Friday Five: The week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: The week's top news

Related tags: Restaurant

We round-up some of the main hospitality news stories from the past week including Gordon Ramsay's plans to open 50 new restaurants in the UK, and YO!'s CVA proposal.

- Gordon Ramsay's ambition to 'create a billion-dollar dining proposition' is 'undented' by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the chef laying out plans to open 50 new sites across the UK​. It comes after his restaurant group made a profit of more than £15m last year. Despite the detrimental impact of the Coronavirus crisis, Ramsay says his group intends to open a further 50 restaurants across the UK in the foreseeable future, and is also planning a major expansion into Asia, with 200 sites planned in the next five years. This openings will begin in the winter with the launch of Ramsay's Street Burger concept, which is modelled on his £15 all-you-can-eat Street Pizza brand.

- YO! has set out a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal​ that will see 19 of its sites closed, with a loss of up to 250 jobs. The sushi-focused group says the current climate and 'changes in consumer behaviour' caused by the Coronavirus pandemic meant that rents at some restaurants were 'unsustainable'. As well as the 19 restaurants that have been earmarked for closure, YO! will also dispose of nine sites it no longer operates but continues to hold a lease for. The group's current UK estate includes 59 restaurants and 10 concessions. It is understood the closures will see 250 jobs cut across the group, although YO! says efforts will be made to redeploy team members where possible. 

- The Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards has joined forces with the UK’s best chefs and restaurateurs to auction off an eclectic selection of once-in-a-life time culinary experiences with all proceeds going to support the hospitality industry​. Partnering with industry charity Hospitality Action, The Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards is raising substantial funds for those whose livelihoods are at risk of disappearing as a direct consequence of the pandemic. Restaurants and chefs from the Top 100 list past and present have come up with a host of mouthwatering experiences Lots include a meal, masterclass and stay at last year’s winner Moor Hall in Lancashire; a tour of Chinatown with celebrated chef Andrew Wong; a foraging experience followed by dinner with The Black Swan at Oldstead’s Tommy Banks; and a meal at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and a suite at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge.

- Robin and Sarah Gill have closed their highly influential The Dairy restaurant in Clapham​. In an emotional video posted to Instagram, the Ireland-born couple said that both they and the business had taken a major financial hit over the last six months and were now unable to re-open their debut London restaurant or the adjoining Counter Culture. Looking back at our time in The Dairy we were so welcomed into the community and have made some dear fiends along the way who are still dear friends today,” says Sarah. “Robin and I were overwhelmed when we first opened. We always saw ourselves as the underdogs and the industry really got behind us and believed in us. That has helped us get to where we are today and I want to thank you all for that.”

- Quality Chop House co-owner Will Lander is joining forces with former St John executive chef Chris Gillard to launch a neighbourhood-style restaurant and wine bar at The Hoxton in London's Holborn​. Set to open in early September, the restaurant marks something of a reunion for Lander and Gillard, who first met while both working at St John back in 2003: Gillard as head chef, and Lander as a barman. Lander - who also co-owns London restaurants Clipstone in Fitzrovia, and the Michelin-starred Portland - has worked with Gillard and Hoxton owners Ennismore to oversee the concept, as well as put together Rondo's European-focused wine list. As head chef ,Gillard - who left St John back in 2016 and briefly oversaw the stoves at EartH Kitchen in Dalston - has created a seasonal menu of 'pared-back, punchy dishes'.

Check below for more of this week's headlines, or click here​.

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