Ivy Collection acquires Brasserie Blanc site in St Albans following ‘very attractive’ offer: The Ivy Collection, owned by Caprice Holdings, has acquired the site of Raymond Blanc’s French restaurant group Brasserie Blanc in St Albans. The restaurant in Verulam Road is set to close next week. A Brasserie Blanc spokeswoman told The Herts Advertiser: “After over five years of positive trading in St Albans, the decision to close Brasserie Blanc has not been an easy one. We continually evaluate where the most appropriate locations are for our brasseries. This means we have a healthy programme of openings but also leads to us relocating or closing certain sites. The offer made to us by Caprice Holdings (The Ivy) was very attractive and will be invested into the expansion programme. Last year saw the opening of our 19th and 20th sites in Fulham Reach and Bournemouth and we look forward to announcing further openings in the coming year. All staff are being offered the opportunity to relocate to one of our other Brasserie Blancs or our partner White Brasserie Company pubs in the surrounding area. We would like to thank all our wonderful guests for their custom and loyalty during our time in St Albans and invite them to visit one of our other Brasseries – Oxford, Beaconsfield, Milton Keynes or one of our nearby pubs – The Highwayman in Berkhamsted and The Hare in Old Redding, near Harrow.”
Fuller’s acquires Royal Wharf site for tenth London riverside pub: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s has acquired a riverside site in the new Royal Wharf development in London’s Royal Dock. The site, which is due to open in early 2019, includes a large terrace and two floors of internal trading space. It will be a sister site to The Blue Boat at Fulham Reach and The Sail Loft in Greenwich, with a similar “light, airy, contemporary” design. Royal Wharf is a new development by Ballymore and Oxley with the £3.5bn project including apartments, townhouses, shops and leisure units. It is inspired by London’s traditional Georgian architecture. Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny said: “Royal Wharf is a fantastic location in an area where we are currently under-represented and our site is in a prime position on the water’s edge. The development is centred around a vibrant high street and local market square and our new pub will be popular with local residents and visitors to this up-and-coming area. It will be a great addition to our estate and our tenth riverside pub in London.”
Brunning & Price adds former Loch Fyne restaurant in Beaconsfield to portfolio: Brunning & Price, the Restaurant Group’s gastro-pub arm, has added the former Greene King-operated Loch Fyne restaurant in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, to its portfolio. Brunning & Price plans to refurbish the site in London End and reopen it in the summer under its former name of The White Horse. It is the second addition of 2018 for the company, which last week acquired the Arrow Mill in Alcester, Warwickshire, to its estate. Managing director Mary Willcock said of the Beaconsfield acquisition: “We always relish the opportunity to restore former pubs back to their glory days. When we reopen in the summer we aim to return the pub to its former name of The White Horse, as this seems to evoke fond memories from those we have spoken to.” Brunning & Price consists of a group of 61 pubs and has been part of The Restaurant Group since 2007.
Deltic Group unveils new apprenticeship programme: The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs with 57 venues, has unveiled a new apprenticeship programme, created in partnership with HIT Training. The programme, available to those over the age of 16, comprises two apprenticeships – hospitality team member, alcoholic beverage service (level 2); and hospitality supervisor, bar supervision (level 3). Through the partnership, Deltic aims to extend this to also include a level 4 and level 5 management-style qualification. The programme has been designed with Deltic Group’s culture, business demands, and core values in mind. Each candidate will follow a 12-month programme, with quarterly workshops delivered by HIT Training. Deltic Group chief executive Peter Marks said: “The night-time economy is a fun and dynamic sector with a wealth of long-term career opportunities. The majority of our senior team have come up through the ranks, including myself, and we’re really looking forward to supporting our team members through this initiative to further develop their skills and talents.”
