Sharp’s Brewery reports turnover boost as ‘sales to large pub and restaurant chains increase’: Cornwall-based Sharp’s Brewery, which is owned by Molson Coors, has reported a turnover boost as “sales to large pub and restaurant chains increased”. The company saw turnover increase 0.4% to £41,781,317 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £41,608,283 the year before. Gross profit was up 7.0% to £11,188,389, compared with £10,454,098 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was down 64.1% to £769,804 compared with £2,143,488 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The fall was a result of Sharp Brewery’s commercial investment, in part, being held by Molson Coors in 2016, being repatriated back into the Sharp Brewery’s budget for 2017. During the period, Sharp’s Brewery invested £995,360 in its facilities to further increase capacity at the brewery. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Gross profit levels increased during the year as sales to large pub and restaurant chains increased. Investment continues to be made in increasing the volume capacity of the business to meet consumer demand for the main brand, Doom Bar, while continuing to develop a wider portfolio of brands. The company has a capital expansion plan to support the continued growth of its production capacity. The net assets at the end of the year amounted to £20,769,196 (2016: £20,189,852).” Sharp’s Brewery was acquired by parent company Molson Coors in 2011.
Junkbars to open fourth Nottingham site in five years: Nottingham-based operator Junkbars is to open its fourth site in the city in five years. Holy Calzone will launch in the Lady Bay suburb on Saturday, 22 September. The 180-cover, family friendly pizza bar will be spread over two floors and feature a large outside area. The decor will take in elements of Junkbars’ inner city venues – Junkyard, Boilermaker and The Herbert Kilpin – with “quality products and efficient service that never takes itself too seriously”. The venue will offer ten craft beer taps on the back wall alongside batch brew coffee from local roasters Outpost. The venue will be open from 8am to 10pm serving breakfast, brunch, pizza and salad. Junkbars owner Nigel Garlick said: “We are making our own dough and sauces on-site because it allows us to constantly improve our products. We have managed to tailor our offering to an amazingly receptive community without compromise. Lady Bay is a community of young families that are receptive to our ideas and concept. When we went to planning, the number of positive comments blew us away. We are very excited about this new venture and confident our community of Baysiders are going to appreciate that every detail in our build and on our menu has been meticulously considered.”
France’s oldest tea house to make UK debut this month with Covent Garden launch: France’s oldest tea house, Mariage Frères, is to open its debut UK store on Friday, 14 September, in Covent Garden. The flagship branch will be the brand’s largest to date when it opens in a five-storey listed Georgian townhouse in King Street. The 1,200 square metre site will adhere to Mariage Frères’ three distinct offerings. Comptoir de Thé on the ground floor will feature a tea emporium including the “longest tea wall in the world” and offer almost 1,000 rare teas. It will also sell fragrance, incense, candles, confectionery, gift sets, crockery, books and strainers, while tea will be available to take away alongside pastries. The first floor will house the 100-cover Salon de Thé and the Cuisine au Thé, which uses tea as an ingredient, spice or flavouring in dishes such as Thai-style seared beef tartar with coriander and Lune Rouge Tea, and dark chocolate gateau flavoured with Black Magic Tea. The Musée du Thé on the second floor will showcase tea antiques, while the third and fourth floors will house two private rooms, one with its own terrace, and a trade showroom. Mariage Frères has been operating out of the Marais district of Paris since 1854, when it was founded by brothers Henri and Edouard Mariage. It also has a presence in Germany and Japan.
Restaurateur Neil Gill opens neighbourhood restaurant in Stroud Green: Restaurateur Neil Gill, who is relocating his chip shop concept Gilly’s Fry Bar from Finsbury Park to the West End, has launched a neighbourhood restaurant in Stroud Green, north London. He has opened Goods Office in Ferme Park Road in a joint venture with Emma Rigby. Gill told Hot Dinners: “We’ve talked about doing something with the site for years and it’s only now the site has become available. It’s a neighbourhood hub that will serve the local community with great coffee, craft booze and something delicious to eat all day.” The menu features snacks, sharing boards and small plates such as cured mackerel with pickled gooseberries and samphire, and buttermilk fried chicken with paprika mayo. Gill launched his Gilly’s Fry Bar concept – his third site in total – in Clifton Terrace in September last year. It is modelled on the northern fish and chip shops of Gill’s youth – but with an Asian twist.
