Category Archives: Catering Business

14 
Jan

Top Tips for Catering Businesses in 2020

Top tips for catering

This year has started somewhat explosively, with concerns about the environment, bush fires, international political escalations and the future of certain members of the monarchy in jeopardy. But people still have to eat. So putting the news aside, it’s time to consider the next twelve months for catering businesses. Here are our top tips for catering businesses for 2020.

Firstly, there are no guarantees about the impact of Brexit. The best route to take is the one that is already benefiting your business directly. Top of the list is the maintenance of your appliances. Put in place a maintenance programme for your ovens. This will ensure that whatever disasters or decisions may befall us over the next twelve months; a substandard, under-performing oven won’t be one of them.

It’s All About the Planning

Secondly, plan for regular and irregular annual events. There are always catering opportunities linked to traditional dates, such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, food festivals and so on. Take a look at our sporting calendar for additional opportunities in 2020. It’s an Olympic year as well as Euro 2020 for football fans and the start of the new cricket Hundred game. So if you are catering for sports fans, take advantage or provide an alternative for non-sports fans.

Staff training is essential. Don’t stint on training because if something goes wrong, the consequences can be catastrophic. Make sure that your staff are fully familiar with all relevant health and safety requirements and appliance operation, and make this an ongoing exercise. There is a plethora of H&S legislation and come Brexit, there is bound to be more. Educate your staff so that in your absence, your business will still thrive.

Goal Setting

Set goals in terms of time management and profit and loss, and make them realistic. There is nothing more demoralising than not reaching your target within the time frame allotted but be reasonable on yourself. We have endured a turbulent and uncertain few years politically, and it’s not over yet. Continue working to the highest standard professionally and don’t cut corners.

Invest in catastrophe training. As we have seen from the traumatic scenes in Australia, sometimes we are at the mercy of unforeseen and unpredictable forces. These may be natural or man-made but either way, they can cause the loss of business. Be prepared. If you are a mobile catering company, plan for both rain and shine at events. If you live in flood-prone areas, check weather predictions and plan for the safe removal or protection of appliances and staff.

Trend-Spotting

The last of our top tips for catering businesses and perhaps most importantly, keep an eye on current trends. We have seen a momentous rise in vegan and vegetarian demands for restaurants and fast food outlets in the past few years. With culinary trends changing constantly, there is always an opportunity for savvy operators to gain a foothold in a new market.

Don’t be afraid to be bold and always check out the news on AC Services Southern’s blog and like our Facebook page.

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Published Date: 14th January 2020
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News, Ovens
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13 
Jan

Welcome to AC Services 2020 Calendar

AC Services 2020 calendar

2020 has arrived and with it comes the promise of a huge year of sport as can be seen in AC Services 2020 calendar for catering businesses.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games take place in Tokyo.

Football fans are eagerly awaiting the start of Euro 2020.

And with two Twenty20 World Cups, cricket fans also have the inaugural season of the new The Hundred competition to look forward to.

January

  • 3-12, Tennis, ATP Cup, Australia
  • 12-19, Snooker, the Masters, Alexandra Palace, London
  • 20 Jan-2 Feb, Tennis – Australian Open, Melbourne
  • 25, Chinese New Year

February

  • 1, Rugby union – Men’s Six Nations:
  • 1, Cricket – Australia v England women’s T20, Canberra
  • 2, Rugby union – Women’s Six Nations
  • 7, Cricket – India v England women’s T20, Melbourne
  • 9, Cricket – Australia v England Women’s T20, Melbourne
  • 12-16, Cricket – South Africa v England T20, East London
  • 21-8 March, Cricket – Women’s T20 World Cup, Australia
  • 22, Boxing – Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury heavyweight world title
  • 25, Pancake Day

March

  • 1, Football – Carabao Cup final, Wembley
  • 10-13, Horse racing – Cheltenham Festival
  • 13-15, Athletics – World Indoor, Nanjing, China
  • 22, Mothers’ Day

