Michelin-starred pub chef Andrew Pern to open fourth site, in Whitby: Andrew Pern, who won a Michelin star at The Star Inn in Harome, North Yorkshire, in 2001, is to open his fourth site, in his home town of Whitby. Pern is launching a brasserie-style fish and seafood restaurant in the town’s former tourist information building. He won a pitch to Scarborough Council to take over the property in Langborne Road, close to the harbour and overlooking Whitby Abbey. He said the new restaurant, to be called The Star Inn The Harbour and due to open next spring, would cater for tourists and locals alike, and showcase the region’s finest fresh fish and seafood. Pern told the Yorkshire Post: “Opening a place in my home town has always been something that I’ve thought would happen one day. The North Sea is a massive part of my kitchen larder; the quality of the fish and shellfish is the envy of the world. At Whitby it will literally be on my doorstep.” Derek Bastiman, leader of Scarborough Council, added: “The Yorkshire coast is thriving and without a doubt, The Star Inn The Harbour matches our ambition for improving further the area’s attractiveness and vitality. It is a hugely exciting development, which should be seen as fabulous news for Whitby, after all, there are not many chefs of Andrew’s calibre that hand-pick a coastal town to set up business in.” Pern also operates Star Inn The City and Mr P’s Curious Tavern in York.
East Coast Concepts set to open second Neighbourhood site in November, in Liverpool: Manchester-based East Coast Concepts is set to open its second Neighbourhood site in November, this time in Liverpool. The company, which was founded by James Hitchen and his brother Guy, is launching the venue at a vacant site in Castle Street. The grade II-listed building was built in 1868 for the Alliance Bank and was later occupied by the North and South Wales Bank and the Midland Bank. Hitchen told the Liverpool Echo: “We’re incredibly excited about opening in Liverpool. We’ve spent a lot of time here, looking at what’s already on offer and finding some gaps in the market. This will be our new flagship site, and we’ll be doing things here that we don’t in other venues – this will be the only site where we serve breakfasts, as that seems to be really popular in this area, and particularly on Castle Street. We’ll also have a real focus on live music, and we’re looking to develop fresh talent on both the music side and in the bar and restaurant itself.” Earlier this year, East Coast Concepts secured private equity backing from Manchester-based NorthEdge Capital to roll-out Neighbourhood, which has a site in the city’s Spinningfields district, and its sister brand Victor’s across the UK.
3Sixty Restaurants opens fourth Ego pub site, in Blackburn: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler and backed by Luke Johnson, has opened the fourth pub site for its Ego brand, this time in Blackburn. The company has transformed the Knowles Arms in Pleckgate Road into the Mediterranean restaurant and bar, creating 50 jobs. It has spent more than £500,000 renovating the property, which accommodates 160 diners. General manager Warren Smith told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We’re creating fresh food in front of customers and we are investing in the community. It is a win-win situation.” Ego has 12 venues across the UK, including its three other pub outlets – in Ackworth, Cannock and Stoke. The company has plans to open two more sites by the end of the year.
Activist investor group takes stake in Chipotle: Activist investor group Pershing Square Capital Management has taken a 9.9% stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill. William Ackman, Pershing Square’s chief executive, described Chipotle as a strong brand with a differentiated offering, enormous growth opportunity and visionary leadership. He also said the stock was undervalued and an attractive investment, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. Ackman indicated the company would engage with Chipotle’s management and board of directors about the composition of the board, the business, operations, cost structure, management and other issues. Pershing Square is known in the restaurant industry as an activist investor that often pushes for significant change. In 2005, Ackman held a stake in McDonald’s and suggested it considered a sale of real estate, though the investor has said in the past he’s not a fan of real-estate spin-offs. Pershing Square was also a key player in Burger King’s return to the stock market in 2012 and in 2008, Pershing Square successfully pushed for Wendy’s to spin-off the Tim Horton’s sub brand.
