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Shepherd Neame Buys 13 Pubs

Shepherd Neame Buys 13 Pubs


Shepherd Neame is taking over 13 more pubs in a deal worth £13.4m.

The Kent-based brewer, pub and hotel operator has acquired the freeholds of The Albion Taverna and The Limes in Faversham and The Shakespeare, The Parrot and Ye Olde Beverlie in Canterbury. A further 8 pubs have been purchased from Enterprise Inns in Kent, Sussex and Surrey.

Upon completion the number of pub in Shepherd Neame estate will total 336, of which 59 will managed, 270 tenanted and leased, plus and seven free of tie leases.

The announcement was made alongside the company's annual trading report showing like-for-like sales up 4.6%, while earnings rose 2.4%.


Restaurant Raid

Restaurant Raid


The Raj Pavilion restaurant in Tunbridge Well, has been raided by a team of immigration officials, following a tip off that foreign nationals were being employed illegally.

"A 27-year-old man from Bangladesh was questioned by officials on suspicion of illegal working. Officials are currently investigating his immigration status," said a Home Office Spokesman

The Courier spoke to Jewel Zaman, insists he has done nothing wrong.

"They said there were no problems for the time being, I'm not worried about it," said Zaman who was told to expect a call in the next month to find out if any further action will be taken.

Immigration officials also visited the property in April 2013 and arrested one man.

Businesses can receive a fine of up to £20,000 for each worker employed illegal.


Brexit Hotelier Boost

Brexit Hotelier Boost


The owner of Ramsgate’s award-winning Royal Harbour Hotel, James Thomas, has reported a surge in new booking enquiries following the result of the referendum to leave the EU.

Within days the outcome the 27-room boutique hotel, which overlooks the town’s pretty harbor, has been inundated with enquiries from overseas visitors, attracted by the fall in the value of sterling.

“We’ve always enjoy a good number guests from abroad, but have experienced nothing like this before,” said Thomas, “Although we are almost full for the summer, were also talking bookings for later in the year from Brits who will enjoy a ‘staycation’ rather than travel abroad for a European city-break.
“If repeated across Kent and around the country, this tendency is very good news indeed for local business and the UK economy as a whole,” said Thomas, who is critical of the “doom and gloom mongers” who have painted a distorted negative view of the referendum decision.

The boost shows how price sensitive the tourist market is, says Thomas, and justifies the industry’s call to lower the UK’s 20% VAT rate on hospitality – double that of France.
Craig Mather, the new head chef of the hotel’s Empire Room restaurant, says the local fisherman from whom he buys his fish, are “ecstatic” about the decision which will see an end to the Common Fisheries Policy, that has devastated the British fishing industry.

Fans of the hotel will be please that it has been shortlisted for a prestigious ‘Perrys Exceptional Award’. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at Leeds Castle on Thursday 10th November. To vote email exceptionalawards@pmwcom.co.uk with “Royal Harbour Hotel - Exceptional Service Award” in the subject line before 31st July.






The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent, has taken the top spot in the National Restaurant Awards, winning its chef-owner and Telegraph columnist Stephen Harris a second gong in a week, after also being crowned Cookery Writer of the Year by the Guild of Food Writers.

Restaurant magazine's annual awards celebrates chefs and restaurants across the UK. More than 150 industry experts, from food writers and critics to restaurateurs, chefs and food experts, cast their votes in categories including best Indian restaurant (won by Hoppers, in London), the service award (The Clove Club), and cocktail list of the year (Jason Atherton's Social Eating House).

The Sportsman, which has been described by Stephen Harris as a "grotty, run-down pub by the sea", was victorious in the gastropub category and went on to win the best restaurant award overall. Earlier this year the pub topped the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards for the second year in a row.

Completing the top five were London restaurants Barrafina Adelaide St, The Ledbury and Hedone, and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Port Isaac, Cornwall.

Pierre Koffmann, whose first restaurant, La Tante Claire, held three Michelin stars before it closed in 2003 and who now runs the award-winning Koffmann's at The Berkeley in London, was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement award.

Raymond Blanc's restaurant and hotel in Oxfordshire, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, was crowned Sustainable Restaurant of the Year.


More Bottle

More Bottle


In response to customer demand Viiking Ventures is now importing a 650ml bottle of its Goa Premium Beer. The new sized 4.8% ABV beer adds to the original 340ml bottles.

The first shipment was paid for before the recent fall in the value of sterling on international currency exchanges, following the pro Brexit vote in the EU referendum. The pilsner beer sells in restaurants between £4.50 - £4.95 for the larger bottle and between £2.65 - £3.25 for the small.

The gluten free beer, brewed using a unique malt and maize based recipe, is already available in around 300 bars and restaurants.

Strong sales are being reported with the beer now available in top London venues such as The Painted Heron, La Porte des Indes and Gaylord plus leading regional restaurants such as Chilli Pickle in Brighton, Moksh in Cardiff, Bukharah in Glasgow, Ambrette restaurants in Kent and the Koh Thai Tapas chain throughout the south-west.

“We hope to maintain stable pricing, but restaurants may want to order now to hedge against a potential price rise,” said Viiking Ventures director Frank Sequeira.

Sequeira thinks long term, the decision to leave the EU could be good for Asian restaurateurs. It should pave the way for more recruitment skilled chefs from outside Europe; exotic ingredients grown outside the EU should become cheaper as tariffs come down and enable third world farmers to trade their way out of poverty.


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