Tag Archives: Coronavirus

01 
Apr

We’re Still Open for Key Sites

AC Services Open for Key Sites

While this will be our last blog for a while due to the impacts of coronavirus, we are still open for key sites with our core crew. If you’ve had to close please follow our Rational oven close down tips below.

So, if you’re a hospital, care home or an off-site food company with a maintenance contract with AC Services you’re still covered for any breakdowns that occur. If this does happen please call the normal number 01454 322 222 and speak to Helen. She will arrange for our engineer to visit to repair the breakdown.

If you’re already a connectedcooking kitchen, we are able to remotely monitor and identify the fault, which can minimise the time we need to spend with you.

New Customers

If you’re a not a regular AC Services customer, but have a breakdown on a Rational oven in the area we cover of South West England and Southern Wales; we might be able to assist you if you are a key site such as a hospital or care facility.

As we’re sure you understand, we are prioritising our established client base and responding to their breakdowns. This unfortunately means we cannot promise to assist you as promptly as normal and may mean our engineer will be diverted elsewhere. But for key facilities, we will try to help repair your Rational breakdown if we can.

Continuing Business and Key Sites

Obviously, we need to continue to operate within the guidelines issued by the government to minimise the spread of coronavirus. We are considering what impacts this has on the need to regularly service Rational ovens to prevent breakdowns and how we can deliver this over the longer term.

In the meantime, we’d urge customers to ensure that the weekly and daily maintenance routines are adhered to using the approved products. These are available from our on-line shop if your stocks are running low.

Rational Oven Close Down Procedures

If you have closed your kitchen then please do the following for your Rational oven close down.

For Rational SH, SI and Combi Master Plus please watch these handy videos first. Steam tank emptying. CM P tank emptying which is a download.

  1. Find the water supply and isolate the unit.
  2. Use the Handshower until it is empty.
  3. Power off unit and leave door partially open

When returning unit to operation, return power and water

  1. Use hand shower to rinse water feed system
  2. Run unit in steam for 30 minutes
  3. Run short cleanjet

Or for Rational CareControl SG range

Rational oven close down for Carecontrol
  1. Find the water supply and isolate the unit.
  2. Use the Handshower until it is empty.
  3. Follow instructions above to empty tank. If this does not work with the door closed, repeat with door open
  4. Power off unit and leave door partially open

When returning unit to operation, return power and water

  1. Use hand shower to rinse water feed system
  2. Run unit in steam for 30 minutes
  3. Run short cleanjet

Keeping in Touch

While there won’t be any blogs for the next few weeks, please follow us on Facebook for any updates. Or if you are spending time creating a new strategy for your business why not check out our earlier blogs on trends in catering businesses and show reports.

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Published Date: 1st April 2020
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Cleaning Products, News, Ovens, Rational, Self Cooking Centre
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23 
Mar

Covid19 and Catering Businesses

covid19 and catering businesses help

No one needs telling that we’re living in desperate times when the government orders the closure of catering businesses.

Those who are offering a takeaway or distribution service are currently exempt.

But when the likes of MacDonalds, Costa and Nando’s voluntarily decide to close to protect staff; it’s time to see what has been put in place already for Covid19 and catering businesses.

Government Specific Help for Catering Businesses

Following the Chancellor’s announcements there is some useful information on covid-19 support on the government’s pages . Check this out for the latest info and updates.

The government’s interventions are primarily about continuity so that when the crisis ends pubs, restaurants, hotels, mass catering and leisure facilities are still around to begin trading again.

The first is for staff under the Coranavirus Job Retention Scheme. Here a grant will cover 80% of retained but non-working employees pay. This is capped to a monthly salary of £2,500 equivalent to £30,000 pa. It’s backdated to March 1st and will in the first instance run for 3 months to the end of May. It could be extended. Now is a good time to have an open and honest conversation with staff about balancing pay and a future job. And then getting a grant for the majority of that cost.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme focuses on the business who turns over under £45M. This provides a government-backed guarantee for 80% of the loan amount. The government will pay the first 12 months interest. The maximum term of the loan is 6 years.

Here the government is enabling catering business to access loans where previous the answer would be no and giving an interest holiday. The full loan amount will need to be repaid. Consider what essential items could benefit from being covered by a loan; and then how you would be able to pay it back from 2021.

Covid-19 Tax and Reclaim Breaks

With immediate effect, all VAT is deferred to the next quarter so the next payment date for any outstanding is the end of June. But treat this carefully as the VAT will need to be paid at that time. And with limited or no income coming in, it will be difficult to replenish that pot.