April

  • 2-5, Women’s golf major – ANA Inspiration, Mission Hills
  • 4, Horse racing – Grand National, Aintree
  • 9-12, Golf – Masters, Augusta National
  • 12, Easter Sunday
  • 14-19, Swimming – British Championships, London
  • 16-19, Gymnastics – British Championships, Liverpool
  • 18-4 May, Snooker – World Championship, Sheffield
  • 26, Athletics London Marathon

May

  • 8, May Day and VE Day Bank Holiday
  • 9, Football – FA Women’s Cup final, Wembley
  • 14-17, Golf – US PGA Championship, San Francisco
  • 22, Rugby union – European Challenge Cup final, Stade de Marseille
  • 23, Football – FA Cup final, Wembley
  • 23, Rugby union – European Champions Cup final, Stade de Marseille
  • 24-7 June, Tennis – French Open Roland Garros, Paris
  • 27, Football – Europa League final, Gdansk
  • 28, Cricket – first round of T20 Blast group matches
  • 30, Football – Champions League final, Istanbul

June

  • 4-7, Women’s golf major – US Women’s Open, Houston, Texas
  • 6, Horse racing – The Derby, Epsom
  • 12-12 July, Football – Euro 2020 various venues, Final at Wembley
  • 16-20, Horse racing, Royal Ascot
  • 18-21, Golf – US Open, New York
  • 20, Rugby union – Premiership final, Twickenham
  • 20, 21, Longest day then Fathers Day
  • 25-28, Women’s golf major – PGA Championship, Pennsylvania
  • 29-12 July, Tennis Wimbledon

July

  • 4-5, Athletics – Anniversary Games, London Stadium
  • 16-19, Golf – The Open, Royal St George’s
  • 17-15 August, Cricket – The Hundred
  • 18, Rugby league – Challenge Cup final, Wembley
  • 24-9 August, Olympic Games, Tokyo

August

  • 14, Cricket – The Hundred women’s final, Hove
  • 15, Cricket – The Hundred men’s final, Lord’s
  • 20-23, Golf – Women’s British Open, Royal Troon
  • 25-6 September, Paralympic Games, Tokyo
  • 31-13 September, Tennis – US Open, New York
  • 31, August Bank Holiday

September

  • 5, Cricket – T20 Blast Finals Day, Edgbaston
  • 6-13, Cycling – Tour of Britain
  • 10-13, Golf – PGA Championship, Wentworth
  • 19, Cricket – One-Day Cup final, Trent Bridge
  • 25-27, Golf – Ryder Cup, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin

October

  • 10, Rugby league – Super League Final, Old Trafford
  • 18 Oct-15 November, Cricket – Men’s Twenty20 World Cup, Australia

November

  • 2-8, Tennis WTA Finals, Shenzhen, China
  • 7, Rugby Union – Autumn internationals, England v New Zealand
  • 8-15, Tennis – ATP Finals, London
  • 15, Cricket – Men’s Twenty20 World Cup final, Melbourne
  • 23-29, Tennis – Davis Cup finals , Madrid
  • 24 Nov-6 December, Snooker – UK Championship, York Barbican

December

  • TBC, Darts – PDC World Championship, Alexander Palace, London
  • 26, Horse racing – King George VI Chase, Kempton

So a packed year of opportunities for events targeting those interested in sport and those trying to avoid it for catering businesses in AC Services 2020 calendar.

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Published Date: 13th January 2020
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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13 
Jan

What’s Happening with UK Restaurant Chains

Restaurant Chain closure

Not so very long ago, the UK’s casual dining sector was booming. At one point, major chains were expanding at a rate of one new restaurant opening every single week in the UK. Popular high street food chains were winning awards for the quality of their food. Restaurants such as Zizzi, Jamie’s Italian, Pizza Express, Byron Burger, and Five Guys were springing up everywhere. They could be found on every high street in the country.

However, the trend turned sharply and unexpectedly. In late 2017, the UK witnessed a string of these casual dining chains beginning to struggle badly; with many top names, such as Jamie Oliver with his 25 restaurants entering full-blown administration. The number of restaurants falling into insolvency in the year ending June 2019 increased by 25% to 1,412. This is the highest number of insolvencies since at least 2014. Numerous factors have been blamed for the decline, with many chains experiencing accumulative issues which have left them in a financial mess.

