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Wed 17th Dec 2014 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Tom Sellers tops OpenTable's Top 100 Best Restaurants list: The chef Tom Sellers, whose Restaurant Story in Southwark, South London won its first Michelin star just five months after it opened, has been named the best restaurant in Britain in a list compiled from reviews by 340,000 OpenTable diners from across the UK in the past 12 months. Sellers' menu is inspired by the history of British food and featuring exclusively British produce paired with fine wines and British craft ales. Number two on the list was the more traditionally French offering of restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, while at number three, and the highest-rated venue outside London, was the Chef's Table in Chester, opened just ten months ago by chef Liam McKay, who had spent 18 years working in some of the top restaurants in the north west of England. Number four was the Five Fields in Chelsea, run by chef-proprietor Taylor Bonnyman with a menu that includes vegetables grown in the restaurant’s own gardens in East Sussex. Heston Blumenthal grabs two spots, at five and six, but his Fat Duck is the only other restaurant in the Top Ten outside London. In all, London had 63 restaurants in the Top 100, with nowhere else getting more than two. Hawksmoor had four entries in the Top 100, for its restaurants in Air Street, Knightsbridge, Seven Dials and Spitalfields. Gordon Ramsay saw one venue, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, in the Top Ten and two more, Maze Gordon Ramsay and Petrus, in the Top 100, Nathan Outlaw had two entries, for his restaurant at Rock in Cornwall and his nearby Fish Kitchen at Port Isaac, both the Roux at Parliament Square and Roux at The Landau outlets were listed, as were two of the small Ambrette chain of Indian restaurants in Kent, run by Dev Biswal, in Margate and Rye. Of the cuisines in the list, exactly a quarter were "British", 18 were "French" or "Contemporary French", 20 were "modern European" or "contemporary European", six were "seafood", five were "steak", four were "English", three were "gastropub" and one each were Indian, Italian, Scottish, Hawaiian, Scandinavian and "international". Qualifying restaurants were sorted according to a score calculated from each restaurant's average rating in the "overall" category.
 

Industry News:

Progress on personal licence renewal arrangements: The regulations for the interim personal licences renewal arrangements were laid in Parliament on Monday. Subject to their being approved by Parliament, they will come into force on 5 January 2015, which means that the new application form for renewal (which appears as a schedule to the regulations) can be used from 5 January. A spokesman for solicitor John Gaunt said: “These regulations are required because the required legislation to remove the requirement to renew personal licences at the end of the ten-year period is currently ‘stalled’ in Parliament." Many licences are due for renewal in 2015.
 
Crowdcube aims to double number of businesses funded in 2015: Crowdcube co-founder Luke Lang has told Insider Media the platform is aiming to fund more than 200 businesses in 2015 after reporting that 100 companies are set to raise capital before the year is out. Crowdcube trebled its workforce this year from 15 to 45 staff. "The sheer volume of businesses that we're funding is phenomenal. We're on course to fund 100 companies this year," Lang told Insider. "From a standing start in 2011 to funding 100 businesses three years later is great. Those businesses have collectively raised between £35m and £40m and created thousands of new jobs. It's really been quite a journey. Expansion in the UK is going very well. We dominate the market in the UK."
 

Company News:

Wetherspoon kick-starts Northern Ireland expansion with two new sites: JD Wetherspoon is to kick-start renewed expansion in Northern Ireland with two new sites planned for Belfast in a £4m investment, the first new openings in about a decade. The sites are a former JJB Sports store on Royal Avenue, and a former Methodist church close to Queen's University. Founder and chairman Tim Martin said the success of the new pubs could lead to further expansion of its business throughout Northern Ireland. Wetherspoon currently operates nine bars across Northern Ireland, with just one, the Bridge House, in Belfast city centre. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Martin, who grew up in Northern Ireland, said plans were now progressing well. "It's early days for the new pubs and we have to go through the planning and application process. It's been very successful so far, and I'm hoping for between £3m to £4m being invested between the two outlets, creating 100 jobs. I believe people will think it'll help improve the scene in the city." He said the new bars could be open for business within six months to a year.

