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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 23rd Oct 2015 - Update: City Pub Company, Antic, BrewDog, Foxlow, McDonald's, Vapiano
City Pub Company doubles up in Bristol: City Pub Company has doubled its presence in Bristol after securing a new site in the city. The company has secured the lease on Riverside House, situated on the junction of Welsh Back and King Street, in Bristol’s historic Old City, overlooking the water. The letting follows an extensive development of the building by landlord’s Mileberry, which has reconfigured the accommodation to provide trading accommodation at ground and basement level, with flats at the first floor. City Pub Company West chief executive Alex Derrick said: “I’m delighted to secure our second site in Bristol, particularly so given the fantastic potential in this part of the city. I look forward to opening a venue that will complement perfectly the quality, independent offers in the immediate area. I anticipate this will be in early 2016.” Agent Fleurets acted on behalf of the landlord, while City Pub Company was represented by Tom Nichols of Everard Cole. “The arrival of City Pub Company is an exciting addition to an eclectic group of operators who have established a superb pitch in this area of Bristol,” said Kevin Conibear from Fleurets. “The cluster of operators around Welsh Back and King Street has created an exceptional circuit and the area is now a destination in its own right, given the history and architecture of this part of Bristol.” City Pub Company acquired its first Bristol site, the Prince Street Social, in August.

Entrepreneur plans Just Eat rival: Kukd, the latest venture from Shelim Hussain, the chairman and managing director of the Newport-based Euro Foods Group, is launching a takeaway website to compete with services like Just Eat. In the latest issue of the Wales Business Insider, Hussain revealed that the website, which is due to be launched in November 2015, already has 3,000 restaurants signed up and aims to have 10,000 within a year. Kukd has financial support from the Welsh Government and currently has 100 staff building its website and providing online support to restaurants. Hussain told Insider: “Consumers want to order food online now; it’s quick and easy. The model is much more financially attractive. gives us the opportunity to expand our offering. We’re not only about food and packaging; we’re bringing new technology into the market and providing a full service for our restaurants. We provide them with products from the farm to the plate. Then bring the customers to the plate as well.” The Euro Foods Group currently has a turnover of £105m and employs 1,500 staff worldwide.

Antic London to reopen historic Elephant & Castle pub: Antic London is set to reopen the historic Elephant & Castle pub in the capital that was declared a “community asset” in the summer. The company, led by Antony Thomas, has secured the lease on the pub, off New Kent Road, which lost its licence and closed in March after a drinker was stabbed in the head with a pen. The site had looked set to become a branch of Foxton estate agents before it was declared an Asset of Community Value in June. Now Southwark Council has confirmed Antic as the new tenant. Thomas told the Evening Standard: “We are delighted to have secured the Elephant & Castle, a pub we have been keen to work some magic on for a few years now. It deserves to be at the very heart of this vibrant and unique community and we look forward to making it suitably Elephantine.” Though it was built in the 1960s, a tavern of the same name has been there for 250 years – and gave its name to the surrounding area. It is not known when the pub is expected to reopen and Southwark Council said it was working with Antic on a proposal that fits with the borough’s licensing regulations.

Loco Mexicano to open third site – and first outside London – in Loughborough: Mexican bar and restaurant Loco Mexicano is to open its third site – and first outside London – in Loughborough, Leicestershire. The company has been confirmed as the final restaurant tenant at the new multi-million pound cinema development in the town. It will join PizzaExpress, Nando’s, Asian buffet and bar Mimosa, Casual Dining Group brand Bella Italia, Brazilian grill-house Preto, cafe and bistro Loungers and Starbucks at the complex that is being anchored by an eight-screen, 1,118 seat Cineworld cinema. Toby Baines, chairman of Citygrove, which is running the scheme, told the Loughborough Echo the development should open at the end of April or beginning of May. He added of the Loco Mexicano signing: “We wanted to make sure it wasn’t pizza or pasta and to get a cross section and that the restaurants do not cannibalise each other. We did not push people away but tried not to offer the same brand. They (Loco Mexicano) are excited about the local demographic and student population.” Loco Mexicano’s two existing restaurants are in Victoria and Westbourne Grove in London.

