Flat Iron opens fifth London site, in Portobello: Flat Iron, the “single steak” dining concept, has opened its fifth restaurant in London, this time in Portobello. The new venue has opened in Golborne Road and is the brand’s furthest site west in the capital. Flat Iron offers a flat iron steak with salad for a tenner, alongside upgrades, daily specials, burgers and sides. Exclusive to the west London branch is a custom-made beef-ageing cabinet, which takes pride of place, and Japanese white ale on draught as well as a collaboration with Portobello gin on a wild herb, hay-infused cocktail Flat Iron Farm. Flat Iron started as a pop-up concept in east London and now has two restaurants in Soho and others in Shoreditch and Covent Garden. Flat Iron’s owners view their venues as working galleries, so items such as furniture, light fittings and tableware are for sale. They also offer filter coffee, tea, cakes, super-fast internet and lots of power points to attract working customers while operating a no-reservations policy.
Bistrot Pierre opens third Welsh site, in Mumbles: Bistrot Pierre, the restaurant group backed by private equity firm Livingbridge, has opened its third site in Wales, at the Oyster Wharf development in Mumbles, Swansea. The company has invested £1m in the site, which seats up to 160 diners in the restaurant and outdoor terrace, creating 60 jobs. Co-owner Rob Beacham told the Swansea Bay Times: “Mumbles is a stunning location. We were thrilled at the opportunity to open in such a prestigious place.” The company, founded by Beacham and John Whitehead in 1994, received £9.8m from Livingbridge in 2015 to support its expansion plans. It operates 19 sites, including its other two Welsh restaurants, in Cardiff and Newport.
Karali Group starts Sticky Sisters expansion with Farnborough sister site: Burger King UK franchisee Karali Group, which launched chicken wings concept Sticky Sisters in Leeds on 5 May, has started expansion by opening a sister site in Farnborough, Hampshire. The venue has opened at The Meads shopping centre offering dine-in and takeaway options and creating more than 30 jobs. Karali Group managing director Salim Janmohamed said: “We are building the Sticky Sisters brand and it is great to be opening our second restaurant. We are excited to bring our range of sauces and fun dining experience to Farnborough.” Philip Robins, senior development manager of St Modwen, which is redeveloping Farnborough town centre, added: “Sticky Sisters is a great addition to the line-up of leading brands in Farnborough, especially as the new casual-dining restaurant has chosen The Meads as its second UK location. There is a real food hub growing around the Vue cinema, and Sticky Sisters will add something special to that.” Karali Group operates 59 Burger King sites.
Greggs reports lower calorie menu options now account for more than 10% of sales as it launches summer salad range: Bakery business Greggs has reported lower calorie menu options now account for more than 10% of sales as it launched its new summer salad range. Research by the company, which last week revealed total sales were up 7.5% in first 19 weeks of 2017, showed 61% of Brits are much more health conscious than five years ago. The survey of 2,000 British adults also found more than two-thirds (68%) now rigorously read nutritional information before purchasing on-the-go items, and more than half (54%) said they try to make healthy food choices. The research also revealed Brits are a nation of seasonal eaters, with 47% feeling salad and fresh vegetables taste better during the summer, and one in ten eating a salad-based lunch or dinner at least ten times throughout the sunny season. Greggs’ new salad range includes coconut, lime and chilli chicken; Mexican chicken with smoky rice and beans; and falafel with harissa, roast vegetables and grains. All are fewer than 400 calories and rank green and amber on the Food Standards Agency’s traffic light system for fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar. This year Greggs became the first UK food-on-the-go brand to introduce traffic light labelling on its website and app. The company celebrated the launch of the menu by unveiling two couture-inspired dresses made entirely from salad ingredients. A Greggs spokesman said: “More and more people are looking for a healthier option for their on-the-go food. We wanted to celebrate our new salads with something fun and a little different that everyone could enjoy – and we can all appreciate a bit of salad dressing!”
