Wagamama opens New York flagship site: Wagamama has made its debut in New York with an opening in Fifth Avenue. The 7,000 square foot site serves as the US flagship for the company, which has 140 venues. The building overlooks Madison Square Park and has an asking rent of $800,000. The opening marks several firsts for Wagamama, including the debut of an Asian-inspired weekend brunch and a full bar and cocktail list created with New Yorkers in mind. Drinks are Wagamama’s take on classic cocktails, such as the whisky sawa with Iwai Japanese whisky and lapsang souchong liqueur, and the yuzu mojito made with Tanduay rum and yuzu liqueur, in addition to an extensive Asian craft beer range. The restaurant features exposed brick walls, pendant lamps and rich wood accents. Minimalist wood and metal stools offer seating at individual tables throughout, while communal tables – another founding principle of Wagamama – seat up to 18 on long benches. Additional seating is available at a long, marble bar and on a large mezzanine overlooking the main dining room. Wagamama chief executive David Campbell said: “Our Fifth Avenue location is really special, overlooking Madison Square Park. The whole NoMad/Flatiron area it is so vibrant and evolving fast into a key New York food hub. New York has always been on our wish list and in my mind, alongside London, is one of the world’s two top cities.” Earlier this year, Wagamama agreed a deal for a second site in New York. The company reported like-for-like sales rose by 9.8% in the 16 weeks to 14 August. Total sales increased 16.6% to £75.6m.
Hakkasan Group to bring Yauatcha brand to US with Honolulu opening: UK-based restaurant and nightclub company Hakkasan Group will launch its dim sum tea house brand Yauatcha in the US with an opening in Hawaii. The company will bring the brand to Honolulu on 1 February at the redeveloped International Market Place. Yauatcha Waikiki, located on the Grand Lanai level, will feature dim sum, a patisserie, an extensive tea menu and eclectic mixology programme in a contemporary setting with 276 seats. The dim sum dining experience, a modern interpretation of the traditional Hong Kong tea house, serves steamed, baked, grilled or fried dim sum as well as duck, fish and noodle dishes. Yauatcha is also famed for its wide selection of tea and assorted patisseries. Each colour of the five feng shui elements is represented throughout the restaurant – blue, yellow, red, black and white, reports Breaking Travel News. Launched in London in 2004, Yauatcha Soho earned a Michelin star within its first year, which it has since retained.
Living Ventures opens first ‘suburban’ Alchemist site, in Alderley Edge: Living Ventures has opened its first branch of The Alchemist cocktail bar and restaurant at a “suburban” site – in the village of Alderley Edge, Cheshire. The company has transformed its Blackhouse-branded The Grill On The Edge in London Road into the new venue, creating 40 jobs. The two-storey site, which has a central island bar on the ground floor for 55 people, has a capacity of 150, including a 44-seat restaurant within the venue’s conservatory. Alchemist managing director Simon Potts told Alderleyedge.com: “We are thrilled to be bringing The Alchemist to Alderley Edge. Some residents will already be aware of the brand from our Manchester sites and we’ve had a huge amount of enquiry and enthusiasm during development. We believe it will be a welcome addition to the bustling social scene in the village and we can’t wait to immerse ourselves in the local community.” Living Ventures launched The Alchemist in Manchester’s Spinningfields more than five years ago. The standalone business under Living Ventures’ umbrella operates seven UK sites – two in Manchester, two in Leeds and one in London, Liverpool and Birmingham. Sites at MediaCityUK in Salford and Newcastle are scheduled to open in the first half of 2017, while it has also exchanged contracts on a venue in Oxford. The company has projected turnover of £21m for this financial year and employs more than 350 people.
Owner of new Manchester-based steak restaurant denies Flat Iron copycat claims: The owner of new Manchester-based steak restaurant Featherblade has denied his company has copied the concept from London-based brand Flat Iron. Twitter users have pointed out the striking similarities between the pair, including the identical side dishes, steak price (£10), menu design and even the inclusion of the mini meat cleaver in promotional material. Both restaurants also run an identical concept, with only one cut of steak on the menu. The companies are in no way affiliated and Lee Brennan, the owner of Featherblade, which opened last week, has dismissed it as an “unfortunate coincidence”. He told the Manchester Evening News: “We’ve worked hard to create the concept and are just trying to provide a great deal which is, of course, what others have done, including London, Australia and New York. We’ve had no negative feedback from our customers and it is very unfortunate that people have made the connection – it is just an unfortunate coincidence. I think the pure suggestion of it (Featherblade copying another restaurant) is narrow-minded. We are Featherblade, our own brand and brand new.” Brennan, who also runs Panama Hatty’s, which is housed in the same building in the King Street area of the city, added: “Manchester shouldn’t be deprived of a good deal just because London has also provided a good deal. Ideas can be duplicated, but we haven’t come from that place. I have been doing this for 40 years and in that time I have had my own ideas used elsewhere and not had a problem with it. We have been serving our steak on a wooden plate since 1977.”
