Novus Leisure begins expansion of Tank & Paddle concept with second City site, third venue set for October launch: London bar and restaurant operator Novus Leisure has started expansion of its Tank & Paddle concept by opening a second site in the City, in Bishopsgate, following the launch of a debut site in Mincing Lane in November. The concept focuses on hand-stretched pizza and craft tank beer. The new 120-cover restaurant and bar spans 3,500 square feet following the £250,000 refurbishment of a former Rocket Restaurant site. Sales at the Mincing Lane site have risen more than 30% leading Novus to start building an extension to accommodate a further 90 covers and an additional bar. The company said it was already looking to launch a third Tank & Paddle site, in the West End in October. Novus Leisure chief executive Toby Smith said: “We have successfully spread our love of craft beer and everything it stands for, with 3,000 Instagram followers now talking our ‘tanktastic’ language. We therefore look forward to amplifying this triumph by extending our craft culture to Bishopsgate and beyond.” Novus Leisure was founded in 1999 and operates 43 venues including ten Balls Brothers sites. It employs more than 2,500 staff.
Oakman reports on estate progress as it opens 20th site: Oakman Inns and Restaurants has reported on progress across its estate following the opening of the company’s 20th site. The company has launched The Anchor in the village of Hullbridge in Essex having acquired the site from private vendors in an off-market deal brokered by Paul Breen, of agent Savills. Oakman chief executive Peter Borg-Neal said: “This is a superb pub and a very exciting addition to the Oakman Inns group. We look forward to working closely with the very talented team at The Anchor.” Oakman has also reported on “considerable progress” across its estate. Work has started on a £1.8m development of The Cherry Tree in Olney, Buckinghamshire, which is expected to open in the first quarter of 2018. Planning permission has been gained for a major redevelopment of The Royal Foresters in Ascot, Berkshire. Work on the £5.2m project will begin as soon as some pre-commencement conditions have been discharged with the opening expected to be in April 2018. Following the acquisition of a neighbouring building, work has commenced on a £600,000 project to extend and refurbish its flagship site – The Akeman in Tring, Hertfordshire. The site, which is run by Borg-Neal’s son Eamonn, was the first Oakman inn and celebrates its tenth anniversary in December. On completion of this project, Oakman will have refurbished all its first five sites during the past two years – The Akeman; The Old Post Office in Wallingford, Oxfordshire; The Red Lion in Water End, Bedfordshire; The Kings Arms in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire; and The Blue Boar in Witney, Oxfordshire. Meanwhile, The Betsey Wynne in the village of Swanbourne in Buckinghamshire will reopen on Friday (18 August) after a £1.3m development to extend and upgrade the property that Oakman began 18 months ago.
New World Trading Company launches Canal House concept in Birmingham: New World Trading Company (NWTC), which is backed by Graphite Capital, has launched The Canal House concept in Birmingham. The Canal House, which is NWTC’s sixth concept and 18th site in total, takes inspiration from James Brindley. Based at the former James Brindley pub in Bridge Street, the new venue honours the life and work of the renowned 18th century engineer. The food centres on a rotisserie with grilled meat alongside a deli board. As well as 60 world ales and Budvar’s unpasteurised tank beer Tankové Pivo, there is also a cocktail menu. General manager Liam Carney said: “Birmingham is a great city with lots of ambition and passion. By delving into the rich history and heritage of this amazing location, we’ve created a fantastic concept that we are confident locals will enjoy. Not only does this venue have two floors and an outdoor seating area, there is also a secret gin distillery at the back of the first-floor bar.” Meanwhile, NWTC has agreed a long-term lease at The Oast House in Manchester and unveiled plans to transform the public space outside the Spinningfields pub. The plans for Crown Square include a raised fire pit directly in front of the main building, two new permanent outdoor bars and relocating the stage to create more alfresco dining space. NWTC also operates The Botanist, The Smugglers Cove, The Club House and The Trading House. Earlier this month it launched mobile cocktail bar The Wanderer aimed at weddings and festivals.