Great Expectations

When the trend for restaurant chain expansion was at its strongest, private equity companies were eager to invest. Billions of pounds were spent after 2013 on turning small chains into fixtures on every UK high street; with renowned restaurants vying for business in very concentrated spaces.

Now these investors want a return on their investment that simply is not available. This is due to heightened business rates (which have risen above inflation for four years), increased energy/labour costs and imported foodstuff costs. If we take into consideration the average wage of the majority of the UK’s working population; more and more of us have had to scale back on luxury spending.

Furthermore, quality has become a big issue and with many chains offering an unchanged menu from five years ago. People are beginning to realise that there are cheaper, fresher alternatives than the mass-produced pizza or burger. More vegan and vegetarian options have admittedly been introduced on menus but not much else has altered.

Biting Back

Meanwhile, over the last five years, new cuisines have become popular in the group restaurant scene. The Caribbean cuisine chain Turtle Bay now has 40+ restaurants in the UK, and shows a 143.8% five-year growth. Within the last 12 months, Indian group restaurants saw an 8.9% increase, bringing the total to 159.

Effectively, the current and alarming rate of restaurant closures shows that the eyes of these casual dining chains were literally bigger than their bellies. There were simply far too many to begin with. But although the UK chain restaurant industry may be in decline now; the right measures to reduce costs and a renewed focus on quality could yet revive these franchises. Diversity is key for the restaurant chains to bite back and entice customers to a better experience all round. There needs to be more diversification in the choice of menu and in the value of the meal as perceived by the customer.

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Published Date: 13th January 2020
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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26 
Nov

Last Service Call for Christmas

Black Friday kickoff for Christmas countdown for Rational oven servicing

In the good old days, we used to all be aware of the number of shopping days till Christmas. But now every day is a shopping day. On-line and in the real world, we’re able to get most things within 24 hours of ordering them. Increasingly we have become reliant upon that.

Problems arise when that last-minute expectation cannot be met for perfectly valid reasons. Like a finite number of service engineers and everyone suddenly needing their expertise. This is the problem we face every year at AC Services Southern; when catering businesses suddenly realise in December they need their Rational oven servicing before peak Christmas use.

Black Friday Reminder

Black Friday sales seem to be launched earlier each year. One UK retailer started theirs in October this year! Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving, which is the last Thursday in November. Thanksgiving is the big American turkey dinner with all the trimmings followed by pumpkin pie for the whole family; while Black Friday signifies the start of the countdown to Christmas not the biggest sales.

Indeed it’s called Black Friday from all the heavy and disruptive vehicle and pedestrian traffic. This caused gridlock on the streets of Philadelphia, as the whole family went shopping on their free day. It sounds a bit like a cross between a Boxing Day walk and the start of New Year sales!

For AC Services, it’s almost become a tradition that on the Tuesday nearest Thanksgiving, we blog our gentle reminder to Rational oven users in South West England and South Wales. This is to not delay and book your pre-Christmas Rational service today on 01454 322 222.

This way both of us can tick your equipment off our to do list early and concentrate on the real Christmas dramas later in December. We can guarantee that up until Christmas Eve, our engineers will be working flat out to cope with the inevitable panicked last-minute rush of breakdowns and servicing!

Buy On-line

Now is also a good time to check that you have all the cleaning products you need to ensure that your Rational ovens continue to function at their highest efficiency. Rational Self-Cooking-Centers have automatic cleaning programmes built into their software. When used with the right cleaning materials you get cosmetic and hygienic cleanliness.

Our on-line shop enables you to purchase these at whatever time of day you remember or have free in the forthcoming rush. But please be aware as these are delivered by delivery firms and they may be affected by their delays caused by volume of parcels and weather. Again earlier purchase enables greater peace of mind.

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Published Date: 26th November 2019
Category: Catering Business, Cleaning Products, News, Ovens, Rational, Self Cooking Centre, Service plan
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15 
Oct

Foods at Risk

Maple Syrup and autumn maples

There’s been constant activity in the global media over the past few years regarding climate change and the effect that it is having on the food we eat. We may be in danger of losing some of the food we are familiar with; due predominantly to the changes that are taking place in our climate.

