Story of the Day:
Two high-profile Newcastle venues bought out of administration in pre-pack deal: Two high-profile Newcastle venues have been bought out of administration in a pre-pack deal. Administrators were called in to Fat Buddha and Antler – both based at 55 Degrees North in Pilgrim Street – on Friday (9 August) little more than a year after they opened. Former Sunderland AFC commercial director and head of Club Wembley Gary Hutchinson bought Fat Buddha from Bob Senior in 2017 as the first focus for his firm Chrysalis Leisure. He then formed a joint venture with London investors PAGH Ventures to run the operation, ploughing £750,000 into a transformation of the venue that was unveiled in June 2018, with Fat Buddha joined by new Alpine-themed concept Antler. However Steve Ross and Matthew Higgins, of RSM Restructuring Advisory, who were appointed joint administrators of Fat Buddha Newcastle Limited and PAGH Newcastle Limited, have sold the venues in a pre-pack deal. Chronicle Live said the transfer-of-licence document submitted to Newcastle City Council suggested the new owners to be fast-growing developer High Street Group, which has applied to take over the licence under the name 55 HSG Hospitality Limited. High Street Group, which was founded by Gary Forrest, includes a hospitality division that operates a number of hotels under the Hotel 52 brand and about 15 bars and restaurants. Ross said: “The deal saves two prominent bars on Newcastle’s hospitality scene, which is not only good news for local jobs but it will ensure continuity of service for Fat Buddha and Antler customers.” A message on the Fat Buddha Facebook site reads: “Fat Buddha has closed its doors and will reopen with a whole new look and fresh brand at the beginning of October. If you have a booking at Fat Buddha during our makeover, we will accommodate you in our sister venue Antler.”
Sector training awards open for entries, three new categories for 2019:
The National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs), run by the British Institute of Innkeepers (BII), is open for entries – with three new categories added for 2019. The event, organised in partnership with Propel, highlights individuals and businesses in the sector who put their people first. The BII recognises the importance of raising standards and professionalism across the industry as well as sharing best practice in training and people development. Successful NITAs entrants will be those that provide really great training – be they individuals, training organisations or sector companies. Judges will look for examples of those that truly put people at the heart of what they do – investing in their teams, innovating, motivating and striving for training excellence. Three new categories have been added this year – HR Manager of the Year under 30 outlets, HR Manager of the Year 30 outlets and over
, and Most Innovative Recruitment Strategy
. They join the other categories of Best Managed Training Programme Companies under 50 outlets; Best Managed Training Programme Companies 50 outlets and over; Professional Trainer of the Year; Best Apprenticeship Training Programme; Best Casual Dining Training Programme; Best Training Programme – Leased & Tenanted Companies
; and the Franca Knowles Lifetime Achievement Award
, which is an industry recognition award. The winner of the Franca Knowles Lifetime Achievement Award will be chosen by a panel led by Keith Knowles, chief executive and founder of Beds and Bars. The award will identify and recognise an individual who leads by example and can demonstrate people are at the core of what they do. The award is in memory of the late Franca Knowles, who was a multiple winner of NITA awards and passionate about people and training. BII chief executive Mike Clist said: “The NITAs are a key platform that not only help us highlight how vital the training and development of staff is to our industry but, crucially, demonstrate hospitality can offer individuals a rewarding and varied career – it’s so much more than just a job. Our newest categories reflect the advances in recruitment and retention of staff in the industry and the businesses that deliver outstanding mentorship and development for their people.” Entrants have until Friday, 13 September to complete their entries and can enter more than one category. Criteria for each award and registration forms can be found on the NITAs page at www.bii.org
. Each category will have a judging panel consisting of industry experts. Finalists will be announced before the end of September and will need to attend the final NITAs judging day at Wyboston Lakes in Bedfordshire on Thursday, 31 October.