Noble Inns to open Little Smoke next month: Noble Inns, the company behind Smokehouse, The Pig and Butcher, and The Princess of Shoreditch, is to launch Little Smoke on Monday, 10 October. The restaurant will specialise in working with whole native and rare breed animals, sourced from small independent farmers and butchered on-site at sister restaurant Smokehouse before being roasted, smoked, and grilled at Little Smoke. Little Smoke will offer a daily-changing menu of beef, lamb, and pork dishes dependent on what the team has butchered for that day. Husband and wife owners Scott Hunter and Maria Larsen said: “When we opened Smokehouse Islington in 2013, we started using whole animals and soon began supplementing the a la carte menu with a blackboard of interesting specials. Little Smoke is like a big version of that specials board and given a whole restaurant to itself! We’re very proud to be working with some incredible farmers and producers and can’t wait to show off some of the more unusual cuts such as the huge tomapork.”
JW Lees invests £1m refurbishing Cheshire village pub: Brewer and retailer JW Lees is investing £1m refurbishing a Cheshire village pub. The company has closed The Golden Pheasant in Plumley for the revamp, with the venue due to reopen in mid-November. It is completely remodelling the restaurant and dining area, creating a large “contemporary” outdoor dining area, and adding more bedrooms. The internal refurbishment will include modernising and improving the bar and lounges, brightening up the areas with “lighter colours and natural material”. The pub will be refurnished with a mixture of new chairs and tables and a collection of reclaimed “retro” pieces. There will also be works carried out to modernise the kitchens and back-of-house areas. General manager Phil Dodd told the Knutsford Guardian: “We are all delighted with what the scheme will offer, we’ve always needed more bedrooms and a more suitable, stylish outdoor dining area. The development will increase the covers in our restaurant and number of customers staying.” JW Lees has about 150 sites across the north west of England.
M&B to open All Bar One at Edinburgh Airport next week: Mitchells & Butlers will bring its All Bar One brand to Edinburgh Airport next Wednesday (14 September). The company is opening the site airside at the airport and it will be All Bar One’s third venue in the Scottish capital. Visitors will be able to enjoy a range of cocktails as well as food from the new seasonal menu, which features dishes from around the globe, incorporating everything from mix-and-match small plates to handcrafted burgers, and a brunch menu. All Bar One Edinburgh Airport general manager Lewis Masterson said: “We’re looking forward to opening our doors and welcoming travellers and holidaymakers to our new Edinburgh Airport bar. Guests can experience the contemporary design, together with the fresh tastes on our new menu and indulge in some refreshing pre-flight drinks.” The brand currently has 50 sites, including its two other Edinburgh venues in Exchange Plaza and George Street.
Meantime launches latest Pilot Series beers: Greenwich-based craft brewer Meantime has launched its latest range of beers in its Pilot Series. The beers are brewed in a high-tech Bavarian-style brewhouse at its Pilot Brewery. The latest beers within the series are African Queen (6.0% ABV), a single-hopped IPA with citrus and berry aromas; Time to Time (4.0% ABV), a modern-take on a traditional Saison de Nuit, with fruit flavours and slight hoppy aroma; Lost Summer (5.0% ABV), a fruity, hoppy beer with tropical notes; and Feisty Cali Belg (6.0% ABV), a Belgian-style beer with fruity American hop flavours and a touch of Welsh chillies. Meantime marketing director Richard Myers said: “Meantime has always strived to introduce the British public to a wide range of great beers and open their minds to trying something different. The Pilot Series gives us the perfect opportunity to continue to push the boundaries of modern craft and have a bit of fun experimenting with some unusual beer styles.” The range is available exclusively on draught in a handful of selected partner outlets across London as well as Meantime’s own tasting rooms, the Beer Box bar, and Greenwich Union pub. It can also be bought in 330ml bottles from the Meantime Brewery Shop and its website.
New bar and nightclub concept Pom Pom set to open in Nottingham next month: A new bar and nightclub concept is set to open in Nottingham next month. Pom Pom is launching on Saturday, 1 October on the site of The Forum nightclub, which closed last month. Pom Pom, which will create 50 jobs, will make use of the recently vacated 12,000 square foot site in Burton Street, part of The Cornerhouse leisure complex. Suzanne Green, centre manager at The Cornerhouse, told The Business Desk: “We’re delighted to welcome Pom Pom to The Cornerhouse. The new bar and nightclub will add something totally different to the great mixture of restaurants and leisure activities already in the venue. Pom Pom will provide an injection of new flavour to the Nottingham nightlife scene, which in recent times has been dominated by the city’s abundance of new bars. It will provide the perfect venue to dance the night away, which can be accompanied by a meal at one of our restaurants or even a visit to the casino.”
