Tony Macaroni blames liquidation threat on ‘clerical error’: Scottish restaurant company Tony Macaroni has blamed a “clerical error” for creditors moving to place the firm into liquidation. A liquidation petition for Tony Macaroni was presented to Glasgow Sheriff Court by unidentified creditors of the company, which has 14 eponymous restaurants and 300 full-time staff. The petition asked that the company be wound up by Glasgow Sheriff Court and for the appointment of a liquidator. However, the 11-year-old company, which sponsors Livingston Football Club, said the move was down to a “clerical error” and the situation had now been resolved. Lawyers acting for the creditors confirmed the dispute had now been resolved and the petition would be “withdrawn shortly”. Tony Macaroni area manager Chris Bryce told the Evening Times: “This issue arose due to a clerical error and, once highlighted, was resolved immediately. Unfortunately the notice could not be cancelled in time.” Despite Tony Macaroni’s sales increasing 10% to £14m in the year to January 2017, its pre-tax profits slumped to £70,936. Tony Macaroni also operates three sites – in Dundee, Glasgow and St Andrews – for its Neapolitan pizza concept Mozza, with a fourth due to launch in Aberdeen this week.
Vittoria Group plans £3m Edinburgh fish and chips restaurant: Edinburgh-based restaurant company the Vittoria Group is to invest £3m in a new restaurant in the city specialising in fish and chips. The 11,000 square foot restaurant in Victoria Street will seat 270 diners and aims to tap into the tourist and local market’s fondness for the traditional dish. The new venture for the company, which is led by Tony Crolla, will add to a portfolio that includes Vittoria On The Walk, Vittoria On The Bridge, Taste Of Italy, La Favorita and fine-dining restaurant Divino Enoteca. Crolla said: “My family has a long-standing passion for great fish and chips, and hospitality is at the heart of our business. We have had a vision for many years about opening ‘the’ fish and chip restaurant destination in the heart of Edinburgh city centre. This concept will be fun, relaxed and affordable. Our focus, as ever with our restaurants, will be fresh, quality food available for all. I am excited to bring an extraordinary dining experience to my home city.” Work is under way on the restaurant in the three-floor World Heritage building, the former St John’s Church, which housed a bookmaker, Byzantium Market and Khushi’s Indian restaurant before a blaze in 2008.
Soho House opens Amsterdam site: Soho House has opened its latest site – in Amsterdam – featuring 79 hotel bedrooms, screening rooms, a spa and Cecconi’s restaurant. The House Gym, located on the fourth floor, also features yoga studios, while the screening room on the same floor has velvet armchairs, foot stools and vintage lamps. The house also has storage for up to 75 bicycles as well as a workshop for bike repairs. The six-storey building that houses the club is iconic to Amsterdam. It was built in the 1930s as a trading office and served as the humanities building for the University of Amsterdam. Soho House launched its first private members’ club in 1995 and now has 12 sites.
Report – Donald Trump golf resort partially destroyed dunes system: The spectacular dunes system chosen by Donald Trump for his golf resort in Aberdeenshire has been “partially destroyed” as a result of the course’s construction, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed. Scottish Natural Heritage, which has been under pressure for years to speak out on the issue, now acknowledges serious damage has been caused to the site of special scientific interest (SSSI) at Foveran Links on the Menie estate, north of Aberdeen, since the course opened in 2012, the documents show. As a result, Foveran’s SSSI status – given because of its unusual shifting sands and diverse plant life – hangs in the balance. “Construction of the golf course involved earthworks, planting of trees, greens and fairways, drainage, irrigation and grass planting,” states one of the reports released by Scottish Natural Heritage inspectors. “This has affected the natural morphology of the dunes and interfered with natural processes. Most of its important geomorphological features have been lost or reduced to fragments. Nearby marine terraces have also been reduced to fragments.”