This year, the British brassica has been affected by unusually heavy summer rains bringing flooding to the UK’s main growing region for cauliflowers, Lincolnshire. Elsewhere, the record-breaking heat-wave wilted fields of cauliflowers across the whole of Europe. This left a shortage in not only cauliflowers, but also cabbages, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

America’s organic apples, mostly grown in Washington State, are also in trouble. As is coffee, with at least three-fifths of current coffee species facing extinction, according to a recent study. More worryingly is the decline in wheat crops, a staple global food which is sensitive to temperature changes. Places like India could see a reduction in wheat harvests of between 6% and 23% by 2050.

Even the humble sushi roll is under threat. Japanese farmers are blaming warmer, cleaner seas for a decline in nori seaweed production. The nori production fell to its lowest level in 2018 since 1972, pushing up prices and decimating supply.

Maple Syrup

The 2019 maple syrup harvest has also been affected. According to The New York Times, 2012 saw production of maple falling by 12.5% overall due to an unusually warm spring. This impacts negatively on syrup production because the process depends on specific temperature conditions.

More recently, in 2018, production of maple syrup fell by 21.7% throughout Canada. The culprit was Canada’s warm weather during the winter with later than normal snow. Sugar content is determined by the previous year’s carbohydrate stores with sap flow depending on the freeze-thaw cycle.

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has even had to tap into its strategic reserves this year to avoid any shortages or price spikes for maple syrup. Quebec has put in place additional harvest areas to meet with high demands, and they are now being used widely.

From High to Low

In Vermont in America, sugar maple harvest has witnessed a renaissance in the 21st century following decades of decline. The revival comes as many Americans are turning their backs on refined sugars for natural products such as maple syrup, agaves and honey. Production of maple is now one of Vermont’s pre-eminent industries. In 2018, the value of Vermont’s maple syrup production exceeded $54.3M. This accounted for 38% of the maple syrup produced nationwide.

Producers are doing what they can to avoid any shortages; such as collecting the sap later in the season and introducing technological advancements. These cut down on traditional collection using buckets and replace it with miles of vacuum pump-operated tubing.

As Keith Thompson of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation says: “It’s not just about keeping the individual trees healthy, it’s about keeping the entire forest healthy.”

The maple syrup industry is currently keeping abreast of the problem. It’s initiating solutions to combat the inevitable changes in climate. It urges other industries to follow suit in order for our favourite foods to remain available. At AC Services, we thoroughly commend that approach.

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Published Date: 15th October 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Food Sourcing, News
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08 
Oct

Restaurant Show Report 2019

Restaurant Show logo

The Restaurant Show; where else can you find hundreds of suppliers all in one place and at the same time, enjoy two other exhibitions?

The Restaurant Show at Olympia in London last week featured the Bar & Pub Show and Catering Equipment Expo. They have become the ultimate destination for the hospitality industry with regard to innovations, services and suppliers.

This year brought together some of the industry’s biggest names to address the most significant issues around culinary trends, technology and employee engagement.

Gamification in Restaurants

There were plenty of sessions to engage visitors with some key current trends revealed and investigated at the Restaurant Show. This included gamification. The ‘True Players’ session revealed how Starbucks and itsu, inspire and engage staff through gamification and analytics to promote customer experience, staff retention and sales.

Another session focused on the influence of Generation Z and Millennials who currently represent a significant part of the workforce. An expert panel discussed thinking differently about culture in the workplace. It showcased approaches from sports and psychotherapy that can help create a hard-working and trustworthy workforce. Technological advances also featured heavily at the show. There were sessions on how to harness the power of voice technology for frictionless service amongst others.

Alongside the many culinary demonstrations were examples of innovations, including JenPak Ltd’s new eco-friendly range of crockery which is made from recycled sugarcane, or Bagasse. FSG Tableware Ltd exhibited its reusable to go cups made from coffee waste.