Novus Leisure starts renewed expansion of Balls Brothers brand with Mayfair launch, tenth site: London bar and restaurant operator Novus Leisure has started renewed expansion of its Balls Brothers brand by opening a site in Mayfair. The brand’s tenth venue has opened in Brook Street and features a Balls Brothers spirit kitchen, which is the “centre point for all things gin and whiskey including spirit tastings and gin infusion masterclasses”. Novus Leisure chief executive Toby Smith said: “We are excited to open the doors on our new-look Balls Brothers Mayfair. It is an exciting time for Balls Brothers, with our aim to expand the brand. This site has been reformed into a versatile space and we have also added some new offerings including afternoon tea, which we feel fits the Mayfair market perfectly.” Last week, the company instructed agents Colliers International to secure sites for the expansion. Founded more than 100 years ago, Balls Brothers is particularly seeking sites in the West End, with other ideal locations including Covent Garden, Oxford Circus, Waterloo and Piccadilly. Units of at least 4,500 square feet are being sought, preferably at ground-floor level with outside space and close to office developments.
Nobu to open third London restaurant within its first European hotel, in Shoreditch: Nobu will open its third London restaurant within its first European hotel, in Shoreditch. The group, founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, will open the 240-cover restaurant in July. It will span almost the entire footprint of the hotel in Willow Street. A grand staircase will lead up to the restaurant, while there will also be an 80-capacity, four-level terrace as well as a ten-seat sushi bar and a chef’s table for 18 overlooking the custom-built, open kitchen. The restaurant will have its own bar offering vintage sakes, limited edition Japanese whiskies and rare champagne. The restaurant will feature materials that reflect the local area including concrete, bronze, oak and glass, alongside textiles and a wooden finish. The menu from Matsuhisa, executive chef Greg Seregi and head sushi chef Teruya Noriyoshi will feature Japanese, Peruvian and other South American elements, including Nobu classics such as black cod miso and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno. Nobu has more than 30 restaurants worldwide.
Amber Taverns opens Hogarths Gin Palace at former Newcastle nightclub, 11th site: Community pub operator Amber Taverns has opened an 11th venue for its Hogarths Gin Palace brand, this time in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. The venue has opened in former town centre nightclub Fluid following a 13-week refit, creating 25 jobs. The venue features a large bar and exclusive Juniper Lounge, which opens on Friday and Saturday nights for pre-booked private functions, and offers gin trays – a selection of up to five gins, mixers and accompanying fruit for a group of four so they can prepare their own drinks. Amber Taverns area manager Matt Bainbridge told the Stoke Sentinel: “Hogarths does not work everywhere but we choose the locations carefully. We have a selection of more than 120 gins and we are looking to grow that, but we also have classic lagers and beers on offer because, importantly, we are a pub. We are not a nightclub but on occasions we will put on live music and we have a large screen to show sports. It is important for us to be able to offer something for everyone. We are a dynamic company and this is a very different concept, but we are confident it will be a success in Newcastle.” The other Hogarths sites are in Blackpool, Bolton, Preston, Leicester, Wakefield, South Shields, Hereford, Newport, Swansea and Ilkeston.
Stew & Oyster lines up Malton site: Leeds-based bar group Stew & Oyster is lining up an opening in Malton, North Yorkshire. The company, which serves real ale alongside a selection of the food it is named after, wants to open the bar and restaurant in the old town hall. It has been granted a licence for the building in the centre of Market Place. Previously occupied by Malton Museum, the grade II-listed building underwent a major restoration by the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate but has since remained empty. Stew & Oyster operations director Tom Mountain told York Press: “We now have a licence for the premises and are currently in talks with the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate and also looking at changes required to the building.” Stew & Oyster opened Calls Landing in Leeds in 2009 before adding two further sites in the city – Boston Spa and Oakwood. It also has a venue in Otley and is due to open an outlet in Sheffield.
