Story of the Day:
New arrival, former business analyst, wins CAMRA National Pub of the Year award: The Salutation Inn, a rural freehouse in the small village of Ham, Gloucestershire, has won Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) National Pub of the Year Award, a feat made even more impressive given that this is the first pub the landlord has ever run. Former business analyst Peter Tiley had never even pulled a pint when he decided to quit his job in London and follow his love of beer to take over The Salutation Inn with his wife Claire. Eleven months later the pub had won its local branch competition, then the whole region, finally making it through to the final four and now been named overall National Pub of the Year. The couple are now set to return brewing to the pub at the end of this month, with a microbrewery set to be installed. They currently serve five local craft beers and eight local ciders. They also are also known for their “ham from ham” – they keep their own pigs, fed only whey, apples and pulp from local cider makers, in a walled garden close to the pub. The ham is served as one of only three dishes on the menu – ham, eggs and chips, a ploughman’s lunch and a third “special” that changes every day (it was pork and leek pie yesterday). The landlords turn over the pub one night a week to let a different couple from the village run in it and host guest chefs from the village. Peter Tiley said: “For the Sally to have won National Pub of the Year is beyond our wildest dreams – we’re totally shell-shocked. Pubs are so important to me that to have our own one recognised in this way is just amazing. We count ourselves so unbelievably lucky to have a brilliant team of staff who are so passionate and dedicated as well as a community of locals who have given so much to support and contribute towards the pub. It is these people that have made the pub what it is today and for that we are incredibly grateful.” Pubs are judged by CAMRA on a variety of criteria such as atmosphere, level of service, value for money and community focus, with extra weighting given to the quality of their real ale, cider and perry. The Salutation Inn, known by locals as ‘the sally’, impressed the judges due to its ‘fantastic beer selection and welcoming, homely feel’. One judge stated: “What struck me most was the welcome – as if I was being invited into a private house as a friend.”
Russian hospitality group to make debut in Soho as part of UK expansion: Russian-based hospitality group Table Talk has targeted the UK for its first venture outside Moscow and St Petersburg and is to open a French-style cafe wine bar in Soho. It plans to launch its Jean-Jacques format in the 3,554 sq ft former Spanish and Moroccan restaurant El Cantara split over three levels at 45 Frith Street, W1. Currently, Table Talk Group has 15 Jean-Jacques cafes in Moscow and St Petersburg. All Jean-Jacques cafes feature traditional French cuisine using uncomplicated recipes and unpretentious wholesome ingredients. They serve breakfast lunch and dinner and offer a range of fine wines. Restaurant Property and Spectrum Property Consultants advised El Cantara on the deal. Restaurant Property surveyor Sally French said: “The success of the Jean Jacques concept in Russian is demonstrated by the fact that the ‘middle-class revolution’ there is known as the ‘Jean-Jacques revolution’. We expect to hear lots more about the expansion of Jean-Jacques as its backed by a very experienced team.” Table Talk Group was founded by Dimitry Yampolskiy, a founding partner of Moscow-based law firm Sedov & Yampolskiy and Mitya Borisov, a well-known leisure sector entrepreneur behind stylish Russian venues such as Club Mayak, Apshu, Gogol and Flat 44. Its other formats include five traditional British-style pubs under the John-Donne brand. Café Mart in the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and Café Mercato, Italian style restaurants in Moscow’s public parks. Jean-Jacques was created by Borisov, French designer Muriel Rousseau and an artist Nicholas Ovchinnikov. The first Café Jean-Jacques opened in Moscow in 2004. Jean-Jacques is taking an assignment of the lease, which expires in 2026, at a rent of £108,000 per year.
Moscow restaurant scene set for 25% contraction this year: An estimated 25% of the restaurants in Moscow are expected to close by the year’s end, amid unprecedented “perfect storm” of pressures. About 8% of Moscow’s venues have closed since December. Irina Avrutskaya, a restaurant consultant who has headed marketing and strategy for Papa John’s and TGI Friday’s in Russia, told The Moscow Times that the closure of one in every four restaurants by the year’s end is a realistic estimate, taking into account those establishments that have already closed in recent months. Industry experts identified four major reasons for the decline in Moscow’s restaurant business: Russians are being more frugal amid the economic downturn; the ban on importing many European foods has caused a deficit of popular ingredients; the ruble’s rapid devaluation has drastically increased the cost of paying rent for premises pegged to a hard currency and buying foreign supplies; and new paid-parking zones in the downtown and a ban on public smoking are making the public less interested in going out to eat.