Spirit Pub Company completes its 20th conversion of the pubs it acquired from Orchid earlier this year: The Fox and Pheasant in Stoke Poges opens today (Wednesday) as a Golden Oak Inn – the 20th conversion of the 22 Orchid sites it acquired earlier this year. Chief executive Mike Tye said: “The team has worked extremely hard and efficiently to ensure smooth and swift transitions for all of our new sites. Our latest investment has undergone a huge transformation. The Fox and Pheasant is a lynchpin of the Stoke Poges community, so we’re pleased to be able to offer even better surroundings and a great new menu to existing loyal guests and new guests alike.” The first Orchid conversion was The Little Mester in Sheffield, which opened in October. Since then the investment programme has seen 20 pubs incorporated into the Spirit brand portfolio including Golden Oak Inns, Flaming Grill, Taylor Walker, Fayre & Square and Wacky Warehouse. January will see the final two sites acquired from Orchid converted into Flaming Grills.

Pubs and restaurants feature in Allsop auction: An Allsop commercial auction raised in excess of £77m last week with a success rate of 80%. A total of 114 lots sold including 20 lots for more than £1m, of which five were more than £2m. A McDonald’s in Dover sold for £1.4m, producing a yield of 7.16%, The Lamb in Edmonton Green in London, let to Stonegate Pub Company, sold for £625,000, producing a yield of 4.8%, the Cask and Glass in Palace Street, Westminster, London, let to Shepherd Neame, sold for £1.65m, producing a yield of 4.74%, a property let to PizzaExpress on the High Street in Epping Essex sold for £1.7m, producing a yield of 6.35% and the Shakepeare’s Head pub in Brighton, let to Laine Pub Company, sold for £775,000, producing a yield of 9.57%. The current total raised for the year is £520m with a success rate of 85%. A total of 839 lots have been sold of which 134 were more than £1m. Duncan Moir, an Allsop partner and auctioneer, said: "It was a very satisfactory end to the year, particularly breaking through the £500m mark. Buyers appear to have broader appetite for the management intensive lots, particularly where there is development potential."
 
Gloucester Brewery reveals bar-and-charcuterie plans: Gloucester Brewery has revealed its plans for its current home at Gloucester Docks when it moves to new premises at Fox’s Malthouse, a disused dockside building nearby. A bar and charcuterie will take the place of the current brewery, with a nanobrewing operation left behind as well. Jared Brown, a joint director of Gloucester Brewery, told the Gloucester Citizen: "The main production side of the brewery will be moving over to Fox’s Malthouse, but we will be retaining the current site as a bar and a nano-brewery. There is a big demand now for artisan beers and we will be continuing to brew at the current site once a week. There will be a craft beer bar with a charcuterie specialising in cheeses that complement our products. People will be able to arrive and see the brewing taking place so it will be interactive. We will need a full team to run the new bar,” he said. “That will mean at least three full-time and around five or six part-timers to work there."
 
Costa agreed terms on 25th drive-through: Costa Coffee, represented by the property agent Savills, has agreed terms for its 25th new drive-through store at Marsh Mills Retail Park in Plymouth, Devon with Universities Superannuation Scheme. The coffee retailer has agreed a new 15-year lease on the 1,775 sq ft (165 sq m) store, which opened in early December. Other occupiers on the park include DFS, PC World, Homebase and Halfords. Costa has opened eight new drive-through locations across the UK this year, which include Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Sheffield and North Lincolnshire Shopping Park, Scunthorpe. There are a further four stores to be opened soon in Birmingham, Swansea, Norwich and Didcot. Clive Power, a director in Savills retail team, said: “This is a fantastic milestone for Costa’s drive-through concept and its popularity with the customer has cemented its appeal with landlords and developers by proving its ability to enhance a scheme. We look forward to continuing our work with Costa to find the best locations across the UK.” Savills has worked with Costa to acquire a number of stores out-of-town and in-town as the retailer looks to expand its portfolio in key locations.
 
