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Jury's Inn raises £60m to expand in the UK and into Europe – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

27 July 2009 by
Jury's Inn raises £60m to expand in the UK and into Europe – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Jury's Inn raises £60m to expand in the UK and into Europe
Read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph >> Dorchester Group bucks economic gloom
The Dorchester Group has bucked the economic gloom, posting a 12% growth in sales to £259.4m in 2008. The collection of six deluxe international hotels, which is owned by the oil-rich state of Brunei, increased revenue per available room by 11% to £336 and boosted average room rate by £50 to £470 - three times the London average of £129.24. The star performer was London's Dorchester hotel, whose £72.8m turnover represented 28% of group sales. It also contributed 42% of group operating profit, which rose by 12.3% to £57.2m. However, the group's acquisition of two new US hotels sent its debts rocketing from £82.7m to £457.6m, leading to a 10% decline in profit after tax to £41.4m. - 26 July, Read the full article in the Sunday Express >>
Scottish food-hamper firm plans café/deli chain
The Foodie Company, a catering firm that supplies hampers of food sourced from small Scottish producers to corporate and retail clients that include VisitScotland, is planning to open a chain of cafés and delicatessens in Scotland. The company, established two years ago by 26-year-old university graduate Peter McLean, was voted Most Visionary Business in the BT Scotland Young Entrepreneur Awards in January. Due to a slow response from banks, McLean acquired a £25,000 loan from the Prince's Trust to kick-start his expansion. Foodies at Holyrood, a former Beanscene café in Edinburgh, will open in August offering a downstairs café and an upstairs food store. Mindful that over-rapid expansion has proved the downfall of some larger coffee chains, McLean is planning to open two or three more stores over the next couple of years, in Glasgow and Edinburgh's West End, and later expand into Scottish airports. McLean expects the new business to boost turnover from £50,000 to £250,000 in the 12 months to January. He also plans to create a website selling catering equipment by the end of the year. - 26 July, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >> Liver specialist calls for alcohol clamp-down
Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians and liver specialist at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, has called on the Government to ban the sale of alcohol in "drink blackspots" to limit the rising tide of permanent liver damage among young drinkers. Professor Gilmore said that specialists were now regularly treating patients in their 20s with alcohol-damaged livers - many of them women - whereas 20 years ago most patients with liver disease were over 50. "Hospital admissions are rising year on year and getting close to two million. We need to use all the tools we've got to tackle this problem," said Professor Gilmore, who also wants the Government to ban the advertising and sports promotion of alcohol and to introduce a minimum unit drink price. - 26 July, Read the full article in the Sunday Express >>

Italian minister plans commission to stop tourists being ripped off Italian tourism minister Michela Brambilla is to set up a commission to monitor prices and services across Italy to reassure tourists and counteract damaging headlines after a Japanese couple was ripped off last month at an historic restaurant in Rome. The Japanese tourists were charged nearly €700 (£605) for a meal of spaghetti with lobster, sea bass, ice-cream and a bottle of sauvignon and an imposed €115.50 tip at Il Passetto, which has also served the Queen, Charlie Chaplin and Grace Kelly. The restaurant was shut down days later by hygiene officials and the Mayor of Rome ordered police to prevent similar fraud across the capital. Brambilla, who offered the couple a holiday in Rome at her ministry's expense, announced her plans in an open letter to the world. Despite a €1.6b boost in state loans, Italy's tourism sector shrank by 5% last year and is forecast to fall further this year because of the recession and swine flu. Turnover at three- and four-star hotels in Florence has slumped by 20% in the first half of 2009, with many hotels thinking of closing for a few weeks during the height of the tourist season. - 26 July, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >> London food tsar Rosie Boycott's organic farm collapses London Mayor Boris Johnson's new food guru, Rosie Boycott, has been forced to abandon her organic farm, which has been turned into allotments, after it failed to make a profit. Boycott launched the eight-acre farm within a Victorian walled garden on the Dillington estate near Ilminster, Somerset, four years ago in an attempt to grow healthy, locally-produced, affordable food. Since she took on the £20,000-a-year role as Johnson's principal food adviser in September last year, Boycott has been drawing up plans to convert unused plots of land in London - including the roof the Hayward art gallery - into public vegetable patches to give Londoners access to local, top-quality food.. A spokeswoman for Boris Johnson said the mayor thought Boycott was doing a "terrific" job. "She seizes opportunities in the most unlikely corners and through her force of personality and uncompromising commitment will leave a lasting legacy in London of thousands of extra food- growing spaces," she said. - 26 July, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

By Angela Frewin

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