El Bulli to close and become a cooking academy – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

15 February 2010 by
El Bulli to close and become a cooking academy – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

El Bulli to close and become a cooking academy
Independent on Sunday, the Observer, and the Mail on Sunday >>

Pubs and hotels win court battle over music fees Pubs, restaurants, and hotels stand to win up to £20m in refunds for the fees they pay to play recorded music after a High Court dismissed an appeal by the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL). Judge Mr Justice Arnold upheld a ruling from a Copyright Tribunal last November that new tariffs introduced in 2005/6 - claimed to have represented a fourfold increase - were "not reasonable". The case was brought by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA) along with retail organisations. The ruling confirms savings of around £3m a year for pubs, plus refunds going back to 2005 worth an estimated £10m. "This could not come at a more important time for our sector as we struggle to come out of recession and will allow pubs to both claim a refund and pay less going forward," said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds. The PPL, a collective licensing body, said it was "disappointed" with the verdict and believed the tariffs substantially undervalued the rights of its performer and record company members. - 13 February, Read the full article in the Independent and the Daily Telegraph >>

Paramount private members' club averts administration London private members' club Paramount, which counts Graham Norton and Stephen Fry among its celebrity shareholders, has narrowly avoided administration. Creditors have agreed to a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) that will wipe out 70% of the club's £1.4m debt by paying them 30p for every pound they are owed. The club opened on top of the 32-storey Centre Point building in November 2008, initially limiting access to members paying £750 a year. However, it opened to non-members as the recession deepened and lost about £1m of investment after Lehman collapsed. - 14 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times. >> US 'breast-aurant' chain Hooters up for sale for $250m
Hooters, the US chain of food outlets dubbed 'breast-aurants' on account of their scantily-dressed waitresses, is seeking private equity buyers for an estimated $250m (£159m) sale. Chief executive Coby Brooks (son of the chain's co-founder Robert Brooks) is reported to be considering the sale because he needs to pay a settlement to his father's widow. Brooks, who is likely to want to stay at the helm if the company is sold, has hired San Franciscan investment bank North Point Advisors to advise on the sale. Atlanta-based Hooters has 450 owned and franchised outlets, including a branch in Nottingham in the UK. The firm turned over more than $1b in 2008. - 12 February, Read the full article in The Times >>

JD Wetherspoon backs move to Euro time zone
Pub operator JD Wetherspoon is backing plans to move the UK into the European time zone because it believes longer, lighter evenings will encourage more trade. The proposals are also welcomed by the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, which believes the extra light in the evenings would generate an extra £3.5b a year for the tourism industry and extend the tourist season well into October. The leisure industry is set to meet ministers this week to discuss adopting the time change, which would put Britain two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time in summer and an hour ahead in winter. Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week told West Country tourism leaders the move was 'worthy of consideration' .- 14th February, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Restaurant bombing kills eight in western India
At least eight people have been killed and another 33 injured after a bomb exploded in a restaurant in Pune, western India, that was popular with tourists. The device, hidden in an abandoned bag, blew out the windows of the packed German Bakery in Pune's upmarket Koregaon Park area on Saturday evening. India's Home Secretary GK Pillai noted that the bakery was 200 yards from the controversial Osho Ashram free love commune, which was one of the sites surveyed by David Coleman Headley, an alleged mastermind of the Mumbai massacre of November 2008. Headley is currently awaiting trial in the USA for his part in the massacre in which 166 people died. - 13 February, Read the full article in The Times >> Four Michelin-starred chefs to create pizzas for French fast-food chain
La BoÁ®te Á Pizza - France's second-biggest fast-food chain - has hired four Michelin-starred chefs to each create two new pizzas for the group, priced at €16.50 (£14.50) apiece. Frantz Lallement, the founder of the chain of 136, mostly French, outlets, will pay the four chefs around €200,000 and expects the pizzas des grand chefs to account for 2,000 of the 25,000 pizzas the chain sells each day. The first - a Gorgonzola, lardon, balsamic caramel, garden rocket and walnut pizza that went on sale last week - was created by Italian chef Mauro Colagreco, who owns the Mirazur on the French Riviera. "Fine cuisine should be for everyone, and not just for an elite," said Colagreco. "The truth is that fast food is changing and opening up to other markets and we cooks have to evolve as well. We cannot stay the same and not change for ever." The second chef to be named is Nicolas Stamm, owner of the two-Michelin-starred La Fourchette des Ducs in Alsace. 12 February, Read the full article in The Times >> Health campaigners slam Burger King's 1,000-calorie burger
Burger King's new Three Cheese Double Angus - which contains more than 1,010 calories - has been slammed by health campaigners concerned over the rise in child obesity. Combined with fries and a cola, the hamburger packs a massive 1,733 calories and 2½ oz of fat that would need a 17-mile run to burn off. "It would provide an adult woman with her entire daily saturated fat allowance and half her daily calorie limit," said dietician Victoria Taylor. A Burger King spokesman said: "We believe our food is seen as a treat and eaten in moderation may form part of a balanced diet." - 14 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Express >> Domino's Pizza set to outstrip City forecasts
Domino's Pizza is expected to outstrip City forecasts this week when it reveals annual sales in excess of £400m for the first time. The takeaway pizza group, which has more than 600 stories in the UK and Ireland, boosted like-for-like sales by 8.6% in the 13 weeks to 27 December, ahead of City expectations. Paul Hickman, travel and leisure analyst at broker KBC Peel Hunt, predicts pre-tax profits of £29.5m on sales of £407m, up from £23.4m and £350.8m in the previous year. "This is not just a case of the company benefiting from people trading down in a recession. Domino's marketing of their brand is also very strong," commented Hickman. - 14 February, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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