Crosstown Doughnuts opens first bricks-and-mortar outlet: Crosstown Doughnuts, the artisan doughnut concept backed by Adam Wills, co-founder of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, has opened its first bricks-and-mortar outlet, a pop-up shop at Piccadilly Circus Tube Station in Central London. The new venue, open seven days a week from 7am to 7pm, joins four London market venues, at Leather Lane on weekdays, Bishopsgate Market on Fridays, Broadway Market on Saturdays and Wapping Market on Sundays. Crosstown, which has a bakery in Vauxhall, South West London where it makes doughnuts including quince and cranberry, sea salt caramel and banana, and peanut butter and berry, was founded in May this year. Directors and shareholders include Marcus Miller, founder of Miller’s Bespoke Bakery of Wimbledon, entrepreneur Jian-Peng Then and Peter Gordon, executive chef and co-owner of Kopapa and The Providores & Tapas Room in London.
 
Drake & Morgan backs Mencap:
Customers enjoying a meal in one of Drake & Morgan’s seven bars and restaurants can donate their spare "electronic change" to help the UK’s leading learning disability charity, Mencap. The London-based group has partnered with Mencap to allow customers paying by card to donate 50p via Pennies, the electronic charity box. The move is part of Drake & Morgan’s continued support of several charities, with proceeds from Pennies split between both Kids Company and Mencap. Drake & Morgan raised £35,000 between January and November 2014 for vulnerable inner-city children at Kids Company. Gabi Clipp, head of people at Drake & Morgan, said: “We’re proud and delighted to be given the opportunity to support such a fantastic charity. We’re looking forward to raising money to help those with a learning disability as well as their families and carers so they can lead better lives.”
 
Nando’s confirmed for Corby scheme: Nando’s has been named as the first of three restaurant brands to arrive alongside the new Savoy multiplex cinema due to open in Corby next year. Nando’s and another, as yet, unnamed restaurant will be located adjacent to the six-screen multiplex which is being built near the former Tresham College site. Savoy Cinemas’ managing director, James Collington, said: “We are thrilled to have a premier eatery such as Nando’s next to our latest multiplex in Corby, as it will be great asset to the leisure complex and a real family favourite. There is 9,000 sq ft of restaurant space adjacent to the new cinema, for which we will be announcing two further restaurants over the coming weeks.” Mulberry Property Developments, the firm building the £6m cinema, said the scheme was now taking shape in time for an opening next spring. Once completed, the cinema will be the fourth opened by Savoy, an independent Nottingham-based cinema group.

McDonald’s opens applications for young farmer programme: McDonald’s is seeking new farmers to take part in its training scheme, which encourages young people to consider a career in agriculture. The company said the programme was timely after research that revealed there was a critical skills gap in the UK farming sector. Statistics released by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills earlier this year found skills deficiencies impacted recruitment for 28% of farming roles, a more persistent and concentrated shortage than in almost any other sector. Connor McVeigh, director of supply chain for McDonald’s UK, said: “As one of the biggest customers of British and Irish farming, we care about the future success of the industry. We want to play our part by helping to cultivate the best of British farming talent. To us, this means creating opportunities for new talent to have access to the most progressive farmers and latest technology, which includes young people with and without farming backgrounds to consider a career in agriculture.”

