Punch commercial and marketing director Neil Macgeorge to step down: Punch Taverns marketing and commercial director Neil Macgeorge is to step down at the end of this week. He joined the company in March 2016 tasked with “leading the drive to put the consumer at the heart of (Punch’s) 3,300 pubs”. His departure follows news that chief executive Duncan Garrood is also stepping down following the sale of Punch to Patron. Macgeorge said: “The scope and scale of what I was brought in to do has obviously changed dramatically so it is the right decision, and timing, to leave.” Macgeorge brought extensive digital, brand, customer relationship management, multichannel and commercial experience to Punch, having worked in leadership roles at a range of blue-chip businesses. He started his career as a graduate management trainee at Unilever. In addition to three years in the strategy discipline of an international management consultancy, he has worked at companies such as KP Foods, Allied Domecq and EE (formerly Orange), where he ran the consumer pay-monthly business for a number of years and was responsible for launching the EE brand and the UK’s first mobile 4G service.
McDonald’s to sell bottled McCafé drinks in US supermarkets, remodels restaurant range: McDonald’s has said it will sell bottled McCafé drinks at supermarkets and other stores in the US early next year, following in the footsteps of rivals Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. The company told the Daily Mail it had signed a deal with Coca-Cola that will bring three McCafé Frappe flavours – caramel, vanilla and mocha – to stores. Dunkin’ Donuts signed a similar deal with Coca-Cola last year, while Starbucks has sold its bottled Frappuccinos with PepsiCo for years. McDonald’s already has a McCafé presence in grocery stores, selling its ground and whole coffee beans. McDonald’s has also remodelled its McCafé range in its restaurants, introducing new-look, cafe-quality espresso beverages made with freshly-ground espresso and US-sourced whole or non-fat milk alongside recrafted lattes and mochas. The new beverages include a caramel macchiato available hot or iced and a cappuccino made from sustainably sourced beans and a choice of three flavours. McDonald’s USA president Chris Kempczinski said: “We understand how important the coffee culture is for consumers and we are committed to meeting that demand at the taste, convenience and value only McDonald’s can offer. This is a central part of our growth strategy and we can’t wait to share what’s next.” The refreshed look and feel will include a new brand logo and packaging that will change with the seasons.
Chefs behind Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurant Serge Et Le Phoque bring brand to Fitzrovia: Charles Pelletier and Frédéric Peneau, who won a Michelin star for their high-end French restaurant Serge Et Le Phoque in Hong Kong, have opened an upmarket restaurant of the same name in Fitzrovia. The restaurant has opened in the new Mandrake hotel in Newman Street offering the duo’s signature scallop with anchovy and fried leek root. In 2015, Pelletier and Peneau’s progressive French cuisine earned them a Michelin star. Their Mandrake restaurant offers a la carte and tasting menus featuring dishes such as octopus with century egg and French speciality cake dacquoise, which is made with layers of almond and hazelnut meringue served with vanilla cream, Hot Dinners reports. Sommelier Bert Blaize, formerly of Clove Club, has curated a drinks selection that focuses on natural, organic and biodynamic wine. Boutique hotel The Mandrake offers 34 bedrooms, three luxury suites and a penthouse.
Tullymore House to open French-style restaurant in Belfast: Belfast-based hospitality group Tullymore House, which is behind the Italian restaurant brand Fratelli, is to open a French-style restaurant in the city centre. The company is investing £700,000 to open Café Parisien at Cleaver House in Donegall Place, creating 50 jobs. The restaurant will be set over two floors, with the ground floor featuring a creperie with seating for 50 diners and an open-style kitchen. The 100-cover restaurant on the first floor will offer a modern twist on classic brasserie dishes for lunch and dinner as well as afternoon tea. There also will be private dining and terraced areas. Separately, the £1.5m redevelopment programme of the Holy Rosary Church in Ormeau Road into a Fratelli restaurant is on schedule to be completed next year. Project manager Colin Johnston told the Irish News: “We believe Café Parisien will go some way to support the growing demand for quality food and drinks in a city that is making a name for itself in terms of tourism.” Tullymore House also operates the Galgorm Resort And Spa and a property development company.
