Friday Five: the week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news

Related tags Restaurant

This week's top news stories include McWin acquiring a majority stake in Big Mamma, Native at Browns closing its doors, and Market Halls' plans for expansion.

McWin, the private equity backer of high street bakery chain Gail's, has acquired a majority stake in French-owned Italian restaurant group Big Mamma​. The long-term investment made out of the McWin Restaurant Fund values Big Mamma at €270m and will see the group continue to expand in Europe, as well as look towards new locations such as the Middle East and the US. Tigrane Seydoux and Victor Lugger, who launched Big Mamma in Paris back in 2013, will continue to run the company as coCEOs and remain key shareholders of the company.

Imogen Davis and Ivan Tisdall-Downes have closed their Native restaurant at Browns fashion shop in Mayfair​ citing an ‘array of challenges’ including unexpected rent increases. The pair opened Native at Browns in 2021 following the success of their original bricks-and-mortar Native restaurant near Borough Market and had achieved significant critical success, with the sustainability-focused venture appearing on Restaurant’s list of the top 100 places to eat in the UK in 2022. In an Instagram post, Davis and Tisdall-Downes said that the Native project will continue. “With lots of creative plans and new concepts projected for the coming year ahead, we have decided that focus and energies are best shifted to the running of future projects,” they said. “Albeit sad and unexpected to be leaving a part of our story, we want to take this moment to thank all of our lovely guests that have followed our journey thus far, our team, suppliers and producers that have and continue to support us to help spread our message to always #eatnative.”

- Food hall operator Market Halls says it intends to open two to three venues per year over the next five years​. The Gees Court Partners-backed company, which has announced its results for the 12 months to July 2023, says it will target cities including Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Market Halls reports revenue growth of 155% from £8.6mto £22m during the period and says that while the increase is in part attributable to Covid-related soft trading in the previous financial year, “it also demonstrates strong underlying growth”, with like-for-like sales up 40%. It also reports “an impressive start to the new financial year”, achieving consecutive record trading weeks and like-for-like sales growth in the first four trading weeks of 38%. EBITDA before HQ costs grew to £2.6m.

Restaurant and hotels provided a large downward contribution to consumer price inflation last month​, where the annual rate fell to 8.3% in August compared to 9.6% in July. This marks the lowest rate since May 2022, according the the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Prices in the sector fell by 0.1% between July and August 2023, compared with a rise of 1.0% between the same two months a year ago. The easing in the rate reflected a downward effect from accommodation services, where prices fell on the month this year but rose a year ago. Overall inflation slowed again this month, with ONS data showing the overall consumer price inflation was 6.7% in August, down from 6.8% in July.

- British hotels Claridge’s, The Connaught, NoMad London, The Newt, The Savoy, and Gleneagles have all made it onto the inaugural The World’s 50 Best Hotels list​. Claridge’s was the highest ranking British hotel on the list, ranked at number 16, followed by The Connaught at number 22 and Gleneagles at number 32. The Newt in Bruton, meanwhile, entered the list at number 37. The newest London hotel in the list, NoMad London, which opened in 2020, was ranked at number 46 just one place ahead of The Savoy at number 47. Passalacqua (image below), the luxury boutique hotel  on the shores of Lake Como that opened in June 2022 took the top spot on the list. Located in an 18th century villa with spectacular terraced gardens running down to the water, the 24-room property is said to have the feel of a private home.

For more of this week's headlines, click here​.

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