James Cochran opens modern British restaurant 1251 in Islington: Chef and restaurateur James Cochran has opened his latest venture – modern British restaurant 1251 – in Islington, north London. Cochran, who is currently appearing on BBC television show The Great British Menu, has created sharing menus, tasting menus and snacks featuring modern British food made with Kentish produce and nods to his heritage. The two-storey restaurant in Upper Street has space for 48 diners and a further eight on the terrace. Dishes include line-caught Cornish mackerel with cucumber and hazelnuts, and barbecued wood pigeon with liquorice, fig and pickled white cabbage. The wine list focuses on organic bottles from around the world, alongside cocktails. Cochran recently closed his debut eponymous site in east London, while his second project in Islington shuttered late last year.
Charles Wells launches Rising Stars initiative: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells has launched a Rising Stars programme aimed at fast-tracking the careers of its most talented pub staff. The initiative will offer individuals employed by one of the group’s managed pubs the opportunity to undergo extensive training to help take their career to the next level. As part of the continued expansion of its managed division, including its Pizza, Pots & Pints and Apostrophe pub concepts, the Rising Stars programme will incorporate two development schemes. The first seven Rising Stars – made up of a selection of the pubs dedicated team members and leaders – will undergo a mix of e-learning, on the job training, targeted workshops, product showcases and social learning strategies, to help them grow into either a team leader, assistant manager or sous chef. Head of human resources Nicola Stevenson said: “Having recognised the fantastic potential our employees possess, we’re excited to be able to invite them to tap into a new range of skills and in turn better their careers. In offering them the training they need to succeed, we believe initiatives such as our Rising Stars programme will cultivate our employees desire to grow their careers with us.” The Rising Stars initiative follows the launch of Charles Wells’ apprenticeship programme in partnership with Lifetime Training, aimed at offering team members the opportunity to gain a nationally recognised apprenticeship. Both programmes are ongoing development initiatives that will run alongside a number of other online and in-house bespoke learning schemes aimed at supporting Charles Wells’ growth plans.
Farmer J opens second City of London site: All-day market food concept Farmer J, which launched in Leadenhall in May 2016, has opened a second site in the City of London. The new venue in King William Street offers the brand’s signature “field trays”, which consist of a main course, grains or leaves, two sides and a choice of three sauces. Breakfast options include salt beef hash browns and shakshuka alongside bagels, sourdough pastries and muffins from Fortitude Bakery plus speciality coffee, fresh juice and smoothies. Lunch is cooked daily from scratch, with 90% of food made on-site. Field tray mains include spiced rose harissa chicken and charred tofu steak with white miso, aubergine and ginger dressing. Evening dishes include lamb shawarma alongside beer and kombucha on tap and cocktails. The decor includes lime-washed brick and polished concrete walls offset by greenery, brass fittings and dark green leather and velvet seating. Farmer J founder Jonathan Recanati said: “Our ethos remains the same – respecting our fantastic produce and cooking real food with sustainable, seasonal ingredients.”
Papa John’s shareholder sues over ‘misleading comments’ that inflated stock prices: A shareholder has sued Papa John’s, its founder John Schnatter, chief executive Steve Ritchie and former chief financial officer Lance Tucker over what she claims are misleading statements that inflated stock prices, resulting in her and other shareholders buying overpriced shares. Joanne Danker is seeking class action status for the suit on behalf of anyone who acquired Papa John’s shares between 25 February 2014 and 19 July 2018. The complaint from Danker states the individuals named in the lawsuit signed off on earnings reports that acknowledged the importance of the brand’s reputation and its code of ethics committing them to “providing a workplace for its team members that is free of harassment or other intimidating, hostile or offensive behaviour”. The suit states once information about that conduct was revealed, share prices fell. It adds: “As a result of defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions and the precipitous decline in the market value of Papa John’s securities, the plaintiff and other class members have suffered significant losses and damages.” A Papa John’s spokesman told Nation’s Restaurant News it had just received the lawsuit and would not respond at this time. Tucker, who was contacted through Jack In the Box, where he is now chief executive, did not respond while Schnatter said he had no comment on the lawsuit against him.
Former Natoora director launches pizzeria concept in Clapham: Vittorio Maschio, a former director of fruit and vegetable store Natoora, has launched pizzeria concept Manifesto in Clapham, south west London. The 30-cover restaurant has opened in Northcote Road offering a “no-frills approach to exceptional ingredients” and a seasonally changing pizza menu. Pizzas are produced using the “biga” technique of dough production, which takes 48 hours of proving, while flour, mozzarella, olives, salami and many other ingredients are sourced from organic producers in Italy. Manifesto’s simple menu features six pizzas plus one “gourmet special” per week. Pizzas on the menu include olives and anchovies from Cantabria on a tomato base; rocket, spicy salami and chilli on a ricotta base; and roast potatoes with rosemary, sausage, red peppers and fior di latte cheese on a margherita base.