Hakkasan’s Las Vegas site is ranked as US’s second highest grossing nightclub: The Nightclub and Bar Media Group, a trade publication in the US, has released its list of the 100 top-grossing nightclubs in the US, in 2014. Second on the list is Hakkasan in Las Vegas, with an estimated turnover of between $100m and $103m. The top 100 US nightclubs turned over more than $1.36 billion in revenue. The biggest earning nightclub was XS in Vegas, thought to turn over $2m more a year than Hakkasan.
Just Eat expands Latin America market presence: Just Eat, the leading online and mobile marketplace for takeaway food, has bought 100% of the share capital of Sindelantal Mexico, majority owned by Seaya Ventures. The transaction marks Just Eat’s entry into the growing Mexican online market for takeaway delivery as it continues to strengthen its presence in Latin America. Upon completion, the acquisition will create the leading market player in the country, Just Eat Mexico, with the addition of 3,000 restaurants to its expanding marketplace for takeaway food, including Papa Johns and Chilis, generating over 60,000 orders per month. The transaction is the second time Just Eat has acquired a business from Sindelantal’s founders and Seaya Ventures following the purchase of Sindelantal in Spain in 2012. Just Eat has also increases its stake in IF-JE Participações, its joint venture Joint Venture with iFood in Brazil, to 30% from 25%. David Buttress, chief executive of Just Eat, said: “This is an important day for Just Eat as we secure long term strategic leadership in Latin America.”
Toque D’Or finalists named: The six Nestle Toque D’Or finalists have been named as University College Birmingham, Blackpool and The Fylde College, Doncaster College, City of Glasgow College, Sheffield City College and Westminster Kingsway College. The teams are now preparing for the Grand Finals in March, involving a unique programme of learning and development activities.
Deadline extended in search for new group editor for M&C Report and Publican’s Morning Advertiser: The deadline in the search for a new group editor for leading sector publications M&C Report and Publican’s Morning Advertiser has been extended. The current group editor Rob Willock is leaving to pursue an opportunity in Dubai after just over three years in the position. Deadline for applicants was 12 February – and has now been extended to 12 March.
Pizza Hut UK reports installation of cocktail bars adding 35% to sales: Pizza Hut UK has reported that the addition of a cocktail bar at its sites is boosting sales by 35%. The first London site to see a cocktail bar added is its flagship branch on the Strand, which has undergone a £500,000 refurbishment – Marble Arch, Piccadilly and Queensway will follow later in the year. Operations director Mike Spencer said: “In the Eighties we were the only show in town in pizza, now we’re not. A lot of people came as young children but moved on to places like PizzaExpress when they grew up and never come back to us. We want to make Pizza Hut relevant to those young adults who would have been reluctant to come to us.” The new designs include open kitchens so customers can see pizzas being made. Spencer added: “We have to break down that perception that our pizzas are not fresh, not particularly healthy and not good quality.”
Pop-up maestro Carl Clarke to open permanent Chick ‘n’ Sours in April: Carl Clarke, renowned for his quirky London pop-ups, has secured a permanent chef and co-ownership role at Chick ‘n’ Sours, a new fried chicken restaurant in Dalston, opening in April. Chick ‘n’ Sours has a ‘short, punchy, and re-imagined’ fried chicken menu of free-range, herb-fed fried chicken, whimsical sides, sour cocktails, local beers and soft-serve ice-cream creations. Clarke said: “Fried chicken is a classless luxury enjoyed by all from Barack Obama to the man on the street. I’m so excited to be back in the kitchen and to be in Dalston, which is already enjoying a buzzing food scene that just keeps getting better. The energy around there is unbelievable and people are really into their food and drink.” Clarke and business partner David Wolanski met at Latitude festival in 2010. The pair previous pop-ups have included East London ad-hoc projects Rock Lobsta, English Launderette, God Save The Clam and Disco Bistro EC4 & N1C.
