The Breakfast Group opens Burlock rum bar in Marylebone: The Breakfast Group, headed by founder Eric Yu, has opened a specialist rum bar – Burlock – in Marylebone. The new venue in Duke Street, off Oxford Street, takes inspiration from Havana, Cuba, in the 1920s to 1940s and offers more than 200 rums from around the world, alongside other Latin spirits. Burlock’s name is taken from the twine and hemp packaging rum-runners used during the prohibition era. The Breakfast Group changed the venue’s name following complaints at the original choice – Plantation. The bar also offers signature cocktails and specialises in daiquiris made with sugar hand-pressed on site. Bar snacks and small plates complement each cocktail, including Brazilian cheese buns, sea bass ceviche, molasses-glazed pork ribs and empanadas. The “cavernous” bar features a “grand house” veranda at its heart, providing a bookable area for up to 40 guests, Bar reports. A Havana-style barber’s shop will double up as the “Sipping Salon” and will host spirit tastings and masterclasses.
Lane7 eyes expansion with Aberdeen bowling alley, restaurant and bar bid: Newcastle boutique bowling alley Lane7, owned by entrepreneur Tim Wilks, is eyeing expansion after submitting plans for a bowling alley, restaurant and bar on the site of a former nightclub in Aberdeen city centre. Tiger Tiger nightclub in Shiprow has lain empty for years and Jonathan Smith, treasurer and planning officer of the Castlehill and Pittodrie Community Council, said the Lane7 venue would be a welcome addition to the area. He told the Evening Express: “I think we’ve seen quite a change in trends for how people spend their free time and, over the years, the assumption has been there’s only demand for pubs and nightclubs, but in reality there is a real need for different kinds of activities – and I think this place could fill that role.” Earlier this year, Lane7 introduced large-scale car racing games at its St James’ Boulevard site in Newcastle, with plans to roll-out the concept to other UK cities. “The Racing Rig” is a ten-player indoor racetrack in which customers use real steering wheels and pedals. The venue also offers pool, ping pong, beer pong, and karaoke booths.
New central reservations team sees Coaching Inn Group report double-digit growth: Six months on from establishing a new central reservations team, Coaching Inn Group is reporting a double-digit increase in accommodation sales across the rapidly expanding group. The group, which saw turnover top £13m in the last financial year, including a 60% rise in operating profit, appointed the new team, led by revenue and marketing manager Isobel Diggins, to drive accommodation sales and help maintain brand standards through regular audits of the accommodation offering. In the first six months alone, the group has seen an average 10% increase in accommodation sales, with 14% increases in July and 22% in August on a like-for-like basis. Coaching Inn Group finance director Edward Walsh said: “Last year saw us deliver £4m in accommodation revenue and, with a strong pipeline of acquisitions planned before the end of the financial year, we are moving ever closer to our initial target of 500 bedrooms across the Group. Recognising the need to continue delivering a first-class service across the whole group, we appointed Izzy and her team to help maintain standards and drive sales. We have been delighted with the performance of the team so far, with accommodation sales increasing faster than our initial expectations as well as receiving excellent guest feedback due to the improved professionalism of the customer journey, which we view as equally important.”
Gourmet Burger Kitchen acquires third West End site: Acting on behalf of Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), agent Shelley Sandzer has acquired a 3,500 square foot restaurant on Berners Street, its third site in London’s West End. The 100-cover gourmet burger restaurant is being completely refurbished by an in- house team and is due to open in late 2016. GBK’s new prime location will be close to the planned Crossrail station, opening in 2017. Casey Phillips, partner at Shelley Sandzer, said: “Fitzrovia has seen some significant change of late. It started with the former Middlesex Hospital Development and a substantial new mixed-use development, The Copyright Building, at the northern end of Berners Street, by Derwent, another client of ours. As well as Crossrail, the area is undergoing major redevelopment such as The Plaza Shopping centre and Royal Mail Sorting Office. GBK is a great addition to the dining line-up in the area.” GBK chief operating officer Keith Bird added: “We wanted to expand within the capital and Shelley Sandzer helped us find a great space in central London. With the success of local redevelopments such as The Berners Tavern, combined with the substantial footfall from Oxford Street and nearby Soho, the dynamics of the location made it the perfect choice for us as a brand.”
