Cinnamon Collection to debut outside of London in Oxford: The Cinnamon Collection, which is owned by Boparan Restaurants, is to open its first restaurant outside of London. The company, which operates The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen, Cinnamon Soho and Cinnamon Bazaar, will open in the new Westgate Centre in Oxford this October. Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford has been designed by DesignLSM. The 110-cover, 4,000 square foot restaurant includes a large destination bar on the ground floor, an open-plan kitchen, chef’s table and a semi-private “Pagoda” room. A rooftop terrace seats an additional 40 diners with views of the Oxford spires. Cinnamon Collection chief executive Vivek Singh said: “We are delighted to be opening our first Cinnamon Kitchen in Oxford, the first restaurant for us outside of London. The Westgate Centre is a breathtaking development and Oxford is a beautiful city, rich in culture. I look forward to sharing our unique Cinnamon ethos with residents and visitors alike.” Emma Mees, senior portfolio manager at the Westgate Oxford Alliance, added: “We are thrilled Cinnamon Kitchen has chosen Westgate Oxford as a key location to expand its presence in the UK. We look forward to opening our doors on 24 October and bringing 2017’s most eagerly anticipated retail and leisure destination to Oxford.”
Heineken completes deal for 1,900 Punch pubs: Heineken has completed its acquisition of Punch Securitisation A, comprising about 1,900 pubs across the UK, as part of a back-to-back deal with Vine Acquisitions, a company formed at the direction of Patron Capital. Heineken UK will integrate the pubs into its existing Star Pubs & Bars estate, creating the country’s third largest pub company. Stefan Orlowski, regional president Europe for Heineken, said: “Investing to grow our UK pub portfolio through this acquisition will enable us to unlock further value in the UK pub market. The performance of our Star Pubs & Bars business clearly shows well invested pubs in the hands of skilled and ambitious independent operators can outperform and we will seek to replicate that success with these new pubs in partnership with their licensees.” The pubs acquired by Heineken UK will be operated for six months by Punch under a transitional services agreement.
Late-night food delivery service Feast hits £150,000 crowdfunding target: Late-night food delivery service Feast has hit its £150,000 fund-raising target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company is offering a 3.61% equity stake in return for the investment as it looks to fund the expansion of the service across London. So far, the campaign has raised £153,210 from 288 investors and the campaign is now “overfunding” with three days remaining. Feast was founded by Simon Pusey after he became frustrated at “not being able to find good food after 10pm”. The company previously raised £460,000 in seed investment from angel investors. The pitch states: “In partnership with some of the best 24-hour and late-night restaurants, we deliver great food at times you can’t get it delivered anywhere else – between 7pm and 5am. Founded in December 2015 by one man on a Dutch bike, Feast now has more than 40 drivers on the road. We’ve served more than 20,000 hungry customers. During the past three months we have a total order value of £179,291, which would equate to a total order value run rate of more than £500,000 over the next 12 months. We’ve also signed up more than 80 hotels to our bespoke site at www.NightRoomService.com. We currently take £2.50 from the customer per order and 25% of the price of the order from the restaurant. We aim to fulfil 28,000 orders in 2017, which would equate to a total order turnover of more than £500,000. We plan to use our Crowdcube funds to increase the area we serve in London to include the whole of Zone 2. We will also hire a second full-stack developer and another salesperson to bring on more hotels to NightRoomService.com.”
Castle Rock Brewery to operate bars and restaurants at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall in joint venture: Castle Rock Brewery, the Nottingham-based brewer and pub company, has been appointed to operate the bars and restaurants at the city’s Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall in a joint venture. The company will work with Leeds-based CGC Event Caterers and start operations in the newly refurbished venues on their reopening at the end of September following a summer-long closure and transformation programme. The refurbished bar area in the stalls level of the Theatre Royal will be rebranded Yarn, and will offer casual dining as well as a greater selection of beers and wines. In the Royal Concert Hall transformation project, the Green Room Restaurant has had its capacity increased and the roof terrace brought back into use. New restaurant menus will be introduced in both venues as well as new facilities and packages for corporate hospitality and conferencing. Castle Rock Brewery managing director Colin Wilde said: “We’re confident our extensive experience combined with the calibre of CGC Event Caterers will deliver a first-class facility, not only serving the existing clientele but also a much wider audience of Nottinghamshire residents, students and visitors.”