Former Orchid head of people joins Youngs: Tracey Read, the former head of people at Orchid Pub Company, has joined London retailer Youngs as director of people. Read spent eight years at Orchid overseeing training and development prior to its sale to Mitchells & Butlers last year. During her time, Orchid won Investors in People gold accreditation and was voted Sunday Times Fifth Best Company to Work For.
Details of six closed Walkabout sites revealed: Following the recent announcement that the restructuring plans proposed by Walkabout operator Intertain were approved by 97% of their creditors, details of the six sites that are to close by mid-March under the Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) have now been released. They are the Walkabouts in Burnley, Doncaster, Middlesbrough and Nottingham as well as Maluko in Leeds and the Stonehouse in Wolverhampton. Each of the sites occupies prominent high street positions in their respective trading areas and range from 7,000 square foot up to 38,000 square foot in Nottingham. All enquiries on these sites should be directed to property agents Christie + Co and Davis Coffer Lyons. For further information about any of the sites, call Anthony Jenkins at Christie + Co on 020 7227 0704 or Paul Tallentyre at Davis Coffer Lyons on 020 7299 0740.
Alan Yau’s long-awaited Duck & Rice to open next month: Alan Yau’s long-awaited Duck & Rice site in Soho will open next month. The brand, a Chinese gastro-pub, will open on the site of the former Endurance pub in Berwick Street. A clue to its opening date has come from Miller Brands UK, which has announced it will be serving Pilner Urquell ‘tankovna’ tank beer at the site from 18 March. It is thought the venue, which is owned by Enterprise Inns, will occupy both the ground and first floor with the ground floor used as a bar area. The new upstairs area becomes a dining area, with counter dining and a couple of private rooms.
Greggs opens 50th franchised site – and first store on water: Greggs has opened its 50th franchise unit and the company’s first store on water. The new Greggs store, which opened on Wightlink’s flagship ferry St Clare, will serve customers travelling between Portsmouth to Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight. Eight jobs have been created at the shop, which features Greggs’ new upmarket design based on Greggs’ bakery food-on-the-go format. Greggs’ first shop on water follows the launch of the food-on-the-go brand at Wightlink’s Portsmouth Gunwharf car ferry terminal in 2014. Martin Kibler, Greggs’ business development and property director, said: “We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Wightlink by opening the first Greggs shop on water. They are an excellent operator and this will make Greggs even more accessible to both existing and new customers as they travel.”
New Inventive Bar Company wins planning consent for new Reading site: New Inventive Bar Company has won planning consent from Reading Borough Council for the change of use of the old HMV shop in Friar Street to a Revolucion de Cuba bar. An application from The New Inventive Bar Company was deferred in January when councillors were worried the late opening to 2am was a “back door way to slip in a new nightclub”. The application came back to the planning committee with an alteration of hours from 8am to 2am daily to 8am to 1am from Sunday to Wednesday and the hours unchanged from Thursday to Saturday. Conditions limit the operation to no more than 650 customers at any time, food will be available until 10pm and customers will be greeted by a host who will also direct them to transport and taxis on leaving to encourage them “to leave the area quickly on departure”. There are five other Revolucion de Cuba sites across the UK and Inventive would like to add 12 sites to the brand.
MEATLiquor to open in Islington in June: MEATLiquor, the better burger brand headed by Scott Collins, has confirmed it is to open in Islington in June, occupying a former Citreon garage. Meanwhile, the company has reported record trading in January with 63,430 individual buffalo chicken wings and 43,843 burgers served across its seven sites plus 15,265 portions of fries and 2,403 portions of Mac and Cheese. Figures reflect trading at MEATLiquor London, Brighton and Leeds, MEATmarket in Covent Garden, MEATmission in Hoxton and CHICKENliquor in Brixton.
