Tag Archives: Pubs


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.


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


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.


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


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.


Published Date: 23rd May 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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PUB17 at Olympia Show Report

PUB17 Show LogoA recent report from Oxford Economics (OE), commissioned by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), has found that the beer and pub industry in Britain employs nearly 900,000 people with a contribution of £23.1bn to the British economy. There are more than 49,000 pubs across the country. With more pubs now serving food as a profitable sideline, there is great interest in this sector.

So as the only dedicated trade show for the pub industry in the UK, you would expect PUB17 to be popular. And to the delight but not the surprise of the organisers, it was bigger and more attended than ever before, showing an 8% increase year on year.

The two-day show took place at Olympia from 7 to 8 February, with more than 3,700 visitors coming through the doors. Over 200 exhibitors showcased their products and dozens of free-to-attend talks from the leading lights of the industry took place. The talks were categorised into three areas: the Taste Table, the PUB Theatre and the Margin Masterclass.

Relevant Seminars

These talks targeted current and relevant issues, from Brexit to recruitment and retention in the hospitality industry. Wotzon gave a masterclass on a new app that lets user find out everything they want to know about a pub, and Borough Wines tapped into the potential of using kegged wines.

One of the most direct talks came from JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin  who argued that two taxes are killing pubs – business rates and VAT. He advocated that the “industry campaigns to prioritise excise duty help supermarkets as well as pubs”.

Supermarkets pay about 2% of their sales as business rates whereas pubs are assessed for business rates at about 12% of sales. By the same equation, pubs pay 20% VAT on food sales, whereas supermarkets pay almost nothing. He went on to state that “the message from the industry needs to ring out loud and clear – lower excise duty is important, but tax equality is paramount.

Great Success

PUB17 was a great success with visitors, exhibitors and organisers all satisfied with the turnout and the feedback. George Nightingale, owner of Spoken Bar in Exmouth, said: “PUB17 was a showcase of must-have brands in the industry, but most importantly some of the latest products and innovations.”

Sam Gunn, PUB17 marketing manager said: “PUB17 was another fantastic show and we are thrilled with the results. Its success is testament to the importance of providing a show dedicated to pubs, which keeps publicans up-to-date with trends, provides them with new ideas and insight, and networking opportunities with like-minded individuals.”

PUB18 will return to London on 6th and 7th February 2018.


Published Date: 21st February 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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Three for the Price of One

Restaurant Show 2016 plus Bar ShowThe Restaurant Show 2016, billed as the ultimate destination for the hospitality industry to connect, celebrate and discover, took place last week at Olympia in London.

Over three days, the exhibition attracted some of the most well-known chefs and decision-makers in the industry as well as hordes of visitors!

This year, the show was held in conjunction with two other exhibitions. The Bar & Pub Show, delivered in partnership with The Morning Advertiser, and The Conscious Hospitality Show. In addition, The Restaurant Show also included a new dedicated area, Catering Equipment Expo to showcase the latest trends in the presentation of food and drink from around the world.

Bar & Pub Show

The Bar & Pub Show was a huge success, catering for those involved in the management and ownership of UK pubs and bars. Live events covered a range of relevant issues including design, front of house and tableware and entertainment providers. In short anything that could boost the financial opportunities for the great British pub trade.

The Conscious Hospitality Show highlighted the changes in how people view their food. The age of the conscious consumer has arrived and the show discussed a variety of topics, including health and nutrition, responsible sourcing, sustainability and ethical business practices.

Restaurant Show 2016

A major highlight of the Restaurant Show 2016 was the live line-ups, featuring some of the industry’s most exciting names, led by Phil Vickery, who showcased their signature dishes.

The OpenTable Insights session on running and growing a restaurant featured insights, real-life success stories and advice. The favourite event appeared to be the World Steak Challenge, where visitors had the opportunity to sample the world’s best steak! Edible insects were also a popular attraction.

The introduction of a new area, the Liquid Hub gave visitors the opportunity to learn about alternative drinks, with an interesting talk on the popularity of Japanese sake and new wines from unusual climates.

A range of topics were discussed on the main stage. This included a fascinating discussion on how to capture a slice of the lucrative family dining market, where the psychology of eating out as a family was presented.

As usual, Restaurant Show 2016 heralded an impressive line-up of expert speakers and passionate visitors. Along with the other shows, Olympia was once again bombarded by hordes of eager visitors. The next Restaurant Show has already been lined up for October 2017 so put it in your diary now.


Published Date: 11th October 2016
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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lunch! and Food Entrepreneur Show

Lunch LogoSeptember is often seen as a relaxing month: schools reopen, summer is over and we don’t have to worry about Christmas yet. It is also a good month for exhibitions. Two of the finest food events are lunch! 2016  and the Food Entrepreneur Show.

