Tag Archives: Pubs
According to statistics from the ONS, visitor numbers to the UK are slightly down year on year by about 2%; with 2.9 million overseas visits in March 2019.
However, 2018 was a record-breaking year in terms of tourists so the figures are not in any way alarming.
Between January and March 2019, there were 7.8 million inbound visits to the UK. This is just 1% below the inbound visits in the same period in 2018. Overall, overseas visitors to the UK spent £22.7 B in the twelve months to March 2019. This is down a more worrying 8% compared to the previous twelve-month period.
In June and July, tourism gave a huge boost to the economy with the hosting of the Cricket World Cup. Hampshire County Cricket Club hosted five matches in the long-awaited tournament. This brought a total of £18.3 million to Southampton alone. While Birmingham is predicted to generate a staggering £32.1 million from the tournament.
Many of the fans have travelled from Pakistan and India to watch the cricket. The recent India versus Pakistan match witnessing a staggering 750,000 applications for the 26,000-seat stadium. The importance of sporting global events in terms of boosting the economy cannot be underestimated.
At the end of June, the government announced a deal to prepare Britain for an extra 9 million visitors per year. This is heralded as a major boost for the pub and hospitality sectors in particular. A Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board will be created to promote and market hospitality jobs as viable career options. A three-year industry led skills and recruitment campaign will also be funded.
In addition, local tourism zones will be created alongside a new business events strategy and more investment in infrastructure. The deal will also support the creation of 10,000 new apprenticeships for anyone building a career in tourism or hospitality.
Hospitality sector trade body UK Hospitality hailed it as a landmark moment as chief executive, Kate Nicholls explains. “This sector deal marks a tremendous moment for all of us in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries. The move will be absolutely critical in changing the perception of the sector within Government and the wider public opinion, and acknowledges hospitality is key to the country’s economic growth.”
The Rise of Chinese Visitors
Finally, China’s rising wealth has resulted in a huge growth of tourism abroad, making Chinese people the world’s most abundant tourists. A new travel trends study by TripAdvisor reveals that travellers from China have shown one of the biggest increases in views of UK destinations, with an increase of 133% in Chinese travellers.
“Overall, these results are great news for the UK hospitality industry – we’re seeing real growth in interest from many countries and resoundingly good reviews from travellers,” said Fabrizio Orlando, industry relations manager, TripAdvisor.
Summer is well and truly upon us with the seasonal sporting tournaments reaching their conclusions and the temperatures finally rising. This means that eateries are eagerly anticipating a rising number of visitors; and with competition fierce, new restaurant food trends are emerging to give restaurants the edge over their competitors.
As expected, due to the barbeque season, there have been price increases in home-produced lamb, beef and poultry. France has shown unexpected interest in UK lamb and imported beef is in shorter supply. As a result, suppliers are advising alternative cuts. These not only make use of the whole animal but are representing better value.
With crab prices high, due in part to a high demand from China, native lobsters are being perceived as at an interesting alternative. Native king scallops have taken over from queen scallops, which should be avoided due to sustainability issues.
The berry season in Britain has got off to a flying start with excellent growing conditions. With the tradition of Wimbledon, strawberries have come into their own followed by raspberries, blueberries and blackberries as crops ripen. Some restaurants are using fresh berries to flavour and garnish cocktails and other fancy drinks as well as incorporating them into desserts.
As far as vegetables are concerned, Jersey Royal potatoes are extremely good quality and value this year. This is a relief after the weather adversely affected last year’s overall potato crop.
Mushrooms have, well, mushroomed in popularity with a range of varieties available across the summer. Morels, St George’s and puffballs are joined by the Scottish-grown girolle mushrooms which are due in season in August, bringing a fresh and fruity tang to dishes.
Vegan Tops All
Millennials introduced us to the term influencers and as a genre, they are responsible for a change in tastes. Compared with a year ago, customers are looking for healthier options, driven by millennials.
One restaurant chain that has seen this change is Greene King, with boss Nick Mackenzie explaining that veganism is becoming increasingly popular in his pubs. He says: “it isn’t just millennials but on a wider basis consumer trends are shifting. Most of our menus have vegan options and healthy eating is a big part of it. The trend in veganism is one that will continue.”
On the theme of veganism, a few hitherto unknown items are hitting the headlines. Watch out for aquafaba, the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas that used to go down the drain and is now whipped into an egg replacer for baked goods and sauces. Or in the chocolate mousse pictured.
Meanwhile America is going nuts over the health benefits of tea made from avocado leaves. Whether or not this will take off over here remains to be seen; but the beauty spotting potential restaurant foods trends is some never get beyond a fad.