Camerons adds Sunderland site to Head of Steam estate: North east brewer and retailer Camerons Brewery has added The Isis, Sunderland to its managed house estate. The site, located in the city centre on 26 Silksworth Row, will become part of the Head of Steam branded pubs. The iconic Victorian Grade II listed building has been twice winner of the Sunderland and South Tyneside CAMRA branch ‘Pub of the Year’ and offers a fantastic selection of cask and craft beers and ciders. Chris Soley, director and general manager at Camerons Brewery said: “This is a further major investment into our pub estate and we are delighted to bring another quality pub into our group. We opened The Dun Cow in Sunderland in October and that has proved to be an enormous success and we feel The Isis will compliment this pub perfectly.” Joe Smith, operations director at Camerons, added: “The Isis is a great traditional pub and we are looking to retain the sites current offer and existing staff. The pubs style and ethos is very much in line with our Head of Steam brand. The Isis will be able to access the vast array of both local and national cask and craft beers, ciders and premium spirits we have available within our business.”
Roosters Piri Piri looks to expand into Europe: Roosters Piri Piri, founded by Khalid Mirza in 2003 and serving halal fried chicken, is looking to expand into Europe. Roosters Piri Piri currently has over 40 outlets with recent openings in Walthamstow, Wood Green, Shepherds Bush and Ireland – its first venture outside mainland UK. “One of the challenges in the casual dining sector is staying ahead of the game,” said Mirza. “Throughout 2014, we completely restructured the Roosters business, becoming more selective with site locations, as well as develop the franchise division. We’re looking to grow the business from the inside, offering successful franchisees the opportunity to run several sites, while launching outlets across Europe and beyond. A large part of our success is down to the fact we control the full supply chain – from distribution to front of house presentation.”
Cote confirms Fulham site: Cote has confirmed it is opening a new restaurant in Fulham later this year. The brand is set to open a new branch, in Jerdan Place in April, taking the former Rodizio Lebanon site. The chain plans to have 120 seats inside, full-height French windows and an outside terrace to give the restaurant an “authentic Parisian feel”, a spokeswoman said. The first Cote opened in Wimbledon in 2007.
Plans submitted for £3.5m boutique hotel with microbrewery and brasserie in Paisley: Plans have been submitted for a £3.5m luxury hotel with microbrewery in the centre of Paisley. The development would transform two historic buildings into a 40-room boutique hotel with bar, brasserie and conferencing facilities. Local entrepreneur Tom Stewart is behind the plans and hopes to start work in the summer of next year. If approved by Renfrewshire Council, the new hotel, to be called the Patternmaker, could create more than 50 full and part-time jobs. The site for the proposed development is opposite Paisley Abbey and consists of two buildings – Kelvin House, which was built in 1939 and has an Art Deco front elevation, and Forbes Place, which was built around 1830 and was used for patternmaking and as a shawl warehouse by the thread industry. There are also plans for a microbrewery and short and long-stay car parking facilities associated with the hotel. Stewart, who also owns the four-star Ashtree House Hotel near Paisley Museum, said he hoped the project could help drive the regeneration of Paisley.
Big Ten eyes ten sites after securing second: Big Ten is eyeing an estate of ten sites after acquiring a second venue, the Hop Pocket at Bossingham, Kent. The new site comes less than a year after the company revived the historic Abbot’s Fireside at Elham. Johnny Alderson, of Big Ten, said: “Our aim is to identify properties that can still bring communities together. We aim to breathe life back into these special places that we are sadly losing at an all too alarming rate. Since the take-over of the Fireside, it has become one of the pub/hotel success stories of the county. Our plan is to promote locally sourced produce, ethically sourced produce, employ locals, bring people together and to promote community spirit.” Alderson said that what has been created so far at Elham and Bossingham is to be seen as a blueprint for the future plans of the company. “The plan is to acquire a total of ten premises over the next three to five years and to give them all our own distinctive stamp,” he said.
Loungers opens in Trowbridge: Loungers, the cafe bar brand founded by Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop, has opened a new site in Trowbridge, Valeroso Lounge. It is located at St Stephen’s Place Leisure Park and is the latest addition to the £17m complex, which also has an Odeon cinema, Nandos, Prezzo, Dean’s Diner, Chiquito, Frankie & Benny’s and Premier Inn. To emphasise Valeroso Lounge’s family-friendly credentials, Loungers will donate 50p from every burger and 10p from every coffee sold in the first month of trading to local children’s charity Stepping Stones. Loungers has invested £500,000 in the site.
