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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 19th Mar 2014 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

KFC UK now one of Yum!’s biggest exporters of talent: KFC UK, which is planning 40 openings this year and has recorded seven consecutive years of like-for-like sales growth, is now one of parent company Yum! Brands' largest exporters of talent within the bigger business. KFC UK’s human resources director, James Watts, told HR Magazine: “We have a leadership position in the Yum world on people. We are one of the business’s biggest exporters of talent.” KFC’s UK head office in Woking, Surrey has 180 staff , and 21 have been "exported" into leadership roles around Yum! in the past two years. Watts said: “We have a relentless drive for talent, so we’re always hiring, even if we don’t have vacancies. We’re always looking for the next generation of really talented people, and if we see someone we love, we’ll find somewhere for them. We develop people so fast and are always moving them around, so something will come up. We never pass up great people. Our goal is to have 50% of our management positions with someone ready to step into them tomorrow. When you have that goal to maintain, you’re always hiring and developing talent.” The company, which employs 24,000 people, 65% of whom are under 25, is also partnering with the think tank The Work Foundation to produce two "youth insight" reports a year. The first was published in October and included the thoughts of more than 2,000 young people. “That age group was far more optimistic than we expected,” Watts said. “They felt they would be able to find a job they wanted over time, which is good to see. But it did call out some real areas for improvement – in particular the bumpy ride from education to employment. Careers advice at schools around what’s required for the world of work is pretty poor.”

Industry News:

Eastbourne licensees stage beer duty protest with duty-free beer day: Licensees in Eastbourne’s South Street have joined together to protest against beer duty by offering customers pints of real ale at the duty free price for a day. Beer duty has risen by a massive 42% in four years, so the landlords – Shoes Simes of The Eagle and Dew Drop Inn, Jack Visick of Maxims, Rachel Ainsley of The Dolphin and Toby Allchorn of Bibendum – hope the duty free prices will make that clear to the customers. Rachel Ainsley said: “We are calling for the government to freeze beer duty in the upcoming budget, it is essential for the future of our industry.” MP Stephen Lloyd added: “I have urged the Chancellor and Chief Secretary to the Treasury to listen to the calls from our pub trade to freeze beer duty this year. It would be a huge lift to an important industry, bring a smile to many peoples faces and help grow numbers employed in the industry.”

Luke Johnson – the best thing about being self-employed is there’s no need to arse-kiss: Sector investor Luke Johnson has argued that the best thing about being self-employed is not having to engage in office politics. In his Financial Times column he wrote: “Possibly the best thing about working for oneself is that you don’t have to do any arse-kissing. Now obviously that is not entirely true, because there are always some people to whom you have to grovel – bankers, investors, regulators, even customers. But, generally speaking, the self-employed are required to tolerate and dispense considerably less insincere bullsh*t than is the norm within big organisations. This must be a good thing. Being phoney for a living is corrosive and I’m sure it is bad for one’s health – and takes up lots of time that could be used productively. Unfortunately, it is a prima facie requirement for ambitious executives who want to climb the greasy pole to any prominent boardroom. Hence, if you are not prepared to sign up to this type of lifestyle – fawning to those in power, immersed in office politics, pretending to like colleagues whom you hate – then I suggest you plan your corporate exit, or dump your ambitions.”

Starbucks app allows digital tipping from today: Starbucks customers who use the Starbucks for iPhone app in the United States, Canada and the UK. can use it to leave a tip as of today. Digital tipping has been one of the most frequent suggestions from consumers on the Starbucks idea site, Cliff Burrows, group president of Starbucks US, said: "As more and more customers are using their phones to pay, they have asked for a convenient and meaningful way" to tip baristas. More than 11% of the weekly transactions in Starbucks stores are via mobile devices, said Adam Brotman, the company's chief digital officer. Nearly ten million Starbucks customers currently use the Starbucks mobile app. Later this year, Starbucks will update its Starbucks for Android app, including the addition of a digital tipping feature, Brotman said.