YO! Sushi opens fourth Glasgow site: YO! Sushi has opened a fourth restaurant in Glasgow, at The Fort shopping centre, following the launch of its flagship site in the city centre in June. YO! Glasgow Fort is located in a 2,300 square foot unit at the main entrance to the shopping centre’s new leisure quarter. YO! Sushi has signed a 20-year lease and it is the company’s first venue in the city to feature outside seating. In keeping with Glasgow’s status as the UK’s “most vegan-friendly city”, the menu includes 16 vegan and 29 vegetarian dishes. YO! Sushi chief executive Robin Rowland told Glasgow Live: “We have been blown away by the response to our return to the city centre. Glasgow loves YO! – and the feeling is mutual. The arrival of YO! Glasgow Fort is another fitting statement for the city and fans can enjoy all their favourites as well as exciting new food offerings, all set against a striking new design aesthetic.” YO! Sushi’s other restaurants in Glasgow are in the Silverburn and Braehead shopping centres. The company, backed by Mayfair Private Equity, has seen like-for-like sales increases of more than 5% since last summer in the wake of moves to evolve the company in a number of key areas.
Compass Group launches coffee shop concept Bateman & Co at Boxpark Croydon: Contract foodservice company Compass Group has launched its coffee shop concept, Bateman & Co, at Boxpark Croydon. The concept takes inspiration from Jack Bateman, who founded “factory canteens” in Croydon during the Second World War to feed workers involved in the war effort. In 1967, Bateman’s company was acquired by contract caterers Grand Metropolitan, which became Compass Services in the 1980s. Bateman & Co offers “traditional British flavours”, including bubble and squeak with poached egg for brunch, and pie with mash and crushed peas for lunch or dinner alongside a blend of Rainforest Alliance coffee. Bateman & Co is open daily from 7am to 7pm and from 9am to 5pm on Sundays.
Byron closes Metrocentre site in Newcastle: Better burger brand Byron has closed its Metrocentre branch less than 18 months after opening. The company launched in the Metrocentre last April, when it moved into The Qube leisure complex. However, less than 18 months after opening, Byron has closed its Gateshead restaurant and removed any reference to it from the company’s website. Intu, the company that owns the Metrocentre and Eldon Square shopping centres, confirmed Byron had moved out of the Metrocentre. The retail unit is currently unoccupied while Intu looks for a new business to move in. Gavin Prior, general manager of the Metrocentre, said: “We’re always working hard to refresh our store line-up with new and exciting retailers to give our visitors the best possible shopping experience. Since the Qube development in 2016, we have introduced nine new catering brands to the centre, which include some of the best performers in their groups. We are currently in discussion with a number of retailers who are keen to have a position in our centre. We’ll be in a position to announce new brands soon.” Byron still operates a Newcastle restaurant in Grey Street. Another unit in The Qube that was formerly occupied by the Handmade Burger Co remains empty following the collapse of the company into administration in July.
Di Maggio’s Group opens Glasgow restaurant at former newspaper printing site: Scottish restaurant operator Di Maggio’s Group has opened a venue on the site of a former Glasgow newspaper’s printing works. The company, which operates The Atlantic and Anchor Line restaurants, has transformed the site in St Vincent Place into a newspaper-themed bar and restaurant with the walls lined with editions of the Evening Citizen, the first evening newspaper in Glasgow. The 218-capacity Citizen Bar And Dining Rooms offers all-day dining and features an Editor’s Suite that includes safe boxes where regulars can store rare bottles of whisky. The Citizen also serves Tennent’s Tank Lager from copper tanks behind the bar. Di Maggio’s Group director Tony Conetta told The Dram: “This project has been hugely enjoyable because it has uncovered incredible stories about the city and its people. From a public call-out for information on The Citizen newspaper, we’ve been inundated with fascinating tales and original photography. We’re really excited to showcase these stories.” Di Maggio’s Restaurant Group owns 18 restaurants across Scotland, including Amarone and Café Andaluz.