Street food Indian wraps concept Chapati Man launches franchise model to expand outside London: London-based street food Indian wraps concept Chapati Man is launching a franchise model as it looks to expand to other UK cities. Chapati Man was founded in 2007 by husband-and-wife team Chris and Andrea Rai, who got the idea from Chris taking leftover curry to work in a wrap. Having appeared at various street food markets and music festivals, the Rais are working with The Franchise Company, a franchise consultancy that has helped franchises throughout the UK and abroad for the past 27 years. The Rais now see a natural transition from a single trailer to a “herd” of franchised Chapati Man trucks. Andrea Rai said: “As the lunchtime palate becomes ever more sophisticated, there is a clear opportunity for Chapati Man’s flavour-packed, substantial and healthy wraps to be a success in other cities across the UK.” Chapati Man is a regular pop-up on the network of London locations run by street food trading platform StreetDots. StreetDots co-founder Atholl Milton said: “Chris and Andrea always impress us with their business nous and slick operation – they have a fantastic brand that will be welcomed by cities across the UK.” The Franchise Company franchise consultant Mashud Choudhury added: “I see a huge number of franchises but I must say Chapati Man is really exciting simply because it’s the first (of its type) in the franchise sector. No-one else is doing what these guys are doing and, based on their past success, their future is going to be even bigger!”
7Bone to head west to Weston: Better burger brand 7Bone, which is backed by private equity firm Kings Park Capital, has secured a site in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset – its most western site to date. The company will open the restaurant at the revamped Dolphin Square leisure complex. 7Bone’s menu includes corn dogs, cheese steaks and buffalo chicken, alongside burgers such as The Robert Johnston (aged beef patty with cheese, truffled garlic mushrooms and truffle mayo), and The Dirty Linda (chicken-fried halloumi with American cheese, dirty slaw and 7bbq sauce). The drinks menu includes imported beer and “dirty cocktails”. An opening date for the restaurant has yet to be confirmed but the venue has started the recruiting process. A spokesman told Somerset Live: “7Bone is an old-school American diner with significant growth plans to become the leading dirty burger joint in the UK.” 7Bone, founded by Matt Mollicone and Rich Zammit in 2013, currently operates eight sites – in Bournemouth, Camberley, Eastbourne, Hove, Newbury, Portsmouth, Reading and Southampton.
Marston’s continues expansion of Lost & Found concept with new Bristol and Leeds sites: Marston’s Revere Pub Company is opening two venues for its The Lost & Found concept this year – in Leeds and Bristol – while it will also refurbish its debut Birmingham site. The group will open its second Leeds site in February, reopen Birmingham on Friday, 2 March and launch its Bristol venue in April. Revere said it chose the new locations following the popularity of its original site in Leeds and the hospitality boom in Bristol. The Lost & Found’s theme features decor based on Victorian “botanical hideaways”, classic cocktails, hand-finished pizza and Josper-grilled steak. The new Lost & Found in Leeds will open in the iconic Leeds Club in Albion Place following a restoration of the grade II-listed Victorian building to create a bar, restaurant, private boardroom and secret drinking den. Revere managing director Colin Sadler said: “We are delighted to be expanding The Lost & Found brand and building on our success as a destination venue. Leeds is thriving with young professionals who are a key demographic for us and, with Bristol recently named the best city to live in the UK, we are sure the new sites will be perfect for our growth strategy.” Revere’s other Lost & Found venue is in Knutsford, Cheshire.
Gordon Ramsay adds to US portfolio with second Atlantic City restaurant: Chef Gordon Ramsay is to add to his US portfolio by opening a steakhouse this summer, at Harrah’s casino in Atlantic City. Ramsay is set to launch Gordon Ramsay Steak at the end of May, reports Associated Press. It will be the second Atlantic City restaurant for Ramsay, who opened Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars casino in 2015. The first Gordon Ramsay Steak opened in 2012 at Paris on the Las Vegas strip. The Gordon Ramsay Group operates a total of 33 restaurants globally.
Starbucks to launch credit cards: Starbucks is teaming up with Chase and Visa to launch co-branded credit cards in February and a stored-value card in April. President and chief executive Kevin Johnson said customers would earn reward points at an accelerated rate when using the cards in Starbucks locations, and would also earn points everywhere else they shopped with the cards. In the US and Canada, 42% of all transactions are made using the Starbucks Card, the company said. New credit cards and stored-value cards should help to increase that number, Johnson added. He said: “With only 14 million of the 75 million or so unique customers who visit us each month signed up for Rewards, we have a tremendous opportunity to leverage our new digital technologies to initiate and advance additional direct digital relationships.” To attract more occasional customers, Johnson said Starbucks would accelerate the introduction of cold drinks – now accounting for almost 40% of total beverage sales and 50% of overall growth – in the coming months, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. Nitro cold brew coffee, currently offered at 1,300 locations in the US, will be in 2,300 units by the end of the year.
