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Roundup of Hospitality News – W/c 28th March


Here is our Hospitality News Roundup from around the country for week commencing 28th March. If we’ve missed anything please add in the comments below:

Monday 28/3/16 Dolce & Verde cafe set to open in Belvoir Street in June: The owner of a successful Rothley cafe is planning to open a second coffee shop in the centre of Leicester. Harry Murphy is feverishly working to get his Dolce & Verde cafe, in Belvoir Street, ready for its grand opening on June 1. It will be his second business, which will see his brand grow. The Leicester branch will be four times the size of its sister shop, in Woodgate, Rothley, which opened in 2014,but will offer much of the same in the way of food and drink – such as California style breakfasts (sourdough toast with avocado and poached eggs), wraps, paninis, patisserie and bagels. “We are a Leicestershire business and genuinely believe the county and city can do great things,” said Harry. “If you look at the influx of new businesses and restaurants in the city in the past few years it’s exciting. “It’s our time to stand out as a city that is really growing and improving. We felt particularly lucky to get the Belvoir street location because for us it’s a ‘famous’ road socially – it’s where we all used to go out – and so the leap from small village coffee house to city centre seemed less daunting.” Harry said he is not concerned about the number of rival coffee shops and cafes in the city, with which he will have to compete. “Naturally there is always a healthy amount of competition when you take the jump in to the city,” he said. “But in the coffee business – on the speciality side – there is a network, a kind of kinship in caffeine, whereby we all strive to raise the standards of coffee for the whole city. “That’s our mission with the Leicester store, to show people what coffee and food can be when the person serving you loves what they do, and cares about your experience.”

Tuesday 29/3/16 Prezzo opens new restaurant in Grantham: Prezzo has opened a new site in Grantham, Lincolnshire. The company has launched the site in St Peter’s Hill having refurbished two adjoining empty units next to Costa Coffee. The restaurant, which has created 16 jobs, has seating for 137 diners, including a dedicated party table adjacent to the bar that seats eight. It has a contemporary look of mainly light oak and marble and also features silver mirrors. Guests can see their pizzas being prepared and cooked by the chefs. Manager Karina Rucka told the Grantham Journal: “I am confident that it will prove popular and be a great addition to the social and eating out scene in Grantham.” Multi-siters add boutique bedrooms with support from Star Pubs & Bars: Multi-site operators Jo and Justin Chad have added five boutique bedrooms to their historic pub in Harlaxton, Lincolnshire. The alterations to the 18th century Gregory Pub and Dining Rooms, in Harlaxton Road, will allow it to open up a new area of growth for the already successful business. The dining pub will also soon be open to the public for breakfast and all day for coffees, teas and snacks, in addition to lunches and dinners. Jo Chad, who also runs the Chequers Inn at Woolsthorpe by Belvoir, said: “We’ve grown our business every year since 2003 throughout the recession. Now seemed the ideal time to invest in the pub and the local economy as we feel confident about the area’s future and are picking up on a positive feel-good factor from the many business people who dine at The Gregory. We’re always being asked if we can add bedrooms by people who are dining at the pub, especially business people staying nearby.” The investment has been made jointly by the Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars and the licensees. Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Heineken is a passionate supporter of the great British pub, of which The Gregory Pub and Dining Rooms is a great example, thanks to Jo and Justin’s hard work.” Close restaurants with no disabled access, says House of Lords

By Sophie Witts, 29-Mar-2016

Restaurants and pubs which fail to provide facilities for disabled customers should be closed down, a House of Lords Select Committee has claimed. Read More Restaurants and hotels rank low on Twitter response survey

By Emma Eversham+, 29-Mar-2016

Restaurants and hotels have been criticised for taking too long to reply to Tweets sent by customers and giving a poor quality response when they do.

Read More

Wednesday 30/3/15 Old Northampton Group acquires fifth site: Old Northampton Group has acquired its fifth site in Northampton. The company has taken over the former Fat Cats bar in Bridge Street, which was gutted by fire in 2012. It aims to remove scaffolding around the building this summer and begin refurbishing the property later this year. The company’s plans for the grade II-listed property are “top secret”, but a spokesman said up to three proposals had been put forward. He told the Northampton Herald & Post: “We are working very hard with the council on some ideas and sharing thoughts with them, but I can’t say what we are going to do at the moment – it’s too early. There are two or three ideas, but it’s highly unlikely it is going to be any form of a bar (like it used to be). As a group, we have got enough sites (restaurants) in Northampton and we are happy with them. We want to work on an idea that is beneficial to everybody and to get the best of the building.” The blaze at the former Fat Cats bar is believed to have been accidentally caused by workmen using hot tools while repairing the roof. Old Northampton Group owns the Department of Meat and Social Affairs, Sazerac, The Old House Pub and Kitchen and is also launching pub restaurant The Lighthouse. Suffolk country pub freehold on market for £580,000: The freehold of the Three Blackbirds country pub in Woodditton, west Suffolk, has been put on the market for £580,000, inclusive of trade fixtures and fittings. The 17th century, detached, grade II-listed dining pub with thatched roof is being marketed by agent Fleurets. The 100-cover venue features exposed ceiling beams with inglenook hearths, and is about four miles from Newmarket and 14 miles from Cambridge. The property also has enclosed beer gardens and a car park to the rear. In 2014, outline planning permission was granted for an annexe at the back to provide nine en-suite letting bedrooms. The property’s owners are selling up to concentrate on other core business interests. Simon Jackaman, divisional director for Fleurets’ East Anglia office, said: “This is an exceptional dining pub which has come to the market in one of the most appealing areas of west Suffolk. The property is an ideal acquisition for an existing pub company or chef proprietor.” JD Wetherspoon seeks to expand Norwich pub: JD Wetherspoon has asked Norwich City Council for permission to extend The Bell Hotel, in Orford Hill, in the city centre. The company is seeking approval to extend the floor space for drinkers into empty offices above the Santander bank. Eddie Gershon, spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, said: “The Bell Hotel is one of our most long established pubs in the UK and one of the most popular in Norwich and Norfolk. We are always keen to add value for our customers and as a result, we have put in for planning permission to extend. That is a decision to be made by the city council, but we are very keen to extend and create an even better pub for our customers.” Brakes’ first time distributing beer and cider