North London-based Redemption Brewing Company increases equity offer in £300,000 crowdfunding campaign: North London-based Redemption Brewing Company has increased the equity offer in its £300,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to support growth plans. The company, founded in 2010 by Andy Moffat and Sam Rigby, is now offering 13.64% equity instead of the original 10.71% in return for the investment. It stated: “If you compare us with other breweries that have raised money on Crowdcube, we really believe given the stage we are at and the strong foundations that already exist within our business, we represent a good-value investment that offers a good risk-reward opportunity.” The pitch states: “In 2017 our sales have organically grown to more than £500,000 (net profit minus £48,919). We’ve built Redemption with our own blood, sweat and tears, our small but tight dedicated team, and the enthusiasm of our growing customer base. Our portfolio has expanded to seven core beers, which we complement with seasonal beers and collaborations with our brewing friends. Now we’re settled in our new, bigger, more efficient brewery we have the capacity and ambition to brew more than two million pints a year. We want to grow our brand and build sales locally, regionally, nationally and internationally by building our team and bolstering our sales and marketing function. We plan to invest in tanks to launch a new keg product and can format. We also want to improve our taproom with the aim of making it a go-to venue for north London’s discerning beer drinkers.”
Swanage-based cafe owners acquire property featured in The Hotel Inspectors for second site: Swanage-based cafe owners Janet and Emily Strange have bought a hotel in Wareham, Dorset, which featured in the Channel Four series The Hotel Inspectors, for their second site. The mother-and-daughter team have acquired the Black Bear Inn in High Street, which had been marketed for £750,000 through agents Colliers International. The Stranges will undertake a three-phase refurbishment of the grade II-listed building to create a boutique bed and breakfast, with a bistro called Love Cake At The Bear. After a withering assessment from Alex Polizzi in The Hotel Inspectors, the business attempted a revival but later closed. Janet Strange said: “It was looking more than a little run-down but that didn’t put us off. It’s a fine building in a fantastic position at the gateway to the Purbeck peninsula and we could see massive potential. We have so much to do but we hope to use the enormous kitchens to provide a classic food offering including a deli shop and cake takeaway, fine local catering and an artisan bakery. We’re aiming to relaunch the downstairs element in time for Christmas, and are confident we will create a fantastic local business.”
Derby-based micro-pub operators lodge plans for second site: Derby-based Hanging Sword Taverns Group has lodged plans for its second micro-pub. Chris and Karen O’Brien opened The Last Post, which is housed in a former post office in Uttoxeter Old Road, in 2014. Now they have submitted an application to the city council to change the use of an empty unit in the Wardwick, reports the Derby Telegraph. The proposals involve creating a pub with a total floor space of only 77 square metres that would sell real ale, cider and premium spirits. The application stated: “The proposed alterations are in keeping with the area and will have no impact on nearby listed buildings.”
Cote reopens Horsham restaurant following major fire: French brasserie Cote has reopened its restaurant in Horsham, West Sussex, almost a year after it was forced to close following a major fire. The restaurant is housed in a grade II-listed building that has been restored following the blaze last September. Six fire crews battled the flames that destroyed the roof of the building and part of the first floor. Works began to repair the restaurant earlier this year with new features added including a first-floor balcony overlooking the entrance and booth seating. General manager Pedro Martins told the West Sussex County Times: “I have been eagerly anticipating our reopening. Horsham’s community spirit is like no other and we have been overwhelmed by the goodwill of our regular guests.” This week it was reported Cote had been “shopping itself around” to rivals amid hopes of a merger. The 93-site chain, owned by private equity firm BC Partners, is understood to have held early talks about a tie-up with a listed company.
New steakhouse concept where diners can have their photo taken before eating opens in Bristol: A new steakhouse concept where diners can have their photo taken prior to their meal has opened in Bristol. Adam Bryan and Zowie Yip have launched Mugshot in St Nicholas Street specialising in unusual and creative cuts of meat. The 1920s-inspired restaurant is spread over two floors, with diners able to have their own Polaroid “mugshot” taken before settling down for their meal. Unless diners specify otherwise, the meat will be served on a sizzling hot stone at the table for them to cook to their liking, along with chips and a range of sides. Bryan told the Bristol Post: “We are all for introducing people to different cuts as it gets really dull having the same things every time you go out. One of our steaks is called a spider cut. It comes from a specific muscle of the cow and the fat is marbled, which makes it look a bit like a spider’s web, and it’s really juicy.”
Stockton-based operator opens second site for Dr Inks concept, in Darlington: Stockton-based bar operator and property developer John Taylor has opened a second site for his Dr Inks concept, in Darlington. Taylor has renovated a former townhouse in Coniscliffe Road into a venue that has a ground floor and first-floor bar, a snug in the basement and a garden. The building was a beauty salon in its last guise but now serves craft beer, spirits, gin and afternoon tea, reports Gazette Live. Taylor owns Dr Inks in Stockton along with the Looking Glass, Thirsty Souls and The Vault bars in the town.