Sainsbury’s to increase fresh food offer: The supermarket chain J Sainsbury is to increase the amount of fresh food it offers. The company said: “Growth in our convenience business remains strong at over 15%, and for the first time, during the quarter we saw one million transactions in a day. As well as opening around two new stores per week, we are part-way through a programme to refit produce equipment in existing stores, responding to customer demand for more fresh food.”
York looks set to extend cumulative impact zone: Councillors have overwhelmingly backed police calls to stop new pubs and off-licences opening in central York. They were told the ban is needed to prevent antisocial behaviour and crime growing in an area covering Back Swinegate, Fossgate, Goodramgate and Parliament Street. The gambling, licensing and regulatory committee also heard police warnings that without the ban, more supermarket branches with off-licences could open in York. Inspector Mark Henderson told them: “I can tell you now, every major supermarket is on the watch constantly for premises closing in York city centre to turn into off-licences”. He also said some drinkers were taking strong alcohol into bars unbeknown to landlords and getting drunk on it. The ban, formed by extending the cumulative impact zone (CIZ) covering Micklegate, Davygate and Coney Street, now looks set to become reality when it goes before the full council.

Two Oxfordshire restaurants face £60,000 fines over illegal workers: Two restaurants in Oxfordshire face potential fines of up to £60,000 for employing illegal workers, after raids by immigration enforcement officers. Home Office officials visited Chef Imperial in High Street, Woodstock, and Mazza Cafe and Restaurant in Cowley Road, Oxford. At Chef Imperial, officers arrested three people: a Chinese man, 32, and a Malaysian man, 39, who had both entered the country illegally, and a 35-year-old Brazilian woman who had overstayed her visa. A 44-year-old Chinese woman, who had also entered the country illegally, was working but was not arrested. At Mazza, officers arrested two Pakistani men. One, aged 29, was working in breach of his visa conditions while the other, aged 37, had overstayed his visa.

McDonald’s franchisee to pay $500,000 to under-paid workers: New York state has reached a settlement with the owner of seven McDonald's franchises that will give nearly $500,000 to workers who claimed they were given short pay, according to the state attorney general, Eric Schneiderman. The attorney general's labour bureau found that cashiers regularly performed off-the-clock work before and after their shifts at the Manhattan restaurants owned by Richard Cisneros. Workers were not given an allowance for the time and costs associated with cleaning uniforms they had to wear, nor did they receive an extra hour of minimum-wage pay after shifts in which they worked 10 consecutive hours, all requirements of New York law. The settlement money will go to more than 1,600 current and former McDonald's employees.

Company News:

Smokehouse concept Red’s True Barbecue to add third site: The smokehouse concept Red’s True Barbecue is to open its second site in Leeds and third overall, creating 30 new jobs. The company is also looking to add another “big site” later this year. Red's third site is on Otley Road in the north Leeds suburb of Headingley. The 1,300 sq ft outlet, with room for 50 covers and the potential for additional outdoor seating, is taking over the premises formerly occupied by Macy’s Grill. It will open in July this year, after a £375,000 refit. The Headingley announcement comes just four weeks after the launch of Red's flagship 185-cover site in Manchester. The 107-cover Leeds city centre restaurant, which launched in September 2012, serves 17,000 customers a month, selling more than 16 tonnes of meat. Scott Munro, co-founder of Red’s, said: “We invested heavily in Manchester to move the brand experience up a level, so we’re delighted that the same verve and appetite for authentic, great-tasting barbecue exists over the other side of the Pennines. Our weekly combined trading is 40% above target, so we’re all stoked about the thought of Headingley coming online in a few months and bolstering this further.”

Mark Lilley – Abokado growth driven by market polarisation: Mark Lilley, founder of the London-based healthy eating chain Abokado, has told the Propel Multi Club Conference that his company’s growth is being driven by a polarisation in the market. Abokado, which added eight sites last year and plans ten openings this, has seen like-for-like sales growth of 17% and 19% in the past two financial years. The company is benefiting from greater awareness of health issues among the minority of consumers, which has created a high growth sector while an obesity crisis looms for many UK consumers caused by inactivity and an excess of the wrong sort of food – 64% of UK adults are now classified as overweight or obese. Abokado, which has a £10m turnover from 20 sites, is focused on fresh and healthy food served fast with menu items good value, accessible and providing a diverse range. Around 80% of turnover comes from the two-hour lunch period.