Deliveroo pulls out of Germany: Deliveroo is pulling out of Germany in a move that reduces pressure on rivals such as Takeaway.com. Deliveroo, which will cease operations in Germany on Friday, promised to provide “adequate compensation” to restaurants, staff and riders. The FT stated: “The decision to pull out of Germany comes at a time of intense competition and frantic M&A activity in the food delivery sector as companies push for greater scale and, in some cases, a narrower geographical focus. Earlier this month Takeaway.com and Just Eat agreed to create the largest online food delivery business outside China, surpassing rival UberEats. The two European companies agreed a deal that valued London-based Just Eat’s equity at about £5bn. Exiting Germany is an acknowledgment by Deliveroo that Takeaway.com has emerged as a hard-to-beat leader in the notoriously difficult market. The Dutch group acquired the German operations of Berlin-based Delivery Hero for €930m in cash and shares last year, creating a new leading food delivery group in Europe’s largest economy.”
Sunday pub roast ranks sixth most unmissable UK experience: A traditional Sunday roast in the pub has been named the sixth most unmissable experience in the UK by travel guide Lonely Planet. Its new book, Ultimate United Kingdom Travelist, ranks the top 500 unmissable experiences and hidden gems across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. The book states: “Fewer and fewer people in Britain start Sunday with a trip to church but the roast lunch is still a lock. For visitors, it’s a must-do experience. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a centuries-old, windowless pub in London or a large country inn with tables sprawling over a lawn, you’ll be among friends and families laughing, drinking beer and tucking into plates of hot sliced roast beef or pork, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and assorted vegetables, all slathered in gravy. Warming, filling and indulgent, it’s comfort food par excellence but, more than that, it’s a reassuring experience, a weekly ritual where the nation stops time, staves off the start of the working week and lives in the moment. Grab a plate and take your fill.” Edinburgh Festival Fringe was named in top spot as the “greatest show of arts and culture on earth”, with London’s British Museum in second for free entry to see “treasures from across the globe”. The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, which is the country’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, was third followed by two Roman experiences – the baths in Bath and Hadrian’s Wall. Other food and drink experiences on the list included London’s Borough Market (16th), a full English breakfast (68th), fresh seafood from the dayboats at Cromer in Norfolk (71st), a balti in Birmingham (87th), Whitstable Oyster Festival (92nd), Nottingham pub Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem (107th) and the Bermondsey Beer Mile (111th). Late last year Lonely Planet named two UK restaurants – The Fishmarket in Edinburgh and The Civilisations Supperclub in London – in its first list of unmissable food experiences. Lonely Planet said food and drink was an “intrinsic part of travel”.
UKHospitality – phased roll-out of SCA will provide more time to find workable solutions: UKHospitality has welcomed the decision by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to introduce a phased roll-out of strong customer authentication (SCA). UKHospitality and its members have been pushing for more time before the introduction of SCA to allow businesses to get to grips with the new measures and for this to be communicated to customers to avoid failed online transactions. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The decision to implement a phased roll-out of strong customer authentication is extremely helpful for the sector. UKHospitality, along with its members, has been pushing for more time before the enforcement of the new measures and it is good to see the FCA recognise and support the collaborative industry response. We welcome measures to address online fraud but it is clear the whole payments system needs more time, including communicating these changes to customers. This announcement gives us breathing room to ensure we don’t hit a payments cliff-edge, which would have damaged the sector and the UK’s tourism industry. It also provides an opportunity to look at the specific issues faced by hotels, including bookings from overseas and the complex payment environment for hotels. More work needs to be done to ensure customer authentication is not only safe and secure but also practicable and workable for businesses and customers. UKHospitality has been working hard with its members and the FCA to make sure we achieve this. We will continue to do so and will draw on industry expertise.”
Craft Beer Rising founders to launch BrewLDN beer festival in February: Craft Beer Rising founders Daniel Rowntree and Chris Bayliss have announced the dates for new beer event BrewLDN, which will take place at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, east London, from 27 to 29 February 2020. It will build on the success of Craft Beer Rising, which Rowntree and Bayliss launched in 2013. BrewLDN will “showcase the world’s best brewers, quality street food and a fantastic music programme”. Bayliss said: “Craft Beer Rising was an incredible journey and something the team are all proud of. We are keen to take those learnings to deliver the ultimate trade and consumer show in the UK. We’ll take this opportunity to start something new, with independent ownership and a renewed mission based on how the industry has evolved over the past few years. Innovation in brewing and discovering new tastes and trends are central to our ethos, as is championing diversity and sustainability within the industry. Annually we expect to welcome 8,000 consumers and 4,000 trade guests across the three-day event.” Craft Beer Rising is now owned by C&C Group.
