Tag Archives: Catering business

14 
May

Are We Killing Biodiversity

Biodiversity is under threat

As a company focused on servicing and maintaining Rational ovens for all sorts of catering businesses; it’s not surprising we’re also interested in food sourcing and safeguarding the future. For many of our clients the choice of ingredients and being different is important. This is why the first UN study of biodiversity set our alarm bells ringing.

This warns of “humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity”. The Food and Agriculture Organisation issued the report and the findings are pretty stark. Over the past 20 years, around 20% of the vegetated surface of the earth has become less productive. In other words, our global capacity to produce food is weakening.

What do we mean by biodiversity ? According to definition it is the “variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part…diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems.” On the David Attenborough scale of climate-changing significance, it is way up there.

The Decline of Natural Assets

Scientists involved in the report found evidence the natural support systems underpinning the human diet are deteriorating around the world. Factories, farms and urban infrastructure in particular, are capturing land and pumping out chemicals. This is leading to a debilitating loss in natural assets. These include forests, coral reefs, soil biodiversity, grasslands, and genetic diversity in crop and livestock species.

There is a reduction in the amount of species indirectly involved in food production. Examples of these are crop-pest eating birds and water-purifying mangrove trees. Pollinators are at risk, and they provide essential services to three-quarters of the world’s crops.

But if we are producing more food than ever before, as we are, how is this possible? The sobering reality is that we are relying on ever-expanding monocultures. Incredibly, two-thirds of crop production comes from just nine species. These are maize, sugar cane, wheat, potatoes, rice, soybeans, oil-palm fruit, cassava and sugar beet.

There are at least 6,000 cultivated plant species categorised as being in decline. At the same time wild food sources are becoming harder to find. Agriculture and urbanisation are taking much of the blame with habitat loss, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, pathogens and climate change.

Are We In Danger?

Is this overdependence on a handful of products a problem? Seemingly so, as the report cited the potato famine in Ireland in the 1840s; the 20th century cereal crop failures in the US; and more recently the losses of taro production in Samoa in the 1990s as examples of when overdependence can have a brutal impact on humans.

Even the Lancett has joined the crusade, stating that “our diets are the largest cause of climate change and biodiversity loss is now overwhelming”. The global food system is responsible for around 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions, with the livestock sector on its own accounting for about 14.5% of that figure. Its solution? Halve global meat consumption, and more than double the volume of whole grains, pulses, nuts, fruit and vegetables.

If that’s too radical, in 2016, another report suggested an alternative solution. “Possible policy options include better protection of natural environments and ecosystems, limiting the scope of intensive agriculture, and finding alternatives to pesticides.”

Last word goes to Michael Higgins, Ireland’s president. “Around the world, the library of life that has evolved over billions of years – our biodiversity – is being destroyed, poisoned, polluted, invaded, fragmented, plundered, drained and burned at a rate not seen in human history. If we were coal miners we’d be up to our waists in dead canaries.”

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Published Date: 14th May 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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23 
Apr

Healthier School Catering

Healthier School Catering

How do we ensure healthier school catering? The staple menu of choice of pizza and chips or other fast food items is one that constantly worries nutritionists; but a landmark pilot scheme by Chartwells has revealed an interesting trend.

Chartwells specialises in providing catering services to the education sector, and recently carried out research, the Nudge Nudge initiative. This discovered if there were methods linked to menu presentation and guidance that could be used to drive healthier eating in secondary schools.

The pilot scheme saw an average increase of 8% in healthier choice take-up. This has led to a new customised menu to be introduced nationwide after Easter to Chartwells’ portfolio of 450 secondary schools.

Nudge Nudge

The scheme involved school menus being tailored to include a number of ‘nudging’ techniques such as:

  • red heart stickers next to the more nutritious menu options;
  • descriptive adjectives relating to texture, taste or smell;
  • as well as information given out in assemblies, workshops and health stalls.

