Friday Five: the week's top news stories

By Stefan Chomka contact

- Last updated on GMT

The biggest news in hospitality

Related tags: Sat bains, Coronavirus, Gary usher, Individual restaurant company

We round-up some of the main hospitality news stories from the past week including Sat Bains launching a Punjabi food business; and hospitality businesses having to face tier 2 and 3 restrictions.

- He’s better known for serving high-end culinary creations at his two Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms in Nottingham, but Sat Bains is branching out with a much simpler operation in partnership with this mother. Called #Mommabains​, the new Punjabi food business will begin by supplying hand-made samosas frozen to a handful of chips shops, including Rick Stein’s Cornwall-based fish and chip shops in Fistral and Padstow; and The Cod’s Scallops in Nottingham and the East Midlands. He and his mother are also working on recipes for a range of curries that will be available in 250g pouches for delivery.

- The announcement that large swathes of the country will have to adhere to tier 3 restrictions stole many of the headlines this week. The Government has announced that areas ​including Manchester, Lancashire, Newcastle, Birmingham and Leicester, will be forced to remain locked down under tougher Tier 3 restrictions from 2 December. Other areas heading into Tier 3, where hospitality businesses will only be permitted to offer takeaways, include Bristol, Leeds, Hull, City of Wolverhampton, Blackpool and Coventry.

- Publican Tim Foster created a stir when he went onto Twitter threatening to break lockdown restrictions ​and open his pub The Wire Mill in Surrey unless the Government can provide proof that it is unsafe to do so. In a string of tweets, The Yummy Pub Co’s ‘head of being awesome’ asked for evidence from Boris Johnson and the Government on why it unsafe to reopen his venue by 5pm today (25 November) otherwise he will break the England lockdown rules and reopen his venue. He later backed down, saying that he would adhere to the Government’s rules.

- Gary Usher has revealed that was prepared to film his restaurant business closing for good as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. In a frank video ​as part of Community Heroes series as part of the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards, the chef restaurateur behind the popular Elite Bistros group of restaurants admits that he felt his business would go under because of the pandemic, and that he was prepared to document the closure on film. He says he spoke with the person who had filmed Elite Bistros’ crowdfunding videos, who suggested also filming the next chapter of the business. “I said I’ve got a feeling that Elite [Bistros] is going to go bust,” says Usher. “And he said, ‘do you want to film it’, and I said ‘yes, we’ve filmed everything else, so we might as well.”

- Individual Restaurants, which owns the Piccolino, Restaurant Bar & Grill, Opera Grill and Bank high street restaurant brands, has been acquired by the directors of Iceland supermarket ​in a transaction worth more than £40m. The 28 restaurants were acquired by Ice Acquisitions Limited, controlled by Iceland founder and executive chairman Sir Malcolm Walker and Iceland MD Tarsem Dhaliwal, safeguarding 1,300 jobs.

Related topics: Trends & Reports


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