Andrew Page nets £3.7m in Restaurant Group share sale: The Restaurant Group’s chief executive, Andrew Page, has netted £3.7m after selling 327,000 shares at 698p each, having exercised 268,000 conditional options and 83,800 matching options under the company's long-term incentive plan. Hayley Page, a person connected to the chief executive, sold 200,000 shares at 698p each, also on Monday. Finance director Stephen Critoph exercised 86,500 conditional options and 41,000 matching options, then sold 115,000 shares, also at 698p.
Design agency’s own bar restaurant is beating budget by 20%: The London design agency Mystery, which developed the branding for Giraffe, Za Za Bazaar, which takes £10m a year at its first site in Bristol, and Smithfield, has reported that its own bar concept, Dub Jam, a “beach shack” themed bar that features a rum bar and Jamaica-inspired menu, which launched in Covent Garden, London earlier this year, is beating budget by 20%. Part of this is down to the music.  Mystery's founder, Dan Einzig, told The Telegraph: “I love dub and reggae music. So much of Trojan Records’ catalogue is only heard by niche music collectors. I wanted to bring back those forgotten records, and create a dining concept and bar that re-created the spirit of the Caribbean.” Einzig raised £150,000 to start his venture, and partnered with the founders of Adventure Bar to launch the first Dub Jam outlet. He said: “This place is actually Adventure Bar’s old cloakroom. I’ve licensed the space from the bar. It’s an incredibly cost-effective way to start a restaurant.”
Isle of Scilly freehold on the market for £1.75m: An Isle of Scilly freehold hotel has come on the market through the estate agency Christie & Co for £1.75m. The 33-bedroom Tregarthen’s overlooks the waters of St Mary’s Harbour. It was established in 1848 by Captain Frank Tregarthen, who first ran the steam packet Little Western, delivering mail, provisions and visitors between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.
Hospice opposes Greene King’s Farmhouse Inn new-build on the Wirral: A Greene King plan to develop a new-build Farmhouse in the Wirral, Merseyside, is being opposed by the trust of the local St John’s Hospice. The company has submitted an application to build a new Farmhouse Inn on the site of nearby car showroom in Bebington. But the trust board of Wirral Hospice St John’s says the venue would be less than 50 metres away from patients on wards  and would lead to an increase noise and disturbance for terminally ill patients. A Greene King spokesman said: “We have submitted a planning application to build a new Farmhouse Inn in Clatterbridge, which would bring approximately 70 full and part time jobs to the local area. Our Farmhouse Inns have earned a reputation for having warm and welcoming environments, and serving much-loved carveries, cask ales and homemade cakes. We are proud to be responsible retailers and are happy to discuss any concerns about this proposal.”

Corney & Barrow evolves Old Broad Street site with new offer: Corney & Barrow has re-opened its Old Broad Street site with an evolved design and offer. The kitchen has been opened up and a new food and drinks menu introduced, featuring an extended cocktail list and a greater selection of wines by the bar's  sister company, Corney & Barrow Wine Merchants. By day, the menu will follow an informal dining format and offer options including starters, salads, sandwiches, mains and sides. Customers can expect dishes such as Scottish pan-fried black pudding and sunny-side-up quails egg, roasted sea bass fillet and poppy seed fried squid and rare English 7oz flat iron steak. The night-time offer includes smaller tapas-style dishes, sliders and sharing platters. Ed Gardner, managing director at Corney & Barrow Bars, said: “We are committed to significant, on-going investment in our estate in order to maintain and build on our premium positioning in the City market. The major refurbishment of Old Broad Street, alongside recent smaller refurbishments at Canary Wharf and Paternoster Square, are just the first phase in a series of planned projects across the business. Old Broad Street is part of the evolution of the all day/night concept, so will be open from 7.30am-11pm. We are delighted that early feedback from our customers on Old Broad Street’s innovative, quirky and fresh new look has been particularly positive.”

Peel Hunt’s Nick Batram issues Spirit ‘buy' note: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Nick Batram has issued a buy note on Spirit shares with a price target of 95p after yesterday’s trading update. He said: “This was a positive update from Spirit, with like-for-like sales accelerating across all areas. While softer comparatives helped during the last eight weeks, the performance is still impressive. With the refinancing addressing one of the key issues (ie the financing of growth) and momentum building, we continue see further upside in the shares. Our forecasts are towards the top end of consensus, but we are comfortable with this, given the momentum in the business. The refinancing has addressed one of the key issues surrounding growth and, as the economic recovery broadens out, Spirit should be a beneficiary. On this basis we continue to see attractive upside in the stock."
Whitbread chairman set to chair Bank of England: Anthony Habgood, the chairman of Whitbread, has become the new chairman of the Bank of England. He replaces David Lees, chairman of the institution since 2009. Habgood once sat on the board for NatWest, prior to the Royal Bank of Scotland's takeover of the bank in 2000.