The most successful nudge, achieved through using red heart stickers on grab-and-go items such as selected sandwiches, fruit pots and water, increased sales by 8%.

In addition, students at the three schools targeted enjoyed a huge uplift in their knowledge. They scored 85% post-trial when asked 10 questions on nutrition and healthy eating compared to 36% before.

Richard Taylor, Managing Director of Chartwells, commented: “The results of the trial have provided us with so much insight into what more we can do to encourage healthy eating. Findings from this compelling pilot have been used to create new menus across our secondary schools. We believe that by working together and continuing to educate students about choosing more nutritious meals, schools as well as their pupils, will reap the benefits.”

Better Menus

In 2005, Jamie Oliver won the war over Turkey Twizzlers. This was followed by a ban on crisps and a restriction on deep-fat fried food in schools. In 2014, the Universal Infant Free School Meals policy was introduced in primary schools. The Department of Education issued revised standards the following year dictating that meals should include at least one portion of vegetables or a salad.

However, there are now fears that cost may send this progression leaping backwards due to Brexit uncertainty. According to the Food for Life’s State of the Nation report, the cost of school-food staples such as pasta, cheese and yoghurt rose significantly in 2018. Caterers said the cost of some fruit and vegetables had increased by 20 per cent. This they attribute to Brexit uncertainty, specifically confusion over trading arrangements.

That being said, it may be worth taking a leaf out of Ashley Painter’s book. As a kitchen manager, he helps prepare over 1,200 healthy schools a day. He is a finalist for the BBC Cook of the Year in this year’s Food and Farming Awards. This recognises that “a good canteen kitchen serving nutritious, cleverly-budgeted food transforms lives and it celebrates the people who are creating change through food.”

He works for Local Food Links in Bridport, Dorset. This is a non-profit organisation which has been providing healthy dinners to school children for more than a decade, winning numerous awards. It was recently named as one of the best businesses in the South West. With a limited budget but a lot of imagination and frugality; he manages to provide healthy, inexpensive, nutritious food to thousands of hungry children.

So the answer is we can provide healthier school catering through focused initiatives.

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Published Date: 23rd April 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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02 
Apr

International Food and Drink Event Report

International Food and Drink Event logo 2019

17-20 March saw more than 27,000 visitors travelling to ExCeL London for The International Food & Drink Event (IFE) 2019. Over 1,350 drink and food brands were exhibited. Many new products showcased including healthy ketchup, meat-free burgers and charcoal infused beverages. Talking Trends and Tasting Trends were self explanatory sections of the show. The Hub provided a networking space for visitors and exhibitors and played host to the Festival of Food and Drink.

Brexit negotiations were on most people’s minds. There were plenty of discussions on the implications of Brexit; in particular, the import and export of food and drink produce. Key seminars from The Food and Drink Exporters Association and The Food and Drink Federation debated the core issues. Their key message to the sector is to focus on the need to protect the quality, diversity and range of food and beverages produced in the UK.

Improving Sustainability in Food and Drink

Sustainability was a theme high on the agenda. More than 50% of food and drink companies revealed that their biggest challenge regarding sustainability was the task of reducing their dependency on single-use plastic. The Campden BRI Conference focused on this theme with a debate on Sustainable Packaging: smart choices and shelf-life testing.

The environmental impact of the use of single use plastics in food and drink is a huge issue. Retailers and food manufacturers are committing to make the move to sustainable packaging wherever possible. But this needs to be done without compromising the safety and quality of food.

Speakers from many industries including academia and industry schemes talked on many topics. These included sustainable packaging options to maintain shelf life of foods; reframing the plastics debate: a use phase approach; the effect of shelf life extension on household waste; the case of packaged fresh foods; and the idea of packaging design for end of life.

One of the seminars explained how to make informed choices on plastics and waste. It increased understanding of waste management infrastructure and how the packaging supply chain can work together to increase packaging reuse or recycling. Experts from organisations such as Defra, WRAP, the Packaging Collective and the Soil Association, took part.

