Gordon Ramsay Restaurants appoints Antony Perring as CFO: Gordon Ramsay Restaurants has appointed Antony Perring, formerly of Leon and Wagamama, as its new chief financial officer, Propel has learned. Perring, the former Wagamama finance director, stepped down as chief financial officer of Leon at the start of this year, after joining the then John Vincent-led business in February 2015. Previous to that, he spent eight and a half years at Wagamama. He joins Gordon Ramsay Restaurants as it looks to further expand its fledgling concepts – Street Pizza and Street Burger. The business opened its fourth Street Pizza, at Battersea Power Station, last month. At the same time, the company opened sites for its Street Burger concepts in London’s Charing Cross Road and below the chef’s new cooking school in Woking, Surrey. It has also lined up the ex-Byron site in Kensington High Street for an opening later this summer for the Street Burger concept. It is thought the chef is also in talks to take the ex-Gourmet Burger Kitchen site in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, for another Street Burger site. Ramsay is also believed to have made the highest offer to take the former Giraffe site in The Oracle in Reading.
Greggs to open in Canary Wharf, will consider returning furlough support: Food-to-go operator Greggs is to open its first site in London’s Canary Wharf business district. Chief executive Roger Whiteside said a reduction in rental levels now made such a move financially viable. Meanwhile, the business is set to open further transport hub sites, including openings in St Pancras train station, North Greenwich tube station and Leeds Bradford Airport. At the same time, Whiteside said the business would consider repaying £87m of government furlough support, but only when “the uncertainty [is] behind us and we’re clear how the year has panned out and exactly what our competitors have done”. Speaking after the group’s trading update on Monday (10 May), Whiteside said: “Never make a decision until you have to because you have no idea what’s around the corner. [Returning the furlough support] is something we, as a board, will consider at the end of the year.” In the trading update, the company said its sales had increased since non-essential shops reopened last month to above their 2019 level. Whiteside said: “We’ve done better than we thought we could under social distancing measures. There’s a lot of uncertainty still but we think it could be that we get back to 2019 levels of profit this year, when previously we said we couldn’t see that happening until the earliest next year.”
Beer & Coffee Co to open fourth leased pub, plans up to ten sites: Warwickshire operator Beer & Coffee Co is opening its fourth leased site for its Pug brand with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars following a £160,000 refurbishment. Beer & Coffee Co has also said it is looking to expand further, with a view to building up to ten Pug sites across the West Midlands. The investment at The White Horse in Shipston-on-Stour will see the site become a Pug-branded pub with a corner coffee bar and five en-suite boutique letting rooms. The Lazy Pug joins the group’s portfolio alongside The Black Pug in Warwick and The Fat Pug, The Royal Pug and Procaffeinate coffee shop in Leamington Spa. A full kitchen refit means The Lazy Pug will introduce an all-day food offer. The menu will range from traditional pub favourites to gourmet burgers and stone-baked pizzas. The drinks selection includes gin from The Cotswold Gin Distillery and beers from the North Cotswold Brewery. Beer & Coffee Co founder Matt Crowther said: “Leased pubs work best for us because they’re the quickest way to expand. We’ve built up a loyal local following for Pug pubs and, with four sites, we’ve now got a strong structure and team in place from which to grow further.”
200 Degrees to open 14th coffee shop in York city centre in June: Nottingham-based coffee roaster 200 Degrees will open its 14th coffee shop in York city centre in late June, Propel has learned. The 82-seat shop will create 15 new full-time and part-time jobs in the heritage retail setting of 68 Low Petergate, just a short walk from many major tourist attractions including York Minster and The Shambles. 200 Degrees director Tom Vincent said: “This shop should have been open last April but we’re finally here and we hope our independent attitude and relaxed way of doing things will add to this fantastic area as everything returns to normality – whatever that is. I’m also hoping to use my new joke about the shop being close to a shambles as many times as possible.” The shop will provide hand-roasted coffee and freshly made food, including its breakfasts. 200 Degrees was set up by Tom and his business partner Rob Darby in 2012 and has 11 “distinctively independent” coffee shops, plus its Roast House near Trent Bridge in Nottingham. The company has already announced further openings, including one at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Cannock, Staffordshire, to also open in June, and another in The Hyphen Building in Manchester, for later this year.