Costa Coffee franchisee trials new public park location: The Costa Coffee franchisee Coffee Snobs, which has 12 Costa sites, is to trial a Costa Coffee site in a public park in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. The company has completed a £200,000 deal to take over the lease on the Cafe in the Park, which has occupied a shelter-style building since it was built by Wycombe District Council in 2008. Owner Paul Messenger said: "We’ve never taken on anywhere like this before, it’s a bit different. We love being in Marlow, we have lots of regular, loyal customers. We have already been well accepted into the Marlow community and we hope this will also be well received. We are investing in the property and providing better facilities for the people that use it and we believe it will be worthwhile for the users of Higginson Park.”

Domino’s lodges complaint against Chicago Town advert: Domino’s has complained to the advertising watchdog about a TV campaign from rival Chicago Town boasting it has the better-tasting pizza. The takeaway pizza brand has filed a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority about the TV advert, which launched earlier this month. The Chicago Town Takeaway spot runs the bold “Voted No 1 versus Domino’s” strapline, claiming it ran blind taste tests that proved its credentials against the high street pizza delivery chain. The independent survey was of 170 consumers, Chicago Town says, but Domino’s is challenging whether the methodology used was fair. Chicago Town says it is answering the additional questions raised by Domino’s. A spokeswoman for the company said: “Our Chicago Town Takeaway pizzas were compared in an independent blind taste test against the market leaders in high street takeaway and delivery pizza. We are proud of and are presenting the findings of this independent research, helping consumers to understand there is real quality alternatives available from the supermarket, that can save families money too.”

Stonegate to convert second former Bramwell pub to Slug & Lettuce brand: Stonegate Pub Company is to convert a second site from the former Bramwell Pub Company venues it bought last year. It is thought the Bramwell estate will provide a many as six Slug & Lettuce conversions eventually. The former Cape site on Victoria Square in Stockton Heath will close from Sunday 23 March and reopen on Friday 4 April after a £100,000 investment that will create 15 new jobs. The Slug and Lettuce will open every day offering breakfasts together with a range of lunch and dinner options which now include an "under 500 calorie" menu, with items such as a chicken and pepper skewer (416 calories) and an aubergine an tomato bake (430 calories). These sit alongside the platter range and steak, fish, vegetarian and seasonal options.
Pret A Manger takes Dunkin Donuts location for fourth Boston site: The expansion of Pret A Manger in Boston, Massachusetts is set to continue after the UK sandwich chain secured a 2,000 sq ft site formerly occupied by Dunkin Donuts for 20 years in the city’s financial district. Pret has two shops in Boston’s Back Bay and one in the financial district and is now adding a fourth at 176 Federal Street. The shop could open as early as late spring or early summer, pending permitting and a renovation. One retail commercial property broker said Dunkin’ signed a lease for $40 per square foot 20 years ago for the space and the landlord was probably seeking to double that amount.
Frankie & Benny’s to create 40 jobs in Trowbridge: The Restaurant Group’s Frankie & Benny’s brand will create 40 jobs when it opens at St Stephens Place Leisure Park, Trowbridge, on 26 April. The brand will be the third restaurant at the £17m complex, which is also home to an Odeon cinema, Nando's, Prezzo and Premier Inn. It opened in October last year. Another new restaurant coming to St Stephens Place is Richoux Group’s Dean’s Diner, which has applied to Wiltshire Council for licensing permission, with a decision expected next month.

Michelin-starred Northcote launches cookery school: The Lancashire country-house hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant Northcote is launching the Northcote Cookery School this April. Northcote Cookery School will offer a bookable schedule of half and full-day courses with prices ranging from £185 to £250, together with a special rate of £150 for an overnight stay. Courses will be available for all skillsets, whether foundation, intermediate or advanced , and students can choose from several culinary categories, including honing knife skills and baking bread to foraging for ingredients in the Northcote garden and cooking five-course meals. Courses, led by newly-appointed head tutor Michael Vanheste, formerly of Bettys Cookery School, will take place at the Chef’s Table, where four stations accommodate groups of eight and enable students to observe all the theatre of the working kitchen through a glass partition.
Hundreds queue as Stable thanks customers in Bath with free pizza: Pizza and cider concept The Stable thanked customers at its Bath site, opened last October, by hosting a free pizza night. Hundreds of pizza fans queued for more than two hours outside the George Street restaurant. The Stable specialises in West Country-inspired pizzas, artisan pies and a variety of over 80 different craft ciders. The Stable, which began life in 2009 in a converted 16th century stable in Dorset now has five restaurants in Bridport, Weymouth, Bristol, Bath and Poole with a sixth shortly opening on Fistral beach in Newquay on 4 April.