CG Restaurants & Bars strengthens Dirty Martini HR team: CG Restaurants & Bars has strengthened its Dirty Martini HR team with three new appointments as it continues its regional expansion. Helen Cook has joined as head of HR. Previously HR manager at “Smiths” of Smithfield, a multi-floor restaurant and bar venue, Cook will be responsible for evolving Dirty Martini’s HR strategy and processes. She will be responsible for all recruitment and training in line with the business’ growth plans. Melinda Ver has been appointed to the new role of recruitment manger and has joined the company from pub group Faucet Inn. Ver will be responsible for the recruitment of all management and head office positions, as well as providing support to Dirty Martini bar venues in their recruitment needs. Meanwhile, Dirty Martini’s product innovation manager Tom Cole has taken on the newly created role of product innovation and training manager, where he will be responsible for building the training capabilities of the company alongside his menu development work. Dirty Martini chief executive Scott Matthews said: “All three have a wealth of relevant experience and will play an integral part in our continued business growth.” Dirty Martini currently operates seven sites in London – Bishopsgate, Covent Garden, Hanover Square, Islington, Monument, St Paul’s and Minories – as well as a venue in Cardiff. It is due to open a site in Manchester later this year, with venues in Leeds and Birmingham also scheduled for late 2017.
Draft House opens former Grand Union site in Kennington: Draft House, the London-based craft beer operator led by Charlie McVeigh and backed by Luke Johnson, has opened The Tankard in Kennington, south London. The company acquired the site as part of a six-strong package from Grand Union when it bought the business for about £3m in June. A regular haunt of a young Charlie Chaplin and his music hall performer father, the Victorian pub has been restored to its former glory. Upstairs, the pub’s Theatre Bar leads on to a roof terrace overlooking Kennington Road that is decked out with festoon lighting as well as seating. The drinks line up of beers and spirits includes Victory Gin from the group’s distillery in Bermondsey. Guests can buy take-out beers from the bar, available in cans and bottles, and can even buy their own tankard to keep on display behind the bar, which will be theirs to use each time they return. Featuring a rotating list of artisanal cheeses from across the UK, the daily-changing menu recommends matching beers for each new cheese from The Tankard’s selection of rare bottled beers. McVeigh said: “The Tankard is an amazing pub shot through with the extraordinary history and culture of Kennington, which we’ve loved bringing to life. The joy of this pub is its magnificent roof terrace.” Draft House also acquired the Grand Union sites in Paddington, Chancery Lane, Farringdon and Camden Town, plus the Trade Union venue in Wapping. They are also being converted into Draft House pubs with the Camden Town site opening later this week.
YO! Sushi boss – ‘We’re reinventing our menu in face of growing competition’: YO! Sushi chief executive Robin Rowland has revealed the company is reinventing its menu in the face of growing competition. Rowland said the brand was making a “London comeback” in its 20th anniversary year having opened a new restaurant in Tottenham Court Road. The new venue serves 54 customers inside and a further 22 outside. Rowland said it has one of the most experimental and “boundary-pushing” menus YO! Sushi has created, with dishes such as a Japanese twist on a British sandwich – Chicken Katsu Sando. He told the Evening Standard: “This is us making our comeback in to London as our focus has been national for the past few years. I wanted to get the food back up to the standard that is needed in London. There is a lot more competition now, especially from brands such as Itsu and Wasabi. We have gone back to the drawing board to innovate. London is our incubator. We push boundaries with the menu here and then see if it works and then if it does roll it out. We are reinventing our menu and ourselves and reaching out to a new generation of users. And I am quietly confident that consumers will love it.” Rowland predicted restaurants could continue to become more specialist with their cuisine, with quality still being a priority for most while delivery would continue to be a big trend as “people want their food now and they want it at home”. YO! Sushi opened its first restaurant in Soho in 1997 and has since served 66.7 million customers 533.6 million pieces of sushi across the country. Meanwhile, YO! Sushi has appointed W Communications as its retained consumer PR agency to spearhead the next phase of the company’s evolution.
Korean barbecue concept to launch in Chinatown: West End landlord Shaftesbury has announced a new Korean barbecue themed restaurant, Olle, is launching its debut site in Chinatown London later this month. Olle is the brainchild of Charles Seo, founder of Japanese restaurant Kyoto Soho. The new 1,307 square foot restaurant, located at 86-88 Shaftesbury Avenue, will cater for 80 covers and serve a menu of Korean barbecue dishes, Japanese and American wagyu beef, Iberico pork, seafood and Korean stew cooked the traditional way in stone bowls. A variety of Korean beers, alongside wine and soft drinks will also be available. Julia Wilkinson, portfolio and group restaurant strategy executive at Shaftesbury, said: “Korean food has been taking the UK by storm, and we are excited to welcome this debut Korean barbecue concept. The punchy flavours of Korea are sure to be a hit with Chinatown London visitors, who flock here for authentic east Asian experiences in the heart of London’s West End.” Seo added: “Chinatown London’s draw as a world-class food destination makes it the ideal place for us to launch our new concept. Our menu, devised by Korean head chefs, will offer a truly authentic Korean food in a contemporary setting, adding a modern touch to the traditional Korean cuisine experience.”
