Brasserie Bar Co to fund ‘settled status’ for non-British EU staff: Brasserie Bar Co, the 36-strong group behind Brasserie Blanc and the White Brasserie Company, is to pay for its 591 non-British EU employees to apply for “settled-status” in the UK following Brexit. Under the EU Settlement Scheme, all EU citizens living in the UK will need to apply for the right to remain in the UK post-Brexit. The application fee is £65 and will give workers who have lived in the UK for five years or more “settled status”. Founder and director Raymond Blanc said: “Being a Frenchman and a UK resident for the past 35 years, this issue is very close to my heart. With the continued uncertainty over the nightmare that is Brexit, the hospitality industry is facing a staffing crisis. Pre-Brexit, there was a shortage of young people entering the industry. Britain’s decision to leave the EU has resulted in a huge decline in the number of people applying for hospitality jobs. Our 1,200-strong team is integral to the success of our business and, by granting them settled status, we will be protecting ‘our family’ and providing them with much-needed security. We are sending out a clear message they are welcome and wanted.”
James Horler steps down as non-executive director at Patisserie Holdings:James Horler has stepped down as a non-executive director of Patisserie Holdings. Horler has decided to concentrate on his role as chief executive of 3Sixty Restaurants. The company is expanding its Ego brand in partnership with Mitchells & Butlers, which bought sector investor Luke Johnson’s minority shareholding in the business in August. Patisserie Holdings stated: “James Horler, non-executive director, has resigned with immediate effect to focus on his role as chief executive at another business. The board would like to thank him for his service.”
Whitbread acquires first Dublin city centre freehold site in ‘significant step’ for Premier Inn expansion plans: Whitbread has acquired its first Dublin city centre freehold site in a “significant step” for the company’s Premier Inn expansion plans in the city. Twilfit House in Jervis Street will be turned into a 180-bedroom hotel and Thyme restaurant as the budget brand seeks up to 2,500 bedrooms in Dublin. Whitbread acquired the freehold from investment fund Abarta Investments, which had secured full planning permission from Dublin City Council to build a 180-bedroom hotel on the site. Whitbread will demolish three-storey Twilfit House and construct a seven-storey Premier Inn. Kevin Murray, Whitbread head of acquisitions (north and Ireland), said: “Securing Twilfit House is an important landmark in Premier Inn’s expansion into Ireland and builds strong momentum to our acquisition drive in Dublin. The deal marks Whitbread’s first freehold investment in Dublin city centre and we are actively pursuing other live freehold and leasehold opportunities, including potential office-to-hotel conversions and going-concern purchases.” Whitbread has already secured planning permission for a 97-bedroom Premier Inn in Dublin’s South Great Georges Street, scheduled to open in summer 2020, while it operates a 213-bedroom Premier Inn at Dublin airport. The brand operates seven hotels in Northern Ireland.
Frankie & Benny’s closes Reading site: The Restaurant Group brand Frankie & Benny’s has closed its site in Reading. The restaurant in Shepherds Hill employed 15 members of staff. Five have been redeployed to other Frankie & Benny’s site, with ten unable to move due to “geographical constraints”. A Frankie and Benny’s spokesman told In Your Area: “The casual dining market is facing various headwinds such as increased property costs, which has impacted certain sites within our leisure portfolio. In light of this backdrop, we have taken the difficult decision to close the Frankie and Benny’s site in Shepherds Hill. We regret the impact on colleagues and will ensure they are supported throughout the process as well as identifying opportunities for those wishing to remain in the business. Where possible, we have looked to redeploy staff to other sites within The Restaurant Group’s portfolio.” The closest Frankie & Benny’s restaurant is now in The Square shopping centre in Camberley, Surrey. The brand’s site in Bracknell closed in January 2018.
Great British Menu chef Tommy Heaney to open Cardiff coffee and wine bar for second site: Tommy Heaney is to open a second site in Cardiff. The Great British Menu chef launched his first solo venture, Heaneys, in Cardiff in October. Now he is set to open a coffee and wine bar next door. Open for breakfast and lunch by day and wine and charcuterie in the evening, the first meal of the day will centre on a cooked breakfast featuring Heaney’s homemade sausages and sourdough. Healthier options will include homemade granola and honeycomb. The lunch menu will include home-cooked stews, house salads, sandwiches and soup to eat in or take away. The venue will also offer Heaney’s freshly cooked crumpets and bagels with house fillings, while meat will be cured, cooked and smoked in-house. From mid-afternoon there will be light bites, charcuterie and cheese on offer. Heaney has teamed up with a local coffee producer to create a home blend that will be roasted on-site, alongside a regularly changing wine list, gin, cocktails and craft beer. The venue will host monthly wine tastings and live music. It will feature bar stools, refectory-style tables and window seating.
