Story of the Day:
Sector sees slight drop-off in sales during second week of Eat Out To Help Out scheme: The sector saw a slight drop-off in sales during the second week of the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, according to research by hospitality software provider Fourth. Sales were down collectively 13% between Monday and-Wednesday when compared with the opening week. Quick service restaurants experienced a 30% decrease in sales, pubs and bars a 20% fall, and restaurant sales were down 6%. However, it still resulted in a significant uplift compared with the week before the initiative started, with sales up 30% across the three sectors. The data showed restaurants saw a sales boost of 70% in the first week of the scheme, while pubs saw sales increase 26% and quick service restaurants were up 22%. The initiative saw overall sales up 50% between Monday and Wednesday in the opening week when compared with the previous week. Staff numbers have been boosted by the introduction of the scheme. The total hours scheduled between Monday and Wednesday of the opening week of the initiative jumped 17% from the previous week, with pubs accounting for a 13% increase, restaurants 33%, and quick service restaurants 15%. For the second week of the initiative, operators readjusted their staffing levels to meet demand and there was a 4% increase in the hours scheduled, when compared with the prior week. The hours scheduled at pubs remained flat, restaurants increased by 14% and quick service restaurants by 5%. Sebastien Sepierre, managing director – EMEA at Fourth, said: “With uncertainty around consumer demand in the first week of the initiative, and some employees still furloughed, operators were understandably cautious with managing their staffing levels. However, following the positive spike in trading during the first week, there has been an increase in the number of hours scheduled in the industry, which in turn will have a positive impact on the overall customer experience, which is crucial to ensuring the initiative generates a sustained positive impact for the industry.”
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NTIA warns 70% of UK’s nightclubs will close without reopening roadmap and further financial support: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has warned 70% of the UK’s nightclubs will close for good without a clear roadmap for reopening and further financial support. The government further eased restrictions at the weekend with bowling alleys, live music venues and casinos among those able to reopen, but nightclubs must remain shut. NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “While we welcome the government’s announcement of the further easing of lock-down measures, this is still a long way off being back to normal for many businesses in the night-time economy and events sector. While some bars and restaurants have been able to open with limited capacity, many are only just breaking even and we expect live music venues and performance spaces to have similar issues with viability, only able to accommodate for limited numbers under the current government social distancing measures. Nightclubs have once again been excluded from this announcement but for a footnote to highlight they must remain closed. By the end of September we will see 70% of nightclubs and venues in the UK close for good, with thousands of jobs lost without a clear roadmap for reopening and further financial support during this extended period of lock-down.” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “Clubs all around the country are now at very real risk of going out of business. We need a plan for their reopening immediately.”
Young's chief executive – working from home is taking a huge toll on London: Young's chief executive Patrick Dardis has warned working from home is having a devastating effect on central London business. He told the Mail on Sunday his City of London pub Dirty Dicks near Liverpool Street station and the Lamb Tavern in Leadenhall Market were taking just 10% of their pre-crisis sales since reopening last month, compared with 70% across the Young's estate overall. Dardis said: “The Lamb is usually a thriving business but it is struggling to take any money at all at the moment.” He added ten of the group's tenanted pubs in central London have found trading so challenging they have closed. “They couldn't cope with social distancing and just handed back the keys,” he said. Yet despite the huge cost involved in running near-empty pubs, Dardis is determined to keep trading to show London is open for business. If the capital remains a ghost town, he said the impact on Britain could be even worse than the pandemic – not just through unemployment, but from the hit to tax revenue to fund the NHS and schools. He warned: “If our high streets are as empty as they are now this time next year, our country will be bankrupt – it will be in a shocking state.”