A fun quiz to start this week triggered by the question what’s in season now. The answer is at the bottom of the page.
- Who represented Ireland more than once at the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1980s?
- What bird does anserine refer to?
- Which actor had the starring role in Walker, Texas Ranger?
- Finally, what one word links these answers? Read on for clues!
Now, what’s in season currently? It’s a good time for asparagus, basil and beetroot which are reaching their prime in terms of ripeness and taste. Carrots and courgettes are at their best over the next two months and we are beginning to see blackberries and blackcurrants ripen.
Artichokes and cherries are coming along nicely as are broad beans and broccoli, not to mention the seasonal favourites of redcurrants and raspberries.
One berry that may not be very well known is the tayberry which should be ready for picking by the end of July. Similar to the loganberry, the tayberry is a cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry.
Cone-shaped, it has a strong aromatic flavour and is named after Scotland’s Tay River. If you want to know what one tastes like, try Waterhouse Fayre who produces an amazing array of jams from hybrids such as tayberries, tummelberries and boysenberries. The berries are either grown on site or sourced from local growers in the South West.
Have you heard of samphire? There are two types of this sea vegetable – marsh and rock – but only marsh samphire is widely available. Marsh samphire has vibrant green stalks, similar to baby asparagus, with a distinctively crisp and salty taste. It can be used raw in salad, though it tends to be very salty so it is more often boiled or steamed for a few minutes.
But the good news is that it is now ready for consumption! Head over to Devon and visit Riverford if you want to buy samphire that has been grown in an organically certified Devon field that was flooded by the sea.
Finally, it’s what you’ve been waiting for: the great British marrow is almost ripe! Marrows are commonly cultivated in the British Isles but it is the marrow growing competitions that send people into a frenzy. The British record is held by a marrow that weighed 171lbs. By the way, the courgette is actually just an immature marrow. If you head to Dorset, you can find all sorts of vegetables, maybe not of record-breaking dimensions, at Wessex Plants (1988) Ltd, a family business supplying professional growers, mainly in the South West of the UK. The present range of plants includes cabbage, cauliflower, calabrese, sprouts, leeks, onions and purple sprouting broccoli amongst others.
- Johnny Logan
- Chuck Norris
What links them all? They’re all berries of course and with Wimbledon started, so has the season for strawberries and cream.
The Women’s World Cup is underway which gives us something to watch while the UK slowly drowns in the worst June weather in decades. The host country, France, is home over the next few weeks to 24 teams from six confederations with 17 matches scheduled to be played.
2019 is the eighth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with France winning the right to host the event for the first time. Matches are being played in nine cities across France.
The United States enters the competition as defending champions and firm favourites. Scotland, Chile, Jamaica and South Africa are making their Women’s World Cup debuts. Other teams include France, United States, Germany, England, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Norway, South Korea, China PR, Italy, New Zealand, Argentina, Nigeria and Cameroon.
If you were wondering, the emblem mimics the shape of the World Cup trophy football surrounded by eight decorative shards of light. This symbolises the eighth edition of the Women’s World Cup. Ettie is the mascot. According to FIFA she is “a young chicken with a passion for life and football…the daughter of Footix, the official mascot of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.” How charming to see such a family-oriented tournament.
So what are the talking points of the Women’s World Cup so far? A 13-goal fiasco from the United States team have sent fans into a frenzy. The Americans celebrated every goal with expected exuberance, adding on a fair few minutes to the end of the game. With this historic win over Thailand, the USA squad has taken the record for the biggest winning margin in a World Cup. That was previously held by Germany, who beat Argentina 11-0 in 2007.
Although as we go to press the World Cup virgins (Chile, Jamaica, Scotland and South Africa) have racked up nil points so far. But they are all performing well and are proving the theme of the World Cup slogan – Dare to Shine. And the attendance has been excellent throughout all of the venues, with the Netherlands fans seemingly the most avid. Their orange dominates the colour scene in the host French cities. Over 30,000 Netherlands fans packed PSV’s stadium against Australia.
Players to watch out for include Nikita Parris from England. Head coach, Phil Neville, claims that she could develop into one of the world’s best players. Parris scored the opening goal of England’s Women’s World Cup campaign in their 2-1 win over Scotland on Sunday. She was the Women’s Super League’s all-time top scorer last season with Manchester City before moving to European champions Lyon.
The competition concludes on 9 July 2019 where the winners will take the biggest prize in women’s football. And with the viewing figures for the Women’s World Cup, eight times that of men’s cricket, there must be an opportunity for catering businesses.
In the past, fast food or food-to-go comprised a burger, chips, pizza, chicken or a sandwich grabbed from a supermarket. Today, the choice is immense and growing rapidly.