Rebranded Cardiff barbecue bar and grill closes after just four months: A tapas restaurant in Cardiff that rebranded itself as a barbecue bar and grill, with the menu containing US classics such as buttermilk fried chicken, the Double Everything burger, buffalo wings and creamed corn, has closed after just four months. In August, the Westgate Street venue's owner and chef, Dave Griffiths, said: “We had a great run with Pica Pica and it had become a well-respected name on the Cardiff food scene but a change is as good as a rest and with the rise in popularity of barbecue-style cooking as a dining out option, we thought we’d go for it and try something new.” However, according to the Wales Online website, a sign has appeared in the restaurant's window stating that "the lease is forfeited and the premises have been secured" by the landlord. The venue was competing against three other barbecue outlets in Cardiff, Smoke House in Pontcanna Street, Smoke Haus, a Swansea-based operation that opened a Cardiff branch in the former Hooters restaurant site in Mary Ann Street in August, and the pop-up Hangfire Smokehouse. Food blogger Jonathan Swain who writes as The Plate Licked Clean, told the Wales Online website: “I’m not surprised Feather & Bone closed. I have visited it and tried the menu. There were parts of it that were very good, but it seemed a bit like bandwagon jumping. It’s very easy for someone looking round to realise the hot ticket is BBQ food, but Hangfire Smokehouse do that better than most."

Enterprise launches new website to drive recruitment:
Enterprise Inns has launched its new website, which includes a number of industry-leading features designed to encourage recruitment among potential publicans. The innovations include existing publicans talking about their experience of running a pub with Enterprise as well as staff highlighting the step-by-step recruitment process.  and staff, 360-degree photographic tours of featured pubs and an industry-first facility enabling visitors to compare the amenities of up to four pubs alongside the one they are viewing. Over the past few months the site, enterpriseinns.com, has undergone a complete redesign and build to make it, Enterprise says, far easier for prospective publicans to navigate it. To encourage potential publicans to consider more than one business option, visitors are able to see other available pubs in a given area which have similar attributes and features such as food opportunities.
 
Mumbai Street Food plans pop-ups around Manchester: Mumbai Street Food, the catering supplier whose food is already on the winter menu in 39 out of the 173 JW Lees pubs in the north west of England, is planning pop-ups at Spinningfields, Manchester Piccadilly train station, Manchester Airport and at both Manchester United and Manchester City football grounds. Neil Court-Johnston, who founded Mumbai Street Food with Raj Somaiya, the boss of Britain's leading Indian wedding food supplier, said: "Manchester is ready for us, because of the vibrancy of the street culture and markets around the city now. The Manchester public are not daft. Asian food has been over-hyped for many years and this venture is about authenticity. We are confident of getting in at both Manchester United and Manchester City." Mumbai Street Food, which is on target to make £3m turnover in its first year, employs 25 people in a 5,000 sq ft unit in Wythenshawe, ten of whom are Indian chefs trained in Delhi making dishes such as Mumbai quicks, ready-to-eat snacks, and Kati rolls, as well as Mumbai sides and Mumbai fillers, which will be available at the pop-ups.

Domino’s franchisee gets three sites licensed for alcohol: Industry sources reported that a Domino’s Pizza franchisee has now succeeded in getting three sites licensed for the sale of alcohol. The three sites are: Tawhill Village (licensed from 10am to 3am), West Swindon (10am to 5am), and Stratton (10am to 5am). A site in Swindon high street has a hearing for an alcohol licence scheduled for 6 January 2015. A Domino’s branch in St Helens is charging £2.49 for a bottle of Budweiser, £2.99 for a bottle of Peroni and three Blossom Hill options for £7.99. It is thought that around a dozen sites have been trialing alcohol sales.

Red’s True Barbecue set to open Nottingham site in January: Red’s True Barbecue is to open in Nottingham in January, the first site in the Midlands. In a deal secured by Nottingham property consultancy, FHP, Red’s have signed a lease for premises on Queen Street in the city centre, close to the Market Square in an area where a series of successful new restaurant openings have taken place, with Bill’s, Wildwood, George’s Fish and Chip Kitchen and Barburrito, all secured by FHP. Red’s will carry out a £1.1 million makeover of the premises, creating 160 covers. Scott Munro said: “The gospel of true barbecue continues to convert UK food lovers. In under two years, and with just two restaurants, the Red’s experience has captured the imagination of almost 500,000 believers, introducing them to US-style low-and-slow smokehouse cooking. We are now spreading the word in Nottingham.” Alan Pearson of FHP Property Consultants, said: “We have seen a real revival in the restaurant and leisure scene in Nottingham. Even though retail is changing, people are not deserting cities – if anything the opposite, because they are looking for an all-round visitor experience taking in shopping, eating and entertainment.”
 