By Nicholas Robinson+, 29-Mar-2016

Brakes, the foodservice supplier, will distribute bottled beers and ciders for the first time, it has announced. Read More

Thursday 31/3/15 King’s Lynn’s Lattice House to have new owners from May: Jobs will be retained and pints will still be pulled after it was announced this week that new owners have been found for an historic Lynn town centre pub. After months of uncertainty, regulars at the Lattice House in Chapel Street will still enjoy a drink. The venue, a Grade II listed building, was put up for sale by the JD Wetherspoon chain last November and has been purchased by Hawthorn Leisure. It was one of 34 Wetherspoon pubs across the country to be put on the market. At the time, the pub chain said they would be sold together. But a spokeswoman for Hawthorn Leisure said yesterday that the Lattice House was a ‘sole purchase’. Wetherspoon’s, who first bought the popular venue back in November 1988, last day of trading will be on May 7. Staff at the Lattice House were informed of Hawthorn Leisure’s purchase on Tuesday. Hawthorn Leisure chief executive, Gerry Carroll said: “We are delighted to welcome management and staff into the Hawthorn team as they transfer across with the pub. “It will be business as usual from completion and our relentless focus on people, quality and delivering great value will ensure that we continue to offer a fantastic proposition for our customers.” According to its website, Hawthorn Leisure is a new company which was formed in 2013 to acquire, invest in and support pubs across the UK. It owns a diverse range of more than 350 pubs across the country. Freehold of former JD Wetherspoon site in Luton sells at auction for £900,000: The freehold of a former JD Wetherspoon pub in Luton has been bought at auction for £900,000. The London Hatter in Park Street closed its doors in February for “commercial reasons” with staff re-employed at other company sites. The freehold has been bought by a family-run private investment firm based in Elstree, near Borehamwood, reports the Luton News. Although JD Wetherspoon no longer operates from the site it still leases the property for £61,000 a year. The agreement will expire in 2041 – although the company has a break clause it can exercise in 2026 with six months’ notice. It is understood JD Wetherspoon is looking to sub-let the property in order to negate the cost of the lease. The freehold included the site’s ground floor, five parking spaces and one upper floor. The former pub is part of a larger building, the remainder of which was not up for sale. The London Hatter first opened in July 2011 after a £960,000 refurbishment of the building, which used to operate as Legends nightclub. Lease signing a significant step forward for Peterborough micro pub: What could become Peterborough’s first micro pub has moved a step closer. Tom Beran, landlord at the popular Coalheavers Arms in Woodston, has taken on a 10-year lease at a former pharmacy in Westgate for a venture which will be known as The Bimble Inn. Micro pubs – a “stripped-back” version of a real-ale pub – have been springing up in disused retail units in towns and cities in the past decade aimed at discerning drinkers out for a quiet pint or two. Edward Gee, associate in the business space team at Savills Peterborough, said: “46 Westgate is the ideal location for The Bimble Inn, which will look to target city centre drinkers. “Micro pubs are proving a popular trend and we are very pleased to have let this space on behalf of our client.” Tom Beran added: “We are delighted to be opening Peterborough’s first Micro Pub. This property is ideal for Peterborough real ale fans and adds another venue to the town’s real ale and craft beer scene.” Renovation of the premises is under way, and Tom has previously said TheBimble Inn will serve 4-5real ales, British wines,real cider, craft keg and a range of interesting premium bottles and cans. “Micro pubs are the new boom in hospitality and leisure – they harken back to a simpler time when pubs were just about good beer, and good conversation- no TV, no music, work-friendly hours,” he adds. A second micro pub and bottle shop – The Stone Works – is on schedule to open this summer in a former betting office in Church Street, in the city centre,with work there underway too.