Wagamama opens Gloucester site: Wagamama has opened its latest site, in Gloucester. The restaurant has launched at the Gloucester Quays leisure complex. Last month, the company reported UK like-for-like sales increased 7.4% for the year ending 29 April 2018. Group turnover increased 13.0% to £300.6m. Adjusted Ebitda was up 0.4% to £45.7m, compared with £45.5m the previous year. During the full year, seven restaurants were opened in the UK – in Manchester, Bedford, Leeds, Cheltenham, Bracknell, Reigate and Colchester – and two in the US. A total of 31 refurbishments were made during the 12-month period, while 13 franchise restaurants opened internationally including in Dubai, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.
Goodbody – Dalata’s first-half results ‘in line with expectations’: Goodbody leisure analyst Gavin Kelleher has said Irish hotel operator Dalata Group’s first-half results were “in line with expectations”. He said: “Group revenue was €180.6m (£162.7m), up 11% year-on-year and adjusted Ebitda increased 12% to €50.3m. Group revpar rose 7% year-on-year to €89, driven by occupancy being up 190 basis points to 82% and average room rate increasing 4.6% to €109. Ebitdar margins decreased from 40.6% to 39.8% due to some dilution from new openings but was flat year-on-year on a like-for-like basis. UK revenue was £32.5m (up 10% year-on-year) compared with our forecast of £31m. Revpar increased by 3.8% across the estate despite London declining by 1.0%, which would have represented outperformance versus the market. Ebitdar increased by 5.5% to £11.7m. The group notes given strong market dynamics and expansion across its regions the outlook remains positive. The outlook for the key Dublin market ‘remains strong’ and recent July and August trading has been ‘robust’. However, comparables are more challenging in the second half. Regional Ireland is marginally ahead year-on-year in July/August and the outlook remains positive. The UK is expected to continue at a similar rate as the year to date picture. Overall, while this is a solid update from Dalata given the strength of the Irish hotel market year to date, the maintenance of guidance for the full year (Ebitda circa €115m) may be somewhat disappointing. However, we would note it is due to the level of pre-opening costs in the full year, which should positively impact future-year revenues. In terms of our forecasts we do not expect to make material changes to FY18 Ebitda expectation at this point in time. The long-term growth for the business remains positive with UK room openings announcements on track and the group continuing to be a beneficiary from the continued undersupply in the Dublin hotel market.”
Deltic Group brings Atik brand to Aberdeen: The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs, has brought its Atik brand to Aberdeen. The venue in Bridge Street replaces Institute, which closed in June. It has undergone an £800,000 conversion to feature three rooms with a 1,540 capacity, creating 30 jobs. The city centre venue opened in 1898 as the Palace Theatre and was turned into a cinema in 1931 before becoming the Palace Ballroom in 1959 and Fusion Nightclub in 1976. Prior to Liquid opening at the venue in 2003, the club was known as Ritzy’s and the Palace, with Institute opening in 2012. Atik general manager Ruth Jones told The Press and Journal: “It is time to bring something new to Aberdeen and the very best we can offer in terms of a clubbing experience.”
Team behind St Helens-based Brazilian steakhouse opens tapas restaurant for second site: The team behind St Helens-based Brazilian steakhouse Brunos Rodizio has opened a tapas restaurant for its second site. It has launched Rioja – a Spanish-themed upmarket restaurant and bar – in Duke Street. The venue serves a range of Spanish dishes including four types of paella, as well as a selection of Japanese tapas including gyoza. The venue is split into a restaurant and lounge bar, where guests can also buy wine imported from the Rioja region. Operations manager Jamie Dolphin told the St Helens Star: “We just wanted to bring something different to Duke Street – we are aiming for over-25s. It’s a tapas place serving food from all cultures, as well as Spain.” Brunos Rodizio is based in Rigby Street.
Northampton brewer opens taproom: A family-run brewery from Northampton has launched a craft beer taproom in the town centre, opposite the Guildhall. Tom Maule, of the Maule Brewing Co, and England Diep, of Sazerac, have partnered to open Maule Collective. Diep told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo: “The launch went great, a big turn out, all 20 taps of craft beer and ale were on show. Our beers – Maule Brewing Co – were popular, alongside some guest beers. With our core ‘Collective’ concept, we have plenty of food pop-ups and music collaborations in the pipeline.” The beers are made with natural ingredients in their own self-built brewhouse, which took 12 months to build, and the ales are all vegan-friendly.”