Busaba Eathai opens second casual dining format restaurant, in St Albans, as part of regional expansion plans: Busaba Eathai, the Thai chain founded by Alan Yau and led by chief executive Jason Myers, has opened the second site for its new casual dining format – in St Albans, Hertfordshire. The 115-cover restaurant, which features a 17-seat private dining room, is the group’s 16th venue overall and third regional site after launches in Liverpool and Manchester. The restaurant in Veralum Road is the second to adopt Busaba’s evolved design – drawing inspiration from traditional Thai architecture, textiles and joinery, with added layers of modern-day Bangkok – following its launch in Oxford Circus, London, last month. Exclusive collaborations with renowned street artists Alex Face and Rukkit appear on the menus, while the venue also features a stand-alone bar and heated garden terrace with 28 covers. Dishes include Thai calamari and tamarind char-grilled duck breast, along with Thai curries and the restaurant’s new “Best of Busaba” set menu. There is also a range of Thai-inspired cocktails and blended juices, alongside Asian beer and Thai spirits. Myers said: “We’re excited to be part of this buzzing city which has such a colourful history and thriving cultural life. As we continue to introduce the concept of Busaba outside London, our vision of taking modern Bangkok food and hospitality nationwide is becoming a reality.”
York-based tea room operator takes on Punch pub: York-based tea room operator Nicola Hunter is to take on her first pub, with Punch. Hunter, who runs Molly’s Tea Rooms, will operate the Bootham Tavern on the corner of Bootham and Bootham Row in the city. The three-storey building, which also has six bedrooms, is undergoing a £500,000 refurbishment ahead of reopening on Wednesday, 7 December. It will feature a new back bar, lighting and wall coverings, improved facilities, and an upgraded external courtyard. The refitted pub will have a strong focus on craft ale and live sport, broadcasting major football and rugby matches as well as other sporting fixtures. Hunter told York Mix: “This is a very exciting new venture for me. Many years ago I worked in the Bay Horse in Marygate. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and am looking forward to going back to my roots at The Bootham.” Punch openings manager Sam Ward added: “The Bootham Tavern is a traditional pub with masses of potential. With its stunning new look and Nicola at the helm, I am sure it is going to be a real hit with customers old and new.”
Former Flying Pizza owner to build £2m high-end Mediterranean restaurant in Leeds: Martin Pickles, who owned The Flying Pizza restaurant in Leeds that was acquired by San Carlo Group in 2011, has joined forces with fellow entrepreneur Martin Hicks to build a high-end Mediterranean restaurant in the city. Construction work is under way at the £2m restaurant – Convive – which will be part of the University of Leeds-owned Weetwood Hall estate but retain an independent identity. Convive will seat 120 and feature an alfresco area under a retractable roof. It will be twinned with Mediterranean restaurants across Europe to create “inspiration through innovative chef swaps and ingredient sourcing”. As Convive’s head of operations, Pickles will manage the restaurant and look after the strategic direction of the business. After a decade at The Flying Pizza, he ran the Garrick Club’s restaurants and private dining rooms for five years in Covent Garden. Pickles also worked at Langans in London for 14 years, where he worked alongside Hicks for the first time. Pickles told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “A high-end Mediterranean restaurant is what Leeds has been crying out for and I’m delighted to be back in the city I love and delivering the most exciting restaurant Leeds will have seen in many years.” Hicks is managing director of Weetwood Hall and has established it as a leading conference venue. He said: “The food and beverage offering will be first class and Convive will more than meet a demand I identified several years ago.”
Sussex-based Bedlam completes crowdfunding campaign for new brewery after raising £500,000: Sussex-based craft brewer Bedlam has completed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube for a new brewery after raising £500,000. The company was aiming to raise £330,000 and offered an 18.66% equity stake in return for the investment, which is being raised to supplement the £170,000 recently invested by shareholders and associates. It has now closed the campaign having raised £500,000 from 288 investors. A new brewhouse would increase capacity by up to 600%, Bedlam said, with the new site commanding stunning views across the South Downs National Park and accommodating tours, tasting rooms and a retail store. Since relaunching as a commercial brewery in 2015, Bedlam has seen turnover increase by more than 85% in the past year, including securing its first export order, while gross profit has risen 123% in the same period. The pitch stated: “For the current period (to end March 2017), we are forecasting a rise in sales of over 90% to about £350,000 as we see the benefit from a wider distribution network driving growth. With regards to a potential exit, those who have followed the craft beer industry in the UK will be aware some breweries that have been successful in creating a strong brand and meaningful sales have been acquired by larger groups. Camden Town was acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev for a suggested £85m in late 2015. At Bedlam, we don’t really believe in giving a specific exit timeline but will instead continue to focus on brewing great beer and driving sales through increased distribution.”
