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Fri 4th Sep 2015 - Update: Burger & Lobster, Cabana, Carluccio's, BrewDog, All Bar One
Burger & Lobster set to open first site in Scotland after signing for Aberdeen scheme, All Bar One also agrees deal: Burger & Lobster, the brand owned by Goodman Restaurant Group, is set to open its first site in Scotland. The company has signed up for the £107m Marischal Square development in Broad Street, Aberdeen. It will be joined by Mitchells & Butlers brand All Bar One, which has also agreed a unit within the circa 26,600 sq ft restaurant and leisure space included as part of the complex by Muse Developments and its partners Aviva Investors and Aberdeen City Council. Muse said a number of other bar and restaurant operators have agreed “heads of terms” to occupy the ground floor leisure area. A 126-bedroom four-star Residence Inn by Marriott hotel will also occupy the site. Muse regional director for Scotland Stephen Turner, told Scottish Construction Now: “The development will make a long-term impact on the local economy and it is encouraging that our vision for the project, and that of our partners at the council and Aviva, has already been shared by leading businesses including Marriott, All Bar One and Burger & Lobster.” The scheme, which also includes 173,500 sq ft of office accommodation, is due to open in July 2017.

3Sixty Restaurants opens second pub site for Ego brand: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler, has opened its second pub site for its Ego brand in Ackworth, Yorkshire, and is eyeing further expansion for the concept. The company has invested £500,000 converting the Beverley Arms into a 130-cover restaurant-led venue having taken a free-of-tie Wellington Pub Company lease. 3Sixty Restaurants opened its first Ego outlet in a pub in Stockton Brook, Stoke on Trent, in September 2014. Horler said: “This is a wonderful property that was in need of refurbishment. After our first successful pub opening last year, the addition of The Beverley Arms is very exciting. We are currently looking at many sites throughout the Midlands and the north where we can bring our very well proven neighbourhood restaurant brand to more people. Our Ego brand has demonstrated that social media and local marketing can make a difference. We now have one of the highest number of followers on Twitter at over 4,000 per restaurant and we have just had our 80,000th club member join our Ego Club, an average of 8,000 members per restaurant. We are keen to continue to expand the business within our own resources.”

Gourmet healthy snacks company EarlyBird launches £300,000 crowdfunding drive on Crowdcube: Gourmet healthy snacks company EarlyBird has launched a crowdfunding drive on Crowdcube, looking to raise £300,000 in return for 15.79% equity. The company founded by Oliver Pugh and Jamie Trinder in partnership with branding agency Saffron Brand Consulting, is aiming to raise the money to continue developing the product and allow EarlyBird to break even. So far the company has raised £20,410 from 13 investors with 28 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £20,000. The pitch states: “EarlyBird are making Mondays better, having launched an own-brand subscription snack box which is delivered each week. EarlyBird launched a successful Beta programme January-March 2015, with 6,000 boxes shipped. Our product the TasteBox contains five healthy gourmet snacks, amazing artwork and access to independent musicians, that we promote through the TasteBox and EarlyBird website. Each box costs the consumer £4.50 and with our current churn per delivery at 10% the average subscriber stays for ten boxes. Currently we make a 42% gross margin per box packed and we forecast this to increase to 50% with scale. Following the Beta programme the TasteBox was improved and relaunched in June 2015 as a product that we know can take us to break even. Improvements have been made to reduce churn rates, save costs and increase production capacity to 7,000 boxes per week. Currently shipments are over 1,000 boxes per week with revenue growth at around 20% week-on-week. We believe that, the market leader, have shown that there are significant barriers to entry within this space, (we are yet to find a direct postal snack competitor at the price-point they offer). We learnt from our Beta program and subsequent relaunch why this is the case: significant capex and operational knowledge is needed to produce small postal snacks at scale. We believe that EarlyBird represents an opportunity to invest in a company with strong foundations, a growing consumer brand, with a strong social following and large target market with only one important unchallenged player. We are raising £300,000, which will be used to take the company to break-even. Our strategy and track record over the previous 12 months has proven to be a winning one. We will continue in the same breath over the coming 12 months and into the future, reducing costs, improving quality and growing our customer base. It is also prudent to state the UK snacking industry in total is worth £3.8bn per year and the healthy snacking sector continues to grow year-on-year as consumers’ lives become busier but still want to be healthy. For us it isn’t so much about taking’s market share as much as it is to benefit from the continued growth in the sector in general. Our task is to be the best at product variety, building brand equity, and to maximise customer retention. We have modelled prospective exit valuation in detail, and consider our bottom end valuation for exit as £12m, and our top end valuation (assuming UK only growth only) to be about £60m. Were we to include international growth in our calculations then we believe we could exceed £100m at exit.”

