Business Diary: Essex today, the world tomorrow

Taco Bell's expansion into Britain continues – its target is to have opened 100 stores in this country within five years. Just one question: are they all going to be in Essex? The first Taco Bell in the UK opened earlier this year at the Lakeside shopping centre. Restaurant number two is being opened just down the road in Basildon. Where next for the spicy food folk: Colchester, Saffron Walden or Harlow? And why does Essex have a particular liking for Mexican meals?

Don't forget little old us, says Tesco

Poor old Tesco. The news that Asda plans to create 7,500 jobs next year was widely covered in the press yesterday, much to the chagrin of the folk at Tesco, it would appear. Feeling rather left out of the party, the supermarket group rushed out its own press release, pointing out that it has already created more than 4,100 jobs in the past six months alone – and that it is on target to hit 9,000 for the full year. It rather looks like someone doesn't like sharing the attention.



Time to engage wedding fever

Our congratulations to UK Hotels, which we reckon won the race to unveil a royal wedding-related special offer on Tuesday. Its email, announcing cut prices for couples who have got engaged in the past month (extra special discounts for those couples named William and Kate), arrived within four hours of the announcement from Buckingham Palace. That narrowly beat a note about souvenir merchandise from Asda. The rest of Britain's marketing departments need to buck up their ideas. Remember, you snooze, you lose.



Off to Dublin with their greens

The market certainly enjoyed the news that Northern Foods is to merge with Greencore,the Irish food company: the announcement pushed up the Leeds-based company's shares by more than 20 per cent in early trading yesterday. Still, we can't help wondering whether now is really an auspicious moment to be announcing that the headquarters of the merged business will be located in Dublin, even if Greencore is going to be the dominant partner. Isn't Ireland in the news for a different reason just now?

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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