Prisoners given a better diet than NHS patients, say scientistsRead the full article in the Daily Mail >> Scottish alcohol reform costs licensees £60m
Scotland's new licensing regime - which comes into force this week - has cost pubs and off-licences £60m to comply with and drinks industry experts warn that the red tape may put many operators out of business. Research suggests the legal costs of reapplying for licences are running between £1,200 and £1,800 for each licensed premises. A key concern is the rocketing price in licensing fees, which will soar from £138 to between £1,100 and £1,700 for an average pub. Layout plans can add an extra £500 to £1,000 to the cost and, from tomorrow, licensees will have to have attended a training course to acquire a personal licence at a cost of £150. Confusion over new laws clamping-down on irresponsible promotions in Scotland has seen some trainers advising bar staff that it will become illegal to ask customers if they want the same again. Meanwhile, both the Independent and the Guardian have reported Home Office plans for 'alcohol ASBOs' that will ban drunken troublemakers from pubs, bars and off-licences for set periods - 31 August, Read the full article in the Scotsman >>
David Yeo to open first hotel and first UK restaurant this month
British-born Chinese lawyer-turned-restaurateur David Yeo will this month open his first hotel, along with his first restaurant outside China in London's Regent Street. Yeo, who has 14 restaurants in Asia, will launch a self-designed, ten-bedroom, all-suite boutique hotel, Hullet House, in an historic building in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The hotel will contain five restaurants and a bar. Back in the UK, his Aqua London restaurant will occupy 15,000 sq ft on the roof of the former Dickens & Jones department. It comprises the 110-seat store Aqua Kyoto Japanese restaurant, the 160-seat Aqua Nueva North Spanish restaurant (overseen by chef Alberto HernÁ¡ndez Pérez), three 35-seat rooftop terraces and the Aqua Spirit bar. - 31 August, Read the full article in The Times >>
Punch to spend £45m on revitalising Spirit
Punch Taverns plans to spend £45m this year revamping its managed pubs arm, Spirit, in a bid to raise funds and reduce its £3.5b debt. The Chef & Brewer carvery chain will benefit from a makeover while new brands to be introduced include Roast Inn and Fayre & Square, a value food offering. Managing director Mike Tye wants the division to become self-funding in the next two to three years. Punch also plans to sell a further 100 of its 850 managed pubs that are seen as non-core or as venues that cannot be profitable. Since joining Punch a year ago, Tye has replaced almost half the Spirit pub managers as part of the drive to revive flagging sales. Â¬ - 30 August, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>
Middle Eastern restaurants tipped to overtake curry houses in popularity Middle Eastern restaurants serving falafel, hummus wraps, and skewered lamb cooked over a charcoal pit are likely to overtake curry houses as Britons' favourite cheap meal out within the next 20 years, according to research by Bradford and Liverpool John Moores universities. Leading the trend is Manchester, where the number of Middle Eastern restaurants in the city's famous Curry Mile in Rusholme has grown from five to 20 in just seven years, rapidly catching up with the area's 45 Indian restaurants. The first falafel restaurant has recently opened in London's curry house mecca Brick Lane, while Hummus Bros, a planned chain of fast-food restaurants, has opened two outlets in the capital. The new Middle Eastern venues are typically bigger than their Indian rivals - Beirut, a new falafel restaurant in Manchester can seat 100 customers against an average 40 in local Indians. - 30 August, Read the full article in the Observer >>
Chicago Rock Café future bleak as Luminar fails to sell 3D stake The future of 2,000 staff at Chicago Rock Café and Jumping Jaks looks uncertain after Luminar, the UK's largest nightclub operator, failed to find a buyer for its 49% stake in the brands' owner, 3D Entertainment, despite slashing the price to less than £5m. Luminar, which has seen profits tumble by 58%, has written down the value of its stake in 3D from £26.3million to £3.6million and is trying to raise £36m from a share issue. Talks with a venture capitalist are understood to have ground to a halt and no potential buyers have since shown an interest in the £90m-turnover 3D, which was valued at £50m last year. 3D, which still owes Luminar £20m for a loan, sold 28 nightclubs to Helena Leisure this year at a massively-discounted price and it is feared it may now wind up its Chicago Rock Café and Jumpin Jaks venues. - 30 August, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >> Battersea power station owner in fight for survival The latest scheme to redevelop Battersea power station are in jeopardy because the Irish property company that bought it for £400m in 2006 is fighting for its financial survival. Real Estate Opportunities (REO), which is controlled by Treasury Holdings, presented plans last June for 3,700 homes, 1.5m sq ft of office space and 500,000 sq ft of restaurants, shops and leisure facilities at a £4b cost. This year it also proposed co-funding an extension of the Northern line tube system to the site. But REO lost £200m in the first half of the year (when the power station's value fell by 15%) and is struggling with debts of £1.6b. Nevertheless, REO is confident it can roll over £750m debts due by the end of next year and insists the Battersea scheme is progressing and that revised plans were submitted last month. The dilapidated power station, which was given Grade II status in 1980 and decommissioned in 1983, is Europe's largest disused brownfield site. - 30 August, Read the full article in the Observer >> Conman defrauds pub landlords in cancer charity scam A conman posing as the brother of comedian Peter Kay has been targeting pub landlords in a charity scam. The fraudster, who calls himself Danny Kay, promises to perform stand-up shows at the pubs in return for a donation to help a four-year-old boy in Derby raise £300,000 to treat his rare form of cancer in America. However, the thief, who is being hunted by police, fails to turn up for the show after taking generous donations for the Lewis Mighty fund. - 29 August, The Independent.
Green concerns over £1.3b Scottish golfing resort for super-rich
More than 300 objections have been lodged against plans to develop a £1.3b golfing resort within the Dall Estate on the banks of Loch Rannoch that will be so elite even Tiger Woods could not afford the membership. A key opponent of the plans by developer Malcom James is the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), which claims the environmental assessment was "inherently flawed" and failed to indicate the true impact on protected species and habitats. The Scottish Woodland Trust fears the resort would destroy 400 acres of ancient woodland while other groups are concerned that the planned seven-storey Broch restaurant - designed like a crannog within the loch - would damage the spawning grounds of the rare Arctic char. Perth and Kinross council will decideby 22 November whether to allow the scheme to proceed. - 31 August, Read the full article in the Scotsman
By Angela Frewin
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