You’ve already missed lunch! 2016 which took place last week at the Business Design Centre in London and was attended by thousands of food and drink buyers. Billed as “the UK’s biggest and multi-award winning show for the food-to-go trade”, visitors included food-to-go operators, food retailers, and contract caterers, as well as a representation from independent and multiple cafés, coffee shops and sandwich shops.

Expert Keynotes

Two keynote theatres were set up for eminent speakers to address current issues that affect the industry. High profile companies such as Starbucks and Costa Coffee offered advice, with seminars on a variety of subjects, including attracting and retaining customers, the future of hot food to go, winning the lunchtime competition battle and how to launch a successful cafe business.

Over 350 exhibiting companies showcased a range of food, drink, packaging, catering equipment and technology. New exhibitors included Nestle Waters UK, Pukka Herbs, Florette UK + Ireland, Tails Cocktails, Dragonfly Foods, and the Tao Family.

Innovation Challenge

The show also saw the return of the Innovation Challenge Awards for the most innovative products in the food-to-go sector. The Start Up Zone was hugely popular with visitors able to interact with a range of new start-up companies from across the sector. The Zone gave the opportunity to experience innovative products launching in the industry from companies that are not normally found at trade shows.

If you missed lunch! this year then make sure you book up for next year to be held at ExCel in London. The show has an impressive amount of awards: it was shortlisted for Best UK Trade Show Exhibition over 2,000sqm by the Association of Event Organisers’ Excellence Awards 2016. It won Best Trade Show at the Exhibition News Awards in 2014 and was shortlisted for Best Trade Show and Best Trade Show Marketing Campaign in 2015.

Food Entrepreneur ShowThere’s still time for you to get to The Food Entrepreneur Show 2016 on 27 and 28 September 2016 at ExCeL London, the number one event for business growth and expansion in the food profession. 150 expert speakers are booked and there are over 200 suppliers exhibiting.

Take your business to the next level by attending the seminars: for instance, are you playing the right music in your restaurant? Have you got your own brand mobile app? Is your restaurant’s ordering system ready?

If the answer to any of these questions is no then the Food Entrepreneur Show is for you! Incorporating the Takeaway and Restaurant Innovation Expo and the Restaurant Design Show as well as Street Food Live, the event is a must for all those involved in the restaurant business.


Published Date: 27th September 2016
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What’s on in South Wales This Summer?

South Wales eventsA little known fact about South Wales is that it is the most densely populated region in the southwest of the UK, containing nearly 75% of the Welsh population.

The region embraces the cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport with the Brecon Beacons national park covering about a third of South Wales. That’s the geography … now what happening in South Wales in the summer?

There is always plenty going on in South Wales, with the holiday season drawing hordes of visitors to the coast and August is jam-packed with events and occasions for everyone. From the 12 to 14 August, the Brecon Jazz Weekend 2016 is taking place with more than 20 concerts held at major venues in the town, namely Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon Guildhall, Castle Hotel, Brecon Cathedral and The Muse. A veritable treat for jazz fans, the event will also feature a Food Feast and Brecon Farmers Market for anyone who gets peckish during the performances.

Festivals and Feasts

If it’s a big and diverse event you are looking for, head for Coopers Field, Cardiff on Saturday 13 August 2016 for the annual Pride Cymru. The Pride Cymru parade returns for a fifth year followed by a main stage line-up that includes the first ever PugFest Pride! The emphasis is on fun and enjoyment so there will be fairground rides, food and drink and an assortment of market stalls.

If you go down to the woods…

Fancy something a little more diverse? Then make your way to the Brecon Beacons between 18 and 21 August for the Green Man Festival. “Where mystical ley lines converge amid ancient Welsh oak trees, something magical is stirring” according to the website. So if you want to drink, make merry until dawn, then Green Man is the place to be. Or if you want to sample some excellent Welsh food, then this is also a good place to do it. From beefburgers to caviar and laverbread, there is a feast for all. The venue also promises crab meat burgers and mackerel masala dahl!

And keeping with the food theme, 20 August sees the Menai Seafood Festival taking place in Anglesey. The event is being held to “celebrate North Wales’s coastal heritage and the abundance of seafood and fish available around the shores of Anglesey”. There will be cooking demonstrations from acclaimed Welsh chefs as well as a local produce market. There will also be interactive educational activities including seafood safaris.

Being Wales, the summer itinerary has to have a sporting theme and so the 21st Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival is taking place between the 21 and 28 August in Cardiff. Billed as the most popular and longest-running veteran rugby tournament in the world, Golden Oldies is for all rugby teams and groups of mates over 35 who want to be involved in the world’s premier rugby event. Over 100 teams from 25 countries have already entered for the week-long celebration of rugby.