Mark Jarvis to launch third London restaurant, in Mayfair: Modern British chef Mark Jarvis, chef patron of London restaurants Anglo and Neo, is to launch a new concept in Mayfair for his third restaurant in the capital. The new concept – Stem – will open in an 18th century building in Princes Street, which connects Regent Street with Hanover Square. The space, which will open in late March, will have room for 35 diners as well as a six-seat private chef’s table on the lower ground floor. The kitchen will be headed by Sam Ashton-Booth, former head chef of Anglo. Together with Jarvis, Ashton-Booth has created a menu featuring dishes such as smoked eel with celeriac and white chocolate, pigeon with coconut and salted peanut, and pineapple with olive oil, lime and salt. An international wine list is being curated by group operations manager Jon Cannon. Jarvis told Hot Dinners: “Stem will be a bit of Anglo heading west to Regent Street – informal but precise in terms of its modern British food.” Jarvis opened Anglo in Farringdon in March 2016, launching Neo in Mayfair just off Oxford Street 13 months later.
Belfast-based independent pizza restaurant Greens to open third site in city: Belfast-based independent pizza restaurant Greens is to open its third site in the city. Owner Will Clark will open the new venue in Ormeau Road on a site that formerly housed McCormick’s grocery store, creating up to 30 jobs. It will add to the company’s sites in Lisburn Road and Ballyhackamore. Clark will invest about £250,000 to transform the building, with the restaurant set to open in April. Clark, who founded the business in 1995, told the Irish News: “We’ve had success in Lisburn Road and Ballyhackamore and we feel the time is right to expand our opportunities. Three restaurants will give us an opportunity to think about moving forward again. It’s not something that is an immediate consideration but it’s on the cards given a fair wind and the opportunity. My angle has always been to never rule anything out. If the opportunity presents itself and everything stacks up the right way, we’ll have a go.”
Lease of restaurant overlooking Trafalgar Square goes on market for offers in excess of £850,000: The lease of family-owned central London venue Bronte Restaurant and Bar has been put up for sale for offers in excess of £850,000. The site in the Strand has a bar, brasserie and two dining rooms with seating for more than 200 people plus outside seating overlooking Trafalgar Square. Bronte is named after Lord Nelson, who was also the Duke of Bronte, and is being marketed by agents Christie & Co. Simon Chaplin, Christie & Co’s head of restaurants, said: “Sites in such iconic locations rarely become available and to be able to bring Bronte to the market, with its stylish interior and established trade, is a real bonus. We expect interest from UK and international operators looking to grab this prestigious restaurant in a location known around the world.” As well as the lease, the price includes goodwill, fixtures and fittings.
Wetherspoon closes Chichester pub: JD Wetherspoon has closed The Gatehouse pub in Chichester, West Sussex, which operates under its Lloyds Bar brand. The pub, which is part of the Chichester Gate retail park on the outskirts of the city, closed on Sunday (28 January). Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told Spirit FM: “No member of staff will lose their job and they will be offered jobs at other Wetherspoon pubs. Wetherspoon will continue to operate The Dolphin & Anchor in Chichester. We appreciate customers of The Gatehouse will be disappointed with the decision. However Wetherspoon, like other companies, has to make commercial choices.” Last week, Wetherspoon reported like-for-like sales rose 6% for the first 12 weeks of the second quarter (to 21 January 2018) and total sales by 4.3%. In the year to date (25 weeks to 21 January 2018), like-for-like sales increased by 6.0% and total sales by 4.3%. Since the start of the financial year, the company opened three pubs and sold ten. It intends to open about ten pubs in the current financial year.