Dead Giveaway

As part of the sustainable theme, IFE partnered with City Harvest to redistribute food surplus from exhibitors at the end of the day. This resulted in the equivalent of five million meals delivered to 66 projects within London.

Soraya Gadelrab, Event Director, said: “As one of the biggest international food and drink events, IFE has to live up to high expectations and this year certainly delivered. The 2019 event was truly the best yet with boundary-pushing products being introduced to the market from a wide-range of innovative exhibitors; thought-provoking and insight-driven debates and presentations.”

IFE certainly gave us food for thought at AC Services.

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Published Date: 2nd April 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
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19 
Mar

Brexit for Catering Latest

Brexit for catering news update

When we set our six month’s blog rolling schedule, we hoped to be in final preparations for March 29th. This week’s blog would be final guidance on what to expect. Instead we are none the wiser on Brexit. Or on government advice on Brexit for catering businesses in the event of a no-deal exit.

I doubt that anyone in the country was expecting a miracle or even a viable resolution to the Brexit issues following the Government’s many recent debates. British MPs have opted for a three-month delay in the process. Unfortunately, it’s not up to the British Government to dictate a delay. The 27 other EU countries need to be convinced that there is a good reason why the deadline should be extended and then need to agree that this is the right approach.

Division

Parliament is divided, as are the main political parties internally. The main concerns about a no-deal Brexit is damage to the economy and shortages or price increases in food and medicine, with other consequences thrown into the mix.

The Government was given until this week to agree a deal that will enable a breathing space until 30 June. But effectively, the only deal proposed is the same one that MPs rejected last week. The EU is getting frustrated. But Donald Tusk, the European Council president says he would urge the EU member countries “to be open to a long extension if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it”.

No Deal, No Kidding & No Government Advice

In late 2018, the Government published 106 technical notices to ensure that citizens and businesses are furnished with the information to prepare for Brexit. There are over 100 pages of guidance for businesses in general. The Government claims to have contacted more than 145,000 businesses currently trading with the EU, advising them to start getting ready for no-deal customs procedures. However, the bottom line is summed up by this statement: “we recommend businesses now also ensure they are prepared and enact their own no-deal plans.”

We have looked across the guidance published by the Departments of Business, Energy and Industrial Policy (BEIS), Digital Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and Defra. The bad news is we can’t find anything that is prepared directly on Brexit for catering businesses. Food manufacturers or marketing standards for fresh fruit and veg are in Defra but not catering. Nor anything in DCMS which usually covers tourism. Or you might want to use the BEIS tool to select the papers it thinks are relevant to your business. Your answers might turn up something as the good news is that advice is being added.

Our Advice

So what does this mean for the catering industry? A main worry is of course, the trading logistics. This includes the cost of importing as well as the sourcing of ingredients from overseas. Will trade be affected? Will we be able to get the produce that we need at the price we want? Let’s face it, we have had two years to source alternatives in the event of a worst-case scenario and ingenuity may be the key. The food industry is constantly evolving with new variations and combinations of food emerging all the time.

If you are in the catering industry, check out locally grown and sourced ingredients. Contact bigger food manufacturers who have been quietly stockpiling key ingredients for the last few months. Experiment with different combinations.

And as for kitchen equipment, get everything checked over. AC Services are increasing their stock levels. But some spare parts will have to be ordered from abroad and they may take longer to arrive. They may not but are you willing to take the chance?

In the meantime, the headache they call Brexit rumbles on. When and if a deal is concluded satisfactory to all parties, we will keep you updated on the potential impacts of Brexit for catering businesses.

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Published Date: 19th March 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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12 
Mar

Oxfordshire Food Service Suppliers

Oxfordshire food sources show that the university is not the only thing in the county

Oxfordshire is seen as a county of spires and students. But behind the iconic university are many excellent Oxfordshire food service companies supplying clients far and wide.

Philip Dennis, is a family-owned regional wholesaler, with clients from the Midlands to the South West. Fresh meat and fish are readily available. The company is proud to support caterers and business owners of all types and sizes to achieve their highest ambitions.

