Leelex to open Ginstitute on Portobello Road: Agent Shelley Sandzer has secured a site on behalf of the restaurant and bar company Leelex, co-founded by Ged Feltham. The 5,970 square foot location at 186 Portobello Road will be transformed to include three separate elements – a distillery, pub and restaurant – split over basement, ground floor and first floor levels. It is due to open in November. The 1,309 square foot basement will be home to Ginstitute, the gin tasting and creation bar where customers can learn the history of the spirit as well as produce their own unique bottle of gin. The brand’s own Portobello Road Gin will also be produced on-site using a specially installed 400-litre still. The 1,713 square foot ground floor will be turned into a pub called the Resting Room, featuring spirits stored in barrels above the bar. Finally, the first floor will be home to a new restaurant concept named Gin Tonica, a Basque-inspired tapas restaurant based on the success of the Leelex-owned Pintura in Leeds. Leo Feldman, of Shelley Sandzer, said: “This beautiful landmark site, full of character, will make an excellent home for Portobello Road Gin and its associated concepts.” Ged Feltham, chief executive of Leelex, added: “Our heritage has played an important factor in the success of the brand and it was incredibly important for us to secure this site in Notting Hill. We believe we can create something very special for London here.”




Ed Turner received £226,000 pay-off following departure, Young’s 2016 annual report reveals: Former Geronimo Inns managing director Ed Turner received a pay-off of £226,337 following his departure last year, Young’s 2016 annual report has revealed. Turner left the company in July and the figure included £7,470 that was paid into a defined contribution scheme operated by the company and £3,000 to the law firm that advised him in connection with the cessation of his directorship and employment. The report showed retail director Patrick Dardis, who will take over as chief executive from Stephen Goodyear, will receive a bonus payment of £40,000 this year outside of the bonus plan for the extra responsibilities he took on when Turner left. It also revealed Goodyear was paid total remuneration, excluding pension costs, of £623,254 in 2015. His remuneration this year, excluding pension costs, stands at £607,646 made up of £321,198 basic salary and fees, £18,947 in benefits and £267,501 in bonus. Dardis’ pay in 2015, excluding pension, was £428,250, which is set to increase this year to £473,978, again excluding pension, made up of £245,040 in basic salary and fees, £2,218 in benefits and £226,720 in bonus, which includes the £40,000 outside the bonus plan. Finance director Peter Whitehead received pay, excluding pension, of £431,050 last year. This is set to fall to £420,052, excluding pension, made up of £234,779 basic salary and fees, £5,907 in benefits and £179,366 in bonus.




Nando’s set to offer breakfast at first high street site: Nando’s is set to offer breakfast at its first high street site after applying to open its new restaurant in Sevenoaks, Kent, from 7am every day. The company has revealed its intention to start serving breakfast in its licence application to the district council for the Bligh’s Meadow outlet, reports the Sevenoaks Chronicle. It currently only serves breakfast at its Gatwick Airport site, with a special morning-only menu available. The application states: “Opening hours have been applied for to provide for possible early morning opening of the restaurant to allow service of breakfasts.” The breakfast menu has been exclusive to Gatwick since February. The menu includes spiced maple pancakes and spiced maple french toast as well as two omelettes – chicken and fresh herb or spinach, tomato and cheese. The chicken theme continues with the Nando’s Benedict, which includes two chicken fillet pieces, two poached eggs and wilted spinach topped with peri hollandaise, served on a Portuguese roll spread with chilli jam and a sprinkle of peri-salt and fresh herbs. Nando’s, which wants to open from 7am until 12.30am every day, is expected to open in Sevenoaks by the end of the summer.




Intertain launches pool concept in Bournemouth: Walkabout operator Intertain has launched a new concept, Felson’s Sports Lounge and Stick Hall, in Bournemouth. The £250,000 warehouse-style venue takes its inspiration from 1950s American eight-ball legend Fast Eddie Felson and the members clubs he used to play in. Felson – who set a world record for potting 22 balls in a single shot – would coolly play for tens of thousands of dollars at a time and it is his spirit that will run throughout the new venue, from its decor to its selection of boutique beers and menu of craft cocktails. The first-floor bar is accessed from street level via a non-descript staircase that belies what is beyond the door; a venue that has been designed to ensure it is not a pool bar in the traditional sense. The space is zoned meaning that – coupled with its menu of cult American classics and exclusive roof terrace – it suits everything from an afternoon drink or coffee with friends to an evening cocktail at the bar or a late-night pool game. The bar will be open from midday to midnight every day, with its table available by the minute. John Leslie, chief executive of Intertain, said: “Felson’s is an entirely new concept for us and taps into the trend for secret speakeasy bars and word-of-mouth hangouts. Felson’s is as much a pool bar as it is a place for a post-work cocktail and we have taken great care to make sure it appeals as much to women as it does to men across our website, marketing materials, décor and menus.”




