Tag Archives: Hotel
Boutique hotels are categorised as small and intimate establishments, far away from the mighty conglomerates that appear in every town and city of the UK. These hotels are usually located in the most hip and fashionable urban areas. Their charm generally lies in their stylish design decor and personal touches that distinguish them from other hotel brands.
Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1981 that the first official boutique hotel opened in London.
Over the past two years, the sector has seen stellar growth. Independent hotel rooms still comprise more than half of the serviced accommodation rooms in the UK. The Independent Hotel Show managed to encapsulate the enthusiasm for the future development of the sector.
Over the two days seminars addressed relevant topics and offered advice to independent and boutique hotel owners and managers. These seminars covered everything, from managing websites to design using limited space, offering the best service possible and tips and tactics to ramp up food and beverage options to keep menus fresh.
Among the more interesting discussions was one on trends for the future. A hotel stay is more than just a room for the night and customers expect more than just the basic levels. Guests want to know what else is on offer. This has led to the rise of combination hotels. A basic example is the hotel and spa. This has expanded to giddy heights such as a hotel and art gallery in Beijing and a hotel and perfumery in Paris. These hotels are now known as slashy hotels. This term first came to prominence in the film, Zoolander, where it referred to model/actors.
On a more local level, visitors want to book a whole experience in one place. The 2018 Independent Hotel Show offered invaluable advice on how hotels can best offer local expertise and knowledge via local experience packages. The Show also focused on the importance of technology offering convenience. These include being able to control the temperature and lighting in the room via apps, and virtual concierge to allow guests to make requests quickly without needing to leave the room.
Other trends involve pop-up hotels, especially those associated with festivals or other events. This trend is complemented by glamping, described as a hybrid of camping and hotel-stays. For the catering industry, this is a major opportunity, especially for mobile caterers in the locality.
Finally, the centrepiece of the 2018 Independent Hotel Show was the Hotel Bedroom of the Future immersive installation. Luxury bedroom specialists Two’s Company built this “inspired by the results of several intense research sessions with industry experts”.
It barely seems any time at all since the last Restaurant Show but apparently, it has been a whole year. And last week, it returned to Olympia in London. The Restaurant Show 2018 incorporated The Bar and Pub Show and the Catering Equipment Expo.
These three brought the hospitality industry together. Catering for those owning, operating and working in restaurants, hotels, pub, bars and hospitality establishments across the UK.
As always, the event attracted hordes of visitors for companies showcasing their products. Seminar subjects were wide ranging. From digital storytelling: the secret ingredient for social media success to what’s next for casual dining and some strong advice on creating the ultimate cheeseboard!
Other topics included combining the art of hospitality with smarter technology and the influence of the fast-moving world of coffee as well as the importance of the correct background music to create exactly the right ambience.
National Chef of the Year
One of the highlights of the three-day event was the National Chef of the Year competition. This has been running since 1972 and has become one of the UK’s most respected and sought-after culinary titles.
The ceremony saw Kuba Winkowski, head chef from The Feathered Nest Inn crowned as the new National Chef of the Year. His menu included native lobster, oyster emulsion, Yorkshire grouse, quince, and sticky toffee dessert. The runner-up spot went to George Blogg, head chef at Gravetye Manor. With Derek Johnstone, head chef at Borthwick Castle taking third place in the dramatic cook-off.
The Catering Equipment Expo proved to be the place to get a great deal on the latest products. A range of catering equipment was on display, from cookers to fridges and those strange-looking but essential items that only a cook can recognise. Among the exhibitors was Rational displaying its SelfCooking Center and VarioCooking Centers.
Food Glorious Food
Food and drink, obviously were plentiful with over 400 suppliers exhibiting at this year’s event. New products included Drunken Dairy Ltd’s selection of booze-infused dairy and free-from ice creams and vegan sorbets. The Handmade Cake Company launched its Vegan Belgian Chocolate Cake, specially designed to be 100% vegan.
The Restaurant Show 2018 celebrated its 30th birthday with an abundance of products, seminars and events aimed at anyone involved in the catering industry. Visitors were delighted with the range of advice and new initiatives aimed at maintaining the restaurant industry’s standards in the modern world, with everything needed to sustain a successful business under one roof at Olympia.
