Richoux Group appoints Jonathan Kaye as chief executive: Richoux Group, operator of Richoux, Dean’s Diner and Villagio restaurants, has confirmed the appointment of Jonathan Kaye as chief executive. Kaye, who is the founder and former chief executive of Prezzo, has also been appointed as a director and has the right to acquire up to 20% of the shares in Richoux Group through a share incentive scheme. The appointment of Kaye as chief executive did not require shareholder approval. However, the board also wished to appoint him as a director, which the board proposed was conditional on a shareholder vote. This was because the board believed such a vote was appropriate to ensure the appointment of Kaye had the support of shareholders in the company. Kaye stepped down as chief executive of Prezzo and moved to a non-executive role in June last year. In September, Richoux Group reported turnover up 5.7% to £7.08m in the 28-week period ending 10 July 2016. Adjusted Ebitda decreased to £0.28m (2015: £0.79m). The company made a pre-tax loss of 0.58m, compared with a profit of £0.32m the year before. Ed Standring also stood down as managing director at the end of September and teamed up with Jamie Barber, co-founder of Cabana, and Ian Neill, chief executive of Wagamama, to acquire London gourmet burger group Haché.
Living Ventures to open Alchemist sites in Newcastle, MediaCityUK and Oxford: Living Ventures has exchanged contracts on a site in Oxford for The Alchemist brand, while work has started on venues in Newcastle city centre and MediaCityUK in Salford ahead of openings in March and summer 2017 respectively. The new venues will bring the total number of Alchemist sites to 11, following openings this year in Liverpool and Birmingham, with doors set to open next week in its latest venue, and first suburban foray, in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. The Alchemist managing director Simon Potts said: “We are delighted to confirm the new site in Oxford and to be part of the ambitious redevelopment of the West Gate area. The city has great heritage and the location is a stunning rooftop with terraces, landscaped gardens and views over the dreaming spires – a great setting for our brand. We are also beginning work in Newcastle at the end of the month, with doors opening in March, and design plans are full steam ahead for MediaCityUK in Salford in partnership with Macaulay Sinclair. We are excited to be bringing our brand of mixology to these new locations and look forward to a busy 2017.” The other Alchemists are in Manchester (two sites), Leeds (two sites) and London.
Azzurri Group to launch Radio Alice pizza concept next month: Azzurri Group, which owns and operates Ask Italian, Zizzi and Coco di Mama, is backing new pizza concept Radio Alice, which will launch in Hoxton Square, east London, on Monday, 5 December. The concept is the brainchild of brothers Salvatore and Matteo Aloe, who have united with Gail’s Bakery co-founder Emma King, who will oversee the project. The Aloes own Berbere, which operates five pizzerias in Italy. They use mother yeast and stone-ground flour to produce dough that is left to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours, producing a pizza base that is crispy outside and soft inside. They then cook the base and add organic, seasonal toppings. The new restaurant, on the former site of the Monikers pub, will also offer Italian organic wine alongside beer from Brew Fist in Italy and London’s Kernel Brewery. Radio Alice is named after an Italian pirate radio station from the 1970s. Salvatore Aloe said: “Radio Alice was fiercely Italian and deeply rooted in the rebellious. Their proud spirit and unconventional approach have always been an inspiration to us, and we hope today’s Radio Alice Hoxton will be much the same. We want our food to reflect that attitude so the ingredients are from traditional organic and slow-food producers in Italy and Britain.”
Kained Holdings to open three sites by end of year before period of consolidation in 2017: Glasgow-based operator Kained Holdings will open three sites by the end of the year before consolidating its estate in 2017. The company is investing £500,000 to refurbish the Crosslands pub – made famous by a violent riot scene in the film Trainspotting – that will reopen as The Kelbourne Saint, having acquired the site last year. The venue in Queen Margaret Drive will feature locally sourced food, courtesy of a “huge” rotisserie that will offer chicken and pork, while there will also be a rotating menu of Mediterranean small plates from the “edges of the Middle East right the way back to Scotland”. There will be an industry-first Scottish craft beer tank system, with beer transported directly from West Brewery to two chilled 500-litre tanks in the pub that feed brewery-fresh beer directly into the taps. The main design theme is stone and wood while, to retain the heritage of Trainspotting, it is reinstating the glass rack seen in the movie. In addition, Kained Holdings is opening two further venues in the city. The company has acquired the former Rockus site in Argyle Street and is investing £200,000 to transform it into a Victorian-era pub serving Mexican street food. It is also launching its first deli in the same road, which will be a not-for-profit business that trains people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Director Graham Suttle told Herald Scotland that following a busy end to the year, 2017 would be a period of consolidation for the business, which is now turning over about £7m a year and employs more than 150 staff across its current seven outlets. He added: “We have always set out to do what excites us. We always look to stay ahead of the game.”
