Friday Five: the week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news

Related tags: Hospitality

This week's main hospitality news stories include Tom Kerridge's campaign to demonstrate hospitality's long-term career prospects, Blacklock aiming for B Corp status, and the Covid insurance battle grinding on.

- Tom Kerridge says he hopes the release of a new recruitment video for his restaurant groupwill help show more people that hospitality can offer long-term career prospects​. The two minute video features staff members working in various roles across the Kerridge portfolio, which includes the two Michelin-starred flagship pub The Hand and Flowers in Marlow; the one Michelin-starred The Coach pub, also in Marlow; Manchester restaurant The Bull & Bear; and Kerridge's Bar & Grill in London. "We want to try and change the conversation about what a career in hospitality means," Kerridge tells BigHospitality. "With the video, we’re trying to get it across to people that this is an exciting industry to be in. That if you find the right space, then you can achieve loads." The video includes several employees that have each been with Kerridge for more than a decade, with some clocking in close to 20 years with the group.

Blacklock has confirmed it will launch its fourth restaurant early next year in Covent Garden​; an opening that will coincide with the start of the group’s ‘journey’ to B Corp status. The London-based chop specialist will launch beneath Bedford Street in February 2022, in a building that used to house the King’s Coachmakers. With 110 covers, it will be the group’s biggest site to date, and will see new, lesser-known cuts of meat hitting the menu for the first time, including Denver and tri-tip steaks. The opening will coincide with the launch of Blacklock’s plan to achieve B Corp status. In line with the brand’s sustainability ethos, Blacklock’s ‘Planet Promise’ sees a tree planted for every customer that dines with them – an initiative launched during lockdown that has so far seen more than 125,000 trees planted, according to the group.

- Operators are being reminded to check their insurance policies as Black and White Hospitality’s in-house lawyer continues to battle insurers to payout for business interruption​ during the pandemic. In particular, Rob Atkinson is asking any operators that held a policy with Tokio Marine Kiln to get in touch with him. “We are due to commence legal action on this matter in the coming months so it’s important that the hospitality sector sticks together as we will be able to fight, as one, the insurers who are refusing to pay out,” he says. “We are aware of many similar legal cases at present against insurers who simply refuse to do the right thing.” Atkinson started his campaign in 2020, leading a successful group action against a number of insurers that contributed to a Supreme Court decision that was hailed as a landmark case in the fight to get insurers to pay out for business interruption related to Coronavirus. But insurers have continued to fightback, promoting Atkinson to renew his crowdfunding efforts and encourage more operators to come forward.

Adam White has acquired the former Carluccio’s that fronts Bloomsbury’s Brunswick Centre for a follow-up to his influential all-day restaurant concept Riding House Café​. Riding House Bloomsbury is expected to launch in Spring next year and will be around 20% larger than the Fitzrovia original, which celebrated its 10th birthday earlier this year. The new site will have 165 internal covers and an additional 65 external covers. All of the internal trading space will be located on the ground floor, with the two smaller basement levels given over to the kitchen and amenities. “The area appeals to me as it’s very much like Fitzrovia was 10 years ago. It’s a kind of no man’s land but it has enormous potential,” White says. ”I also like how divisive the architecture of the Brunswick Centre is. I think it’s great. Everything north is housing, but to the south you have a lot of media and the more aspirational Lamb’s Conduit Street area, which is more quirky. It’s a real hodgepodge. I love it.”

Britain’s managed restaurant, pub and bar groups achieved modest sales growth in October​ amid mounting operational pressures, the latest edition of the Coffer CGA Business Tracker reveals. The Tracker, produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM, shows total sales were up by 3% on the pre-Covid levels of October 2019. Sales were 64% higher than in October 2020, when trading was subject to severe Covid restrictions. October was a slightly better month for pub groups than restaurants, with total sales growth of 3% and 2% respectively. Bars performed best of all with an increase of 13% as the recovery of the late-night market continued.

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

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