Luke Johnson – up to 20% of restaurants and pubs could close: Sector investor Luke Johnson has predicted between 10% and 20% of sector restaurants and pubs could close this year or next. In his Sunday Times column, he wrote: “Most of the casualties will be independent businesses, tired brands and over-leveraged firms. Better–financed and resourced players will exploit the chaos by negotiating improved rent deals on new sites, boosting their spending on digital platforms and growing their delivery channels. They will also have the pick of the talent suddenly available thanks to bankruptcies. The industry will rebound – smaller, leaner and more bloodied, but still a great place to work and an irreplaceable element of a full life.” Johnson reported there was at least one casualty in the sector in the past week. He added: “One restaurant company I backed threw in the towel. An insolvency practitioner sent me a letter saying the business had gone into administration. Investors such as myself will lose all our capital — I expect creditors will, too. Most of the handful of restaurants it owned will shut, although the owner might buy one back (without his external shareholders).”
Hugh Osmond plans to float Various Eateries: Entrepreneur Hugh Osmond is planning to float his Various Eateries business on AIM, with a plan to raise £25m to expand his Coppa Club restaurant concept across the UK. The business has 11 sites and sales of £28m. He told the Sunday Times: “The new rent on the high street will be unbelievable. We are going to expand and we are going to employ a lot of people. Post-covid is the first time since the early 1990s you can get these types of sites.”
Nine-in-ten operators in Soho’s pedestrianised zone now open as organisers hail success of summer street festival: Nine out of ten hospitality businesses within Soho’s temporary pedestrianised zone have reopened as organisers of the “summer street festival” hailed its success. The campaign, which was set up in June as a plan to reopen Soho while adhering to social distancing measures, started with just 30 businesses. Now there are more than 80 operators working together to ensure the safety and enjoyment of their customers. Meanwhile, Old Compton Street has joined 16 other roads that have been made car-free to increase the amount of tables and chairs on offer and eliminate vertical drinking. The restaurateurs have marshalled the barriers at their own cost to keep roads clear. The initiative has also allowed Soho operators to expand their offering. Ellen Chew, of Rasa Sayang in Frith Street, has taken inspiration from the night-time road closures and recreated her version of Hawker-style dining synonymous with Singapore by introducing an outside barbecue straits menu. Other operators, such as Sussex, have expanded their drinks and nibbles offering to make the most of the alfresco area. John James, managing director of Soho Estates, said: “I am delighted and overwhelmed to see the success of alfresco dining in Soho – it’s a lifeline for the survival of our area. It’s an example of what can be achieved when people come together with a common aim. Ultimately, it has saved jobs and businesses and kick-started the economy of London’s most important food and drink hub.”
Foodhub targets rivals in national campaign: Delivery business Foodhub has launched a national campaign that offers free takeaway meals to people who delete the apps of their biggest takeaway food rivals. The online food portal and challenger brand has launched its “Just-Delete” out-of-home campaign in major cities across the UK. Digital billboards went up on Friday proclaiming “Delete For a Treat” and encouraging people to delete the rival food apps then visit www.just-delete.co.uk to claim a free takeaway meal. The campaign, which directly targets fans of Just Eat, UberEats and Deliveroo, is also being actioned on the takeaway brand’s social channels, where the brand is making the same offer. Foodhub chief operating officer Philip Mostyn said: “We know our customers know and love us because our app is, on average, 15% cheaper for the same meal from the same takeaway restaurants as Just Eat, UberEats and Deliveroo. But we want more people to know! And what better way to drive trial than to directly target the customers of our biggest rivals with the offer of free food if they switch to Foodhub? It’s cheeky and provocative – just how we like it.” Last month Foodhub made headlines for calling for its rivals to rethink their commission model to better support both the takeaways and the consumer. Mostyn added: “We believe charging takeaway restaurants a commission for using their service and also charging consumers a fee is wrong and actually inhibits the growth of the industry by punishing those at its heart – the takeaway restaurants. Here, at Foodhub, we’ve been committed to a non-commission-based business model from the outset. Now, more than ever, it is important takeaway businesses are encouraged and helped to thrive. We’d encourage other food delivery services to follow our lead and introduce a non-commission-based model. Charging up to 36% – as many commission-based takeaway delivery services do – in these times is unfair. Our takeaway orders have increased by 33% since lock-down but more than 36% of takeaways have closed during the same period. It is only right these takeaway restaurants also benefit from that extra money when they’re such an essential part of the industry." Foodhub launched its online food website and app in 2017 and has more than 12,000 takeaways on its books.
