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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 9th Feb 2018 - Update: Tim Bacon Foundation, Ten Entertainment, D&D London, West End
Gusto raises £50,000 for Tim Bacon Foundation: Italian casual dining group Gusto has raised more than £50,000 for the Tim Bacon Foundation. The group’s 19 restaurants collected donations from diners across January. Tim Bacon was the co-founder and chairman of Living Ventures, the restaurant group which established the Gusto brand in 2005 before its sale to Palatine Private Equity in 2014. Tim is widely credited as an inspirational innovator in the UK eating and drinking industry, helping to establish national brands such as Gusto, The Alchemist, The Botanist and Living Room. He sadly passed away in April 2016 after living with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and thereafter with advanced Melanoma, for many years. Living Ventures established the Tim Bacon Foundation to support cancer charities and, specifically this year, the new Proton Beam Therapy Centre at The Christie Manchester. A true innovation, it will be the first of its kind in the UK. Proton beam therapy is a specialist form of radiotherapy which can very precisely target certain cancers, increasing success rates and reducing side-effects. Its introduction to the UK will bring treatment closer to patients, mostly children with brain tumours, who are currently sent abroad for treatment. After years of planning, the multi-million pound project is entering its final stages and patients should be able to access the new treatment from August 2018, managing director of Gusto, Sue Crimes, said: “I want to thank our customers so much for donating so generously! Tim’s legacy lives on in everything we do at Gusto. Tim was pioneering, passionate and above all brave. We wanted to celebrate Tim’s contribution in establishing Gusto by asking our diners for a small donation. It was an outstanding testament to his legacy that more than 50,000 Gusto diners across the UK each donated. I cannot thank everyone who has supported this enough; it has been so humbling to receive such goodwill from so many people! Tim would have been thrilled to hear that the high-energy proton beam therapy centre run by the NHS will open at the Christie Hospital in Manchester this year, allowing patients in the UK to access an important treatment for life-threatening cancers. Every penny counts and the money raised at Gusto will help make a huge difference to cancer patients. I am so grateful to the Gusto staff and customers for helping to raise such a significant amount.”

Ten Entertainment Group adds two sites: Ten-pin bowling company Ten Entertainment Group has acquired two further sites, continuing its acquisition strategy and bringing its estate to 42 sites. The company stated: “The two sites, located in Chichester and Warrington, are geographically complementary to the existing estate and are existing ten-pin operations set within leisure parks. TEG has a proven track record of integrating acquisitions through its ‘Tenpinisation’ strategy to allow a planned re-development of acquired sites, bringing the operations, systems and technology and customer experience, up to the high standards of the company’s wider estate. Both sites will benefit from significant further investment in the coming months.” Chief executive Alan Hand said: “We are very pleased to have secured these two well-located sites at an early stage in the year. Integration into the group through our ‘Tenpinisation’ process will enable both of these sites to contribute to the group’s performance this year.” Chairman Nick Basing added: “These two new deals point to further evidence of the group’s growing ability to acquire high quality locations, taking the total number of sites acquired so far to 14 since 2014.”

West End landlord reports ‘robust trading’: Shaftesbury, the Real Estate Investment Trust that owns a 14.9 acre portfolio in London’s West End, has reported continuing high footfall and robust trading through the period High occupancy levels and leasing activity remains strong in the period between 1 October and 8 February 2018. It added: “(We have had) good progress in letting our recent larger schemes – 52% of completed space now let or under offer. (We made) strategic acquisitions of 72 Broadwick Street, Carnaby and six shops in Neal Street, Seven Dials.” Chief executive Brian Bickell said: “The economic strength and resilience of London’s West End lies in its enduring local, national and global appeal as a destination of choice for people and businesses. Throughout the period, and particularly from November in the lead up to Christmas and New Year, we have seen continuing high footfall and robust trading across our areas. Occupancy levels in our portfolio remain high, available space continues to attract considerable interest, and we are making good progress in letting our recent larger schemes.” 

D&D London to start Bluebird expansion next month with White City opening: Restaurant operator D&D London is set to start expansion of its Bluebird brand next month by opening a second site, at the Television Centre development in White City. Bluebird has been a popular restaurant in Chelsea’s King’s Road for the past 20 years, with the opening at the former home of the BBC the first of a planned expansion of Bluebird cafes, including one in New York. The 5,000 square foot site will include a cafe, bar, deli and outdoor terrace. In September, the company appointed Simon Gregory as executive chef of the brand ahead of expansion. The venue will join other brands at the development including Indian small plates concept Kricket, pizza company Homeslice and better burger brand Patty & Bun, alongside a Soho House members’ club, hotel and an Electric cinema. D&D London was founded by Des Gunewardena and David Loewi in 2006 following a buyout of Conran Restaurants. Gunewardena told Hot Dinners: “We think the exciting new development of Television Centre in White City is a great location to start what I hope will become a significant expansion of Bluebird cafes in the next few years.”

ALMR welcomes T-level proposals and underlines urgent need for implementation in hospitality: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has stated its committed support for the principle of the new ‘T’ Levels, in its submission to a Department for Education consultation. The ALMR’s evidence also welcomed the introduction of what would present an alternative to apprenticeships and A levels, comprising a robust full time technical education programme. Due to the acute skills and employment shortages in hospitality, the ALMR called for the sector to be at the front of the queue when implementation begins. Kate Nicholls, ALMR chief executive, said: “The government is taking a sensible and considered approach to a crucial issue affecting the eating and drinking out sector. However, staffing and skills shortage in our hospitality is so acute that it really must be among those areas addressed in the very first round of implementation. The potential of these measures will otherwise be lost, as we fall further behind and our shortages worsen. Eating and drinking out is at the forefront of job creation in the UK and is taking on apprenticeships and upskilling its staff, but is still treading water in terms of filling vacancies. The T levels have the potential to revolutionise our sector’s workforce and help to introduce young workers to an exciting career which can be diverse and rewarding in so many ways. The ALMR will continue to engage with the government to ensure that jobs in pubs, bars and restaurants are given equal footing. These proposals could provide the vehicles that our sector needs to improve the public perceptions about careers in hospitality and to open people’s eyes to the wonderful opportunities that a career in the sector can provide.”

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