Jumeirah Group launches restaurant division: Dubai’s Jumeirah Group has launched a new restaurant division that will manage its global portfolio of food and beverage brands. The new Jumeirah Restaurant Group Dubai (JRG Dubai) will operate a range of dining venues and lounges, including Pierchic, Tortuga, Pai Thai, 360° and The Noodle House, with an initial portfolio of 23 branches worldwide. It will now develop existing restaurants at hotels within the Jumeirah portfolio, with a series of planned refurbishments, menu overhauls and marketing initiatives. It will also engage in joint ventures, franchising and white label operations. “Jumeirah Group is a pioneering Dubai-founded company and our new division, Jumeirah Restaurant Group Dubai, is committed to building on our heritage, reputation and success to become a world-recognised restaurant management company,” said Piers Schreiber, spokesperson for the Jumeirah Group.
Pret A Manger closes suburban location in Chicago: Pret A Manger has closed its Evanston, Chicago location, one of nine in the city and the first one in a suburb. A spokesperson said: “After careful consideration, we are sad to be leaving Evanston. Our decision to close is based on the location’s long-term performance. We are looking forward to continuing our growth in Chicago.” Pret A Manger opened its Evanston location in January 2012. The company had expanded to Chicago in September 2010 and now has eight locations all located in downtown Chicago.
Nusa Dua takes landmark Shaftesbury Avenue site: A landmark Chinatown restaurant has been sold as Indonesian cuisine makes a Soho comeback. The culinary switch sees the closure of Golden Day, which has a Shaftesbury Avenue frontage and was previously called Chinese Experience, after decades of trading. It will be taken over by Nusa Dua, a family-run business with more than 20 years’ experience. “Indonesian cuisine is under-represented in Soho so it is great to see Nusa Dua reopen in such a prominent site,” said David Kornbluth, of property specialists CDG Leisure, which handled the sale of the lease. “We sold Nusa Dua’s old site in Dean Street in 2013 and they have been looking for the right site to reopen. There is a gap in the market for Indonesian food and this is the prime location for them to become a fixture on the capital’s restaurant scene.” The restaurant has space for 90 covers and a private dinning room.
St Austell advertises for 30 apprentices: St Austell Brewery in Cornwall is advertising for 30 apprentices to start their career with the company in positions in its pubs and restaurants across Cornwall as future pub chefs and in front-of-house roles, with the company’s tenants also offering placement opportunities. The 30 new apprenticeships are part of a growing partnership between St Austell Brewery and Truro and Penwith College to provide careers within the hospitality sector. The apprentices are in addition to ten apprentices who started with Truro and Penwith College and St Austell Brewery last year. Martin Tucker, director of Truro and Penwith College, said: “This is a great opportunity for young people in Cornwall to learn the hospitality trade with one of Cornwall’s growing businesses.”
Landlord of Burger King voted ‘worst restaurant in Somerset’ promises action: Clarks Factory Village in Street, Somerset, where the Burger King outlet has the lowest rating of more than 1,800 restaurants in the county on the TripAdvisor website, has promised to help try to improve the venue. The restaurant has one “average” rating and seven “terrible” on TripAdvisor, with comments including “disgusting”, “very messy”, “miserable” and “very rude staff”. The manager of Clarks Factory Village, Geoffrey Nidd, told The Central Somerset Gazette: “We have met with the franchisee of Burger King. We as a landlord make sure that hygiene standards are met. We carry out food audits on all our outlets, these audits are unannounced. Only when our auditors come back saying this restaurant is in breach and is a risk can we take further action. We have recently done a food audit, and although Burger King were not perfect, they were not bad either. A lease is a lease, nothing else can be done unless they are clearly in breach of the lease. There are not many things we can do as a landlord but we will work with them with to improve the customer service, one of the points raised on TripAdvisor, and we will work with the head franchise to improve the branch in any way we can.”