On the cuisine front, Biff’s showcased its indulgent plant-based burgers and ‘wingz’, and its signature and innovative crispy fried jackfruit. In addition, Elisa-Foodexhibited its 100% whole wheat, spelt, quinoa gluten-free, organic and vegan pizza bases and pizzas.

Sustainability is always at the core of the Restaurant Show. Once again, the organisers partnered with FareShare, the UK’s largest food redistribution charity. At the end of the show, FareShare conducted a surplus food collection service for all exhibitors. This prevented unnecessary food and drink going to waste, giving all suppliers the chance to donate their excess products to feed people in need.

Catering Equipment Expo and Bar & Pub Show

CEE featured expert advice on tabletop, back-of-house and heavy equipment as well as technical demonstrations and cost-saving seminars from leading experts and exclusive product launches from leading brands.

The Bar & Pub Show, now in its third year was extremely well attended with a focus on the evolution, diversification and adaption to changing consumer behaviour. There was a programme of live events at Bar & Pub Hub. Exhibitors ranged from the UK mainland’s most northern distillery Dunnet’s Bay to the bottle glass to sand crusher. The latter claims to solve a bar’s recycling storage needs.

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Published Date: 8th October 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
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24 
Sep

Record Year for lunch! in 2019

lunch! Show logo

lunch! returned to London’s ExCel last week to the delights of food retailers, food-to-go operators, café and coffee shop buyers and owners, travel and leisure caterers.

The line-up of the show included 62 speakers appearing in 36 Keynote Theatre sessions, and more than 400 exhibitors.

This is a record number of exhibitors. They showcased a huge range of products and services; from ingredients to kitchen equipment and counter displays, food and drink to packaging, payment and business services.

Innovation Challenge

One of the highlights of lunch! is the Innovation Challenge award. Where this year, a record 110 competed with many of these innovations enjoying their official trade launch at the show. The products competing for a much-coveted gold Innovation Challenge Award were showcased in the Innovation Challenge Gallery. lunch! visitors chose the award finalists by voting for their favourites on opening day.

A significant part of the show was set aside for plant-based and ‘meat-free’ innovations. This catered for café, coffee shop, food-to-go operators and retailers looking to cater to the thriving vegan and flexitarian market. According to Marketing Week, last year, the UK launched more vegan products than any other nation. This made it the country’s fastest growing culinary trend of 2018 with a market worth of £310m. Approximately 22 million people now claim to be flexitarian and one in eight Britons choose to be vegetarian or vegan. To reflect this, 52% of exhibitors at lunch! offered vegan or vegetarian alternatives.

Sustainability in Catering

Sustainability was another key theme. As some of foodservice’s biggest consumers of single-use packaging and disposables; coffee shop and food-to-go operators have been making huge strides to reduce their environmental impact. The Sustainability Panel addressed these issues with keynote speakers and included some of the top names in the industry; Ollie Rosevear, Head of Environment at Costa Coffee, Martyn Clover, Head of Food at Tortilla, Jim Winship, Director of The British Sandwich & Food To Go Association, and host Martin Kersh, Chairman of the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA).

The Panel also addressed contemporary issues such as tackling food waste, increasing food redistribution, reducing energy and water consumption, more recycling and reusing (packaging, uniforms, furniture etc), looking to alternative food sources, and encouraging behavioural change.

Hannah Squirrell, Customer Director at Greggs said: “the ‘Blue Planet effect’ has driven customer awareness of the environmental impact of their consumption choices to a whole new level. We are proud to support national environmental initiatives, including Surfers Against Sewage Beach and River Clean Series, and are committed to doing our bit to protect the health of the planet.

For reusable alternatives, visitors were able to see innovations such as the Ecocoffee Cup created with natural fibres made from bamboo waste material sourced from chopstick production. Similarly, Berrington Spring Water’s Aluminium Refill Water Bottle launched in June has tripled sales projections.

Lunch! is a great show to keep tabs on recent innovations and trends after a long summer. One for all catering businesses to put on the diary for 2020.

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Published Date: 24th September 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
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17 
Sep

Rugby World Cup Food & Drink

Rugby World Cup Logo

Rugby players and supporters love food and drink. And with the Rugby World Cup about to begin in Japan comes the opportunity for originality for caterers of all kinds.