Wyn Ellis – boutique hotel segment fastest growing in the sector: Numis Securities' leisure analyst Wyn Ellis has issued a hold note, with a target price of 2600p on InterContinental Hotel Group after its acquisition yesterday of the US boutique hotel and restaurant operator Kimpton. He said: “Kimpton has a strong track record having achieving 4% per annum growth in system size and 7.7% average growth in comparable same store revPAR in the last five years. Kimpton’s ebitda is expected to be approximately $20m for the year ended 31 December 2014, and IHG expects to be able to deliver future growth in Kimpton ebitda to approximately $39 million by 2017. The boutique hotel segment has been the fastest growing in the hospitality industry over the past four years, with demand, supply, and revPAR growth for boutique hotels in the US each significantly outperforming the overall industry. We consider IHG to be a well-managed business with an attractive business model and a sound strategy for growth. Organic growth prospects are promising and the company is particularly well positioned in the United States hotel market, which is at the sweet spot in the cycle (high occupancy, rising demand and limited supply growth are driving strong RevPAR growth). This is a situation that we believe will persist for at least another couple of years.”
 
Omar Allibhoy to open standalone Tapas Revolution restaurant in Shoreditch: The Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy, who currently has two Tapas Revolution outlets, in the Westfield London and Bluewater shopping centres, is to open a standalone Tapas Revolution restaurant in Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, East London in February. The new venue is described as an all-day dining place with a menu divided into meat, fish, vegetables and egg dishes. There will be regional and seasonal sharing specials and once a week on Thursday will be "Paella los Jueves", when the restaurant will serve up paella. Other menu items include tuna carpaccio with almond sauce and citrus vinaigrette; Iberian pork cheeks braised with chestnuts and chocolate; and Torrija, fried brioche bread pudding with burnt custard. There will be a selection of Spanish craft beers and a wine list focusing on small Spanish producers. Allibhoy told the Hot Dinners webside he wanted to "bring an authentic taste of Spain to Shoreditch,” adding that "it’s a great chance to further spread the word about tapas to a new audience."

Property firm buys Wetherspoon plot in Portishead: A property investment firm has bought a plot of land in Somerset for £3.93m where a JD Wetherspoon pub, a Majestic Wine store and a Home Bargains shop are due to be built over the next seven months. Custodian Reit, of Enderby, has acquired 1.48 acres of development land in Portishead. Richard Shepherd-Cross, managing director of Custodian Capital, Custodian's external fund manager, said: "This development will augment our existing holding in Portishead, adding three strong tenants, in modern buildings let on long leases." Custodian Reit was created in March this year after Mattioli Woods floated its property arm on the London Stock Exchange.

Doncaster shopping centre applies to add four new restaurants: The Frenchgate shopping centre, Doncaster has made three significant planning applications to bring a new hotel, gym and multiplex cinema to the 800,000 sq ft shopping destination. If approved, the total area of retail, leisure and food would rise to circa 850,000 sq ft. Frenchgate’s second planning application is to introduce a new eight-screen multiplex cinema with 1,100 seats to the scheme. As part of the cinema application, four new restaurant units are also being proposed, providing units between 3,500 sq ft to 4,300 sq ft. The new cinema’s location would have access directly from the prime retail area in the shopping centre as well as from the multi-storey car park above.
 
