Category Archives: News

18 
Jul

Tourism in Britain 2017

Tourism in Britain 2017It seems that despite the negativity and uncertainty post-Brexit, tourism in Britain has done rather well out of the decision to leave the EU.

The sudden currency depreciation triggered by the June 2016 decision brought sterling to its lowest level against the dollar for over 30 years. As a result, July 2016 was a record month for inbound visits from EU countries with 2.3 million visits, 3% up on last year. And the trend has continued.

According to forecasts, inbound tourism in Britain will continue to be the fastest growing tourism sector. International visitors are expected to grow by over 6% a year in comparison with domestic spending by UK residents at just over 3%.

In 2016, 37.6 million overseas visitors came to the UK in 2016 spending £22.5 billion. These record breaking figures represent a 4% increase in volume compared with 2015. It gets even better when compared with figures just released, that overseas residents made 3.7 million visits to the UK in April 2017, an increase of 19% when compared with April 2016.

Where Do They Come From?

France, USA and Germany were the top three countries in terms of number of visits to the UK accounting for 39% of visits. Inbound visitor spend was highest in London with 53%, the rest of England 35%, Scotland 8% and Wales 2%.

Visitors from the USA spent £3bn in Britain for the first time, while visits from China, the world’s largest outbound market, increased by 46%, with spending up 18%. According to a report in the Guardian, “UK hotel chains have reported a leap in tourist spending since the vote, while the home lettings website Airbnb said its UK-listed properties welcomed 1.6 million guests between June and August [2016].”

Where Do They Go?

For the tenth year in a row, the most popular British tourism attraction was the British Museum with 6,420,395 visitors in 2016. Outside of London, the most popular attraction last year has surprised many, with Chester Zoo attracting more visitors than the likes of Stonehenge and Edinburgh Castle.

The Tate Modern increased its popularity, due mainly to the new 10-storey extension which was opened in 2016, leading to an increase of 24% of visitors on the previous year. In 2016, 1.38 million people visited Stonehenge.

In employment terms, tourism has consistently been the fastest growing sector in the UK, and forecasts indicate that by 2025, the industry will be worth over £257 billion. It supports almost 3.8 million jobs, which is around 11% of the total UK number. This is excellent news for an industry that has been beset with difficulties, not least the terrorism acts that have threatened to destabilise travel and tourism.

The UK has always had a massive tourism potential, and has been exploiting this potential overseas. Post Brexit and the decline of the pound, it is now cheaper to come to the UK than ever before and people are taking advantage. For those businesses involved in tourism in Britain, there has never been a better time to capitalise on an enthusiastic and lucrative market.

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Published Date: 18th July 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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11 
Jul

Brexit Update

Brexit updateAt the time of this Brexit update, there is a great deal of uncertainty about the Brexit deal.

While for the food industry, there is grave concern over the final negotiations and the impact on this sector of industry.

Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. It contributes over £28bn a year to the economy. As a nation, we produce just over half of what we eat and we depend on European imports for 25% of our consumption. These are uncomfortable figures for the government when trying to negotiate a fair deal for everyone.

Divorce Deal

Under the terms of Article 50, a divorce deal has to be reached by the end of March 2019. There is no deadline for a longer-term trade and partnership deal so there are indications that the latter will be thrashed out endlessly.

One of the most important issues for the food industry is that of harmonisation. There are over 4,500 EU regulations regarding farming, food and environmental standards that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have to deal with.

UK exports currently depend on this sort of harmonisation of rules. These range from the size of tins to the amount of sugar in a jam. The latter was introduced to respond to market trends for less sugary food. It was initiated to bring the UK in line with Europe so it could develop export markets in Europe.

Food Workers

Another major cause for concern is migrant workers. Currently, farmers, food processors and food manufacturers employ 500,000 foreign workers. The government has already made clear its commitment to curb immigration but the food industry recognises that the end of the freedom of movement created by Brexit will lead to the requirement for UK permits and visas. If workers cannot afford these permits, the traditional seasonal workforce is under threat.