Plans lodged to transform historic carriage houses in Derby into bars and restaurants: Plans have been lodged to transform historic carriage houses in Derby, which are thought to have been built in the 1860s to serve the former St James Hotel, into bars and restaurants. The scheme, which has been lodged with the city council, would pave the way for further development at the site, including the construction of entertainment and retail space. St James Yard lies between St James Street and The Strand and currently comprises an all-day car park. The buildings earmarked for redevelopment are known as the tram sheds, although they were never used as such. The application, submitted by CPMH Architects on behalf of Clowes Developments, proposes refurbishment and change of use of the tram sheds to provide two new dining and drinking venues, reports Insider Media. A shop front in The Strand, occupied by Smart News, will also be removed to provide a pedestrian link to the development. If approved, the plans could lead to a second phase of work at the site. This would comprise the removal of the car park and the construction of new-build units to provide space for entertainment and retail use. The aim of the project is to transform the yard into a “lively central piazza”. Plans to convert the site into 17 shop units were initially approved in 2007 and the permission was extended in 2010, although work has never taken place.
Intertain set to open Walkabout at former JD Wetherspoon site in Chelmsford this month: Intertain is set to open a Walkabout site in Chelmsford, Essex, this month. The company is investing £500,000 converting The Thomas Mildmay pub in French’s Walk, which it acquired from JD Wetherspoon last month. The new bar is due to open on Friday, 23 September, complete with VIP areas, pre-booked booths and a “reef bar”, where linked screens will show coral reef and surf footage. Walkabout’s new food and drink menu will also be on offer, including kangaroo burgers and steaks, along with craft beers, wines and cocktails. Dave Austin, general manager for Walkabout Chelmsford, told Essex Live: “We are unbelievably excited to be opening in Chelmsford. It’s a great city and we feel our unique combination of great food, unbeatable match-day atmosphere and epic party nights means we have something to offer everyone.”
BrewDog launches ‘DoubleDog’ initiative for shareholders investing in $50m US crowdfunding campaign: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched a “DoubleDog” initiative for its existing Equity for Punks shareholders that invest in its $50m US crowdfunding campaign. The company is offering double the investment and double the discount in its online shop. It stated: “America is the land where the ‘double’ is king – cheeseburgers, espresso, India Pale Ale – all are lifted to new heights by being multiplied. As our legion of Equity Punks are front and centre in our bringing BrewDog to America, we have taken it upon ourselves to add our shareholders to this list – specifically those who have invested in BrewDog and now invest in BrewDog USA. To say thanks for supporting our desire to change the world of beer on both sides of the Atlantic (and beyond) we will dispatch to you a special code that can be applied to our UK online shop and will double your existing Equity Punk discount, for one order only. So you could score up to 40% off the usual price of our freshly brewed craft beer and epic merchandise. You can buy a part of BrewDog USA from $95, or the equivalent in your local currency, via the startup platform BankRoll. If you are an existing Equity Punk investor in BrewDog, by investing in BrewDog USA you increase your shareholding in our US company and will also access the American-specific benefits. The DoubleDog perks will be applied after your application clears and your shares are allotted.”
Neil Riding to step down as Caffe Nero UK managing director in November, former Wagamama chief operating officer to take over: Caffe Nero UK managing director Neil Riding has decided to retire after five years at the helm and will leave in November. He will be replaced by Glyn House, who has joined the company after stepping down from Wagamama earlier this year. House had been with Wagamama for 11 years and was the company’s chief operating officer overseeing the brand’s growth. Riding said: “It was always the plan to help guide Caffe Nero for five to six years during this impressive period of growth then retire. That time went very quickly, but it is now up. (Founder and chief executive) Gerry (Ford) and I have planned for this and I am happy to hand over the reins to Glyn.” House added: “Caffe Nero is a fantastic company, one of the most admired in the food and beverage industry – it has tremendous growth prospects. I am very excited to join Gerry and the team in the new phase of Caffe Nero’s incredible journey.” Ford said: “Neil has been a great asset to this company, we are sorry to see him go, and he will be missed. Nonetheless, I welcome Glyn to my team. He brings a wealth of experience and a great track record.”
