Friday Five: the week’s top news

Friday Five: the week’s top news

– Jamie Oliver has confirmed he will open a new ‘landmark’ restaurant in London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, later this year​. The as-yet unnamed restaurant is expected to be positioned as a more upmarket proposition than the chef’s defunct Jamie’s Italian casual dining chain, and will serve a seasonal menu championing British suppliers including Creedy Carver and Cobble Lane Cured. It marks a permanent return to the UK restaurant scene for Oliver whose UK business collapsed back in 2019, leading to the closure of the chef’s nationwide Jamie’s Italian chain, as well as his Barbecoa and Fifteen restaurants.

– The Government has announced that new law designed to ensure hospitality staff receive all the money left to them in tips by customers will likely come into force in 2024​. The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023, which yesterday (2 May) received Royal Assent, will make it unlawful for businesses to hold back service charges from their employees, ensuring staff receive the tips they have earned. Through the Act, a new statutory Code of Practice will be developed to provide businesses and staff with advice on how tips should be distributed. On top of this, workers will receive a new right to request more information relating to an employer’s tipping record, enabling them to bring forward a credible claim to an employment tribunal.

– Tributes have been paid to Glasgow-born chef and MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo​, who has died at the age of 46. Zonfrillo died in Melbourne in the early hours of Monday morning (1 May). His death was confirmed by Australian TV broadcaster Network 10, while his family also shared a statement. Writing on Instagram, Jamie Oliver, who appeared alongside Zonfrillo on MasterChef Australia, said: “I’m in total shock to wake up to the sudden death of chef Jock Zonfrillo. We had the best time working together for this year’s aster chef [sic], I can’t tell how good it was to work with him! “Jock was very generous to me with his time and spirit in the show and for that I was really grateful…Mellisa, Andy & Jock work as the most inspiring judges and mentors and each have there very own unique view and style… Jock will be so very missed.”

– Wagamama and Brunning & Price owner The Restaurant Group has reported a ‘very encouraging’ performance for the first four months of its financial year ahead​. Year to date like-for-like sales versus 2022 for the 17 weeks ended 30 April were up across all four of the groups divisions. Wagamama was up 4%, pubs were up 6%, leisure was up 3% and concessions were up 31%. The sharp rise in concessions sales is largely down to the impact of Omicron on travel last year but the group highlights that the division is up 5% on 2019. The figures come ahead of TRG’s AGM later this month (23 May), which looks set to be a lively affair with two major shareholders set to vote against its remuneration policy​.

– McDonald’s has been fined nearly half a million pounds for violating food hygiene laws​ after a rodent infestation was discovered at one of its restaurants in Leytonstone. The fast food giant was ordered to pay £475,000 plus £22,000 in costs at Thames Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to three charges of hygiene breaches. Environmental Health officers from Waltham Forest Council visited the restaurant on High Road, Leytonstone, on 15 October 2021, after a customer complained they had found droppings in their 24-hour drive-thru order.

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

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