Admiral Taverns owner buys Irish property loans: The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has sold a portfolio of Irish property loans to an entity controlled by Admiral Taverns owner Cerberus. At completion, RBS will receive cash consideration of up to £1.1 billion at current exchange rates. Completion is expected in the first quarter of 2015. The sale proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes. The transaction, which represents RWA (total risk-weighted assets) equivalent of circa £1.2bn as at 30 September 2014, is part of the continued reduction of assets in its RBS Capital Resolution division and is in line with the bank's plan to strengthen its capital position and reduce higher risk exposures. The carrying value of the loans is circa £1bn, the gross assets are circa £4.8bn and they generated a loss of £800m, principally impairment provisions, in the year to 31 December 2013.
 
Development Securities plan 17,000 sq ft of new Dublin restaurant space: Development Securities is planning to create 17,000 sq ft of restaurant space in central Dublin after buying Donnybrook House for €9m. The property is a vacant office building in a prominent location in one of the city's central districts. The 1970s office building on a 0.9 acre site has a net internal office area of 43,000 sq ft with a further 10,000 sq ft of basement space and 40 car parking spaces. The building has existing planning permission for a complete refurbishment of the office space and an extension and conversion of the ground floor offices to provide 14,600 sq ft of retail space, 17,600 sq ft of restaurant space and a basement gym. Development Securities anticipates a start on site in the second quarter of next year. with the comprehensive renovation works completing in 2016 at an anticipated capex of around €8m.

Burger King re-opens 89 German restaurants: German Burger King restaurants that were shut down last month in a row between their operator and the US fast food company will re-open this week, Burger King Germany said. Twenty-six of the 89 outlets opened their doors again on Monday and the rest by today, it said in a statement. Burger King had told Yi-Ko Holding, formerly the biggest operator of the restaurants in Germany, to shut down the restaurants immediately last month, saying the franchisee had violated its rules on the treatment of employees. Last week, Yi-Ko filed for insolvency, putting 3,000 jobs at the restaurants at risk. Burger King has now given insolvency administrator Marc Odebrecht a temporary licence to operate the outlets under the company's brand and has provided a loan for the business. There are 688 Burger King restaurants in Germany.

Wetherspoon wins ten trophies in Loo of the Year awards: JD Wetherspoon has won ten major awards at the Loo of the Year Awards 2014. The prizes come on top of 437 of its pubs gaining recognition with individual awards for the quality of their toilets. Wetherspoon won the UK Accessible Toilets Entries Award for England and the UK Accessible Toilet entries trophy. It also triumphed in the Attendant of the Year In House Cleaning Team Award for England and the UK and the UK Attendant of the Year In-House Cleaning Team trophy. Additionally a number of Wetherspoon pubs and hotels won their respective category awards, highlighting their toilets as the best in their country. The Globe Hotel in Kings Lynn was named as having the best hotel toilets in England; Jolly’s Hotel in Broughty Ferry was named as having the best hotel toilets in Scotland and The Crossed Peels in Stirling also triumphed in Scotland, winning the best pub toilets category. The Castle Hotel in Wales was named as having the best hotel toilets in Wales and the Aneurin Bevan in Cardiff won the award for the best pub toilets in Wales. Wetherspoon’s first pub in the Republic of Ireland, The Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock came out on top in the pub sector. The managing director of the Loo of the Year Awards 2014, Mike Bone, said: “The awards recognise the high standard of toilet facilities provided by JD Wetherspoon and importantly the exceptionally well equipped accessible toilets that meet current Equality Act standards. They also recognise the diligence and hard work of their staff in ensuring that the toilets are clean and fit for purpose.” Wetherspoon's chief executive, John Hutson, said: “Once again our pubs and staff have been recognised for the exceptional quality of their toilets and the dedication to maintaining them to high standards at all times.”

