This week’s exclusive Diary includes Wetherspoons’ overseas adventures; Starbucks founder’s groovy prose; Mitchells & Butlers’ breakfast bonanza; and Zizzi’s localised design. JDW overseas expansion hits the rocks There’s a pattern emerging with JD Wetherspoon and openings over the water. A few years back the company had a site lined up in Dublin but then changed its mind after deciding it would be a bit of a management stretch. It feels a bit like deja vu with a proposed site in Jersey. Last week, the company was full steam ahead to re-open a former Chicago Rock bar at the Waterfront development in Saint Helier, Jersey, and was understood to be nearing completion on the site. The company then pulled out of a licensing hearing last Wednesday but said it planned to re-apply at a later date. Now it’s decided against looking to open in Jersey for the foreseeable future because it wants to “concentrate on its pubs in the mainland”. Make your mind up, guys. Wagamama rolls on With plans announced to quadruple its estate in the UK with the opening of 20 sites a year, you would think noodle chain Wagamama may have put itself under undue pressure. However, if the company wasn’t confident already of meeting this target, the initial success of its new Horsham branch (design tweaks for the smaller-than-average site includes normal tables rather than communal benches) will have definitely underpinned that confidence. Diary hears the site is performing above expectations. Next stop for the chain, its first site in Edinburgh. M&B’s breakfast boost How’s breakfast and takeaway going at Mitchells & Butlers? Interim chief executive Jeremy Blood reports that the company is serving an average 75 takeaway meals per Harvester per week - worth two to three per cent in like-for-like terms. However, Toby Carvery is “doing a lot better” than Harvester on breakfast. Blood told City analysts a meeting was planned to work out exactly why this was the case. Meanwhile, M&B is now serving 1.5m breakfasts a year across the estate - a handy 30,000 a week. Timmy Taylor bags M&B big hitters An awful lot of Mitchells & Butlers' expertise is gathering in a rather unlikely place. First of all, former chief executive Tim Clarke joined the board of Yorkshire brewer Timothy Taylor as a non-executive director. Diary hears that the Landlord brewer has now bagged itself another M&B heavy-hitter - former pubs and bars division managing director Mike Bramley has joined the company’s estate team as a consultant. He is helping with strategic planning and becomes a member of the pubs executive board. Johnson slams Howard’s way Diary mentioned the rather rambling new book by Starbucks founder Howard Shultz last week - “How Starbucks Fought for its Life Without losing its Soul”. Shultz charts the bounceback from poor trading that began with his, er, return in 2008. His prose style owes more than a little to Californian-style navel-gazing. Diary opened the book at random to page 28 to find a typical sentence: “Every organisation has a memory, a history of achievements, mistakes, even unintended consequences that contribute to an ongoing dialogue as people mold an event’s meaning for themselves”. Luke Johnson sums it up rather neatly in the latest issue of Management Today: “The book is 350 pages of self-indulgent claptrap.” Hard luck for Lord Sugar Interesting story in Alan Sugar’s book, “What you see is what you get”, about the Hard Rock Cafe on London’s Old Park Lane. Lord Sugar bought the building that houses the restaurant for £12.7m with a view to carving the upper floors into swanky flats to sell for £5m a pop. The plan worked beautifully, even though it cost Lord Sugar around £12m to do the conversions, £10m than he planned to spend. But one hurdle to overcome was that the Hard Rock Cafe was “emitting horrible hamburger smells”, making it unbearable to live in the apartments above. Under pressure from Sugar, Hard Rock bosses came up with a simple answer - they bought the apartment directly above as a base for its offices. Meanwhile, Hard Rock, celebrating it 40th birthday this year, remains in rude health, according to Companies House documents. In its latest year to 31 December, 2009, the UK part of the business turned over £18.7m (up from £16.1m the year before) and made a pre-tax profit of £3.2m (up from £2.16m the year before). Ted v Greg..thaw at last? Speculation has been flying over whether pubco arch-critic MP Greg Mulholland would invite Enterprise Inns chief executive Ted Tuppen to the forthcoming meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, which plans to debate whether a statutory code is needed to govern pubco/tenant relationships. An invitation to Tuppen is now forthcoming. But can he make it? Tuppen tells a Diary colleague: “As you may know, I am a trustee of Drinkaware and I have a long standing commitment to an important Drinkaware board and strategy review meeting which clashes with the meeting. We have however been in touch with CAMRA, who are organising the event and confirmed that we will do our best to ensure that someone from Enterprise can attend.” Might be as well given the way the pair have clashed in the past. Dawnay Day chaos More colour on the chaos that ensued following the collapse of Dawnay Day. It had around 650 affiliate companies, including InnDeed Group, which owned 28 tenanted pubs. All official correspondence regarding the huge network of companies gathered on the doormat of the shuttered Dawnay Day office. As paperwork processing ground to a halt, InnDeed was struck off at Companies House. The portfolio is now being run by Ted Kennedy on behalf of banker Anglo Irish. “The company had to be resurrected in every sense,” an insider tells Diary. Zizzi’s bespoke design Italian restaurant chain Zizzi has decided to take a more site-by-site approach to restaurant design. Take its new site in Lincoln, due to open in the middle of his month. The interior decor of the restaurant will be influenced by Lincoln’s geography: the 50 mile long ‘Lincoln Cliff’ which informally divides the city into two zones – uphill and downhill. This will be reflected within the restaurant, which is split into two levels to represent the uphill/downhill divide and limestone flooring is used in the bar area. In addition, circular island booths should fill the restaurant to mark the city’s origin settlements of circular wooden houses which can be traced back to the Iron Age. Helen Jones, managing director at Zizzi, says: “Over the next 12 months we’ll be re-designing all of our existing restaurants – as well as opening new ones across the UK – and the results will be totally inspired by each and every location.”