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Tue 24th Nov 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

JD Wetherspoon and Pret A Manger lead the way on food hygiene: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reported that JD Wetherspoon and Pret A Manger top the rankings for high food hygiene scores among large companies and brands. The FSA has published figures that show 83.7% of outlets owned by the biggest foodservice companies and brands were given the best food hygiene rating of five. It found that of the largest 20 food chains and brands, JD Wetherspoon and Pret A Manger had the highest proportion of five scores (93.1%). Catriona Stewart, who heads up the FSA’s Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme said: “Our latest data shows how seriously high street chains take food hygiene. We want to build on the success of the scheme over its first five years and reduce consumer risk even further by encouraging people to ‘look before they book’. Telling people about hygiene standards in food outlets in a way that is clear and easy to understand has made a real difference. We’ve seen standards improve and more and more businesses are able to show their customers that they take food hygiene seriously.” Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin said: “Food hygiene is of paramount importance to our customers and rightly so. Our pub management and staff work hard to ensure that our pubs offer customers the highest levels of food hygiene at all times. We are extremely pleased that our pubs offer the best standards of food hygiene in the FSA ratings over the past five years and we will strive to maintain and improve our ratings in the coming months and years. Wetherspoon has 950 pubs across the UK and our aim is to maintain the highest standards at each and every pub.” The top 20 scores in terms of sites achieving a five score are JD Wetherspoon (93.1%), Pret A Manger (93.1%), McDonald’s (92.9%) Starbucks (91%), Nando’s (90.2%), Domino’s Pizza (90.1%), Greggs (89%), Burger King (88.3%), PizzaExpress (87.4%) Frankie & Benny’s (83.1%), Costa Coffee (81.4%), Prezzo (79.9%), Pizza Hut (78.6%), Subway (77.7%), KFC (76.9%), Sizzling Pub Co (74.9%), Papa John’s (68.5%), Harvester (67.5%), Caffe Nero (66.9%), Hungry Horse (66.1%).

Industry News:

Propel and Thinking Drinkers launch second Craft Beer Retail Study Tour: Propel is launching its second Craft Beer Retail Study Tour on Thursday, 28 January in London, this time focusing on south London. The tour, led by Thinking Drinkers, award-winning beer writers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, will visit seven of London’s leading craft beer retailers in an eight-hour tour. McFarland and Sandham will provide the latest craft beer facts and figures, market segmentation analysis, and spot up-and-coming trends. Site visits will include Q&A sessions with London’s leading retailers, looking at award-winning sites, a hybrid bottle shop and bar, beer-centric retail, mobile canning, beer sourcing, direct sourcing, menus, brewing on-site and a host of other issues. The day includes lunch and breakfast and travel between venues by coach. Tickets are £345 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £395 for non-ALMR members. Email to book or to obtain further details.

Welcome Break signs a deal with Ed’s Easy Diner: Welcome Break has signed a deal to open a full service restaurant, Ed’s Easy Diner, at selected sites, starting with South Mimms service station on the M25. The average customer length of stay at a service station is 21 minutes, with a toilet break the reason why 92% of customers stop. But chief executive Rod McKie has reported there is an increase in customers having longer stops for reasons such as business meetings. “The trend was to get rid of full-service restaurants (within service stations),” he said. “We’re now signing a deal with a national brand to put full-service restaurants back into our service stations.” McKie also recently revealed that the fastest growing line at the Waitrose stores located with Welcome Break is sushi. “It’s growing by 35% year-on-year,” he said.