All Our Bars to reopen Greene King pub after £500,000 investment: All Our Bars, led by Paul Wigham, is reopening The Boot in Bracknell, Berkshire, a Greene King pub, following a £500,000 refurbishment. The pub in Park Road has been closed since the end of April. Wigham said: “We cannot wait to open what will be a fantastic pub and dining venue with innovative drinks and a fine menu of tantalising dishes. The designers have come up with some amazing ideas that really show what a beautiful building this is. It’s looking superb. Once again it has been a brilliant experience working with our partners Greene King, who have been hugely supportive throughout a long renovation process. This is a true retail/pubco partnership that transcends many of the industry issues that are making headlines for the wrong reasons. We look forward to continuing our partnership into the future.” Customers will be able to utilise new beach huts for alfresco dining in the summer months, while a more formal area will be available to hire for functions and private meetings.
JD Wetherspoon ponders vegan menu additions, launches smaller meals range: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has said the company is considering adding more vegan and vegetarian options to its menu. Replying to a number of requests for more options published in the latest edition of Wetherspoon News, Martin wrote: “The message is loud and clear from recent letters, customers would like more vegetarian and vegan options.” Martin added he would discuss the matter with his team. Wetherspoon has already added a Japanese dish – teriyaki noodles – to its menu that uses non-egg noodles suitable for vegans and containing less than 5% fat and fewer than 500 calories. The company has also launched a “smaller meals range” for customers looking for lighter options. Choices in the range include scampi, and fish and chips, which offer the same ingredients as Wetherspoon’s regular meals but in smaller quantities. Meanwhile, a controversial plan to build a Wetherspoon pub at a former doctor’s surgery in Cross Gates, Leeds, has been taken to the next level as the company has appealed to the government to approve it. The proposal, which has divided opinion in the community, could have been approved or rejected at a Leeds City Council meeting last month. However, the decision was deferred for a second time so further talks could take place with Wetherspoon over concerns regarding noise, loading and deliveries at the Austhorpe Road site – issues many objectors are concerned about. The company has now taken the unusual step of appealing to the Planning Inspectorate before the council’s north and east plans panel has even made its decision.
Carouse London eyes second site, at Crouch Hill pub plagued by squatters: Fledgling pub company Carouse London has applied to reopen The Hopsmiths in Crouch Hill, which closed last year and is currently occupied by squatters. Carouse London was founded by brothers Theo and Ben Caudell and Chris Hurd, who opened their first pub – The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town – in 2015. The team plans to resurrect The Hopsmiths after applying for an alcohol licence. Theo Caudell told the Islington Gazette: “It’s a lovely little pub in a good area and it’s right next to the station. We are going to try to replicate what we have done with The Rose and Crown – create the kind of pub we went to when we were younger, with comfort and good vibes. It’s also got 22 draft lines, which will allow us to replicate what we’ve done in Kentish Town, but it also has a much better kitchen so we can do better food.” Previous owners Late Knights took over the pub, then known as The Noble, in 2015 but announced its closure in August last year.
Stonegate Pub Company reopens former JD Wetherspoon pub in Newbury under Yates’s brand: Stonegate Pub Company has reopened former JD Wetherspoon pub The Diamond Tap in Newbury, Berkshire, under its Yates’s brand. Wetherspoon put the Cheap Street bar on the market in May 2016. All members of staff have transferred to the new venue. Stonegate said the new pub will feature a new menu, real ale and music while it considered “how best to use significant investment to secure the pub’s long-term future”. Stonegate Pub Company chief executive Simon Longbottom told Newbury Today: “We have a strong track record in buying and investing in pubs – and the teams within them – enhancing the offer and enabling them to thrive under our ownership. We are big believers in securing the future of high-street and community pubs.” In July, West Berkshire Council approved plans to create a restaurant quarter in Newbury’s Kennet shopping centre. Five or six new restaurants will be located along the Cheap Street side of the centre. Stonegate Pub Company operates more than 690 pubs split into two divisions – Branded (Slug and Lettuce, Yates’s, Walkabout, Common Room and Venues) and Traditional (Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, and Classic Inns).
Turnover and profits grow at Longleat: Turnover and profits have grown at the commercial arm of Wiltshire tourist attraction Longleat boosted by rising visitor numbers, a series of successful events and the return of BBC television series Animal Park. Longleat Enterprises includes the safari park at the 465-year-old estate, as well as Cheddar Gorge and a group of hotels. According to recently filed accounts, turnover rose to £31.9m in the year ending 31 December 2016, up from £30m in 2015. Pre-tax profit increased to £3.2m from £2.9m, with Ebitda up to £6.6m from £5.1m the year before. Combined visitor numbers for the Longleat Safari And Adventure Park and Cheddar Gorge businesses grew by 3% to 1.1 million.
