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Fri 1st Dec 2017 - Update: SSP, Sticks 'n' Sushi, Tim Hortons et al
SSP to acquire Germany-based travel catering business: Transport hub foodservice specialist SSP has agreed to acquire Stockheim, a travel catering business based in Germany. Stockheim operates 25 food and beverage outlets in airports and railway stations in the country, including in Düsseldorf and Cologne, and had sales in 2016 of about €30m. SSP said the acquisition would further strengthen its presence in travel locations across Germany, with the deal expected to complete in early 2018. Oliver Dörschuck, chief executive of SSP Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France, said: “We are delighted to have acquired Stockheim. The business has some great brands operating in some key locations across Germany.” The agreement is subject to prior clearance by the German anti-trust authorities. SSP operates at about 140 airports and 280 rail stations and more than 2,500 units in over 30 countries. It recently signed an agreement with London-based Grind for the independent coffee and cocktail bar to launch in airports and train stations nationally and abroad.

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi to open seventh UK site, in Victoria next week: Japanese restaurant brand Sticks ‘n’ Sushi is to open its fifth London restaurant and seventh in the UK, in Victoria next week. The venue will open in the Nova development on Friday, 8 December featuring two open-plan dining areas over two floors, with the upper floor set under a canopy of arches reminiscent of monastic cloisters. A private dining room seating 16 will be available for larger groups and special events, while the standalone bar will offer coffee and cocktails. Sticks ‘n’ Sushi group chief operating officer Andreas Karlsson said: “For thousands of people every day, Victoria is their gateway to London – a city we have come to love as much as our home city of Copenhagen. We would be happy to think that before they start discovering London they will first stop here for a taste of Tokyo, via Copenhagen.” Sticks ‘n’ Sushi was founded by half-Danish, half-Japanese brothers Jens and Kim Rahbek and Thor Andersen in Denmark in 1994. The company’s first London site opened in Wimbledon in 2012. Sticks ‘n’ Sushi’s other UK sites are in Covent Garden, Greenwich, Canary Wharf, Cambridge and Oxford.

Tim Hortons to launch debut UK drive-thru and first site in England as one of several openings in Manchester area: Tim Hortons, the Canadian cafe and bake shop owned by Restaurant Brands, is to open its first UK drive-thru, in Manchester, as part of a number of restaurant openings it plans in and around the city. SK Group, which is leading the UK roll-out of Tim Hortons, will open the restaurant in Bury New Road, which will also feature a regional training academy. The company said it would be the first of several openings in the Manchester area, with “full details revealed in due course”. The first UK Tim Hortons restaurant opened in Argyle Street, Glasgow, in early June and the brand has since added a second site in the city – at the Silverburn shopping centre – and also opened a venue in Cardiff. Kevin Hydes, chief finance and commercial officer of the Tim Hortons franchise in the UK, said: “Tim Hortons Drive-Thru is a major part of Canadian culture and we think the UK is going to love our great-tasting coffee and quality food, served quickly and with a smile. The buzz around our recent Glasgow and Cardiff openings was phenomenal and we couldn’t be more excited to open our first drive-thru, and our first restaurant in England.” Tim Hortons, which plans up to 100 UK sites, was founded in 1964 by its namesake, a professional ice hockey player who wanted to create a space where “everyone would feel at home”.

Kerb launches talent scheme to nurture up-and-coming street food traders: Street food business Kerb has launched a talent scheme to help up-and-coming street food traders grow into fully fledged businesses. The InKERBator scheme will have a fresh batch of recruits every three months and bring them up to “full Kerb standards”. Kerb, which celebrated its fifth anniversary in October, said the scheme would give early-stage businesses with raw talent but little experience the chance to accelerate their growth while giving Londoners a regular injection of new street food to enjoy. Traders taking part in the scheme include Growlers, which serves Portuguese “pregos”. Previous Kerb traders include Pizza Pilgrims, co-founded by Thom and James Elliot, and Taiwanese restaurant Bao. Kerb founder Petra Barran said: “So much has happened in five years from our launch in 2012. We’ve seen things expand and shift, mutate and multiply in the street food world but the great people at the heart of it have remained as brilliant and creative as ever – the old guard, the new kids, the chefs, dabblers and entrepreneurs.” Kerb recently reopened its Camden Market space following a refurbishment where it has also launched a new concept – Kerb Counter – to expand its offer into the evening. The cafe bar concept is licensed so customers can enjoy wine, beer and cocktails with food bought from the market. Kerb also runs a fortnightly market in Paddington, lunchtime markets at West India Quay, London Bridge and King’s Cross, and a weekly event at the Gherkin.

