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 Loungers' new roadside dining brand, BrewDog being accused of hypocrisy over its World Cup 'anti-sponsorship' campaign, and Hoppers' first international location.

- Restaurant group Loungers is creating a new roadside dining brand​ designed to fill the void left by the demise of brands such as Little Chef and Happy Eater. Called Brightside, the first restaurant will open on the A38, south of Exeter, in February 2023, with two additional south west of England locations to follow quickly in the spring. The group, which operates 175 Lounges and 35 Cosy Club venues around the UK, says it sees great potential to reinvigorate roadside dining in the UK, a once important part of the UK’s on-the-go dining sector that has dwindled over the past few decades. Sites will be situated predominantly on A-roads, with the next two openings sited on the A303 near Honiton, and on the A38 near Saltash, in the spring.

BrewDog's new 'anti-sponsorship' campaign of the Qatar World Cup has been labelled as 'empty self promotion'​ after it was revealed the group would continue to show matches at its venues. The craft beer brewer and bar operator was forced to defend itself after it emerged it would still show the tournament despite describing it as a 'World F*Cup' and admonishing the gulf state hosts for having dragged football 'through the mud'. In a statement posted to his LinkedIn, BrewDog CEO and co-founder James Watt said: “There has been a lot of discussion around the fact that we are showing the games in our bars. We thought long and hard about this. But ultimately decided to do so for two reasons: “Firstly, we all love craft beer and love football. We truly feel we shouldn’t deny our loyal customers the chance to enjoy them together just because FIFA bizarrely chose to award the world cup to Qatar in very questionable circumstances. “Secondly, all profits from Lost Lager sold during the tournament will be donated to human rights charities. The truth is, we will raise more money to do good if we show the matches in our bars.

- London-based Sri Lankan restaurant brand Hoppers has launched its first international location in the Qatari capital of Doha​. The restaurant, which opened last week, is located in Barahat Msheireb Downtown and takes its cues from the group's three London restaurants with a menu that combines Sri Lankan and South Indian influences across a range of dishes including short eats, curries, kothus, hoppers and dosas. As well as being Hoppers' first international location, the opening in Doha also marks the first move into the Middle East for a brand operated by multi-concept group JKS Restaurants.

Food and drink price inflation in the hospitality sector hit another record high in September​, up more than three percentage points on the previous month. Inflation rose to 18.8% in September, according to the latest Foodservice Price Index by CGA and Prestige Purchasing, up from 15% in August, which was the previous record high in the history of the index. The figure means that inflation has been in double digits in every month of 2022 since January. All food categories monitored by the index are now in double-digit inflation, with year-on-year price rises topping 10% in every food category. Dairy, along with oils and fats, are among the ingredients most affected by price increases. Other core products, including meat, vegetables, and fruit, were all above 17%, with total food prices rising 2.9% since August.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 will be hosted in the city of Valencia in Spain in June next year​. Marking the first time the awards have been held in the historic port city, it will see chefs, restaurateurs, media and culinary icons from across the globe come together for a programme of events and talks that will culminate in the unveiling of The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2023 list.

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

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