Vapiano wins toilet recognition: Vapiano, the Italian fresh casual dining restaurant chain, has won the UK Market Sector Award for the Hospitality Sector at the Loo of the Year Awards 2014.The award is given to the entrant with the best entries from each of the 14 market sectors, including retail, hospitality, leisure and entertainment. Vapiano was recognised for the quality of its toilets at two of its restaurants, Great Portland Street and Bankside, both in London. The managing director of the Loo of the Year Awards 2014, Mike Bone, said: “Both restaurants achieved maximum marks for each of our judging criteria for the male and female toilets and the Equality Act compliant accessible toilets. All toilets were very clean, completely fit for purpose and are deserved winners of this prestigious award.”

Hungry Horse wins battle to allow children in the bar: Greene King's Hungry Horse pub in Penarth Marina, South Wales, the Oystercatcher, has won permission to let under-18s sit with their parents in the bar while waiting for a free table in the restaurant. Five objections were received by Vale of Glamorgan Council’s licensing sub-committee to the pub’s bid to change its licence from the original stipulation that children should not be allowed into the bar area “except for access”. One couple wrote a letter to councillors saying: “Rather than allow children into this area, more should be done to ensure they are kept out, perhaps by installing permanent saloon type doors and a large adults only sign.” But, after deliberating, councillors ruled in favour of the pub’s request to change its licence so that it would read “all children must be accompanied by a responsible adult,” which would allow them into the restricted “over-18s” bar. Andrew Daniels, the pub's general manager, said the change was required so that children could sit in the bar with their parents for short periods while waiting for a table in the dining area during busy times. He said: “We are a family-friendly pub, but I certainly to not want children in the bar. When the dining area is very busy, I want parents and their children to be able to wait in the bar until a table becomes available. This would not take long and would normally only happen on Saturday and Sundays.” David Stallard, a business development manager at Greene King said: “This is a very busy pub and sometimes we have to turn customers with children away because there is nowhere for them to sit and wait until a table becomes available."

Gatwick – one third of customers wanted a Wagamama: Gatwick airport in Sussex has reported that a planned Wagamama opening next summer is a response to one third of its customers requesting one. Wagamama global brand director Simon Cope said: "We are thrilled to be opening this flagship restaurant at Gatwick airport. Airports are a natural location for us, as they address our core target customer who wants delicious, freshly cooked food, served quickly for convenience." Charlotte Christiansen, business development manager for catering at London Gatwick, said: "A third of our passengers told us they would like to see a Wagamama at Gatwick so we have acted on this."

New Restaurant Brands chief wants to take Tim Hortons 'around the world': Daniel Schwartz, former chief executive of Burger King and now CEO of Restaurant Brands International, the parent company formed by the merger of BK with the Canadian coffee and doughnut shop chain Tim Hortons, has declared that he wants to take Hortons "around the world". Currently there are 3,600 Tim Hortons in Canada, but fewer than 900 in the United States and very few anywhere else, with just a handful in the Middle East in countries such as the UAE. Schwartz, who wooed Hortons with the promise that it would protect the brand and its Canadian heritage, base the combined company in Canada, run Tim Hortons separately, and not raise rents or royalties on Tim Hortons franchisees for at least five years, said: “We want to preserve the brand’s presence in Canada, where it is the market leader We want to accelerate the pace of growth in the US, and we want to take this great, iconic brand around the world.” Marc Caira, who had been chief executive of Tim Hortons, will be vice-chairman of Restaurant Brands International. Elías Díaz Sesé, the former president of Burger King Asia Pacific, will be president of Tim Hortons and José Cil, who oversaw the brand’s development in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will be president of the Burger King brand. Alex Behring, managing partner of 3G, the investment company that is Burger King’s controlling shareholder, will be chairman.