Leisure market for UK hotels continues recovery: The leisure market for UK hotels is continuing to recover with bookings during the next 90 days showing a spike at weekends, according to the latest data from STR. However, weekday levels remain subdued with corporate bookings yet to show signs of significant pick-up. Occupancy has improved for a sixth successive week, with UK levels increasing to 45% for the week ending 2 August, compared with 42% the previous week. Plymouth saw the highest occupancy level for the week (92%), followed by Bournemouth (87%). London again saw the lowest occupancy level (27%) but that was an improvement on the 25% from the previous week. Manchester’s weekend occupancy was negatively affected by the partial lock-down. Average daily rate was down 29% year-on-year – a slight improvement on the minus 30% the previous week. As a result, revpar has also shown an improvement but was down between 56% and 66% during the seven-day period.
Robinsons announces passing of long-standing director: North west brewer and retailer Robinsons has announced director David Robinson has passed away aged 83 following a battle with cancer. Robinson, who was a director for more than 50 years, started at the brewery in July 1962 as a brewer. He was inspirational in the development of the Unicorn Packaging Centre and its contract bottling services. His last big project was the selection and installation of the new brewhouse, which began in 2009 and was completed in February 2012. Robinsons stated: “David was also an integral part of the board and its evolution of what we have today. He was forward-thinking and embraced change, evolution and the transition from one generation to the next. His brewing and technical knowledge were second to none and he was a well-respected brewer and scientist, not only at Robinsons but also with the wider brewing community. You could always find him at lunchtime in one of our pubs close to the brewery or in the visitors’ centre with a pint of Dizzy Blonde or, in its day, Best Mild. A beloved brother to Peter and Dennis and a devoted father to Paul, Oliver, Cordelia and John, David will be sadly missed by the family and all those at the brewery.”
Martin Wolstencroft – there have been positives in this crisis: Founder of bar and restaurant operator Arc Inspirations, Martin Wolstencroft, has argued the covid-19 crisis has thrown up positives. Writing in Friday's (14 August) Premium Opinion, he argued: “The other day I was asked whether I’d seen any positives during the past few months. Even as someone who tries to find a silver lining in every cloud, this was a tough question to answer! However, I firmly believe we’re in the ‘survive and prosper’ cadre of businesses. Trading has been pretty robust so, as a business, it feels like we’ve struck the right balance. Like-for-likes have held up well with the past two weeks showing year-on-year growth, while the Eat Out To Help Out scheme has been fantastic, with more than 100% sales growth in the first week. The communities we’re located in have come out and supported us – and I’m thankful for that. On the whole, customers have been well behaved and enjoyed being back out eating and drinking. We’re delighted to welcome them back. From an operations perspective, the new environment has meant we’ve moved ahead with some initiatives faster than planned. We’re operating cashless venues, which is something we’ve been considering for some time. Our adoption of technology such as order and pay has also gone well and, although these are early days, there’s no reason why it can’t remain a solution for the long term. On a broader note, I think one of the main positives has been seeing the industry collaborate like never before. There has been a real sense of community in tandem with a steely determination to get through this incredibly challenging period. My hope is we keep that togetherness for a long time to come.”
