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McDonald's puts many gastropubs to shame, claims Jamie Oliver – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

26 April 2010 by
McDonald's puts many gastropubs to shame, claims Jamie Oliver – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

McDonald's puts many gastropubs to shame, claims Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver has told the Mail on SundayRead the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Little Chef reviews roll-out of Heston Blumenthal concept after boss quits Little Chef says it will review plans to roll out the new look and menu devised by three-Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal following the departure of its chief executive Ian Pegler. Pegler brought in Blumenthal to revamp the down-at-heel chain of 200 roadside diners when he joined Little Chef in 2008. The collaboration, which was filmed for a Channel 4 series, Big Chef Takes on Little Chef, saw three restaurants converted to the new format, with Pegler pledging to invest £2m rolling it out to five more locations. Pegler said his departure followed "delivery of the initial two-year plan for the regeneration" of the chain. This plan is now to be reassessed, according to a Little Chef spokeswoman. "The management team are working out exactly what they are going to do. New plans will be revealed," she said. The first restaurant to be revamped, in Popham, increased sales by 500% and gained an entry into the Good Food Guide. Sales are still 150% ahead of previous levels. - 24 April, Read the full article in the Guardian >>

Mumbai's Oberoi hotel reopens after deadly 2008 attack
Mumbai's luxury Oberoi hotel has reopened 18 months after it was reduced to a bullet-ridden and fire-damaged shell by Islamist militants who stormed the city. The hotel was severely damaged when gunmen overran the premises firing guns and setting off explosives in November 2008. The attack - which also affected the Taj Mahal Palace hotel - left nearly 170 people dead, including 30 staff and guests from the Oberoi. The hotel, which has undergone a $35m (£23m) refurbishment, said its restaurant was fully booked for the opening weekend. - 24 April, Read the full article on BBC News >> Costa expected to fuel Whitbread's international expansion Coffee shop and budget hotel operator Whitbread is expected to outline an international expansion strategy focused on its Costa Coffee chain when it unveils recession-busting annual figures this Thursday. "Costa Coffee and Premier Inns have been equally impressive. It's clear from the strong sales that consumers obviously decided that coffee was far from any luxury, discretionary item when things got tight, but a small-ticket habit," said Nick Batram, leisure analyst at broker KBC Peel Hunt. "And Premier has benefited from an element of business people trading down. It has really eaten into the three-star market." In the past year, the group has opened 185 new Costas in the UK, a net 32 franchises across international markets, and added 89 new European sites with the acquisition of Coffeeheaven. Premier Inn has a more limited international presence, with just three hotels outside the UK. Underlying pre-tax profits at Whitbread are forecast to rise to £225.5m, up from £224.4m the previous year. - 25 April, Read the full article in Scotland On Sunday >>
Pub rescue company close to administration Publicana, a Lancashire-based company set up in June 2007 to provide temporary landlords for failing pubs on behalf of pubcos such as Enterprise Inns, Marston's Punch Taverns and Greene King, is believed to be in trouble itself. According to the Mail on Sunday, the group that grew from a small operator to a national company in less than two years is now in talks with administrator Begbies. Publicana's first set of accounts for the year to 31 May 2008 revealed a gross profit of £1.9m, pre-tax profits of £412,000, nearly £500,000 in cash in the bank and debts payable within the year of £743,000. Last month it filed abbreviated accounts under a 'small company' exemption indicating debts of £1.9m with just £339,000 cash left. Existing clients are making other arrangements - for instance, Punch has transferred the 16 pubs it had with Publicana to Norfolk-based GT Pubs. - 26th April, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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