Food-to-go is defined as a product that is ordered, bought and collected (or delivered) over the counter usually a portable single portion, designed for out-of-home consumption and not served on a plate.
According to the HIM and MCA UK Food To Go Market Report 2019, the UK market is set to be worth £21.2bn in 2019. This is 3% up on the previous year.
Evolution of Taste
This evolution of the food-to-go requires innovation and diversity and the industry is responding fast. When searching for a snack, more than a third (34%) of consumers look for a healthy product; while almost half (49%) say they would chose a savoury snack over a sugary option (Mintel 2018).
Both food-to-go specialists and leading supermarkets have seen a strong recent focus on hot food with consumers preferring this over the traditional lunchtime sandwich and crisps. However, sandwiches still hold a massive market share. The traditional egg and cress or tuna and sweetcorn fillings are being challenged by more adventurous choices. These include chimichurri flatbread pockets, halloumi toasts and avocado with vegan dressing.
The trend for more interesting, nutritious, healthier food has been fuelled hugely by social media. In particular Instagram, which acts as a visual diet platform. Users are constantly posting images of their food. The key influencers are having a significant impact on food trends, especially among the younger generation. If it looks good in a photo, it’s good enough to eat!
It’s not just menus that are being adapted – key catering companies are changing the way that they operate too. For instance, brewery S.A. Brain & Co has invested heavily in the development of chef talent with the launch of the Skills Hub and Creative Kitchen (SHACK). This is a state-of-the-art training concept set to benefit its own kitchens and those of the wider industry.
Based in Cardiff, SHACK includes equipment trials and training on food-specific creations, menu launches and essential kitchen techniques. This 24-week programme involves category management, recipe building, market research and capacity management.
The changes can also be seen in more traditional events such as the Iftar. This is the historic breaking-the-fast meal during the month of Ramadan. According to a report in Eastern Eye, plates of curry, biriani, samosas and pakoras are giving way to lighter and healthier options. More restaurants are now catering to the trend with small plates menus for sharing.
The report says there is less of an appetite for fried and fatty foods and a shift towards grilled meats, salads and sharing desserts. This is particularly among young Muslims after 19 hours each day of going without food and drink.
Many pop-up kitchens, fast food outlets and catering vans are embracing new food-to-go trends and challenges. Food festivals are on the rise in virtually every city in the UK at some point in the year. People are more willing than ever to experiment with new tastes, from vegan to meat-free to tastes from other continents.
Food is seasonal and spring is the time for new crops to be harvested. There is an abundance of all-year round produce which we enjoy as part of our staple diets, such as potatoes, onions, beef, bananas, chicken and cabbage.
But some food sparks great anticipation. Not least in this category is asparagus which is coming in to fruition as we speak.
Around the world, we herald the arrival of this humble vegetable with excitement and even festivals. The British Asparagus Festival, celebrates the start of the asparagus season where a fleet of vintage cars takes the crop to its final destination from the Vale of Evesham.
From Asparagus to Lamb
Asparagus is the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant. It is one of the delicacies of the vegetable world although it is notoriously labour intensive to grow. French asparagus is purple, the British and American varieties are green whereas in Spain and Holland, asparagus is white. And as far as nutrition goes, all types have high levels of vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and calcium.
Other food coming in May includes strawberries, gooseberries, carrots and tomatoes. At their very best are spring greens, sorrel, peas, new potatoes, halibut, crab, rhubarb and of course, spring lamb. Spring lamb, also called early or summer lamb, is three to five months old.
Also keep an eye out for aubergines, the fruit that thinks it’s a vegetable and which has gained new interest with the vegan and vegetarian options now readily available. Although it is native to South-East Asia, it now grows all over the world with a huge range of varieties from the bulbous, glossy, deep purple zeppelin-shaped version to the scarcely-bigger-than-a-pea variety.
Fruit Picker Shortage?
Last summer, the great British farming community began to raise concern about fruit pickers. The majority of pickers come from abroad on a seasonal basis. In fact, according to the National Farmers Union, only 1% of the annual 60,000 seasonal farm workers are British. The industry relies on overseas labour which they worry will be deeply affected by Brexit. The vast majority come from Eastern Europe, particularly Bulgaria and Romania. With a stay of execution until Halloween, the farmers might breathe a sigh of relief for this year, but the problem still looms.
Last year, labour shortages driven by economic shifts affected strawberry crops in particular; with produce left rotting in the fields and hydroponic poly-tunnels. At the time, there was also a reported 30 to 40% shortfall in labour.
