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 Dishoom being named the best hospitality company to work for, Temper's first restaurant in four years, and a Scottish-based bar group accused of mistreating staff.

Dishoom has been named the best hospitality company in the UK to work for​ by job website Glassdoor. The Indian restaurant group, which operates eight UK restaurants that are primarily concentrated in London, ranked at number 12 on the overall top 50 list of companies across the UK in this year’s Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards. It is its first appearance on the list. One of the Dishoom’s sales managers, based in London, described the group as “always pushing to find ways of making employees feel valued, respected and happy in and out of work”. The only other hospitality business to feature on this year’s list is piri piri chicken-focused restaurant group Nando’s, which ranked at number 34. 

- Steakhouse and barbecue restaurant Temper has announced plans open a fourth London restaurant having secured a site on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch​. Set to launch in the summer, it will be the first opening by the Sam Lee-led group in four years and join Temper's current restaurants in Soho, the City and Covent Garden. Confirming the plans on its Instagram page, Temper said: "The secret’s out… We’re delighted to announce we are heading east to Shoreditch, with a brand new temper opening on Great Eastern St this summer. Stay tuned for more info!"

- The owners of Scottish-based bar and restaurant brands MacMerry 300 and Abandon Ship have been accused of 'systemic mistreatment' in a collective grievance signed by both current and former staff​. Unite the Union has compiled a seven-page complaint that was released last Friday (7 January) and includes allegations that the company neglected to inform staff about potential close contacts with those testing positive for Covid-19; and that staff awaiting PCR test results were expected or felt pressured to come to work until their results were official. In a statement, a spokesperson for MacMerry 300 described the list of complaints as 'frankly bewildering' and said no member of staff, nor Unite the union, brought any grievances to the senior management team before releasing the grievance publicly.

Ricki Weston has been promoted to executive chef of Whatley Manor​ following the departure of Niall Keating at the end of last year. Weston - who was announced as the Malmesbury hotel's interim executive chef as Keating departed - will oversee the full food offering including Whatley Manor's two-Michelin-star flagship The Dining Room, Grey’s Brasserie, room service, afternoon tea, and private/events dining. The chef - who joined Whatley Manor as sous chef in August 2018 and was promoted to head chef of The Dining Room in October 2020 - will launch a new menu for the hotel's flagship restaurant in early February.

- Losses at the top 100 grossing restaurant groups in the UK increased 174% in 2021 to £673m, up from a loss of £246m in September 2020. The figures, from accountancy group UHY Hacker Young, show that the restaurant sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, with lockdown and social distancing rules impacting heavily on trade​. Despite Government support, restaurant chains such as Prezzo, Byron Burgers and Carluccio’s went into insolvency during the pandemic with other large chains, such as Frankie & Benny’s and Pizza Hut, forced to close sites and use CVAs to cut costs and keep businesses afloat. While many restaurant businesses were able to keep afloat by CBILS or BBLS lending, they are now having to begin repayment of those loans, putting pressure on their cashflow, says UHY Hacker Young.

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

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