Urban Pubs and Bars plans 12,000 square foot pop-up bar at Westfield Stratford shopping centre: Urban Pubs and Bars, led by Realpubs founders Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap, is to open a 12,000 square foot pop-up pub called Bat and Ball at Stratford Westfield, which will become only the second pub operating at the site alongside Geronimo Inns’ The Cow. The Bat and Ball will be set over two floors and feature 12 ping-pong tables. The company plans to invest between £350,000 and £400,000 on the site, aiming to open it in mid-December – it previously traded as a shop. Pring told Propel: “We looked at a site there recently and I think we were on their radar. They came back to us with this pop-up opportunity and I think wanted an operator that was a quirky independent. We have 14 months of trading and there’s pretty phenomenal footfall at Stratford.” The Bat and Ball will have a deli counter food offer with sharing platters, wraps, sandwiches and pizza by the slice. Pring added: “We have around three weeks to fit out the site. The investment level is probably a bit more than we wanted to spend but it is possible to do massive numbers at Stratford.” The news of Urban Pubs and Bars’ pop-up comes in the same week the company launched its first stand-alone pizzeria, Well Street Pizza. The site, which has opened after a £300,000 investment, has circa 75 covers, 40 upstairs and 30 downstairs. Pring told Propel the site has an open kitchen, the ground floor has a high-temp, dive bar vibe, while upstairs is set out with two-person tables.

Research finds more than three-quarters of crowdfunded companies are still trading: Almost 300 companies that have crowdfunded over the last four years are still trading, according to the latest research, but 70 have gone out of business. AltFi Data looked into the status of 367 companies that have crowdfunded on Crowdcube, Seedrs, SyndicateRoom, Venture Founders and CrowdBnk between 2011 and June 2015. This equated to 431 equity crowdfunding rounds. Of that total, there was just one “realisation”, meaning the investors’ initial capital, plus a premium, has been returned after a successful exit. A total of 58 were deemed to have a status of “green plus”, which indicates the business has raised further capital at a higher valuation, while 302 were deemed to be “green”, meaning the company is still trading, although it is not possible to tell at what level. On the flip side, 70 were deemed to be of either “red” or “amber” status. Red means the company has gone out of business, while amber means it was not contactable by telephone, its social media presence had ceased and its company website was offline, among other warning signs. The report concluded while a high proportion of crowdfunded businesses remain active, platforms should “do everything they can” to assist in find a valuation level that offers a “sufficient prospect of a return to compensate for the risk”.

Beer Academy’s top qualification hits 100: The number of beer sommeliers has reached the 100 milestone following a handful of recent accreditations by global beer education body the Beer Academy. Linda Sheehan of Barry Group in Ireland became the 100th beer sommelier after passing the final stage of the assessment at the Beer Academy offices in London earlier this month. Two other candidates, from the UK and Lithuania, successfully completed their Beer Academy accreditation on the same day. The beer sommelier accreditation is the ultimate qualification in beer knowledge. To succeed, candidates must first submit a written application including a portfolio demonstrating their work in promoting beer. If successful at this stage, they attend an assessment with Beer Academy director of training Alex Barlow, where they are questioned on their portfolio, before being asked to identify a number of beer styles and off flavours, and to recommend beer matches for a range of dishes. Jerry Avis, chief executive officer of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, which operates the Beer Academy, said: “We are delighted to have reached the 100 mark on beer sommelier accreditations. Since launching the qualification in 2011, we have seen demand for it grow in tandem with the interest in beer and brewing both in the UK and abroad.”

Chinatown restaurateurs share rent information to combat crippling increases:
Businesses in London’s Chinatown are banding together to fight back against rent rises amid fears the character of the area could be irredeemably changed as traditional restaurateurs are forced out and replaced by chains, Property Week has reported. About 40 tenants in Chinatown have signed up to an initiative to share rent information in a bid to empower tenants in their negotiations with landlords. The initiative, driven by the West End Chinatown Tenants’ Association (WECTA), with support from the Federation of Small Businesses and occupiers agency DeVono Property, will see the creation of a shared digital database of rents in Chinatown, in a bid to improve transparency around rent levels. “This is about starting a fight back against rent hikes which are forcing businesses to close and move out of the area,” Jon Man, WECTA chair told Property Week. Man has seen the rent on his restaurant in Wardour Street rise from £66,000 a year in 2000 to £244,000 – and he has another rent review due in two years. He says he fears he will be forced out of the area along with a host of other businesses.