For the first time since 1976, we have enjoyed a blisteringly hot summer. The sun has shone relentlessly down on the country, bringing hordes of holidaymakers onto the motorways of Britain, heading for the sea.
So much so that Cornwall issued a ‘cannot cope’ warning last week. Visitor numbers are already up by about 20% on the 4.5 million who usually flock to the region at this time of year.
Cornwall’s tourism chief Malcolm Bell claims the county is “struggling to cope” and the tourist board has decided to stop promoting a few of the most popular beaches.
And the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands is under siege from a massive surge in visitors. This has put the island’s infrastructure under pressure. Trends elsewhere suggest that the UK hotel industry will need to be able to cope with higher demand.
But on a positive note, imagine the joy of hotel owners and caterers as the mercury rises. It’s not just coastal areas that are eagerly looking forward to profits at the end of the year. London is expecting over 9,000 hotel rooms to open. This is more than the 8,000 rooms that opened in 2012, the Olympic year.
2017 had a boost to inbound holidays from the weak pound. But despite fears of a lull in 2018, there is a lot of optimism. Factors influencing travel to the UK in 2018 were the Royal Wedding, Farnborough International Air Show, the European Sports Championships in Scotland, the Gymnastics World Cup in Birmingham and the Terracotta Warriors to the World Museum in Liverpool.
The International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF2018) was held back in March and good news came from it. Last year economic outlook at the time was cautious, but this year, there was plenty of optimism.
Marc Socker, Managing Director of investment management firm Invesco, asserted that there was more interest than he had ever seen in the sector. “First and foremost, hotels is a growth sector,” also pointing out that only 4% of Chinese nationals currently have passports and 5% of Indians. In addition, it is quite mind-boggling to realise that 90% of Americans do not have passports. “Every increase of 1% (in those populations with passports) leads to tens of millions of new travellers coming into the European market,” he maintained.
After this summer, with the forecast for more similar sun-baked summers to follow, investors could do worse than put their money into resorts and complexes. The UK has a wealth of coastal accommodation. With hotter and longer summers, the UK hotel industry is ideally positioned to attract new investment and offer the UK as an alternative to other European or Mediterranean destinations.
The UK has one of the best heritages of any country. It is renowned for its historic locations and its excellent cuisine. Some of the best chefs in the world were if not born here, then settled and opened restaurants here. The UK hotel industry has to seize every opportunity to attract visitors and tempt them to the country’s shores.
So far this year we have been spoiled rotten. Not only have we had the best run of good weather since 1976 but the World Cup has boosted the country like never before…well, not since 1990. Images of English football fans enjoying themselves have been flashed around the world.
There is no doubt that had we won the World Cup, the economy would have benefited exponentially. In the short term it has provided a major boost for pubs and clubs as people gathered to watch the games. These are the sort of in-country tourists that are often forgotten.
And don’t forget Mr Trump’s ‘I’ll Fix Brexit Singlehandedly’ tour. His controversial presence in the UK has sent pictures around the world, with people from all nations curious to see how he was received. The myriad snaps of him in Marine One on his way to iconic locations such as Blenheim Palace, Chequers, Windsor Castle and the inside of the Sun newspaper offices put the UK at the forefront of the world’s media.
2018 Inbound Tourism Forecast
The VisitBritain forecast for 2018 is for 41.7 million visits, an increase of 4.4% on 2017 which saw record highs with overseas visitors reaching 40.3 million. £26.9 billion in visitor spending is forecast, an increase of 6.8% on 2017.
Brexit looms with uncertainty as always and the ongoing value of the pound is a key variable. In financial terms, the pound remains much lower than its pre-referendum level and is forecast to continue to be weak throughout the medium term, indicating that Britain will remain a good value-for-money destination.
A spokesman from GlobalData commented: “The pound’s Brexit drop has rendered business and leisure trips to the UK more affordable, luring a growing number of European travellers.”
The UK economy has been boosted also by the emergence of countries such as Russia and Brazil from recession. China, India and much of South East Asia are continuing to grow at a rapid pace and residents of these countries are making plans to visit Britain.