And finally, try something completely different or at least go along and watch the World Bogsnorkelling Championships on 28 August in Llanwrtyd Wells. The championship has been heralded by Lonely Planet as one of the top 50 “must do” things from around the world in 2014. The event attracts entrants from around the world and to accommodate all visitors, the town puts on a huge welcome with food and drink stalls, crafts, a bouncy castle, live music and a real ale and cider bar on the site.

So there’s plenty to do in South Wales this summer, and plenty of opportunities to taste some good solid Welsh food. Which is why AC Services is happy to support its South Wales clients keeping people fed whatever they do!


Published Date: 9th August 2016
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South West Cheese Producers

South West CheeseGive me a good sharp knife and a good sharp cheese and I’m a happy man.” Wise words indeed from Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin, but even he would be spoiled for choice if he ventured down amongst our South West cheese.

Gloucestershire, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall are renowned for their regional foods and cheese is integral to the menus of each region. We are all familiar with Cheddar and Gloucester Red varieties, but throw in a Dunlop or a Forest Oak and it gets more intriguing!

From Gloucester to Cornwall

Woefuldane Organic Dairy is a small family-run business in Gloucestershire which produces organic cheeses, such as Dunlop. The cheese was originally from a town called Dunlop in Ayrshire, then Woefuldane bought the setup 20 years ago when the original supplier sold up. From an ancient recipe, the cheese is now produced in Gloucestershire with a buttery texture and strong flavour.

Another favourite cheese is Forest Oak, which started life as a cloth ripened Dunlop. According to the company, “Forest Oak is smoked twice over oak chips at Severn & Wye Smokery in the Forest of Dean and this is noticeable in its rich yet subtle smoky taste and wonderful crumbly texture”.

Moving down to Dorset, the Woolsery Cheese Company has been the home of award-winning cheeses since 1992, with all produce suitable for vegetarians and gluten free. As well as flavours such as Meadowsweet soft cheese and English Herb Cheese, the company also regularly produces new flavours, including the soft mould ripened cheese, Nanette, which won Silver at the Taste of the West Cheese Awards. This traditionally handmade camembert style cheese ripens to give a white moulded rind with a firmer centre. What makes the company unique however is the launch of cheese wedding cakes to order!

Dorset Red Cheese

Still in Dorset, cheese lovers must taste the Ford Farm’s Dorset Red, a smoked cheese from cows on the company’s West Dorset Estate. Ford claims the cheese is “smooth and velvety, subtly infused with tones of smoked oak, reminiscent of barbecues and long, lazy summer days. Once bitten, forever smitten!” Other flavours include Cave Aged (a cloth-bound Cheddar aged deep within the Wookey Holes Caves), Billies’ Goat Cheddar and Oakwood smoked Cheddar.

In the Devon town of Newton St Cyres is Quickes, boasting a cheese-making legacy of nearly five centuries. 14 generations of the same family have been handcrafting cheeses from specially-bred cows on the farm, producing artisanal cheddar to suit every palate, from the Quicke’s Buttery cheddar to Quicke’s Mature and the two-year-matured Quicke’s Vintage.

Finally, Cornwall boasts a huge choice of cheeses, including the nettle covered Cornish Yarg which is only produced by Lynher Dairies in Ponsanooth in Cornwall but is exported over the world. 2016/17 will see the launch of the newest cheese, Cornish Kern, which is made to a different recipe and is longer maturing with a black waxy rind. The company also produces the Wild Garlic Cornish Yarg.

Cheese is a great British favourite and with so many varieties and flavours to choose from, the South West of England is way up there in cheese manufacture. So there can be no excuses really to prevent the region’s pubs, cafes and restaurants from showcasing truly local South West cheese on their menus.


Published Date: 12th July 2016
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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Restaurant and Pub Sector News

Restaurant and pub sectorThe news from the restaurant and pub sector is mixed this quarter. Currently the opening weekend of Euro 2016 has seen UK pub revenues increase 26%, with three of the home nations competing in France. The figures are in comparison with an average non-sporting weekend in June.

Unsurprisingly for a nation that hasn’t competed in a major football tournament since 1958, Wales saw the biggest increase, with pub sales up 41% on the 2015 average. Northern Ireland pubs also saw a significant 29% increase in sales, which is expected to increase as their win against the Ukraine excited fans to fever pitch!

The weather has also incentivised people to get out and about at the beginning of the month and if things go to plan, we may well have all three teams in the next round which is guaranteed to boost the profits in all pubs and restaurants around the UK.

