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London councils relent on Peking Duck oven shut-down – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

04 August 2008 by

London councils relent on Peking Duck oven shut-down
Westminster Council has relented on a crackdown that has sealed up with tape the traditional ovens used to make Peking Duck Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Share price fall interests CVC in Punch
Private equity group CVC Capital Partners has been considering making a takeover approach to Punch Taverns, owner of more than 8,400 pubs. Its interest has been spurred by the 70% fall in the pub group's share price over the past year from £10 to 200p last month. Its current price of 275.5p gives the company a market capitalisation of just under £700m. However, no approach has yet been made to the Punch board and the group's £5b debt could prove a stumbling block. Punch held talks with private equity firms earlier this year as part of an attempt to take over rival Mitchells & Butlers. - 2 August, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>

Founder seeks to rescue Beanscene coffee shops from administration
Gordon Richardson, the founder of the Beascene coffee shop business, is looking to regain control of the business he founded in 1999, which went into administration last week Richardson left earlier this year after a boardroom split but the restructuring plan initiated by the new management failed. The 14-strong chain, which employs 140 people, has six coffee shops in Glasgow, four in Edinburgh, and one each in Ayr, Hawick, Stirling and St Andrews - 3 August, Read the full article in The Sunday Times >>

Pubs and clubs lead quarterly rise in business failures The economic downturn boosted the number of businesses going bust in England and Wales by 15 per cent in the three months to June, with bars, clubs and property companies especially hard hit. A total of 3,560 companies were liquidated between April and June, the highest figures since 2003. Administrations soared by 60% to 938, up from 585 in the same quarter of 2007, with the half-year rise standing at 42%. Company insolvencies dropped by 20% in Scotland but in Northern Ireland grew by 50% to 57. - 2 August, Read the full article in The Times >>

Butlins benefits from economic downturn Butlins holiday camps are enjoying a resurgence in popularity as cash-strapped Britons turn their back on increased airfares, airport queues and the strong euro (worth almost 80p) to holiday at home. Almost 150,000 customers are heading for Butlins seaside resorts this summer, which is a 15% increase on last year. The business, now owned by Bourne Leisure, was founded in 1936 and once dominated the UK holiday trade until competition from cheap flights and packages holiday in the sun took their toll. It has compensated by organising conferences and events and, in 2006, become the first company to hold weddings in holiday camps. A peak-season week at Butlins for a family of four costs from £600, but off-peak, three-night breaks start at £94 for a family of four. - 2 August, Read the full article in the Independent >>

New York's Cipriani restaurants face loss of drinks licences
A conviction for tax evasion means the Cipriani Italian dining dynasty that gave the world the Bellini cocktail could lose the drinks licences for the restaurants it has operated in New York since 1980. Last year father-and-son team Arrigo and Giuseppe Cipriani were found guilty of tax evasion and, to allay a New York law that does not allow convicted felons to hold liquor licences, the Ciprianis removed Arrigo's name from the licences. This tactic was challenged by Daniel Boyle, a former New York police chief and current chairman of the State Liquor Authority, who sought to revoke all the Cipriani's licences in May and spurned an offered $500,000 settlement. A Liquor Authority hearing on 18 August will decide the fate of the New York venues, which include celebrity haunts Bellini Cipriani, Cipriani Downtown, Harry Cipriani and banqueting hall the Rainbow Room. - 3 August, Read the full article in the Observer >>

By Angela Frewin

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