The business has been active for over a century, supplying thousands of pubs, schools, restaurants and hotels. It has gained a reputation for quality and excellence, boasting state-of-the-art facilities. The company is well-known as dedicated fish and butchery specialists.

Sweet Trends

Philip Dennis also advises on new trends, such as the current interest in cakes and biscuits. “We’re going to continue to see a rise in complex or eye-catching cake designs as consumers want cakes that look as good as they taste. This feeds into the need for ‘Instagram worthy’ desserts that will help cafes, coffee shops and restaurants to entice people in,” reads the company blog.

Bidfood is another food service company dedicated to the customers’ requirements with an Oxfordshire base. Its business philosophy is summed up by “the food and drinks trends of 2019 represent not just how and what consumers are wanting to eat and drink, but the context in which they consider the production, purchase and consumption of food and drink products.” So they supply the customer with the right ingredients so that caterers can create the ideal menu.

Bidfood provides a range of vegan food such as Kara’s vegan brioche style bun that does not contain dairy. This complements the Heck vegan burgers which are plant based and free from soya, wheat and gluten.

Local Oxfordshire Food Sources

Witney’s Evenlode Foods Limited was founded in 2005 as a specialist food ingredients supplier. It particularly emphasises powder forms of vegetable oils and fats, emulsifiers, dairy ingredients and cocoa products. The company also makes bespoke blends and finished products based on those ingredientswe sell. According to a spokesperson, “our vegetable fat powders, non dairy creamers, toppings, foamers and nutritional oils are used in bakery, soups, sports nutrition, beverages and savoury mixes.”

Finally, there is Carterton’s Jolly Foods, delivering high quality foods to Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. Locally-sourced meats, cheeses, fresh fish and deli items are all on offer from this “bespoke and friendly Oxfordshire company.”

Poultry, game, lamb, beef and pork are all locally farmed and complement the range of finest fish and frozen products. Jolly offers the finest branded beef as Windrush Meade. The free-range poultry offering is sourced from the Creedy Carver farm in Crediton, Devon. Jolly Foods also offer seasonal game. So from September grouse, partridge, venison, dice game meat and pigeons are available as well as snipe, mallard and woodcock.

From food service companies with depots to small local suppliers, Oxfordshire food has much to offer AC Services’ catering clients.

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Published Date: 12th March 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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05 
Mar

To the Manor Born

Manor by the Lake Cheltenham

If you venture deep into the heart of Cheltenham, you will find a hidden gem in the form of the Manor By The Lake. This exquisite Victorian mansion is located within seven acres of award-winning gardens and is a visual delight.

Picture perfect for any kind of celebration from corporate away-days to lavish weddings, the Manor By The Lake has a few tricks up its sleeve. Behind the intricately carved oak panels, ornately painted ceilings and marble fireplaces lies a pulsating and busy kitchen.

Oven Ready

The kitchen is not only used constantly for the guests but also serves as a Cook Live demonstration venue for Rational as head chef Norbert Schon explains.

We installed Rational ovens when the venue was converted five years ago as we had limited space. The building is also Grade II listed which brought with it restrictions on equipment usage. The ovens suited us perfectly in terms of providing an arena to produce our dishes. But once a month, Rational uses our venue as a Cook Live demo site.”

“80% of our core business is weddings, so on the days without events, we are able to accommodate the training staff and also learn more about the capabilities of the ovens ourselves,” he comments.

Because of the versatility of the Rational ovens, Norbert and his staff are able to offer total precision to guests. “Consistency is key,” continues Norbert. With upwards of 200 guests at a wedding, it is vital that all of the food choices arrive at the same time and at the correct temperature. The pre-programming function of the Rational ovens makes this possible every time.

Maintaining the Quality

The Manor retains AC Services (Southern) to monitor and maintain the equipment on a yearly contract. Sometimes, things go wrong such as a recent problem with a door. But as Norbert explains, AC Services solved the problem and a new part was ordered and delivered overnight. “Obviously things can go wrong in a busy kitchen but any problems are quickly and efficiently sorted.