Breton creperie concept launches in Spitalfields: L’Ami Malo, a modern creperie and bar inspired by Breton flavours and the small town of St Malo in north west France, has opened in Spitalfields’ Artillery Passage, near Liverpool Street. The 1,140 square foot, 54-cover restaurant and bar is split over two floors – 30 upstairs and 24 downstairs. The brainchild of Emilien Lesourd and Vincent Couvreur, the restaurant offers a variety of sweet and savoury dishes such as “maki”-style rolls and galettes with fillings such as confit duck leg with caramelised pear and red wine jus. Crepes come topped with sweet things such as classic lemon and sugar or apple compote, butter sauce and salted caramel. The bar, Le Moulin, is tucked away at the rear of the restaurant with its own entrance in Parliament Court. It offers cocktails, french spirits and liqueurs, buckwheat beer, artisan cider, and small-producer wines. North western French traditions include The Trou Normand or “Norman Hole” – a shot of calvados taken mid-meal to create a “hole” for more food.
Malones Irish Bars returns to Edinburgh for third Scottish site: Malones Irish Bars has returned to Edinburgh to open its third site in Scotland. The venue has opened in Morrison Street following a £1m investment. About 35 jobs have been created. Malones Irish Bars’ other venues are in Glasgow and Aberdeen. The group had been searching for a new location in Edinburgh since its previous venue was sold in early 2017. The brand offers gourmet burgers and big-screen sport, while more than 20 musicians are expected to perform live music each week. Alongside the traditional Irish drinks and decor, however, the bar features a 28 metre mural dedicated to TV sitcom Father Ted. Malones Irish Bars director Simon Keane told The Irish Times: “After a long break the craic is back! We’re delighted to be relaunching Malones in Edinburgh. We’re all huge Father Ted fans at Malones and we even hold a Father Ted festival each year to raise money for charity.”
Operator sought to create restaurant at Ilkley hotel: An operator is being sought to create a restaurant in two function spaces at The Craiglands, a 63-bedroom spa hotel in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. The Craiglands is a 19th century hotel that has been owned by father and son Mukesh and Neel Chawla since 1996, one of several in their portfolio spread across the north of England. The Chawlas are currently building a spa and several townhouses on the six-acre site. They plan to close the current, internally run restaurant with a view to extending the bar-lounge area for guests but are willing to financially support the investment of the new restaurant, which would serve as a dining option for guests of the hotel and the public. The spaces available, which are being marketed through agents Christie & Co, are on the ground and first floors in a new conservatory. Sam Ashton, business agent at Christie & Co’s Leeds office, said: “The owners are offering this restaurant opportunity by way of a new lease. The term of lease is flexible and to be negotiated. The owners are ideally seeking a branded operation willing to work in unison with them to create a high-quality dining experience for guests.”
Trio of fitness brands secure central London sites: London agents Shelley Sandzer has acted on a series of deals that will see fitness brands F45, Gymbox and Frame open new locations in central London. Shelley Sandzer acted for Brockton Capital, landlord of The Centro Building in Camden, to secure Australian fitness franchise F45. The brand will take a 3,000 square foot unit formerly occupied by Nuffield Health and share the building with French Connection’s headquarters. F45, which was founded in 2013, offers members 45-minute, high-intensity circuit training classes. Due to open later this year, London fitness company Gymbox will take a 20,210 square foot unit in the new Cannon Green development, an 82,000 square foot mixed-use office and retail space. Originally founded in a Holborn car park in 2003, Gymbox now has eight locations across the city, each designed individually with an “innovative, nightclub-style approach to fitness”. Meanwhile, boutique fitness brand Frame, which is backed by Piper, has opened a new studio in Berners Street. Covering 9,500 square feet, it is its largest site to date. The no commitment gym offers a pay-as-you-go model for its classes such as 1980s aerobics and “Frame Rave”. Shelley Sandzer acted on behalf of landlord Derwent London. Lauren Wellman, leasing agent at Shelley Sandzer, said: “This demand for boutique, modern and specialised gyms is reflective of the clear focus on health, fitness and well-being within the leisure industry. Many argue we are navigating a particularly challenging market at present. However, securing new sites for these operators demonstrates there are some great opportunities out there and areas within the leisure market that will see growth.”