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Fri 29th Sep 2017 - Update: Chipotle UK results, D&D London appointment, hotel's Michelin star misery
Chipotle UK reports sales and profits ‘adversely impacted’ by food-borne illness incidents associated with US restaurants: Chipotle UK has reported sales and profits at its six-strong operation have been “adversely impacted” by the food-borne illness incidents associated with its sister restaurants in the US. The company saw turnover fall to £7,782,351 for the year ending 31 December 2016, compared with £8,192,487 the previous year. Pre-tax losses fell to £4,313,288 compared with a loss of £4,767,925 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Chipotle UK closed its restaurant in Wimbledon Hill Road during the period “due to low sales”. On 5 July 2016, Chipotle Mexican Grill UK effectively acquired the intellectual property in relation to the Chipotle business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for a purchase price of €7.8m. The company stated: “Comparable restaurant sales for the year were -6.8%. Comparable restaurant sales represent the change in period-over-period sales for restaurants beginning in their 13th full month of operation. Our sales and profitability were adversely impacted throughout 2016 as a result of a number of food-borne illness incidents associated with Chipotle restaurants in as many as 15 US states, which were widely reported during the fourth quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. Comparable restaurant sales decreases were driven by a fall in the number of transactions for the full-year 2016 and, to a lesser extent, by decreases in average transaction value. Our cost of sales for the full year of 2016 was £9.6m (2015: £9.6m), primarily consisting of restaurant level expenses. Refining our long-term supply strategy for our European locations remains an important objective. We also continue to focus on labour costs as we strengthen our teams and become more efficient in serving our customers. Gross loss for the full year of 2016 was £1.9m (2015: £1.4m), an increase in loss of 37% from the prior year. Administrative expenses for the full year were £2.6m (2015: £2.9m), a decrease of 9.12%, primarily resulting from a decrease in advertising and intercompany royalties and service costs. We will continue to develop opportunistically as our brand gains traction and we create a deep pipeline of future restaurant leaders.”

D&D London appoints executive chef for Bluebird brand ahead of expansion into White City: D&D London has appointed Simon Gregory as executive chef of its Bluebird brand ahead of the launch of a new restaurant in White City. Gregory, former executive chef of Gordon Ramsay Group, will look after D&D London’s flagship Bluebird Chelsea restaurant ahead of his launch of a new food offering and the White City opening in early 2018. Originally from Australia, Gregory moved to London in 2003 to work in Ramsay’s three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. He remained with Gordon Ramsay Group for 11 years, working his way up to executive chef. In 2014, he became executive chef of Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. Gregory said: “We are looking to take things to the next level with the offering and there are a lot of brilliant plans for the future, so to be part of the process is fantastic.” Earlier this week, D&D London announced it will open a flagship Bluebird clothing store and restaurant in Covent Garden early next year called The Shop At Bluebird. D&D London will also take Bluebird to New York next year by opening a site in Manhattan. D&D London owns and operates restaurants in London, Leeds, Paris, New York and Tokyo and the 80-bedroom South Place Hotel in London.

Scottish hotel asks to be stripped of Michelin star as ‘expectations at odds with achievable profit margins’: A Scottish country house hotel has asked to be stripped of its Michelin star as expectations are “at odds with achievable profit margins”. Boath House, near Nairn, which has held a Michelin star for the past ten years, said customers wanted a “more informal and relaxed” experience. The move follows a recent request by chef Sebastien Bras for his restaurant in Le Suquet, France, which has held three stars since 1999, to be dropped from the guide citing a wish to “start a new chapter”. Boath House owners Don and Wendy Matheson said they also wanted to “move Boath House in a new direction”. Wendy Matheson told the BBC: “While we are extremely proud of the Michelin star we gained ten years ago, and it undoubtedly enhanced our reputation, our restaurant has consistently made a loss. We believe the expectations from Michelin are at odds with achievable profit margins and put an enormous stress on a small, family-run business like ours. The feedback we hear time and again from customers is they want an experience that is more informal and relaxed.” The hotel has already made changes to its dining room to allow for “more approachable and less expensive options”. Rebecca Burr, editor of the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland, said: “There has certainly been a trend towards more informal dining over the past ten years or so and Michelin has been at the forefront of recognising and celebrating that.”

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