London-based diner and cafe VQ opens first non 24-hour site, third venue in total: VQ, the London-based 24-hour cafe and diner, has opened its first non 24-hour site, and third in total, in Notting Hill. The 60-cover venue in Pembridge Road is open from 7am on weekdays and 8am at weekends. It closes at 3am, Thursday to Saturday, 1am from Monday to Wednesday, and midnight on Sundays. The restaurant features wood panelling and leather banquettes and booths. A feature light wall enhances the ambience of the space, placing an emphasis on the movement of light and changing colour spectrum throughout the day. The menu includes burgers, all-day breakfast, salads, pasta, small plates and old favourites such as fish and chips. VQ has been serving customers round the clock for 20 years in Chelsea and more recently in Great Russell Street. The company said it had more than 26,000 diners every month across the two sites and was seeing like-for-like sales growth.
Compass Group opens second Chop House in Edinburgh: Compass Group has opened the second site for its Chop House restaurant concept in Edinburgh. The concept, which launched in Leith last year, has opened at New Waverley Arches – the city’s £150m development in the Old Town. The 60-cover restaurant’s focus remains on its tried and tested theme of steak and cocktails. The space is bigger than the original in Leith as it is housed over two floors in the C-listed brickwork arch, which dates to 1875. It also features a bar offering cocktails and craft beer. Chop House buys British beef that is butchered in-house and dry-aged for up to 90 days before being cooked on an open-flame charcoal grill with chateaubriand, bone-in rib and porterhouse steak all available for sharing. The menu also features seafood such as oysters, scallops and prawns as well as a variety of sides. Chop House managing director Mark Fraser told Feast Magazine: “Being part of such a prestigious development is hugely exciting for our new restaurant. The location is second to none and we are confident The Arches will establish themselves as a key destination within the city centre. We are really excited about the interior of the building as we are creating a special environment that makes the most of its unique location.”
Marston’s premium division Revere to open third and largest Lost & Found site: Marston’s premium division Revere Pub Company is set to open the third site under its Lost & Found brand, this time in Knutsford, Cheshire. The company is opening the venue in Princess Street on Thursday, 29 September following on from its sites in Birmingham and Leeds. The grade II-listed former town hall created by Natural History Museum designer Alfred Waterhouse will house the two-tiered, 215-cover bar and restaurant. It will be the largest Lost & Found site yet, covering 4,133 square feet, including an 88-cover terrace for al fresco dining. The interior will be reminiscent of a Victorian botanical hideaway, with detailed lepidopteran wallpapers, vintage pendant lights, and hanging floral arrangements. Preserved original features will include gothic doors, arches and dark wooden floorboards. Lost & Found elements will also be seen throughout, such as lock-and-key motifs and a “secret bar”. The venue will also offer a 14-cover private dining room. The Lost & Found drinks list will incorporate a range of “Found” and “Lost” cocktails, reviving and re-interpreting forgotten classics from the past. Artisan and craft beers will also be available. The menu will comprise seasonal British fare, featuring a selection of sourdough pizzas with varied toppings, Sunday roasts and Josper oven-cooked steaks. Revere managing director Colin Sadler said: “This building is at the heart of the Knutsford community and we look forward to creating a beautiful space where old and new friends can enjoy great food and drink.”