Defra, Agriculture and Food Legislation

And then we come to the role of Mr Gove, the new secretary of state at Defra. One of his first tasks is drafting the agriculture bill promised in last week’s Queen’s speech. This bill will take the UK out of the common agricultural policy, which the UK has been part of for the last 40 years.

The bill gives £3 billion subsidies to farmers to keep them sustainable and competitive to compete in globalised commodity markets. However, the problem is the replacement policy as 40% of all European legislation relates to food and agriculture and 80% of all UK food legislation has been negotiated in the EU. Mr Gove has promised better trade deals and cheaper food when Brexit occurs. Only time will tell.

Finally, there is the issue of the European Union’s single market. This is different from the EU.  This is what Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein belong to. As well as eliminating tariffs, quotas or taxes on trade, it includes the free movement of goods, services, capital and people. It also aims to remove “non-tariff barriers” which include differing rules on packaging, safety and standards.

Whatever happens, there are unchartered waters ahead. The food industry and the catering businesses closely allied to it must be prepared for any changes. So look out for our next Brexit update.

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Published Date: 11th July 2017
Category: Blog, News
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04 
Jul

UK Fast Food Industry Booms

Fast Food IndustryThe fast food industry is enjoying a lucrative period, with technology serving a useful purpose for deliveries and ordering. Worth £18 billion a year, this sector has gone from strength to strength.

The use of apps has helped to ease the way people order food. Recent research shows that the use of restaurant apps has increased across all age categories. Now about a third of all customers use apps to order and pay for food.

The way food is delivered has also changed over the past few years, with companies such as Deliveroo, Just Eat and Hello Fresh recruiting madly in order to fulfil demand. It is now easier than ever to order food to go.

In 2016, fast food registered a current foodservice value growth of 3%. This was thanks to affordable prices, the growing popularity of food to go and the wide range of products now available to cater for different dietary requirements. Last year, McDonald’s was at the top of the fast food chain with 6% of foodservice value sales.

Spending Up

According to the Cardlytics Spending Index, spending in fast food, quick service restaurants leapt by 34.1% in the past year. There are a number of reasons for this rise, including the pricing war between supermarkets. Their cheaper price means we have more money to treat ourselves. Another reason is the increasing popularity of paying via contactless card.

The average spend in QSR outlets is generally under £10,” said Smith of Cardlytics. “It is possible that people previously paid for their meals in cash, but are now using contactless, meaning the transactions are captured by our data.

More Choice

There are also more choices when it comes to fast food. This has traditionally been associated with burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and in general food that has been deemed as not nutritionally valuable.

However, fast food is getting healthier and bolder. Pret A Manger recently made permanent its 40-item Veggie Pret pop-up experiment in London, with plans for expansion. Sushi shops have become a particular favourite. Major chains have been promising to source fresher ingredients with fewer additives and free-range chicken is showing up on more menus.

The fast food industry is booming. More and more drive-thrus and pop-up restaurants are being set up and the choice is far broader than ever before. The nature of the industry means that many operators are open for longer than traditional restaurants and cafes. There is therefore more wear and tear on ovens and cookers. At AC Services (Southern), we advise fast food outlets to regularly check and service their ovens. This includes having a daily cleaning regime in order to maintain optimum performance.

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Published Date: 4th July 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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27 
Jun

Wiltshire Food Suppliers

Wiltshire famous for Stonehenge and local food producersWiltshire boasts numerous attractions including Stonehenge and Salisbury Plain. It is a favourite for visitors through its pre-Roman archaeology and rolling hills as well as towns and cities that thrive on tourism.

Hospitality plays a key role for pubs, restaurants and hotels in Wiltshire and the region is proud of its culinary heritage. There are numerous food suppliers in Wiltshire who serve the catering industry and who provide excellent food and beverages, many of them sourced locally.