Glasgow-based operators open contemporary Scottish bar and restaurant at Star Pubs & Bars site: Glasgow-based operators Neil Douglas and Billy Mcaneney have opened a contemporary Scottish bar and restaurant, Ardnamurchan, for their first joint venture. The duo have launched the concept in Hope Street after a £430,000 refurbishment of the former Trader Joes pub. The revamp of the Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars site included a new kitchen, snug with real fire and an open plan bar and restaurant, using exposed stone and Harris Tweed-alike fabrics. Ardnamurchan, which has created 20 jobs, celebrates Scottish food and drink. While produce comes from across Scotland, there are close links with suppliers in Ardnamurchan. The bar specialises in Scottish whisky and gin as well as cocktails. More than 50 Scottish whiskys will be stocked and it is the first venue in Glasgow to sell whisky from The Ardnamurchan Distillery. Four Caledonian beers are on tap. Mcaneney has run bars and restaurants in Glasgow for more than 30 years. His current venues include Baby Grand Bar & Grill, Ad Lib, Mercardo Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Websters Bar & Bistro and Cottiers Bar & Restaurant. Douglas, who has worked in hospitality in Glasgow since 1990 and is owner of Cafe Antipasti in Sauchiehall Street, said: “Glasgow is the gateway to the West Coast and we felt there was an opportunity to showcase the fantastic quality and range of the food and drink that comes from there as well as further afield in Scotland.” Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens added: “The great strength of the leased pub model is the freedom it gives independent operators to put their own stamp on a business. Ardnamurchan is no exception. It’s been a partnership combining significant funding from Star and the vision of Neil and Billy.”
Vianet partners with FullClear to give operators new beer line-cleaning solution: Beer quality and waste management systems company Vianet has partnered with FullClear to give operators a new beer line-cleaning solution. The partnership involves customers signing up to purchase FullClear, a scientifically formulated beer line-cleaning technology that is non-corrosive, non-toxic and non-hazardous. The product is sent direct to the site each month with Vianet’s iDraught cellar technology monitoring the activation of the solution and automatically notifying FullClear if the product has not been used on schedule. The iDraught technology also monitors and reports on effectiveness of the cleaning. Historically, line cleaning has involved toxic, corrosive and hazardous chemicals with the onus for cleaning on the operator. As such, it is often ignored due to time pressures or a reluctance to waste beer that usually occurs during the process. Data from Vianet’s recent Beer Quality report found one in three pints served in the UK is via an unclean beer line. The average difference in annual beer volumes between a pub that serves between 90% to 100% of beer via clean lines and those that serve only half is 63 barrels and is worth about £63,500 at a retail selling price of £3.50 per pint. Vianet managing director Steve Alton said: “Our new partnership agreement with FullClear allows for the first time a fully managed and pro-actively measured line-cleaning service. FullClear chief executive Alex Murray added: “Through our extensive independently verified tests we’ve proven you can safely extend the clean cycle from weekly to monthly. We are delighted to collaborate with Vianet to create this holistic solution, which is aligned with our philosophy to help retailers serve better quality beer and run better businesses.”
Chocolate-maker Ferrero to launch first Nutella cafe: Chocolate manufacturer Ferrero is to launch a cafe dedicated to its Nutella brand. The concept will launch in Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago on Wednesday, 31 May with the cafe offering an “array of all-day dishes and go-to options”. The company will operate the site itself, which will feature a menu inspired by the hazelnut-chocolate spread’s Italian origins, including warm baguettes and gelato, all topped with Nutella. There will also be non-Nutella items on the menu but even the decor is meant to evoke the spread. Noah Szporn, head of marketing at Nutella North America, said: “We wanted to create a world of Nutella for our fans that could truly capture the essence of the brand from the moment you step into the space.”
Tim Hortons reveals opening date for first UK site: Tim Hortons, the Canadian cafe and bake shop owned by Restaurant Brands, has revealed its first UK site will open in Glasgow on Friday, 2 June. SK Group, an experienced franchise operator that has already played a major role in the successful UK expansion of Domino’s Pizza, will open the venue in Argyle Street. It will be followed by a “12-month rapid expansion into other major regional cities” throughout Britain later in the year with plans eventually for a minimum of 100 sites. Tim Hortons UK and Ireland chief operating officer Gurprit Dhaliwal told Business Insider: “We’re really excited to open our first restaurant in Britain and the buzz we’ve been seeing has been unbelievable. With its burgeoning cafe culture, Glasgow is the ideal spot for our first location.” The menu will include Tim Hortons’ signature coffee, espresso-based drinks, hot chocolate, French vanilla and classic frozen Iced Capp, as well as baked goods and breakfast and lunch offerings. Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by its namesake, a professional ice hockey player who wanted to create a space where “everyone would feel at home”.