Homebound supporters not only want to enjoy the games with a beer; but can also be tempted by finer dining as well as the more traditional delights.

When one thinks of rugby forwards, the delicacy and fine detail shown by Phil Vickery and Martin Bayfield on Masterchef isn’t the first thought. But given the importance of food in their training, it’s perhaps not surprising.

Food Glorious Food

As far as food goes, Japan is taking the competition very seriously. Rugby players have a regimented approach to their diet in order to keep themselves fighting fit and at the top of their performance levels. According to a number of top coaches, protein is vital to develop and maintain muscle mass. Some coaches insist that the players consume a daily amount of 2.5g of protein per kilo of body weight. This includes eggs, dairy, beef, turkey, chicken and fish, most of which are abundant in Japan.

Many adhere to four meals a day. An example would be porridge and poached eggs for breakfast; sweet potato, vegetables and salmon fillets; steak skewers with roasted root vegetables and coconut rice for a post-training meal; and a prawn or chicken stir fry for dinner.

In the 24 hours before a match players should consume high-carb meals based around slower-digesting carbs such as potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes and oats. These are complemented with sweeter sources such as fruit and smoothies. Japan’s Yaki udon will be especially popular, as the dish is thick and chewy noodles, made from wheat flour. Yaki soba uses the thinner soba noodles made from buckwheat flour.

The Japanese national delicacy, sushi, fits well into a rugby player’s diet as does a lot of everyday Japanese food. It can be beneficial from a fuelling and recovery perspective due to increased intakes of nutrients such as omega-3 and electrolytes. Fish, stir fries and shellfish will feature heavily in menu choices as will the meat selection such as Wagyu prime cut Japanese beef. The meat fat has a very low melting point so it can literally melt in your mouth. Rumour has it that the animals are fed beer and massaged with sake.

The England team however, might be short on condiments. Supplies of tomato ketchup and mayonnaise have supposedly been sent ahead because their favourite condiments are scarce and expensive in Japan.

Beer Galore

Japan has very good news for beer drinkers. Major Japanese sports keep spectators lubricated with vendors who patrol the stands dispensing beer into cups. These are called Uriko and they are crucial to meet the demand for beer. When Australia visited in 2017, bars were drunk dry before kick-off! So to ensure no embarrassment for the official sponsors, Heineken, the Japanese Heineken brewery has increased production by 80%.

One thing is clear, food plays an important part in the rugby world and with each country bringing their own nutritionists and food advisors, the right diet in Japan (a balance between East and West cuisine) may well go a long way in confirming the eventual winner.

The Rugby World Cup Final is on 2 November at the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama; when the winner of the 20 competitor countries will be crowned. So plenty of time for catering businesses to work out their own game-plan to benefit.

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Published Date: 17th September 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
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27 
Aug

Bristol Food Producers

Marsh Fritillary supported by Bristol food producer

The summer is coming to an end and although we’ve had a blistering Bank Holiday, thoughts will soon be turning to the next major event in our calendar, the Big C. There’s even a Christmas tree up in my local heralding the start of the party season. Too soon, far too soon!

Meanwhile, the food industry is as busy as ever and more Bristol food producers are springing up offering alternative and sustainable produce. Farm Wilder is an excellent example of producers taking sustainability to another level. The company was set up in January 2019 in Bristol. It selects and labels the highest quality produce from the most wildlife-friendly farms. The rapid decline of the wildlife in the UK led the company to source the best produce from SW farms. It supports “farmers’ restoration of biodiversity and sequestration of carbon back into the soil.”

What’s in a Name?

The farmers producing Fritillary butterfly beef help protect Marsh Fritillary butterflies in Devon. These cattle are slower growing than modern breeds, but produce the tastiest and healthiest meat. Farmers producing Cuckoo beef help Devon’s cuckoos in Devon with native hardy cattle thriving on the meadows and moors.

