Friday five: the week's top restaurant stories

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday five: the week's top restaurant stories

Related tags Restaurant

This week's top newx stories include James Watt stepping down as BrewDog CEO, the National Restaurant Awards' Opening of the Year shortlist, and The Rum Kitchen closing its entire estate

- BrewDog co-founder James Watt has announced he is stepping down as chief executive of the multinational brewer and pub operator after 17 years​. In a LinkedIn post, Watt confirmed he would be transitioning to a new role within the business titled ‘captain and co-founder’, with chief operating officer James Arrow replacing him as CEO. Watt will remain a board member and director at BrewDog and be a part time strategic advisor to the business and its leadership team. He will also retain his 21% shareholding in the company. BrewDog said it had put in place succession plans after Watt first told the board last year that he wanted to step away to focus on his other projects and interests.

- The shortlist for this year's National Restaurant Awards Opening of the Year have been revealed. They include Freddy and Nessa Bird's 1 York Place in Bristol; Adejoké Bakare's Chishuru in central London; Edinburgh-based chef Stuart Ralston's Lyla; Pêtchi in Jersey; and Soho pub The Devonshire. To see the full shortlist, click here​.

- Caribbean-styled bar restaurant brand The Rum Kitchen has quietly closed its entire estate​. The group, which operated a handful of sites in London as well as an outpost in Brighton, has not made any official announcement regarding the closures, but a note on The Rum Kitchen’s Instagram page confirms that all locations are now shut. The Rum Kitchen's website also appears to have been shut down. It is understood that all sites closed within the last month. According to documents filed to The Gazette, one of the group’s trading subsidies, Icarus Leisure Soho Limited, was wound up on 10 April. 

The Fat Duck has launched a backwards version of its tasting menu​ that starts with desserts and concludes with savoury dishes. From 7 May to 30 June, guests can opt to start their meal with the world famous restaurant's Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop petit fours and Black Forest Gateau before moving on to savoury dishes including Beef Royale and Sound of the Sea and finishing things off with a Nitro-aperitif palate cleanser. The three-Michelin-starred Bray restaurant’s conventionally ordered 16-course tasting menu will also be available.

- Restaurant spending recorded a double digit decline in April, with poor Easter trading following a poor March, new data shows. Spending in restaurants fell 13.1% year on year, according to card spending data from Barclay’s​. Takeaway and fast food spending growth was flat but positive at 3% in April. Pubs and bars, however, were boosted by Easter and holiday bookings, recording a growth of 3.9%. Overall consumer card spending slowed to 1.6% in April, below the latest consumer price index inflation rate of 3.8%

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

Related topics Trends & Reports