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 operators ditching Russian products following the invasion of Ukraine, the closure of Mãos in London's Shoreditch, and energy supply worries for hospitality firms.

- Bar group Arc Inspirations has stopped serving Russian vodka at its venues in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine​. Announcing the move on Twitter, the northern-based bar group said: “To show our support to the people of Ukraine we will no longer be pouring any Russian vodka in any of our bars. #standwithukraine”. Arc is one of a growing number of hospitality businesses across the world that are ditching Russian vodka in a show of solidarity for Ukraine, with bar owners in the US and Canada posting videos online of them pouring away the liquid. Chefs and hospitality operators are pledging to help raise funds and sponsor visas​ to support people who have been displaced by the invasion, with a number of restaurants also announcing plans to hold fundraising dinners​ as part of attempts by the sector to support the humanitarian aid efforts.

- Michelin-starred Shoreditch restaurant Mãos is to close after four years​. Founder James Brown sent an email to the Redchurch Street restaurant’s database announcing that its final service would be on 20 April. “With only 16 seats to fill, we have far outgrown our small space both creatively and functionally and feel that we have achieved all that we set out to do and more,” the email read.

- The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has warned hospitality businesses across the UK are being refused energy contracts from suppliers​, further hampering their ability to recover from the pandemic. Over recent months, the trade body says there has been an increase in the number of utilities providers refusing to take on new accounts or renew contracts if they are linked with hospitality. Some providers will initially quote for a business, but then renege on signed agreements leaving companies with little or no choice to secure a new provider. Where pubs are split between domestic and non-domestic energy consumption, the BBPA says a refusal to supply energy raises serious concerns and is failure of the energy providers to satisfy the obligations they are subject to under the authority of the Energy Ombudsman. Additionally, the ongoing rise in utility costs further threatens the viability of businesses.

Allium at Askham Hall in Cumbria and Ácléaf at Borringdon Hall in Devon have both been awarded four AA Rosettes​ at a virtual ceremony this week. The latest announcement by the AA also saw 15 restaurants awarded three rosettes including Prévost @ the Haycock in Cumbria; The Nut Tree Inn in Oxfordshire; and The Camellia Restaurant at South Lodge in West Sussex. Outside of England, Dean Banks at The Pompadour, which launched in Edinburgh last year, also received three rosettes; as did the Michelin-starred Bohemia Restaurant in St Helier, Jersey.

- Warwickshire-based burger restaurant Libertine Burger says it is eyeing national expansion following the move of its flagship premises to a new home​. The burger brand recently closed its 37-cover Leamington Spa restaurant and moved to a larger 59-cover venue in the city and is now looking to open further venues across the country this year. The new flagship restaurant will become the blueprint model for the group as it expands, it says. The group, which also operates a 110-cover restaurant in Rugby, has plans to expand into Birmingham and also along the M40/M42 leading to London for venues in the capital and further down south. Libertine launched in 2016 serving food from a converted Renault Master. The brand was named winner of the National Burger Awards finals in 2019 and also made it to the finals of both the British Street Food Awards and the Street Food Championships in 2021.

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

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