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Ramsay faces £10m loan call-in – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

26 January 2009 by
Ramsay faces £10m loan call-in – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Financial sources have told the Sunday Express that the Royal Bank of Scotland is calling in the £10m loan that funded the rapid expansion of Gordon Ramsay's restaurant empire across the world and at home. Gordon Ramsay Holdings had been on target to make £100m by next year. Meanwhile, Scotland on Sunday noted that an evangelical faith magazine, Youthwork, has hailed Ramsay as a role model for young Christians. It likens his triumph over an injury that scuppered his footballing career to become a leading chef to the Biblical Job's struggle against adversity. Writer Martin Saunders argued that the chef's TV swearing and blaspheming did not stop him being an inspirational figure on account of his ambition, drive and passion for bringing on another generation of young chefs. - Read the full articles in the Sunday Express and Scotland on Sunday >>

RoadChef could be sold for £50m
Delek, the Israeli owner of the RoadChef motorway services chain, has hired investment bank NM Rothschild to find a buyer for part or all of the company. It is believed that Delek, which acquired RoadChef for £375m in March 2007, could attract offers of around £150m for the company. RoadChef operates 30 motorway service stations that have links with Premier Inn budget hotels and Wimpy burger outlets. There is speculation that RoadChef, which has suffered from competition from lower-priced supermarket petrol stations, may have breached its banking covenants. - 25 January, Read the full article in the SundayTelegraph >>
Upmarket US fast-food chain Chipotle coming to Britain
Chipotle, the upmarket US fast-food chain that specialises in Mexican food made from naturally- or organically-raised ingredients, is planning to open its first restaurant in Britain. It sells flat-bread tortillas with fillings such as pork flavoured with thyme, juniper berries and cracked black pepper, rice with coriander and lime, and organic beans. Chipotle was created in 1993 by chef Steve Ells and grew rapidly after McDonald's bought a stake in 1998 before floating the business in 2006. The group now has 800 outlets, 25,000 staff and sales exceeding $1b. Ells believes the concept will work well in the UK, where there is more awareness about organics, animal welfare and sustainability. If the first restaurant does well, he plans to follow up with a second outlet. - 25 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>
Bring-your-own-jar bar A trendy Leicester bar has come up with a novel way of helping the planet and saving money. While BYOB restaurants allowed customers to bring their own bottles of wine, Time bar in Leicester is encouraging customers to bring in their own empty jars to fill with their favourite tipple. "It's a bit like a modern version of a tankard. Hopefully people will personalise their own jars and then they can leave them here and have their own one every time they come in," said barman Drew Mallins. "It'll help because it recycles glass, and we won't be buying new glasses." The scheme, which offers a 50p discount on drinks served in jars, has already proved popular with regulars. - 25 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph >>

Credit crunch fails to bite into Big Macs McDonald's appears to be one of the winners of the credit crunch as cost-conscious customers have made it one of the best performers on the high street. The UK and France are expected to be shown to be the fast-food chain's strongest markets in Europe between October and November, even though comparable sales growth slowed across the region. The UK arm responded to the credit crunch with its "saver menu" ad campaign highlighting items such as May Chicken burgers, McFlurrys and medium fries at just 99p each. UK president Steve Easterbrook warned that the affordability of food would play a bigger role in consumer choice next year. - 25 January, Read the full article the Observer >>

Robuchon backs simpler meals to match the credit crunch
25-Michelin-starred chef JoÁ«l Robuchon believes the current economic crisis will lead to an advantageous revolution on the way we eat. He says people now want to eat simple food quickly, which means no more over-complicated meals (which Robuchon likens to 'cerebral masturbation') and fewer courses. "They want one main course, one dessert, then they go and that's it, he said. His two-Michelin-starred London restaurant L'Atelier has just introduced a credit cruch £19 two-course set menu for lunch. "This is the most important economic crisis I've faced in my career. Restaurants will close if they don't adapt," Robuchon warned. According to the Sunday Times, several upmarket restaurants in New York have already succumbed to the economic chill. Last week the legendary Rainbow Grill on the top of the Rockefeller Centre stopped serving dinners while Michelin-starred Italian restaurant Fiamma and Ruby Foo's Uptown, a vast Japanese-Asian restaurant, both closed their doors. - 25 January, Read the full articles in the Observer - ](http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/jan/25/credit-crunch-cuisine)and the [Sunday Times >>](http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5581086.ece) -

Iron Maiden opens headbangers' hotel Heavy metal band Iron Maiden has teamed up with nightclub owner Mark Fuller to open Soho Sanctum, Britain's first luxury hotel dedicated to musicians. The 30-bedroom boutique hotel, which will star in a three-part BBC series called Rock'n'Roll Hotel, is a £6.5m conversion of an office block once owned by former Soho porn king Paul Raymond. Facilities at the hotel, which opens in April, will include minibars hidden in giant loudspeaker stacks, a basement cinema, a 24-hour bar, and an open-air hot tub on the rooftop terrace. Prices for the art deco-styled bedrooms range from £150 for a "crash room" to £500 for suites called Naked Luxe. - 25 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

By Angela Frewin

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