Grind opens new headquarters in Shoreditch featuring roastery and training lab: London-based Grind, the independent coffee and cocktail bar, has opened a new headquarters featuring a roastery and training lab in the heart of Shoreditch. The company, founded five years ago by David Abrahamovitch and Kaz James, raised £1.3m last year on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube for the project. Now it has opened the roastery alongside a barista training lab and space for the growing Grind team in a converted warehouse that was originally built for coffee storage in 1895. Grind’s new headquarters are a few minutes walk from its original location on Old Street Roundabout. Coffee is roasted at the new site before being packed and transported to the company’s six venues. The company works with a team of importers aimed at guaranteeing fair pay to farmers, as well as investing in projects to improve the communities they rely on. Coffee is also delivered to Grind’s growing base of wholesale partners.
Creams, Real China and Tinseltown sign up for £9m Essex shopping centre extension: Four restaurants have signed up for units at the new £9m leisure extension at The Harvey Shopping Centre in Harlow, Essex, which is due to open in December. New lettings include 4,000 square foot sites for US-style diner Tinseltown, which operates ten sites, buffet restaurant chain The Real China, which operates more than 20 sites, and 36-siter dessert cafe operator Creams Cafe, as well as a 2,500 square foot letting to independent coffee shop Papa Cappuccino. The new scheme, named The Terrace, has been under construction for the past two years and will include a six-screen Cineworld Cinema. Alex Wagstaff, partner at Addington Capital, which is asset managing and redeveloping the centre, told Property Week: “We have experienced a great level of interest and demand from restaurants and other complementary leisure users that have bought into our vision to transform the night-time economy of the town. We now only have two other catering units available to let in this scheme.” The scheme’s agents are Brasier Freeth, Fleurets and GCW.
Ampersand signs five-year catering contract with BMA: CH&Co Group-owned caterer Ampersand has agreed a five-year deal with the British Medical Association (BMA) to provide a range of services at BMA House, its conference and events venue and headquarters in Tavistock Square, London. The agreement will see Ampersand provide catering services to 29 individual event spaces within BMA House. In addition, Ampersand will provide catering for the newly refurbished 1832 Café and Restaurant – named after the year the BMA was founded. Ampersand’s Indian culinary concept DAWAT will also see BMA House offer this catering proposition to the Asian market for the first time, and as an interactive buffet choice for conferences. Ampersand managing director Paul Jackson said: “BMA House is one of the best venues in London and we’re delighted to have been chosen to work with them as their catering partner. Our distinct approach, proven expertise and professionalism in venue and event catering will complement and enhance the food and service offer at BMA House. We have created exciting and innovative menus for the restaurant and cafe facilities and for its bespoke conferences and events.” Sarah Bright, head of events at BMA House, added: “We carefully considered our options and were particularly impressed by Ampersand’s versatile approach. We believe Ampersand’s strong connections with healthy eating, led by award-winning nutritionist Amanda Ursell, provide the perfect fit with the BMA’s vision for a healthy nation.”
Black Country Ales to open 32nd pub, in Stafford: Black Country Ales, the 12-year-old brewery based in Lower Gornall, Dudley, has exchanged contracts to take over the Shrewsbury Arms in Stafford, the company’s 32nd pub. The two-storey venue at the junction of Eastgate Street and Tipping Street dates to the 18th century and will now undergo a refurbishment with a reopening due before Christmas. The 3,150 square foot, grade II-listed pub had been on the market for £135,000 and was due to be sold at auction. Black Country Ales director Angus McMeeking told the Express & Star: “We decided to buy the pub before it went to auction. Stafford is an area we have been keen to move into. It is a busy bustling town and there is a growing real ale contingent in the county town.”
Domino’s Pizza launches first dine-in restaurant in Kent with Maidstone opening: Domino’s Pizza has opened its first dine-in restaurant in Kent, in Maidstone. The company has converted a former Spa store at Boughton Parade in Loose Road into the new venue. Alongside more traditional collection counters and waiting areas, it also features a 60-cover restaurant, reports Kent Online. Domino’s launched its restaurant venture in 2013 but only a handful have opened in the UK. In July, the company lodged plans to open a 40-seater dine-in restaurant in Hull.
