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Mon 23rd Apr 2018 - Update: Sector executives launch artisan ketchup, YO! Sushi acquisition
Industry figures to launch artisan organic ketchup under resurrected Curtice Brothers banner: A group of restaurant leaders and food lovers, including former Vapiano executive board member Mario C Bauer and Sticks ‘n’ Sushi UK boss Andreas Karlsson, are set to launch an artisan organic ketchup under resurrected heritage brand Curtice Brothers. Curtice Brothers Ketchup will launch at London BBQ Feast, together with the world famous butcher and Bistecca Fiorentina icon Dario Cecchini from Tuscany, which is being held at D&D London’s iconic Bluebird restaurant in Chelsea on Tuesday, 15 May. Send an email to to get on the limited guest list. Bauer opened 200 Vapiano sites in 34 countries. During his travels he failed to find a ketchup outside mainstream brands. Together with five other restaurateurs – the “brotherhood” – he created a new organic ketchup recipe that contains 77% tomatoes. Bauer plans to initially focus on hotels, catering companies and restaurants in the UK, Germany, Austria and Spain where Curtice Brothers just signed a joint venture with BidFoods. The “Brothers” have invested about €750,000 so far, with current production volumes at 800,000 piccolos, as they call the 70g glass bottles. Bauer said the venture had received support from renowned figures in the industry such as restaurateur Rainer Becker (founder of Zuma, Roka, Oblix) and Pret A Manger chief executive Clive Schlee as well as Henry McGovern, founder and chief executive of AmRest. Bauer said: “Wherever you go you will be served the same ketchup. That was my wake-up call. We are not the Curtice Brothers, neither do we seek to replicate the original flavour because we don’t know the old recipes. What we are doing is attending to this legacy and melding it with our own philosophy – la dolce vita in a bottle. Our ketchup is 100% organic, cooked in Tuscany and contains 50% less sugar and salt than the average ketchup.” Brothers Simeon and Edgar Curtice founded the brand in 1868 in Rochester, New York, but the name was abandoned in the 1940s.

YO! Sushi to buy UK sushi supplier: The Times has reported YO! Sushi is to buy a leading supplier of sushi to British supermarkets.The Times reported: “YO! Sushi, which in November announced the C$100 million (£56 million) acquisition of the Toronto-based Bento Sushi, is buying Taiko Foods, a supplier of sushi, Asian food-to-go and dim sum to retailers including Waitrose and Costco. Founded in 1997, Taiko claims to have been the first maker of sushi for the UK supermarket sector. Until 2013 it was part of MCM Foods Manufacturing, a subsidiary of Mitsui & Co, one of Japan’s biggest trading companies. The group, which employs 220 workers at its factory in west London, will continue to be run under the Taiko brand by its present management.” YO! Sushi was acquired by Mayfair Equity Partners in 2015 for £81 million. It has 97 restaurants, of which 76 are in the UK. Buying Bento brought a business that runs more than 600 outlets across Canada and America. The Times added: “The acquisition of Taiko, which was for an undisclosed price, lifts the turnover of the enlarged YO! group to about £200 million and makes it one of the biggest buyers of fish, especially salmon, outside Japan.”

Chapel Down reports sales and Ebitda growth: Wine and beer maker Chapel Down has reported year on year sales up 15% to £11.796m (2016: £10.233m) in the year to 31 December 2017. Chapel Down Wine sales were up 20% to £8.119m (2016: £6.791m).Beer and Cider sales, in the associate company Curious Drinks Ltd, up 7% to £3.677m (2016: £3.442m).Continuing Ebitda rose 29% to £968k (2016: £750k) as is continues ‘to reinvest in our brands, infrastructure and supply’. Chairman John Dunsmore stated: “Your company continued to build its most important assets – its brands – through innovative and well executed marketing, high profile sponsorships and publicity and a differentiated and creative approach to all our activities. The new injection of £20m combined with the further enhancement of an outstanding management team is a measure of our intent. There is much to be done. We will be making substantial investments over the coming years in vineyards, the brewery, commercial infrastructure, people and marketing to ensure that we are best placed for future growth and any industry consolidation. Our assets are supportive of the business: land – and high quality vined land in particular – continues to appreciate; our brand assets are more valuable than ever; and our balance sheet is extremely strong. We enjoy the custom and support of our many shareholders who tell the Chapel Down story with energy and enthusiasm. Thank you for your faith, your continued encouragement and your enthusiastic support.”

Restaurant directors injected 49% more money into their businesses last year: Restaurant directors last year injected 49% more money in loans to their own enterprises just to keep them functioning, a new study by Funding Options found. The amount jumped from £129m to £192m, which is double the amount from 2012-2013, and according to the most recent Companies House filings, Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited alone owed £10.5m in loans to its directors. “Recent news about some larger restaurant chains’ finances could have made banks even more cautious when deciding whether to lend to businesses in the sector,” Conrad Ford, the Funding options founder and chief executive said. The research company said this lending cycle could possibly be an effect of Brexit and predicted that this trend may continue and worsen due to the country’s uncertain future consumer spending. Funding Options also noted that the costs of imported food and wine are now higher due to the collapse of sterling.

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