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Hospitals face fines or closure for poor food – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

14 April 2008 by

Hospitals face fines or closure for poor food
The Independent on Sunday, 13 April
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Nobu seeks buyers for $400m slice
Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, the sushi chef who founded the upmarket, 17-strong Nobu restaurant group more than 10-years ago, is seeking to sell at least 51% of the international Japanese chain for an estimated $400m (£203m). Shareholders, who include actor Robert De Niro, have hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to oversee the sale. Likely buyers include Richard Caring, whose restaurant empire includes London's Ivy and Caprice, along with Middle and Far Eastern investors. Nobu has three venues in London. Earlier this year, leading London-based restaurateur Alan Yau sold Hakkasan and Yauatcha for more than £30m to Tasameem, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government. - The Sunday Telegraph, 13 April
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Burger King plans mini-chain of Whopper Bars
Burger King is planning to build a mini-chain of Whopper Bars that offer gourmet varieties of its hamburgers in a more adult setting, starting with America this year, followed by Britain. The mini-chain will be smaller than typical Burger Kings and offer Whopper exclusives not always available at the chain's traditional restaurants and a "Pimp Your Whopper" where customers add their own toppings. They will be sited in airports and other places with limited space. Burger King boss John Chidsey sees the UK as a key area for growth for the once-ailing chain and aims to boost profits by pushing higher-priced and cheap items on the same menu. - The Sunday Times, 13 April 13
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Hooters' UK expansion attracts opposition Hooters, the $1b-a-year international chain of 435 restaurants famous for their scantily-dressed waitresses, is planning to add 41 more UK sites to its solitary outpost in Nottingham. Wings Over England, the company charged with overseeing the roll-out, intends to open five new outlets this year, in London, Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Bristol. The plans to expand the chain that started in Florida in 1983, is already attracted opposition from critics who regard Hooters as "a glorified strip joint with bad food." Cathy Jamieson, the deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party who is leading the opposition, has described the scantily-dressed waitresses as a "degrading spectacle" - The Independent, 12 April
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Investors threaten to oust M&B chief Robert Tchenguiz and other investors with a combined stake of 40% in embattled pub operator Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) will seek to oust chief executive Tim Clarke if he does not agree to release the value of the company's real estate portfolio, which they believe is undervalued. M&B, which will unveil the outcome of a strategic review next month, has received three proposals from private equity buyers including Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners, Permira, and Bain Capital, which owns the Brakes foodservice supplier. Punch Taverns, which last month withdrew from plans for a full-blown merger with M&B, last week discussed a possible merger of M&B and Spirit, Punch's managed pub business. - The Sunday Telegraph, 13 April
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Publicans' larger wine measures irresponsible, say physicians
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has accused the pub industry of irresponsibility for offering larger measures of wine in a standard glass. President Professor Ian Gilmore said today: "There is no doubt at all that many people are drinking significantly more than they realise." Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland warned the Government in January that many licensed premises had stopped serving wine in 125ml measures and now only offered 175ml and 250ml glasses. Mr Mulholland was introducing his Sale of Wine (Measures) Bill which would make all licensed premises also offer the 125ml measure. - The Express, 12 April
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By Angela Frewin

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