Regional Success and the Future
Figures show 2017 was a record year for tourists in the South West, with South Devon particularly bolstered by a rise in tourism numbers. Some of the towns that attracted the most attention were Teignmouth, Dawlish, Salcombe and Exmouth, with 75% of visits to the website in 2017 from new visitors.
Bristol is hoping that its new museum, Being Brunel will attract more visitors. And the amazing weather has led to more and more people heading for the South West beaches.
With all indications that tourism will remain constantly buoyant over the next five years, it is an ideal opportunity for the food industry to capitalise on the current food diversity trends. Street food, pop-up restaurants and alternative food venues can help to create a Britain that can be lauded for its food as well as its locations. Catering should remain confident in its future investments to profit from tourists from home and abroad.
According to the BBC’s Good Food guide, there are new restaurant food trends that diners are enjoying in 2018.
The keywords are health, the environment and the community which have translated into exciting new trends in food and drink.
One of the most innovative is gut-friendly foods, which comprise probiotics like kimchi, kefir and miso and prebiotics such as onions, garlic and other alliums. It’s all about plant-based diets and root-to-stem eating.
Diets are focused on produce rather than meat with people shifting away from highly processed foods towards whole foods. In addition, there are now a reported 550,000 vegans in the UK, up 360% over the past 10 years. This means that tastes are shifting and restaurant food is having to become more adventurous and creative to accommodate this new demographic.
The faux meat industry is booming as more chefs embrace ingredients such as chickpeas, falafel, tempeh and tofu, and food technicians globally are working hard to develop a range of faux meat products.
In America, there’s a company that not only produces a totally plant-based burger but there’s a secret, not-on-the-market-yet added ingredient called heme which gives the faux meat a blood-like appearance for those who (used to) like their meat rare.
The Arrival of Hemp
Hemp is the new superfood. It is a highly nutritious source of “quality plant-based protein” according to Paul Benhaim, the CEO of Elixinol Global, which makes hemp product.
Hemp is an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Perhaps the easiest way to consumer hemp is via the seeds which a number of restaurants are now using as a garnish. Despite coming from the same plant species as cannabis, the tetrahydrocannabinol (the hallucinogenic component in cannabis) level in hemp is minimal.
Increasingly, restaurants are using all parts of a food to minimise waste. This root-to-stem eating is a fantastic foodie trend requires diners to eat the whole fruit or vegetable.
For example, don’t throw broccoli stems away. Simply slice them into little discs and roast them as an alternative to croutons. In the same way, pickles can be made out of watermelon rind and crunchy garnishes made from baked potato peelings.
I Can’t Believe …
Keep an eye out for the new craft cultured butter. Butter Culture has produced a new batch of churned cultured butter. This uses local Jersey cow milk produced from English bred Jersey dairy cows, a healthy bacteria culture and a dash of naturally mineral rich Himalayan pink rock salt. It is a traditional Scandinavian recipe. The lactose eat the sugars and carbohydrates in the cream and produce specific lactic acids. These are incredibly rich in butter flavours.
Also note that the unicorn trend so popular at the beginning of the year is out and purple is in. Apparently, instagram is responsible in part for this trend…purple food is incredibly photogenic.
Finally, drinks. 2018 is seeing the return of historic small beers with low ABV, mead, port and vermouth appearing on cocktail bar menus. This reaffirms the idea that alcohol should be for enjoyment, rather than just the obvious side effects. Confirming once again the key restaurant food trends are health combined with flavour.
It’s getting close to one of the biggest summer events of the year. Now people are deciding where they are going to be. In the pub? With friends? A street party? Yes, it’s the annual FA Cup Final on May 19. And apparently there’s the little matter of a Royal Wedding in London on the same day!
Hot on the heels of the birth of Prince Louis, the Royals will yet again be forced into the spotlight. Every aspect of the bride will be scrutinised from dress, shoes, hair and makeup to bridesmaids and family members. In parallel with the infamous Edward VIII, the global scrutiny will yet again be on an American divorcee’s influence on the Royal family. It will be a day to remember.
Festivals and Events
The wedding heralds the arrival of the summer entertainment season, with festivals and events happening all around the South West and Wales. There’s plenty to choose from.