Trade body to hold debate on London’s night-time economy: Trade body The Night Time Industries Association is to hold a debate this Thursday (26 November) on how London can learn from other major cities in managing the late-night economy. Following the recommendation from the Mayor’s office that London is to get a Night Time Economy Champion, the trade body is hosting an event to draw on some of the experiences, insights and successes that have come out of the cities of Amsterdam and Berlin – and to see how this can inform and firm up the role in London. Speakers are Mirik Milan, Night Time Mayor, Amsterdam; Lutz Leichsenring, of the Berlin Club Commission and Laia Gasch, special advisor deputy mayor for education and culture, Greater London Authority. The event takes place at 6.30pm at the Mother Agency in the Biscuit Building, Redchurch Street, London.

BBPA – ten years on, the Licensing Act 2005 is working well: British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds has argued the 2005 Licensing Act is working well ten years after its introduction. She said: “The Licensing Act is working well, and has not resulted in the ‘free for all’ that some suggest. 24-hour drinking is very much a myth, as on average, pubs close less than half an hour later than they did under the previous Licensing Act. Harmful drinking and alcohol related violence are also falling. Pubs are a vital community resource and we want to encourage drinking in a responsible environment like the pub. In the tiny minority of premises where there are problems, local authorities have plenty of powers to restrict licensing hours and close down premises that do not behave responsibly. We have also seen significant ‘add ons’ since 2005, such as Mandatory Licence Conditions, bringing significant additional costs and burdens to licensing regulation in the sector. Overall, we should be looking at how we can ease the regulatory burden on pubs. The pub industry is not complacent, and plays an active role in fostering partnerships at a local level, from Pubwatch to Business Improvement Districts or Best Bar None, so that local communities, police, local authorities and the industry can work together to find the best solutions. It is hugely important that we have a vibrant pubs sector – and there is plenty of evidence that many towns and cities are achieving the right balance.”

Company News:

Franco Manca lines up five openings, in negotiations for four more: Better pizza brand Franco Manca, owned by Fulham Shore, has five new sites lined up and is in negotiations for four more. The company will open on Wimbledon Broadway on 6 December and in Stoke Newington on 6 February. It has also secured sites on Friary Street, Guildford, Nova @ Victoria and Church Street, Brighton, which will bring the estate size to 22 – it recently opened in Earls Court and Bermondsey Street. It is understood to be in negotiations on sites in Putney and Kilburn High Road. A source told Propel: “We tread slowly – we sign sites but might not develop them immediately. For example, we kept Bermondsey Street empty for two years and Stoke Newington for six months until we were ready to open them. We will do the same thing going forward.”

Red True Barbecue to mark Liverpool opening with pay-it-forward scheme: Red’s True Barbecue has taken a novel approach to launching its Liverpool site, giving a local charity a festive fundraising boost this Christmas. Red’s, which is set to open on Hanover Street, has hidden £1,000 worth of its gift vouchers – disguised as cardboard hands – across the city centre and on its opening day, Friday 27 November, will reveal the locations on a specially devised online map. The brand is appealing to the Christmas spirit of those lucky enough to find the bounty to ‘pay the generosity forward’ to local homeless charity, Whitechapel Centre. It has promised that for every pound donated Red’s will match the public’s fundraising efforts. James Douglas, co-founder of Red’s True Barbecue, said: “This is a win/win for the good people of Liverpool and this amazing local charity – the finder gets to enjoy authentic smoked meat on us, and the charity earns further awareness and much-needed funds. There are more than 60 locations across the city centre, and each ‘Hand of Red’ holds either £10, £20 or £30 off the bill. All we ask is that people remember to #RedsPayItForward to Whitechapel Centre when they bring their voucher in. Together, through the medium of meat, we’ll spread festive cheer to this deserving charity!”

Steak of the Art to open third site in Southampton: Steak of the Art is to open its third site, this time in Southampton. The company has signed a lease for the 170-cover restaurant that serves steaks alongside an art gallery in Admirals Quay, Ocean Village, creating up to 25 jobs. The 4,000 square foot venue, due to open in February, will be split over two floors with 130 covers indoors and the remaining 40 outside. Steak of the Art is the brainchild of art lover and classically trained chef Steve Bowen who said: “We feel that Ocean Village is the ideal place for us. Recent upgrades to the marina, work on the new five-star hotel and a home for other, well-respected retailers, bars and restaurants will see it emerge as a key business and tourist destination. We insist that all our main ingredients have good provenance with amazing quality and the Southampton restaurant will be no different.” Steak of the Art currently has sites in Bristol and Cardiff.