Randall & Aubin to start expansion by opening second site next month, in Manchester: Soho-based seafood restaurant and oyster bar Randall & Aubin is to start expansion by opening its second site next month, in Manchester. The restaurant, owned by chef Ed Baines and Jamie Poulton, will open the 130-cover venue in Bridge Street on the site of the former Rankin Style furniture shop. As well as seafood, the restaurant will be serving rotisserie chicken and other brasserie classics. The decor will be tiles and marble with lots of benches and high stools. Baines told I Love Manchester: “We’ve been attracted by the positivity and entrepreneurial energy of the city, the warm, welcoming community, the culinary interest towards food and the enthusiasm for a great night out.” Randall & Aubin launched in an old Edwardian butcher’s shop in Soho’s Brewer Street in 1996.
Cote opens restaurant at former Ed’s Easy Diner site in Gloucester Quays: French brasserie Cote has opened a restaurant in Gloucester Quays. The company has opened the 112-capacity venue with added outdoor seating in Merchant’s Road at the former Ed’s Easy Diner site that closed in January. Cote chief executive Alex Scrimgeour told So Glos: “Our new Gloucester Quays brasserie places us right in the heart of the action of this thriving waterfront shopping destination.” Earlier this month, Cote reported turnover increased by 12.5% to £121,541,000 for the year ending 31 July 2016, compared with £108,042,000 the previous year. Adjusted Ebitda fell to £17.9m, compared with £20.1m the year before. Gross profit increased to £52,774,000, compared with £50,998,000 the year before. Pre-tax profit was down to £10,013,000, compared with £13,892,000 the previous year. Cote, which is owned by private equity firm BC Partners, has 87 restaurants in the UK.
Krispy Kreme to make Swansea debut: Krispy Kreme has announced it will open its first site in Swansea. The company said it would open at a unit in the Quadrant Shopping Centre at a date yet to be announced. Krispy Kreme UK operations director Alex Drysdale told Wales Online: “We are excited to announce we will be bringing the joy of Krispy Kreme to Swansea this summer.” In March, Krispy Kreme opened its 1,000th location, and first in Peru. The company now operates stores in 31 countries, with development agreements in several others. There are more than 70 Krispy Kreme stores across Britain, with the nearest site to Swansea at the St David’s Shopping Centre in Cardiff.
Dundee-based multi-site operator submits plans for Scottish-themed diner: Dundee-based multi-site operator Jonathan Horne, who owns the Italian Grill and Henry’s Coffee House in the city, has submitted plans to launch a Scottish-themed diner. Horne has submitted plans to launch the concept in Reform Street in the city centre at a site formerly occupied by Jessops camera shop. The opening would create up to 25 jobs. A dining area would be designed in the ground-floor unit with options for food to be served in the basement. Plans have also been lodged for a spiral staircase. An application from Kerr Millar, on behalf of Horne, states: “The restaurant will be operated as an independent business, under a new brand, and will focus on using local produce to deliver a range of traditional and contemporary Scottish cuisine.”
Punch develops best-in-class workshops for publicans: Punch has developed a series of best-in-class workshops for its publicans. A Best in Sales workshop saw 150 publicans from the company’s Falcon division take part in practical and interactive sessions allowing them to share ideas and explore Punch’s “BEST” practice principles – Because we care; Every customer, Every time; Sell it your way; Together we can. They aim to allow publicans to deliver heartfelt hospitality, look for opportunities to grow sales and work as a team to establish their pub as the heart of the community. Sara Clamp, regional operations director for Punch’s Falcon division, said: “The Best in Class workshops help us to communicate our BEST practice principles to our publicans and their teams and encourage them to take the ideas and implement them into the day-to-day running of their pubs.”
Italian restaurant Sugo Pasta Kitchen to start expansion by opening second Greater Manchester site: Altrincham-based Italian restaurant Sugo Pasta Kitchen is to start expansion by opening a second site, in Manchester. Owners Alex De Martiis, Michael De Martiis and Jonny Marcogliese are opening the venue in Ancoats. Due to open in early 2018, the restaurant will have 60 covers – double that of its site opposite Altrincham Market that was launched in 2015, reports the Manchester Evening News. The trio said in a statement: “Since we opened not a day has gone by without someone asking us about expansion. The truth is we have been really happy doing what we love to do in Altrincham. It has given us time to hone our skills, really concentrate on our menus and build a great team.”