If you are looking for something a bit different, try the Pop-up Pandas art installation at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park with over 100 painted pandas to discover. Each panda is hand-painted. Themes range from different artistic styles and elements of Chinese culture to English seasonal events and clothing traditions. The exhibition opens on 5 May.
How about celebrating Somerset Day? Held on May 11th, it honours King Alfred the Great’s routing of the Vikings from his Somerset stronghold in May 878? The day is actually more like a week. So there is plenty to do, from the Cheese and Cider Night at Wincanton Racecourse to the Great Somerset Tea Party.
The Foodies Festival, the UK’s biggest food festival returns to Durdham Downs, Bristol from May 11-13, featuring Great British Bake Off winners baking live in The Cake & Desserts Theatre and top local chefs cooking their signature recipes in the Stoves Chefs Theatre. There are workshops galore including Prosecco and parmesan tasting, beer and chocolate tasting. As well as talks on the power of plant-based proteins and Kombucha.
Since being founded in 2004 as part of the Cowbridge Charter Trust’s 750-year celebrations, Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival has grown from a one-day event to a whole weekend of foodie family fun. Now it has over 100 food and drink exhibitors, food demonstrations, musical entertainment. All spread around the town of Cowbridge.
If you are looking for somewhere later in the summer, make your way to Wales for the Big Cheese 27 to 29 July. Set in one of Europe’s largest castles, Caerphilly hosts an extravaganza of street entertainers, living history encampments, music, dance, traditional funfair, folk dancing, falconry, fire eating, minstrels, and troubadours. Attracting over 80,000 people annually, the Big Cheese weekend is a free event.
So what do all these summer events have in common (apart from the wedding!)? Each took a local interest, turned it into a reason to celebrate and then into an annual event. Often it’s a group of businesses coming together for mutual benefit.
Yes summer events might be hassle to organise. But much like Christmas they provide valuable revenue and profit for the catering trade.
Producers across the country are embracing local and organic ingredients and eco-friendly manufacturing methods, and Gloucestershire food producers are no different. Snuggled in the heart of England, Gloucestershire boasts a food heritage that goes back centuries.
Simon Weaver’s Cotswold Organic Dairy produces some amazingly creamy and award-winning cheeses. The company farms organically in the Cotswolds at Kirkham Farm where Fresian cows feed on organically grown grass. The milk travels a mere five metres to the creamery every morning where expert cheesemakers turn it into a delicious range of artisan products.
Choose from Organic Cotswold Brie, Blue-Veined Brie or Herb Brie. Importantly, the farm encourages and promotes wildlife with no artificial fertilisers or chemicals used to grow crops, and the creamery itself is powered using renewable energy sources.
Jess’s Ladies produces milk, cream and yoghurt and is run by the Vaughan family who milk 80 cows on a farm. The cows (the Ladies) produce un-homogenised, pasteurised milk on site. This is taken straight to local shelves to ensure the best possible flavour. Each lady is known by name and milked personally. As the milk is not homogenised, the milk retains its natural composition. The most recent addition to the menu is luxurious natural yoghurt, made by hand.
The Cotswold Farmer has been part of the local food community since the 1970s, priding itself on environmental responsibility. The company has sustained a well-deserved reputation for its sausages, using a mixture of ingredients and recipes. Toulouse Style pork sausages, Italian Style, Spicy Spanish Style, Cotswold Herb Garden Style are all on the menu. Their ingredients include red wine, garlic, toasted fennel seeds and traditional Italian and Spanish herbs and spices.
Also on offer are Cotswold Gluten Free pork sausages and as alternatives to pork, venison sausages and St Georges beef sausages. The pigs are bred and reared on the family farm in the North Cotswolds.
Acres of Orchards
Another of Gloucestershire food producers is Day’s Cottage. It has over 20 acres of orchards to help the company produce award-winning apple juice for more than 20 years. Pure apple juice, cider and perry are all manufactured using traditional methods and apples from traditional, mature orchards in Gloucestershire.
No additives or preservatives are used in manufacture. The juice of over 1kg of fresh fruit fills each 75cl bottle. The orchards are all free from sprays, chemicals or artificial fertilisers. The ciders and perry are fermented and matured in oak barrels. Only old varieties are used, such as Morgan Sweet and Foxwhelp apples and Brown Bess and Blakeney Red pears.