Cabana to trial 10p sugar tax in support of Jamie Oliver campaign:
Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana is to trial a 10p sugar tax on artificially sweetened sugar drinks in the autumn. The company, led by Jamie Barber, is the third restaurant company to introduce the levy in support of chef Jamie Oliver’s campaign after Leon and Abokado. Oliver is calling for the government to take action on sugary sweetened drinks and fund food education initiatives and all his UK restaurants carry the levy. Barber featured on Oliver’s Sugar Rush documentary on Channel 4 on Thursday, which examined current levels of sugar consumption and investigated its potentially harmful effects on health. Barber, whose children are at school with Oliver’s, said: “Childhood obesity is a very hot topic in our household and we are delighted to join forces with the other Jamie to do what we can to help combat the health issues that are caused by childrens’ diets. We are also looking at ways that we can better educate on our kids’ menus so that parents and children alike can make informed choices.”

Intu granted permission for new dining quarter in Milton Keynes: Intu has been granted planning permission to redevelop its Milton Keynes shopping centre, which includes the creation of a new dining quarter. The company has been given approval by Milton Keynes Council to transform the 430,000 sq ft site by a further 100,000 sq ft. The development, which will be one of the most significant retail and leisure development projects that central Milton Keynes has seen in over a decade, includes a new dining quarter over two levels and a five-screen “boutique” cinema. Intu’s plans encompass the space in and around Oak Court and Midsummer Boulevard, which will be remodelled while new landscaped areas and public space will be created outside. Regional director of intu, Martin Breeden, said: “Intu Milton Keynes is already the premium fashion pitch in the city and these plans will strengthen its position, creating a contemporary destination for customers to shop, eat, relax and socialise. We’ve had some good interest in the scheme as brands recognise the opportunity that Milton Keynes provides.” The scheme is part of a £1.5bn investment by Intu in development projects in the UK over the next ten years.

BrewDog to investigate open sites in towns with at least 200 new investors: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is to investigate opening sites in towns where it has at least 200 new investors. The company has announced it is planning to use the benchmark for places yet to have a bar with Peterhead in Scotland being lined up as a result of having 214 Equity for Punks investors. It stated: “Yes, aside from the other amazing benefits of becoming an Equity Punk (the #PunkAGM invite, the online and in-person discounts, the first option on all our new beers, and more) one of the lesser known advantages is our undertaking that if 200 new Equity Punks invest from the same town or city, if it doesn’t already have a BrewDog bar then we will endeavour to open one there within the next twelve months of reaching our target, or the closing of the offer if we get there early. It’s basically like our Referral Scheme, only for an entire city! If you’re a prospective BrewDog investor living in even the furthest-flung craft beer colony – then if enough new Equity Punks join our ranks, we’ll try our damndest to reward you and your 199 new friends with somewhere suitably epic to head to for your drinking pleasure. And the first of these that we will start looking in? Step forward, Peterhead. Yes, to date we have welcomed 214 new Equity Punk investors from within the boundary of the Blue Toun, it becoming the first settlement to breach the 200-mark that doesn’t already have a BrewDog bar. So, we will now endeavour to look for a suitable site for a bar in Peterhead! Next on the list of BrewDog [Your Town] sites could well be another northern bastion we know well – Inverurie currently sits on 165 Equity for Punks IV shareholders. When other towns and cities approach this magic number, we will let you know.”

Carluccio’s set to open first restaurant in Northern Ireland: Carluccio’s is set to open its first restaurant in Northern Ireland. The company, founded by celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio, has secured an undisclosed site in Belfast city centre. It is now recruiting staff for the new venue, reports Belfast Live with positions being advertised for a head chef, sous chef as well as a general manager and assistant manager. Prospective applicants are told they will learn alongside fellow chefs, not just at the company’s own cook school in Islington, but also at the celebrated ICIF in Piemonte, Italy.