Gino D’Acampo forms restaurant partnership with Innside by Meliá: Chef Gino D’Acampo has partnered with Innside by Meliá, part of Spain’s largest hotel group Meliá Hotels International, to “create a new hospitality empire”, curating a series of restaurants and bars. Innside currently operates a site in Manchester, has a hotel in Newcastle launching next Monday (17 May) and another in Liverpool set to open in August. Further UK sites are planned for launch in 2022. The first collaboration will see First Street Bar & Kitchen launch at Innside Manchester. The all-day dining site will feature an outdoor terrace, Spritz Bar, and an open-plan restaurant. The menus will feature only dishes created by D’Acampo and his team from his books and television shows. Garry Fortune, cluster general manager at Meliá Hotels International, said: “This is a very exciting time, as two lifestyle and destination hospitality brands come together to create a new presence in the UK. Gino D’Acampo is an obvious choice for us, due to its modern and stylish dining experience, and its successful internal operational structure.” D’Acampo added: “I want the restaurants to not only provide great Italian food to hotel guests but to be a destination for food lovers to hang out from morning until night in cool surroundings.” Innside by Meliá has hotels in 28 locations, spread across ten countries with 13 additional properties in the pipeline. D’Acampo also operates My Restaurants in partnership with Individual Restaurants.
Five Guys to replace MOD Pizza in Coventry: Five Guys, the fast-growing burger concept backed by Sir Charles Dunstone, will open in Coventry later this year on the site of the former MOD Pizza in the city. The company, which opened its 116 UK site on Monday (10 May) in Glasgow Fort, will open in the Cathedral Lanes complex in the city centre. The company behind MOD Pizza UK, which was also backed by Dunstone, was placed into liquidation last year, with all of its sites closed. Last month, Propel reported Five Guys was planning to launch its first UK drive-thru at the former Chiquito restaurant at Teesside Park. In March, Propel revealed the company was exploring opportunities to open its first drive-thru sites in the UK on the back of the success of its “kerbside” pick-up option, which it launched in Britain last May. At the same time, the company, which recently opened in Chichester, Stevenage and Walthamstow High Street, has secured sites in the York and East Midlands McArthurGlen Designer Outlets for openings in the second half of this year. Last month, Five Guys UK chief executive John Eckbert said the brand, which recently opened in the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet West Midlands, near Cannock, was going to open up to 50 new sites in Europe this year, including up to 25 here.
Fridays to open new Lincoln restaurant next week: Fridays will open its new restaurant in Lincoln on Wednesday, 19 May. The company is launching the outlet in the former Carluccio’s premises in High Street, creating circa 40 jobs. Fridays Lincoln will also be added to the list of “Famous at Fridays” restaurants, joining 13 other venues across the UK with the rollout to remaining restaurants due to be completed within the next year. Chief executive Robert Cook said: “Opening Fridays Lincoln is a key part of our strategy moving forward as we invest in the local area and continue to grow Fridays after what has been a tough year for all businesses.” Fridays runs 85 UK restaurants and, in February, parent company Electra revealed it was targeting 14 new sites for the brand.
Healthy bowl concept sequel to open in June in Belgravia: Healthy bowl concept Atis is set to open a sequel site, in Belgravia, on 7 June. Atis, which operates a flagship site in Shoreditch, east London, will open at Eccleston Yards, near Victoria station. The build-your-own bowls options include roasted umami aubergine, grilled mushrooms, roasted squash and hot toppings, including blackened chicken thighs and pesto salmon. Popular house bowls include Azteca, which contains chopped romaine, baby spinach, charred corn, crumbled feta, avocado and other ingredients, doused in lime coriander dressing. Another favourite is warm bowl Miso Hungry, with shredded kale, wild rice, edamame, charred lemon broccoli, crispy shallots with a miso lime and ginger dressing. Atis was launched by husband and wife team Phil Honer and Eleanor Warder, with operations director, Connor Arnette, in Shoreditch in 2019. Warder said: “Our feel-good flavour-packed food has been created to make you feel uplifted and energetic. That combined with great music and high positive energy vibes creates a unique, memorable experience that makes people want to come back again and again.” Honer added: “We are so excited to launch in Belgravia this summer. We think the local community will be thrilled to have Atis in the area and we cannot wait to welcome the Belgravia residents through the door.”
Mercato Metropolitano to open deli and cafe in first phase of Elephant Park development: London-community food market Mercato Metropolitano, which earlier this year unveiled plans for a £35m expansion into Europe and the US, with ten more markets creating 2,000 jobs, will open the first phase of its new Elephant Park site later this month. A 3,900 square foot delicatessen and cafe space will open adjacent to the Walworth Library and Southwark Heritage Centre, where they will form the western portion of the overall site. Mercato Metropolitano, which has two existing locations in London, will also be opening a new concept as the second phase of its work at Elephant Park – MM Factory. Opening later this year, this will bring together Mercato Metropolitano’s mix of micro-restaurants and sustainable food concepts, and include a mill for heritage and organic grain. The flour made on site will then be used to create bakery, patisserie, and pasta products, and will be shipped to the other markets in London. Elephant Park is a £2.5bn regeneration project where thousands of new homes are being delivered by Lendlease in partnership with Southwark Council. Mercato Metropolitano founder Andrea Rasca said: “We are in the process of creating a more sustainable ecosystem, and the site at Elephant Park has a massive role to play in that. The first phase is a great introduction to who we are and what we offer, building on the overwhelmingly positive response to our existing London sites.” Nash Bond, CF Commercial and Shelley Sandzer represented Lendlease.
