- More than 72,000 restaurants across the UK have now signed up to participate in the Government's Eat Out to Help Out initiative, which launched on Monday (3 August). The scheme, which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month, is aimed at protecting jobs in the hospitality industry and encouraging people to safely return to dining out. Restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments who use the scheme will offer a 50% reduction, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to all diners who eat and/or drink-in on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August. Restaurateurs including Tom Kerridge and Hawksmoor co-founder Will Beckett have since hailed the initial success of the initiative as an important first step in giving consumers confidence to return to restaurants.
- The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has ordered all pubs and restaurants in Aberdeen to close again after imposing a local lockdown in the city. It comes after more than 50 new Coronavirus cases in the area were reported. The First Minister confirmed 'certain restrictions' would be put in place in Aberdeen city centre for a period of at least one week from Wednesday (5 August). Pubs and restaurants have been ordered to close. Hotel restaurants can remain open, but only to provide food services for residents; and takeaway operations can continue. Business affected will be able to re-furlough staff, with Sturgeon saying the Scottish Government will look at what other financial support can be offered to firms.
- Andi Oliver and Fred Sirieix are opening a pop-up restaurant and bar space in Clapton, east London, this month. Called One Love, the eating and drinking venue will open in Clapton Country Club on 20 August serving Caribbean food, French pastries, French wines and rum cocktails. Oliver, a chef and judge on TV’s Great British Menu, and Sirieix, the former general manager at Galvin at Windows and star of TV programmes First Dates and Million Pound Menu, describe their new project as a ‘family affair’. “The ethos of One Love is quite simple, great people, wonderful food, amazing drinks and good, good, good vibes,” says Oliver in a video announcing the pair’s project.
- Burger chain Byron has been sold in a pre-pack deal that will see more than half of the group's 51-strong estate closed permanently. Last Friday (31 July), Byron entered administration, with Will Wright and Steve Absolom from KPMG’s Restructuring practice appointed. Following their appointment, the joint administrators sold the brands and certain assets of the group to a newco owned by investment company Calveton UK Limited, with Three Hills Capital Partners taking a minority stake. The deal will allow 20 sites to continue to trade, with 551 employees transferring to the new owner. However, Byron's other 31 sites will remain closed permanently, having not reopened since the start of the Government-mandated Coronavirus shutdown. The joint administrators have confirmed 651 staff redundancies as a result of these closures.
- Chef Selin Kiazim has announced that the recently reopened Oklava Bakery + Wine in London's Fitzrovia has been closed 'for the foreseeable future'. In a video posted on her Instagram page, Kiazim says that low footfall in central London had made the site unviable, and so the decision has been taken to close it in order to safeguard the future of Oklava's flagship Shoreditch restaurant. "Unfortunately we've taken the decision to close our bakery restaurant in Fitzrovia," she says. "We gave it a crack for a couple of weeks, but it hasn't quite worked out. "There's just not enough people in Central London and the surrounding areas, and we can't afford to have weeks like we've just had with low footfall, low bookings."
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