Byron eyes Cardiff for first Wales site: Better burger brand Byron is planning to open its first restaurant in Wales – in Cardiff city centre. The site is in St David’s shopping centre in Tredegar Street, opposite John Lewis. The opening could create up to 50 jobs, Wales Online reports. Byron has submitted proposals to Cardiff council for a change of use for the premises from retail to restaurant. The plans include a first-floor unit that has not been occupied since the centre opened in 2009. A statement submitted as part of the planning application said: “The proposed restaurant at St David’s would be the first in Wales and represents a new and exciting brand for Cardiff. The restaurant is expected to cater for circa 160 covers, with additional external seating being provided in Tredegar Street.” Founder Tom Byng opened the first Byron restaurant in London in 2007. Earlier this month, the company opened its 69th site, in Windsor. In July, Byron secured a £12m banking facility to fund its national expansion plans. The business plans to reach 100 eateries in the next three years.
BrewDog co-founder launches Q&A sessions for investors: James Watt, co-founder of Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, is holding a series of question and answer sessions for the company’s UK investors. Shareholders, also known as Equity Punks, can buy £5 tickets for the events, which kick-off on Monday, 12 December in London, then Manchester, Glasgow and Aberdeen on consecutive nights. The venues have yet to be announced apart from Aberdeen, which will take place at UnderDog, below BrewDog Castlegate. The company stated in its blog: “With so much happening and even more yet to come, our epic army of shareholders may well have a question or two burning in the back of their minds. So our captain and co-founder James is hitting the road to field them in a series of exclusive events – if you are a UK Equity Punk and there’s anything you’d like to ask James directly, now is your chance! We would love as many as possible of our amazing Equity Punks to attend as the main aim of the evening is to hear from you in the Q&A section. So if there’s anything you want to ask about our performance, beers or bars, start mentally queuing up those questions. The sessions are also a chance for you to suggest ideas for BrewDog or things you would love to see us start doing, so get practising those pitches for Captain James!”
Record number of publicans attend Punch 2016 roadshow: Punch has said 1,765 publicans attended its 2016 roadshow, a record for the event. Now in its 13th year, the eight roadshows spanned the UK, beginning in Chester on 20 September and finishing in Newcastle last month. An average of 220 publicans attended each of the shows, with 92% saying they would recommend the event to other Punch publicans, while 90% said they would return to the event next year. More than 160 exhibitors attended the shows, while publicans had the chance to meet key Punch team members, including chief executive Duncan Garrood, who attended all eight events. World champion darts player Martin Adams and personalities from ITV game show The Chase also made appearances, while 133 prospective publicans attended. Punch’s focus for this year’s event was to support publicans with building their business, including guidance on the impact of regulatory changes, with free operations and supplier support offered to attendees, along with Pubs Code presentations by the British Institute of Innkeepers and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers. Garrood said: “The 2016 roadshows were our biggest and best yet. I couldn’t be more impressed with how many current and potential publicans we welcomed through our doors. The feedback on all aspects of the event was astounding.”
Nando’s partners with Flypay: Nando’s has partnered with mobile technology company Flypay and its new Flyt platform. Flypay will focus on leveraging digital innovation to improve the experience for Nando’s customers, first by streamlining the online ordering process. Future plans include integrating Nando’s technology partners on to the Flyt platform and revolutionising the customer journey across a range of devices and technologies. Flypay chief executive Tom Weaver said: “Nando’s is the most innovative brand in the hospitality space right now – setting the benchmark for others to follow. For our part, we are completely committed to bringing the very best innovations in hospitality technology to a truly pioneering brand, which is committed to pushing boundaries for their customers. We are beginning by integrating digital customer orders – but this is only the beginning of the Nando’s and Flypay journey. It’s a strategic partnership that will continue to develop and build over time, working together to create the ultimate digital brand experience for Nando’s customers. Ultimately our joint goal is to create a world-class digital experience that goes well beyond anything out there right now.”
