Friday Five: the week's top news

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Friday five the week's top news

Related tags: Casual dining, Chefs

We round-up some of the top hospitality stories you might have missed this week.

- Hugely influential chef and restaurateur Gary Rhodes has died aged 59.​ The Rhodes family confirmed that the chef passed away in Dubai yesterday (26 November) with his wife by his side. Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa, where Rhodes worked, said in a statement that the team were ‘devastated’ by the news. “Not only has the industry lost a true culinary legend, we have also lost an inspirational human being and a very dear friend,” the statement said. “No words can express our sadness at Gary’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rhodes family.”

- Chef Alyn Williams is threatening to take legal action against The Westbury Hotel in Mayfair after being sacked from his job. ​The chef-patron of almost nine years at the Michelin-starred restaurant says he was dismissed from the Mayfair hotel back in October without any notice period or payment for his notice period after he entertained friends on a Sunday lunchtime when the restaurant was closed. He says that the meal, which involved having children present and playing in the restaurant, was considered by the hotel’s owners to be gross misconduct, which justified dismissal without notice or compensation. 

- Rosa’s Thai Cafe founders Alex and Saiphin Moore have acquired the Ceviche restaurant group following a management led buy-out deal.​ The Peruvian restaurant group, which owns six sites under its Ceviche and Andina brands, filed an administration notice last month following an “incredibly tough” 18 months of trading. Three sites will continue to operate as part of the deal, including the original Ceviche restaurant in Soho; Andina in Shoreditch; and Casita Andina, also in Soho. Staff from the three closed sites – which includes a Ceviche, and an Andina bakery in Notting Hill; as well as further Ceviche restaurant on Old Street – have reportedly all been offered other roles within the business. 

- Two of the most renowned sushi restaurants in the world have been stripped of their Michelin stars after they stopped accepting general reservations.​ Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten and Sushi Saito lost the maximum three-star rating in the 2020 Tokyo guide, which was published earlier this week (26 November). Both tiny counter restaurants, which have between eight and ten seats, are notoriously difficult for overseas guests to book. "Michelin's policy is to introduce restaurants where everybody can go to eat," a Michelin spokesperson told AFP. 

- A combination of rising overheads, fewer alcohol sales, and a weaker pound has continued to impact the UK’s Top 100 restaurant groups​ according to accountancy group UHY Hacker Young. New figures published by the firm reveal that the top 100 restaurants (calculated by turnover) made a loss of £93m in the last 12 months, down from a pre-tax profit of £37m this time last year. It says restaurants have come under pressure from a combination of falling sales, rising wages, and an increased cost on imported goods caused by the ongoing fallout from 2016’s Brexit vote.

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