James Clay reports turnover nears £30m but profits drop: Craft beer importer James Clay has reported turnover increased to £29,660,884 for the year ending 31 March 2017, compared with £27,564,614 the previous year. Pre-tax profit fell to £1,143,711 compared with £1,867,031 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. James Clay, which has been operating since 1974, imports, distributes and builds speciality craft beer brands from Europe, America, Japan and the UK. The company stated: “We are continuing to work with several leading UK craft brewers and have seen strong growth in their sales. Since the Brexit vote in 2016, the weakening of sterling has added cost pressure to imported beers and sales have slowed as consumers look to the more competitively priced UK-brewed/local beers. The American sector remains important and we have also seen good growth of Japanese imports and, after a period of slow growth, we are also seeing a growing interest in European classic beers. When the US craft beer market reached the same stage as we are now in the UK, demand continued to rise and we expect the same to happen in our market with underlying demand from beer drinkers for new beers and beer styles. During the past financial year we moved our warehouse and offices from Elland to larger premises in Brighouse. We also acquired the business and assets of a London wholesaler and now have a small depot in the capital supplying directly to bars and shops in Greater London. We are focusing resources to strengthen our sales, marketing and brand ambassador team and will continue to strengthen our direct delivered platform.”
Fulham Shore executive directors see remuneration boosted by bonuses: Executive directors at Fulham Shore, which operates Franco Manca and The Real Greek, have seen their remuneration boosted by bonuses for the year ending 26 March 2017. Managing director Nabil Mankarious received remuneration of £299,000, consisting of £196,000 salary and £103,000 bonus. Finance director Nick Wong was paid a total of £266,000, made up of £174,000 salary and £92,000 bonus. Meanwhile, chairman David Page received remuneration of £177,000, consisting of £120,000 salary and a £57,000 bonus. No pension contributions were payable to any of the directors during the year.
Southampton-based multi-site coffee shop operator launches burger concept: Southampton-based multi-site coffee shop operator Spencer Bowman has launched a burger concept in the city. Bowman has opened Vospers at Woolston Waterside, part of the Centenary Quay development. The 2,248 square foot restaurant is in one of 12 leisure units at the scheme, where Bowman opened a fifth site for his Mettricks Coffee House in May. Vospers features high-end burgers and a drinks menu of craft beer, ales and homemade cocktails, with interiors inspired by the 1920s industrial maritime-themed venue. Bowman said: “I am thrilled we are bringing the first premium burger restaurant and crafted cocktail bar to the eastern side of the city.”
Eataly to open ‘Disneyland of food’ in October: Fico Eataly World, described as the “Disneyland of food”, is to open on Wednesday, 4 October in Bologna, Italy. Eataly has been planning the $106m venture since 2013. Fico Eataly World will cover 20 acres and feature real orchards, gardens and pastures alongside 40 restaurants, 40 factories, six virtual reality experiences, 40 workshops, full-scale theatres, and a 1,000-capacity conference centre. “Bologna and the Emilia-Romagna region have long been considered the cradle of Italy’s immense food and wine culture,” said Tiziana Primori, Eataly World chief executive, noting the area was ideally located to “offer a taste of the whole country, from Piedmont to Sicily”. Focusing on a “from field to fork” understanding of food and food production, Eataly World will offer visitors a start-to-finish insight into everything from beer and wine production to cheese-making and prosciutto dry-curing. Guests will be able to watch wheat transformed from grain to stone-ground flour to a wide array of pasta styles. About 2,000 food producers and businesses will be involved in the final iteration of the park, with many being small, artisanal companies. Admission will be free and the centre is expecting an average of six million visitors a year.
Manchester-based street food group Indian Tiffin Room gets go-ahead for Leeds site: Street food restaurant group Indian Tiffin Room, which operates two venues in Greater Manchester, has been given the go-ahead for a site in Leeds. The company has been granted permission by the city council to open a 100-capacity restaurant in Park Row, within Leeds’ financial district, which is already home to a number of well-known restaurants. The opening would create 25 jobs. Indian Tiffin Room, which has restaurants in Cheadle and Manchester city centre, has been included in The Good Food Guide and received a glowing review from Tom Parker-Bowles in the Daily Mail. The brand offers food “inspired by the bustling streets of India”, with specialities including dosa rice pancakes, thalis, chaats and kebabs. An Indian Tiffin Room spokesman told Insider Media: “We believe in our brand and look forward to bringing it to Leeds.”