The Fine Food Company has been supplying speciality food to catering establishments for many years, delivering produce that is sourced fresh and picked by hand directly from speciality food markets and manufacturers.

The company runs monthly promotions on some delicious products, for example this month on offer is exotic flavours from Lovingtons Ice Cream and a Chutney of the Month from The Bay Tree Food Company. Regular food includes prepped vegetables, fresh mushrooms and truffles, fruit purees, charcuterie, terrines, pates and pies as well as speciality poultry and meat.

Personal Service

Offering a personal service and locally sourced produce, is Lovejoys. The company specialises in requests from chefs for specialist crops such as Pink Fir apple potatoes, Ruby Red chard or Stripy beetroot. A statement from the company says: “we are unique in the industry in our desire only to supply within 90 minutes from our base in West Wiltshire”.

Lovejoys also offers its own prep room for chefs with limited time. A large amount of the vegetables are grown exclusively in Bromham and the surrounding area, and all eggs are laid just three miles from the premises. In addition, all milk and cream come from farms in Wiltshire, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset.

Award-winning organic lamb and mutton can be found at Langley Chase Organic Farm.  It is reared on a small organic farm in the Wiltshire countryside from rare breed Manx Loaghtan. Langley Chase has already won 19 National Organic Food Awards including Best Organic Meat, Best Organic Lamb and Best Organic Mutton in the UK.

Manx Loaghtan is a distinguished rare breed that is high in flavour and greatly lower in fat and cholesterol than commercial breeds. According to the company, “each lamb and mutton is selected and butchered to each customer’s requirements and delivered direct to the door.” The company also makes chorizo salami, and uses the rest of the animals to make beautiful sheepskin rugs, wool and clothes.

Wiltshire Food & Drink

For food and drink look no further than Ashton Farms, with over 700 lines of fresh, chilled, frozen and ambient foods and an extensive range of soft drinks. This family business prides itself on its customer service, with little touches such as cheese and eggs being still packed on site. Time is spent sourcing the very best quality and time is also spent on building relationships with suppliers.

Wiltshire eateries have an enormous range of food suppliers that can cater for the traditional and the exotic. With the weather in the last week reaching record highs, summer has officially arrived and the great British public are heading outdoors. For catering establishments, offering a wider choice of food has to be an extra incentive to attract visitors!

Look out for the next in the series of AC Services Southern’s spotlight on local food suppliers with South Gloucestershire and Bristol in August.

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Published Date: 27th June 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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20 
Jun

Cotswold Hare Festival

Cotswold Hare TrailIn 2015, hordes of Gromits were spotted in Bristol as part of the Bristol Children’s Hospital’s Grand Appeal. They raised money for the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and St Michael’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Special Care Baby Unit).

Now it’s the turn of the people of the Cotswolds to expect something unusual in their towns and villages. This time, there are hares; lots of hares. The Cotswold Hare Trial is a trail of public art sculptures of over 80 five-foot high hares, decorated by professional, amateur and community group artists.

Hares Everywhere

Aimed at raising public awareness for creativity in the everyday world, the sculptures are strategically placed across 28 towns and villages throughout the Cotswolds for six months.

The Cotswold Hare initiative has been warmly embraced by local businesses and community organisations. It has created an accessible open-air art gallery in the region. The Cotswolds covers almost 800 square miles and runs through the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

Not only is the art visually accessible, but the hares can be touched and people are encouraged to handle and engage with the art. According to the organisers of the March Hare Trail,the hares are designed to promote an emotional response with people expressing a wide range of positive reactions. Their engagement is often felt moving many to tears and enabling people to connect to the pieces through their feelings.”

Community Spirit

Children in particular are enjoying the hares. Some of the hares have been designed and decorated by school children from nursery age to the students in higher education. At the end of the festival, an auction of the sculptures will be held, with art auctions houses and art galleries across the UK and abroad following its progress.

“This enables us to put back money into the community which has supported us. This year National Star and local museums being the beneficiaries of our net profits. The Festival retains its not-for-profit status returning any monies raised back into the project,” comment the organisers.