Former Caprice Holdings employees to launch first restaurant: London-based maitre d’ Paulo de Tarso is leaving his role at Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park to open his own restaurant with Nicolas Jaouen, currently general manager of Mayfair’s La Petite Maison. Jaouen and de Tarso are launching 100-cover Italian restaurant Margot in Covent Garden next May. Born in Brazil, de Tarso has worked with several operators both in London and internationally including Daniel Boulud, Corbin and King, and Caprice Holdings. De Tarso and Jaouen met while working together at Caprice Holdings’ Mayfair restaurant Scott’s. Jaouen also worked as general manager for Keith McNally’s Balthazar before moving to become a director at Alain Ducasse’s Rivea restaurant at the Bulgari Hotel. The pair said they were drawn to Covent Garden for the site of their first restaurant because of the area’s “vibrant history and cosmopolitan community”. “Italy is part of my heritage and I’ve always loved the food,” de Tarso said. “I truly love this industry so it is a joy for me to finally be opening my own restaurant. I want everyone who loves food, wine, drinks, and good service who comes through our doors to be treated warmly.” Jaouen added: “Italian food to me is the best in the world. It’s so diverse and offers everything people crave – from light and elegant to robust and tasty – which is difficult for a Frenchman to say, but it’s the truth!”
Leon opens 31st site in Hammersmith, unveils Christmas menu: Healthy food brand Leon has opened its 31st site in Hammersmith and unveiled its Christmas menu. The flagship restaurant is located in Hammersmith Broadway and is the ninth to open this year. Brand and marketing director Kirsty Saddler said: “We’ve been flattered by the number of residents and workers in Hammersmith who have been in touch leading up to our arrival. We’re thrilled to be a part of such a wonderfully welcoming community, and can’t wait to live up to their great expectations.” Leon has also launched its Christmas menu, which includes the return of the Christmas Wrap – turkey from Norfolk and Lincolnshire, wrapped with pork, sage and onion stuffing, ham hock, fresh spinach, tarragon mayo and a cranberry and port sauce. It also features a new vegan dish – the Brazilian black bean lunchbox cooked with carrots, onion and a sweet smoked paprika.

Enterprise Inns invests £750,000 in the Plough in Harborne:
A flagship Enterprise Inns site, The Plough in Harborne, has expanded “next door” following a major £750,000 joint investment scheme between the company and proprietor Adam Johnson. The launch of “Next Door at The Plough” has seen the pub in Harborne High Street on the outskirts of Birmingham city centre add a new first floor extension that has become home to two new private dining and meeting rooms. The capex project has also enabled the pub to extend the number of ground floor covers by 40. In an ambitious venture, Enterprise acquired the house adjoining The Plough and knocked through between the two buildings in order to extend the trading space on both the ground and first floors. The two flexible private dining rooms at “Next Door at The Plough” have 30 covers and are designed to accommodate meetings or conferences with both boasting Wi-Fi, large flat TV screens and private audio systems. The entire space can also be opened up and cater for up to 40 people standing. The ground floor renovation has seen the arrival of a new bar dedicated to showcasing The Plough’s global selection of rare, award-winning and artisan whiskies alongside a carefully curated collection of craft beers. The makeover has also resulted in the introduction of a new pizza kitchen and coffee bar.

Camerons Brewery forms Longhorns BBQ Smokehouse partnership at two sites: Camerons Brewery is to partner with Longhorns BBQ Smokehouse to develop the food offering at two venues in its managed estate. The first floor of the Dun Cow, Sunderland, will operate as a Longhorns BBQ Smokehouse restaurant and will launch in early December. Longhorns will also be taking over the kitchen at Tilleys, Newcastle, which will see a new menu introduced with a selection of its famous meals and light bites. Chris Soley, director and general manager at Camerons, said: “We are delighted to announce a partnership with Longhorns to develop the food offering in our Dun Cow and Tilleys venues. Their brand of locally sourced premium smoked meats and bar snacks is the ideal fit for our diverse range of beers, wines and spirits. We have already started selling their selection of bar snacks, known as ‘Beer Bonbons’, in selected Head of Steam and managed outlets. We will continue to explore opportunities to work in conjunction with Longhorns at other venues in our retail pub estate. It is fantastic to work together with another great north east business and we are really excited about this venture between the two companies as we feel it can further enhance the experience for our customers.” The Longhorns menu will launch in Tilleys on Saturday (28 November and the new Longhorns restaurant will open at the Dun Cow on Friday, 4 December.