Ethical Addictions based in Kingsholm, Gloucester, is a small family company that sources high quality coffee buying direct from the growers. The coffee comes from villages in Brazil and Tanzania. Products include the Grizzly Bear Ethical Coffee Blend and shade grown coffee.
Finally if you’re after raw coconut oil why not try out Bula Batiki which works with Fijian islanders directly to ensure their communities benefit.
Proving once again that there are some unusual as well as mainstream food producers in the counties served by AC Services (Southern).
The Westpoint Exhibition Centre in Exeter was the setting for the 2018 Source Trade Show which took place on 6 and 7 February. This prestigious show gave visitors the opportunity to escape the big cities, where the majority of trade shows take place, and travel to the beautiful West Country and the historic city of Exeter.
The 2018 Source Trade Show was exactly as described. A venue that allows owners and managers the opportunity to source whatever they need for their premises, whether it be food ingredients, staff or equipment. As with previous shows, representatives from the pub and bar industry, the public sector including schools and hospitals, supermarkets, hotels and farm shops attended the Show.
Food and Other Stuff
Over 250 exhibitors from Taste of the West, the South West, and beyond also attended the show. 17 newcomers all from the South West exhibited at a trade show for the very first time. 83 companies also braved Source for the first time. Exhibitors comprised key South West, UK and international food and drink producers, as well as service providers.
Newcomers are more than welcome at the Source Show as the organisers explain. “We offer them special rates, or a leg up as it were…one of the biggest challenges new companies have is actually getting their products to market and the Source also connects them with distributors, who in turn get the chance to add exiting new products to their ranges.”
Visitors were able to source more unusual local products and meet face-to-face with local producers and learn the provenance of their products. The organisers wanted to present the show on all sensory platforms – taste, smell, presentation, packaging, a feat they managed admirably. Food was not the only attraction. Visitors also took advantage of other goods on display from kitchen equipment, EPoS systems, uniforms and tableware.
The Demonstration Kitchen was a huge and popular success, boasting “inspirational chefs, masterclasses, talks and more!” Perhaps the most popular area was the artisan section. But there was a massive presence from local, regional and national manufacturers and regional food and drink producers.
Some of the most popular producers included ice-cream makers, Dartington Dairy . It uses sustainable farming practices and innovation to produce their range of goats’ milk ice-creams. Their latest offering is Kefir, a super tasty cultured goats’ milk drink.
Healthy Recipes Ltd introduced MezzeSoul, a fresh pomegranate juice sauce brand which brings the heat, warmth and soul of the Mediterranean into the UK. JEAM Super Mixes is a range of award-winning, nutrient rich organic bread mixes, organic, nutrient rich and delicious. The chosen ingredients are sourced extremely carefully and are all tested thoroughly before committing to production.
And of course we should mention Rational UK. They were showing off the latest advances in their Rational oven range at the 2018 Source Trade Show.
The next year’s show is already under planning. To book your place, visit the Source Trade Show website.
The unsteadiness created by Brexit and other external influences worked in the hotel industry’s favour at the beginning of 2017, with a record-breaking occupancy and room rate growth across UK hotels. Despite fears that this trend would diminish rapidly, news this week reveals that there’s still buoyancy in this market.
According to hotel data company STR, an influx of tourists from overseas and a boost in domestic tourism as overseas travel for UK residents became less affordable during the first half of 2017. This meant that hotels recorded a relatively flat occupancy increase 0.5%. The average room rate (ARR) and revenue per available room (revpar) were up by 3.6%.
Conference and banqueting was up 0.4%. But alarmingly for the industry, any growth was cancelled out by a 0.1% drop in food and beverage revenue.
Hoteliers Fight Back
So what must hoteliers do in 2018 to increase profitability? A recent conference (the 25th Master Innholders Annual General Managers’ Conference) made a few key suggestions.
Firstly, more young people should be encouraged into hospitality. Hoteliers were urged to spread the message that fulfilment and satisfaction in a job wasn’t always immediate. It came over time. Similarly there was the potential for excellent rewards.