JD Wetherspoon gets go-ahead to open sixth pub in Glasgow city centre, submits £1.5m Peterborough rooftop garden plans: JD Wetherspoon has got the go-ahead to open a pub in Glasgow Central Station at the site of the former Central Bar. It will be the company’s sixth pub in the city centre. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told The Scottish Sun: “We have enjoyed great success in Glasgow and we’re keen to open one of our pubs at Glasgow Central. We believe it would be welcomed by travellers and be an asset to the station. No opening date has been set.” Wetherspoon’s other Glasgow city centre sites are The Counting House, The Society Room, The Crystal Palace, The Sir John Moore and The Hengler’s Circus. Meanwhile, the company has submitted £1.5m plans to refurbish The Draper’s Arms in Peterborough city centre, including a new roof terrace and pub garden. A single-storey extension with glazed, folding sliding doors would open on to the garden. Access to the roof garden would be via an internal staircase with an external staircase connecting the upper and lower outside areas. Gershon said: “Our aim is to always offer our customers the best pub possible. We believe the plans for the new-look pub will do just that.” If approved, the extension would create 30 permanent jobs.
Alcoholic tea brand Noveltea passes 150%-funded mark on crowdfunding campaign: Alcoholic tea brand Noveltea has passed the 150%-funded mark in its £150,000 campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to grow the business. The company is offering 4.05% equity in return for the investment. So far, 258 investors have pledged £235,780 and the campaign is “overfunding”. The 11% ABV brand is stocked in John Lewis, Harrods and Fenwick in the UK and exports to China, Hong Kong and Germany. The company, founded by Vincent Efferoth and Lukas Passiain in April 2017, has a team of advisors that include The Head of Steam founder Tony Brookes and former Diageo director Alan Rutherford. The pitch states: “Noveltea disrupts the alcoholic beverage industry by introducing a distinctive product portfolio around the concept of tea – in two flavours. The Tale of Tangier is an infusion of Moroccan green mint tea with Caribbean rum, while The Tale of Earl Grey infuses Earl Grey tea with British gin and botanicals. Both are cold-brewed, vegan, free from artificial colours and manufactured in the UK. They can be served ice cold but also warm in the winter.”
Brewery faces strike ballot over dismissal: A worker at a brewery that makes Budweiser beer was sacked for raising safety concerns, a union has claimed. Paul Morley, a senior health and safety representative at a brewery in Preston owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), was dismissed on 13 June, the GMB union said. Morley claimed bosses had failed to conduct a proper assessment into fatigue caused by a new process to speed brewing, a union statement said. AB InBev said health and safety was its “number-one priority”. The company, which owns Budweiser, said it could not comment on individual cases, but added: “We are confident all processes adhere to our high standards of health and safety, as well as legal requirements. This has been confirmed using a certified assessment tool from UK body the Health and Safety Executive.” The GMB said brewery staff would vote on whether to strike because of their concerns over Morley’s dismissal.
Coco di Mama to launch 22nd site, in Paddington on Wednesday: Azzurri Group-owned Coco di Mama is to open its 22nd site, in Paddington on Wednesday (1 August). The company said it chose Kingdom Street in the Paddington Central development next to the train station for its latest site because of its “vibrant, up-and-coming location with high footfall of office workers and residents”. The store’s interiors take inspiration from modern Milan and feature a hand-painted wall by local artist Nick Wakeling. The store offers “plenty of seating” and is set up for informal business meetings and flexible working with free charging points and Wi-Fi. The new site cements the brand’s strategy to expand its presence “outside the City” alongside openings in Hammersmith and White City in the past 12 months. The company said further expansion plans on the horizon included a new site opening in Canary Wharf in December. Coco di Mama head of marketing Sara McCraight said: “Customers want great-quality Italian food at an affordable price point – and served pronto! We’re confident the residents and workers of Paddington will love our unique offering of made-to-order pasta they can customise and take away in fewer than five minutes.” The Italian-to-go brand was launched in Fleet Street by Daniel Land and Jeremy Sanders in 2011 and has been part of Azzurri Group since 2015. The company now employs more than 250 staff and earlier this month appointed former Costa Coffee partnerships director Jim Attwood as managing director.