Jamie’s Italian opens 33rd international site: Jamie’s Italian has opened its 33rd international site, this time in The Hague in the Netherlands. The 160-seat venue is located in the Sijthoff building, designed with 12 storks, the symbol of the city. Jamie Oliver said: “I’m excited we have opened our second Jamie’s Italian in the Netherlands – this time in the cosmopolitan city of The Hague. The city fuses nationalities and taste and we have brought our rustic, family-style approach to Italian food and mixed it up with some great flavours from local artisan Dutch food suppliers.” The Hague restaurant is located in Grote Marktstraat 37.
Hollywood Bowl Group to launch UK’s first virtual reality gaming suite at O2 site: Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest tenpin bowling operator, is to host the UK’s first virtual reality gaming suite at its O2 site in London. The installation is being launched by Hollywood Bowl and Bandai Namco as part of the Japanese arcade company’s roll-out of VR Zone Portal in flagship locations. The UK’s first virtual reality gaming experience will give customers an opportunity to choose between two new out-of-home gaming experiences. Argyle Shift, for visitors aged 13 and above, is set in the year 2145 with players having the opportunity to pilot a giant robot and being responsible for delivering a vital package to defeat the enemy. Meanwhile, Hospital Escape Terror, which is for two to four players and for people aged 15 and above, is set in a disused hospital. As the players try to find their way out, one is kidnapped and the race is on to save their partner. Hollywood Bowl Group chief executive Steve Burns said: “VR Zone Portal London at The O2 is a launch pad for bringing the fascinating world of virtual reality gaming to people on a larger and more accessible scale. We’re really excited to be at the forefront of this technology in the UK and can’t wait to open this exclusive experience to the public.”
JD Wetherspoon to open site in Liskeard, launches largest pub with £4.5m Ramsgate venue: JD Wetherspoon is to open a site in Liskeard in Cornwall (population: 9,417). Work has started on converting the former Taylors Garage in Barras Street into a pub, which will be called The King Doniert, reports Cornwall Live. The town council revealed on its Facebook page the pub was due to open on 27 March next year. Meanwhile, Wetherspoon has opened its largest pub – a £4.5m “super Spoons” in Ramsgate, Kent (population 40,400). The Royal Victoria Pavilion has launched creating 150 jobs on the site of the Victorian pavilion building in Harbour Parade that has previously housed a casino, dance hall, bar and nightclub. The pub is Wetherspoon’s largest, with a customer area of almost 11,000 square foot, plus ground-floor and first-floor terraces.
McDonald’s awards digital innovation agency contract: McDonald’s has chosen Publicis.Sapient and tech consultancy Capgemini to provide technology innovation services such as mobile ordering and customer-centric applications. The Publicis/Capgemini partnership won the pitch ahead of Accenture, HCL and other “large consulting and technology players”. HCL will also work on technology initiatives such as home delivery, table service and internal digital services for use in the restaurant’s kitchens, reports Campaign. Publicis Groupe chief executive Arthur Sadoun said: “We will be part of the team deploying and maintaining restaurant and digital technology solutions, including kiosk ordering, web applications, mobile order and pay, which help put the customer at the centre of McDonald’s.” It is the latest McDonald’s-related wins for Publicis. Last month, Leo Burnett London won the $100m McDelivery home delivery account, and two weeks ago the agency won the chain’s World Cup brief. Capgemini will open a global digital retail centre in Chicago near McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Des Plains, Illinois, to better service the account.
City Pub Company opens third Oxford site: Independent pub operator City Pub Company has opened its third Oxford site. The company has launched The Grapes in George Street having acquired the former Beerd site from St Austell Brewery. City Pub Company has restored the historic look of the pub. General manager Mark Bruce told the Oxford Times: “We’re trying to bring back the traditional feel that people will be more familiar with. It has modern touches but is very much modelled on a traditional pub. Parts of it even feel like a living room.” City Pub Company owns and operates 32 pubs in southern England, including its two other Oxford sites – George Street Social and St Aldates Tavern. It is planning an Alternative Investment Market (AIM) listing on the London Stock Exchange towards the end of 2017 as it aims to grow to a 50-strong estate in the next three years.