Greater Manchester operators plead with customers to behave responsibly: Greater Manchester's biggest breweries and pub chains have pleaded with customers to behave responsibly as the region's local lock-down measures continue. The government announced on Friday (14 August) restrictions on social gatherings will continue for at least another week, banning people from meeting members of other households indoors – including inside pubs and bars. Groups of up to six people from any number of households – or larger groups from no more than two households – are still allowed to socialise outdoors, including beer gardens and restaurant terraces. In a joint statement, some of the industry's largest local players have urged people to follow the rules and respect the bar staff trying to enforce them. Admiral Taverns, Greene King, Hydes, Joseph Holt, JW Lees, Marston’s, Punch., Robinsons, Star Pubs & Bars and Stonegate Pub Company all signed their names to the statement. “The covid-19 pandemic has given us all a new set of responsibilities,” they said. “They are responsibilities we all take incredibly seriously and we know we all have an important role to play in ensuring the virus is controlled in Greater Manchester and beyond. It is vital the trade and all industry stakeholders continue to follow the government guidance on measures to restrict the spread and keep venues safe. In particular we continue to support the test and trace measures in collecting customer details every time that they visit a pub wherever possible. We also call on the public to accept their role here too, working with pubs, bars and restaurants in following guidance put in place, respecting staff and providing their contact details.”
McDonald's tests new deliver to car service: McDonald's is testing a new service where food is delivered to car windows so customers can avoid long drive-thru queues. The service, which sees takeaway orders delivered to parked cars, is being trialled at three UK restaurants – in Royston, Biggleswade and Lytham. Customers order from the McDonald's app, park in the car park and then have the food delivered straight to their window. Motorists can stay in the safety of their own car and will be signposted to special McDonald's parking bays when they arrive. They can then add the bay number to their food order when they pay. Food will be delivered in takeaway bags on a tray by staff wearing a face mask, according to The Sun. If it is successful, the option could roll out to branches around the country this autumn, McDonald’s said.
Spain orders nightclubs and bars to close: Nightclubs and bars have been ordered to close across Spain after the country saw a spike of coronavirus cases this week. Spanish health minister Salvador Illa made the announcement on Friday (14 August). Smoking will also be banned in outdoor areas when keeping a safe distance is impossible. He also advised against meetings of more than ten people, and warned young people specifically not to gather outside to drink alcohol. Venues such as restaurants will have to close by 1am with no customers allowed to enter from midnight.
Council closes Manchester restaurant over failure to socially distance: Manchester restaurant Akbar's has been shut down by the city council after “unacceptable scenes of overcrowding”. The curry house, in Liverpool Road, “failed to implement social distancing controls, both inside and outside the premises”, the council said. But owner Shabir Hussain has hit back at the “heavy-handed” move and said he was so frustrated he was considering closing the restaurant altogether. The council said an enforcement team witnessed groups of up to 24 people seated at tables that weren't adequately spaced during a visit to the premises. Under the latest rules in Greater Manchester, residents are only allowed to dine inside restaurants with members of their immediate household or support bubble. The council said the premises were “overcrowded”, and there were “unmanaged” queues of up to an hour and a half to get a seat, “with no social distancing”. The restaurant had been warned to get its house in order after visits earlier in the week, but failed to do so, the authority added. Hussain claimed the restaurant had been unfairly targeted. “It's a very difficult period for our industry and with all these extra measures we are trying our best,” he said. “Because it's such a popular place, everybody is trying to get in. We've been closed for such a long time, we've been a victim of our own success.”
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Fitch assigns Stonegate bonds a ‘stable outlook’: Ratings agency Fitch has assigned Stonegate Pub Company a final long-term issuer default rating of B-, with a stable outlook. A note by Fitch stated: “Fitch expects the enlarged UK pub group Stonegate, following its recent acquisition of the Ei Group portfolio, to return to its pro-forma run rate Ebitda by FY22 (end of September 2022) post-pandemic. This, together with realised synergies, should result in a lease-adjusted net debt/Ebitdar below 6.5 times. As at July 2020, more than 80% of the enlarged group's pubs were trading, but some Stonegate's high-Ebitda pubs remain closed. The enlarged group, primarily wet-led, is diversified across the UK, with a 48% weighting in the south. The diversification, with Stonegate weighted towards town centre outlets while EI Group towards unbranded suburban pubs, many of which are with outdoor facilities and closer to those working from home, aids the group's profile. The enlarged portfolio combines Stonegate's 761 managed formats yielding an average Ebitdar of £270,000 per pub versus Ei Group's larger 3,988 leased and tenanted portfolio averaging £70,000 per pub. Using pro-forma annualised Ebitda figures, the Ei Group/Stonegate profit split is approximately 60:40.”
