CG Restaurants & Bars acquires ninth Dirty Martini site: CG Restaurants & Bars has announced the continued growth of its Dirty Martini brand, with the addition of a ninth site, this time in the City of London – it has acquired Mary-Jane’s from the Mint Group. CG will invest £1.2m to transform the 6,500 square foot Minories venue into the group’s ninth Dirty Martini. Mint Group will focus on the roll-out of its restaurant business Mommi and all Mary-Jane’s staff will transfer to CG Restaurants & Bars. Scott Matthews, chief executive at Dirty Martini, said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Dirty Martini. Over the past three years we have had outstanding success in the City, growing by 8% year-to-date versus 2015 and we strongly feel that Dirty Martini Minories will be a great addition to the portfolio.” The bar group currently operates seven sites across London in Bishopsgate, Clapham, Covent Garden, Hanover Square, Islington, Monument and St Paul’s and will open its first site outside London – in Cardiff – in October.
Brunswick Developments confirms Brighton Marina lettings to Five Guys and MOD Pizza: Brunswick Developments, represented by agent Savills, has confirmed it has let restaurant space at Marina Boardwalk in Brighton to Five Guys and MOD Pizza. The scheme forms part of the new mixed-use West Quay development at Brighton Marina, which is due for completion this month. Five Guys and MOD Pizza have both agreed new 15-year leases, with the former taking a 3,288 square foot (305 square metre) unit at a rent of £115,080 per annum and the latter a 2,943 square foot (273 square metre) unit at a rent of £103,000 per annum. The deals follow recent lettings at West Quay to TGI Friday’s, Casa Brasil, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas. At 127 acres (51 hectares), Brighton Marina is the largest marina complex in Europe and one of the biggest leisure schemes in the south east of England. It is home to an eight screen Cineworld, Rendezvous Casino and numerous multiple restaurant brands, including Café Rouge, Coast to Coast, Zizzi, Nando’s, Prezzo, Frankie & Benny’s, Wetherspoons and Pizza Express. The West Quay development has created an additional seven restaurant units and more than 850 high-end apartments. Carlene Hughes, associate director of the leisure team at Savills, said: “Five Guys and MOD Pizza will further strengthen the restaurant offer at Marina Boardwalk and enhance Brighton Marina’s reputation as one the UK’s premier leisure schemes. Talks are under way about letting the last remaining unit and we look forward to announcing more details in due course.” Montagu Evans acted for Five Guys and MOD Pizza.
Domino’s launches hybrid burger-pizza in India: Domino’s Pizza has taken its fight for the quick service restaurant sector in India to the burger realm by launching a hybrid burger-pizza. The cunningly named BurgerPizza will hit Domino’s stores in India this week. The BurgerPizza comes in two vegetarian and non-vegetarian variants. Unlike most burgers, it doesn’t have a patty but is loaded with herbs, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and is oven-baked. Dev Amritesh, president and chief business officer of Domino’s Pizza India, told The Economic Times: “It only looks like a burger, but has all the goodness of a pizza inside.” The branded foodservice industry in India is set to reach $8bn by 2020, according to a recent Euromonitor consumer food service report. In terms of the quick service restaurant market share, burgers occupy 29.9%, compared with 26.7% for pizzas. Abraham Koshy, professor of marketing at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, said he believed brand loyalty for Domino’s had outgrown product loyalty for pizzas. He said: “By launching burgers, Domino’s will make itself product independent.”
Pint Shop to create special brew for Oxford opening: Pint Shop, the award-winning Cambridge beer house that specialises in meat, bread and beer, is collaborating with De Molen Brewery, a Netherlands-based craft brewer, to brew a beer to celebrate the opening of its second site in Oxford later in the year. The collaboration comes after Pint Shop brewed a gin and tonic beer with Nene Valley brewery earlier this year, which proved hugely successful. The Pint Shop team will head to De Molen Brewery this month to brew Grapefruit Pale Ale to be sold at its new site. De Molen is an award-winning brewery with a list of accolades, including being rated tenth out of 100 in RateBeer’s “Best Brewers in the World”. This partnership also adds to a long list of renowned collaborations for De Molen brewery, including with Redchurch Brewery and Brew By Numbers. Pint Shop co-owner Rich Holmes said: “We really enjoyed visiting Nene Valley to brew our gin and tonic beer earlier this year, and can’t wait for this trip to De Molen. Our plan is to partner with two different brewers each year to produce a series of outstanding beers. The last beer was a huge success with the people of Cambridge and we hope the next brew will be equally as popular with our new customers in Oxford. We’ll certainly look to continue to create beers to tie in with special events, and also our expanding site portfolio.”
