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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 31st Mar 2017 - Busaba Eathai to close Manchester site, reviewing options on Liverpool restaurant
Busaba Eathai to close Manchester site, reviewing options on Liverpool restaurant: Busaba Eathai, the Thai chain founded by Alan Yau and led by chief executive Jason Myers, will close its Manchester restaurant on Monday (3 April) and is reviewing options for its Liverpool site. The company opened the flagship 7,000 square foot venue at The Printworks, Manchester, in January last year after taking over the former Cafe Rouge unit. A spokesman said: “While Manchester has traded positively and we have had some great feedback from our guests, due to the number of openings in the city over the past 12 months, the restaurant is not in the desired position in the agreed timescales. This has been a very difficult decision but a commercial one taken for the greater good of our business. Any decisions made are to ensure Busaba emerges a more agile, fitter and stronger business. Our new openings at Oxford Circus and St Albans, as well as the two RooBox sites and our brand refurbishments at Soho and Hoxton, are all performing well. We are substantially investing in our core business this year, refurbishing another five to six sites in as many months. We have loved being in Manchester – we’ve met some amazing people, forged some fantastic partnerships and will miss the city, but we are optimistic we will return. All Manchester team members have been offered opportunities to remain within the Busaba family and the company is working closely to support colleagues through this transition.” Busaba said it would continue to put the spotlight on its people, training and food and beverage development while investing in technology, including the Busaba Path of Enlightenment loyalty app, and improving the Busaba To Go delivery and takeaway proposition.

Halewood buys stake in City of London Distillery: Halewood Wines and Spirits has bought a stake in The City of London Distillery, enabling the micro-distillery to further capitalise on the gin renaissance by gaining new routes to market. Master distiller and managing director Jonathan Clark remains at the Bride Lane-based distillery, the only working distillery in the City, to focus on expanding the reach of his craft gin portfolio. Further to the additional routes to market the deal offers, the distillery will also benefit from support in marketing and promoting the brands. The City of London Distillery will continue to operate independently. Clark told The Business Desk: “The Halewood investment now gives us the opportunity, not only to continue experimenting and perfecting our existing gin portfolio here in the City, but also to expand our reach throughout the rest of the UK and internationally.” Halewood Wines & Spirits group chief executive Stewart Hainsworth added: “With our focus on craft, Jonathan’s unique proposition and passion for traditional high-grade distilling caught our eye and we’re looking forward to supporting him in expanding his premium portfolio.” In addition to its City-focused gin portfolio, the City of London Distillery also offers interactive visitor experiences, including distillery tours, gin tastings and a laboratory experience as well as a speakeasy-style bar. It is another strategic move for the Halewood business in supporting craft producers and follows other recent distillery investments, including its acquisition of Hawkshead Brewery in Cumbria, which also continues to operate independently.

Wadworth appoints John Beard as non-executive director: Brewer and retailer Wadworth has appointed John Beard as non-executive director as it continues to strengthen its board. Beard joins with immediate effect, bringing a wealth of senior leadership experience. Currently co-owner of The Whisky Shop and Loch Fyne Whiskies, he is also an active investor in Pontoon – a business that provides pre-mixed cocktails to bars and casual dining restaurants – as well as two waiting-room digital platforms, Intentor and Vision Media. Beard’s previous roles include chief executive of Whyte and Mackay, and Bacardi Brown-Forman. Wadworth non-executive chairman Charles Bartholomew said: “John has a proven track record at board level and his appointment comes at an exciting time for Wadworth as we look to further grow and develop our business in line with our strategic plans.”

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