Taco Bell franchisee lodges plans for site in Liverpool: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell has lodged plans to for a site in Liverpool. Franchisee QFM Group has applied to the city council to open a restaurant in Bold Street. It would be the brand’s first site in Merseyside, reports the Liverpool Echo. The application said the development would “increase employment and enhance the city’s retail provision”. It added: “External alterations are limited to refurbishment of the shop front and replacement signage and plant. The alterations are minimal, in keeping with the appearance of the building and would not have a detrimental impact on the character or appearance of the conservation area or on the appearance or setting of the neighbouring listed buildings.” Taco Bell, which was founded in California in 1962 by Glen Bell, has 17 sites in the UK.
Atlas Pub Co opens fourth Buca Di Pizza site, in Beverley: Leeds-based Atlas Pub Co has opened a Buca Di Pizza site in Beverley, East Yorkshire. The company, founded by brothers Geoff and Nicolas Thornton, has opened the restaurant at the Flemingate shopping centre, which is the brand’s fourth site. Buca di Pizza has invested £350,000 in the 3,200 square foot site, which has 120 covers inside and a further 45 outside. Buca Di Pizza offers unlimited “tutto” pizza and prosecco deals, boozy bottomless brunches and “traditional classics with modern twists”. There are also pasta dishes, cicchetti and cocktails. Geoff Thornton told BDaily: “Flemingate is a lovely development with lots of advantages. It looks and feels great and draws people through the day and evening. It’s also continuing to grow as a destination within the town of Beverley. It’s a great place for us to be.” The Thorntons previously said they were focused on growing the Buca di Pizza brand, aiming to establish a string of ten restaurants across the M62 corridor in the next three years. The first Buca di Pizza site opened in Leeds in late 2014, followed by a second in the city’s grade II-listed Stratford House last year. A third restaurant was launched, this time in Manchester, in June while the company has also secured a site in Hull.
Fragrance Group buys Manchester boutique hotel for £12.5m: Fragrance Group, represented by agent Savills, has acquired the Townhouse Hotel in Manchester from Harcourt Developments for £12.5m. The grade II-listed property dates to 1870 and was formerly a cotton warehouse before opening as an 85-bedroom hotel in 1982. An extensive refurbishment programme in 2010 created the current four-star boutique hotel offer, with a brasserie, bar and self-contained business centre. The Townhouse Hotel is located in Portland Street in Manchester city centre, close to Manchester Piccadilly station, Palace Theatre and Manchester Art Gallery. Martin Rogers, head of UK hotel transactions at Savills, said: “The hotel investment market in the north is performing strongly with transactions totalling £304m in the first half of this year alone.” Under its new ownership, the property will be managed by Bespoke Hotels. Harcourt Developments was represented by Lambert Smith Hampton.
Carlsberg awards global media agency contract: Carlsberg Group has appointed Interpublic’s Initiative as its global media agency of record, replacing OMD. Initiative won the business after a competitive pitch and will take over the account from 1 January. Carlsberg began the review earlier this year for its entire global media planning and buying business, which in addition to the Carlsberg brand includes Somersby cider and Tuborg beer. Ebiquity assisted the competitive pitch process. The company last reviewed its global media account in 2013, when the business was worth £100m. Fold7 handles Carlsberg’s creative account in the UK. A Carlsberg spokeswoman told Campaign: “Initiative was selected based on its excellent planning and buying expertise, unique proprietary tools, digital capabilities, transparency and the quality of its teams.”
Dalata receives clearance to complete Dublin hotel deals: Ireland’s largest hotel operator Dalata has received clearance from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission over two hotel deals in Dublin. Dalata will now complete the acquisition of the freehold interest of certain elements of the Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane and the Clarion Hotel Liffey Valley, both in Dublin, for a consideration of €62.5m (£53.7m). The Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane is a four-star, 304-bedroom venue in the South Docks area. Dalata has agreed to acquire the freehold of the ground and lower-ground floors, which contain the reception, bar, restaurant, leisure centre, back-of-house facilities, 170 bedrooms and a vacant ground-floor area. The deal will bring the total number of bedrooms owned by the company at the site to 193. The Clarion Hotel Liffey Valley is a four-star, 353-bedroom hotel located to the west of Dublin. Dalata has agreed to acquire the freehold of the core hotel – comprising 159 bedrooms, a leisure centre, meeting rooms, reception, bar and restaurant, car park and two vacant retail units. The remaining 194 rooms are owned by individual investors