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Fri 24th Apr 2015 - Update: Charles Wells, TGI Friday's, Abokado, Greene King
Charles Wells and Chris Gerard to open second Apostrophe Pubs outlet: The Bedford brewer and retailer Charles Wells is teaming up with Chris Gerard of Innventure to open a second outlet under the Apostrophe Pubs name, after the success of their first venture, the d’Parys in Bedford, a £1.3m 14-bedroom boutique hotel. The Merlin’s Cave in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire is now being turned into Apostrophe Pub’s second site, with Gerard employed once again on a consultancy basis. Craig Mayes, director for Apostrophe Pubs, said: “We are growing a collection of individual pubs which celebrate the history of their locations and the people they serve so you can expect to see chalk and oak from the Chilterns, open fires, patinas and ochre within the design at the Merlin’s Cave.” Nick Hancock, managing partner of the Merlin’s Cave said “Having just moved into Chalfont St Giles I have been overwhelmed by the amount of interest in what is happening at The Merlin’s Cave. I’ve spent a lot of time with the Apostrophe Pubs team understanding their vision for the pub; I have seen what has been achieved at d’Parys and am delighted to be a part of this exciting development.” The pub which is due to open in the summer with an exclusive preview period during which those who have registered as a Friend of The Merlin’s Cave will be offered a “first look” at the site and can enjoy 50% off food. Apostrophe Inns, which was set up to run “distinctive pubs specialising in fresh food and locally sourced artisan products” says it has a “strong pipeline” of future sites, and is hiring GMs, assistant managers and chefs .

TGI Friday’s director earns £7m: An unnamed TGI Friday’s director earned £7m in the most recent financial year when the company was sold to Electra Partners for £225m – the director earned £592,000 the year before, according to company accounts filed today. The company’s like-for-like sales grew 1.4% in the 52 weeks ending 28 December 2014, a slowdown on 2013’s like-for-like growth of 3.6%. The company reported sales for the year were up 7.8% at £174.4m from £161.8m, while Ebitda before exceptionals was up 3.5% to £20.7m. It said the performance was “in line with the directors” expectations and the current economic climate. TGI Friday’s opened seven new sites during the year, which it said were performing “in excess of expectations”, and it was actively looking for new sites. Operating profit for the year was £12.99m, up 10% on 2013. Employee numbers rose 8% to 2,752, while wages and salaries rose 11.5% to £55.2m. 

Abokado offers London Marathon runners free lunch: The healthy eating brand Abokado is offering free lunches to everyone who look part in the London Marathon yesterday, Sunday. Runners need only show their finisher’s medal to a member of the Abokado team in any one of Abokado’s 23 stores today, the company said. Mark Lilley, Abokado’s managing director, said: “This is our small way of supporting this wonderful event and recognising the amazing efforts of all the charity runners. What better way to celebrate their achievement than with one of our ‘feel great’ lunches? We look forward to congratulating many of them on Monday.”

Greene King wins eight awards at Monde Selection: Greene King has won eight awards at the prestigious Monde Selection 2015, which annually independently tests the quality of various consumer goods, from cosmetics to food to liqueurs, and ranks the quality of each product tested with an internationally recognised bronze, silver, gold or grand gold award. Greene King submitted eight of its beers for consideration and grading in the category of beers, waters and soft drinks, with strong results that included a grand gold award and five gold awards. Belhaven Scottish Ale received the highest honour – the grand gold award. Greene King IPA, Belhaven Speyside Oak Aged Blonde, Belhaven Craft Pilsner and Belhaven Scottish Oat Stout each received the gold award. Old Hoppy Hen and East Coast IPA secured silver awards. The Monde Selection beers, waters and soft drinks category is evaluated by an independent jury of experts in the category field. Each product is independently taste-evaluated by all jury members, after which the scores are added up and averaged to arrive at the final award. Dom South, marketing director for Greene King, said: “This is a testament to the craftsmanship and quality that our breweries consistently deliver, and assures consumers of the quality credentials of Greene King and Belhaven beers. I would like to offer my congratulations and thanks to everyone whose hard work and dedication has helped to achieve these outstanding results.”