Cuckoo lamb is also available, with the same aim as the beef. Grazing native sheep like Scottish Blackface, Welsh Black Mountain and Dorsets, maintain the habitat needed by cuckoos to thrive. All of the animals are pasture-fed feeding on a natural diet of pasture and forage such as hay in winter. They are less likely to suffer from disease and require little veterinary attention or antibiotics.

Bristol Community Producers

Once upon a time, Elm Tree Farm was used as an occupational therapy resource hospital farm. It now offers adults with learning disabilities and autism gain work skills such as animal husbandry, market garden, nursery or woodwork. With around four acres of growing land, including several polytunnels and an orchard; the farm produces fruit, vegetables, chickens and other livestock using native breeds. As the behaviour of the animals suits the landscape and the quality of the meat is higher. The meat is all slaughtered and butchered locally, then kept frozen and sold from the on-site farm shop.

Edible Futures was set up as a Community Interest Company, seven years ago. With almost 1.5 acres here and two 90ft polytunnels, fruit, herbs and vegetables are grown. The company sells around 50% of their produce directly to local restaurants. The rest is sold through a Community Supported Agriculture model called Salad Drop, where members get a small, medium or large share of salad once a week, delivered to one of three drop off points around Bristol.

Finally, if you are ever in need of goat, then Troopers Hill in East Bristol offers Street Group. This is a group of people who keep goats in the city. As well as female milking goats, the group have also raised male offspring; initially using them to clear overgrown allotments, then buying castrated males goats for conservation grazing on overgrown land to restore important habitat for wildlife. The male goats are then sold for meat.

Bristol food producers consistently offer variety and the new. Ideal for the catering businesses that AC Services Southern serves locally.

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Published Date: 27th August 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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21 
Aug

Hotel Industry Update 2019

Hotel industry update

The hotel industry as a whole is doing quite well in 2019. Europe’s hospitality industry is reporting positive results with an ever-increasing number of hotels being constructed. 1,504 projects accounting for 192,352 rooms were in construction as of July 2019. This is a 52.4% year-on-year increase in the number of rooms in the final phase of the development pipeline.

Germany leads the European table with 52,704 rooms, equal to 7.9% of the country’s existing supply. It is followed by the UK, Spain and France.

Expanding Rooms

In the UK, London is set to add 11,600 rooms to its hotel market by 2020. It holds its place as a world class destination for both business and leisure with a number of different styles of establishments opening across a range of price bands. The weakness of the pound has attracted numerous overseas hotel operators and investors to invest in hotel real estate.

This rise of hotel investment is a result of the increase in demand for operational and alternative property types. Several novel hotel ideas are springing up around the world. Some of these are spectacular and unique. Such as the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, labelled the world’s first underground five-star resort with the bottom two floors underwater. There is also the Game of Thrones themed hotel in Finland, which is attracting much attention.

UK Apprentice Recruitment

While some chains are concentrating on design; others such as the independent hotel group Elite Hotels are looking closer to home. It is calling on the hotel industry to change its view on apprenticeships. Working with local schools, colleges and charities, Elite Hotels has embedded apprenticeships into their business structure to create a “unique” form of training in five-star hospitality service.

Paul Coley, group personnel and development manager at Elite Hotels, said: “…we knew just how valuable apprenticeships can be – creating a pipeline of talent is key to our recruitment strategy and apprenticeships offer a great opportunity to welcome young people into the world of hospitality and help develop talent to combat the skills gap in our industry.”

Similarly, Travelodge launched a new recruitment scheme in May . It offers students a permanent job with flexible working hours designed around their study programme in their university and home locations. The brand looking to fill 3,000 jobs this summer.

Maximising Space Use

Another novel idea is Spacemize. This enables guests access to book hot desking space across designated areas within high-end partner venues. At the moment it’s only available in London. Hotels turn their empty tables into a work area from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. While users get complimentary tea and coffee as well as discounts on food and beverage at the locations.

Spacemize provides a solution to entrepreneurs with a flexible place to work from in luxury venues; and it offers hotels an additional revenue stream and increased customer loyalty to the venues.

The hotel industry is not sitting on its laurels but is attempting to expand for the future, by adopting new ideas and pushing forward to provide value as well as quality accommodation.

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Published Date: 21st August 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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