Friday Five: the week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news

Related tags R200

This week's main hospitality news stories include this year's R200 Restaurant Awards winners, new laws to resolve commercial rent disputes, and warnings over the impact of cost price inflation.

- Restaurant brands Eataly, Marugame Udon, Slice by Pizza Pilgrims and Patty & Bun were among the winners at the R200 Restaurant Awards 2021​ held in London this week. Italian food hall chain Eataly’s long-awaited first UK site in Broadgate was named as the Best New Opening, sponsored by Shelley Sandzer, beating competition from shortlisted finalists including Bundobust’s Manchester Brewery and Brighton’s Shelter Hall. Meanwhile, Marugame Udon, the world’s largest udon noodles and tempura restaurant chain that made its debut in London’s Liverpool Street earlier this year, was named as One to Watch, sponsored by Shield Safety. Other winners include Slice by Pizza Pilgrims, which picked up the Scalable Concept Award, sponsored by Zonal; Patty & Bun, which received the Resilience Award, sponsored by Just Eat, for its early adoption of its very successful DIY burger kits; and UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, who was named Person of the Year for her tireless work representing the hospitality sector during the pandemic.

New laws and a Code of Practice are being introduced by the Government in the hope it will resolve disputes between landlords and commercial tenants​ over rent arrears. Negotiations between tenants and landlords will now be underpinned by a new Code of Practice, providing both parties with a process for settling outstanding debts before a new arbitration process comes into force when the the lease forfeiture moratorium expires on 25 March next year. The Code sets out that, in the first instance, tenants unable to pay in full should negotiate with their landlord in the expectation that the landlord waives some or all rent arrears where they are able to do so. From 25 March 2022, new laws in the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Bill, which is being introduced in Parliament today, will establish a legally-binding arbitration process for commercial landlords and tenants who have not already reached an agreement, following the principles in the Code of Practice. Subject to Parliamentary passage, this will come into force next year.

- MPs have been told some hospitality businesses expect to raise prices three times before April next year​, amid significant cost price inflation caused by ongoing supply chain and recruitment issues. Appearing before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls warned that as well as being hit by price rises, consumers can also expect many hospitality venues to not run at full capacity over the festive period. She told MPs that venues are experiencing a 'double whammy' of problems in recruitment and the supply chain, with a quarter of UKHospitality members having had to reduce opening hours, close venues and refuse bookings as a result.

- Wendy’s says it is ’extremely excited' about the consumer response to its UK market return, and is on track to have 10 locations open by the end of the year. During the company’s third quarter earnings call, Wendy's chief executive Todd Penegor reported 'strong sales' across its fledgling UK estate​, which currently includes three restaurants and four dark kitchen locations. "Our expansion into Europe through the UK continues to accelerate as we’ve opened several restaurants since the second quarter," said Penegor. "We’re seeing extremely strong sales across all of our UK restaurants as customers are thrilled to have Wendy’s in the market, making us even more excited about our growth opportunity."

- Record producer DJ Khaled has partnered with dark kitchen operator Reef Technology to launch a virtual chicken shop concept called Another Wing​ across five countries, including the UK. Another Wing is now available in 150 Reef kitchens globally, spanning three continents including the UAE, Europe and North America. The launch has been billed by Khaled as 'the biggest virtual restaurant rollout in history'. In the UK, Another Wing is only available in London, operating out of Reef sites in Camden and Hornsey, with consumers able to order from delivery platforms including Deliveroo and UberEats. The menu features bone-in and boneless chicken wings available in seven 'signature' flavours including Un Un Un Believable Buffalo; Don't Quit Nashville Hot; You Loyal! Lemon Pepper; Honey! Honey! Hot Honey Sriracha; and They Don’t Want You To Win TRUFFALO, which is made with a combination of black truffles, parmesan and buffalo sauce.

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

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