Comptoir Libanais opens first international site: Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes, has opened its first overseas site, in the Netherlands. The company has partnered with HMSHost to open the franchise operation in the city of Utrecht. The restaurant is based in the Stadskamer building in Stationsplein. Comptoir Libanais founder Tony Kitous said: “This is one of my proudest moments since I landed in London 29 years ago. I never imagined one day we would go international. It is an honour for us to be working with HMSHost, our partner in Holland, and serving the shoppers Lebanese and Middle Eastern food as well as spreading the love of our generous culture.” Comptoir Libanais operates 20 sites and is due to open a restaurant at the new Westgate development in Oxford.
Shoryu Ramen to open 11th site, next week in Shoreditch: Shoryu Ramen Restaurant Group, which specialises in Kyushu cuisine from the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, will open its 11th site next week, in Shoreditch, east London. The company will open the 40-cover venue on Monday, 23 October in Great Eastern Street offering its signature hakata tonkotsu ramen, shoryu buns, cocktails and Gekkeikan Royal Warrant sake. It will feature counter bars, high tables and a ramen bar where guests can see the chefs at work. Launched in 2012 by Japan Centre chief executive Tak Tokumine, Shoryu Ramen has eight sites in London, as well a restaurant in Manchester and a further ramen bar in Fukuoka, Japan. Tokumine said: “This is a really exciting new opening for us in an area that has long been a key part of the vibrant and exciting London food scene. This new site will feature an impressive theatre-style ramen cooking bar that will really get our Shoreditch customers hungry and will be the perfect pit stop for late-night noodles.” The group will also open its 12th site this month, in Oxford. The venue, its second restaurant outside London, will be located in the new Westgate Centre and feature a miso corn Tonkotsu dish that will be exclusive to the site.
UberEats on course to deliver $3bn this year: Uber’s food delivery service, UberEats, is on course to take $3bn this year. UberEats accounted for 8% to 10% of Uber’s global gross bookings in the second quarter. The figures suggested the two-year-old UberEats service – a standalone app separate from the main Uber taxi service – will record more than $3bn (£2bn) in gross sales this year. While Uber has had a tough year, including losing its operating licence in London last month, UberEats has managed to stay out of the limelight. The service is now active in 108 cities (40 in the UK) across 29 countries. It is targeting 200 cities by the end of the year. The unit had a turnover of $700m (£527m) to $870m (£656m) for the second quarter of this year, according to the Financial Times. Uber’s total gross bookings during the period were $8.7bn (£6.6bn). Each UberEats sale includes the cost of the food and the delivery fee, meaning the average UberEats order is more expensive than the average Uber taxi ride. But UberEats is unprofitable in most of the markets it operates in, with only 27 cities currently profitable. It also faces fierce competition in the delivery market. UberEats goes head-to-head with companies such as GrubHub in the US and Deliveroo in the UK. Amazon has also launched its own restaurant food delivery service, Amazon Restaurants, which is available to Prime members, while Facebook launched a food delivery service in the US last week.
Online brewing industry market place BrewBroker passes 50% mark in £380,000 crowdfunding campaign: BrewBroker, which describes itself as an online market place for the global brewing industry, has passed the 50% mark in its £380,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company is offering a 25% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 202 investors have pledged £262,900 with eight days remaining. The largest investment to date is £100,000. The aim of BrewBroker is to enable businesses to search, sell and buy brewing services from one other. It likens itself to Airbnb and Uber by “taking an established industry at a certain stage and disrupting it using a sharing economy model”. BrewBroker said contract brewing allows that opportunity in the beer sector, with the huge rise in consumer demand leading more breweries to contract-out production or sell excess capacity to maximise efficiency. BrewBroker said providing a “simple digital platform to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between two parties” would “transform the way the industry operates”. The company was founded last year by drinks marketing expert Toby Chantrell and Ben Morgan-Smith, a digital industry veteran. They have been advised by Craft Beer Rising founders Chris Bayliss and Daniel Rowntree. The pitch states: “A total of 59 breweries and suppliers have registered their interest through our website to use the platform including West Berkshire Brewery, which has a new contract brewing operation. The funds will be used for platform development – launching in the first quarter of 2018, sales and marketing, and staff and operational costs. After 24 months perfecting the model in the UK, we’re planning another raise for a global roll-out. The development of BrewBroker has been completely self-funded to date (£70,000). There is no debt. We anticipate exit opportunities after operating for five years to a wholesaler, logistics company, brewery or online market place such as Amazon.”