Prezzo in negotiations to open new restaurant in Carlisle: Prezzo is in negotiations to open a new restaurant in Carlisle. The company has confirmed it is discussions with the owner of the Andalusian tapas bar in Warwick Road to take over the site. Plans have been lodged with Carlisle City Council to erect Prezzo signs on the building ahead of an application for full planning permission. A Prezzo spokesman told the News & Star: “We can confirm that we are aiming to open a Prezzo restaurant in Carlisle. The site is currently a tapas bar. Prezzo will be applying for full planning permission for the site in due course. We believe that a Prezzo restaurant will be a good addition to the social and eating out scene in Carlisle.” Barnaby Bowman bought the grade II-listed building, formerly The White House pub, for £275,000 in July 2009 after it had stood empty for five years and opened it as the Andalusian with his now wife Tracey. Prezzo opened its first restaurant in London in November 2000.

Gail’s Artisan Bakery opens new site in Parson’s Green: Gail’s Artisan Bakery, backed by Luke Johnson, has opened a new site in Parson’s Green, south west London. The company has opened the outlet in Fulham Road – its 24th site, which are all in the capital. Gail’s Artisan Bakery was founded in 2005, when founders Ran Avidan, Tom Molnar and Emma King opened their first bakery in Hampstead.

Five Guys names December for Liverpool opening: Five Guys will open a new restaurant in Liverpool city centre on Monday, 7 December. The company is moving into the old Rat and Parrot building in Queen Square, which is currently at the centre of a £1m refurbishment to turn it into a retail and leisure hub. Five Guys will open its 31st UK restaurant in a 3,850 square foot unit on the ground floor of the 14,500 square foot building and will join Nando’s, La Tasca, the brand owned by Casual Dining Group, and Buffalo Jacks. Five Guys UK chief executive John Eckbert told the Liverpool Echo: “Five Guys is very excited to be launching in Liverpool – one of England’s proudest and most important cities. Queen Square is a hub of activity from playhouses to galleries, attracting the kinds of customers that will be looking for our fresh burgers and fries.” The company, founded by Jerry Murrell in the US in 1986, currently has two restaurants in the north west of England – both in Manchester.

Newcastle-based pizzeria Cal’s Own to start expanding with second site in city: Newcastle-based pizzeria Cal’s Own is to start expanding with a second site in the city. The concept is opening the new restaurant in Holly Avenue West in Jesmond on the site of the former Colts Western Steakhouse in January. Co-owner Kerry Kitchin said the move to Jesmond was motivated by his upbringing. He told JesmondLocal: “It’s the place where I grew up, where I live, and I know the area, so I wanted to have a store here. It’s also a ‘go to’ area for restaurants.” The new restaurant will be capable of seating three times the number of diners currently possible at its branch in Chillingham Road, Heaton, which opened in November 2012. The Jesmond property will also have an alcohol licence, which the Heaton branch does not have.

Wahaca opens new restaurant in Liverpool: Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca has opened a new site in Liverpool. The brand, founded by former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby, has launched the restaurant at the Liverpool ONE development in Hanover Street. It has opened the 6,833 square foot venue on the former site of Stockton’s furniture store. Miers told the Liverpool Echo: “Liverpool is unparalleled as a UK cultural hub, with an established music reputation, amazing art and museums and a food scene that is really taking off. We’re excited to bring our Mexican market food, original street art and pure agave tequila and mezcal to Merseyside.” Wahaca, which was founded in 2007, currently has 20 sites across the UK.