Innis & Gunn crowdfunding campaign clears £1.5m mark: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has seen its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube attract more than 1,200 investors and clear the £1.5m mark. The company, founded by Dougal Sharp, is offering a 2% equity stake in return for the investment. On 4 November it hit its £1m target and so far 1,231 investors have pledged £1,508,260 as the campaign continues to “overfund” with 14 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £100,000. Innis & Gunn intends to double its turnover to £25m during the next three years and the capital raised through the Adventure Capital campaign will be used to accelerate its immediate growth priorities. Earlier this month, Sharp told Propel the primary aim of the fund-raise was to allow Innis & Gunn to roll-out The Beer Kitchen bar and restaurant brand, which it launched in Edinburgh in July 2015. It has since opened a second site, in Dundee, while bars will follow in St Andrews later this month and then Glasgow, which will house the company’s first micro-brewery, before its first international venue in Toronto, Canada. The company also plans to expand beer production at the Inveralmond Brewery in Perth, Scotland, which it acquired earlier this year and is now to be named the Innis & Gunn Brewery. Production volume is forecast to triple in the next two years to 30,000HL. The company will also install a barrel-ageing hall and new filtration technology that will expand the development, giving it the capacity and capability to “brew some of the beers we’ve not been able to”.
Turtle Bay eyes former Walkabout site in Middlesbrough: Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay is eyeing a former Walkabout venue in Middlesbrough. Turtle Bay has submitted a premises licence application for the venue in Corporation Road to Middlesbrough Council. The restaurant has already started looking for staff, with various websites advertising for a head chef, assistant manager and general manager, reports Gazette Live. The licence application is for recorded music and sale of alcohol between 10am and midnight, Sunday to Wednesday, and 10am to 1am, Thursday to Saturday. The building has been empty since Intertain shut the Walkabout venue in March last year.
Grind opens seventh London site, in Clerkenwell: London-based Grind, the independent coffee and cocktail bar, has opened its seventh site in the capital, this time in Clerkenwell. The venue in Old Street features a signature Grind neon sign designed by Toronto-based tattoo artist Curt Montgomery, with pink velvet booths, sweeping marble bars and royal blue panelling inside, The Handbook reports. Grind Clerkenwell opens from 7am offering breakfast dishes, including mushroom breakfast croquettes and beetroot-cured salmon and kimchee. Weekend breakfasts are more indulgent, with truffle hash topped with poached duck’s egg and French toasted banana bread. The lunchtime menu focuses on small plates such as Isle of Mull scallops served with samphire, aubergine and goat’s curd. Downstairs is the Club-Bar, offering cocktails including the infamous Espresso Martini, with DJ sets from Shoreditch Grind Recording Studio among others. Coffee comes from Grind’s roastery, which opened half a mile down the road in Shoreditch in September. Founded in 2011 by David Abrahamovitch and Kaz James, the company raised £1.3m on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to fund the roastery, which is housed in a building that also features Grind’s headquarters and a barista training lab. The other Grind coffee and cocktail venues are in Shoreditch, Soho, Covent Garden, Holborn, Royal Exchange and London Bridge.