Di Maggio’s Group owners acquire Loch Lomond restaurant: Mario Gizzi and Tony Conetta, who own Scottish restaurant operator Di Maggio’s Group, have acquired a restaurant near Loch Lomond. Gizzi and Conetta have joined forces with fellow industry veterans Paul Sloan and Calum MacLachlainn to acquire Home On The Loch in the village of Arrochar on the banks of Loch Lomond. Sloan and MacLachlainn founded Diversity Leisure Group in 2006, a pub and hotel operator based in Oban. Together, the four have opened many concepts in Scottish cities including the highly successful Pinto brand that was sold off-market to Barburrito. The restaurant has been closed for some time, presenting the new owners with an opportunity to further develop the restaurant or relaunch it under a new brand. The restaurant was sold in excess of the asking price. Josh Hill, business agent at Christie & Co’s Glasgow office, who brokered the sale, said: “Scotland has seen a significant increase in the number of overseas visitors, with a growth of 17% between 2005 and 2016. As Home On The Loch is on the banks of Loch Lomond, one of many well-known tourist routes in Scotland, I am sure the new owners will make a great success of their new business venture.” Di Maggio’s Group owns 18 restaurants across Scotland, including Amarone and Café Andaluz.

Bristol-based craft brewer Moor Beer secures London base: Bristol-based craft brewer Moor Beer has secured a base in south east London. The company has acquired a 2,000 square foot site in Enid Street, Bermondsey. It will open this month, initially as a pop-up taproom and warehouse. A refurbishment will start in early 2018 with the site opening in February. Justin Hawke, owner and head brewer, said: “Getting the keys to our new London base means we will increase and improve the supply of our products to a really big market, as well as get involved in an area renowned for its brewing culture. In Enid Street we are neighbours with some other great breweries such as Brew By Numbers and The Kernel Brewery. We are investing heavily in more equipment so we can also use the new space to do more barrel-aging of our beers, giving our products the time they deserve for the best result. We are excited about how this will support our development and plans to grow. Having a London presence, as well as in our home town base in Bristol, is perfect to help us move forward – 2018 and beyond is a great prospect for extending the quality beers we can offer.” Earlier this year, Moor Beer reported turnover was up 74% on 2016 and recently became the first brewer to continuously supply British cask beer to the Italian market, one of 20 countries it exports to.

Pubs should be exempt from any deposit scheme, says BBPA: The brewing and pub industry has a good record on recycling and should be exempt from any deposit scheme that might emerge from the current government consultation, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has argued. The BBPA believes that on current evidence a universal deposit scheme on all beverage containers would create “another unnecessary pressure for the industry”. It argued that the pub industry causes only a small proportion of litter and waste, with glass bottles and aluminium cans widely recycled. The BBPA also operates SUSTAIN, a not-for-profit packaging waste compliance scheme specifically within the drinks industry, and has worked with the Waste and Resources Action Programme and Incpen to reduce overall waste and packaging in the hospitality sector. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simonds said: “It is right the government should focus on plastic waste from on-the-go consumption. The beer and pub industry contributes a significant amount to the current recycling infrastructure through the Packaging Return Note system, ensuring a high rate of recycling of glass bottles and cans. With 93% of beer sales in pubs poured from reusable kegs and casks, this also displaces billions of individual containers each year. A deposit scheme would impose new costs on pubs, which already face big financial pressures. It is important pubs are exempt from any deposit scheme.”

The Guardian appoints Grace Dent as new restaurant critic: The Guardian has appointed Grace Dent as its new restaurant critic. Dent will write a weekly restaurant review, with her first column appearing in January. She joins from the Evening Standard, where she writes the restaurant column Grace & Flavour, and the Independent, where she writes a weekly Voices column. Dent is also presenter of The Untold show on BBC Radio 4 and a regular face at the critics’ table on MasterChef. She has produced and presented documentaries for Channel 4 and Sky Atlantic as well as publishing 12 books. Dent wrote for the Guardian from 1999 to 2012, contributing columns such as TVOD and World of Lather. She said: “I am incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved with Grace & Flavour and its reach and influence across the London food scene. It’s a warm feeling to rejoin the Guardian and be part of its widely read, well-respected food coverage.” Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief at Guardian News & Media, added: “You never know quite what’s going to happen when you start reading a Grace Dent food column. They’re always full of exuberance and fun and the sheer joy of going out to eat. Her new column will be a must-read addition to the Guardian’s award-winning team of food writers and critics.”

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