, former head chef of Kitty Fisher’s in Mayfair, is to open his first solo restaurant in the spring. Parry, whose trademark method is cooking over an open fire, will launch Brat, a colloquial term for “turbot”, in Redchurch Street, drawing on his Welsh heritage and influences from the Basque region. The menu will feature seasonal British produce cooked on an open-fire wood grill, including cedarwood sea trout with Jersey cream and river herbs; wild mussel and cockle soup; and offal hot pot with laver bread and potatoes. The first-floor restaurant will feature art deco wood panelling and large steel-frame windows. The open kitchen and ovens will sit at the heart of the room, surrounded by a counter bar with high stools. Parry will collaborate on the wine list with Keeling Andrew & Co, the new wine import company set up by the founders of Noble Rot. Parry said: “Since leaving Kitty’s I’ve been working closely with farmers and fishermen to create a menu structured around native ingredients at the peak of their season. For me, the simple pleasure of eating well is what Brat is all about. It’s a place I would want to eat – whether that is one dish with a glass of wine at lunch or settling in at the counter for a few hours.”
Parisian healthy fast food brand Cojean opens second UK site, in Mayfair: Cojean, the Parisian healthy fast food operation, has opened its second UK site, in Mayfair. The two-storey venue has launched in Berkeley Street with 34 covers on the ground floor and 24 on the lower ground. The decor follows Cojean’s signature style of clean lines with cool blues and crisp whites, pops of colour and messaging on the walls spelling out Cojean’s “ten values”. The breakfast menu includes eggs, muffins, pastries and porridge, while the main menu includes a range of soup, salads and sandwiches. The venue’s juice bar offers acai bowls alongside fruit, vegetable and super juices. Cojean’s first UK site opened in Ludgate Hill in the City of London in 2015. The company, which has 26 sites in Paris, gives 10% of its profits to its charity, the Nourrir Aimer Foundation, which aims to fight poverty in some of the poorest communities in the world.
Burger Priest to launch third site, in Harlow next week: Burger Priest, the church-themed burger restaurant concept launched by Bar Sport founder Scott Murray, is to open its third site, this time in Harlow, Essex. The venue will open at The Harvey Centre on Monday, 11 December with diners sitting on church pews and choosing dishes from hymn board menus. The toilets will resemble confession boxes, while the franchise restaurant will offer a wide range of premium burgers made from 100% Aberdeen Angus beef, alongside a takeaway service. The handmade burgers are preservative, hormone, steroid and gluten free and made fresh on site. They are served on a brioche bun with fresh salad and hand-cut fries, with gluten-free buns also an option. Milkshakes are made with organic ice-cream from a farm in the Cotswolds, while organic wine and craft beer will also be on offer. Burger Priest national franchise manager Keith Fox told Essex Live: “The Harvey Centre is a fantastic leisure and retail complex and we are delighted to be there. The restaurant is costing £250,000 to open and we have created 20 jobs in the process, which is excellent for the local economy.” Murray launched the concept in Wolverhampton in May 2016, opening a second site, in Chatham, Kent, in December.
Gusto opens £1m Sutton Coldfield site: Premium casual dining restaurant brand Gusto, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, has opened its latest site, in Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands. The 156-cover, 4,000 square foot restaurant and cocktail bar has launched at the Mulberry Walk development in Mere Green following a £1m investment and creating more than 50 jobs. The venue also features an outside terrace seating 40 diners. Managing director Sue Crimes told the Birmingham Mail: “Mere Green is a really exciting development for us. We believe our restaurant ethos meets the demographics of the area. Birmingham has been a critical part of our development plan and we are delighted to expand into Sutton Coldfield.” Palatine Private Equity supported Crimes and the management team in a management buyout of Gusto from Living Ventures in 2014. Last month, the company told Propel it aims to open three sites in the south of England in the next 18 months having established itself across the north west, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Scotland. Gusto opened its first London-based restaurant, in Chislehurst, in the summer. Sutton Coldfield is its 19th site in total.
Former Chancery head chef launches sharing plates concept in Clerkenwell for debut solo site: Yuma Hashemi, former head chef of London’s The Chancery, has launched sharing plates concept The Drunken Butler in Clerkenwell for his debut solo site. Hashemi has drawn on his experience from working around the world to create a menu that is loosely French-themed but with a Persian and Korean twist and a lot of curing, preserving, salting and fermenting. The Drunken Butler has opened in Rosebery Avenue offering dishes such as salt-pickled vegetables with wild sorrel and borani, a Persian-style omelette called coucou sabzi, and pigeon and couscous pastille, Hot Dinners reports. Speciality, barista-served coffee also plays a central role in the restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner and seats 30 diners with space for six outside. Hashemi has also worked in his home town of Berlin as well as Sweden, Portugal, Bordeaux, Chicago and San Francisco.
FullClear extends £250,000 crowdfunding campaign, reveals new agreements with operators: Beer line-cleaner business FullClear has extended its £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube by two weeks due to ongoing conversations with investors, while it has revealed details of new agreements with operators. The company, whose customers include Admiral Taverns, Hawthorn Leisure and Tokyo Industries, is offering a 12.82% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 135 investors have pledged £129,070 with 20 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £15,000. FullClear is a scientifically formulated beer line-cleaning solution that is non-corrosive, non-toxic and non-hazardous, allowing safe, monthly beer line cleaning, the company said. It will use the investment to further its expansion in the UK and globally alongside building its sales and marketing capabilities. FullClear also has an exclusive partnership with beer quality and waste management systems company Vianet, allowing operators “total oversight over their line-cleaning processes”. FullClear stated: “November was our most successful month to date, which is only set to increase as we begin to get more of the Admiral estate on board each week. We are also in the process of actioning the pilots and getting other customers and pub companies on board in light of successful meetings in the past fortnight. Meetings with Butcombe, Brakspear, Red Oak Taverns and Revolution Group, to name a few, have resulted in the go-ahead for roll-out on successful pilot. Talks with two franchise operators that have successfully managed large-scale operations in the UK and in the US are in full effect. We are well attuned to the managed service market within dispense and other sectors and, while we currently operate through a subscription model, we believe this is a route most definitely worth pursuing.”