Old Northampton Group secures high-end cocktail bar freehold: Old Northampton Group, which operates four venues in the town, has secured the freehold of its first site – Sazerac Bar – a high-end cocktail bar in St Giles Quarter. The group has invested £9m across its four venues and will use an £800,000 loan from specialist lender OakNorth Bank to purchase the freehold. OakNorth has lent the group more than £2m since September 2015, enabling it to acquire its fourth site – pub restaurant The Lighthouse – in June. Old Northampton Group finance director Nikki Kooner said: “As the first site we opened in Northampton, (Sazerac) holds sentimental value to us and, since opening in 2009, has become one of the town’s go-to destinations. Purchasing the freehold provides us with the security and peace of mind that we can continue to provide the town with a quirky and sophisticated cocktail venue for years to come. We were given the option to acquire the freehold and agreed on the price a year ago. However, to ensure we could go ahead we needed to move quickly so appreciated the speed, efficiency and responsiveness of the OakNorth team.” Rishi Khosla, co-founder and chief executive of OakNorth, added: “Northamptonshire has been designated as an area for major growth over the next decade. It’s clear from the group’s ongoing success it knows how to tap into the town’s young and vibrant population.” Old Northampton Group’s other venues are the Old House Pub & Kitchen and restaurant the Department of Meat and Social Affairs.
Taco Bell opens first merchandise store within new Las Vegas restaurant: Mexico restaurant brand Taco Bell has opened its first merchandise store within its new site in Las Vegas. The new Taco Bell, which is based on the Las Vegas Strip, has an area where customers can buy exclusive Taco Bell merchandise and memorabilia. Products include limited edition Las Vegas branded retail and newly designed brand merchandise, ranging from hats, shirts and bags to bikinis, rings and sweatshirts, reports Licensing Biz. The restaurant has also debuted a new logo, which the company calls an “evolution, not revolution” of the brand and marks the latest development of Taco Bell’s plan to become a $15bn brand by 2022.
Northumberland-based operators acquire third site: Northumberland-based operators Andy and Susan Smith have acquired their third site. The Smiths have bought The Hadrian Hotel in Wall from David Lindsay in a deal brokered by agent Christie & Co. The property features six bedrooms, a traditional-style bar/lounge and a 40-cover restaurant. The Smiths, who also run The Red Lion in Newbrough and The Twice Brewed Inn near Bardon Mill, intend to remodel and refurbish the building internally and externally. Mark Worley, director in Christie & Co’s Newcastle office, said: “Andy and Susan took over The Twice Brewed Inn through Christie & Co in 2015 and have transformed the venue into one of the finest coaching inns/hotels in the county. They plan to do the same with The Hadrian Hotel, which is great news for the locals of Wall and for residents across the wider area. We wish them all the success in this venture.”
Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous to run restaurant at Experimental Group’s debut London hotel: Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous will run the restaurant at Experimental Group’s first London hotel. Henrietta Hotel will open in early 2017, with the name deriving from the Covent Garden street it is situated in. The hotel will be a sister to Experimental Group’s Grand Pigalle in Paris and its fourth London venue alongside Covent Garden wine bar and restaurant Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels and the group’s two bars – Experimental Cocktail Club and Joyeux Bordel. The 80-cover restaurant – Henrietta – will be on the ground and first floors of the hotel, offering a simple, seasonal and ingredient-led menu with a “subtle nod to France”. Mixologists Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller will use freshly sourced ingredients from around the UK as inspiration for the venue’s cocktail list. Xavier Padovani, of the Experimental Group, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Ollie on the restaurant for our first London hotel. He is leading the way in London gastronomy and we have come to know him well, so this is a perfect fit for us.” As well as his eponymous restaurant, for which he received his Michelin star in 2012, Dabbous also runs fellow Fitzrovia venue Barnyard.
Whitbread group finance director appointed non-executive director at Land Securities Group: Whitbread group finance director Nicholas Cadbury has been appointed a non-executive director of real estate investment trust Land Securities Group. Cadbury, who joined Whitbread in 2012, will take up the new role with effect from 1 January.
Base + Barley site closes in Cardiff: The site in Cardiff that houses the second site for Artigiano’s pizza and craft beer concept Base + Barley has closed, eight months after its launch. Wales Online reports that the 100-cover venue in Queen Street has a sign in the window stating: “Take notice that we, George Capital (Cardiff) Limited, owners and persons entitled to possession of these premises, have today re-entered thereon in accordance with our power to do so and as a consequence of such re-entry the premises have been secured.” Base + Barley is the brainchild of Artigiano founder Joe Hill and Steve Keough. They head HK4 Group, the umbrella organisation for Artigiano, Base + Barley and The Terrace, a two-storey venue with rooftop terrace that opened at the new £12m dining quarter in Exeter last month. The first Base + Barley opened in Exeter in late 2015, while earlier this year Artigiano said it had plans to roll-out 200 venues in the next ten years, starting with a site in Bournemouth. Earlier this month, an Artigiano spokesman said the Bournemouth opening had been delayed until next year. Artigiano runs coffee bars that transform into wine bars in the evenings. It has sites in London, Reading, Exeter and Cardiff.