Stonegate to reopen Derbyshire village pub after taking over Punch lease: Stonegate Pub Company will reopen the Queen’s Head in Ockbrook, Derbyshire, on Friday (4 November) after taking over the free-of-tie lease from Punch and investing £500,000 in its refurbishment. Brewdog IPA, Brooklyn Lager and a rotation of cask ales have been added to the drinks menu, along with premium lagers Peroni and Estrella. There will also be a wide selection of gins. The new food menu will include grilled dishes, 35 day-aged British steaks, burritos, pastas, salads, risottos and a selection of open and slow-cooked pies. David and Julia Pike, who hail from Derbyshire, will run the pub. David Pike said: “The pub is a gem with enormous potential and it’s great news that Stonegate saved the pub and created more jobs in the area. There is no denying it needed a significant investment to maximise that potential, though. It enables us to focus on providing our new customers with quality, value and choice.” Stonegate Pub Company chief executive Simon Longbottom added: “This is an exciting development for Stonegate. Community is massively important to us, so to have the privilege of a gem like the Queen’s Head is great.”
Casa Brasil signs for Southampton scheme: Casa Brasil has signed to open a restaurant at the new WestQuay Watermark dining and leisure development in Southampton. The company has agreed a deal with the complex’s owner Hammerson for the 410 metre square site, which will be its fifth to date. Casa Brasil offers guests an authentic Brazilian rodizio experience, in which traditional chefs called passadores carve healthy grilled meat directly at diners’ tables. The restaurant will also feature the brand’s atmospheric carnival screens, caiprinhas and cocktails. It will join other restaurant brands that are due to open at the £85m complex at the end of the year, including Franco Manca, the pizza restaurant owned by Fulham Shore, Thai leisure group’s Thaikhun brand and Red Dog Saloon. Casa Brasil marketing manager Andy Sharp said: “Casa Brasil rodizio restaurant at WestQuay Watermark in Southampton represents a very exciting prospect. The last four years have been a very exciting time for us and getting our fifth restaurant is another key milestone in Casa Brasil’s development.” Hammerson head of restaurants and leisure Sarah Fox added: “We are pleased to welcome Casa Brasil to WestQuay Watermark. A locally based operator, the restaurant is a great addition to our tenant mix and helps to further strengthen the development’s appeal.”
Individual Restaurants reports profit and Ebitda boost as revenues break £60m mark: Individual Restaurants has reported a profit and Ebitda boost as its revenues broke the £60m mark. The company, which operates the Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill brands, saw turnover increase 6% to £62.7m for continuing operations in the year ending 31 March 2016, compared with £59.4m the year before. This was helped by like-for-like sales growth of 5%. Pre-tax profits increased 176% to £1.5m over the same period. The group also revealed restaurant Ebitda before pre-opening costs increased 19% to £13.8m, while overall Ebitda before pre-opening costs climbed 40% to £7.4m. Founder Steven Walker told Insider Media the company was also making progress on rolling out its new partnership with celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo across the UK. He said: “It’s been another record year and we’re heading in the right direction. This year is heading for a good result and revenues will be up again. Where we can get big strategic sites such as Opera in Chester and Piccolino in Alderley Edge, we’ll do that. We’ll be opening in partnership with Gino D’Acampo in Park Row in Leeds before Christmas and the plan is for four additional Gino D’Acampo sites in the 2017 calendar year, with a focus on major UK cities.” In April this year, Individual Restaurants completed the refurbishment and extension of the Caffe Grande Piccolino restaurant in Clarence Street in Manchester city centre and, in August, opened a £3m Opera Grill restaurant in Pepper Street in central Chester. A consortium known as W2D2 bought and delisted Manchester-headquartered Individual Restaurants in 2011. W2D2 is led by Steven Walker and Iceland founder Malcolm Walker.
Byron opens Windsor restaurant: Better burger brand Byron has opened a restaurant in Windsor, Berkshire. The company has opened the site – its 69th in total – in Thames Street, creating 40 jobs. Founder Tom Byng told the Windsor Express: “To be opening a Byron restaurant opposite Windsor Castle is very exciting, it’s such a fantastic location with so much history and culture.” In July, Byron secured a £12m banking facility to fund its national expansion plans. The business plans to reach 100 eateries in the next three years. The new agreement was funded jointly by Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland until 2021. Byng founded Byron in 2007, with the first restaurant opening in London’s Kensington High Street.