For inns, pubs and restaurants around the area, the festival is a welcome tourist attraction, enticing visitors from far and wide. It offers the opportunity for many establishments whom AC Services supports such as the Inn at Fossebridge and the Crown of Crucis  in Cirencester as well as the Egypt Mill in Nailsworth to open their doors to those on the trail of hares.

Both Royal Oak, Tetbury and Old Bell, Malmesbury are sponsoring hares. We hope they have as much fun as we did when we sponsored our Gromit. Without the sponsors there would be no trail and a lot less fun to be had by all.

Finding a route

One of our team has already started to work out a route to tick off a number of our customers and hares. He starts at the Sixteen Restaurant & Café, Witney, then to the Angel Inn, Burford before heading north to Stow on the Wold (No 4 @ Stow) and Broadway’s Dormy House Hotel and Russells.

Then a little west to Winchcombe (the Lion Inn) before the spa splendour of Cheltenham’s Daffodil and Wild Beer Co. South to Stroud (Bisley House Café) before arriving in the Capital of the Cotswolds, Cirencester. Its 20 hares would account for a day themselves. His route ends in Tetbury’s Priory Inn!

Thankfully our engineers don’t usually cover so many clients in one trip. And it would be silly not to spend some time with each hare on the way and visit their sponsors.

Events such as the Cotswold Hare are welcomed by our Cotswold customers as visitors can see for themselves the beauty and hospitality of the Cotswold communities from hamlets to cities,” comments Helen Hagger of AC Services (Southern). The festival runs until September with the auction taking place in October.

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Published Date: 20th June 2017
Category: Blog, Gromit Unleashed, News
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13 
Jun

The Catering Equipment Show 2017

Catering Equipment ShowThe NEC at Birmingham played host to the Catering Equipment Show last week from 5-6 June.

Commercial Kitchen is the multi-award nominated trade show for the UK’s catering equipment industry and attracts over 2,000 visitors.

Visitors and exhibitors

Exhibitors came from all parts of the industry, with over 80 leading industry suppliers showcasing innovative catering equipment, devices and services. The show attracted representatives from big names like EAT, Pret, Costa, Sainsbury’s, Subway, Tesco, Debenhams, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Casual Dining Group, ASK Italian, Mitchells & Butlers, Zizzi, Greene King, Thwaites, Whitbread, Gate Gourmet, Merlin Entertainment Sodexo, Brakes, National Trust and Bourne Leisure.

In addition there were visitors from the widest range of public and private sector industries from independent restaurants, schools and universities, to local authorities and attractions.

There were plenty of people to see and hear at the show. Conversation sessions included Vivek Singh, executive chef and founder of The Cinnamon Collection, Claire Clark MBE and Robert Quehan, head chef at The Redwood Bistro, Bishopstoke Park.

Panel discussions covered pub kitchens, sustainability, kitchen design, the important role of equipment distributors, multi-site restaurant innovation, foodservice consultants, hospital kitchens and prison kitchens.

Rational Oven Award

The show also featured the Commercial Kitchen Innovation Challenge Awards where the top ten exhibitors to have secured the most visitor votes were invited to pitch their new innovations. The results saw four companies receiving gold awards, four being awarded silver and two taking home bronze. The Rational SelfCookingCenter XL was awarded silver.

AC Services (Southern) was delighted to see the Rational appliance recognised and appreciated for its reliability, performance and innovation.

A Show to Attend?

For those in the catering business, it’s worth considering whether to attend next year’s Catering Equipment Show. Perhaps the words of two key attendees may help.

. “We are always looking for the latest in technology to improve our kitchens’ efficiency and food quality. Commercial Kitchen is the perfect event to identify tomorrow’s technology today and network with industry experts,” Kumour Uddin, executive group chef at Anglian Country Inns .

As someone who wants the best equipment for our teams and customers, Commercial Kitchen and the Catering Equipment Show is a good and very relevant show for me. I look forward to attending again and watching this important event grow over the coming years.” Dirk Wissmann, senior equipment buyer at Pret A Manger.