Papa John’s brands Schnatter lawsuit ‘needless and wasteful’: Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has sued the company to obtain access to records to see the decision-making process behind his removal as spokesman. Schnatter resigned as chairman earlier this month after it was revealed he had used a racist phrase during a meeting in May. However, Schnatter remains on the Papa John’s board and owns almost 31% of its stock. Following the resignation, the board cancelled a founder’s agreement that allowed Schnatter to attend major corporate events, visit franchises, participate in meetings with management and investors, and act as spokesman. Chief executive Steve Ritchie, who replaced Schnatter early this year, also said the founder would be removed from all advertising and marketing material. However, Schnatter later announced his resignation was a “mistake” and he has now filed a lawsuit to access records. A Papa John’s spokesman told Nation’s Restaurant News: “We are saddened and disappointed John Schnatter has filed a needless and wasteful lawsuit in an attempt to distract from his own words and actions. We are providing Mr Schnatter with all the materials he is entitled to as a director.”
Cheltenham-based restaurateur to launch fried chicken shop for third site with plans for fourth concept in town: Cheltenham-based restaurateur Michael Raphel is to open his third site in the Gloucestershire town, while lining up a fourth concept. Raphel, who operates upmarket Indian restaurant Bhoomi, launched gourmet burger concept Holee Cow with Jay Ahmed and Lewis Spencer in Clarence Street in November 2017. Now the team will launch fried chicken concept Holee Clucker in Winchcombe Street in October focusing on takeaways and delivery, with a signature dish of chicken and waffles. Spencer told Gloucestershire Live: “Holee Cow focuses on beef burgers and for Holee Clucker it will be chicken. When you get repeat customers you know what they are going to order as soon as they walk through the door. We like the idea of producing one thing and doing it really well. We will have machines pumping out fresh Belgian waffles and we’ll put tender chicken on top. We might garnish it with a bit of maple syrup, to get that contrast of sweet and savoury.” The team also plans to launch grilled-cheese sandwich concept Holee Cheesus. Spencer said: “There’s no site confirmed yet but it will be in Cheltenham – it’s in the pipeline. The main focus in the next few months is Holee Clucker.”
Domino’s franchisees rebel against chief executive David Wild: The Sunday Times has reported Domino’s Pizza is under pressure from franchisees who are dragging their heels over new openings because of growing hostility towards the boss, David Wild. The newspaper stated: “Relations are said to have soured so badly some of the takeaway chain’s biggest franchisees boycotted the brand’s annual jamboree in Liverpool in March. If the situation worsens, the FTSE 250 company could be forced to slash targets, which would dent profits. The rancour centres on the ability of franchisees, who buy food and services from Domino’s, to make money from their operations. They have been affected by rising costs and pressure to open more sites in existing locations – which benefits Domino’s but damages franchisees’ profits.”
Sethi family reveals more details of Iranian concept launching in Soho:Karam, Jyo and Sunaina Sethi, the family behind JKS Restaurants and London venues such as Bubbledogs, Gymkhana and Brigadiers, have revealed more details of Berenjak, an Iranian concept that will launch in Soho. A reinterpretation of the hole-in-the-wall kebab houses found in Tehran, the restaurant will open in Romilly Street in October. Berenjak, which takes its name from brightly coloured, toasted rice eaten at funfairs, is the brainchild of chef Kian Samyani, who has worked at Gymkhana and Brigadiers. Samyani will draw on his heritage to create signature dishes using seasonal British produce, while interiors will feature stained-glass windows, Persian carpets and reclaimed marble tables. The menu will include small plates, traditional kebabs, freshly baked bread and khoresht, a Persian-style stew. The bar will offer Persian drink sharbat, with a living wall allowing drinkers to choose fresh herbs to pair with their drink, while sparkling, yogurt-based drinks, popular in Iran, can also have alcohol added. Samyani said: “It wouldn’t be an Iranian dinner without sitting elbow-to-elbow with friends and family, sharing each dish until every scrap has gone. I’m looking forward to recreating that at Berenjak.”