Former Viajante chef launches Londrino in London Bridge for first solo site: Portuguese chef Leandro Carreira, formerly of Viajante and Lyle’s, has launched his first solo restaurant. Carreira has opened Londrino in the Snowsfields Yard development in London Bridge, with a menu influenced by the flavours of Portugal and an emphasis on seafood. Dishes include octopus with red pepper miso; and beef maronesa and mackerel with savoy cabbage and smoked seaweed butter. Alongside a regional Portuguese cheese trolley, desserts include grilled soaked brioche with sour caramel and hazelnuts. The space, which features hand-painted tiles on the walls, is split into a 70-cover restaurant and a wine bar for a further 30 people and a small plates menu. There is also an outside terrace. The wine list features small, craft producers from Europe. Carreira told Hot Dinners: “The menu will evolve every week and will reflect the many influences of my culinary experiences.” Carreira trained at World’s 50 Best restaurant Mugaritz in Spain before heading to London where he was head chef at Nuno Mendes’ Viajante before moving on to Lyle’s, Koya and Climpsons Arch.
Cafe bar concept Bear opens second site, in Derby: Staffordshire-based cafe bar concept Bear has opened its second site, in Derby. Craig Bunting and Michael Thorley launched the concept in Uttoxeter in January 2016. Now they have opened a 4,500 square foot venue in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter following a nine-month fit-out, creating 30 jobs. Bear combines speciality coffee and fresh seasonal food during the day, while offering cocktails, craft beer, wine and informal dining during the evening. Bunting said: “We’re hugely excited to open our new store in Derby – the city where Michael and I shopped and skateboarded as kids. Our vision for Bear is to combine high-quality coffee served by skilled, passionate staff during the day with an alternative bar experience in the evenings.” Bunting previously said the company was working to expand throughout the Midlands, building to 30 stores nationwide during the next five years. Bear secured £136,000 investment from HSBC’s recently launched £10bn SME fund ahead of the Derby opening.
Mixology Events launches cocktail den beneath Shoreditch venue TT Liquor: Mixology Events, which is led by Alastair Tatton and Stephen Thompson, has launched a “cocktail den” below its TT Liquor venue in Shoreditch. The Cellar Bar features a cocktail menu reflecting drinks from four historical eras – Belle Époque, Noble Experiment, Boom To Bust, and Our Time. Drinks include The Groglet (Plymouth Navy Gin with jasmine tea, marmalade, lime juice, soda and syrup), inspired by the Gimlet cocktail in the late 1800s; and The Madison (vodka, Belsazar Dry Vermouth and vinegar) inspired by 1920s America. The Cellar Bar opening marks the launch of TT Liquor’s “Cocktail Journeys” experience, in which customers sample one cocktail from each era, paired with a small plates menu. TT (Tatton & Thompson) Liquor is housed in a former 18th century police station and is set across four floors. The upper levels host supper clubs, events and experiences, including cocktail-making classes.
Starboard acquires hotel in Lake District National Park: Starboard Hotels has acquired the Windermere Hotel in the Lake District National Park for an undisclosed sum. The venue was put on the market by joint agents GVA and Colliers International for offers above £1.5m on behalf of clients the Guide Dogs charity. The 35-bedroom hotel is set in three acres of woodland close to Bowness-on-Windermere and will continue to provide holiday accommodation for the visually impaired and partially sighted. Starboard Hotels is one of the hospitality sector’s fastest-growing, privately-owned operators of multi-branded hotels and has a portfolio of 14 hotels across the UK under leading brands including Holiday Inn Express, Best Western, Days Inn and Ibis. Managing director Paul Callingham said: “We intend to sympathetically restore the hotel, maintaining the great facilities that already exist for people with sight loss and their families, alongside offering superb facilities for everyone to enjoy.”
LoveWineOnTap.com signs deals with Crust Bros and GB Pizza Co: LoveWineOnTap.com, the first online portal dedicated to delivering quality wine in one-way kegs direct from winery to tap, has signed deals with pizza restaurant brands Crust Bros and GB Pizza Co. The company’s wine will be available at Crust Bros’ restaurant in Waterloo, London, and GB Pizza Co’s venues in Margate in Kent, and Didsbury, Manchester. Crust Bros will offer two varieties of wine while GB Pizza Co will offer four. GB Pizza Co manager Stacey Goldsmith said: “We are always looking for ways to provide excellent customer service and LoveWineOnTap.com does just this. Not only are the taps more cost-effective and efficient but each wine has a great taste too, which our customers will love.” Last month, LoveWineOnTap.com agreed a deal with Whitbread to introduce its offer at the company’s new Cookhouse and Pub concept.
Hospitality consultant publishes ‘phrase book’ on art of leadership: Mark Ashley, who founded his eponymous consultancy two years ago to support and develop hospitality people and businesses, has published a “phrase book” on the art of management and leadership. The book, which will “make individuals and teams more productive”, has key threads running through it including time and people management, communication, management and leadership behaviours, and running your own business. Ashley is also co-founder of Maricks Hospitality, which focuses on transforming businesses to assist private equity firms, venture capitalists and hospitality businesses get the best results