Welcome Break recognised by four brand partners: Welcome Break has won awards from Starbucks, Subway, Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts for its high level of brand standards. The first award came from Starbucks, which named Welcome Break the UK Licensee of the Year at its annual Starbucks Managers’ Conference – Welcome Break has opened 13 Starbucks drive-thrus. Welcome Break was chosen for outstanding innovation, and growing store count significantly, driving design and innovation, all of which has resulted in “amazing” like-for-like sales growth. Meanwhile, Subway announced Welcome Break as its 2015 Non-Traditional Worldwide Developer of the Year at the brand’s 50th annual convention in Las Vegas. Subway praised Welcome Break’s efficient and professional launch of the brand in its sites, with 26 stores opened in 18 months. Furthermore, Welcome Break’s Dunkin’ Donuts team received the award for Development Excellence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Brands International’s 2015 Europe Regional Meeting, beating other teams from across the continent. In addition to the team’s operational performance, it was chosen because of the successful roll-out of Dunkin’ Donuts stores at 12 Welcome Break sites this year. Meanwhile, Burger King recognised Welcome Break for “Driving the Strongest Traffic results in 2015” for the UK and Ireland. This was made possible by the high level of focus on operations on the part of the team, and by making sure each and every guest received world-class service. Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie said: “This is a fantastic achievement for our brand teams, and demonstrates their commitment to ensuring consistently high standards and service excellence so customers have a great experience every time they visit us. We’ve invested heavily into our sites this year to offer customers a variety of popular, renowned food brands in comfortable surroundings and our partnerships with Starbucks, Subway, Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts have been integral to this. I’m pleased to see these brands are proving such a success at our sites and am keen to introduce them to more of our service stations in the future. It’s clear that we can generate fantastic results for these brands – we truly are the motorway services operator to beat!”

Broadland Wineries reports sales move past £50m: Sales have moved beyond the £50m mark at Norfolk-based wine producer and importer Broadland Wineries, with the company’s managing director linking the growth to investments in market research. Broadland Wineries completed its transition from a “UK contract packer” to a “UK wine supplier” in its latest financial year, the business said in its annual accounts. It invested approximately £300,000 in the research and staffing of the next phase of its development – becoming an international wine supplier. Broadland Wineries reported turnover of £51.2m for the year ended 31 March 2015, up from £42.3m a year earlier. But pre-tax profit fell from approximately £1.8m to £1.7m, partly as a result of the £300,000 investment. “Our growth this year has been actually mainly due to investments in market research, which led to new products that younger consumers like such as such as fruit fusion wines and chocolate wines,” managing director Mark Lansley told Insider Media. “But we are also seeing good growth in both our new and old world wines, which augurs well for our future in both the UK and in overseas markets.”

Marco Pierre White to open second central London restaurant: Celebrity chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White is to open his second central London restaurant next month. Marco’s New York Italian will be situated within the Mercure London Bridge hotel and will be the tenth new opening this year for his Black & White Hospitality franchise business. The family-friendly eatery is expected to open in December following a £200,000 refurbishment. When this latest venue opens, it will become the 11th Marco’s New York Italian in the UK and will be the fourth to be introduced at a Mercure hotel, following in the footsteps of Oxford, Stratford upon Avon and Leicester.

JD Wetherspoon opening new Helston pub today: JD Wetherspoon is opening its new pub in Helston, Cornwall, (population: 11,700) today (Tuesday, 23 November). The company is opening The Coinage Hall in Coinagehall Street on the site of the former furniture shop Oliver & Son’s, creating 60 jobs. It has spent more than £2m developing the site that is set over two floors and features an enclosed beer garden and roof terrace. The interior decoration celebrates the town’s history and heritage as well as featuring memorabilia relating to the pub’s name, such as bespoke coin tables and an original safe. Manager Matt Washington told the West Briton: “Myself and my team are looking forward to welcoming customers into the pub and we are confident that it will be a great addition to the Helston community.”

Ed’s Easy Diner opens new restaurant in Rugby: Ed’s Easy Diner has opened a new restaurant in Rugby, Warwickshire. The company has opened the 2,500 square foot site at the Elliot’s Field Shopping Park, which has undergone an £35m extension and redevelopment by its owner Hammerson. Ed’s Easy Diner chief executive Andrew Guy said: “Elliott’s Field Shopping Park represents a great opportunity for Ed’s, further extending our reach into the Midlands. The new redevelopment will hopefully attract a large number of people from all over Rugby.” The new look complex is anchored by a 60,000 square foot Debenhams store.

