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Restaurant empire will survive near collapse, says Gordon Ramsay – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

01 June 2009 by
Restaurant empire will survive near collapse, says Gordon Ramsay – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Restaurant empire will survive near collapse, says Gordon Ramsay"the worst year of my life". In January, auditor KPMG advised putting his 16 restaurants and pubs into administration and cherry-picking the 'winners' after the group breached banking covenants on its £500,000 overdraft and £10m of loans with Royal Bank of Scotland. The group also owed the taxman £7.2m and was bleeding money from overseas ventures (£2m a year in New York alone). Ramsay said he considering selling 20% of the business and his £6m Wandsworth home to save the business. Instead, he and his business partner sunk £5m into the group, hived off restaurants in Paris, Los Angeles and Prague, and sacked a quarter of head office staff to pay off debt and most of the unpaid tax. Ramsay expects to be given a clean bill of health by KPMG shortly. New openings are planned to continue in Melbourne, Qatar, Tuscany and Sardinia. - 31 May, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>
Boisdale plans £5m expansion in UK and abroad Business continues to be so brisk at the Boisdale bistro group that founder Ranald Macdonald is planning a £5m expansion programme that will make Boisdale an international brand. Macdonald, the son of the 24th Captaina of Clanranald, said there was a growing appetite for an unmanufactured Scottish experience. Macdonald opened the first Boisdale in the City of London in 1989, followed by a second in Bishopsgate in 2002. He is now looking at sites in London's Canary Wharf, Washington and Havana, Cuba. Also on his hitlist is a joint-venture hotel partner to open a Boisdale-branded restaurant and whisky bar in Scotland. Macdonald also owns the Lamb country inn at Hindon in Wiltshire and co-founded Havana Holdings, which owns the rights to the Floridita restaurant brand that it exported from Cuba to Soho, Leeds, Dublin, Madrid and Moscow. The combined business will have a £6m turnover this year. - 31 May, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

Travelodge predicts bumper summer for domestic tourism
British seaside towns and theme parks are set to enjoy a bumper summer as Britons increasingly chose to holiday at home. Research from budget hotel chain Travelodge found the proportion of Britons holidaying exclusively abroad is likely to drop from 33% to 27%, while one in three intend to take all their holiday in the UK. Cornwall was the top destination, with 18.7% planning to visit the British countryside, and theme parks are likely to be visited by 18% of holidaymakers, compared with 10% last year. The Isle of Wight, Edinburgh, the Yorkshire Dales and Kent, are all preparing for a big tourist influx expected to generate more than £1b in those areas. However, Travelodge also found that the average summer-break spend per person will drop to £567, down from £631 in 2008. - 31 May, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Make-up increases waitresses' earning power
Waitresses who wear make-up can earn 25% more in tips than their cosmetics-free colleagues - but only from male customers. Research into the tipping habits of 186 men and 98 women who lunched alone in the same restaurant served by two waitresses aged 19 and 20 found that the percentage of males tipping rose from 33% to 51% if the waitress wore make-up. Make-up also increased the average tip size from 96p to £1.20. Only marginally more women left some loose change for waitresses in make-up. Psychologist Ingrid Collins, from the London Medical Centre, said the make-up made women appear both more sexually alluring and more child-like and needy. "It makes men feel they need to be masculine and tipping, providing for this need, does that rather well."- 31 May, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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