Administrator’s investigation into management of Lincolnshire brewer continues: An investigation into potential falsification of accounts at independent Lincolnshire brewer Tom Wood Beers prior to the company going into administration is continuing. In his progress report, administrator Charles Ranby-Gorwood, of Grimsby-based CRG Insolvency & Financial Recovery, said the administration period had been extended to Friday, 31 May as a result. Ranby-Gorwood began the investigation last year into the way Tom Wood Beers was managed, which may result in court action. He said: “My current investigations into the roles of various people is the main activity. I must remain confidential as to my enquiries at this stage but matters will be more fully reported in due course.” Ranby-Gorwood added the prospect of a dividend greatly depends on the outcome of the investigation. The latest report said there were 48 non-preferential unsecured creditors with an estimated total deficiency of £535,520. So far, claims have been received from 21 creditors, including HM Revenue & Customs, at a total of £388,929. As previously reported, there are no secured creditors. The only potential preferential creditor was Tom Wood, as an employee for a claim against outstanding wages, but this had been mitigated due to “monies owed by the individual”, the report said. The business was sold in November 2017 to Lincolnshire Craft Beers, a company connected to Mark Smith, who was a director of Tom Wood Beers.
Village Hotel Club outlines plans for 50 sites by 2026 as it prepares to open most high-tech property: Village Hotel Club has outlined plans to expand the group to 50 sites by 2026, with potential for up to 100 properties in the UK. The company, which operates 29 hotels, plans to open five hotels during the next two years – in Basingstoke, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Slough and Southampton. Executive chairman Gary Davis revealed the plans as the company prepared to open its 30th hotel, in Bristol this month. He said: “The openings in Bristol this year and Portsmouth last year mark a turning point in Village Hotel Club’s expansion plans, and Bristol is our most high-tech hotel to date.” Each bedroom is fitted with a virtual concierge – the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot – allowing each guest to order room service, set alarms, call room to room and pick their entertainment without lifting a finger. The Village Hotel Club concept also includes the Village Hotel Pub and Grill as well as a hot-desking business called VWorks, which provides local business with flexible working spaces.
Belhaven has 300th anniversary recognised by Scottish MPs: Belhaven Brewery, which is owned by Greene King, has had its 300th anniversary recognised by Scottish MPs. An early day motion from Labour MP Martin Whitfield, which has received cross-party support, said: “This house welcomes the 300th anniversary of the iconic Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar, the oldest working brewery in Scotland and one of the oldest in Britain. Brewing has taken place on the site for hundreds of years. The brewhouse’s lintel is engraved with the date 1719, recognised as the founding of the present brewery when it was taken over by local market gardener John Johnstone. Belhaven has produced some of Scotland’s most popular beers, including Belhaven Best, Scotland’s best-selling ale. The house acknowledges Belhaven has almost 100 pubs across Scotland and exports its products to markets around the world, congratulates all staff at the brewery on its 300 years of continuous brewing innovation, and wishes everyone at Belhaven many more years of success.”
Beautiful Pubs Collective founder Sam Hagger named business executive of the year: Sam Hagger, founder of The Beautiful Pubs Collective, has been named business executive of the year by the Leicester Mercury – the first time a hospitality business director has been recognised in the awards. The pub company operates the Rutland & Derby Arms and the Knight and Garter, both in Leicester, and The Forge Inn in Glenfield. The Beautiful Pubs Collective employs 90-plus staff and has a turnover of more than £2.5m. Hagger is also behind non-profit recruitment company Hospitality Minds, is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Leicester on food and drink matters and is a steering member of BID Leicester. He said: “I am extremely humbled and proud. It is a fantastic way to celebrate ten years of The Beautiful Pubs Collective.” Hagger founded Ssoosh Inns – or The Beautiful Pubs Collective as it is known locally – in 2008