Michelin-starred chef Steve Drake to open delayed Dorking restaurant next month: Michelin starred-chef Steve Drake is set to open Sorrel, his much-delayed restaurant in Dorking, Surrey, next month. Sorrel will be based in South Street inside grade II-listed, 300-year-old Little Dudley House, which owners Latchmere Properties agreed to let to Drake in January. Latchmere director Mark Eshelby told the Surrey Mirror: “We have renovated the old building and slightly extended the rear. We hope it is a long-term success, Steve has a great track record.” Drake said preparations had taken “longer than expected”, adding: “We just want everything to be 100% perfect before we open and there are a lot of people working really hard behind the scenes.” Drake gained his first Michelin star in 2001 at Drake’s On The Pond in Abinger Hammer, Surrey, before moving across the county to open Drake’s in Ripley, where he held the star for a further 14 years. He left Drake’s in August last year after divorcing from his wife, who he owned the restaurant with. He still owns The Anchor pub in Ripley, which he purchased in 2013.
The Ivy Collection gets go-ahead for York brasserie: The Ivy Collection has been given the go-ahead to open a brasserie in York. The company has been granted permission by the city council to open the venue in Helen’s Square in the former Blacks outdoor clothing shop. The site is set to open in the listed building in November, reports Insider Media. The Ivy Collection has continued its regional expansion by recently opening brasseries in Cobham in Surrey and Marlow in Buckinghamshire. It has signed a 25-year lease to open its first site in Scotland, in Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square, and is set to open further sites in Harrogate and Tunbridge Wells in the autumn.
Kent-based Turkish-style restaurant and takeaway looks to open third site, in Tunbridge Wells: Kent-based Turkish-style restaurant and takeaway Hattusa is looking to open a third site, this time in Tunbridge Wells. The company has submitted a licensing application to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to open in Camden Road at a former Piri Piri Chicken Original takeaway site. The restaurant is due to open in October and will cater for up to 40 customers. Manager Sefa Karatay told Kent Live: “Tunbridge Wells was in my mind and I found this place in Camden Road. I like the Camden Road area – it’s a nice spot to be in.” Hattusa operates a restaurant and a takeaway, both in Sevenoaks.
TGI Friday’s launches cake or shake offer for A-level and GCSE students: TGI Friday’s has launched a “cake or shake” offer for A-level and GSCE students, who are about to receive their exam results. Students will receive a free shake or slice of birthday cake with any main meal purchased. A-level results are released on Thursday (17 August), with GCSE results announced on 24 August. To claim their free menu item, guests have to download a promotional code from the TGI Friday’s app. The Birthday Cake Shake is made in-house with vanilla ice cream, hundreds and thousands, strawberry purée and whipped cream. Last week, TGI Friday’s UK reported a return to like-for-like growth after seeing a decline of 2.7% last year. The company, which is backed by Electra Partners, saw turnover increase 7.7% to £211,007,000 for the year ending 1 January 2017, compared with £193,545,000 the previous year. Ebitda grew 8.5% to £33.1m, compared with £30.5m the year before. Pre-tax losses increased slightly to £12,568,000, compared with £12,473,000 the previous year.
Greene King gets go-ahead for Farmhouse Inn site in Gloucester: Brewer and retailer Greene King has been given the go-ahead for a Farmhouse Inn site in Gloucester. The company will build the pub in Newhaven Road in Kingsway, which it hopes to open next year, after being granted permission by the city council. Greene King had originally proposed a Hungry Horse restaurant at the site but later changed its application. The two-storey building will include 73 parking spaces alongside outdoor seating and a children’s play area. A Greene King spokesman told Gloucestershire Live: “This is a great site in a growing neighbourhood and we can’t wait to get started.” Kingsway, which forms part of the former Quedgeley airfield, received planning permission in 2003 for 3,300 homes, a 40-acre employment site, community and leisure facilities, retail and sports areas and a primary school. More than 2,500 homes have been built, along with a local centre, the primary school and a community centre.
Escape room concept The Great Escape Game opens third site, second in Sheffield: Escape room concept The Great Escape Game has opened its third site – and second in Sheffield. The company has invested £350,000 in the venue at St James’ House in Vicar Lane, creating 20 jobs. It has three escape rooms and can host 48 players an hour, plus a fully licensed bar and private events area. The Great Escape Game director Hannah Duraid told Insider Media: “Our new games transport you from the reality of day-to-day life and into worlds of adventure. The three games at the new premises include not one but two rooms for the UK’s most technologically advanced game, Submerged, so two teams can play against each other, and Abducted – Sheffield’s first 18-plus horror escape game.” The Great Escape Game first opened in the city in January 2015 and also has a site in Leeds.