Loungers co-founder Jake Bishop becomes managing director of Cosy Club brand: Loungers has named director Jake Bishop as managing director of the group’s Cosy Club brand. Bishop, who co-founded Loungers in 2002, will take on the newly created role as the group looks to strengthen the Cosy Club management team ahead of a number of new Cosy Club openings in the next 18 months. Antony Doyle, who is currently the groups’ regional operations manager for the north west and Midlands, will take over the role of Lounge operations director. Doyle has been with Loungers for three years having previously worked as an operations manager for Jamie’s Italian. Both Bishop and Doyle will continue to report into Nick Collins, whose title will become chief executive, and COO Justin Carter. Of the appointments Collins, said: “As the roll-out of both brands continues, these appointments are a major step in evolving a more diverged management structure suitable for 400 Lounges and 100 Cosy Clubs across the UK. Having Jake, one of the founders, head up the Cosy Clubs is a real signal of our intent and aspiration for this fantastic business. Antony’s appointment as Lounge operations director, accompanied by subsequent internal promotions within the Lounge business, is a great demonstration of the strength in depth within the business and progression opportunities we can offer. It’s been a marvellous couple of days at Loungers, with this announcement straight on the back of our legendary annual staff party LoungeFest on Monday and the business is full of positivity.” Loungers has recently opened Centro Lounge in Loughborough and Estero Lounge in Monmouth and will open its 70th Lounge (and 84th site in total) in Lichfield later this month. Lounge openings in Corby and Derby and the groups’ 15th Cosy Club in Ipswich will follow in July/August.




Bitters ‘n’ Twisted reports turnover growth: Birmingham-based multiple operator Bitters ‘n’ Twisted Venues has reported an increase in turnover for the year ending 31 August 2015 of 21% to £6.9m across its eight venues. Overall pre-tax profits increased by 17.7% to £1.15m. Like-for-like sales in the period increased 6.4% to £6.1m, with like-for-like pre-tax profits increasing 18.5% to £1.16m. Matt Scriven, managing director of Bitters ‘n’ Twisted Venues, said: “The 12-month period to August 2015 saw healthy sales and profit growth. Two new venues were opened, a Bodega Cantina in Worcester and Marmalade Bar & Restaurant at The Rep Theatre. Both have got off to a steady start and have provided significant operational learning curves, being out of our traditional comfort zone in terms of location or style of service. Earnings figures for the year were affected by investment in these two sites. Buffalo & Rye restaurant opened in Birmingham city centre in November 2015 and we expect solid earnings from that site during the current financial year. A Bodega Cantina is due to open in Leicester in July 2016, with further sites in the Midlands hopefully to follow. Our focus will be on developing the Bodega Cantina group of venues for the foreseeable future. Our central management team has been developed during the year with additions to the marketing and finance teams so that the group is well placed to develop going forward. As expected, recruitment and retention of good quality hospitality staff has proved to be very challenging in Birmingham over the last 12 months with the ongoing arrival of new competitors into the city meaning it has become a bun fight to get the best staff. The big brands are helping drive significant salary inflation amongst general managers and head chefs particularly, which will only hinder the future development of the independent food and drink scene in Birmingham.”




Jones Bar Group opens third Roxy Ball Room, in Huddersfield: Leeds-based Jones Bar Group has opened the third site of its ping pong and pool concept Roxy Ball Room, this time in Huddersfield. The company, set up by brothers Matthew and Ben Jones, has opened the bar in Zetland Street, creating 30 jobs. The Huddersfield site has four pool tables and four ping pong tables. Launched in 2013, Roxy Ball Room offers gaming as well as cocktails, beer and food, including fresh dough pizza and home-made hamburgers. Matthew Jones said: “Being Yorkshire born and bred we visit Huddersfield regularly on a night out and love how vibrant it is. We believe Roxy Ball Room will fit in perfectly and offer something new to the community.” The company has ten sites, including its two other Roxy Ball Rooms in Leeds and Liverpool.