McDonald’s trials Monster energy drink in the US: McDonald’s is selling Monster energy drinks in about 20 of its US restaurants, potentially opening up a new market for the high-caffeine beverages. “We’re always gathering feedback from customers on the food and beverages they’d like to be served at McDonald’s, and this is another example,” Lisa McComb, a spokeswoman for the fast-food chain, said. Locations in Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Florida and Illinois are testing the drinks, she said. Monster shares rose the most in almost eight months on Tuesday, fueled by speculation that the test could open up a new sales channel for its beverages.

Heavenly Desserts to open fourth site in Nottingham next month: Midlands-based artisan dessert restaurant Heavenly Desserts is to open its fourth site next month. The company has taken a 10-year lease on a 3,873 square foot unit in Angel Row, Nottingham, within metres of the Old Market Square. Established in 2007, Heavenly Desserts focus on quality and variety, which extends to both its take-out and eat-in menus. Alan Pearson of FHP, which acted on behalf of the private landlord, said: “It’s a pivotal time for Nottingham’s leisure scene. We have seen other big names such as George’s Kitchen, Reds True Barbecue and Bill’s have success in the city; Heavenly Desserts is expected to come as no exception. They cater to a niche market where the city has previously not ventured. Having a specific focus, where other restaurants haven’t specialised, will allow them to stand prominent within the city. It also brings a new dimension to the restaurant scene, bringing more options for younger consumers and those simply opting for a more relaxed evening.” Heavenly Desserts currently has restaurants in Birmingham and Leicester and a cafe at the Intu shopping centre in Derby.

Esquires opens ninth re-branded site, eyes 200-strong estate: Esquires Coffee has unveiled its ninth rebranded store at The Bridges shopping centre in Sunderland – the company has 25 sites in the UK and eight in Ireland.. The store has been owned and operated by Hartlepool-based couple Dave and Doreen Parnaby since January 2008. The new design for Esquires Coffee’s stores is reflective of the brand’s gravitation towards becoming a more authentic and artisanal coffee brand. Since June 2014 all of Esquires coffee has been certified as 100% Fairtrade and Organic. Esquires Coffee also announced it is to open another three stores in the first quarter of 2016. The stores will be in Waterside shopping centre in Lincoln, the new Yate Riverside development in South Gloucestershire and in the new Xchange development in Bradford City Centre. The franchised chain has aggressive plans for growth and hopes to be operating 200 stores in the UK by 2020.

Leon opens 29th site: Naturally fast food brand Leon has opened its 29th restaurant , this time located at Canary Wharf. It’s the second Leon to come to the area and is sited on Level 2 of Jubilee Place and seats up to 42. This is the company’s seventh new site this year, and it plans to open another four before the end of 2015.

Chef who once cooked for George Bush and Tony Blair to open first restaurant next week:
Chef-entrepreneur Tarek Thoma, who once cooked for former US president George Bush and prime minister Tony Blair, will launch his first restaurant next Friday (31 October). Thoma is opening Oven at Central Point in Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, at the former Midland House building following a £500,000 investment, creating 45 jobs. The 160-cover restaurant will have a menu focusing on English, French, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Thoma, who cooked for Bush and Blair in 2003 when he worked at the Dun Cow in Sedgefield, told Gazette Live: “We are recruiting high calibre people, who have proven track records and are experts in their field. It is important to hand-pick quality employees and advisers as the emphasis at Oven will be providing a second-to-none service and offering Michelin star-style food at very affordable prices.”

El Gato Negro delays Manchester opening: Simon Shaw’s Michelin-Bibbed El Gato Negro tapas bar, has put back its Manchester opening date to next year. The restaurant was set to relocate from its former home in Ripponden, West Yorkshire, this autumn but will now not open until next February. Renovation is taking longer than anticipated on the building, which lies within the King Street conservation area, and Shaw said he felt it was important to take the time to get it right. He told the Manchester Evening News: “It’s been delicate work and we want to respect the integrity of the historic building, which will ultimately make ours a truly unique dining experience. It’s important to me that we create the very best experience for El Gato Negro’s new home in the heart of Manchester and if that means taking a few extra weeks to get it right, we’ll honour that.” El Gato Negro Manchester is a partnership between Shaw and Mills Hill Development, a venture backed by private investors in the north west of England.