If you are having tax payment difficulties, the best advice is to call 0800 0159 559 to discuss the Time to Pay scheme. Do this at the earliest opportunity, not at the last minute.

If staff are unfortunate to catch Covid-19 then with an isolation note from NHS111online, as an employer you can reclaim 2 weeks statutory sick pay.

Local Authority Support for Covid19 and Catering Businesses

Some catering businesses have opted to provide or expand their takeaway meals services. This is a good way to liquidate stock or to maintain limited supply from key suppliers. Some local authorities have been quick with suitable advice such as Monmouthshire .

More significantly there are a number of business rate measures that will be enacted by your local authority. These require no action on your part. Business rates for those in hospitality, retail and leisure have been abolished for the Tax Year 2020-2021. A new statement will be issued by your local council.

Local councils will also administer the Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme and notify you directly. This is based upon rateable value:

  • If your rateable value is up to £15,000 you can get a cash grant of £10,000
  • For those between £15,001 and £51,000, the grant is £25,000
  • Farm shops and micro businesses are not left out. If you are in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief; there is a one-off grant of £10,000.

Cashflow is King

For catering businesses cashflow has always been king. Now more than ever, owners and managers need to look very carefully at their budgets and costs. Work out what is necessary, deal with people honestly and respectfully and access what is available to help for covid19 and catering businesses.

At AC Services Southern we look forward to working with you in any way we can; so that your business can revive when this crisis is over.

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Published Date: 23rd March 2020
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
Tags: , , , , ,


 

17 
Mar

Coronavirus Impacts

Coronavirus impacts catering businesses

There really is only one topic of conversation at this time – the coronavirus pandemic.

This global issue is everyone’s business and unusually, there is very little solid advice or predictions about the future.

Indeed the advice changes daily and the impacts are increasing substantially. Events have been cancelled or postponed, airlines have folded and the streets, especially in Italy, are deserted.

So what does this mean for the UK food and drink industry? The answer is simple. We don’t know. None of us. Yet. The only thing that is certain is that the sector has to respond to current and future circumstances…and fast.

Myth Debunking

First, let’s debunk a few myths. We are not going to run out of toilet paper. Antibiotics have no effect on the virus; neither does spraying your body with alcohol, eating garlic, taking cold or hot baths; or avoiding Chinese takeaways. As a virus, it is airborne, therefore it can be carried anywhere by the air and therefore, it’s inevitable.

Cleanliness is being urged. This message is getting through as we can see from the global shortage in hand sanitisers. While some branches of KFC are already removing its ‘finger-lickin’ good’ slogan to support the cleanliness message.

On a more serious note, the food and drink supply chain will inevitably be affected. A major outbreak of the virus could result in permanently empty shelves, panic buying and food riots in a worst case scenario; but retailers have ready-made plans in place. For example, Tesco has been practising ‘multiday simulation’ exercises with different teams preparing responses to a flu pandemic. There will be a priority list of products drawn up by the supermarkets to ensure that, again, in a worst case scenario, staple food groups will be available to all. On the plus side, the frozen food industry is benefiting: sales of frozen food have seen notable increases.

Ian Wright, the chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said “at this stage, supply chains have experienced disruption; but there is no evidence of significant disruption to food supplies. UK food and drink manufacturers have robust procedures in place.

Event Cancellations

The industry will be more affected by the cancellation of events. The food and drink sector relies heavily on revenue from outdoor concerts, festivals and other events. The loss of this revenue will hit hard. Plays on Broadway in America have already been cancelled; theatres in the UK are clsoing. Sporting events are being postponed and football matches are being played in closed stadiums.

Coming on the back of the excessive flooding experienced earlier this year in many areas, pubs are feeling the pinch. According to Coffer Peach Business Tracker, pubs saw a decline in both food and drink sales, down 3.9% and 4.6% respectively, with managed pub groups also seeing collective like-for-like sales fall 4.2%. The sector, as a whole, saw like-for-like sales dip 3.3% compared to February last year.

Executive director Trevor Watson believes there may be a redistribution of trade with local pubs and restaurants seeing trade sustained as people stay local. “People will not shut themselves away indefinitely and will see smaller scale local pubs and restaurants as less of a health risk,” he predicts.

But as of 16th March even this prediction may fall flat; with the advice to stay away from pubs and restaurants. But with no government ban on this, various insurances have not been triggered that might allow the business to deal with no trade for longer.

The coronavirus impacts food and drink supply chains and global trade but to what extent, we are unsure. It goes without saying that panic buying will only make things worse. We have lived through and survived other viral infections and we will survive this one however severe it becomes.

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Published Date: 17th March 2020
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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