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Fri 23rd Jun 2017 - Unsecured creditors of Burger King franchisees set for £20m hit
Unsecured creditors of Burger King franchisees set for £20m hit: Unsecured creditors of two Ipswich-headquartered companies that together operate more than 30 Burger King outlets across the UK are likely to face a shortfall of almost £20m, it has been revealed. Millcliffe and CPL Foods were placed in administration on 7 April 2017 under the control of Nick Cropper, Ryan Grant and Catherine Williamson, of AlixPartners, as joint administrators. The businesses employed about 870 staff and operated a total of 53 fast food restaurants, 36 of which trade under the Burger King brand while 17 trade under other independent brands, including El Taco Loco, Real Cafe, Pizza Neo and Roosters. The administrators said all the outlets would continue to trade while “all possible options for a sale of all or parts of the business” were explored. In their progress update, which was filed at Companies House, the administrators said three best and final offers had been received. The report also revealed Millcliffe and CPL Foods entered administration owing about £9.8m and £9.7m respectively to unsecured creditors, and a total of about £9.7m to secured creditor Allied Irish Banks, which is “unlikely to receive the full amount owed”. Although estimating likely returns to creditors is “difficult at this stage”, the administrators said unsecured creditors of the businesses were likely to receive less than one pence in the pound. At the time of their appointment, the administrators said they were called in after the companies experienced cash flow pressure, primarily because of delays in developing and opening new stores. The businesses experienced a “period of rapid expansion” from 2013 to 2016 and the number of restaurants in their portfolios rose rapidly as new sites were sourced and developed for restaurant openings. The strategy was to ultimately create businesses with turnovers in the region of £20m per annum. However, some of the sites became delayed in “going live” because of building and planning issues. At some of these locations, the companies had already hired staff in anticipation of them opening, which meant they were left with the costs of the sites but no income. In addition, the trading performance at existing sites was “significantly below” expectations. As a result of these issues, there were severe cash shortages across the businesses and the companies used a variety of external finance sources to temporarily manage cash flow. A winding-up petition was issued by HM Revenue & Customs relating to unpaid taxes of more than £600,000.

Adam Handling launches coffee shop and deli concept Bean & Wheat in Liverpool Street: The Frog group founder Adam Handling, a former MasterChef: The Professionals finalist, has launched coffee shop and deli concept Bean & Wheat just off Artillery Lane in London’s Liverpool Street area. Bean & Wheat uses only locally sourced, artisanal ingredients and maintains Handling’s “no waste” philosophy. The venue is open for breakfast and lunch to eat in or take away and utilises off-cuts and by-products from The Frog E1, Handling’s debut site, and from The Frog’s flagship restaurant that will open in Covent Garden in September. Fillings will change daily but include duck liver parfait, created from livers that would otherwise be wasted from the 200 ducks The Frog uses every month. Pork off-cuts also create a pork terrine, while a bean hummus is drizzled with an oil made using the tops of herbs usually discarded. The cafe also offers salads made from seasonal vegetable off-cuts, while bread is baked locally using London-milled flour. Drinks feature blended and single origin coffees from independent London roasters, teas from Newby Teas, and Handling’s own Black & White cold-pressed juice range, which utilises misshapen fruit and vegetables rejected by restaurants. Handling said: “Restaurants tend to waste so much food on a day-to-day basis and we are trying to tackle this. In the next few years we hope to reach zero-waste status.”

Maitre Choux to start expansion with Soho opening for second London site: Maitre Choux, the patisserie specialising in choux pastry, is to start expansion by opening a second site in London. The venue, which will open in Dean Street, Soho, in October, will be larger than Maitre Choux’s debut site in South Kensington. It will feature a spacious seating area allowing diners to enjoy their pastries with tea, coffee or a thick hot chocolate made from a Basque recipe devised by founder Joakim Prat’s grandmother. Prat launched the concept two years ago, which offers freshly made eclairs, choux and chouquettes (empty choux pastry balls topped with pearl sugar). Eclairs include lemon meringue and bergamot, Spanish raspberry, and hazelnut and milk chocolate treasure, alongside regularly changing specials. Prat has worked at a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, including Mayfair’s The Greenhouse, where he was head pastry chef, and as executive pastry chef at Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier in Covent Garden.

Restaurants Brands International becomes latest fast food company to end antibiotic use in chicken supply: Restaurant Brands International has become the latest fast food company to vow to cut the use of antibiotics in its chicken supply. It said it intends to switch its Burger King and Tim Hortons chains in the US and Canada to chicken raised without the use of antibiotics important to human medicine by the end of 2018. The company, which bought Popeyes Louisiana Chicken this year, said it intends to eventually apply the new policy to all brands, reports Reuters. About 70% of antibiotics vital for fighting infections in humans are sold for use in meat and dairy production. Medical researchers have concerns that overuse of these drugs on farms may diminish their effectiveness in fighting disease in humans. McDonald’s and KFC are among the companies that have already made commitments to reduce the use of antibiotics in the poultry they buy.

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