European hotel industry reports construction up 52% in July: The European hotel industry has reported a 52.4% increase in the number of rooms under construction in July compared with last year. STR’s hotel pipeline data for Europe showed 1,504 projects accounting for 192,352 rooms in construction last month. A majority of the rooms in construction are in three segments. Of those, unaffiliated projects represented the largest year-on-year increase (100.3%) to 56,174 rooms. Projects in the upscale segment rose 37.4% to 41,143 rooms, while upper midscale increased 34.1% to 31,739 rooms. The country with the highest number of rooms under construction was Germany, with 52,704 rooms (7.9% of supply), followed by the UK (42,260 rooms, 6.3%).
Teams sought for 2020 Drinks Trade Regatta: Teams are being sought for the brewing industry’s annual sailing event, the Drinks Trade Regatta. The 30th regatta will take place from Friday, 5 June to Sunday, 7 June 2020 on the Solent. Teams are asked to donate £1,000 to charity with the top three contributors able to donate a percentage (first place 50%, second 30% and third 20%) to a charity of their choice. Last year 18 teams took part and raised a combined £22,000 for charity. The teams will depart from Port Solent, Portsmouth, on a fleet of Sunsail yachts to Cowes on the Isle of Wight to compete in seven races over two days. More details on yachts and pricing will be sent out in due course. For more information, call Sunsail account manager Terry Hunt on 02392 222 221.
Bourne Leisure reports turnover slightly ahead: Turnover was buoyed by “improved trading” at the company behind Haven, Warner Leisure Hotels and Butlin’s during its latest financial year, although profits slipped. Bourne Leisure is headquartered in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. It has Butlin’s resorts in Bognor Regis, Skegness and Minehead and almost 40 Haven parks along the coast of England, Wales and Scotland. Warner Leisure Hotels are located in Somerset, Hampshire, Suffolk, Berkshire, Nottinghamshire, Herefordshire, Cheshire, North Wales, North Yorkshire and the Isle of Wight. In the year to 31 December 2018, turnover rose from £1.03bn to £1.05bn. The company said the 2.2% increase, along with a 1.5% rise in operating profit, was down to “improved trading”. However, it was affected by heavy snowfall and cold weather in February 2018, which led to cancelled breaks and lower bookings. This was followed by one of the hottest summers on record. Pre-tax profits dipped to £153.4m from £155.1m, while profits after tax were £121.7m, down from £142.1m due to an increased tax charge. During the year, Bourne Leisure invested £242.9m, up from £150.9m in 2017, which included spending on hire fleet, pitches, entertainment complexes and swimming pools at its caravan parks and accommodation at Warner Leisure Hotels and Butlin’s.
TRG launches exam results offers for Chiquito and Frankie & Benny’s: The Restaurant Group (TRG) has launched offers for students celebrating their exam results for its Chiquito and Frankie & Benny’s brands. A-level students will receive their results on Thursday (15 August) and GCSE students a week later. On those days they can claim a free tortilla dish from Chiquito, regardless of their grades. Students can choose chimichanga, tacos, enchilada or a burrito by showing their results and student ID between 15 and 17 August and 22 and 24 August. Chiquito managing director Angelo Gabrilatsou said: “For 30 years we’ve supported students with our ‘always on’ 25% off for students. This year we wanted to give something back so all Higher, A-level and GCSE students will receive free food on results day.” Meanwhile, Frankie & Benny’s will give away free main courses to A-level students when they order a bottle of Coca-Cola or pint of Budweiser. TRG is also encouraging students to discuss job opportunities at its Frankie & Benny’s sites. Frankie & Benny’s senior brand and partnerships manager Gabriele Barysaite said: “Commiserate with friends, family and treat yourself to your Frankie’s favourites. While you sink your teeth into your burger, Frankie and Benny’s is here to talk to you about job opportunities – whether apprenticeships, part-time or full-time.”