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Published Date: 13th June 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News, Ovens, Rational, Self Cooking Centre
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06 
Jun

Women’s Cricket World Cup

Women's Cricket World CupThe excitement of the end of season matches in rugby and football is now over. This summer sees us settling back to watch more sedentary sports like tennis and cricket.

They may not draw the same crowds as the winter sports, but there now seems to be an explosion of cricket with the Champions Trophy. But more importantly it’s the start of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup  taking place between 24 June and 23 July and which is attracting great excitement.

Hosted by both England and Wales, the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup is an international women’s cricket tournament which has been going for 11 years. It is the third time it has been held in England (after the 1973 and 1993 tournaments), both of which England won. No pressure there then…

Qualifiers

Eight teams have qualified to participate in the tournament: Australia, England, New Zealand, West Indies, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Lord’s will host the final, and other matches will be played at the home grounds of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Good news for cricket fans: the ICC announced that 10 games will be shown live on television, while the remaining 21 matches will be streamed live via the ICC website.

For those who are unfamiliar with women’s cricket, it may surprise you to learn that the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup is the oldest and most prestigious international women’s cricket tournament in the world.

It was first held in 1973 two years before the inaugural men’s tournament. Since 2005, it has held a regular four-year slot. However, the international scene originally stretches back to 1934, when a party from England toured Australia and New Zealand and won.

To date, ten World Cups have been played in five different countries with Australia winning six titles and England three .

Where and When

The timetable for the qualifying matches is as follows:

  • 24 June: England v India, County Ground, Derby
  • 24 June: New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
  • 25 June: Pakistan v South Africa, Grace Road, Leicester
  • 26 June: Australia v West Indies, County Ground, Taunton
  • 27 June: England v Pakistan, Grace Road, Leicester
  • 28 June: South Africa v New Zealand, County Ground, Derby
  • 29 June: Sri Lanka v Australia, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
  • 29 June: West Indies v India, County Ground, Taunton
  • 2 July: Australia v New Zealand, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
  • 2 July: India v Pakistan, County Ground, Derby
  • 2 July: South Africa v West Indies, Grace Road, Leicester
  • 2 July: England v Sri Lanka, County Ground, Taunton
  • 5 July: England v South Africa, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
  • 5 July: Sri Lanka v India, County Ground, Derby
  • 5 July: Pakistan v Australia, Grace Road, Leicester
  • 6 July: New Zealand v West Indies, County Ground, Taunton
  • 8 July: South Africa v India, Grace Road, Leicester
  • 8 July: New Zealand v Pakistan, County Ground, Taunton
  • 9 July: England v Australia, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
  • 9 July: West Indies v Sri Lanka, County Ground, Derby
  • 11 July: West Indies v Pakistan, Grace Road, Leicester
  • 12 July: Australia v India, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
  • 12 July: England v New Zealand, County Ground, Derby
  • 12 July: Sri Lanka v South Africa, County Ground, Taunton
  • 15 July: England v West Indies, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
  • 15 July: India v New Zealand, County Ground, Derby
  • 15 July: Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Grace Road, Leicester
  • 15 July: South Africa v Australia, County Ground, Taunton

The final will be held at Lord’s on 23 July.

The Women’s Cricket World Cup provides an opportunity for most catering businesses to run slightly different events than those for other sporting tournaments as it spotlights women’s sport. Given women’s sport is growing faster than men and the South West England focus of these matches it would be silly to miss out.

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Published Date: 6th June 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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30 
May

Care Home Crisis Continues

Care home cateringThe care home sector is hitting the headlines at the moment with the run-up to the election. Focus is on the over-65s with care needs, which is set to rise by a quarter by 2025. This will mean 2.8 million people in England and Wales requiring help and care. 

There is a worry that due to the shortage of care workers and the poor state of social care, the impact on people on lower incomes unable to live independently will increase.