April Bloomfield and Tom Adams to open guest house and restaurant in Cornwall next month: Michelin-starred chef April Bloomfield will open her new guest house and restaurant in Cornwall, jointly set up with Pitt Cue’s Tony Adams, on Wednesday, 6 July. Bloomfield, who holds Michelin stars at New York restaurants The Spotted Pig and The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, and Adams, who founded Pitt Cue in Devonshire Square, London, have turned a Georgian dairy farm, near Launceston, into a guest house, restaurant and working farm, including curing rooms. The guest house will have six bedrooms, with Adams cooking for up to 12 guests every night, although people will also be able to book for dinner only. Dishes will include whole pit-baked mangalitza ham and creamed kraut; house curds with peas, mint and sorrel; and blackcurrant leaf junket. The venue will also feature a whisky and library room. Adams told Hot Dinners: “It’s going to be simple farmhouse fare, using immaculate ingredients. We’re going to look to produce it all ourselves. We’ve now got 26 Hebridean sheep, the bees arrive next month and then the pigs. We’ll then progress to growing our own stuff.” The venue will also run workshops for guests such as pickling and bread-making.




TLC Inns set to open Grand Central venue in Chelmsford next month, brand’s fifth site: TLC Inns, led by husband-and-wife team Steve and Jo Haslam, is set to open its fifth Grand Central site next month, this time in Chelmsford. The Essex-based operator, which also runs four premium pubs, has spent £750,000 renovating the grade II-listed building opposite the railway station, and will initially rent the property from developers Genesis on a 20-year lease. The 240-cover, 6,500 square foot restaurant in Duke Street will open daily, from 7am until midnight, and create 60 jobs. Steve Haslam told the Essex Chronicle: “We want to create new experiences. We want people to have fun and leave with a smile on their face. We are searching for a house band to play an unamplified midweek slot as well as guest bands at weekends.” TLC Inns’ other Grand Central sites are in Basildon, Ely, Colchester and Ipswich. In March, the company geared up for expansion by appointing four key head office members of staff, including food director Danny Lawrence, formerly of Big Easy, who will design the menu for the Chelmsford site. TLC Inns also announced it is looking to double the size of the Grand Central brand, with a plan to eventually operate up to 60 sites. Steve Haslam said he was already eyeing further sites in Essex, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.




BrewDog launches pizza offer at four UK bars, two-for-one introductory offer: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched a pizza offer at four of its UK bars in June. The pizzas will be on offer at BrewDog bars in Edinburgh, Sheffield, Shepherd’s Bush and at DogTap, the on-site bar at its brewery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire. Pizzas are on offer at two-for-one prices from midday to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but for Equity Punks – those who have invested in BrewDog – the deal will apply at “any time of day or night throughout the entirety of June”, the company said. The pizza options – each costing £9 – are King of Pigs (gyula sausage, leeks, watercress, smashed tomatoes and mozzarella), Grazing Goat (a vegetarian option featuring goat’s cheese, pine nuts, rocket leaves and red onion), The Hero (a vegan option featuring wild mushrooms, courgette ribbons and pine nuts), Spicy Meaty (nduja, pepperoni and chilli flakes), White Trash (vegetarian option with ricotta, stilton, spinach and walnuts), and Hamlet (kassler pork, artichokes, smashed tomatoes and grana padano).




Northcote Leisure Group launches cafe-restaurant in Blackburn’s £34m Cathedral Quarter: Northcote Leisure Group, run by celebrity Michelin-starred chef Nigel Haworth and wine expert Craig Bancroft, have opened a new cafe-restaurant in the £34m Cathedral Quarter in Blackburn. Cafe Northcote At The Cathedral is in the newly named Walsingham Hall, with the opening creating 15 jobs and two apprenticeships thanks to a work placement and training partnership with Blackburn College. The licensed bistro-style venue for 78 diners has initially opened from early morning to late afternoon. It will operate as a restaurant in the evenings during December, over Christmas and New Year, and at other special times. Haworth has created a new menu offering coffee, food-to-go, breakfast, afternoon tea, Sunday lunch, fresh breads, sweet treats, pastas, salads and platters, including Lancashire specialities such as Eccles cake and black pudding. He told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We look forward to new, exciting times expanding the Northcote brand into Blackburn and being part of bringing this incredible Cathedral Quarter development to life.” Haworth and Bancroft also run the Northcote Hotel, a 26-bedroom luxury hotel and Michelin star-winning restaurant in Langho, near Blackburn.




