Almost one-third of tied landlords in debt, says GMB survey
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10% of Scottish B&Bs in newspaper survey refused rooms to 'gay' guest
Around 10% of 50 Scottish B&Bs refused a room to a 'gay' couple in a survey conducted by the Sunday Times to test attitudes following Tory MP Chris Grayling's defence of B&B owners' right to turn away homosexuals. A reporter posing as a gay man planning to marry his boyfriend approached the B&Bs for a date in the quiet mid-May period. While most were happy to accommodate him, on five occasions he was told there were no rooms left. However, these booked rooms were offered to a female reporter who contacted the establishments shortly after posing as a tourist visiting Scotland with her boyfriend. When approached about the disappearing rooms, the owners claimed it was a mistake rather than discrimination. The survey found attitudes most relaxed in cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow and less so in more northerly, rural regions. - 11 April, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>
Shearings and Bay restaurant brands set for sale?
Coach tour company and hotel operator Shearings could be put on the market for around £125m by private equity giant 3i, which acquired the Wigan-based group five years ago. 3i has hired Deloitte to conduct a strategic review of the company and Deloitte is believed to have started 'soft marketing' Shearings to potential buyers. Other options include selling a small stake or listing on the London Stock Exchange. Meanwhile. Bay restaurant group is expected to kick off the sale of its La Tasca and Ha Ha Bar and Grill chains by the first month of May. Two separate sets of auction documents are being finalized but information on La Tasca will only be sent to groups that have already made takeover approaches. 11 April, Read the full article in the Independent on Sunday >>
Pret a Manger plans record number of openings
Ethical sandwich chain Pret a Manger revealed plans to take advantage of "favourable property markets" to open a record number of new stores this year after reporting a 12% rise in overall sales in 2008, with like-for-like sales rising by 2.6%. The group, which has 232 outlets, including 23 in New York, opened 16 new shops last year, including its first in Washington DC.
Pebble Hotels owner to run former London Town pubs
Anglo Irish Bank has hired Ted Kennedy, the owner of Pebble Hotels and former head of Mill House Inns, to help run GRS Pubs. The 200 tenanted pubs were formerly owned by failed pub group London Town . - 10 April, Read the full article in The Times >>
World's first Haggis chocolates launched in Edinburgh
The world's first haggis chocolates have been launched by an artisan chocolate maker from Edinburgh who cites Heston Blumenthal as a key source of inspiration. Nadia Ellingham does not use actual haggis in her chocolate truffles but blends the spices - such as nutmeg, mace and black pepper - with oatmeal to recreate its distinctive flavour. "The initial flavour is very un-haggis-like - sweet, with strong notes of pepper, honey and banana. But it only takes a couple of seconds before - ta-da - you can clearly taste something that's reminiscent of MacSween's finest," said the Scotsman's food critic Gaby Soutar. Ellingham's company, Thinking Chocolate, has also made sundried tomato and basil, cranberry and chestnut, and thyme and orange truffles, and is creating a box of chocolates that traces the process of making a single cask malt whisky. - 11 April, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>
First Choice Coffee and Gala Coffee to be merged
United Coffee is merging its two UK operation, First Choice Coffee and Gala Coffee, which supply food service companies such as McDonald's and Subway as well as major supermarket groups. United Coffee said it was too early to assess the impact on its 280 staff in the UK, but added that it intended to grow the business across the UK. - 10 April, Read the full article in The Times >> By Angela Frewin
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