Burger King returns to Redditch after nine-year gap: Burger King looks set to return to Redditch, Worcestershire after Capital and Regional, which co-owns the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, put in for a change of use to Redditch Council for three units on Kingfisher Walk. The plan would see the former Warren James and current Bainbridge Opticians units, which either have or will be relocated, combined with an empty shop to provide one large unit, to be occupied by Burger King, which would seat 80 diners. The chain previously had a franchise in the centre on the corner of Evesham Square, where JD Sports is now based, but it closed in July 2006 with about a dozen people being made redundant. Burger King confirmed the plan and said more details would be made available soon. Redditch Council is expected to rule on the application in January. The Kingfisher Centre's new leisure zone now includes restaurants such as Nando's, Tinsel Town, Real China buffet and McDonald's, as well as a Vue cinema.

Top jobs report neglects hospitality sector: Last week, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) published a list of 40 top jobs in ten key occupations. ‘Careers of the future’ is a guide intended to assist those helping young people with their career decisions. The guide includes care workers, electricians, tram and train drivers and farmers. However, no hospitality and tourism occupations were included. Simon Tarr, managing director of People 1st, said: “It highlights a key challenge we have as an industry. We are a huge employer. By 2020 we project that we will need to recruit an additional 844,000 people, yet despite this the hospitality and tourism industry didn’t get a mention. This highlights that we need to work harder and together to sell the opportunities of working in the sector.” The jobs were identified based on three indicators: pay, job opportunities and business needs. However, they excluded entry level jobs for young people and have focused on those occupations offering longer term career paths. “This is at the heart of the problem,” said Tarr. “We are perceived as only offering short-term job opportunities and not career pathways. However, our analysis shows that of the 843,800 people we need to recruit by 2020, 165,700 jobs are projected to be in managerial roles and 49,300 in craft roles. This means that just over a quarter of the sector’s recruitment in the next six years is going to be for higher skilled workers. This compares to 140,000 in construction and 50,000 in financial services.”

Marston’s launches Generous George pub brand: Marston’s has launched a new “local” brand called Generous George. It has just opened it fourth Generous George site, at Coulby Newham’s Lingfield Farm pub in Middlesbrough. The Generous George concept carries the tagline “feel good inside”, and sites have a giant armchair outside. The offer includes a stone-baked pizza kitchen, an ice-cream parlour and a "cake-away", which offers a puddings-to-go option. There are booths with interactive screens in the family area, screens displaying daily specials and large wall-mounted televisions for sports. Generous George pubs open from 9am, with a brunch menu through until 11.30am. Menu highlights include "pub classics" such as giant sausage and mash and golden breaded scampi. A "1-2-3 lunch deal" offers one course for £5.49, two courses for £7.49 and three courses for £9.49. There is a three-item pie shop offer and a two-item "Curry House" choice plus a customisable build-a-burger option with a choice of eight toppings and five sauces. The Lingfield website says: “We believe that a good pub is all about the good times: catching up with family and friends over a proper pint of hand-crafted ale, a deliciously refreshing glass of wine or a fun and fruity cocktail or two. Whatever the occasion you’ll find a generous selection of drinks at the Lingfield Farm to tempt you, plus some fantastic finger-licking sharing dishes to accompany whichever drinks you choose. At Generous George, we believe that our pub is your pub. That’s why we open from 9am, so you can come at any time that suits you. We have a lip-smacking menu of brilliant brunches to start your day – served until 11.30am. You can pop in at any time of the day to enjoy a cuppa and a lovely slice of cake, or just a quick bite to eat at the bar. Our main menu has all your favourite pub legends that you would expect: cracking fish and chips, scintillating steak and our Marston’s Pedigree ale pie. If you fancy something a bit different, why not try our fantastic chicken shack, brilliant burgers and bagels or a freshly made pizza from our pizza kitchen?” One TripAdvisor review of the Lingfield says: “Love the new layout with a separate pizza station and the ice cream parlour is amazing. I don't like ice cream but it was so tempting: you have got to see it, that's all I can say. The menu suits all tastes.” Other Generous George sites open include the Oak Tree in Rednal, Birmingham, the Glassworks in Stourbridge and the Honey Bee in Aylesbury. Pub websites carry the full names of the manager to emphasise "local" credentials.

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