Valentina adds sixth site: The Valentina family of deli-restaurants now has a sixth site after a deal negotiated by the licensed leisure specialist AG&G. The new branch is in Reigate and comes with a heated garden filled with olive trees. Valentina's delicatessen/Italian restaurant concept was created by the Zoccola and Arcari families in 1991 and the company is still family-run by the third generation of Fabio, Antonio, Marco and Carmine. The family plan to open the Reigate branch “with a bang” in the spring. “The latest Valentina is moving into an attractive property which will complement the restaurateur’s style of operation,” said AG&G’s Richard Negus. “It fits perfectly into Reigate’s Church Street Conservation Area, which is the town’s most affluent shopping area. Like many restaurants, it used to be a pub but it has been sympathetically altered to become an upmarket eating house. Valentina’s is a perfect fit for the town.”

Cabana to open sixth site at 02 Arena: The Brazilian barbecue brand Cabana is to open its sixth site this summer, in the O2 Arena in South East London. The launch will coincide with the start of the football World Cup, which is being held in Brazil this year. Co-founder David Ponte said: “At such an exciting time for Cabana and Brazil, we are extremely pleased to be opening at the O2, the world’s busiest music venue, and look forward to expanding further.” The latest site extends to 5,000 sq ft, including outdoor seating, as part of the 220 covers that are spread over the two-floor site.

Buffet restaurant serving 1,000 customers a day gets zero hygiene rating: A buffet restaurant in Hull that opened two months ago and is serving 1,000 customers day has been given the lowest food hygiene rating by environmental health officers. Wing's International Cuisine in Ferensway, city centre, has been given a zero out of five rating by Hull Council, meaning urgent improvements are required. Owner James Wing said: "We only opened in January and the restaurant has been more popular than we ever imagined. There are always going to be a few problems when opening a restaurant but these are now being sorted." He has hired a health and safety officer to give training in Chinese and English to staff at the restaurant. Wing also revealed he intends to spend £150,000 on a new kitchen to deal with customer demand. He said: "We are catering for more than 1,000 people a day. This is more than we ever imagined. Health and safety is very important to us. Our cooked and raw meat is prepared in separate rooms and we are working closely with Environmental Health to make improvements."

BrewDog co-founders to appear in season two of craft beer show: BrewDog co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie have revealed that they will star in a second season of a television show airing in the United States. The pair had starred in "Brew Dogs" over the past year which had proven successful enough for them to sign up for a second. The show, airing on the Esquire network in the US, currently holds a 7.8 rating, out of 10, on the Internet Movie Database. The first season saw the BrewDog founders travel the States for "craft beer enlightenment". Season two of the show will see the two continue to travel across America with their passion of craft beers and will air later in the year over ten episodes.

Brakspear hires first apprentice: The Henley pub operator and brewer Brakspear has appointed its first ever apprentice, Henry Engbers, who joins as trainee chef in the Bull on Bell Street, the company’s managed pub in Henley-on-Thames. Engbers, 19, worked as a trainee chef at River Cottage, as well as kitchen and waiting placements with Henley Regatta and the Best Parties Ever group in Reading. Engbers is enrolled on a 12-month Apprenticeship in Hospitality & Catering at Henley College, where he will spend one day each month studying. His training at the Bull will be overseen by head chef Rob Chateauneuf.