Former Ottolenghi chef to launch Tel Aviv-inspired restaurant Bala Baya in Southwark: Former Ottolenghi chef Eran Tibi is set to launch Tel Aviv-inspired restaurant concept Bala Baya in Southwark. The restaurant, which will open in Union Street Arches in January, is the first stand-alone project by Israeli-born Tibi, who has also worked at Made in Camden and Zest@JW3. He met co-founder Sammy Shonn through a mutual fascination with Tel Aviv, and the downstairs venue will be reminiscent of the Israeli city’s cafe culture, featuring a fast-paced, grab-and-go setting including an open kitchen and bar. The 76-cover restaurant upstairs will feature a “more refined dinner menu”, with tables seating up to 16 alongside London’s first “gazoz bar” – a traditional sparkling drink. The daytime menu will focus on a custom-made oven, which will provide pitta pockets containing stews and slow-cooked meat accompanied by salads and homemade sauces. The evening menu will include dishes such as salmon and tahini, and aubergine and harissa date glaze, while desserts will include chocolate and hazelnut babka. Ali Reynolds, 2015 Diageo Reserve World Class UK Bartender of the Year, has curated the cocktail list. The design-led project aspires to bring the “raw creativity of Tel Aviv’s hip, all-day eateries to London in a sleek-Bauhaus-inspired restaurant”, featuring interiors by award-winning London design studio Afroditi Krassa.
Former G1 Group managers launch design agency: Two former managers at Scotland’s biggest independent managed operator G1 Group, which is led by Stefan King, have launched a full-service design and creative agency. Former head of creative Paul McVey and design and print manager Mike Pawlukiewicz have launched Saved By Robots. McVey said: “Working for G1 was the best start to our creative careers and, through the years, Mike and I have been involved in a vast array of diverse projects and led the concept development, creative, branding and digital aspects of individual bars, restaurants, hotels as well as online retail stores, digital booking systems and corporate branding.” Pawlukiewicz added: “It’s so exciting to be able to set up our own creative agency and still get to work with some top creative and design talent we met during our time at G1. We are also lucky to have our investor and co-founder James Brown, retail operations director at BrewDog, to help guide us on the business strategy and sales side.” G1 Group operates more than 58 managed sites and 100 leased premises under the Iona Pub Partnership brand.
Patisserie Valerie extends Debenhams partnership with Middlesbrough opening: Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, has extended its Debenhams partnership by opening a concession in Middlesbrough. The company has opened a cafe at the department store in Newport Road, creating 20 jobs. It offers the brand’s patisserie and cake range, with items hand-made on-site. Chief executive Paul May said: “Our new cafe in Middlesbrough is part of our continuing partnership with Debenhams. We hope the people of Middlesbrough enjoy our lovingly hand-made cakes!” Patisserie Valerie, launched in 1926 in Soho by Belgian-born Madame Valerie, has more than 115 sites throughout the UK.
Wasabi opens Oxford site: London-based sushi and bento business Wasabi has opened a site in Oxford. The two-storey restaurant is in a former Vodaphone shop at the junction of Cornmarket Street and Market Street. The opening has created 50 jobs. Spokesman Sam Rees-Williams told the Oxford Times: “We started out 13 years ago as the only food retailer selling individually wrapped pieces of sushi. For shoppers it will make a change from the usual sandwiches and salads, and as well as sushi there will also be hot food bento boxes featuring hearty Japanese classics such as chicken katsu curry.” Wasabi opened its first site in 2003 on London’s Embankment and now operates 41 outlets across London, seven outside the capital and two in New York. Late last month, the company secured a funding package worth £25m from HSBC to help fund its expansion plans in the UK and US. The funding is primarily made up of a £20m, three-year revolving credit facility that will be used to fund the roll-out of 20 sites. In addition, HSBC has provided £4m of asset finance to develop Wasabi’s 65,000 square foot warehouse, which houses the new central processing unit.