Aston Manor reports market outperformance: Capital expenditure of £5m in 2015, bringing the investment total to £30m over the past five years, is identified as the reason Aston Manor Cider outperforming the market. The numbers, revealed as the accounts for 2015 are filed, showed a 27% increase in export sales despite activity in some overseas markets being scaled back. Gordon Johncox, managing director at Aston Manor Cider, said: “We are committed to investment that increases our capability and capacity. The progress we have made in the past few years in the UK has been to shift a greater proportion of our sales to more premium products and exit low-value business – whilst still doing better than the total market in what are very challenging conditions.” UK cider sales have fallen in the past two years and whilst not immune to prevailing market conditions, Aston Manor is doing better than the category as a whole. Johncox added: “Aston Manor Cider is in good shape, is focused on cider and in our view better equipped than any other producer to grow and develop the cider category. We take the view that our marketing investment should add value and avoid the price promotions that depress value to chase volume. The slight dip in our UK sales is better than the experience for the total market, though is a reflection of how tough trading has been – not helped by a poor summer in 2015. We pride ourselves on being the only producer who offers a quality cider to cover every consumer and every occasion, and our new product development and partnerships enhance this. We have extended our relationship with the RFL and in Rugby League, giving us a great platform for consumer engagement. This also supports our successful work to grow our on-trade sales where the distribution deal for Kingstone Press cider with Marston’s has grown sales in that channel by 15%.”
Award-winning Aberystwyth restaurant comes to market: Gwesty Cymru, a Visit Wales five-star graded restaurant with rooms in Aberystywth, has been brought to the market by agent Christie & Co. The grade II-listed building is located on the Victorian promenade with direct views over Cardigan Bay and the town’s pier. The business has previously won a number of awards including an Institute of Welsh Affairs – Inspire Wales Award, a True Taste Award for dining, commendations in the National Tourism of Wales Awards and is recommended in the both the Michelin Guide and Good Hotel Guide. John Coggins, of Christie & Co’s Cardiff office, who is handling the sale, said: “Gwesty Cymru is a fantastic opportunity to acquire a highly profitable restaurant with rooms in an enviable location. Aberystywth, a historic seaside town as well as a major retail, entertainment and educational hub, attracts a wide range of visitors from overseas and domestic tourists to students and their families. There are a number of known local attractions including the Mynach Falls, Vale of Rheidol Steam Railway, Ceredigion Coastal Path and numerous beaches, so there is plenty of opportunity for a new operator to develop the business further and take advantage of its prime location and reputation. The business has strong levels of year-round trade, well-presented trade space and excellent levels of profitability making it an ideal purchase for both a hands-on owner or an existing operator looking to expand.” Christie & Co is seeking offers of £795,000 plus VAT for the freehold of Gwesty Cymru.
Hoste Arms in Burnham Market opens private cinema: The Hoste Arms in Burnham Market, Norfolk, has opened a private 20-seater cinema – alongside a new gym and private dining room – the cinema room was opened by television film critic Barry Norman. There are three film showings per day featuring 100 classic films every month and guests are offered a personal waiter service throughout the duration of each film. The cinema will be available to all guests staying at the hotel and for private party bookings.
Marketing and admin software company for independent hotel businesses passes 50% mark in crowdfunding campaign: The Booking Factory, which provides marketing and administration automation software for independent hotel businesses, has passed the 50% mark in its £50,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The Swansea-based company, which was launched in 2014, is offering an 8% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 54 investors have pledged £31,200 with 45 days remaining. The pitch states: “Hoteliers, as we know, are busy people and we have found they are neglecting their marketing channels while they are busy working in their business. In addition, we have also found hoteliers often lack the technical knowledge needed to build and maintain a website, post on social channels, configure code, and connect systems together. Our solution gives hotels the tools to automate much of their marketing and admin woes. We provide a web and mobile hotel website; an integrated booking engine to take bookings online; a channel manager to manage their multiple sales channels; a booking management system to manage all their bookings in one place; a payment gateway to take payments online; and automated marketing tools (lead generation, email marketing, promotions). We will focus on making our system and customer support a world leader for small and medium-sized accommodation businesses.”