D&D London to reopen Sartoria early next month: D&D London is to reopen its Sartoria site in London’s Savile Row on Monday, 7 December after a refurbishment with Italian chef Francesco Mazzei at the helm as chef patron. The refurbishment sees the addition of a new bar and cicchetti counter, two private dining rooms as well as a wine cellar boasting 250 bins where head sommelier Michael Simms will host private wine tasting events. Mazzei has created an all-day dining menu including breakfast that will feature dishes from his native Calabria and other regions in Italy. The drinks list will comprise classics including Bellinis, Negronis and Spritzes, alongside some original creations, served from a bar packed with traditional vermouths and amaros.

Hakkasan to open two Yauatcha sites in US: UK-based restaurant and nightclub company Hakkasan Group is to add two new sites in the US next year as well as entering Indonesia. The new sites in malls at Houston and Honolulu will mark the entry into the US of the Yauatcha brand. “Hakkasan is the kind of operation where you dress up and splurge whereas at Yauatcha you can just pop in for a cup of tea and a pastry or a business meeting,” said Nick McCabe, Hakkasan Group president. “There is huge potential because it’s more scalable than Hakkasan. It’s always been my favorite brand in the portfolio.” Sales at Hakkasan have increased 600% since 2012 and it has sites in Miami, New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco, as well as cities including Mumbai, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Shanghai. In Houston, Yauatcha will open in partnership with Simon Property Group at the Houston Galleria. In Honolulu, it will open at the International Market Place, which is being developed by Taubman Centers and CoastWood Capital Group with Queen Emma Land. “It’s a great way for us to take the brand into the US,” McCabe said. “We have to learn how the US responds to the food offering and the experience. Yauatcha needs high volume to be profitable, which isn’t the case with Hakkasan. So we wanted to maximise the footfall of the kind of customers we want, and we know they will be in those malls.”

Michelin-starred chef to leave The Manor House: Michelin-starred chef Richard Davies will step down from his position as executive chef at The Manor House in Castle Combe in January. The Wiltshire hotel’s owner, Exclusive Hotels and Venues, has confirmed Davies will leave after eight-and-a-half years at the venue. During his time as executive chef, The Manor House, an exclusive hotel and golf club, has won a Michelin star and three AA rosettes. Davies previously worked at the Sawyards Restaurant in Storrington, West Sussex, where he achieved his first Michelin star. Davies said: “My decision to leave has been incredibly hard and I shall be enormously sad to leave. Exclusive has been a fantastic company to work for however, the time is now right for my career to move on and I am excited about what lies ahead in the future.”

Pieminister secures Nottingham site as it targets 30-strong estate:
Gourmet pie company Pieminister has added a site in Nottingham. The Bristol-based business, represented by Williams Gunter Hardwick, has taken over the 3,186 square foot premises at 57 Long Street, vacated by Boots 12 months ago. The prime city centre location is close to Nottingham’s Market Square and in the heart of the city’s dining offer. In total, Pieminister is looking to triple its current number of restaurants to 30 by 2020. Other targets include Bath, Brighton, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Liverpool, as well as further locations in London – such as Brixton, Clapham, Earls Court and Tooting. “Pieminister is offering something unique to every new location,” said William Gunter Hardwick director Stuart Williams. “Yes, they serve up some great food which pulls in the customers, but if you compare their different restaurants you’ll see that each new premises is designed differently and to fit seamlessly into the locale. They even vary the menu to take account of local tastes. It’s hardly surprising that each new outlet they’ve opened has exceeded initial turnover targets. You don’t get the sense of yet another brand imposing themself on the High Street, and I think that’s an interesting approach that other big names could learn from at a time when our society is consciously moving away from conformity.” Pieminister is continuing to seek ground floor premises of 1,800-4,000 square foot in a target list of over 20 locations. The next outlet is likely to be in Liverpool and options are also being investigated in Brixton and Edinburgh amongst others.