Former Smoking Goat head chef to launch Thai restaurant at Bankside development: Seb Holmes, former head chef at Soho’s Thai barbecue restaurant Smoking Goat, is set to turn his pop-up concept Farang into a permanent restaurant. Farang (“foreigner” in Thai) will be part of a large development at Flat Iron Square in Union Street, Bankside. Holmes’ menu will feature dishes such as tempura squid with curry, ginger and turmeric batter, jungle curry of braised beef with kaffir, pea aubergine, lemongrass and Asian herbs, and mango, coconut and cassia bark rice with palm sugar caramel. Holmes told Hot Dinners: “There will be a small kitchen serving high-quality food to take away or eat in, with a large bar area too. There will be heated Messene seats and lots of benches and cover for diners. We will be making our own curry pastes as usual and have a large range of our own recipes that we’re trying out at pop-ups and markets. If all goes to plan, I will be staying in this site for a minimum of one year and building my brand to allow myself time to decide Farang’s future.”




Chester-based waffle cafe concept set to start expanding with second site, in Preston: Chester-based waffle cafe concept Off the Waffle is set to start expanding by opening its second site in Preston. The company is launching the venue in Friargate in July on the site of a former takeaway, creating ten jobs. It will serve a number of crepes, milkshakes and desserts alongside sweet and savoury waffles. A spokesman for the cafe told Blog Preston: “We are a private business that opened in Chester in February last year. We are in the process of opening our next branch in Preston. We provide a wide range of fresh waffles and crepes, both sweet and savoury. We will also be doing a variety of other desserts.” He added the Chester outlet had proved popular with students at the University of Chester and he hoped for similar success in Preston with the University of Central Lancashire nearby.

Shaun Rankin to open restaurant at Flemings Mayfair hotel in September following £14m refurbishment: Michelin-starred chef Shaun Rankin will open a restaurant at the Flemings Mayfair hotel in September following a £14m refurbishment. Rankin, who will continue to run his Ormer restaurant in Jersey, said the Flemings Mayfair menu would focus on his Jersey heritage, offering a modern British menu. The dining room at the hotel in Half Moon Street will seat 80 diners, with a substantial 40-seat bar, along with a chef’s table and two private dining rooms. New general manager Henrik Muehle is overseeing the refurbishment of the family-owned hotel, part of the SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World) consortium, which is also seeing 129 bedrooms, suites and apartments renovated.




Pidgin owners to launch second London restaurant, Magpie, with all dishes served from trollies: James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy, who operate Pidgin restaurant in Hackney, are teaming up with its head chef Elizabeth Allen to open a second restaurant in the capital, with all dishes served from trollies. The team has yet to reveal the location of the new restaurant – Magpie – apart from it will be in “central London” and will open in the summer. The menu will feature about 30 dishes, with diners able to pick what they want from the trollies as they are wheeled around the room – having as much or as little as they want and in whatever order they wish, Hot Dinners reports. Allen’s menu will feature British small plates, including chicken heart popcorn with hot sauce, mussels with miso and beef dripping toast, and duck rillettes with sourdough and nukazuke pickles. Wine and cocktails will also be served from the trolley, featuring pre-mixed cocktails (including Pidgin’s barrel-aged negroni) and a wine list of about ten white and ten red wines available by the glass, carafe or bottle.




Domino’s aims to create 10,000 jobs: Domino’s Pizza Group is to create 10,000 jobs as part of a recruitment drive ahead of Euro 2016 and the Olympic Games. It will also open 65 new stores across the UK and Ireland this year. The bulk of the positions will be in the South East and London, although all areas of the UK are being targeted. David Wild, chief executive at Domino’s, said: “2016 is a bumper year for Domino’s… we have plans to open about 65 new stores and we’ll serve up more than seven million pizzas during the Euros alone. There has never been a better time to join the Domino’s family and we’re now on the hunt for 10,000 ambitious people to join our fun and diverse team.” Eleven of Domino’s latest recruits were welcomed to the business by former England manager Kevin Keegan, who said: “I was fortunate enough to give a lot of great players their first caps as England manager and it’s fantastic to be capping a new group, albeit on a different playing field.” Domino’s is predicting three pizzas will be ordered per second during Euro 2016.




Freedom Brewery to launch first prototype pale ale, available at 35 M&B Castle sites: Staffordshire-based Freedom Brewery is to launch its first prototype pale ale, which will be available in 35 Mitchells & Butlers’ Castle sites. The Freedom Pale Ale will be available from Friday, 1 July, with customers having three months to comment before it is relaunched, based on consumer feedback, in September. As well as the Castle sites, the ale will also be available at 65 independent trade outlets and as a taster box from online retailers, including Freedom’s own website. Customers can share their feedback during the three-month period through a ballot box and comment card system, Freedom’s website, and social media channels using the hashtag #FreedomPrototype. Freedom Brewery head brewer Jonathan Smith said: “With over 20 years of brewing expertise, our aim is to offer a full range of authentic, sustainably brewed beers that our customers will love. Our fanbase, which has been asking us to brew a pale ale for some time, are real beer experts so we have decided to get them involved in the process.”




