This week’s exclusive Diary includes: Jamie’s Italian eyeing transport hubs; TLC Inns boss Steve Haslam’s cheeky voucher deal; the Tango man’s brewery venture; and the “glasses-free” 3D TV trial falling short. Ready for take off Jamie’s Italian, the casual dining chain spearheaded by Jamie Oliver, goes from strength to strength, with plans to open a further six sites in the UK this year taking its estate to 30 and its first in continental Europe before the end of 2012. There is also a push into North America on the table and a possible float or sale to come. Diary hears that the group is now looking to explore a further market that will add another string to its bow or sizzle to any deal – transport hubs – with a first site in this category expected to be opened later this year. Woucher! Discounting and vouchers are now very much part of the eating out landscape, but Diary hears of one operator who has taken an innovative approach to what he can offer his customers. Steve Haslam, managing director of the fast-growing operator TLC Inns, has just launched Trader Tuesday, which allows customers who visit his Grand Central venue in Basildon to use vouchers from competitors to trade with staff to obtain discounts on their meals. Haslam tells Diary: “It was only launched last night but it was a roaring success. It makes using discounts fun and helps with staff interaction.” Royal health and safety Everyone is looking for that little bit more from their food offer these days, and TCG Bars, the pub and bar business backed by Alchemy Partners, is certainly doing its bit to provide consumers with both quality and quantity through its new King’s Feast format, which is currently available across five of its sites with more to follow. Diary found out how much quantity the other day, when it stopped by for one of the site’s cow pies. Waiting staff at the sites have to go through a risk assessment just to carry the full-to-the-brim plates! You’ve been Geeves’d People from a certain vintage will remember the infamous Tango ads of the 1990s, which carried the catchphrase “You know when you’ve been Tango’d”. Diary hears that the former actor who played the Tango man - you remember the one, painted head-to-toe orange - has launched his own microbrewery in Barnsley. Peter Geeves has launched Geeves Brewery on a former narrow boat. He told a local newspaper: “As a former actor, starting the brewery is a big departure in one sense, but I do feel there are similarities in any creative process. The practical challenges of starting a brewery on a 70-foot-long narrow boat, like coping with space and access to water, have meant we’ve had to be doubly innovative.” Let’s hope he doesn’t get a slap in the face. Spec-tacular footy experience? Not quite Of all the technological innovations in the pub and bar sector in recent months, the “glasses-free” TV trial in the basement at Walkabout in London’s Covent Garden last summer was among the most striking. The clever system uses a so-called “viewing cone” of 120 degrees that’s said to give viewers a 3D experience without the need for special specs. Unfortunately, the trial hasn’t been a resounding success. John Leslie, chief executive of Walkabout operator Intertain, told Diary that there are no plans to use the systems at present. “I think the technology needs to move on and the costs need to come down,” he said. Horseplay at JDW He has an answer for everything, that Tim Martin. The Wetherspoons chairman demonstrated his knowledge of history, and equestrian matters, in reply to a letter writer in Wetherspoons News who feared that Martin wanted a stained-glass window depicting King Harold at the Battle of Hastings riding a horse removed from a JDW pub. Apparently it was feared that the image was too violent, showing as it did Harold with the famous arrow in his eye. Martin replied: “As I understand, from my sketchy knowledge of the Battle of Hastings, the whole point was that Harold and the English didn’t have horses, but Norman (ok, William) the Conqueror did. This Harold seems to have found a horse from somewhere, so no wonder the Normans were upset.” Diary’s pleased to say that the window is being retained.