Tech-free time needed to be introduced into the hotel workplace to allow teams to build social skills and relationships.
In addition, the National Minimum Wage should be adhered to. The hospitality industry is being targeted by the taxman for not correctly paying staff. Six teams are now specifically devoted to the sector.
The Future is Green
However, one of the more interesting suggestions came from the food angle. It promotes focusing more on plant-based dining or as it is more commonly known, veganism. As an example, Selfridges has opened a vegan waffle bar and more hotels are urged to continue this trend.
New trends in food should also be adopted such as:
- heme (a protein found in plants and meat used to mimic meat in vegan food);
- timut (a Nepalese pepper with mouth-numbing qualities) and
- hydrogen water (water into which hydrogen gas has been dissolved, said to have health benefits).
Selfridges was also singled out for praise for its ‘Wasted Event’, where chefs were challenged to create dishes from kitchen waste.
There is also good news for hotels with the merger of two main trade associations to “deliver a powerful new unified voice to support the dynamic hospitality sector to deliver its full growth potential”.
The BHA and the ALMR are to merge as UKHospitality, which will actively speak out for the UK’s third largest private sector employer. The new body will “champion the breadth of innovative and vibrant hospitality businesses across the UK, giving an authoritative voice to over 700 companies and 65,000 venues”.
Entering its 30th year of exhibiting, The Restaurant Show 2017 is an eminent trade event catering to those owning, operating and working in restaurants, hotels, bars, pubs and other hospitality establishments throughout the UK.
Incorporating Bar & Pub, Conscious Hospitality and Catering Equipment Expo, the Restaurant Show 2017 featured over 450 suppliers. All offering products, ideas and networking opportunities for anyone involved in the industry.
There was plenty to keep everyone entertained and informed. It included live events, with culinary demonstrations, premier competitions and seminars addressing key industry trends, innovations and new talent.
The Show provided a daily Business Insights session. Here leading industry experts discussed the latest industry news, trends and controversial issues. These included how pubs can continue to stay relevant in the face of changing consumer behaviour.
There were also talks on wine tasting, serving tea and coffee, food presentation and the rise of the flexitarian. This is a cross between veggie lovers and carnivores who choose vegetable-based dishes mid-week and save sustainably-produced high quality meat for special occasions.
Bar & Pub Show
The Bar & Pub Show also hosted seminars with the focus on getting the most profit from serving drinks. Topics ranged from sake to cocktails. Did you know that 9.2 million consumers regularly choose cocktails at the bar making it a £499m category?
There was also a discussion on raising the bar with premiumisation. This is catering for young people, who simply don’t drink like we used to. Thus they are looking for more than just a cheap pub or bar.
Rob Fink, Founder of Big Drop Brewing explained that “more and more adults are moderating their alcohol consumption… including the 18-24 age group, in which 1 in 5 are teetotal, so pubs and bars have to adapt to stay relevant. But whilst people…are also being more demanding about their choice of drink and craft beers have been instrumental in making people think differently and expect more from their beer.”
Restaurant Show 2017 Awards
The Restaurant Show also hosted the National Chef of the Year and The Young National Chef of the Year competition. These have been running since 1972 and are considered the UK’s most respected and sought-after culinary titles.
After a two-hour cook-off in front of a packed audience The National Chef of the Year 2018 was awarded to Luke Selby for his starter of sea vegetable minestrone, mussels and farfalle pasta with a poached scallop, British caviar and a lemongrass scented buttermilk sauce. His main course was roasted fallow deer, blackberry, celeriac, sprouts and bacon served with a venison sauce finished with chocolate. And for dessert warm walnut almondine, ginger infused bramley purée, caramelised cox apple filled with apple compote with cinnamon and ginger ice cream.
Other competitions included the UK Pastry Open and Kikkoman Masters. While three Compass Chef of the Year events focused on apprentice, junior and senior chefs.
The Restaurant Show 2017 lived up to all expectations. The industry is expanding and adapting constantly to changes in legislation, governmental policies and the impact of Brexit. This Show gave visitors and exhibitors the ideal opportunity to discuss issues relevant to the future of the hospitality industries under Olympia’s roof