Manchester-based Evuna set to open third site in Hale: Evuna, the Manchester-based Spanish wine bar and restaurant, is set to open its third site in Hale, Cheshire. The company, founded by Frances and Jane Dowler, has secured planning permission from Trafford Council for the outlet in Ashley Road. The Dowlers are now set to sign a lease for the unit, which was formerly the Black Rose florist, before refurbishing the building and opening the restaurant in early 2016, creating 15 jobs. The 50-cover restaurant would offer a full tapas and à la carte menu both upstairs and downstairs. Upstairs would also be available to hire for private dining, as well as corporate and residential wine tastings. Jane Dowler told Altrincham Today the company had been looking for a venue “in the suburbs” for a while and had unsuccessfully bid for a site in Didsbury. Evuna originally launched on Deansgate in the city centre in 2003 and opened a second restaurant in the Northern Quarter in 2013.

Chef James Martin set to launch first London restaurant: Chef James Martin is set to launch his first restaurant in London. Martin, who hosts BBC show Saturday Kitchen, said it would be a “casual, accessible” venture using British produce, which he hopes to open in six to eight months. He told the London Evening Standard: “We’re about four weeks away from exchanging on the London site. It won’t be fine dining, it will be casual. It will be different but I want it to be accessible to everybody. What sort of food? Let’s get the site then figure out the food. I’ve an idea and we’ve got a few plans.” Martin said he would have a hands-on role at the new restaurant just as he does with his Manchester site, which has just celebrated its second anniversary. He added that approach kept him on top of trends more than chefs who work solely on television.

Chi Kitchen to open second Debenhams site in Birmingham: Chi Kitchen, a new pan-Asian restaurant concept launched in partnership with Debenhams, is to open its second venue in the retail company’s new-look store at the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham. The brand, by the owner of the Thai-inspired Mango Tree restaurant in Belgravia Eddie Lim, is exclusive to Debenhams and will open its latest site on Thursday, 24 September. Chi Kitchen serves a diverse all-day dining menu influenced by Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean cuisine. It will have a range of seating options – deep upholstered window booths, high stools at a dining counter that will double as a sushi bar, and surrounding timber tables and chairs. An open-plan robata grill will also allow guests a glimpse into the kitchen. Lim told the Birmingham Mail: “Our aim is to build a brand exclusively to Debenhams, which is going to offer not only good pan-Asian food but also good energy to Debenhams’ loyal and new customers. The food will be exotic, colourful and incredibly tasty.” The restaurant is making its UK debut in Debenhams’ flagship Oxford Street London store. Debenhams first announced the partnership with Chi Kitchen during a trading update in June and further restaurants are planned in its stores across the UK.

Former hotel worker launches Aberdeen’s first Polish restaurant:
Marcin Krutul, who has worked for the Hilton, Macdonald and Mercure hotel groups, has launched Aberdeen’s first Polish restaurant. Krutul has opened Bigos in Union Terrace on the site of the former Rock & Oyster restaurant where he was general manager. Bigos, which has created three full-time and two part-time jobs, offers customers the chance to enjoy dishes that fuse traditional flavours with modern presentation and such is demand Krutul is launching a lunchtime delivery service. Krutul opened Bigos after seafood restaurant Rock & Oyster began to flounder and the owner asked his staff for ideas on how to turn its fortunes around. Krutul suggested a Polish restaurant and was offered the chance to take on the lease and open his own outlet. He told Aberdeen Business News: “I didn’t set up the restaurant to just service the Polish community, I opened Bigos because I wanted to provide locals and visitors with an opportunity to try the food I loved eating while growing up in Poland.” Krutul received support from Scotland’s business support service Business Gateway to start the venture and is planning on opening a sister site in about three years’ time.

Grillstock lines up first site in Wales: Barbecue restaurant Grillstock is lining up its first site in Wales with an opening in Cardiff. The company has applied to Cardiff City Council to open a venue in St Mary Street on the site of a former sports shop, reports Wales Online. Grillstock said in the application the premises would offer food and alcohol and be open from 11am to 11pm Sunday to Wednesday and 11am to midnight Thursday to Saturday. It added recorded music would be played in the ground-floor restaurant, with the ground floor and basement used for toilets and the back of house, and staff facilities on the first floor. Grillstock’s menu offers barbecue plates, of chicken, ribs and wings, all pit-smoked over hickory wood on site every day, along with pulled park and burgers. The company, which also specialises in pop-up restaurants at festivals, has six branches, including two in Bristol.

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