Cambridgeshire-based pub operators take on second site: Cambridgeshire-based pub operators Luke Edwards and Stuart Tuck have taken on their second site. Edwards and Tuck, who run The Blue Lion in the nearby village of Hardwick, will reopen The Architect in Castle Hill, Cambridge, on Friday (8 September) offering traditional pub food such as fish and chips and pie and mash. Customers will get the chance to design and build their own dishes from selecting their fish, batter style, sides and a range of sauces. Drinks will include craft beer, guest ales and a gin menu. Edwards told the Cambridge News: “After seven successful years at The Blue Lion we have finally decided to open our second venture. It’s a different location with a different food and drink concept but the same quality and service.”
Papa John’s rolls out first deep crust pizza range: Papa John’s has rolled out its first deep crust pizza range across the UK following a short trial. The company said a specially formulated dough recipe had created a buttery, seared crust for a “fuller flavour and a light and fluffy deeper dough, almost double the depth of regular Papa John’s pizzas”. The pizzas are cooked in a specially designed pan and feature new-recipe tomato sauce that has also been created using Californian vine-ripened tomatoes that go from field to can in six hours, Papa John’s said. A blend of spices and extra virgin olive oil are added to the sauce, which is then reduced to create a “richer tasting sauce, complementing the new thicker base”. Each Papa’s Deep Crust pizza also uses an extra cup of cheese, the company added. The range can be ordered with all toppings available in the original Papa John’s range. Papa John’s has more than 350 sites across the UK and over 5,000 stores in more than 40 international markets and territories.
Starbucks names Rosalind Brewer as group president and chief operating officer: Starbucks has named Rosalind Brewer as group president and chief operating officer, effective from Monday, 2 October. Brewer, former president and chief executive of Sam’s Club and current Starbucks board member, has more than 30 years of management experience and more than ten years of experience leading multinational retailers. “Starbucks is a culture-first company focused on performance and Roz is a world-class operator and executive who embodies the values of Starbucks. She has been a trusted strategic counsellor to me ever since she joined our board of directors and I deeply value her insight, business acumen and leadership expertise. Roz is the right leader to help us realise our greatest ambitions in this next chapter of our journey,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and chief executive. He added: “I am honoured Roz is joining Starbucks in this capacity and playing an important role with an accomplished team of senior leaders that reflects the strength and diversity of our organisation.” Brewer will report to Johnson and serve as a member of Starbucks’ senior leadership team. She will also continue to serve on Starbucks’ board of directors. As group president and chief operating officer, Brewer will lead the company’s operating businesses across the Americas, as well as the global functions of supply chain, product innovation, and store development organisations.
Three Cheers Pub Co to open ninth London site, second with Ei Group: Three Cheers Pub Co, led by Tom Peake, Mark Reynolds and Nick Fox, is to open its ninth pub – The Princess Victoria in Shepherd’s Bush – next month. The venue is the second acquisition for Six Cheers, its managed expert partnership with Ei Managed Investments, and the company’s first venue in west London. The early 19th century pub, which was once owned by Richard Branson, will be transformed inside and out. Peake will work with designer Adam Ellis to rejuvenate the pub, with a new front terrace added to the existing courtyard garden. The site in Uxbridge Road will accommodate 150 covers downstairs with 96 outside and a first-floor function room seating 70. The menu will concentrate on British produce with a focus on Scotch eggs, British charcuterie, puff-pastry pies, artisan pizza and flatbread. The drinks menu will reflect the pub’s history as a gin palace by stocking more than 100 gins and 40 beers. Peake said: “It is such a well-loved pub with a rich history and we can’t wait to breathe new life into it.” Ei Managed Investment operations director Nathan Wall added: “We’re thrilled to be opening this pub with Six Cheers and strengthen our relationship. We’re confident customers will love the new look and offer under the expert management of the team.” Three Cheers Pub Co was formerly known as Renaissance Pubs.