Restaurant opportunities available in new Swansea leisure quarter: Agent Davis Coffer Lyons has brought the last two A3 units at the new City Gates restaurant and leisure quarter in the centre of Swansea to market. The units have flexible sizes, ranging from 3,010 square feet to 15,715 square feet. The City Gates complex already features a 12-screen Vue multiplex cinema, a 116-bedroom Premier Inn, and restaurants including TGI Friday’s, The Restaurant Group-owned Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito’s, Nando’s, and American-style burgers and ribs concept Smoke Haus. The complex also has its own 255-space multi-storey car park and is close to the city’s universities. Davis Coffer Lyons associate director Connie Start said: “We are seeking two further food and beverage operators to complement the mix and create a dynamic tenant line-up at the scheme. The City Gates has a prominent city centre position, close to the Waterfront Marina and within easy walking distance of the National Waterfront Museum and the indoor water park.”
Koh Thai Tapas to launch 11th site with Romsey restaurant opening this month: Koh Thai Tapas will open its 11th site, this time in Romsey, Hampshire, on Thursday, 28 July. The opening, on the site of the former Berties restaurant, will come within weeks of the company launching its Koh Noi concept in Winchester. The 80-cover Romsey restaurant will offer several smaller dishes, including 24-Hour Ribs, Jungle Curry, and Special Crispy Squid. For busy office workers there will be a “Light Lunch – Eat in 30 Minutes” menu offering a selection of healthy dishes for less than £10, served from midday to 3pm. Koh Thai Tapas chief executive Andrew Lennox said: “Romsey is a fantastic addition to the Koh Thai Tapas brand. Customers from Romsey visiting our Ringwood and Salisbury restaurants have been pestering me to open for some time – and it’s finally happened.” Lennox predicted Koh Thai would be a hit with families during the school holidays, with a focus on reasonably priced healthy eating combined with a “dining experience” for the parent as well as their offspring. Kevin Marsh, from Savills, acted on behalf of Koh Tai in the Romsey deal. The first Koh Thai restaurant opened in Boscombe, Dorset, in 2009. Its 12th site is expected to open later this year.
New British small plate concept Grain launches in Colchester: New concept Grain, a restaurant featuring a menu focused on British food offered in small plates, has opened in Colchester, Essex. Paul Wendholt and Jordan Sidwell opened the venue in North Hill on the site of the former Hudson and Hudson restaurant. Its British menu replaces the conventional three-course meal with five or more starter-sized plates under four different headings – garden, water, land, and sweet. The cost is reflected in the smaller portions so diners can afford to experiment. The owners’ vision is to have an immersive workforce, with front-of-house staff comfortable in the kitchen and chefs who happily chat with guests. Wendholt told the Daily Gazette: “It doesn’t matter to us whether we’re hugely busy straight away because what we’re doing is so different and we also need to understand how our back-of-house systems work and what we expect from ourselves and our staff.”
Krispy Kreme opens drive-thru doughnut store and production hub in Peterborough: Krispy Kreme has opened a drive-thru doughnut store and production hub in Peterborough. The company opened the 4,577 square foot Hotlight site in Hampton having previously agreed a deal with landlord Sladen Estates. The venue has about 40 seats, a drive-thru lane and a production hub supplying doughnuts to all Krispy Kreme in-store cabinets within a one-hour radius. The new venue is one of only 11 Hotlight sites in the country. It opens from 8am and also serves coffee and Kreme shakes. Chief marketing officer Judith Denby told the Peterborough Telegraph: “Our Hotlight stores provide the ultimate way for doughnut-lovers to experience the joy and excitement of Krispy Kreme. It will allow customers to see and smell the magic at work in its unique doughnut theatre – a true sensory experience. From hand-dipping the doughnuts to sprinkling and piping the decorative finishes, Krispy Kreme’s skilled production teams will be working around the clock to ensure each doughnut in its 16-strong range is unique and tastes delicious.”