Professor Eric Brunner of UCL says: “We find that ageing of the population in the next 10 years will cause an increase in burden of disability that we must not ignore.”

Dementia is currently the biggest growing cause of disability and rates are predicted to increase by 49% in over-65s between 2015-2025. This means that 700,000 people will have dementia care needs in 2025. This is a rise of 231,000, when compared to 2015. The second largest cause are mental health problems, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and other chronic diseases. These will increase by 37% over the decade.

Investment Needed

A study in the Lancet suggested that more investment is needed in health and social care. One of the areas that was highlighted was the need to tackle poor diet. Lead author Dr Maria Guzman-Castillo from the University of Liverpool said: “Spending on long-term care will need to increase considerably by 2025, which has serious implications for a cash-strapped and overburdened NHS and an under-resourced social care system.

However, those involved in the care home sector have already raised standards when it comes to food and nutrition. The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) have been running a competition for many years to find The NACC Care Chef of the Year . This year’s final is held on 7th June at Barking & Dagenham College. Sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Cooks and Premier Foods, the NACC Care Chef of the Year competition highlights the care catering sector and the talent of the numerous chefs operating within it.

Zone In to Care Homes

June will also see the launch of Health+Care’s new Catering & Nutritional Zone in association with the National Association of Care Catering. Taking place at London’s ExCeL on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th June 2017, Health+Care expects nearly 5,000 senior care professionals over two days for a seminar on ideas, sourcing and networking opportunities.

The Catering & Nutrition Zone at Health+Care is aimed at helping care business managers, directors and owners to “increase catering standards, share best practice and network with chefs and catering creatives”. Key issues that will be addressed across the two days include hydration, nutrition, procurement, dysphagia, menu planning, mental health residents and hygiene.

Neel Radia, national chair of the NACC, said: “The NACC is committed to sharing information, insight and guidance with care providers across the UK to ensure that catering within the sector reaches the highest standards possible and meets the specific needs of the elderly and vulnerable served. Education and training is crucial in achieving this, as is the exchange of ideas and best practice between care professionals.”

AC Services (Southern) maintains many Rational appliances in the care home sector around the country. We recommend Rational to other similar establishments that are looking for reliability, performance and quality with their cooking requirements.

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Published Date: 30th May 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News, Rational
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23 
May

The Great British Pub

British Pub sector importantWhether you go for a quick lunchtime pie and a pint or an evening out with friends and family, the great British pub is an institution familiar to all of us.

Here’s a little known fact. The great British pub actually started life as an Italian wine bar dating back almost 2,000 years! The invading Roman army in 43 AD brought us Roman pubs known as tabernae. Initially selling wine, these tabernae were built alongside Roman roads and in towns to help quench the thirst of the legionary troops.

Local people however, started to stock tabernae with ale, the native British brew and tabernae quickly became taverns. And taverns became inns, inns became public houses and the pub was born.

Small Businesses

Today the British pub sector is huge with over 80% of pubs (nearly 50,000 outlets) independent small businesses. According to a recent report, the industry employs almost 900,000 people. While the number of jobs has increased by 29,000 from the previous year. Investment in the industry is 40% higher. Up from £1.2 billion in 2015 to £2 billion in 2016. Brewing alone sustains over 100,000 jobs.

Conditions have improved slightly over the past five years. This is driven by a stronger consumer backdrop and one-off sporting events which have accelerated sales. However, high operating costs and legislative barriers are constantly holding many operators back. Industry value added, which measures the industry’s contribution to the overall economy, is anticipated to grow at a compound annual rate of just 0.7% over the 10 years through 2021-22. The pub industry is determined to increase these figures.

Manifesto

Unless it has escaped everyone’s notice there is an election coming up. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA)  has therefore decided to publish its own manifesto for the brewing and pub industry. The manifesto outlines its priorities for the beer and pub sector to thrive over the next five years.