Cutter & Squidge to open Victoria site for third venue: Cutter & Squidge, the sister-owned Soho bakery, is set to expand south of the river with a pop-up in Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria. The venue will open on Thursday, 22 August to continue a year of growth for a business started by Annabel and Emily Lui, who began with a market stall at St Paul’s before opening a permanent site in Brewer Street, Soho, in 2015. They opened a second site in February this year at the Royal Exchange building in the City of London. The brand offers freshly baked cakes, brownies, macarons, cake truffles, cookies and afternoon tea, while the Victoria shop will offer a bespoke limited edition biskie – a cross between a cookie and a cake made into a sandwich. The Royal Biskie is flavoured with strawberry, vanilla, lychee and rose with a little bit of 24-carat gold leaf. Cutter & Squidge will also publish its first book, Afternoon Tea At The Cutter & Squidge Bakery, in October.
Bear to launch debut shopping centre site in Derby for fifth coffee shop: Midlands-based cafe bar concept Bear is to make its shopping centre debut by opening a site at Intu Derby. The 3,000 square foot venue will be Bear’s fifth coffee shop when it opens next month. Craig Bunting and Michael Thorley founded Bear five years ago inspired by Australia’s coffee shop culture to create a speciality coffee, casual dining and craft cocktail offer for the UK market. They hope to open 30 sites in the next five years. Bunting said: “We have traded successfully on the high street for a few years so we’re excited to take space within such a hugely popular shopping centre for the first time. This forms part of our expansion strategy as we explore how a proudly independent business like Bear can flourish within a high-footfall retail and leisure destination such as Intu Derby. Our ambition has always been to create something different for the UK by offering sociable spaces with a coffee-focused, all day and evening offer so we think we can complement Intu Derby’s great mix of brands.” Intu regional managing director Nick Round added: “Bear is an exciting concept that will offer a fantastic new experience for Intu Derby.” Bear already operates a site in Derby – in Iron Gate – with its other outlets in Stone, Uttoxeter and within Jack Wills’ flagship store in Soho.
BrewDog launches Punk Day for investors as fund-raise nears £6m: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched an annual rewards day for its Equity Punk investors. Punk Day will take place on the first Saturday in September. BrewDog stated: “The support we have been shown by our legion of shareholders has been amazing, particularly for those who have gone the extra mile and invested £1,000 or more into the company we now own together. These are our Alpha Dogs and to thank those who have reached this mark in the most recent round of Equity for Punks we are introducing a new annual tradition. We are emailing a code to all BrewDog Equity Punks who have invested £1,000 or more in this latest round of Equity for Punks or those who have increased their shareholding in this round to reach that figure. They can take it to their nearest BrewDog bar on Punk Day – which this year is set to take place on Saturday, 7 September. Show that code to our bar crew and you can redeem it for a thank you meal on us. All new Alpha Dogs (and those on above tiers) will score a free meal and two free drinks for them and the same for a guest.” The latest Equity for Punks campaign aims to raise £7m and has a stretch goal of £50m. Last month the company extended it to April 2020. So far, more than 27,800 investors have pledged almost £6m.
Property company launches hotel management arm: Property development company Henley Homes has launched a hotel management arm with a portfolio that will include a venue in Cambridge. The Hobson in St Andrews Street will comprise 59 rooms once complete. It is set within a former police station near the banks of the River Cam. Other hotels under Rogue City Hotel Group will be Dunalistair Hotel Suites in the Scottish Highlands and another new-build venue, The Wellington in Glasgow. Nassar Khalil, who co-founded Rogue City and is chief executive of the business, said: “I co-founded Rogue City Hotel Group to disrupt the status quo in conventional hospitality by delivering an alternative luxury hotel brand that fully aligns its interest with that of its guests. Our primary focus is to make design-led luxury accommodation and exceptional service accessible to all demographics through an affordable pricing policy.”