In the first year of opening, the Manor By The Lake covered 60 weddings ; last year for all events the total produced by the Rational ovens was 24,000 covers.

Norbert puts this down to the venue’s attraction as well as the ability of the kitchen to produce what the client wants. “We pride ourselves on delivering the client’s culinary requirements,” he continues. “The versatility of the Rational ovens allows us to cater for the current trends in diversity when it comes to food.”

Manor History Provides Venue

The Manor By The Lake began life as Arle Court, built between 1854-1858. In 1904 Arle Court and its contents went under the hammer in a two-day sale and was bought by a Herbert Unwin, a Yorkshire businessman. During the 1950s, Arle Court stood empty until it was purchased by Ealing Studios as headquarters and film location set.

In 2010, the Manor was put up for sale again and was purchased in 2013 by Tammy Madge and Michael Chittenden. They restored the Manor back to its former 1858 glory with enhanced facilities to create an exclusive use venue for weddings, special occasions and business functions. All of which makes it a truly picture perfect venue in which to serve high quality catering consistently.

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Published Date: 5th March 2019
Category: Blog, Case Study, News, Rational
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05 
Feb

Gloucestershire Food Producers

Gloucestershire food producers from fish smokers to truffles via porridge

Gloucestershire lies close to the Welsh border with the River Severn flowing through it and the Cotswolds to the east and the Forest of Dean to the southwest. Food production from this county has always been prolific, from lamb and pork to elvers and eels to cheese and pickles. Today, the food industry in the county is thriving and varied.

The award-winning Severn & Wye Smokery is one of the finest fish markets in the country. It sells a whole host of seasonal British and international fish as well as shellfish and the smokery’s own smoked haddock and kippers. After a three-year renovation project, Severn & Wye Smokery opened The Barn in October 2017. The former derelict outbuildings have been transformed into a foodie destination. This now encompasses a restaurant, bar, fish market, deli, gift shop and café.

Initially starting with smoked wild salmon and smoked eel from the rivers Severn and Wye, the business has grown to produce a full range of smoked fish products. So popular is the product range that the company sends weekly shipments to Italy, Germany, Greece, Dubai, Bahrain and France. The production techniques and smoking processes are still very traditional with grading, filleting, curing and cutting still mostly done by hand.

Truffle Delicacies

If you are looking for something a bit more exotic, TruffleHunter is the UK’s leading supplier of fresh truffles and truffle products. Located in the Cotswolds, the company produces truffle oils, minced truffles, truffle salt, truffle honey, truffle mustard and truffle mayonnaise. It sources truffles from the finest truffle regions across Europe, as well as from Somerset and Wiltshire.

Trufflehunter began in the UK in 2010 and today supplies restaurants throughout the UK and much further afield. The main markets are the UK, Germany, USA, Japan, Singapore and India. All truffle products are produced in small handmade batches in the Cotswold factory.

Mustard Through the Ages

An artisan product that was featured in Shakespeare’s Henry IV, is Tewkesbury mustard. The Tewkesbury Mustard Company is now the only true producer continuing a tradition that dates back to the 16th century. The product range is hand-made in a small kitchen in Tewkesbury. Legend has it that Tewkesbury Mustard Balls covered in gold leaf were presented to Henry VIII when he visited Tewkesbury in 1535.

Renowned for their excellence since medieval times, these balls were sent all over the country. The ingredients are simply local grown mustard seed, mixed with an infusion of horseradish. This is steeped in water, milk, cider or cider vinegar until it was workable. Now, Tewkesbury mustard is still as popular as ever.

Porridge Specialist

Specialising in porridge and couscous, Wolfys is the brainchild of Kitchen Garden Foods, traditional preserve makers. It was launched in the summer of 2013 after a challenge to find a hot, filling and tasty snack for a festival caterer. Each pot of Wolfys has another little pot hidden under the lid. This is jam, marmalade or honey in the porridge and chutney or relish in the couscous. Everything is made by hand in Stroud. Everything is vegetarian and the couscous is vegan.