Coyote Ugly to open first UK site next month, in Cardiff: Coyote Ugly, the Western-themed bar that inspired a Hollywood movie, is set to open its first UK site next month, in Cardiff. The bar, which will have capacity for about 900 people, will open on Wednesday, 14 December in former nightclub The Square in St Mary Street. It will be operated by Steve Lewis, who runs two bars – Jack Murphy’s and The Adelphi – in Swansea having signed a franchise agreement in January. The venue will feature a craft beer bar with 24 different types of draught beer and also offer American barbecue food. It will have a VIP section and booths, while a television screen will take up the entire back wall that will screen live sport. There will also be a stage for live music and a bucking bronco, reports the Spirits Business. Coyote Ugly founder Liliana “Lil” Lovell previously said: “We couldn’t be more excited about exporting our version of honky-tonk to the United Kingdom and could not have found a better team with whom to partner as we enter the market. We expect a strong and positive reception in the UK.” Coyote Ugly currently has 21 sites in four countries – the US, Russia, Ukraine and Germany.
Former Gordon Ramsay chef lodges plans to launch Spanish-inspired restaurant in Beverley: Former Gordon Ramsay chef James Allcock has lodged plans to open a Spanish-inspired restaurant in Beverley, East Yorkshire. Allcock, who worked at Petrus, has applied to East Riding of Yorkshire Council to launch The Pig and Whistle in Sow Hill Road. The restaurant would have about 20 seats and a separate bar and offer Spanish-style food such as cured meat and cheese, along with fine wine and artisan beer. In the application, Allcock said: “With a shabby-chic interior design offering a perfect blend of aesthetics and comfort, diners can enjoy a relaxing stroll through the market town safe in the knowledge that, when they dine with us, they’ll always be given a warm welcoming atmosphere where they can enjoy a selection of small plates, charcuterie or a spot of cheese. With its warm, inviting surroundings and unique food and wine offering, The Pig and Whistle will put Beverley on the culture map.”
University of West London renames College of Hospitality and Tourism in honour of Laurence Geller: The University of West London has renamed its award-winning College of Hospitality and Tourism as London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism in honour of university chancellor and alumnus Laurence Geller CBE. The renaming of the college celebrates the distinguished role Geller has played in advancing excellence in hospitality and tourism worldwide. He has more than 45 years of international industry experience with some of the world’s best-known brands, including Holiday Inn, Hyatt and Strategic Hotels. A committed philanthropist, Geller is also a prolific published author of professional articles, regularly lecturing at universities throughout the world and is a pioneer in specialist educational programmes. Professor Peter John said: “Laurence’s passion for, and commitment to, the university and his former college over the years has been remarkable, so naming the college in his honour was a natural step and I know he will not rest until it is recognised as the leading college for hospitality and tourism in the world.” Also announced on the evening was the appointment of James Edmunds as the new dean of London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism. Edmunds has more than two decades of experience in teaching and managing tourism, hospitality and aviation courses within higher education.
Rotisserie chicken brand Pecking Order to start expansion with football stadium restaurant and bar: Rotisserie chicken brand Pecking Order, which was co-founded by former Living Room head of marketing Dhilon Solanki, is set to start expansion by opening a second site, at a football stadium. The concept launched in April 2015 in Stanmore, north west London, offering Red Tractor-approved rotisserie chicken alongside burgers made from 100% Aberdeen beef and a long cocktail list. Pecking Order will open a second restaurant as well as a bar at The Hive – home of Barnet FC – with Solanki and co-founder Vishav Roma also managing food outlets at the stadium. The bar will open on Saturday, 26 November for Barnet’s match against Notts County, with the restaurant opening three weeks later in time for the local derby against Stevenage. Solanki said: “The premise behind Pecking Order is simple – great food and drinks available on your doorstep, with the standards and ambience you’d expect in a central London venue.” Pecking Order in Stanmore was crowned Harrow Times Restaurant of the Year in 2015.
CPL Training launches digital marketing training initiative tailored for sector: CPL Training, which provides licensed retail and hospitality training across the UK, has launched a digital marketing training initiative. The Digital Allstars programme is specifically tailored for businesses operating in the licensed retail and hospitality sectors. The face-to-face programme aims to teach all aspects of digital marketing and help businesses implement an effective strategy. It comprises three separate workshops, which are available at beginner, intermediate and advanced level. The digital marketing workshop explores “what digital marketing means” and provides an introduction to the various platforms and techniques required to succeed. The two other workshops provide comprehensive training on two key aspects of digital marketing – social media marketing and email database marketing. In an attempt to establish a close connection with customers, both workshops centre on how to develop responsive content for a range of different audiences. Commercial director Louise Sui said: “We’ve worked hard with internal and external partners to ensure this initiative is suitable for the market. We understand that small and large pubcos, both tenanted and managed, each require a digital marketing strategy that is fine-tuned to their operations. The beauty of the programme is that it’s designed to accommodate the varying levels of all abilities – regardless of your skills or experience. In particular, it’s highly suitable for businesses that are first embarking with digital marketing, including companies that are already competent but just need extra knowledge to enhance their skills. We hope Digital Allstars will be an important resource in helping our clients increase sales and establish a loyal customer base.”