Family-run business opens vegetarian Indian restaurant, second Norwich site: The husband-and-wife team that operates the Namaste India vegetarian restaurant in Norwich has opened a second site in the city. Vijay and Urmila Jetani will open Namaste Village in Queens Road with Vijay’s brother Dalsukh, his wife Drashti and friend Rudhika Vaghasiya. Vijay Jetani told the Eastern Daily Press: “The family aspect is one of our biggest strengths – the business keeps us together as a family, we all work as a unit, all live together in one house and share lots of the same philosophies. Everybody who cooks learned through their mothers – watching, experimenting and tasting. This means we have authentic Indian recipes that are unique to our family.” Like Namaste India, the restaurant offers only vegetarian food, with several vegan and gluten-free dishes. Vijay Jetani added: “We are all vegetarians, so I would not feel true to our principles serving meat dishes when we don’t eat it ourselves.”
Star Pubs & Bars reports 17% increase in applications for its pubs: Star Pubs & Bars has seen a 17% increase in applications for its pubs in the first six months of 2016. This has made it the busiest half-year ever for applications, with interest in taking on a Star pub at a three-year high year in June. Experienced pub operators accounted for 40% of applicants, while those with wider hospitality experience accounted for 17%. To encourage applicants from outside the pub industry, Star is increasing the level of one-to-one support at the start of the application process. The extra support will help those without licensing experience understand what is involved in running a pub prior to putting together detailed business plans for their interviews. Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “We are seeing strong applicants coming forward, often with hospitality experience or a business management background. It is important as an industry we continue to look at ways to attract and support these prospective licensees as they have the skills needed and bring fresh ideas and energy to the industry.”
Intu Bromley opens alfresco dining area and extends opening hours to boost night-time footfall: Intu has opened an alfresco dining area at its Bromley shopping centre and extended retailers’ opening hours in a bid to boost night-time footfall. Retailers at Intu Bromley have extended their opening hours until 7pm to attract the expected rise in visitors to the restaurant terrace, where casual dining brands including better burger brand Byron, Carluccio’s, Giraffe, Wagamama, and YO! Sushi will now open until 11pm. Car parks at the centre will also remain open later – until midnight. The extension, which is also the second UK site for American pizza brand Project Pie, forms part of Intu’s £600m, three-year development programme to bring new leisure facilities to its shopping centres. Intu regional director Rebecca Ryman said: “I’m delighted our retailers are embracing the improvements these new restaurants are set to bring Intu Bromley’s trading by staying open later as this will attract new customers from further and for longer.”
IOVOX and liveRES unite for slice of PizzaExpress bookings: Online booking service liveRES and call tracking and analytics specialist IOVOX have joined forces to provide PizzaExpress with a fully integrated online and telephone-based table reservations system. liveRES, which is part of Zonal Retail Data Systems, won the online reservations account following a competitive pitch. A key part of its success was the flexibility of the liveRES system to integrate with IOVOX’s over-the-phone booking service. The new system will be rolled out across the 450-strong PizzaExpress estate and means customers can make bookings 24 hours a day online or by telephone. The cloud-based platform will also allow PizzaExpress to access booking statistics and fully automate its reservations and table management. Olivia FitzGerald, liveRES managing director, said: “The combined insights created by liveRES and IOVOX will enable PizzaExpress to become ever more agile and react to customer behaviours as people become increasingly mobile. Smartphones and internet access have led customers to make bookings on the go, so it makes sense for restaurants to match demand and adopt technology that helps deliver the ultimate customer service.”
D&D London offering ethical water brand at all sites: Restaurant Group D&D London is selling ethical bottled brand One Water at its 35 sites in a move to help transform five million lives by 2020. Profits from One Water sales fund sustainable water projects, with more than £14m already raised to provide clean, safe water to more than three million people in the world’s poorest communities. By selling glass bottles of still and sparkling One Water, D&D London has become a key supporter, with the aim to help The One Brand hit a target of raising £20m for water projects by 2020. The One Brand founder and managing director Duncan Goose said: “More than two million people die every year from waterborne diseases and most are children under five years old. By serving One Water, D&D London and its customers are helping us to make a real difference on the other side of the world. It’s that simple.”