Ghetto Golf founders open second Birdies Bar, in Birmingham: The founders of Liverpool-based cocktails and mini-golf concept Ghetto Golf have opened a second site for their beach bar-themed concept Birdies Bar, in Birmingham. Kip Piper and Danny Bolger have opened the venue next to their Ghetto Golf site at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. The 300-capacity bar features tropical island-influenced decor including fake palm trees and colourful paintings on wood for a “surf shack feel”. The drinks list includes cocktails, spirits, beer and wine, while the barbecue menu comes from street food trader Apocalypse Cow, which also provides food at Ghetto Golf. Piper told Birmingham Live: “Since we opened Ghetto Golf in Digbeth two years ago we’ve been warmly welcomed into the area and setting up Birdies Bar next door was the perfect step.” Bolger added: “Our second Birdies Bar is inspired by a resort-style getaway with a laid-back vibe, ideal for casual drinks or a night of dancing. We’re excited to finally open our doors after months of planning in a bid to create Birmingham’s best bar.” Piper and Bolger launched Ghetto Golf in 2016. It also operates a site in Newcastle.
Black Bear Burger to open debut bricks and mortar site, in Brixton Village: Black Bear Burger, operated by husband and wife Liz and Stew Down, is to open its first bricks and mortar site, in Brixton Village, south London. The concept has been operating at Broadway Market, Boxpark Shoreditch and Kerb but will launch a first restaurant in the autumn in Market Row. The brand’s burgers are made using grass-fed and dry-aged beef sourced from native breeds raised in the south west. The menu includes the Black Bear burger (aged beef patty with American cheese, onion jam, pancetta and garlic mayo), buttermilk-fried chicken nuggets with buffalo and blue cheese dipping sauce, and buffalo wings with house-made blue cheese dip. The move to bricks and mortar means the menu will also expand to include chicken and vegan burgers, brisket spring rolls and smoked barbecue specials, Hot Dinners reports. The Brixton spot will also have an alcohol licence to offer cocktails, jugs of beer and shots.
YO! appoints Pablo to move further away from sushi-only tag: Global multi-brand, multi-channel Japanese food group YO! has enlisted agency Pablo to communicate to customers how much it has diversified its menus and product range. The company officially dropped the “Sushi” from its logo three years ago and Pablo will be tasked with creating a long-term multi-platform campaign that ensures customers know sushi accounts for only 30% of YO!’s menu. The agency will also be charged with promoting its range of supermarket sauces and Tesco kiosks as well as its recently opened White City concept restaurant, reports The Drum. At the end of July, YO! chief executive Richard Hodgson said: “In the UK in particular we’ve spent the year identifying how to leverage our new combined knowledge to create new formats and products to broaden our appeal among UK consumers.”
SSP brings healthy eating concept Dean & David to Bremen: SSP Group, the UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist, has opened a site for fresh food brand Dean & David at Bremen airport. The venue is next to the entrance of Terminal 1 and will also cater for people working in the nearby Airport City business district. Customers can choose to eat in or take away from a menu that includes Asian curries, soup, “good life” bowls, salads, wraps and grilled sandwiches. Dean & David opened its first store 12 years ago in Munich and recently opened units in Austria and Switzerland. Michael Glatz, head of business development at SSP Germany, said: “Dean & David is a young, trendsetting fast-casual concept that, thanks to its partnership with SSP, serves travellers at several German train stations and airports.” SSP operates three other units at Bremen airport – beer bar Roland, Time Out snack bar and Kamps Backstube bakery. The move comes as global information company The NPD Group revealed the value of the UK’s travel hub foodservice market increased more than 11% for the year ending June 2019, from £2.47bn to £2.75bn. Visits were up from 576 million to 619 million, an increase of more than 7%.
Barbecue brand Prairie Fire to launch residency at revamped London Fields Brewery: Kansas City-style barbecue brand Prairie Fire will launch a six-month residency at the newly refurbished London Fields Brewery in Hackney next month. Founded in 2013 by Michael Gratz, Prairie Fire took a permanent residency at Mercato Metropolitano in Borough in 2016 and operates at food markets and festivals throughout London. The residency will see Prairie Fire serve a range of smoked meat including 14-hour applewood-smoked pork in a bun, smoked chicken wings, and its signature 16-hour hickory-smoked brisket. Meat platters designed for sharing include pulled pork and sausage as well as vegetarian options. Dishes will be paired with London Fields’ new brewery-fresh tank beer. Gratz said: “We’re really excited to open at London Fields Brewery and introduce east London to traditional slow-smoked Kansas City-style barbecue. The brewery is going to be fantastic and we’re looking forward to pairing our dishes with a range of new and innovative craft beers. Nothing goes better with barbecue than a good beer!”