Easyhotel in talks over Sheffield site: Easyhotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchisor of “super budget” branded hotels, is in talks over a site in Sheffield. The company stated: “Easyhotel is in advanced discussions regarding the potential acquisition of a freehold building in Sheffield for the development of a new Easyhotel, for which a mixed-use planning application for an Easyhotel in Sheffield has been submitted by the developer.”
Staycity to open two new sites in France next year: Dublin-based aparthotel operator Staycity will open two sites in France next year. The company already operates an aparthotel in the tenth district of Paris and will add Staycity Marseille to its portfolio in February followed by a site in Lyon in the spring. The Marseille property, based in the historical Vieux Port, will offer 108 apartments, while the Lyon aparthotel is a purpose-built, 144-unit development in the city centre. Staycity chief executive Tom Walsh said: “France has long been a mainstay in our expansion plans and we hope to add further properties in strategic sites in the coming years. These properties and our existing premises in Paris provide us with a firm base in France, which will help build our reputation as the go-to aparthotel operator for leisure and business travellers.” Staycity premises opening in the UK during the next 12 months include Manchester (182 bedrooms), London Covent Garden (106 bedrooms) and Liverpool (202 bedrooms). The company now has more than 3,000 apartments across eight major cities in the UK and Europe, with expansion plans that will take it to 15,000 apartments by 2021.
Shoryu Ramen founder launches Mayfair restaurant Sakagura: Tak Tokumine, founder of Shoryu Ramen, the restaurant group that specialises in Kyushu cuisine from the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, has partnered with two Michelin-starred restaurant The Araki to launch Sakagura in Mayfair. The new restaurant is at the former Strada site in Heddon Street and offers a southern Japanese menu by executive chef Kanji Furukawa and head chef Jin Yackshin, focusing on a “harmonious mix of rice, miso, pickles and sai main dishes, covering all five flavours and stimulating all senses”. The menu includes “everyday dishes to full-course seasonal tasting menus, robata-grilled dishes, hand-pulled udon, soba noodles and freshly made sushi”. Sakagura also features a specialist bar run by sake producers Gekkeikan, with a large range of sake served in masu cups alongside sake-based cocktails, including Whisky Risky – a herbal blend of Hakushu 12-year whisky, green Chartreuse, Namazake, citrus fruit and mint leaves). The decor is contemporary Japanese, with small booths or a large kappo counter to sit at to watch the chefs in action. Shoryu Ramen operates seven restaurants in London and one in Japan. It will open its first site outside the capital – in Manchester – on Wednesday, 30 November.
Thomas Cook to expand own-brand hotel portfolio: Thomas Cook will expand its own-brand hotel portfolio next summer, offering 12 new venues. The tour operator will add five of its premium Sunwing Family Resorts and four of its adult-only Sunprime Hotels to its UK portfolio. Sunwing resorts offer a wide range of facilities for the whole family, including multiple swimming pools, activity and entertainment programmes, healthy buffets, easy access to the beach and Kids Club mascots. Thomas Cook will also add its own-brand hotels in Italy for the first time, as well as new additions in Croatia, Mallorca, Cyprus, Gran Canaria, Rhodes and Turkey. Thomas Cook UK managing director Chris Mottershead told Travel Daily: “Our own-brand hotels are what make us unique and we have carefully designed our concepts to ensure there is something for everyone, whether you are travelling as a family, couple, group of friends or on your own.”
Zonal scoops charity award for second year running: Hospitality management solutions company Zonal Retail Data Systems has scooped the Corporate Partner of the Year Award from Hope For Children for the second consecutive year. Zonal became founding partner of the charity’s corporate partnership initiative “Your Business, Their Lives” in November 2014 and has since raised more than £72,000 for the charity, which gives something back to local communities at home and abroad. In Scotland, Zonal is supporting Hope For Children’s partner the Lothian Autistic Society, which provides services, information and practical support to individuals, families and carers affected by autism. Further from home, the company is funding a number of projects in India and Uganda, all aimed at bringing hope to children who have limited life opportunities. Zonal was recognised for the way staff have engaged with the partnership at every level, including a recent hike of the Great Wall of China with £40,000 raised through various fund-raising initiatives. Zonal chief executive Stuart McLean said: “I am so proud of our teams located throughout the UK who continue to put their heart and souls into the Hope For Children campaign. Each year they surpass our fund-raising expectations and this recognition is for every team member.”