Friday 1/4/15 Controversial youth-friendly dress code initiative launches: An R&A campaign that’s set to get more teenagers into golf clubs could result in older golfers feeling pressurised into dressing down on the course and in the clubhouse, an industry figure has warned. Starting today, The R&A’s #BootDaSuit campaign will see grants of up to £30,000 awarded to every golf club that enforces a ‘teenage-friendly’ dress code for at least two days a week for the next 12 months. Members and visitors of participating clubs on the set days, of which one must be a weekend day, will not be allowed to wear smart clothing such as jackets, shirts or ties in the clubhouse. Instead casual dress such as sportswear, tracksuits, football strips and hooded tops will be encouraged. “The idea is to create a less intimidating environment for youths, who, at the end of the day are the future of this sport,” said R&A spokesman Terry Jenkins. In a further change with traditional golf attire, members will be advised to wear casual trainers rather than smart shoes, although spiked golf shoes will be permitted. The initiative follows market research which found that 45 percent of young people feel dress codes and smart clothing intimidate them and put them off taking up the sport. In addition, the research found that golf has not benefitted from the huge growth of hen and stag parties, an industry now worth in excess of £750 million a year. Guests will also be encouraged to play in fancy dress for events such as Christmas, St Patrick’s Day and Halloween, and clubs are being advised to be more tolerant when it comes to the ‘three S’s’: swearing, smoking and spitting. Read More Oakman Inns awarded three stars for sustainability: Oakman Inns & Restaurants, led by Peter Borg-Neal, has been awarded the highest possible status of three stars from The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) in the Food Made Good awards. Oakman is only the second pub group to achieve three-star status and join the ranks of restaurateurs such as Raymond Blanc (the SRA president), Rick Stein, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Thomasina Miers, and Antonio Carluccio, all of whose restaurant companies have achieved the accolade. The rating is based on a holistic assessment of each business, covering 14 key areas that consider best sustainability practice under the headings (or pillars) of society, sourcing and environment – it has an overall score of 98%. The judges commented on the comprehensive employee induction and training programmes that include developing skills in, for example, wine and cellar management, as well as graduate and management training programmes. They also praised Oakman Inns for providing customers with healthier options by offering smaller portion sizes at a reduced cost and healthier cooking methods, such as steaming. Oakman Inns also received a score of 98% for its community engagement programme where it continues to support local charities and work closely with the Springboard Charity. In addition, the company organises networking breakfasts for local businesses and invites schoolchildren to come and learn about how food is produced. Borg-Neal said: “2016 will be our fourth year of membership and everyone working with and for us has joined our efforts to make each and every one of the Oakman Inns a sustainably beneficial part of the local area and community. Obviously we are committed to improving our scores in other areas, such as energy efficiency and in our use of recycled materials, and I believe our future bars and restaurants will reflect that in many ways.” Food & Fuel achieves two-star rating from Sustainable Restaurant Association: Food & Fuel, the 13-strong gastro-pub and cafe bar group, has been awarded a two-star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) in recognition of its performance in its annual sustainability rating. A number of new initiatives across all aspects of the business helped Food & Fuel’s London sites improve on their previous one star rating. Monthly changing menus to incorporate seasonality featuring almost exclusively fresh British ingredients and a selection of British wines and UK craft beers, helped boost the score in the sourcing section of the Food Made Good rating. An increased focus on healthy eating means customers can now order dishes in two sizes and there are more vegetarian dishes on offer. All of the sites host at least one charity event every year as well as supporting local community initiatives and participate in events such as Race for Life. The restaurants have implemented a number of positive initiatives to help them reduce their environmental footprint – including upping their recycling and installing smart meters and energy reduction targets. Peter Myers, commercial director of Food & Fuel, said: “Over the past two years, we have worked closely with the SRA to achieve our community and sustainability goals which are core to Food & Fuel’s values. We’re absolutely delighted to receive a two-star Food Made Good rating and it is testimony to the continued focus of our team and our suppliers to meet our customers’ increasing desire for a sustainable dining experience.” Batemans increases sales team as it forecasts 10% rise in trade: Batemans, the family brewer based in Lincolnshire, has increased its sales team to develop its free trade accounts while forecasting a 10% increase in trade. The team has grown from five to nine, with seven area sales managers and a trainee working alongside managing director Stuart Bateman. Batemans will now be able to cover free trade accounts across Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire, East Midlands, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. Batemans has also increased its free trade product portfolio to include more craft beer varieties and premium soft drinks. Bateman said: “Developing our free trade accounts is a key part of our 2016 strategy, and the growth of our sales team will be essential to achieving this. Our sales team has now increased by nearly 100%, which will ensure each member is able to concentrate on providing exceptional service to our free trade pubs and utilising our expert knowledge to support them and their businesses.” Batemans has more than 60 pubs in its estate. In February, the company bought its third managed pub, The Fairways in Brinsworth, South Yorkshire, which forms a key part of its 2016 acquisition strategy to focus on acquiring main road pubs with strong food offerings and letting rooms.

Roundup of Hospitality News – W/c 28th March was last modified: by

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