Plans submitted for new micro-pub in Peterborough: Plans to convert a vacant shop into a micro-pub have been lodged with Peterborough City Council. The applicant, Steven Williams, has filed a change of use application to convert 78 Storrington Way. The unit is in a residential area in Werrington and is part of a parade of shops serving the area. The property has been empty for a number of years. In planning documents submitted to the city council, the applicant said the venture would complement the existing businesses within the parade of shops and might provide them with “additional trade”. The application further added that the scheme would “fully respect the local amenity” and would not have an “undue or unacceptable impact on local people or businesses”. The micro-pub would be open from Wednesday to Sunday.
The Duck Truck opens at Boxpark Shoreditch, second London site: The Duck Truck has launched an “all-duck casual dining experience to eat in or take away” at Boxpark Shoreditch, the company’s second London site. The menu includes rotisserie-cooked crispy duck wraps, crispy duck salads, brioche duck buns, duck breast steaks, confit duck leg, and duck fat chips. The concept is the brainchild of Ed Farrell, who opened the first Duck Truck in a permanently sited Airstream caravan in Lamb Street, Spitalfields, in 2012. Farrell said: “Duck is such a misunderstood meat in the UK and my mission is to put duck on everyone’s plate. Ducks are raised with high welfare standards and the meat is so tasty. It’s the healthy option too, less fatty than chicken when comparing the meat and the fat has similar properties to olive oil.”
Gin brand owner to open first bar: The company behind Langley’s No 8 Gin has selected Birmingham as the location for its first bar. Charter Brands will launch the venue in Great Western Arcade later this year. It has agreed a lease on units 32 and 33, which total 1,700 square feet. Charter Brands director Mark Dawkins said: “We have worked hard to build the Langley’s brand over the past few years and we’ve seen the city of Birmingham take real pride and ownership in it, so it makes absolute sense that our first permanent bar is situated in the heart of the city centre. The buzz around gin shows no sign of abating and consumers’ thirst to learn more about the history of the product, coupled with the growth of experiential events, makes this the right time for us to do this.” James Roberts, centre manager at Great Western Arcade, added: “Over the past two years, we have repositioned the Great Western Arcade as the home of retail pioneers. Adding this bar to our existing offering reaffirms our position in the retail market and we’re delighted they have chosen the arcade as the home of their first permanent retail venture. We welcome about 100,000 visitors a week from across the shopping and commercial quarters, which puts us in the best position for retailers looking to target both markets.” Refurbishment work on the two retail units are now under way. Langley’s No 8 Gin is distilled in Oldbury, near West Bromwich.
Where The Pancakes Are pop-up to launch permanent London Bridge restaurant: Popular pop-up and street food trader Where The Pancakes Are will open its first permanent restaurant – at Flat Iron Square, London Bridge, in September. The brainchild of Patricia Trijbits, the restaurant will offer sweet and savoury pancakes, from breakfast buttermilk stacks to buckwheat blinis, served with a selection of craft ciders and prosecco. Along with simple pancake stacks served with chocolate sauce, maple-agave syrup and butter, or lemon and sugar, the menu will also include the “American” (smoked streaky bacon and blueberries), “Australian” (roast corn, grilled tomatoes, creme fraiche, preserved lemon, avocado and spinach), and “Hummingbird” (caramelised pineapple, toasted almonds, coconut, lime syrup and mint). There will also be a menu section dedicated to blinis, including buckwheat with salmon and creme fraiche or mackerel and salsa verde toppings, Hot Dinners reports.
MeatUp opens in Wandsworth: MeatUp has opened in Wandsworth Town, bringing “the British barbecue indoors”. Located in Old York Road, the all-day restaurant and late-night bar was created by former nightclub owner Sachin Khanna (Libertine and Raffles). Head chef Stephen Hinkley, who arrives via Meatopia and Foxlow (Hawksmoor Group), has created a menu based on British ingredients, working with some of the best butchers and farmers in the country.