Deltic Group to stage live ‘casual e-sports events’: Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs, is to stage live “casual e-sports” events. The company has partnered with casual e-sports firm Ultimo Hombre for the project, with the first “Gamerday” taking place at Pryzm in Birmingham on Sunday (22 October). It will feature two distinct sessions throughout the day. The earlier session, from 10am to 4.30pm, will focus on inclusion, with children, teenagers and families able to try casual gaming in the day and participate in a “last man standing” contest. From 6pm to midnight, the second session will accommodate over-18s, with cash prizes and titles to play for. The action will be streamed on the in-house large-screen televisions for spectators. Deltic Group marketing director Tim Howard told Esport News: “Our Pryzm in Birmingham is one of our flagship locations, an ideal choice to lead the way, bringing gamers and families together and kicking off what we believe will prove to be a unique way to watch, play and experience the latest games. We can’t wait until multiple venues are battling each other live for bragging rights and we’re confident gamers of all ages and abilities will be thrilled with the Ultimo Hombre events.”
Bistrot Pierre secures Coventry site: Private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre has secured a site in Coventry. The company, founded by Rob Beacham and John Whitehead in 1994, is opening the venue in the Cathedral Lanes shopping centre. It will join restaurant brands Wagamama, Casual Dining Group-owned Las Iguanas and Loungers brand Cosy Club in the complex’s dining quarter in Broadgate. The restaurant will be on the first floor and is expected to open next summer with space for 124 diners. There will also be a terrace area for alfresco dining and a small bar. It will be Bistrot Pierre’s sixth site in the West Midlands. Cathedral Lanes developer Shearer Property Group worked with Bistrot Pierre to secure the deal for the unit. Beacham told the Coventry Telegraph: “Coventry is seeing a lot of investment and has a thriving food and drink scene, which we’re excited to be a part of. Cathedral Lanes is a prime location and, thanks to its expansion plan, has presented us with the ideal opportunity to grow our family of bistrots in the region.” Bistrot Pierre, which currently operates 21 restaurants, received £9.8m from private equity firm Livingbridge in 2015 to support its expansion plans. Sites in the pipeline include Preston and Worthing.
Caprice Holdings to launch Granary Square Brasserie brand in December: Caprice Holdings is to launch Granary Square Brasserie – a new 250-cover restaurant brand from the company’s Ivy Collection division – in London in December. The company will open the venue on Wednesday, 6 December in Stable Street, King’s Cross, after Caprice Holdings acquired a site that formerly housed Bruno Loubet’s Grain Store restaurant. The space will include a lounge and 14-cover bar as well as a 110-cover restaurant. There will also be a 37-cover lounge for meetings and a 73-seater outside terrace that will overlook Granary Square’s fountains and Regent’s Canal. Caprice Holdings said Granary Square Brasserie would “redefine all-day dining for residents and visitors alike, offering a welcoming place to meet, hang out, eat and drink, any time of the day, seven days a week”. A resident DJ will play each evening. The menu will combine modern British brasserie-style cooking featuring dishes found in all-day restaurants on the American east and west coasts, reports Eater London.
Jones Bar Group opens sixth Roxy Ball Room, in Nottingham: Jones Bar Group has opened its sixth Roxy Ball Room site, in Nottingham. The company has invested £400,000 to open the venue in Thurland Street above the Mojo bar, which launched in the summer. Roxy Ball Room, which offers table tennis, pool and beer pong, has seen a rapid expansion since the first bar opened in Leeds in 2013. It is the sixth opening in five years and the first in the Midlands for Yorkshire-born brothers Matt and Ben Jones. Matt Jones told The Business Desk: “We’re proud to be part of Nottingham’s entertainment market – the city is well known for high-quality bars and shopping and we’re really excited to be part of that.” Formed in 2004, Jones Bar Group also operates seven other sites in Leeds.
Wiltshire-based Michelin Bib Gourmand 2018 pub put on the market: Wiltshire-based Michelin Bib Gourmand 2018 pub The Forester has been put up for sale. The freehold of the pub, based in the village of Donhead St Andrew, has been brought to market for £750,000 through agents Christie & Co. Formally known as The New Inn, the property, which dates to the 15th century, is built of green sandstone and retains many of its original period features. It has a 40-cover bar with the remaining area comprising a 50-cover restaurant/function room, a snug, toilets and a fully equipped commercial kitchen. On the first floor, there is a two-bedroom owners’ accommodation and a one-bedroom management flat with separate external access, both of which could be converted into letting rooms. The garden has bench seating for 35 covers and additional patio seating to the front, which can accommodate a further 20 covers. Richard Wood, of Christie & Co’s Winchester office, who is handling the sale, said: “The Forester represents a fantastic opportunity to acquire a well-established food-led pub. Having benefited from strong and experienced ownership over the past ten years, there remains further scope for a new owner to expand the business by opening Sunday evenings and Mondays.”