Bubble tea brand brews up third UK site, in Liverpool: Gong Cha England, the UK-based operator of the Gong Cha tea brand, is to open its third UK site, in Liverpool. The Kaohsiung City-founded brand said Liverpool’s population of 70,000 students and “vibrant young professionals” made the city appealing. Gong Cha is the most recognised bubble tea brand globally, with 1,500 outlets in 20 territories including Taiwan, Korea, New Zealand and the US. The first two sites opened last year in Manchester. Gong Cha, which translates as “tribute tea for the emperor”, is a bubble tea store offering a range of bubble teas that can be enjoyed with or without milk. The interior of the new store in Bold Street marries the brand’s traditional Chinese heritage with “an inviting sense of fun” to appeal to the European market. Gong Cha will offer a takeaway service only when it launches in late August. Justin Liew, head of Gong Cha England, said: “The bubble tea trend has gripped Asia, Oceania and the US, where it’s considered a Taiwanese speciality. We have selected Bold Street for our next store as we are confident the people of Liverpool, who clearly love to be the first to know about new trends, will help us build the brand.”
Boparan to reopen another three Carluccio’s sites: Boparan Restaurant Group will continue the gradual reopening of its Carluccio’s estate with another trio of sites. The company, which paid £3.2m to acquire 30 Carluccio’s sites and buy the rights to the brand in May, will welcome customers back to its Southampton, Leeds Trinity and Bristol Cribbs Causeway restaurants on Thursday, 27 August. The move will take the brand’s total number of reopened sites to 14. All the reopened restaurants are taking part in the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, with Carluccio’s removing the £10 limit as Boparan has done with its other brands.
Kent-based Starbucks franchisee secures CBILS funding: Kent-based Starbucks franchisee GK Coffee Group has secured a funding boost through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The company, which has eight franchises across Essex, Kent and Lewisham, has received the loan through Allied Irish Bank. Owner Bhopinder Singh Gill said: “We were delighted to reopen recently but we didn’t know what level of trade we would have so I applied for the CBILS to provide a safety net for my business. We are fortunate to have experienced a good level of trade since we reopened all our sites. There is still a lot of uncertainty around the economy and having the CBILS gives us reassurance in case there is a second spike or lock-down restrictions are enforced again. We have the finance in place to ensure our business is ready and able to survive.”
Ireland-based Press Up Hospitality Group secures debut UK sites for pair of F&B concepts: Irish operator Press Up Hospitality Group is to bring two of its food and beverage concepts to the UK. The company has agreed deals with the Frenchgate Partnership to open burger concept Wowburger and New York-style restaurant Elephant & Castle at the Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster. Wowburger and Elephant & Castle have taken 2,800 square foot and 4,000 square foot respectively on the first floor of Frenchgate’s North Mall Gallery, with the sites set to open in the fourth quarter of this year. Wowburger operates 14 outlets in Ireland, clustered in and around Dublin and Cork. Elephant & Castle was set up in Dublin’s Temple Bar 30 years ago as an extension of its original sister restaurant in the Lower East-Side in Manhattan, New York. There are six Elephant & Castle sites in Dublin. Laura Arnold, head of marketing and public relations at Press Up, said: “We have been planning the UK debuts of Wowburger and Elephant & Castle for some time, following closely a handful of locations that meet our requirements. Frenchgate is ideal, with its high footfall, strong regional appeal, and an evident commitment to providing visitors with a range of engaging food and beverage brands.” The Frenchgate Partnership has completed 40,000 square foot of new deals, regears and renewals in the past six months while it is also in detailed discussions with cinema operators having received planning consent in April last year for a 15,000 square foot, eight-screen multiplex. Time Retail and Rawstron Johnson represented The Frenchgate Partnership while Press Up dealt directly.