The BBPA calls for urgent yet sensible measures to ensure the future of the pub industry, which has been battling for a number of years. To tackle high rates of UK beer taxation, there should be a freeze in beer duty over the course of the next Parliament.

In the wake of Brexit, the manifesto calls for a free trade deal with the EU without additional paperwork! It has been reported that the beer and pub industry forks out £12.6b in tax each year. While Britons pay 40% of all EU beer duties, we drink just 12% of the beer.

A key proposal is more investment in training and skills, and access to those with the right skills including an immigration system that supports the necessary staffing levels for the sector. BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments:

Our manifesto sets out the key priorities for our sector for the general election. As a vital industry employing around 900,000 people, we will be using it to engage with serving politicians and candidates throughout the campaign.”

British pubs are surviving despite the odds and have diversified into other areas, notably the serving of food. If you are a pub owner or manager with a kitchen that is constantly in use and looking to upgrade to a more reliable oven, consider a Rational oven. Then contact us to install and maintain it cost efficiently.

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Published Date: 23rd May 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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16 
May

Cruise Control Service

Meamina Rational oven serviceSometimes we have to go above and beyond the call of duty and for Kevin, a senior engineer at AC Services (Southern), a passing enquiry saw him catching a flight to Barcelona and spending a night on a luxury yacht.

The story unravelled a week before the Bank Holiday weekend in March, when MD Helen Hagger took one of the company vans home. A neighbour expressed an interest in the logo on the van and when Helen explained that the company was the service partner for Rational for South West England, the neighbour became even more interested. Lee Marshall is head chef on a 60m private yacht . He is familiar with Rational ovens as he was having problems with the 6-grid Rational cook station on board the yacht.

According to Lee, “whilst cruising from the Seychelles to Italy the oven decided enough was enough and stopped working. I had contacted Rational international but they were unable to help as I couldn’t access the service area of the oven. On my return to the UK, I was informed that the Italian engineers (Rational) wouldn’t attempt to service/fix the oven unless we pulled it out of the galley and on to the hard stuff, which is something that wasn’t going to happen as it weighs a ton!

The upshot of the conversation was that Lee asked Helen if she could help find out what was wrong with the on-board oven. And the logistics of solving the problem on a floating boat somewhere off the coast of Italy began! Being Bank Holiday, there were few engineers available at such short notice for a foreign trip. But when he mentioned that the yacht would be travelling to Barcelona the following week, a resolution became more likely.

USB and Passports

Rational cook stationHelen provided Lee with a Rational usb stick to download the HACCP and service data. This would give him a pointer as to what was wrong with the oven. Lee rang in on the Monday morning and engineer Jon talked him through how to download the data.

It became apparent that a physical diagnosis was required so Helen asked both senior engineers if either of them would like to go to Italy or Spain. Despite the lack of a passport, Kev volunteered. The essential passport was fasttracked a few days later and in the meantime, Kev liaised closely with Lee.

With Helen away on holiday and with a limited phone signal, the onus was on Kev to solve the problem. On her return, Lee was still adamant that he wanted AC Services to sort out the oven, despite Rational service partners being available in both Italy and Spain. Helen’s return to work on Tuesday saw estimates of the cost of the repair including Kev flying to Barcelona. The captain of the yacht gave the go-ahead, the flights were booked and all the parts required were sourced and packed.

Fast Track Service

By Friday morning, the oven was under repair, with on-board engineers helping Kev to get the oven out to gain access to the left hand side panel. The problem was quickly and efficiently solved. By lunchtime, Kev was finished and free to take a look around the yacht and a browse around Barcelona. He even had time to take in some rays on the beach before he flew back the next day.

Lee is now delighted with his fully operational Rational oven. “Helen was very positive and after she contacted the office I was put in touch with Kevin, one of the engineers. He asked all the right questions to ascertain the fault and what he might need to fix the problem. I highly recommend the services of AC Services Southern and will undoubtedly use them again.”

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Published Date: 16th May 2017
Category: Blog, Case Study, News, Ovens, Rational
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