Shoryu Ramen to open first site outside London this month, in Manchester: Shoryu Ramen Restaurant Group, which specialises in Kyushu cuisine from the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, will open its first site outside London this month, in Manchester. The company will open the 55-cover restaurant at One Piccadilly Gardens on Wednesday, 30 November, reports the Manchester Evening News. Shoryu Ramen has agreed a 25-year lease with the building’s owner Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets, at an annual rent of £100,500. The restaurant will offer signature hakata tonkotsu ramen, shoryu buns and Gekkeikan Royal Warrant Sake, as well as limited edition seasonal cocktails and Japanese beer. The company has seven restaurants in London and one in Japan.
Yum! completes China division spin-off: Yum! Brands, which owns Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, has completed the spin-off of its China unit that has seen it become a separate, publicly listed company. Yum! China chief executive Micky Pant said: “After 30 years in China, we are incredibly excited to begin a new chapter as an independent company focused on growth in China. China presents an outstanding opportunity for high-quality restaurant concepts with unprecedented urbanisation, a rapidly growing middle class, and ongoing investment in world-class infrastructure. With exclusive rights in mainland China to the iconic global brands – KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – ownership of two unique local brands, and a presence in more than 1,100 cities, we are well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity. As an independent company, we will maintain our focus on China by increasing our investment in new stores, innovative menu offerings, digital engagement and delivery to further grow our brands across the country. This will enable us to provide delicious food to more customers, deliver even greater opportunities for our employees and partners, and generate long-term value for our shareholders.”
Merseyside-based multi-site operator to open new restaurant in Liverpool: Merseyside-based multi-site operator Paul Adams is set to open a new restaurant in Liverpool. Adams, who is behind Southport’s Vincent Hotel and its sister operation, the Vincent Cafe & Cocktail Bar at Liverpool’s Exchange Flags, is said to be preparing to open an “Asian Kitchen” concept in Bold Street on the site of the former Linen Warehouse store. Andreas Anastasiou, director of agent Tano Properties, which has let the site, told Your Move: “This is a further expansion for [the Vincent] and for Bold Street it presents another brilliant food offering. We believe attracting top operators will be the key to the success of this area.” Earlier this year, Adams also agreed a deal to run a new £20m, 116-bedroom aparthotel in Liverpool’s historic Ropewalks district, which includes the city’s first rooftop pool.
New restaurant concept to combine fast food with fitness suite: A new restaurant concept specialising in “clean-eating fast food” is set to launch in Aberdeen next month. Fat Dad’s Kitchen will aim to combine healthy fast food with a fitness suite when it opens in Palmerston Road in December, with half of the venue allotted as a studio space for the use of personal trainers. The menu will be designed with the help of nutritional scientists from Robert Gordon University and include protein pizzas, shakes, protein brownies and hangover detox breakfasts on Sundays. Four research placements will be offered at the restaurant, which is aimed at people who want to eat well but don’t have time to prepare healthy meals every day. There will also be a delivery service. The concept has been devised by Gavin Jefferson and Liston Pacitti. Jefferson told the Evening Express: “It’s for people who want to make a change and get rid of eating rubbish. Everyone’s trying to eat more healthily and eat well. The menu will all be properly researched, making sure there are no unhealthy additives. It’s something different, something beneficial.”
Barbecue street food pop-up Smokestak launches debut restaurant in Shoreditch: Barbecue street food pop-up Smokestak has opened its first permanent site, in Shoreditch. The concept is the brainchild of David Carter, who used to run front of house at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges and Roka. Following a string of successful pop-ups, Carter has now opened a restaurant in Sclater Street, just off Brick Lane. The venue is spread over two floors, with a ground-floor restaurant seating 75 around an open kitchen and 30 covers outside on the terrace. The basement bar has room for 15 and offers pre-dinner drinks and bar snacks such as “pigtail or oxtail”. Mains include new dishes such as smoked girolles with beef dripping toast, crispy beef shin with anchovy mayo, and coal-roasted sweet potato with smoked ricotta and bacon. Smokestak classics on the menu include the USDA brisket bun and pickled red chilli, alongside burnt-end beans and brisket ends. Vegetarian dishes include smoked cauliflower cheese and grilled baby gems and parmesan, Hot Dinners reports. The smoke and fire theme extends to the dessert list and pickled blackberry crumble is served in cast iron dishes straight from the fire. The drinks list has a local theme, with four craft beers, six cocktails and 25 wine bins.