Rusk & Rusk to launch The Spanish Butcher concept in Glasgow next month, group’s third city site: Independent restaurant group Rusk & Rusk will launch its latest concept, The Spanish Butcher, in Glasgow next month, the group’s third venue in the city. The new 3,600 square foot venue in Miller Street, which opens on Thursday, 1 December, 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 love to dine in.” Rusk & Rusk also operates Hutchesons Bar & Brasserie and The Butchershop Bar & Grill in the city.
Lincolnshire-based restaurateur to open third site: Lincolnshire-based restaurateur Jax Hussein is to open his third site, in Waltham. Hussein is launching Italian Affair at the end of the month on the site of the former Fourteen restaurant in High Street. Italian Affair revives the name of a former Lincolnshire venue that was run by Mario and Vito Cataffo. Vito achieved national acclaim in Channel 4 series Dolce Vito, in which he established a restaurant serving British food in Bologna in 2009. He passed away at his Lincoln home the following year. The business will be led by operations manager Theo Lacatus, a chef with 35 years’ experience who has been working in Italy for the past decade. The venue will feature an outdoor terrace and separate bar and offer a range of traditional Italian and local food. A spokesman for the new Italian Affair told the Grimsby Telegraph: “Everyone still talks about Italian Affair and we want the legacy of Mario and Vito to carry on. We want to bring back memories. We put 100% behind everything we do and everything we have done up to now has been well supported. We have been working with local people who have been crying out for a good Italian.” Hussein also operates Indian restaurant Mumbai Blues in Waltham and bar restaurant Lids Tapas and Cocktails in Grimsby.
MOD Pizza to open Nottingham site next month: Fast-casual artisan pizza brand MOD Pizza will open a site in Nottingham next month. The company, which launched in the UK earlier this year, is opening the restaurant in Old Market Square on the site of the former Schuh unit, creating about 15 jobs. MOD’s artisan-style pizzas and salads are individually crafted using fresh-pressed dough and signature sauces. Customers create their own pizza and salads, choosing any combination from more than 30 featured toppings. Alternatively, they can choose from a menu of MOD classics. Pizzas are hand-fired in a 300C oven in minutes, while salads are hand-tossed for each customer. The menu is rounded out with soft drinks and hand-spun milkshakes. A MOD Pizza spokeswoman told West Bridgford Wire: “Nottingham has a strong community presence and MOD Pizza believes its vibe attracts their tribe.” MOD Pizza has three sites – in Leeds, Brighton and Newcastle – with a restaurant due to open in London this month.
Noma co-founder’s New York restaurant gets first Michelin star: Danish restaurant Agern in New York, owned by Noma co-founder Claus Meyer, has been awarded its first Michelin star. Agern opened in Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan only six months ago. Meyer wrote on his Facebook page that the award was a “big day for head chef Gunnar Gislason and the entire team in the US”. He added: “After previously receiving the coveted three stars in the New York Times earlier this year, the Michelin Guide (has) awarded Agern one star just six months after the restaurant opened.” Agern takes Nordic gastronomy as its theme, using ingredients harvested from New York state. Meanwhile, Meyer applauded fellow Dane Fredrik Berselius, whose restaurant Aska in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has been awarded two Michelin stars. Meyer revealed he and Berselius are looking at opening a restaurant together in a design centre in Williamsburg at the start of 2017.
New independent craft beer shop and bar concept to launch in Swindon: A beer shop and bar that supports independent craft brewers, distillers and suppliers will launch in Swindon on Friday (18 November). No mainstream brands will be stocked at The Tuppenny, which will open at a former hair salon in Devizes Road in Old Town. The concept is the brainchild of former pub manager Linda Gulliford and Jamie Stapleton, who will work closely with local craft brewers Renegade Brewery and West Berkshire Brewery to provide a high-class “house beer” range, featuring a changing selection of brews from other independent brewers. The Tuppenny will also offer wine, premium spirits and classic cocktails, alongside hot beverages, cakes and sandwiches. It will also be Swindon’s first growler supplier for takeaway beer. The decor will feature repurposed and upcycled furniture, with board games and vintage books available to customers.
New prosecco and wine bar concept to open in Derby: A new prosecco and wine bar concept is set to launch in Derby. Stephen Rouse, who has 37 years of experience in the bar industry, has submitted proposals to the city council to open the venue in a property at the junction of George Street and Friargate, reports Insider Media. According to the planning documents, the building has been “vacant for a long time”. It added: “There is a large number of restaurants and drinking establishments in Friargate, which is a centre for social nights out. The provision of a new use will be of benefit to the long-term maintenance and conservation of the building and the vitality of the street scene.”