York-based operators to open Greek restaurant after lock-down transforms cafe business’ fortunes: Stamatios Koulouris and Maria Dendia are to open a Greek restaurant in York after their cafe saw its fortunes transformed by lock-down. Koulouris and Dendia will launch Wine Stories in the former Papas Fish & Chips premises in Parliament Street. It will house 36 tables with a lift to take the food to the upper floors. The top floor of the three-storey building will be a VIP room. Koulouris said they had been able to acquire the site – and realise his dream of opening a Greek restaurant – following the success of Stam & Maria Greek Corner Cafe, which opened on the corner of Parliament Street and Jubbergate in September last year. “To be honest, before lock-down I couldn’t pay the bills,” Koulouris told YorkMix. “It was really quiet because people didn’t know we opened there.” When other eateries shut, Stam & Maria stayed open, converting into a takeaway service. Koulouris said: “People noticed us because everything else was closed and people have kept coming and supporting us. Now we’ve earned some money during lock-down, I can fulfil my dream of opening a restaurant.” The couple also run a Greek street food trailer in Shambles Market.
Developer wins go-ahead for new features at Edinburgh Wavegarden: Scotland’s first artificial surf park – to be created near Ratho – will feature a string of additional features to help it boost the local economy by up to £11m per year. Wavegarden’s developer, Tartan Leisure, has also been given the thumbs-up to build overnight accommodation at the development and its Hub complex, which will provide food, retail, changing and leisure facilities. Last year, Tartan Leisure received planning permission to redevelop the disused Craigpark Quarry into a “world-class” surfing destination and since then enabling work has been carried out to prepare the site for the next stage of development. The new planning permission gives the green light for the Hub, with facilities including a restaurant, retail outlet, surf school, wellness spa, cafe and a number of viewing terraces and an observation deck, overlooking the park. Set within a 60-acre country park, the waterside accommodation will cater for all needs through luxury lodges, glamping pods, accessible “wave pods”, bothies and canal berths.
Linda Lee begins reopening On The Bab sites for dine-in: Restaurateur Linda Lee has begun reopening her Korean street food brand On The Bab for dine-in. The restaurant in Shoreditch is now welcoming eat-in customers again and is continuing to offer takeaway and delivery via Deliveroo. Lee plans to open the remaining three sites – in Soho, Covent Garden and St Paul’s – for dine-in in September. On The Bab St Paul’s is currently open for takeaway and delivery only. There is also an On The Bab site in Paris, with another international site in the pipeline, in Seoul. Lee also owns fine-dining Korean barbecue restaurant Koba in Fitzrovia.
Nottingham-based McDonald’s franchisee reports profit boost as turnover passes £30m: Nottingham-based McDonald’s franchisee Blades Restaurants has reported turnover increased 21% to £32.2m for the year ending 31 December 2019, compared with £26.6m the previous year. Operating profit was up to £756,000, compared with £654,000 the year before while pre-tax profit rose to £652,000, compared with £564,000, the previous year. Blades Restaurants, which is owned by Jerry Nicholls, operates nine McDonald’s sites across Nottingham. The restaurants were closed in March following the coronavirus outbreak but have now reopened.
