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 first week of 2022 saw Gino D’Acampo’s My Pasta Bar enter liquidation, London's first African food hall announced, and plans to extend licensing hours for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

- Gino D’Acampo’s London-based My Pasta Bar brand has gone into liquidation with debts of £5m​. Beesley Corporate Recovery has been appointed liquidator at the three-strong brand. The separate Gino D’Acampo chain of restaurants are not affected. My Pasta Bar launched in 2013 and had a flagship restaurant on 40-43 Fleet Street, as well as sites in Leadenhall Market and Bishopsgate. According to documents filed to Companies House, the business owes £4,939,332 to 49 creditors, plus £113,975 to HMRC and £37,887 in staff wages. D’Acampo-branded venues in Birmingham, Manchester, Harrogate, Liverpool and Hull were bought out by Iceland supermarket boss Sir Malcolm Walker before the pandemic, and are part of the Individual Restaurant Group.

- Dubai-based African food hall Alkebulan will open a venue in London​ as part of its owner’s plans to put African food on the global map. Alkebulan, which is named after the original name for Africa, is a first-of-its-kind food hall that launched at EXPO 2020 in Dubai and features 10 restaurant concepts from across the African continent. Restaurants at the Dubai hall include African street food concept Afro Street; African-styled contemporary chicken shack Chicken Coop; Choma BBQ; innovative African cuisine concept Penja; nose-to-tail concept Tasty Goat; and east African seafood concept Seven Seafood. Alkebulan was created by chef Alexander Smalls to enable more people to try ‘the last untapped cuisine’. As well as providing a range of African food it also showcases local art and live music from across the continent. It is owned by global hospitality agency TGP International, which has announced plans to take the format to the UK. Part of the food hall’s larger mission is to provide new platforms for African chefs, who TGP say are wildly underrepresented in the industry, and create opportunities to help them thrive.

Pubs, clubs and bars could be allowed to stay open for an extra two hours over the extended bank holiday weekend for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee​, the Government has announced. The Platinum Jubilee will mark the Queen's 70-year reign and the celebrations will include a fourday bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2 June until Sunday 5 June. To support the celebrations, the Home Office is launching a public consultation on extending licensing hours for pubs, clubs and bars from the normal 11pm to 1am on Thursday 2, Friday 3 and Saturday 4 June. 

- Angela Hartnett and Robin Hutson are among a number of people in the hospitality sector to have been recognised in the New Year Honours list for 2022​. Hartnett, who received an MBE in 2007, was awarded an OBE for services to the hospitality industry and to the NHS during the Covid-19 response; while Hutson was given the same honour for services to the hospitality industry and philanthropy.

Pubs, bars and restaurants lost £10,335 on average in the week leading up to Christmas​ with takings on Christmas Day down 60% compared to 2019, according to figures from UKHospitality. The findings, which were published prior to New Year's Eve, demonstrate how the industry’s fight to recover from the pandemic has been decimated by the impact of the Omicron Covid variant. According to UKHospitality, average sales for the sector had been close to pre-pandemic levels (98%) in the weeks prior to the new Omicron variant emerging. However, 'work from home' restrictions, and the subsequent drop in consumer confidence and footfall has hit businesses hard, with city centre and London venues facing a particularly tough Christmas season.

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

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