Travelodge appoints Bonnar as permanent chief executive: Travelodge, which operates 586 hotels across the UK, Ireland and Spain, has appointed Craig Bonnar as its chief executive. Former chief operating officer Bonnar took charge on an interim basis at the start of the year but has secured the position permanently, six months after former chief executive Peter Gowers stepped down. Travelodge chairman Martin Robinson said: “In the short time I’ve been with Travelodge, I have been extremely impressed by Craig’s energy, strategic insight and exceptional leadership qualities. He has led us through a critical period of recovery and with his in-depth knowledge as chief operating officer and passion for the brand, Craig was the natural choice to lead the business on the next leg of its journey.” Bonnar added: “I take on this new role with great ambition for the group and I am looking forward to working with the leadership team to build upon the brand’s strong foundation, with Travelodge being well positioned to benefit from recovery as restrictions are lifted and demand builds.” Travelodge announced last week it would open 17 new hotels this year, creating 360 new jobs across its network.
Restaurateur teams up with architect to open New York-inspired lounge bar:Restaurateur Maddie Aulak has teamed up with architect Kevin Singh to launch a New York-inspired lounge bar in Birmingham. Jojolounge Bar and Restaurant will open on Thursday, 20 May, in the city’s Colmore Business District at the site previously occupied by Jojolapa – a restaurant owned by Aulak and brother Sanju Shrestha. Jojolounge, located in Newhall Street, is influenced by the lounge bars of 1920s New York City and is also themed on travel, with design touches such as Vestaboards – a modern take on flight departure lounge boards – and wall-mounted maps of historic Birmingham. Jojolounge will offer a casual dining experience with table service only, and a New York-inspired menu with Camden Town Brewery beers being part of its drinks range. Singh, who is the founder of Space* Studio architects, said: “I wanted to create a decadent NYC-style lounge bar that delivers great food and hospitality. We’re keen for people to come here to work on their laptops during the day or relax at the bar, and in the evenings we’ll be hosting business and networking events.”
Former Ledbury chef to launch debut solo venture: Richard Falk, who worked at the two-Michelin-starred The Ledbury in Notting Hill, and then as head chef at Clapham restaurant, The Dairy, is opening his first solo venture. Falk will launch Fork in Lewes, East Sussex, on Tuesday, 1 June. The menu at the Station Street restaurant will be a modern interpretation of a traditional neighbourhood restaurant, serving modern British cuisine. It will have a changing menu of both small and large plates, alongside a concise beer, wine and cocktail list. As well as the dining room, there will be eight seats at the bar for walk-ins. Falk said: “It’s been a long-held ambition to move out of London with my family and open my own restaurant. Lewes is renowned for its tradition of radicalism and independent spirit and this really works well with the ethos of Fork.”
Deliveroo launches Full Life campaign to deliver one million meals to people in need: Deliveroo has launched its Full Life campaign in a bid to deliver one million meals to people in the UK who need it most. It plans to use its vast network to help charities Felix Project, FareShare and The Pret Foundation via its food partners Pret A Manger, Co-op and Waitrose. It has also got backing from TV and radio presenter Maya Jama. Food will be delivered to hundreds of charities such as St Mungos, Lookahead, Centrepoint and YMCA, households and families in need, with the aim to help bring about lasting change to food insecurity in the UK. Deliveroo said a recent report by the Social Market Foundation found 16% of children in the UK missed meals due to hardship during the pandemic, equating to more than 1.9 million children. Deliveroo chief executive and founder Will Shu said: “We want to use our unique network for good and play our part in supporting the communities in which we work. This is just the start, and together with our amazing network of riders, grocers and restaurants, we are so proud to be able to make a small difference.” The Pret Foundation global head Nina Allard added: “We have been donating unsold Pret food to local charities and shelters near our shops, and we are proud to partner with Deliveroo to take this further in 2021.”
Costa offers customers iced drink for 50p as part of 50th anniversary celebrations: Costa Coffee, owned by Coca-Cola, is offering customers an iced cold drink for 50p as it continues its 50th anniversary celebrations. From Tuesday (11 May) to Thursday (13 May), registered Costa Coffee Club mobile app users will be eligible for the offer, which excludes the fruit cooler and Frostino range. All Costa Coffee stores are open for takeaway, click and collect and delivery. Outdoor seating is now also available across selected locations.