Waterworld tees up mini-golf attraction and gym: Waterworld Leisure Group has teed up the latest investment at Waterworld in Stoke-on-Trent. The Adventure Mini-Golf complex, featuring two themed 18-hole crazy golf courses themed around jungles of the Inca empire, is set to open in mid-September. It will include a fully-themed front-of-house area with food and beverage facilities, and a children’s party area. It is the latest part of a multimillion-pound investment in the resort, which has already seen the addition of new rides and wave-making machines at Waterworld. A new three-storey M Club gym is also being created on-site, including three fitness studios; a dedicated ladies-only gym; 50-metre sprint track; free-weights area; functional training zone; and a swimming pool and spa with hydrotherapy and plunge pools, steam, sauna and heated loungers. Owner Mo Chaudry told The Business Desk: “The covid-19 lock-down has naturally delayed our original timescales but we’re delighted to finally see all the pieces coming together. Anyone who has visited our Adventure Mini Golf site at Star City in Birmingham will know exactly what’s in store for this new development.”
David Moore to reopen Michelin-starred Pied a Terre next month: Restaurateur David Moore is to reopen Michelin-starred restaurant Pied a Terre next month. The venue in Charlotte Street in London’s Fitzrovia will welcome customers back on Wednesday, 2 September. The restaurant will reopen with a selection of tasting menus for lunch and dinner as well as an exclusive chef’s tasting menu available within only 48 hours’ notice. Head chef Asimakis Chaniotis’ tasting menu will include some of Pied a Terre’s classics as well as a selection of dishes he has been developing during lock-down. Groups of up to six can book the chef’s table experience upstairs, where Asimakis prepares dishes in front of guests. Meanwhile, Richard Corrigan will reopen Daffodil Mulligan in Old Street on Tuesday, 1 September. The City Road restaurant will offer dishes that use produce from Corrigan’s estate in Ireland, Virginia Park Lodge. Irish pub Gibney’s, which is downstairs, will also reopen.
Hippodrome Casino reopens with £3m multi-level terrace bar: The Hippodrome Casino has reopened with a new £3m, 3,000 square foot, multi-level terrace bar, The Rooftop. Installed during lock-down at the venue in London’s Leicester Square, The Rooftop comprises two floors of gaming, two bars and open-air seating. The first two floors are open for drinks, food, and gambling with the upper terrace dedicated solely to food and drinks, all with seated service. Smoking is permitted in designated areas across all three floors. The bars serve an extensive selection of spirits, draught and bottled beer, cocktails and wine by the glass and bottle. Guests looking to eat can order from the 24-hour menu. As well as The Rooftop, The Hippodrome’s six floors of indoor gaming, premium restaurant Heliot Steak House and eight bars have reopened round the clock. Reconfigured to ensure one-metre-plus social distancing throughout, a one-way system, Perspex screening, round-the-clock cleaning and sanitisation stations have also been installed across the venue, with face masks available to all staff and customers. Simon Thomas, chief executive and chairman of Hippodrome Casino, said: “We were determined to use this time to grow and develop our offering. Alongside redeveloping our terrace space, we have worked tirelessly to introduce extensive hygiene measures to ensure the well-being of our patrons and staff. The Rooftop is an integral part of this new chapter.”
Crosstown Doughnuts launches national next day delivery service: Crosstown, the artisan doughnut and speciality coffee concept, has launched a national next day delivery service. Customers can order boxes of handcrafted doughnuts, specialty ground coffee beans and gift boxes including merchandise and accessories, directly from the Crosstown website. Orders placed before noon will qualify for next day delivery, which covers most of the UK. Deliveries will be made Tuesday to Friday. To mark the launch, Crosstown has released a new doughnut flavour – banana and cherry. It is available as part of a new six-pack box alongside the chocolate and orange and the matcha tea cake doughnuts. Crosstown founder JP Then said: “We’ve had a lot of requests to extend our delivery area beyond central London so we put our heads together to come up with a solution to make it happen.”
Coventry-based cafe to double up: Coventry-based cafe Playwrights Bar and Bistro is to double up with a second site in the city. Owner William James will launch the venue at Canal Basin on Thursday, 20 August. It will offer the same breakfast and lunch menu as its debut site in Hay Lane. James told Coventry Live the new venue might also host the “odd pop-up night”. He added: “There are plans for investment in Canal Basin so we wanted to take that risk and move there so other businesses could follow.”