Woodward appointed first female head chef of Savoy Grill: Kim Woodward has been appointed head chef of Gordon Ramsay Group’s Savoy Grill, becoming the first woman to run the kitchen in its 126-year history. She returns to the kitchen where she helped spearhead its success during the 2010 re-launch. Recruited from within the Gordon Ramsay Group, Woodward has spent the past three years as head chef of the York & Albany, the restaurant, bar and townhouse in Camden. Woodward spent a number of years post-college in the United States, earning her chef whites and honing her skills in some of America’s top restaurants. In 2007, she returned home to the UK where she joined the Gordon Ramsay Group as junior sous chef at Boxwood Café. She later joined Plane Food and then was part of the successful opening team of the Savoy Grill under executive chef Stuart Gillies – now managing director of the Group. Woodward took the spotlight on the small screen during the 2011 series of Masterchef: The Professionals, showcasing her talent and determination by reaching the semi-finals of the competitive cookery show. She said: “It is an absolute honour for me to be the head chef here in one of London’s most iconic restaurants. Obviously there is so much history here, and the people who come through the door come here for the classic dishes the Savoy Grill is famous for.” While Woodward has been based at the York & Albany since 2012, she has also consulted on various projects and demos for the group including travelling to Sardinia for Gordon Ramsay at Fortevillage and Gordon Ramsay at Castel Monastero in Tuscany.

Leading hospitality figures announce the launch of The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA): Senior bar and nightclub executive have The Night Time Industries Association (NITA) that aims to be “the voice of the night time industries”. With members from across the UK and a board that reflects the innovation and diversity of one of Britain’s greatest contributions to culture and the economy, the NTIA seeks to re-position the national and local conversation about operators and owners in the night time sector. The NTIA is being led by Alan D Miller, co-founder of London’s Old Truman Brewery who was chief executive of The Vibe Bar for almost 20 years before its recent closure, along with several other key industry players such as Steve Ball, Jonathan Downey and Alex Proud. Their goal is to ensure the recognition of the enormous contribution the night time industries makes in terms of employment, business rates, regeneration of areas and tourism to the UK. “We want to provide a voice for those in the night time industries who range from the single venue operator to those with numerous venues. We need our fellow owners and operators to sign up with us so that we can be an even stronger voice in the UK. This is the first step of creating something that can be enormously influential”, says Alan D Miller, Chairman of the NTIA. Sir Harvey Goldsmith, who sits on the Advisory Board, added: “The Night Time Industry is the life blood of music and entertainment in the UK. The night time economy is also very important to the economy of cities and towns. It is where the next generation of talent develops. We need to encourage our entrepreneurs and make sure we do not stifle creativity by imposing overly restrictive measures on one of Britain’s most productive sectors.”

Ministry of Sound hires senior marketers: The Ministry of Sound, which is looking to relocate its London club in 2018, in a bigger space that would hold 3,000 clubbers, has appointed two top marketers, Matthew Kershaw and Alexis James to the newly created roles of group marketing director and commercial director. Kershaw, who has previously held senior positions at MTV and BBH as well as roles at the Guardian, BBC, Bauer, Channel 4 and Mixmag, will look to develop the company’s portfolio of brands, which includes its London club venue, an independent record label, compilation albums, international events, a radio station as well as a wide digital presence. James, previously commercial director of Blinkx who has held positions at UKTV, ITV and Centaur, will look to create partnerships with brands. Kershaw told Marketing Week: “There’s a massive digital opportunity with the four to five million audience we have online. We’re also creating a state of the art venue with some of the world’s leading architects and stage designers.” The new club, and the planned launch of a new range of speakers and headphones, open up opportunities for technology, drinks and experiential brand partnerships, he said.

Frankie & Benny’s and Costa to join Ed’s in Belfast development: Frankie & Benny’s and Costa Coffee have signed to join Ed’s Easy Diner at the new Boucher Square development in the Boucher Road area of south Belfast. Meanwhile the last remaining unit, of 3,200 sq ft, is “currently under offer to a national restaurant operator”, according to the letting agent, TDK. Mark Thallon of TDK told the Belfast Telegraph: “We are pleased with the level of interest this new scheme has generated, resulting in a fully pre-let scheme prior to the first restaurant openings, which are scheduled for early June.” Boucher Square’s four units will include in excess of 12,000 sq ft of restaurant space, along with 150 on-site parking spaces. It sits on Boucher Crescent, directly opposite the well-established Boucher Retail Park. The opening will be the second for Frankie & Benny’s in Belfast, after its site in the Victoria Square Shopping Centre. It marks the first opening for Ed’s in Northern Ireland, and Andrew Guy, chief executive of Ed’s, told the Belfast Telegraph the new Boucher Road restaurant was “the perfect location for our diner”. He said: “We are so proud to be launching our first ever site in Northern Ireland. We will be working closely with the employment charity Springboard, hiring around 25 new staff from the surrounding area. The new development will hopefully attract a large number of people from all over Belfast this summer.”

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