Jacyn Heavens, founder of Epos Now, said: “Given that average takings for a summer weekend are typically high anyway, these increases underline the huge level of interest in Euro 2016…that highlight the tremendous power of live football as a revenue driver for pubs.

Dining Out

However, dining figures are not so buoyant. Latest figures released by the Coffer Peach Business Tracker have revealed that collective like-for-like sales for the major casual-dining groups  were down 5.6% in May. This is in comparison to the same month 2015, and it marks the biggest fall in two years.

Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA Peach, said: “Overall, casual-dining chains suffered most, with collective like-for-likes down… while pub groups actually saw a 1% increase in same store sales for the month, driven mainly by drink-led outlets which were up 4.5%. It was definitely a tale of two markets last month.

Reasons cited for the decline included a delayed school half-term break, which fell in June this year, against May last year and uncertainty caused by the EU referendum.

Restaurant Awards

However, the sector is continuing to perform to the best of its ability and 27th June sees the Hurlingham Club hosting the The National Restaurant Awards, one of the most prestigious and eagerly anticipated events in the restaurant calendar.

A panel of countrywide industry experts will choose the 100 best restaurants in the UK. The awards recognise a range of food outlets, including tapas bars, steakhouses, French fine dining restaurants and neighbourhood bistros, as well as the UK’s best Italian, Spanish and Indian restaurants and the best gastropub.

The restaurant and pub sector is constantly competing to survive. A summer of sporting elitism with the football and the forthcoming Olympics is a welcome boost for the industry, and although there is a consensus of uncertainty as to the pros and cons of Brexit, the outcome is hoped to bring renewed activity in the hospitality business.


Published Date: 21st June 2016
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The Summer of Sport 2016

Summer of Sport Euro 2016It’s only just over a week to wait until the summer of sport kicks off with the Euro 2016 football tournament on 10th June.

The next major global event is in August with the Rio Olympic Games.

As usual, the supermarkets have been the first to alert the expectant British public with point-of-sale displays popping up everywhere, with a glut of useless, but must-have paraphernalia to complement the beer and food deals.

Incidentally, for those collecting the Panini sticker book, it has been calculated that it would cost over £600 to fill an entire book and that’s without duplicates!

Euro 2016

For both England and Wales fans, the 2016 Euro tournament starts in earnest on Saturday 11th June at 5pm, when Wales take on the Slovakian team in Bordeaux followed by England battling it out in Marseille against Russia at 8pm. The crunch match will be 16th June in Lens, when the two home teams face each other. The final matches will take place on the 20th June. Will the outcome affect the voting outcome in the EU referendum a few days later? Only results will tell.

Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are the men expected to do their duty alongside the more experienced Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Joe Hart. Coach Roy Hodgson says “he is not afraid to give youngsters a chance” which is why he has included 18 year-old Rashford in the squad. Let’s hope he doesn’t have as much cause to regret it as Sven-Goran Eriksson did with Walcott, a decade ago.

Road to Rio

The tournament concludes on 10th July but for die-hard sports fans, the summer of sport continues with an extra treat. The Road to Rio is almost at its destination and 5th August sees the opening ceremony in Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

For lovers of statistics, a record number of countries are taking part in a record number of sports. Kosovo and South Sudan are competing for the first time and there are more than 10,500 athletes expected to turn up. Newly-introduced events include rugby sevens and golf, with the events spread across 33 venues in the host city Rio and at five venues in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília and Manaus.

Rio will go down in history as the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics and these are the first Games since 2000 to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.

The success of the infrastructure will only be seen when the athletes and visitors start arriving but a massive urban waterfront renovation project has been ongoing. This includes 430 miles of public networks for water supply, sanitation, drainage, electricity, gas and telecoms; 2.5 miles of tunnels; 43 miles of roads; and three new sanitation treatment plants.

It is hoped that historic civil disturbances, the Zika virus and Rio’s notorious gun crime history will not affect visitors’ enjoyment of the Games.

Join the Elite

All eyes as usual will be on the elite track athletes, with the viewers’ favourites including Mo Farah. Greg Rutherford, Jessica Ennis-Hill and the mighty Usain Bolt. Rowing, swimming and cycling are a good bet for the British contingent, after a mighty medal haul four years ago in London. Eton Dornay became a household name when GB’s rowers won four gold, two silver and three bronze and hopes are high for Rio. Between 2013 and 2017 the sport has received the biggest proportion of UK Sport funding, a whopping £32.6m.

If you are catering for the 2016 Summer of Sport, make sure your Rational ovens are serviced and maintained regularly before the events start. The engineers at AC Services (Southern) are always ready to come out and repair any undue mishaps but pre-emptive measures are highly recommended. An emergency call-out during a crucial England or Welsh penalty shoot-out may not be fully appreciated.


Published Date: 31st May 2016
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