Bernardi’s owners relaunching Marylebone site as The Italian Greyhound: The owners of Italian restaurant and bar Bernardi’s are relaunching the Marylebone site as The Italian Greyhound in early June. The Italian Greyhound, from Marcello and Gabriel Bernardi and Barry Hirst, will be a bar and dining room with all-day dining and an “easy-going atmosphere” inspired by Italian neighbourhood bacaros (bars). The Seymour Place venue features an expansive bar area and the menu is based around small plates, handmade pasta, pizza, grilled dishes, salads and desserts from head chef Yohei Furuhashi – previously of the River Cafe, Dinings SW3 and Petersham Nurseries. Marcello Bernardi said: “We previously built a loyal local following in Marylebone and wanted to make sure that we evolved our positioning to keep our locals keen but also attract those from further afield. We want The Italian Greyhound to be a real crowd pleaser.” The ground-floor restaurant will cater for 80 diners indoors and a further 20 alfresco.
Former The River Cafe chef to launch debut solo venture: Max Rocha, a chef who has worked at The River Cafe and St John Bread & Wine, is to launch his first solo venture. Rocha, who is the son of Irish designer John Rocha, is opening Cecilia Cafe in Hackney. He has signed a lease at the new WMe8 development in Andrews Road ahead of opening in June, reports Hot Dinners. The menu will include dishes such as asparagus, purple sprouting broccoli and creme fraiche pasty; and potato, onion and sage gallettes. More recently, Rocha has been showcasing his work through a series of supper clubs and, in lockdown, has been running a delivery kitchen from A Flower Shop in Chatsworth Road, Hackney.
Nico Simeone to open Glasgow restaurant to support cancer charity: Scottish-Italian chef Nico Simeone, who is behind the Six by Nico brand, is to open a new restaurant to support a cause that is close to his heart. Beat 6, which will make its home in the Denniston area of Glasgow, will see all profits go to the Beatson Cancer Charity, which supports the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. Simeone’s wife Valentina was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in May of 2015, at the age of 25. She was treated at the Beatson, and Simeone said he wanted to show his gratitude to the centre on the sixth anniversary of her diagnosis. He said: “The Beatson is the reason I have my wife and three children with me today. We sincerely hope this is the first of many Beat 6 restaurants that we will be able to open for the Beatson, and we are eternally grateful for all it has done and continue to do.” Beat 6 will offer a tasting menu that will change on a regular basis, honouring some of the most popular dishes created by the Six by Nico team since their first restaurant opened in Glasgow in 2017. Beat 6 is due to open in late summer in Whitehill Street. Simeone has opened seven Six by Nico restaurants to date and has ambition to add more sites in 2021.
Andrew Clarke takes over menu at Hertford House, three more dining sites at hotel to reopen: Andrew Clarke, formerly of St Leonards and Tramshed, has taken the role of overseeing the menu at Hertford House. The Hertfordshire hotel’s main menu has been restructured by Clarke and includes dishes such as barbecue lamb, courgette, mint and crispy lamb fat potatoes; steamed cod, white crab, creamed potato and horseradish; and roast truffled chicken breast and chicken offal ragu. A wine list has been curated by Bert Blaize, previously of Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Clove Club and St Leonards. The hotel also operates The Storehouse deli, which will serve pizzas, bread baked on-site and produce including Cacklebean eggs, Estate Dairy milk and butter, Natoora vegetables and Cobble Lane charcuterie. There is also the Hole in the Wall – a pop-up takeaway – that will be hosted by guest chefs, beginning with Little Wu’s Sichuan and regional Chinese cuisine, including crispy aromatic duck, steamed buns and chilli hoisin mayo. And there’s also Anexo – a two-floor tapas and pintxos bar, which is set to open as a permanent restaurant. It will feature wood-fired cooking with dishes including grilled asparagus, fermented pepper, garrotxa and migas. Hertford House in Fore Street is already open but indoor dining begins on 17 May; Anexo, in nearby Parliament Square, opens on 18 May; while The Storehouse and Hole in the Wall open on 31 May.
Wi5 rebrands to Onvi: Wi5, the mobile order and pay platform, has rebranded to Onvi. The rebrand sees a renaming of Onvi’s products. These include Onvi Order, the consumer-facing interface branded to each operator, Onvi Control, the back-office software that gives operators full control of their order and pay solution and customer insights, and Onvi Serve, the order management system. Onvi is also making each and every new feature added to the platform available to every operator at no extra cost. Prask Sutton, founder and chief executive of Onvi, said: “Onvi has evolved from an order and pay solution to a powerful sales platform – accessible to all operators, regardless of scale – capable of serving up success for those using it. Onvi is now providing all the features and functionality operators require to start, run and grow their businesses, so together, we can make wafer-thin margins a thing of the past.”