Old Amersham Hotels acquires sixth site: Old Amersham Hotels, which operates hotels in the Cotswold and Chiltern regions, has acquired its sixth site. The company has bought the boutique-style Number Four at Stow from sisters Caroline and Patricia Losel following a deal brokered by agents Colliers International. The contemporary Cotswolds hotel, which was on the market for £1.5m, has 18 air-conditioned bedrooms, suites and a family room. Other facilities include Cutler’s restaurant, a meeting suite, and gardens. Situated just off the Fosse Way on the junction of the A424 and A429, Number Four is within a short drive of Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water. The original building was a two-storey pub that became the Roman Court Hotel. The sisters bought the property in 2010 and completed a comprehensive refurbishment. Old Amersham Hotels director David Ashfield said: “We have six hotels, three in the Cotswolds and three more in the Chilterns providing high-quality service for the tourist and business markets. Number Four at Stow makes a great addition to our portfolio. It is a real asset and is in great shape. Our first objective will be to make sure more people know about it.”
PizzaExpress signs for Llandudno development: PizzaExpress has signed to open a site at a new retail and leisure development in Llandudno, North Wales. The company has agreed a deal for a restaurant at the Tudno Castle Hotel site, which is being redeveloped. It will take a 2,800 square foot unit on the ground floor of Tudno Point after agreeing a 25-year lease with landowner Mostyn Estates. Once complete the scheme, which is being led by developer Opus North, will feature a 63-bedroom Whitbread-owned Premier Inn, with an additional five restaurant and retail units. It is due to open in winter 2019. Opus North director Andrew Duncan told the Daily Post: “We are delighted to be welcoming a national brand such as PizzaExpress to Tudno Point. This a resounding endorsement of the development and a major boost to the local economy and to Llandudno’s retail and leisure offering.”
Grimsby-based bar owner converts nightclub for second site: Derrick Howard, who operates The Barge Inn in Grimsby, has launched cocktail bar Gulliver’s for his second site in the Lincolnshire town. Howard has taken over Gulliver’s nightclub and reopened the bar under the same name following a £600,000 investment. The new Gulliver’s has a capacity of 220 following the redesign and is open from 7pm to 3am, Tuesday to Saturday, reports the Grimsby Telegraph. The opening has created 40 jobs. The Barge Inn floating bar and restaurant is set on a former canal boat and brands itself “Grimsby’s longest-running independent pub”.
Bristol-based Burger Theory to launch first bricks and mortar site this week: Bristol-based Burger Theory is to launch its first bricks and mortar site after securing a £74,500 funding package from NatWest. The venue will open at the former Europa Italian site in St Stephen’s Street, Bristol, on Friday (18 August). Burger Theory, founded and run by Rory Perriment, Oliver Thorogood and Nicolas Makin, supplies speciality cuisine to festivals and pop-up kitchens across the UK. It also has residencies in Kongs Bar in Cardiff pairing burgers, craft beer and desserts with old-school arcade games, table football and table tennis. The business sources ingredients from across the south west, including 100% British Red Tractor-certificated meat from farms close to Devizes, fresh bread from The Proper Bread Bakery in Bristol, and dairy products from Wiltshire’s Ashton Farms. Perriment told Insider Media: “This deal will allow the business to fulfil its dream of opening a location in Bristol while continuing our commitment to the philosophy that local is better.” NatWest relationship manager Ian Dudley added: “We are confident our funding will put Burger Theory in a strong position to offer real value to the local community and produce delicious, sustainably sourced food.”
Liverpool hotel sells in off-market deal: The Pineapple Hotel in Liverpool has been sold in an off-market deal to Liverpool Construction Group for an undisclosed sum. The company has acquired the three-storey property, which had previously traded with 14 bedrooms, from Michael Simons through agents Fleurets. Liverpool Construction Group specialises in accommodation for young professionals and is looking to rebrand the hotel as high-quality shared-living accommodation, subject to planning permission. Geoff Parker, of Liverpool Construction Group, said: “We have been developing property in Liverpool for the past four years for young professionals, with more than 300 units rented. The L8 postcode is an exciting area so close to the city centre, lots of potential for redevelopment and steeped in history from the shipping trade. We already have property in our portfolio in L8 and we want to continue adding value to the area.” Simons, who owned the property for more than 25 years, added: “I had a long-standing tenant who was still trading in her 70s. The time was right for her to retire so I decided to dispose of the freehold.”