Nottingham-based brewer set to treble production after moving to larger site: Nottingham-based Lenton Lane Brewery is set to treble its production after moving into larger premises. The company, which previously traded as The Frontier Brewing Company, has moved from Derby into a 2,929 square foot production facility on Lenton Industrial Estate in Nottingham after agreeing a five-year lease with landlord Project Ferry in a deal brokered by NG Chartered Surveyors. Dave Garland, of Lenton Lane Brewery, said the company needed to expand simply because it couldn’t brew enough beer at its previous premises to meet demand. He told The Business Desk: “In the short term, it’ll mean we can increase our output by more than threefold. We’ll also be able to simplify our logistics because of the additional space we’ll have and also the improved layout. The brewery plant is also much higher quality than our existing brewery so the quality of the end product will go up, as well as being more efficient, using less energy, less water, and getting more flavour and character from our malt and hops.” Garland added that Lenton Lane also plans to produce beer in different formats, producing keg and can, as well as its existing cask and bottled beers.
Michelin-trained chef to launch City of London restaurant: Chef James Cochran, previously of two Michelin-starred restaurant The Ledbury and more recently Restaurant Fix in Hackney and B.Y.O.C Soho, will open his debut solo restaurant next week. James Cochran EC3 will open on Monday (7 November) at Bevis Marks, near Liverpool Street Station. The menu will focus on seasonal produce, including fish from Cornwall, meat from Essex and vegetables from Kent. The opening follows a successful run in Great Windmill Street, where Cochran teamed up with B.Y.O.C to create a seven-course tasting menu. James Cochran EC3 will be his fourth venture, following pop-ups in Camberwell and Hackney, and will feature an entirely new menu, including pigeon breast with liquorice, hazelnuts and bay cream; Kent coast sea bass with roast onion tea, cauliflower and sea vegetables; and figs with honeycomb and Madeira, Hot Dinners reports.
Coffee Republic gets go-ahead for Gillingham site: Coffee Republic has been given the go-ahead to open a site in Gillingham, Kent. The company has been granted permission by Medway Council to convert a former Barclays Bank site into a coffee shop, reports Kent Live. Coffee Republic has 20 openings planned in the UK for this year and into quarter one of 2017, and is in one of its biggest periods of growth since new owners took over in 2009. It has 34 franchised sites and three company-owned outlets in the UK as well as more than 450 concessions in facilities such as hospitals and cinemas.
Hotel and pub brand Stay Original acquires fourth site: Boutique hotel and pub brand Stay Original has acquired its fourth site, The King’s Arms in Dorchester. The 35-bedroom, former coaching inn will reopen next year following an extensive refurbishment. Founded in 2011, Stay Original runs The Swan in Wedmore and The White Hart in Somerton, both in Somerset, and Timbrell’s Yard in Bradford On Avon, Wiltshire, with a fifth acquisition nearing completion. The company was founded by Rob Greacen, James Brooke-Webb and Pat Gill as The Draco Pub Company, but rebranded last summer to Stay Original to reflect the company’s mission to take on historic coaching inns and restore them, with each building maintaining its own identity. To support growth plans, the company has appointed Avon Data as its new property management system provider, installing its Hotel Executive system at The King’s Arms. The system assists with rate management, channel management and guest engagement. Stay Original head of IT Camille Greacen said: “The dynamic pricing model and the derived rates on Hotel Executive are powerful features which enable us to make one change that ripples across the whole system. It now takes seconds to do things rather than an hour, and I have remote access to manage each of the hotels at the click of a button.”
Batemans invests £100,000 in new steam generation plant: Batemans, the family brewer based in Lincolnshire, has invested £100,000 in a new steam generation plant to continue brewing its beers. The new equipment replaces the steam boiler that was installed in 1976. The new plant will produce efficiencies with regard to the energy input required to brew the beer and reduce its carbon footprint. Head brewer Martin Cullimore said: “The new steam generator will be 93% energy efficient, which is a significant improvement over the existing steam boiler.”