KFC appoints DHL and QSL to manage UK distribution: KFC has appointed DHL and QSL to manage the supply and distribution of food products, packaging and consumables for more than 850 restaurants throughout the UK as part of its ambition to revolutionise the foodservice distribution market. For the first time, DHL is partnering with specialist foodservice logistics provider QSL to deliver a bespoke service tailored to the needs of KFC. DHL will manage the physical warehouse and distribution service, putting greater focus on innovation, quality and service performance. Key areas of focus will be reducing logistics-related emissions to net zero over the life of the contract, optimised delivery scheduling to provide a faster turnaround of orders, and greater integrity of food during transportation allowing for even fresher products on arrival in KFC restaurants. Having partnered with KFC across Europe since 2011, food logistics specialist QSL will offer planning and stock management, and manage operational purchasing for KFC as well as accounting for its operations. KFC supply chain director Jens Hentschel told Post and Parcel: “We want to deliver a new level of service to our restaurants and franchise partners, improve the quality of service to our customers, and reduce our environmental impact – all to a level that has never been done before.”
South London-based pizzeria and bar operators relaunch Powder Keg concept: Jayke Mangion and Andy Bell, the team behind subterranean bar WC and pizza parlour Joe Public – both sited in former public toilets in Clapham Common – have relaunched Battersea bar restaurant Powder Keg Diplomacy after taking over the site. Mangion and Bell have reopened the venue in St John’s Hill as Powderkeg, with former Opera tavern chef Ben Mulock heading the kitchen. His new menu features mainly Spanish and Italian grilled dishes, including charred beef brisket with baby gem and pomegranate glaze, alongside Barnsley chops and whole sea trout with seasonal sides. Brunch includes spiced buttermilk-fried chicken with avocado, pickled chilli on toasted muffin, and blueberry pancakes. The drinks list features cocktails, wine and craft beer, with a 2am licence on Fridays and Saturdays, Hot Dinners reports. Mangion and Bell launched California-style pizza restaurant Joe Public offering 20-inch pizza, whole or by the slice, in March 2016, close to its WC (Wine & Charcuterie) site.
Four-star bed and breakfast in Salisbury sells off asking price of £1.55m: A four-star bed and breakfast overlooking a cricket ground in the centre of Salisbury, Wiltshire, has sold off an asking price of £1.55m. John Hughes and Liz Wharton have bought Cricket Field House from owners Brian and Margaret James in a deal brokered by agents Colliers International. The owners have decided to retire after running the business for 30 years having transformed the once run-down Victorian property, which was originally a gamekeeper’s cottage on the Wilton estate. The upgraded and extended accommodation, which dates to 1850 and overlooks South Wilts Cricket Club, includes spacious rooms and a modern annexe. Ed Jefferson, of Colliers’ Bristol office, said: “Perhaps unusually in this day and age, the vendors chose to reduce the number of rooms while increasing the quality of the bedroom stock to create attractive suites.” Hughes, an engineer by profession, has built a property rental portfolio during the past four years after retiring from full-time work. He said: “Our intention is to maintain the high standard achieved by our predecessors while keying into the changing trends the hotel industry is seeing in the UK now. The operational balance and profit margins between conventional bed and breakfast and serviced apartments is seeing a drift towards serviced apartments in certain demographic areas. Liz and I will carry out detailed studies of the trends in Salisbury and parallel cities to assess our product range.”
Zonal appoints information security and compliance manager: Hospitality management solutions company Zonal has appointed Leo Cunningham as information security and compliance manager. Based out of Zonal’s Edinburgh headquarters, this is a new role for Zonal, which has seen rapid growth since its foundation more than 37 years ago. Cunningham will provide strategic leadership for Zonal’s information security and compliance requirements to ensure the business and its customers are “ready for the ever-changing landscape of cyber security and new regulations”. With more than ten years’ experience in risk management for finance, e-commerce and FinTech, Cunningham said: “Zonal is a technology leader in a fast-paced sector that mines vast amounts of sensitive data. The company already has strong procedures in place but I look forward to leading Zonal’s information security and compliance programmes, policies, and procedures to ensure we meet our objectives, not just today but the future too.” Zonal chief executive Stuart McLean added: “As the company grows so does our compliance and information security requirements. This appointment demonstrates our commitment to protecting and supporting our customers and further enhances what we already do as a company on a day-to-day basis.” Zonal employs more than 500 people and provides integrated EPOS and technology applications to more than 11,000 businesses across the UK.
South west-based catering company opens new-build community pub in Devon village: The owners of Exeter-based catering company Posh Nosh have opened a new-build community pub in Devon. Simon White and Julie Hall partnered with developer Paul Brinton to launch The Nightjar in the village of Aylesbeare. The pub is on the site of the former Aylesbeare Inn, which fell into disrepair and had to be demolished. White told Devon Live: “We know how important it is for the village to have a pub at its heart. It’s not just a place to drink – it’s a place for friends and families to meet, socialise and make memories.” Brinton added: “We had some initial opposition to the idea of building a pub but when people realised the old one was beyond repair and they might lose this community hub, they really came around. We’ve put a great deal of effort and money into creating something really special we hope will stand in the village for a long time.”