Gloucestershire food producers prove that in our region there is a wealth of local suppliers of all types of food. And those producers also supply internationally such is their quality.

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Published Date: 5th February 2019
Category: Blog, Local food, News
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29 
Jan

SW England and South Wales Food News

South West and Wales Food News

The headlines are currently dominated by Brexit, the snowy weather, the great American stand-off and the Oscars. But what is making the headlines in the world of food and drink?

There is a greater call of allergen labelling following the death of a schoolgirl from an unlabelled baguette. Proposals unveiled by environment secretary Michael Gove would see all prepackaged food labelled to help the UK’s two million food allergy sufferers decide whether they can safely eat it.

Devon Celebrates

There are celebrations down in Devon as a popular fish and chip shop has been crowned as the best chippy in the UK. Krispies Fish & Chips in Exmouth has “battered its way to the top” winning the coveted award as UK’s best fish and chip shop at the National Fish and Chip Awards 2019, organised by Seafish. Krispie’s is owned and operated by husband and wife team Kelly and Tim Barnes, offering “true excellence in the fish and chip industry” with factors such as “sustainability, menu innovation, catering for special dietary requirements, customer service and marketing activity” all part of the judging process.

It’s also been getting spicy down in Devon with the humble ketchup being the focus of attention. The South Devon Chilli Farm has been listening to market research and is giving fans their signature chilli twist to the UK’s favourite condiment. Three new delicious chilli ketchups – cool jalapeno, smoky chipotle and hot habanero –have been added to the range as an alternative to the tomato option. Presented in a smart glass bottle, the range is suitable for vegetarian, vegan and gluten free diets and contains no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Over in Taunton, the newly-introduced ‘bleeding’ vegan burger has been a new year triumph for TGI Friday. The completely meat-free burger, which was one of the most talked about burgers in the USA last year, is high in protein and has zero cholesterol. As well as beetroot, which gives it the iconic bleed, the flame-grilled burger is made from coconut oil, mushrooms, herbs, plant proteins, and spices.

Terry McDowell, TGI Fridays’ head chef, said: “Friday’s flame-grilled, hand-crafted burgers are one of the most popular dishes on our menu and now everyone can enjoy their legendary taste, whether they are vegan, vegetarian, trying to cut down on meat, or anything in between!

Responsible Wales

Over in Wales, the Welsh government has just published a consultation considering a range of proposals to encourage people to change their eating habits and be more active. As well as banning energy drinks to under-16s, other measures in the ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Wales’ include “restrictions on the positioning of products in stores, restrictions on the amount of marketing of certain products in stores, restrictions on promotions and discounting of certain products in stores, mandatory calorie labelling for food purchased and eaten outside of the home.” If you want to be heard then respond to the consultation.

And staying in Wales, following the huge success of the inaugural event in in 2017, BlasCymru / TasteWales returns March 20 and 21 2019. The show will bring together buyers, producers and food industry professionals for this signature international food and drink trade event and conference, held once again at the world-class Celtic Manor Resort.

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Published Date: 29th January 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Local food, News
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22 
Jan

What are Your Brexit Plans

Brexit news update

I’m sorry but this week we simply have to talk about Brexit planning.

Over the last two years the only thing that most people have been certain on with Brexit is that the day of departure is 29th March 2018. Now the politicians may this week, or next, attempt to change this but with 67 days to go, it makes sense to plan.

Good business planners look at any situation and attempt to work out the absolute worst scenario, the best scenario and the others in between. For UK catering businesses these vary widely, but most can find a sensible middle ground for their own business with a little thought now.

Shutting Up Shop

Option number 1 is that the situation on 29th March and the weeks that follow that the best option is to shut down for a month. This is an approach that a number of car manufacturers are taking such as BMW and its mini production in Oxford.