Franco Manca launches pizza fund-raise for Italian earthquake fund: Pizza brand Franco Manca, which is owned by Fulham Shore, has launched a fund-raising campaign in aid of the Italian earthquake appeal. For every pizza sold at a Franco Manca restaurant, £1 will be donated to the British Red Cross to help its work with those affected by the recent earthquake in central Italy. The company’s directors will match each donation, ensuring £2 from each pizza sale goes directly to the appeal. Restaurant staff will also donate all their tips during the campaign, while a fundraising page has been set up. To access it, click here. Franco Manca operates 26 restaurants in the UK across London and the south east. Oakman Inns and Restaurants and Carluccio’s have also launched fund-raising initiatives for victims of the Italian earthquake.
Australian fitness franchise eyes 50 UK sites with Savills appointment: Australian fitness franchise F45 Training has instructed agent Savills to secure at least 50 new sites in the UK during the next 12 months following the success of its first venue at London Bridge. The operator was established in Bondi in 2013 and has since opened more than 500 venues across the Asia Pacific region, the Middle East, North America and Europe. It is now seeking single level units of between 1,650 square foot (153 square metres) and 3,300 square foot in high footfall locations close to retail and residential areas as well as transport hubs in Greater London and large UK cities. Social fitness is at the heart of F45’s ethos, with a 50,000-strong community of members taking part in team-based fitness experiences. The workouts are continually evolving, meaning members never repeat the same class twice. Technology is also a key element of the firm’s business model, with a patented platform used by all franchisees and a focus on digital engagement with existing and prospective customers. Luke Armstrong, global franchise director at F45, said: “Given the rapid growth we’ve experienced around the world, we expect the franchise to perform exceptionally well in the UK too. The opportunity F45 offers franchisees is also extremely enticing, with a low-cost operating model that uses process-driven systems and extensive in-house technology to scale the business efficiently and profitably. It also offers franchisees an opportunity to improve the lives of their members, enjoy an enviable work-life balance and earn significant income regardless of industry experience.” David Bell, head of UK leisure at Savills, added: “F45’s global growth over the past three years has been incredible and we are extremely pleased to support its ambitious expansion into the UK, which to date has been an almost untapped market for the operator.”
Molson Coors launches Carling Beer Button: Molson Coors has launched the world’s first beer button that allows consumers to order its Carling brand directly online from the UK’s top five retailers without having to search. Molson Coors research has revealed shoppers are only able to see ten products per page when grocery shopping online, while one-third of consumers don’t click beyond the first page. The Carling Beer Button is the first “e-commerce button” to be directly integrated with the UK’s top five online grocery retailers. The button syncs with the Beer Button App on a smartphone, allowing shoppers to add beer directly to their online shopping accounts, with no need to search. The product follows a year-long collaboration with digital agency Hi Mum! Said Dad. Molson Coors customer marketing director Alpesh Mistry said: “The Carling Beer Button is not a gimmick but is already up and running as a fully functional product.”
Ohio becomes first US state to have more than 500 investors support BrewDog’s $50m US crowdfunding campaign: Ohio has become the first US state to have more than 500 people invest in Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog’s $50m crowdfunding campaign. The state will be home to the company’s US brewery, which is being built on a 42-acre site in Columbus. Five other states – California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas – have between 50 and 499 investors. The Equity for Punks USA campaign raised $1m in its first three days, with the company aiming to raise $50m on startup platform BankRoll by selling 1,052,632 shares of stock in BrewDog USA for £47.50 per share – the minimum investment is two shares ($95 each). BrewDog’s 100,000 square foot brewery is nearing completion in Columbus, with the first brew scheduled for November. The facility will also feature a restaurant, taproom, retail space, visitors’ centre and beer garden. Long-term, the company said the site could support an annual capacity “in excess of 1.5m barrels”.