Coq d’Argent to bring back winter pop-up restaurant: Coq d’Argent, the City restaurant owned by D&D London, is bringing back its winter pop-up Lodge d’Argent. Designed by AM Creative and running from 18 November until the end of February, Lodge d’Argent – located on the restaurant’s skyscraper terraces – will evoke the feeling of winter with twinkling lights, frosted Christmas trees and rafts of wintery ferns adorning the space. This year, head chef Damien Rigollet’s Lodge menu will focus on the potato bake from the French Alps, the tartifflette, featuring versions such as black truffle, sweet potato and vegetarian. The dessert menu will offer dishes paired with Hennessy cognac including chestnut macarons and bitter chocolate fondant with praline ice cream. There will also be a menu of classic and contemporary French après-ski snacks for sharing. The bar will be transformed into a cosy chalet, complete with rustic wooden chalet walls, vintage skis, animal horns and cosy knits, serving a variety of winter warmer cocktails such as Alpine Sour made from Hennessy fine cognac, apricot brandy, lemon juice, aromatic bitters and egg white, and the Avalanche containing Hennessy fine Cognac infused with apricot and earl grey tea, apricot brandy, peach puree, lemon juice and egg white.

Foxlow opens third site in Chiswick: Foxlow, the neighbourhood restaurant from the founders of high-end steak brand Hawksmoor, has opened its third site in Chiswick. The brand has opened its latest venue in Barley Mow Passage on the site of the former Sam’s Brasserie and Bar. The building been refurbished using reclaimed and vintage materials. Foxlow’s, which has 116 covers and 34 seats in the bar, will offer charcoal-grilled steaks as well as seafood, smoked meats and salads. Co-owner Will Beckett told the move to Chiswick came about after a conversation with Sam Harrison last year, who said he wanted a change after ten years of running his brasserie on the site. The first Foxlow restaurant opened in Clerkenwell in November 2013 and its second in Stoke Newington earlier this year.

Nudo Sushi Box plans Manchester expansion and then targets Leeds: Japanese takeaway and cafe Nudo Sushi Box is planning two new restaurants and a central kitchen in Manchester – and then target Leeds. The Newcastle-based company, which grew out of a family cash and carry and takeaway business, arrived in Manchester in August, opening its sixth restaurant on Oxford Street. But business development manager Terence Lee has confirmed Nudo is planning further expansion in the city. This will begin with it second Spinningfields site, this time in Hardman Street, set to open on Monday, 2 November. The outlet, which will mainly focus on takeaway and have limited seating, will be located next door to Wagamama. It is planning another restaurant in Mosley Street, next door to Subway, which is due to open in two months and also a central kitchen in Oldham Road, Ancoats. The shift to an off-site kitchen will mean an extra 25 to 30 covers can be added to the Oxford Street outlet. Lee, who said Leeds is the company’s next target, launched the business with his uncle and aunt – restaurateur Kit Lau and his designer wife Karen – and a third business partner Jim Zeng in March 2012.

BrewDog to extend taproom: BrewDog is to extend the taproom at its brewery headquarters in Ellon, Aberdeenshire. The company stated: “We are psyched by how popular our brewery taproom has proved since it opened in July last year. DogTap has been hugely successful with visitors and our staff alike, and the introduction of our 10HL pilot kit and more recently the Crowler machine has made it even more awesome! As well as giving people who come to Ellon a chance to connect with (and tour) our brewery, we always wanted to be able to serve our beers at their freshest, metres from where they are made. We have become so utterly committed to this that we will shortly begin the process of expanding DogTap to make it even more of a beery destination! So before the end of 2016, we will thoroughly upgrade DogTap to become the best taproom in the business.”

Vapiano to open Great Portland Street site on Christmas Day: Vapiano is to open its Great Portland Street site, its biggest with 365 seats, on Christmas Day. Opening between 12-7pm, the menu and prices will remain the same as the rest of the year. There’s no booking required. Currently, Vapiano serves around 27,000 guests a week between the three London restaurants. There are 23 Pasta dishes, starting from £6.95 and 21 pizzas starting from £7.25. Vapiano Manchester opens at the Corn Exchange on 27 November, bringing its UK total to four restaurants.
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