Royal Albert Hall renews Rhubarb contract: The Royal Albert Hall has renewed its catering contract with food experience brand and event caterer Rhubarb. The new £90m contract will run for six years. Rhubarb has provided hospitality catering services to the Royal Albert Hall since January 2011, almost doubling the catering turnover despite a similar show count and visitor numbers. The growth has come from the improved quality of food and service delivered by Rhubarb across all its restaurants, hospitality and bars at the iconic venue, plus the integration of modern technologies to increase speed of service. Rhubarb will continue to operate six venues and 14 bars at the venue, including Verdi, The Café Bar, Coda Restaurant, Cloudy Bay and Elgar Bar & Grill, as well as catering to private boxes within the auditorium. Working alongside the Royal Albert Hall, a new bar concept has been developed with the support of premium drinks brands, including Moët & Chandon and Berry Bros & Rudd. A new catering vision has been jointly agreed, which aims to continue to improve the overall guest experience as well as revenue growth at the Royal Albert Hall, putting Rhubarb in prime position to support the venue’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2021. Rhubarb managing director PB Jacobse said: “We are delighted to have been awarded a second six-year contract with the Royal Albert Hall. We are very proud of our association with this famed London institution and the contract renewal is testament to how hard the Rhubarb team at the Royal Albert Hall works.” Rhubarb’s portfolio also includes Sky Garden, Gallery Mess, Pilots Bar & Kitchen at Heathrow T5 and, most recently, Goodwood Estate in West Sussex, where Rhubarb oversees the catering operation at key events.
East London restaurant Jones & Sons moves to larger premises: East London-based restaurant Jones & Sons has moved to larger premises, in Gillett Square. The new space has allowed the restaurant to operate a separate bar area serving snacks and cocktails, featuring an oak clad bar with a marble top. The cocktails, which are also seasonal, include home-smoked, rum-based Gorski #2 and the Salty Peach, which is made from flat peaches and a touch of Maldon sea salt. Sticking to its industrial heritage, the new restaurant is influenced by post-war Danish design, commercial maritime salvage and even Italian deli counters, reports The Handbook. Mid-century Scandinavian-style seating is joined by a grey, upholstered banquette that runs down ten metres of the room. Outside is a private courtyard with space for 40 that has heaters so it can be used through the winter months. The venue has the same dishes available as it did at its previous home of four years – an old Victorian textile factory in Arcola Street –although it said it would be introducing some new additions.
CPL Training reveals growing success of apprenticeship scheme: CPL Training, which provides licensed retail and hospitality training across the UK, has revealed the growing success of its apprenticeship scheme – two years after it was introduced in 2014. This year, 11 graduates have completed their apprenticeship and taken up a permanent position at the company. With the aim of nurturing local talent and building a sustainable recruitment process, 21 apprentices have successfully completed the initiative since its introduction in 2014. This year, three apprentices gained a Level 3 in software and web development, and six completed a Level 2 in business administration. The two remaining employees achieved a Level 3 in customer service and a Level 3 in digital marketing. Chief executive Daniel Davies said: “As well as giving young individuals the chance to gain hands-on experience, it also allows us to build a sustainable future. The latest graduates are a testament to the hard work we’ve put in. We’re excited by what they can achieve within their full-time roles.”
Las Iguanas launches Chelmsford restaurant, 45th site: Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas has opened its latest restaurant – at the new Bond Street development in Chelmsford, Essex, its 45th site. Las Iguanas joins better burger brand Byron, Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian, The Restaurant Group-owned Coast to Coast, and Bill’s Restaurant at the £150m complex, which also features a John Lewis store and Everyman Cinema. The restaurant features the new Las Iguanas winter menu, which includes additions to the tapas offerings, including taco planks and corn and habanero fritters. New desserts include Kahlua chocolate cortado, while new cocktails have been added, including the Watermelon Margarita (Olmeca Tequila with watermelon and lime). Last month, Las Iguanas submitted plans to open another Essex restaurant, this time in Greytown House, close to High Street in Colchester town centre. The company hopes to open the venue next year and create 40 jobs.
Stew & Oyster refused permission for floating beer garden: Leeds bar group Stew & Oyster has been refused permission for a floating beer garden at its Calls Landing site in the city. The company, which serves real ale alongside a selection of the food it is named after, wanted to open the 1,075 square foot feature, which would have been constructed from three refurbished pontoons and a connected walkway accessed from the rear balcony of the bar. It said the venture had been designed with regard to expected water levels and would be closed during any flood event. However, the city council has refused planning permission because of the flood risk and impact of the proposal on the character and appearance of the conservation area. The proposed pontoon was not classed as water compatible or essential infrastructure. Stew & Oyster opened Calls Landing in 2009 before adding two further sites in the city – Boston Spa and Oakwood. It is in the process of expanding into Otley after securing planning permission for the conversion of a former school in the spa town.