MJMK to open neighbourhood pub in Belsize Park this week: London-based hospitality company MJMK is to open neighbourhood pub The Belrose in Belsize Park on Wednesday (1 August). The business, founded by Marco Mendes, Jake Kasumov and Reza Merchant, has created a modern take on the British pub with a menu of Italian-inspired dishes and an on-site micro-brewery. Pizzas will be cooked in a clay oven to go alongside charcuterie, cheese and small plates. The drinks list will include an IPA brewed on-site, natural wine, international beer, cocktails, spirits and soft drinks. The garden will seat more than 40 and feature an outdoor bar. The 80-cover dining room will combine table seating, booths and sofas as well as counter dining around the bar and open kitchen. A separate snug will seat an additional 15 covers. MJMK also owns and operates S11 bar and health food cafe Homegrown, both in Brixton, while it launched Portuguese piri-piri chicken concept Casa do Frango in London Bridge earlier this month.
Krispy Kreme lines up Irish debut: Krispy Kreme is to make its Irish debut in September with an opening adjacent to Blanchardstown Centre in Dublin, creating 150 jobs. The Hotlight store, which allows customers to watch the doughnuts being made from scratch, will feature a large seating area and 24-hour drive-thru. The company also confirmed it would look at opening in Northern Ireland in due course. A spokesman said: “We are keen to bring the joy of Krispy Kreme to all areas of Ireland – both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, at the moment we are focusing on our first store in Blanchardstown in Dublin to launch the brand, and then we’ll look at where we can roll out further stores.”
Aldi launches spirits home delivery service: Aldi has launched a spirits home delivery service. The supermarket sells more than 12,000 bottles of gin a day and seven bottles of whisky every minute, with whisky sales reaching £50m in the past year. The service includes more than 20 spirits with an option for customers to create their own mixed case of wine and spirits. Julie Ashfield, managing director of buying at Aldi UK, told the Independent: “The incredible success of our spirits range this year, including a 75% increase in gin sales alone, has proven our offering is more popular than ever.” Aldi launched an online wine store two years ago.
BrewDog submits Perth plans: BrewDog has submitted plans to open a bar in Perth, Scotland. The Scottish brewer and retailer has applied to Perth and Kinross Council for permission to convert former bistro Caffe Canto in George Street. BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie announced the company was looking at opening a dog-friendly bar in Perth at its annual general meeting in April. If the licence is granted the bar will be able to sell alcohol until 12.30am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and midnight on Sundays. Caffe Canto owners Keith and Theresa Smaill put a notice in the cafe window stating: “We have decided to semi-retire and are leasing our property to BrewDog. However, we will continue to operate our outside catering business.” A BrewDog spokesman told the Daily Record: “At the moment we have no date as to when it will open but we expect it to be in 2018. Our mission is to make everyone as passionate about craft beer as we are. Wherever we have fans and where we want to change the approach to craft beer is initially how we decide to open a new bar and we want to expand our range across Scotland as well.” Last week, BrewDog opened its 37th UK bar and 70th worldwide, in Milton Keynes.
Loungers launches in Biggleswade: Cafe bar group Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, has opened a site in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. Rosso Lounge has launched in Market Square following a £660,000 investment, creating 25 jobs. The family-friendly venue features eclectic artwork, quirky curios, vintage sofas, school benches, painted table tops and statement lighting, Biggleswade Today reports. Earlier this month, Loungers acquired a former Prezzo site in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. The company operates almost 130 venues under its Lounge and Cosy Club brands and is on track to reach 140 sites by the end of the year. Loungers was founded by friends Dave Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop in 2002.
UK Desserts to open its fourth Kaspa’s site, in Bury St Edmunds: Dessert parlour brand Kaspa’s is to open a second site in Suffolk, in Bury St Edmunds. Franchisee UK Desserts, which operates the other Suffolk site in Ipswich as well as stores in Braintree and Lincoln, will launch the 104-seater store in Cornhill in late September. It will offer the brand’s signature range of traditional and unusual ice cream flavours alongside hot and cold desserts. UK Desserts operations manager Stephen Male told the East Anglian Daily Times: “Expect fabulous dessert waffles and crepes, ice cream, sundaes, bubble shakes, cakes and more. Kaspa’s is a fast-growing brand and has 60 branches across the UK and has only been running for six years. It’s not just for young people and we get a real mix in our other branches, with pensioners coming in the morning for coffee and cakes, students late afternoon and families for birthday treats.”
