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Reuben brothers are Britain's richest hospitality personalities – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

28 April 2008 by

Reuben brothers are Britain's richest hospitality personalities
David and Simon Reuben, who own one of the UK's biggest pub portfolios, were the highest-placed leisure personalities in the Sunday TimesRead the full Sunday Times article here >>

McDonald's trials franchising expansion with Roadchef
Motorway service station operator Roadchef is to open and run a new McDonald's outlet at its Strensham Services station in Worcestershire this July that will herald a new franchising model for the fast-food giant in the UK. McDonald's currently has just four outlets at motorway service stations that are all run as individual concerns. If the Strensham venue is successful, McDonald's could roll out another 25 outlets across RoadChef (which attracts 65 million motorists a year) and make agreements with other motorway service companies that could lead to more than 100 franchises within the next 10 years. As its domestic US market slows down, McDonalds is accelerating its expansion plans overseas and will invest $2b this year in opening 1,000 new restaurants in countries such as China and Russia. The group, which has nearly 1,200 UK venues, will open another 10 in the UK this year. - 26 April, read the full Daily Telegraph article here >>

Forte agrees second Middle Eastern hotel
Sir Rocco Forte has signed a deal to open a new hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on behalf of Saudi businessman of Sheikh Mohammed Al Issa. The hotel, which will have 159 room in two towers and include 50 serviced apartments, is due to open in 2010 and will follow his first Middle Eastern property, which opens in Abu Dhabi next year. His hotel group, which has increased like-for-like sales by 5.5%, continues to look for European sites Paris, Madrid, Milan and Moscow. - 27 April, read the full Sunday Times article here >>

Lee Cooper jeans owner in talks to buy Regent Inns
US firm Sun Capital Partners - which bought Lee Cooper jeans in 2005 - is in competition with privately-owned nightclub operator Brook Leisure to buy Regent Inns, the £16m bar group that owns the Jongleurs comedy clubs, Old Orleans restaurants and the Walkabout chain of Australian-themed bars. Regent Inns, whose shares have fallen by 30% in the past three months, informed the stock market in January that it had received a number of preliminary approaches. Although talks are progressing well, a deal is believed to be weeks away. Regent's shares closed at 14 ½ p on Friday, down from 118p a year ago. - 27 April, read the full Sunday Times article here >>

Skelwith Group to build North's biggest luxury spa hotel
York-based developer Skelwith Group has won planning permission to build what it believes will be the biggest luxury spa hotel in north England. The £60m development, between Harrogate and York, will have more than 300 bedrooms, a 27-hole golf course and four helipads. - 27 April, read the full Sunday Times article here >>

Japanese whisky beats Scotland to two top awards
Japanese whisky has scored a double win against Scottish rivals by being voted the best in the world following a blind testing of 200 varieties by a panel of 16 experts for Whisky Magazine. Yoichi 20 years old, which is distilled on the shores of the Sea of Japan in Hokkaido by Nikka and sells for £150 a bottle, won the single malt award, while Suntory Hibiki, was voted the world's best blended whisky. Both are making inroads into the UK market. The judges said the variable climate in Japan aided maturation to create a purer whisky with a heightened aroma while traditional distilling technology such as coal-fired pot stills (rarely seen in Scotland) produced a superior dram. - 27 April, read the full Sunday Times article here >>

Former Spirit boss invests in karaoke bar chain
Karen Jones, the former chief executive of the Spirit group of managed pubs that was bought back by Punch Taverns, has emerged as an investor in Lucky Voice, the karaoke bar chain founded by Martha Lane Fox. - 27 April, read the full Sunday Times article here >>

- By Angela Frewin

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