Star Pubs & Bars launches professional menu development programme: Star Pubs & Bars is launching a programme of professional menu development tools and initiatives to help grow food sales at the company. It said the complexities of menu development had been underestimated by the vast majority of the leased trade, and many pubs could benefit from adopting more sophisticated techniques. At the centre of the new programme is a menu development workbook and training guide, tailored to the unique challenges of pubs – the first of its kind in the industry. There is also additional training for new licensees, one-day masterclasses for existing Star operators, and an investment of £20,000 in free menu production for 100 pubs. Star is also upskilling its business development managers with a two-day practical course. Programme content includes understanding demographic reports and competitor analysis; selecting suppliers and products; costing, writing and producing menus; and new menu training and marketing. Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “With 30% of sales on average coming from food in Star pubs, professional menu development can generate significant extra footfall, sales and profits, and boost sales of beer, cider and wine too.”
BLOC Hotels gets go-ahead for second Birmingham site: Birmingham-based hotel group BLOC has been given the go-ahead for its second site in the city. The company has been granted permission by the city council to demolish Gallan House, a 1960s office block in Hill Street, to make way for a 25-storey tower with 238 bedrooms. The ground floor of the hotel, which will be known as BLOC Grand Central, will comprise a cafe/restaurant and there will be an open-air roof terrace for guests. BLOC Hotels managing director Rob Morgan told The Business Desk: “This is a defining movement in the company’s ambitious growth strategy. Our first hotel was in Birmingham and we want to continue to invest in the city that the brand was born in.” BLOC Hotels launched its first venue in the Jewellery Quarter in 2011 and also has a site at Gatwick airport in West Sussex.
Bread Meats Bread to open third site this month, second in Glasgow: Glasgow-based burger restaurant concept Bread Meats Bread is to open its third site – and second in the city – later this month. The company, which was founded in 2012, will open its latest venue in Great Western Road in the West End, Glasgow Live reports. The company posted a picture on its Facebook page of branded boards outside the new restaurant site, with the caption: “Things are shaping up nicely behind these panels… not long to go until we bring Bread Meats Bread to the West End!” Bread Meats Bread has restaurants in St Vincent Street in Glasgow city centre and Lothian Road in Edinburgh. Earlier this year, the company won the best burger in Scotland accolade at the Scottish Entertainment & Hospitality Awards and is renowned for its speciality poutine fries and mammoth cheeseburger.
Zenith Hygiene Group completes acquisition of Cater-Lyne to enhance offering to foodservice sector: Zenith Hygiene Group, the supplier of cleaning and hygiene products to the foodservice sector, has completed the acquisition of Cater-Lyne, a manufacturer and supplier of catering hygiene and cleaning products, for an undisclosed sum. Cater-Lyne, a family-run business founded by chief executive Ted Collings and based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, supplies a wide range of customers across the UK within the foodservice sector. As part of the acquisition, Cater-Lyne has been rebranded Zenith Hygiene, and its exclusive chemical formulations have been incorporated into Zenith’s product range. The specialist formulated products for combination oven manufacturers will continue to be produced under their existing branding. Zenith said Ted Collings and managing director James Hannaway would both be closely involved within the expanded group, focusing primarily on continuing to deliver an exceptional level of customer service and support.
Yummy Pub Company signs up for new dog-friendly pub awards: Pub operator Yummy Pub Company has registered for the newly launched Dog-friendly Pub Awards. Driven by the fact two-thirds of dog owners are put off by pubs that don’t welcome dogs, the company has also registered on dog-boarding website Dogbuddy.com. Yummy Pub Company head of random acts of kindness Allie Abgarian said: “When dog beers were brought to the market, we were one of the first businesses in the on-trade to buy them in, on top of always having offered doggy biscuit treats and water bowls. They’re called man’s best friend for a reason – to most people a dog is part of the family and, sometimes, their only family.” Yummy Pub Company, headed by Tim Foster, Anthony Pender and Jason Rowlands, operates six pubs – The Grove Ferry in Canterbury, The Somers Town Coffee House in Euston, the Gorringe Park in Tooting, the Wiremill near Lingfield, the Victoria in Mile End, and The Stoke Newington Tea House.