Restaurateurs to open boutique hotel in September: The two-year transformation of a derelict hotel in Cumbria will come to fruition in September when a boutique hotel opens. The Black Bull in Sedberge is a 17th century coaching inn that was vacant before being acquired by restaurateurs James and Nina Ratcliffe in 2016. After a major renovation project the pair, who also operate Three Hares restaurant opposite the hotel, will open the doors to the 18-bedroom venue, expanding their hospitality portfolio. The hotel will also feature a 100-cover restaurant headed by Nina Ratcliffe serving “nose-to-tail” dishes using local ingredients, with a bar serving craft beer and cocktails and plans for it to become a “destination in itself”. The Black Bull was originally scheduled to open in July.
Japanese concept Sumo to launch pan-Asian restaurant for second East Yorkshire site: East Yorkshire-based Japanese restaurant concept Sumo is to start expansion by opening a second site, this time dedicated to pan-Asian street food. The company, which launched in Newland Avenue, Hull, will open Sumo Pan Asian at the Flemingate Centre in Beverley in early August. The 30-cover, 760 square foot restaurant will offers dishes similar to those found on kerbside food stalls in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo to eat in or take away. Sumo director and head chef Gary Chin told Insider Media: “We wanted to bring an authentic Asian street food experience to Beverley using the best local ingredients. Our concept is designed on the traditional street food bars of Asia, where people sit around counters and the food is freshly cooked in front of them. We will offer that relaxed, informal and very sociable feel but within a comfortable, quality restaurant environment.” Flemingate Centre manager Graham Tait added: “Sumo Pan Asian is an excellent addition to Flemingate and brings yet another new eating option to the centre.” Owned and developed by Hull-based regeneration company Wykeland Group, the Flemingate development includes hospitality brands such as Estábulo Rodizio Bar & Grill, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Patisserie Valerie.
Ei Publican Partnerships enhances recruitment tool: Ei Publican Partnerships is working with recruitment solutions company MyPubGroup on a new portal as part of a digital enhancement project designed to attract prospective publicans. The portal, MyPubDNA, will help Ei Publican Partnerships define vacant positions, discover how its pubs are performing in the recruitment market, drive recruitment strategy based on live analysis, and ensure each pub vacancy is pitched to its target market. The recruitment tool lists available pubs to let filtered by rent and requirements such as food or wet-led, as well as a downloadable database of regional statistics. Ei Group recruitment marketing manager Matthew Ralphs said: “By using this sophisticated bit of technology we’re able to help publicans find a pub in the right location with the right demographic, retail offer and amenities to ensure it will thrive.” MyPubGroup has also created an add-on to the portal, MyPubMatch, which matches a candidate’s personal profile to suitable vacancies. Helen Lees, group managing director of MyPubGroup, said: “Having worked with Ei Publican Partnerships for almost ten years, our relationship has gone from strength to strength.”
All Bar One launches ‘nutritious power foods’ menu: Mitchells & Butlers has launched a “nutritious power foods” menu for its All Bar One brand. Created with nutrition expert Sarah Jackson, the menu will be on offer weekly as part of a #Wellness Wednesday initiative. The move follows the brand seeing a 50% increase in the number of vegan dishes sold from its Veganuary menu this year. Jackson said: “After lots of research, recipe development and nutritional analysis we have created four amazing dishes to go into the Nutritious Power-foods range.” The dishes are supergreen noodle laksa (pak choi with spinach and bean sprouts in a spiced coconut sauce topped with vermicelli noodles); The Power Of Five (pan-fried greens, butternut squash, aubergine, mushroom and peppers in a toasted sesame and miso sauce topped with a rice noodle cracker); and two salads – avocado and black rice, and Moroccan squash. The #Wellness Wednesday initiative will also feature vegetarian and vegan wine and vegan desserts.