£20m boutique hotel plan gets go-ahead: Plans to build a £20m boutique hotel in the Ropewalks area of Liverpool city centre have secured the go-ahead. Liverpool City Council’s planning committee has approved a full planning application by Wolstenholme Square Developments, which is owned by developer Elliot Lawless, to create an aparthotel at 42-46 Seel Street. The Falconer Chester Hall-designed application envisages a ground-floor restaurant/bar and self-contained commercial unit as well as a fifth-floor rooftop bar terrace. It is proposed to build a seven-storey aparthotel providing 42 high-quality apartments, which includes 116 rooms because it will give the operator the flexibility to offer both single rooms and serviced suites. Lawless said discussions with an operator were nearing a conclusion.



Peel Hunt – Domino’s Pizza £24m Nordic investment gives access to strong territories: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Ali Naqvi has said Domino’s Pizza has given itself access to strong territories with its £24m investment in the Nordic markets. Issuing an ‘Add’ note on the shares with a target price of 1,027p, Naqvi said: “Domino’s has acquired a 49% interest in Iceland and 45% in both Norway and Sweden. Iceland is the only Ebitda positive territory (£3m in 2015) and Norway is expected to be profitable in half two 2017. There are currently no sites in Sweden. This implies a valuation multiple of more than 16 times 2015. The Iceland business was established in 1993, operates 19 sites and generated £3m of Ebitda in 2015. This is a very strong performance given the population of 300,000. The group only assumes a modest growth in sites and expects to continue driving like-for-like growth going forward. Sales grew 20% over the past year. Norway currently operates ten sites, having been established in 2014, and has opportunity for further roll-out. Norway has an urban population of four million (total population five million). Currently, the territory is expected to be profitable in half two 2017. Sweden has a population of circa ten million and no Domino’s sites at present. The territory also has no pizza brand of scale and presents the greatest roll-out opportunity. The group is able to appoint a director to the board of the business and has options to acquire/sell the remaining shares between 2020 and 2023. Whilst positive transactions, the group has been down this road before. We expect the minority interest and retention of the local management team to keep management’s eye on the ball in the UK. There is also a positive read across for Domino’s Pizza Poland (‘Buy’, target price 35p), underpinning the valuation and attractiveness of territories with significant roll-out potential and management teams capable of delivering it. The group trades on a price-to-earnings ratio of 26 times FY2016, falling to 24 times FY2017.”




The Stable launches new vegan menu: Artisan pizza and cider brand The Stable, which is 51% owned by Fuller’s, has launched a new vegan menu across its 14 sites. For diners who want to choose any vegetarian options on the menu, The Stable said its chefs can make a “simple swap for a vegan-friendly cheese to make it completely animal-free”. Diners can also customise any of The Stable’s hand-made pizzas to suit dietary needs. The move to cater for vegans focuses on The Stable’s use of VioLife dairy-free cheese, while gluten-free pizza bases are also available and made on-site. The menu also features a new range of salads. The Stable site in Bath has been added to a vegan and vegetarian-based “Where to Eat in Bath” website and has held its first vegan-friendly event, with similar events planned at the company’s other sites in Bridport, Bristol, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Cardiff, Falmouth, Fistral, Whitechapel, Weymouth, Winchester, Plymouth, Southampton, and Poole. The Stable was founded by Richard and Nikki Cooper and Richard’s brother Andy in Bridport in 2009.




Molson Coors and Bavaria N.V. unveil partnership: Molson Coors and Dutch brewer Bavaria N.V. have announced a long-term partnership agreement. Molson Coors UK will get the exclusive rights in the on- and off-trade to the sales, distribution and customer marketing of Bavaria and its portfolio of brands in the UK, consisting of the brands Bavaria Premium, Bavaria 0.0%, Hollandia, Holland Import and Claro. For Bavaria, the partnership provides a springboard to grow the distribution of its brands in the UK. Fred Landtmeters, managing director of Molson Coors UK & Ireland, said: “Bavaria and Molson Coors both share a rich heritage and an unwavering commitment to producing excellent beer. The no/low alcohol segment is a growth area of the category and by working together with Bavaria along with the strength of our overall brand portfolio we are in a great position to maximise this opportunity. With industry-leading customer service and supply chain network, Molson Coors is well placed to deliver the shared ambitions for expanding supply of the Bavaria portfolio within the UK.