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 Leeds being named Britain’s most 'vibrant' city, Hospitality Rising wining Government support, and Richard Caring ruling out an acquisition of Corbin & King.

Leeds has been named Britain’s most ‘vibrant’ city​ in a new report that combines sales data from CGA and device log-ins from Wireless Social. The first of what is to be a series of monthly reports assessed the UK’s 10 most populous cities over the four weeks to 15 January 2022, including the crucial festive season. Leeds was just -0.2% down on the same period in 2019 followed by Glasgow, Bristol and Birmingham, which also put in a good performance following the pandemic. Highlighting the severe impact of work-from-home instructions and reduced visitor numbers in the capital London finishes bottom, having suffered a -19% drop in sales Wireless Social’s data shows check-ins in London were 43% lower than over the same period two years ago.

- As latest figures from trade body UKHospitality show there are currently 400,000 vacancies across the hospitality sector, Hospitality Rising has won official support from the Hospitality & Tourism Sector Skills Board (HTSB) to be the strategic face of the industry’s biggest ever recruitment campaign​. The grass-roots movement, which is spearheaded by former Pret a Manger and YO! Sushi marketer Mark McCulloch (pictured), hopes to be the answer to the sector's crippling staffing crisis. The HTSB will work into the joint Government and industry initiative, the newly-created Hospitality Sector Council. McCulloch has won the backing of representatives of the whole spectrum of hospitality businesses, including UKHospitality, the BII and the British Beer and Pub Association, and the endorsement makes Hospitality Rising the official industry response to the recruitment crisis.

- Restaurateur and private members’ club mogul Richard Caring has said he is 'not intending to pursue' a deal to acquire Corbin & King​ after the group was placed into administration by its majority shareholder last month. Caring, who backs The Ivy Collection, Bill’s and Soho House, had reportedly been billed as an 'early frontrunner' to takeover Corbin & King after Minor International, which acquired a majority stake in the London-based group back in 2017, placed it into administration late last month having said it was 'unable to meet its financial obligations'. One of Caring’s representatives had reportedly already met with Minor, and Caring himself was expected to speak to the Thai investor early last week. Now, though, The Times ​has revealed that Caring has dropped out of the running, with Caring saying that “at this moment, I am not intending to pursue” a deal.

The inaugural list of Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants has been revealed in Abu Dhabi​. Culinary stars of the restaurant world converged in the UAE capital this week for a gala awards ceremony celebrating the best restaurants from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Dubai-based casual contemporary restaurant 3 Fils topped the list, being named The Best Restaurant in Middle East & North Africa 2022 and The Best Restaurant in the UAE. Japanese izakaya Zuma in DIFC, Dubai, founded by chef Rainer Becker, claimed the number two spot; with Raz Rahav's OCD Restaurant in Tel Aviv taking third place, as well as being named The Best Restaurant in Israel. Sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, the inaugural Middle East & North Africa's 50 Best Restaurants list features restaurants from across 11 different countries the MENA region including Morocco, Tunisia, Kuwait and Qatar.

- Iranian restaurant Berenjak is launch its second London location in the spring​ on the Borough Market site recently vacated by Flor. Berenjak, which was developed by chef Kian Samyani and is backed by JKS Restaurants, opened its first site in Soho in 2018, and the new Borough Market restaurant will continue to offer a menu centred on charcoal-grilled kababs and mazeh small plates. However, it will also offer an expanded menu that includes several new 'homestyle' Iranian dishes inspired by the large family gatherings and Iranian picnics of Samyani's childhood including rotisserie saffron chicken with Persian barberry rice. Additionally, there will be several new starters added to the mazeh section; plus, in a first for Berenjak, a full menu of 'classic' Iranian desserts.

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

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