Friday Five: the week's top news

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news
We round-up some of the top hospitality stories you might have missed this week

- Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray is to serve its first Christmas menu​ throughout November and December this year. The £375 "edible adventure", named The Fable Tree, will celebrate the role of the Christmas tree with the restaurant's signature multi-sensory approach. Blumenthal describes the menu as "the most exciting thing we have ever done". Booking lines for November are now open.

- Pizza Pilgrims is planning to launch a 'pizza academy' for its staff​ that will also contain a delivery kitchen and a small training restaurant. Founders James and Thom Elliot say the project is about increasing the quality of staff development, and are on the hunt for a railway arch site in which they hope to open early next year. 

- Pret a Manger CEO Clive Schlee is to step down from the cafe chain​ in September after 16 years in the top job. His departure comes at a turning point for the company, which completes its takeover of rival chain Eat this week. So what's what's next for the brand?​ And can it avoid going stale?

- Chef Tom Sellers is to give his London restaurant a summer holiday, temporarily closing its Bermondsey site ​and relocating it to Cornwall. Next month Sellers will take the entire team to Carbis Bay - near St Ives - for a six-week residency called Story by the Sea. It will take bookings for lunch and dinner seven days a week from 2 August until 14 September.

- Five Guys says it is planning to open a further 10-15 UK restaurants this year, despite posting a £3.9m pre-tax loss in 2018​. It comes after the US burger chain, which saw operating profit rise to £5.8m, secured £100m funding from Goldman Sachs towards its European expansion last year.

For more of this week's news, click here.

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