Be At One confirms first Wales site: Cocktail brand Be At One is set to open in late March at 60-61 St Mary Street in Cardiff as part of The Bunker – Be At One is set to take over part of the site. The main part of the Bunker Bar and Club would remain open and in business. Marketing manager Sarah Swaysland told local media: “We decided to come to Cardiff because it’s a great city with a fantastic nightlife that we feel we can really add to. Our philosophy is all about serving great cocktails with awesome service in a party atmosphere. We’re only open evenings, we don’t do food, we just do cocktails really well, although there is a selection of beer and wine for those who want it. We could not be more excited about moving to Cardiff.”
Chatwins reports 40% sales uplift after emulating Starbucks/Costa environment: Chatwins, the 24-strong Cheshire bakery and food-to-go chain, has reported sales up as much as 40% since a refit of sites to emulate Costa Coffee and Starbucks environments. Managing director Edward Chatwin told British Baker that, since refitting two of the shops, sales were up between 30% and 40%, and customer numbers were also up. Chatwin also said that average customer spend had increased, due to the fact that more sandwiches were being sold now that they were made freshly on the premises. Its lunch and breakfast offer is being adapted to appeal to the growing on-the-go market. It plans to complete the refit of four to five more shops by the end of 2015. The firm has used market research and inspiration from other coffee shops and bakeries to create the new look. Chatwin added: “Before this we were very traditional bakers, but we wanted to attract a different audience than we have done in the past. We are attracting a younger audience now, and a more male audience than we used to do, but it still appeals to people across the board and that is something that was key to us. We’re very happy with the overall effect of the shop, we have a good combination of bakery-feel, but also an environment in which someone who regularly visits Costa or Starbucks would feel comfortable.”
Craft brewer West Berkshire has added two people to its board: Simon Lewis has joined craft brewer West Berkshire as chief executive and Tom Lucas has been promoted to finance director and company secretary. Lewis was formerly head of sales at the highly-acclaimed Purity Brewery in Warwickshire before which he was with Red Bull and Coors Brewers. Lucas joined the company in 2008, since when he has played an important role in its development as well as gaining his professional qualification as an accountant. In announcing the appointments chairman David Bruce said: “This exciting news is the latest and most important jigsaw piece to be put in place since I was invited in 2013 to become chairman by Dave and Helen Maggs who founded the Brewery in 1995.”
TGI Friday’s begin Middle East evolution: TGI Friday’s has embarked on a programme of revamping its UAE outlets and upgrading its menu with 30 new dishes. The first restaurant in Dubai to undergo a makeover is The Dubai Mall outlet, which is located on the second floor of the retail and leisure centre. The company says that its new facility will offer an enhanced atmosphere and a greater selection of meal and beverage options. TGI Fridays has 46 restaurants across Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Flagship Spearmint Rhino has hours trimmed after noise complaints: One of the country’s best-known lap-dancing clubs has had its opening hours cut back after neighbours complained of sleepless nights due to noisy customers. Spearmint Rhino’s flagship venue in Tottenham Court Road will be forced to close its doors two hours earlier than the current 4am closing time after a Camden Council licensing committee set out to tackle late-night disturbances that have been the cause of objections from those living nearby for more than a decade. Lap-dancing venues must renew their licence every year and managers at Spearmint Rhino were told that if the noise complaints “continue without remedy” it could be refused in the future. After the decision was made to shut the club at 2am Monday to Friday, and at 1am on Sundays, ward councilor Rishi Madlani said it was a “good result” and would secure “676 hours a year less objectification of women and a positive result for the residents of Paramount Court”.
Eastbourne hotel goes on the market with £2,750,000 asking price: The freehold of the Chatsworth Hotel in Eastbourne is on the market through agent Fleurets with an asking price of £2,750,000. The property, located on Eastbourne’s Grand Parade, features 46 en-suite bedrooms. The Chatsworth Hotel offers conference facilities with a capacity of up to 150 people. “This is a well-established business suitable for an experience hotelier,” said Will Thomas, senior associate at Fleurets, which is handling the sale. “Accounts show a turnover in excess of £1 million for the year ending March 2014.” The current private owner also owns three other hotels and is now focusing on a gradual withdrawal from the business and the sale of this premier hotel represents the first phase of this process.