Luxury Lake District hotel and spa sold: The Rothay Garden Hotel & Riverside Spa in Grasmere, Ambleside, has been acquired for an undisclosed price by Fairtree International on behalf of a private investor in partnership with Providence Hospitality. The venue comprises 30 luxury bedrooms and has been owned for the same number of years by Chris Carss, who was the driving force behind the development of a new garden restaurant and riverside spa. Carss now aims to retire from hotel-keeping after 45 years in the industry but has other business interests to work on. “I have really enjoyed getting to know the teams at Fairtree International and Providence Hospitality and am delighted Rothay Garden will remain in safe and capable hands,” he said. “A bright new chapter is beginning for the hotel, its staff and guests.” Fairtree International and Providence Hospitality have a strong track record of owning and operating boutique and niche hotels. Providence co-founder Joe Bester said: “We aim to be well represented country-wide and establish a reputation as one of the top hotel operators in the UK and South Africa. We plan to continue growing our quality portfolio in the UK and the addition of Rothay Garden is a great step towards that.”
Halal Guys opens second UK site: US street food brand The Halal Guys has opened its second UK site. Restaurant operator ITICO F+B, which owns franchise rights for The Halal Guys in the UK, has opened the venue in London’s Earl’s Court, adding to the brand’s debut European restaurant that opened near Leicester Square in the spring. ITICO F+B is targeting 20 Halal Guys sites across the UK within five years. The brand offers a basic menu of grilled chicken and gyro beef in a pitta, wrap or on a bed of rice. There is also a vegetarian alternative made with falafel. Egyptian immigrants Mohammed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka and Abdelbaset Elsayed launched The Halal Guys as a cart on a New York street corner 28 years ago catering to Muslim taxi drivers. As the company name suggests, all meat is slaughtered according to Islamic law. There are now 85 outlets under The Halal Guys brand across North America and Asia, with 400 more in the pipeline.
David Gibbs named as next Yum Brands chief executive: Yum Brands has named company veteran David Gibbs as chief executive, succeeding Greg Creed who will retire at the end of the year. Gibbs, 55, has been with the company since 1989, holding several senior roles including chief financial officer for three years before taking charge as chief operating officer earlier this year. Creed, who has been with Yum for 25 years, will remain as chief executive to the end of 2019. He will serve as a part-time adviser next year and also remain on the company’s board. The 62-year-old has held the chief executive role since 2015 and executed the 2016 spin-off of Yum China. The company’s stock has more than doubled since Creed took the helm. Yum has more than 48,000 Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC restaurants across the globe. It bought a stake in food-ordering company Grubhub early last year to improve its delivery services. Gibbs, who will assume the new role on 1 January, served as chief strategy officer when he revamped Yum’s global restaurant operations model. He was also chief executive of the global Pizza Hut division.
Online food delivery business Lean Lunch extends £120,000 crowdfunding campaign: Online food delivery business Lean Lunch, which aims to “improve well-being for people and the planet”, has extended its £120,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Launched by Sat and Charlotte Mann, Lean Lunch delivers chef-prepared, sustainably packaged food to city centre offices by cargo bike. The company now aims to scale up and is offering 11.32% equity in return for the £120,000 investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £940,000. The campaign has been extended for a further 14 days and so far 121 investors have pledged £85,110 with 19 days remaining. The company stated on Crowdcube: “We have extended our campaign by 14 days to close on 1 September. We’re currently in discussions with some investors who have expressed an interest in investing larger amounts and need to allow more time for those to conclude.” The pitch states: “In the first quarter of 2019 we’ve produced 10,530 meals, doubling the first quarter of 2018. Our vision is to scale the business to become the de-facto provider of nutritious, sustainable food for workplaces in every city we operate in.”