If you’re considering this option you conserve all your resources and then make an orderly grand re-opening in May. The positives may also include allowing you to do that refresh of paint that you’ve been putting off. The negative that there may be a trust or reputational hit to your business in your local area or those to whom you supply.

Stockpile

Whatever happens after over 40 years of increasingly integrated trade and an international focus on just in time delivery, delivery times will spin quickly out. If the Manston lorry trial in January proved anything it is we are still underprepared for the impact on freight. However the Brexit food packs of freeze dried ingredients is an overreaction the other way.

Big food manufacturers have been quietly stockpiling key ingredients for the last few months. This is why UK warehouse space is now almost at capacity. Time for regular catering businesses to consider:

  • How many of your ingredients are locally grown and sourced. Over the last few years AC Services has showcased various regional providers to provide choice.
  • The key word in the point above is grown. We often assume that we can just ask our supplier for x not thinking that x must come from abroad. With the extremes of weather, we have increasingly seen shortages of basic products like lettuces or potatoes. Time to ask yourself if I run out of vanilla pods what will I do?
  • When did you last have your machinery serviced? Catering equipment is an international business so the part that is needed may have to be shipped from elsewhere in Europe. It’s a good idea to do this in February so you’re ready.

Events

Brexit provides an opportunity for an event. Not least because it falls the same weekend as Mothering Sunday and the beginning of British Summer Time. We’ll leave the menu choices to your personal preferences. But whatever you do start thinking and planning now for March 29th to minimise the adverse hidden effects Brexit could have on your business this spring.

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Published Date: 22nd January 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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15 
Jan

A Rational Year Ahead?

A Rational Year Ahead

Rational UK enjoyed a steady year in 2018 despite the ramifications, as yet unknown, of Brexit and global economic uncertainty.

The amalgamation of the Rational combi-steamers and Frima VarioCookingCenter® units under the umbrella Rational brand has successfully operated for almost a year. It has done what it promised by providing a complete solution for kitchen requirements from a single, reliable and reputable source. Everyone involved in the merger has applauded its successful and seamless implementation.

On Tour

In the meantime, Rational UK is continuing its physical presence across the country with many shows and exhibitions already booked for 2019.

Locations include The Professional Kitchen Show at the NEC Birmingham in January; the Source Show in Exeter in February; and Expowest in Cornwall in May. Rational UK will also be exhibiting at the Restaurant Show and the Takeaway Expo in London later in the year. It’s always good to stop by the stand and find out what’s new for Rational UK.

Brexit

As with industry as a whole, Rational UK’s future plans will be influenced by the outcome of Brexit. As an authorised Spares Partner at AC Services, we are keeping a wary eye on what might be impacted when the March deadline arrives. Currently some parts are guaranteed to be shipped from Germany within 24 hours. But whether this will change post-Brexit remains to be seen. And if it does what that will stretch to in the short term is anybody’s guess. We are committed to trying to maintain our current high spares supply levels.

To avoid post-March delay and to help us gauge the increased stock levels needed, we recommend that services are booked now. We can then create suitable buffer stocks of high-demand items to continue to offer our customary seamless service to all our customers. In addition, we’ll know what has been replaced recently in our customers’ units and what might need replacing later in the year. We can include this in our stock calculations to minimise disruption.

AC Services Team Update

On a more personal level, we are happy to report an excellent 2018. Our personnel are key to our continuing growth. Denise returned last year after ten years to the role as Service Administrator. Carolyn has been in her role as Accounts Administrator for a year. Kelly returned from Maternity Leave last year.

At our Christmas Party held at the Egypt Mill, Nailsworth we celebrated Senior Engineer Jon working for AC Services for 20 years. Helen said “20 years’ service is a remarkable achievement in most industries. But particularly amongst catering business that have seen significant change over that time. I’m glad we have Jon’s professionalism, experience and dedication to rely on”

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Published Date: 15th January 2019
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News, Ovens, Rational
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