Residents dispute viability of former Greene King pub near Henley: Residents are disputing the viability of a village pub near Henley, Oxfordshire, the White Lion in Crays Pond, acquired from Greene King by businessman Satwinder Sandhu who wants to turn it into a family home. Sandhu’s agent reported in December that the pub was in poor condition and would cost at least £125,000 to refurbish. In its last full year of trading, income was £137,500 but total losses before tax and rent were almost £36,000. Residents say the business turned over at least £728,000 a year between 2000 and 2008, when it was managed by Stuart and Caroline Pierrepont, who now run their own restaurant in Goring. Goring Heath resident Richard Hazell, who bought the Sun Inn in Whitchurch Hill from Brakspear last year, said he would have been “very interested” in buying the White Lion had he known it was for sale but it was not marketed locally.
Bristol Pryzm welcomes 100,000 customers in six months: Luminar’s Pryzm nightclub in Bristol has welcomed its 100,000 customer since opening its doors six months ago. The club on Canons Road had a £1m investment by Luminar and was the first Pryzm in the UK, with the third about to launch in Leeds later this month. Pryzm Bristol’s general manager, Ken Getgood, said: “Any prosperous city has a thriving late night economy, creating both wealth and jobs and we are delighted to be part of Bristol’s success, which has a fantastic night life. We always knew Pryzm would be a hit but with 17,000 people passing through our doors every month, it’s surpassed our expectations.”
Punch Taverns report 96% backing for Whisky Club: A total of 96% of licensees participating in the Punch Taverns’ Whisky Club have told the company that they believe the scheme is worthwhile. The Whisky Club, where 154 Punch Partners registered to receive two malt whiskies every three weeks from October to January, saw a 40% increase in partners signing up compared to the previous year. Registered partners received a point of sale kit to help promote their "Malts of the Month", including a back bar display and whisky menu. In addition, they also received extra branded point of sale for specific brands. A survey conducted by the pub company found a growing market for whisky and feedback suggested that the customers looked forward to trying the next new whisky, with Yamazki being noted as the most popular whisky brand among customers. Punch Taverns’ marketing manager, Robin Chapman, said: “We introduced the Whisky Club last year and received really positive feedback from partners who found that it helped them sell more malt whiskies and give their pub a more ‘prestige’ image, whilst enabling staff to sell a range of whisky with good knowledge."
Philip Kolvin steps down as chairman of Best Bar None: Robert Humphreys, the vice-chairman of Best Bar None, has been appointed interim chairman following the announcement that current chairman Philip Kolvin is to step down. Tim Hulme, the chief executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping and a director of Best Bar None, said: “Philip leaves Best Bar None in an extremely strong position, with the highest profile it has ever had within government and beyond, and we thank him for his invaluable input and guidance. It has been a privilege working alongside him, and he leaves with our thanks and best wishes for the future.” The search has begun for a permanent replacement for Kolvin.
Bar group boss helps bring brewery success: Kane Yeardley, founder of the six-strong South Yorkshire-based Forum Café Bar group, has won success in bringing the brewery that makes Barnsley Bitter from Barnsley to Sheffield. Yeardley is a partner and investor in the Stancill Brewery, named for head brewer Johnny Stancill, which uses the equipment from the former Oakwell Brewery in Barnsley. With Yeardley's help, the brewery equipment was shifted to an industrial estate in Neepsend in Sheffield, an area known for its high-quality water, close to the former Stones Cannon Brewery, and home to four other current Sheffield microbreweries. Stancill brewery's reproduction of Oakwell's Barnsley Bitter has now won the Champion Bitter of Yorkshire award at the Rotherham Camra Magna Real Ale Festival last week against competition from 250 beers from around the UK. Yeardley said of the brewery's new home, which was found through Knight Frank: "The unit was exactly the right size and height to house the brewing equipment. Most importantly, the water is of very good quality. It’s why many other distinguished breweries are located in the area."

Wetherspoon wins consent for roof terrace in Aberdeen: JD Wetherspoon has solved the problem of being land-locked at its Justice Mill bar, in Union Street, Aberdeen by winning approval for a roof terrace. The terrace will overlook Justice Mill Lane. The plan was welcomed by ward councillor Alan Donnelly, who said it would help to inject some “European flavour” into the Granite City. “In the summer months, it will be lovely to sit outside there and have some drinks,” Donnelly added.  Wetherspoon’s scheme for the Justice Mill bar in Aberdeen was approved by council planning officials, using delegated powers.

Major fire at Prezzo restaurant in Harrogate: A major fire at the Prezzo restaurant in central Harrogate, Yorkshire required firefighters from two forces to deal with it yesterday. The fire broke out in the kitchens of the Albert Street restaurant, a spokesman for the fire service said. A total of 18 appliances and 90 firefighters attended the scene. The fire quickly spread to adjoining buildings and motorists were asked to avoid central Harrogate.

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