Friday Five: the week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news

Related tags: Restaurant

A round-up some of the main hospitality news stories from the past week including the closure of pioneering vegetarian restaurant Vanilla Black, and Mark Jarvis joining Liv in Belgravia.

- Restaurateurs Andrew Dargue and Donna Conroy have announced that their innovative vegetarian fine-dining restaurant Vanilla Black will not reopen on it’s current site in London's Holborn​. In a message published on the Vanilla Black website, the pair said that as a direct result of the Coronavirus crisis they were unable to see a financially viable way to reopen the restaurant. "As a small independent restaurant which has traded for 16 years, the effects of the last few months have been immensely devastating," they wrote. "We have always put our hearts and souls into Vanilla Black and it is a passion rather than a business, so it has been a very difficult decision to make.

- Anglo chef Mark Jarvis has joined Belgravia restaurant Liv as its new chef director​. Jarvis will oversee the menu direction at the neighbourhood restaurant, which reopens its doors following lockdown on Monday 7 September. He will be working alongside the newly-appointed head chef Joe Laker, who has worked with Jarvis at Anglo restaurant in Farringdon and prior to that was sous chef at St Leonards Restaurant in Shoreditch. The menu at the reopened restaurant is described as ‘an eclectic mix of seasonal land, sea and meat dishes’ taking influences from Jarvis’ style of modern British cooking, which often sees him pair unusual ingredients. Dishes on the launch menu will include burrata gazpacho; crab ailio; and Australian truffle risotto for starters; and mains of lamb and anchovy butter with braised summer squash; wild turbot with potato and fennel gratin; and gratinated aubergine with caponata and pine nuts.

- YO! has confirmed it is to permanently shutter 19 sites after its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal was approved​ by creditors. The sushi-focused group says the CVA will enable the business to make essential changes to its restaurant portfolio and adapt to the lasting challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. 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 says the sites set to close are 'no longer financially viable' and have unsustainable rental costs in the current trading environment. It is understood the closures will see 250 jobs cut across the group, although YO! has previously claimed efforts will be made to redeploy team members where possible. 

- More than 90 business leaders from across the hospitality and tourism sector including Azzurri CEO Steve Holmes, PizzaExpress managing director Zoe Bowley, and UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls have signed the letter warning that the sector is at 'real risk of failure'​unless there is a coordinated campaign to encourage tourists and office workers back. The letter, sent to both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, demands the two leaders to put politics aside and deliver a coordinated campaign to support businesses reliant on these income streams and help save potentially tens of thousands of jobs. 

Costa Coffee has warned up to 1,650 jobs are at risk of redundancy​ as a result of the ongoing impact on trade caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. The high-street chain, which has 2,700 UK locations, says it has launched a consultation process with staff to try and relocate team members facing redundancy. It suggests the role of assistant store manager will be axed across its UK business. So far 2,400 Costa sites have reopened, and while the Coco-Cola owned business says trade is returning, buoyed by the Government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme in August, there remains 'high levels of uncertainty' as to when it will return to pre-Coronavirus levels.

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

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