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 top news stories include Ukrainian chef Yurii Kovryzhenko's plans to open a London restaurant, warnings of a 'critical situation' in hospitality, and a battle for control of Comptoir.

- Prominent Ukrainian chef Yurii Kovryzhenko and his partner Olga Tsybytovska are to launch a 'neo-bistro' on Brompton Road in London's Chelsea next month​. Called Mriya, which translates to mean 'dream' in Ukrainian, the restaurant will specialise in modern Ukrainian cuisine and be staffed by Ukrainian refugees who fled the country following the Russian invasion earlier this year. The menu will include classic dishes including Kovryzhenko's take on borsch and chicken Kyiv, as well as the chef's variations on local Ukrainian vegetables and foods like courgette pancakes with stracciatella; and smoked trout and vinaigrette with strawberries on green pea cream with crayfish necks.

Hospitality businesses across the UK are facing a 'critical situation' with only 37% currently turning a profit​, a new study has warned. The survey, conducted by the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and UKHospitality, found that the biggest factors facing operators are the rising costs of energy (74%), goods (55%) and labour (54%). Almost half (45%) of businesses report that they are being forced to reduced opening hours to avoid closing permanently and one in six reporting they have no cash reserves.

- Comptoir Group’s Richard Kleiner has been re-elected as chairman despite the resolution to re-elect him not passing at its annual general meeting (AGM). Tony Kitous, founder and creative director at Comptoir Group, had written to the board earlier this week​, calling for the resignations of chief executive Chaker Hanna and chairman Richard Kleiner as directors of the company. Kitous is the holder of more than 58 million ordinary shares of one pence each – representing 47.6% of the issued ordinary capital in the company. In the event that neither resigned, Kitous had stated he would vote against the re-election of the chairman at the AGM on 30 June 2022. During the AGM, resolutions one, three and four were passed, however resolutions two, five and six did not, which included the resolution to re-elect Kleiner, after Kitous submitted a proxy vote against them. However, a board meeting was held following the AGM where it was agreed that Kleiner would be re-appointed as chairman​ with immediate effect.

- A Government campaign asking businesses to lower prices due to the cost of living crisis has been met with criticism from across the hospitality industry​. JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin and UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls are among those who have spoken out against the plan for a taxpayer-funded ad campaign asking businesses to cut prices from July, proposed by new cost of living tsar David Buttress. Martin termed the plan as a 'classic example of tinkering, instigated by ministers who really don’t understand money'. “The main economic critique of this government is that it doesn’t have an overarching plan, but just reacts to events, like a doctor who only treats symptoms, not the cause,” he said.

McCain Foodservice Solutions and street food membership organisation KERB are joining forces for a major new initiative that will give people from less-advantaged backgrounds the opportunity to bring their food business idea to life​. Called Streets Ahead, the collaboration will see McCain Foodservice Solutions partner with KERB to sponsor 115 people from less-advantaged backgrounds to join the KERB classroom, an online food start-up course which helps take food business ideas out of people’s heads and make them a reality. Following the online course, 45 people will progress to the next stage and join an immersion day, visiting KERB street food markets around London and gaining first-hand experience from those who have been through the classroom and successfully started their own food business. With the help of KERB mentors, participants will be invited to pitch to a panel where 10 new businesses will each receive an investment from McCain of up to £10,000 as well as an opportunity to trade at a KERB market.

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

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