Gaucho launches new wholly exclusive wine list: Argentinian-inspired restaurant Gaucho has launched a wholly exclusive, fully-Argentinian wine list. Director of wine Phil Crozier has personally developed many of the wines himself through working with both new and established Argentine winemakers. The new list comprises of sections such as the: “Anatomy of a Vineyard”, highlighting how different aspects of the terroir, time of harvest and soil compositions, can affect the wine flavours and textures; and “Super Malbecs”, a category Crozier personally created to showcase the vineyard Malbecs. The list offers a total of 180 labels, all of which are only available from Gaucho. The wines are on offer to guests who dine and drink at the restaurants as well as being available to purchase and take home.

Young’s beats target as it raises £130,000 for Wooden Spoon: London pub retailer Young’s has raised £130,000 this year for Wooden Spoon – the children’s charity of rugby – in excess of its initial £100,000 target. The company raised the money during a series of activities including the creation of a Wooden Spoon beer where 20p from each pint was donated to the charity. Individual pubs did their bit by hosting fetes, quizzes and auctions. The initial £100,000 raised was donated to the HITZ Programme, which helps disadvantaged kids by giving them a second chance through education and vocational training. The additional £30,000 has bought a minibus for the Oasis Project, a charitable adventure playground in Stockwell. Retail director Patrick Dardis said: “It was important for us to work with a charity that is as passionate about rugby as us generating the perfect synergy and creating an energy throughout the pubs that our staff can truly appreciate.” The partnership was launched in January as part of Young’s celebrations of this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Celebrity chef Jun Tanaka opens first restaurant: Celebrity chef Jun Tanaka has opened his first restaurant in Charlotte Street, London. Tanaka, who features on television shows Cooking It and Saturday Kitchen, was the executive chef at Pearl Restaurant for eight years where he gained three AA Rosettes before establishing his own operation named The Ninth in honour of the fact it is the ninth site on his CV. He also spent a decade working with chefs such as the Roux Brothers, Marco Pierre White and Philip Howard. Tanaka has bought the lease on the former Nizuni eaterie for the French-Mediterranean-style restaurant with a menu designed for sharing and with a focus on pickling, brining and curling. Dishes include razor clam ceviche; pickled mussels with smoked paprika; and lamb en croute with truffles and whole sea bream with anchovy dressing. A downstairs bar serves cocktails, craft beers and wines. Tanaka has also created innovative mobile food business Street Kitchen with business partner and fellow chef Mark Jankel that has grown into four venues.

Propel and Elliotts partner for Advanced Marketing Masterclass: Propel is partnering leading sector public relations and marketing firm Elliotts for the inaugural Advanced Marketing Masterclass. The event takes place on Thursday, 14 January at One Moorgate Place in London. It will provide an insight into all aspects of marketing across the sector including how to develop and deliver effective digital initiatives and the best ways to recognise and tell a brand’s story to maximise its PR or social media potential. There will also be the latest insight into consumers’ behaviour to help companies develop marketing strategies around their customers as well as how to brief and work with an agency effectively. The event will feature contributions from Novus Leisure and Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana about some of the marketing initiatives they have used to improve results for their business. Elliotts strategy and development director James Hacon will also lead a panel discussion with marketing directors from leading brands. Tickets are priced at £295 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 for non-ALMR members and are available by emailing Adam Dickinson on

ALMR National Restaurant Association Study Tour to Chicago opens for bookings:
The Propel and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) 2016 Chicago Study Tour is now open for bookings. The trip, sponsored by CPL Training and Sky, takes place between Thursday, 19 May and Monday, 23 May 2016. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) draws 58,000-plus industry professionals from all 50 states and 100 countries, seeking the newest innovations and up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues. The ALMR trip provides: insights from industry experts on the rise in fast-casual dining, social media, new and emerging brands, menu development, staff management and a host of other issues – with 70 free education sessions at the NRA show. It also involves two tours of Chicago’s hottest concepts and a market overview briefing sessions from US experts. Paul Charity, managing director of Propel Info, said: “The NRA show combined with our tour of Chicago is a fantastic opportunity to find fresh inspiration and understand the emerging trends shaping the fast-changing US market.” To get more information or to book, email

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