McDonald’s and Pret A Manger linked with cancer scare
McDonald’s and Pret A Manger are among the retail outlets named by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as having bought prepared food products containing chilli powder coloured with the Sudan 1 dye. The FSA said McDonald’s Low Fat Caesar Dressing and the tuna mayonnaise sandwich filling used by Pret A Manger both contained the chilli powder. – The Times, 19 February.
Enterprise Inns to repay acquisition loan
Enterprise Inns is to repay a bridging loan taken out to finance last year’s acquisition of the Unique Pub Company by issuing £170m of bonds. The company is reissuing almost £400m of bonds to take advantage of better rates. – The Times, 19 February.
Caffè Nero opens 200th store
Caffè Nero has opened its 200th store – opposite King’s College in Cambridge – and expects to double in size to more than 400 outlets over the next four to five years. The landmark opening, its third in the city, comes in the wake of a strong financial performance. Earlier this month the company reported a 118% jump in pre-tax profits to £2.14m from turnover up 40% to £32.8m. Like-for-like sales rose by 6%. – The Times, 19 February.
Wagamama in takeover rumour
Ma Potter’s chargrill restaurants and Wagamama are rumoured takeover targets for Urban Dining, the AIM-listed restaurant acquisition company set up by former directors of PizzaExpress and Punch Taverns. – Mail on Sunday, 20 February.
VisitScotland triples tourism from France and Germany
A new European marketing strategy by VisitScotland claims to have paid dividends in Germany and France by tripling tourist spend from these key markets in just two years. VisitScotland, which aims to boost Scottish tourism by 50% during the next decade from its current annual economic contribution of more than £4b, scrapped its previous scheme of using separate advertising agencies and tailored campaigns for each of the eight major European markets in favour of a unified message across the board. – Sunday Herald, 20 February
Welcome Break cut losses to £14.7m
Welcome Break has cut losses to £14.7m for the year to last September, compared with losses of £62.4m the previous year. The second-biggest MSA operator, Welcome Break is owned by Investcorp, the Bahrain-based private equity group. Last year it teetered on the brink of administration. – Mail on Sunday, 20 February.
Jurys Doyle scraps Dublin expansion plan
Jurys Doyle Hotels has cancelled plans to add 146 rooms to the 505-room Burlington, the biggest hotel in Ireland. Jurys last year received planning permission from Dublin city council for the additional beds, but industry sources say it now believes the Dublin hotel market, which already has 15,000 bedrooms, cannot sustain such a development. – Sunday Times (Irish edition), 20 February.
Hilton to return millions to shareholders
Hilton is expected to announce it is planning to return millions of pounds to shareholders when it reports annual results on Thursday. The company has raised more than £700m in the past five years through the sale and leaseback of hotel assets. Hilton already has 11 hotels on the market and is expected to sell more. – Mail on Sunday, 20 February.
Heaviest cookery book in the world to get English edition
French chef Alain Ducasse’s classic cookbook The Grand Livre of Cuisine: Alain Ducasse’s Culinary Encyclopedia, thought to be the heaviest cookery book ever published, is to get an English edition. The 1,080-page tome weighs just under 14lb, contains 700 recipes, more than 1,000 photographs and the price, when it goes on sale in British bookshops in April, will be £130. – Sunday Telegraph, 20 February.
Hotel to suspend without pay staff who put on weight
The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City has weighed all 210 of its “costumed beverage servers” and anyone gaining more than 7% of their body weight will be suspended without pay, though they will be offered gym sessions to help them lose the fat. A spokesperson said the policy merely clarified existing appearance standards that women servers should have “natural hourglass figures” and men “V-shaped torsos, broad shoulders and slim waists. – Daily Telegraph, 19 February.