The Gloucester Citizen seems to have a remarkable ability of taking a little speculation, stirring in a big dollop of wishful thinking and conjuring up a ‘news’ story with precious little in the way of facts to back it up. I suspect that this phenomenon is not unique to the Citizen, but common to all local – and occasionally national – newspapers, after all there is only so much real news on any given day. Nonetheless, I find it extremely annoying.
On Saturday the Citizen outdid even its own high standards in this regard with the FRONT PAGE story “Wagamama and Carluccio’s on Quays Menu“. The story, which continued on Page 3, was sub-titled “Popular Eateries Tipped for the City.” On closer examination, the tip seems to come only from the Citizen itself.
The story attracted my attention because, if we are intent on turning the Quays into yet another retail park dominated by ubiquitous franchise eateries rather than something more individual, independent and interesting, as seems to be the case, Wagamama’s gets my vote*. However, reading further did nothing to substantiate the excited headlines.
“The two national giants have both expressed an interest in joining the development” says the article, but then continues: “A spokesman from Wagamama… said: “Unfortunately we cannot confirm any openings in Gloucester, however we are always looking for new sites and we would love to open there in the future if possible.””
It was a similar story for Carluccio’s, whose spokesman said: “As far as we are aware, there are no opening plans in the pipeline for Gloucester…”
So, when asked the direct question, neither of them ruled out the possibility that, at some unspecified time in the future, they might consider opening a restaurant in Gloucester, but there seems to be no clear indication that that time is now. Nor for that matter that the venue would be the Quays.
Maybe the Citizen has some inside information that the chains themselves cannot confirm for ongoing legal and contractual reasons, but as it stands it looks very much like a non-story to me.
*Of course, I would prefer something more individual, independent and interesting. A case in point is that Coots in the Docks is currently closed and the Gloucester Brewery, which is individual, independent and interesting, wants to buy it to open as their brewery tap. The smart money seems to be on Wetherspoons snapping it up instead though – a great shame and a missed opportunity I fear.