Friday Five: the week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news

Related tags Coronavirus

This week's main hospitality news stories include Sacha Lord's High Court case being expediated, Wendy's plans to open in Croydon, and Unite accusing Six by Nico of staff mistreatment.

- Sacha Lord's legal challenge against the decision not to allow hospitality to reopen for indoor service until five weeks after non-essential retail will be expediated through the courts​. Lord, who is the night time economy advisor for Greater Manchester, confirmed this week that the Government's attempts to argue against the expedition of the case - which he called 'a poor stalling tactic' - had failed. In an update on Twitter, he said: "This afternoon, the Judge ruled AGAINST [the Government] and confirmed our case WILL be expediated." The challenge, which was launched by Lord last month and is backed by hospitality entrepreneur Hugh Osmond, argues that there is a lack of evidence to justify the delayed reopening of the hospitality sector. It comes off the back of a previous action by Lord, which forced the Government to drop its ‘substantial meal' rule.

- US burger chain Wendy’s is set to launch a restaurant in Croydon​, for what could mark its first London opening since announcing its return to the UK market. The group has submitted plans to open a restaurant on the former Barclays Bank site within Norfolk House at the junction of Wellesley Road and George Street, close to East Croydon station. Spread over two levels, the restaurant will offer dine-in, takeaway and delivery, and, according to the planning application, create 30 full-time jobs. The planning application notes that Wendy's is 'now beginning a sustained and comprehensive return to the UK'. Town planning and development consultants Collins & Coward says it is dealing with a number of planning applications on behalf of the chain, across a number of planning authorities as part of the first tranche of sites.

- Restaurant group Six by Nico is facing accusations from trade union Unite that it underpaid staff, used tips to pay senior managers, and had employees work long shifts without breaks​. Unite's hospitality branch claims more than 40 Six by Nico staff from across the country have made contact with allegations about the group, which was founded in Glasgow by chef Nico Simeone back in 2017. However, a spokesperson for the Scotland-based Simeone group, which operates seven UK restaurants in total, told BigHospitality that not a single complaint has been made to it by any former or current members of staff.

- Aktar Islam is the latest high-profile chef restaurateur to extend their meal kit delivery business as lockdown restrictions in England are on the verge of being lifted. The chef-patron at Birmingham-based Michelin-starred restaurant Opheem is creating a new facility for his successful Aktar at Home meal kit delivery service​ after announcing that it will continue alongside the regular restaurant service for as long as people want to eat the restaurant’s curries. In a post on Twitter the chef wrote: "Go big or go home" that's always been my mantra! Works on the new @aktarathome kitchen is coming along nicely! This new facility will create 20 new jobs for fellow Brummies and contractors.” The company says it is adding to the Aktar at Home product lines, which currently includes a curry box and vegan curry box as well as a Sunday roast and meat box, and that it is recruiting more members for the team.

- The Government has launched a call for evidence to help monitor the overall progress of commercial rent negotiations​ and assess whether it needs to take further steps to protect businesses. With the Lease Forfeiture Moratorium, which prevents landlords from repossessing commercial premises if businesses are unable to pay their rent as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, and accompanying debt protections set to expire at the end of June, the call for evidence will' support the Government’s decision making on the best way to withdraw or replace these measures'. If there is evidence that productive discussions between landlords and tenants are not taking place, and that this represents a substantial and ongoing threat to jobs and livelihoods, the Government says it will not hesitate to intervene further. The call for evidence sets out six options, ranging from simply allowing existing tenant protections to cease to a more targeted level of support to having binding adjudications.

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

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