Friday five: the week’s top news

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Top hospitality news stories Gordon Ramsay Tom Kerridge

Related tags Leon Tom kerridge Gordon ramsay Native Mowgli

We round-up some of the top hospitality stories you might have missed this week.

- Leon CEO John Vincent has revealed that his healthy fast food chain is losing £200,000 a week and could fold if lockdown restrictions on the hospitality sector drag on.​ Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Vincent warned that a longer lockdown ‘will cost lives’. Ahead of the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown, Vincent said that businesses on the brink of collapse because of the pandemic need a lifeline, adding that it was ‘quite possible’ Leon could fold ‘if weeks and months drag on’. He estimated that his firm is losing an extra £800,000 a week with £200,000 of cash ‘going out the bank’.

- Tom Kerridge is to launch a largely plant-based fast food concept​ within Camden’s Buck Street Market. Bad Vegan will see the The Hand and Flowers and Kerridge’s Bar and Grill chef partner with ‘experienced brand creator’ Mark Emms, who has a background in film, music and live event production. The new food brand will offer a ‘fundamentally’ vegan menu in a bid to introduce more people to plant-based food but unlike most establishments in the space will also offer non-vegan toppings and sides.

- Indian street food group Mowgli will open a site in Cheltenham this summer with expansion to other areas including Edinburgh, Brighton and Preston also planned.​Mowgli Cheltenham would open ‘at some point in the summer of 2021’ in the town’s Brewery Quarter, creating more than 30 jobs. Nisha Katona’s group currently operates 11 restaurants across the country and hopes to open an additional six sites before the end of 2022. The group has been on the expansion trail since securing a £3.45m backing from private equity company Foresight Group in 2017.

- Gordon Ramsay has said his restaurant empire has missed out on nearly £60m of trade during the pandemic.​Speaking to The Sun, the chef revealed that he saw £10m worth of reservations wiped out overnight in December, with total revenue down £57.5m between 19 March 2020 and 3 February 2021. “Lockdowns have caused utter devastation,” he said, adding that initially he thought the impact of Covid would only last a couple of weeks. 

- Wild food restaurant Native is returning to London this spring with an opening in luxury retailer Browns’ new Mayfair boutique.​ The restaurant, run by co-founders Ivan Tisdall-Downes and Imogen Davis, will open at Browns on Brook Street with Joe Knowlden, most recently from Hide Mayfair, running the kitchen as head chef. As with the pair’s Native restaurant on Essex’s Osea Island it will champion seasonal produce and ethical dining.

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