Some are campaigning for a seasonal agricultural workers scheme that could include countries outside of the EU. This would allow pickers to come and work for a defined and limited period of time as a solution. Or some maintain that the best way to avoid a crisis is to entice more Brits to work the field. The early hours, long days, physical toll and seasonality are offset by the joy of working in the open air and earning as much as you can pick.
The weather is changing and the nights are getting lighter, which can only mean one thing…summer. And with summer comes festivals, in particular food festivals, and we have gathered some of the best to consider.
Music or Not?
The Big Feastival is taking place on Alex James’ Farm in the Cotswolds from Friday 23 August to Monday 26. It will welcome some of the world’s top chefs. They will demonstrate their expertise in cooking skills live on The NEFF Big Kitchen stage. Raymond Blanc and Tom Brown are just two of the names who will headline, together with a host of music acts including the Zutons, Elbow and the Fun Lovin Criminals. Look out for the Collaboration Kitchen. Here special edition dishes will be served up with all proceeds going to Charity Partner, Action Against Hunger.
The Food Rocks festival will take place on 7-8 September 2019 in Lyme Regis. This presents some of the best food, producers and suppliers that Dorset and the South West has to offer. The festival brings together top chefs, exhibitors, locals. The main stage will showcase a diverse mix of interactive cookery demonstrations, talks and tastings across the weekend. Highlights include the Glenarm Estate beef supper club and the crab and mackerel supper club
Venue-based Food Festivals
Smoked & Uncut at THE PIG near Bath on 15 June features a line-up of handpicked classic and contemporary artists, including Imelda May and the Kaiser Chiefs, home-made festi-food, local ales and cocktails. Family style feasts will feature heavily with the focus on alfresco dining under canvas. While Mark’s ‘Ruby Murray House’ which will be dishing up indulgent home-style Indian curry.
24 and 25 August sees The River Cottage Festival taking place at River Cottage HQ, Axminster with food, music, talks, master-classes and a host of children’s activities. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free food will be available and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall himself will be in attendance.
Coming Together Locally in May
Moving across the border, the Caernarfon Food Festival is on May 11 2019. It promises to be “perfect for foodies to explore the food and drink producers from the local area.” The event will feature market stalls of food and drink, live cooking demonstrations and freshly cooked street food, celebrating local food and drink produce. There will also be live music from local bands, artists and choirs.
Also in May (18-19) is the Spring Tide Food Festival on Hive Beach near Bridport. This is a food festival jam-packed full of activities and things to eat and drink. The aim of the festival is to combine the network of artisan food and drink producers from Somerset, East Devon and Dorset to “welcome in the new season of food and ingredients in style, to celebrate the pleasure that can be had in the growing and cultivation, the production and cooking and consumption of tasty food and drink.”
Any Reason to Hold a Festival?
Finally, there must be a mention of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling on May 27, 2019 when a 4kg cheese is thrown off a terrifyingly steep hill chased by people in Brockworth, Gloucester. In theory, the aim of cheese-rolling is to be the first person to catch the wheel of cheese; but nowadays, the majority of people participate in the event to raise money for local charities and other good causes.
Lots of food festivals this summer in the South West of England and South Wales. So if you’re a catering business, think what food festival could you hold this summer to boost trade? Or where you might go as a mobile caterer?
Here are some interesting facts that you may not know about the Great British pub industry. Not only are there 49,500 pubs in the UK but beer and pubs contribute £22bn to the UK’s GDP. They generate £13bn in tax revenue with the sector supporting around 900,000 jobs. At any given time, 0.7% of the world is drunk which makes 50 million people drunk right now!
Last week, Olympia played host to PUB19, the only dedicated show for the UK pub industry. With 200 exhibitors and a host of seminars, PUB19 offered an important opportunity to keep up-to-date with the latest trends, share ideas, network and gain inspiration. First launched in 2015 to celebrate the UK pub industry’s innovations, products, trends, services and people; PUB brings together key trade associations, decision makers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, pub owners and pub companies.
Pub19 Talks and Workshops
This year was a huge success, with great attention paid to the talks and workshops. These ranged from improving the pub experience, using social media and offering the latest in pub food trends. One talk that proved popular was entitled Profit is in the Kitchen held in the PUB Trends Bar, in partnership with Fever-Tree. It focused on making sure the kitchen is as profitable and efficient as possible to make food enticing, appetising and current.
Another insightful talk came from Tim Martin, veteran pub landlord and founder and chairman of Britain’s largest pub chain, J D Wetherspoon. Growth in the Face of Adversity shared his views on the recipe for success, deserting social media and the impact of Brexit. With uncertainty ahead, he motioned the changes that must be met whatever the outcome of the move.
The Taste Table was particularly popular. Tastings emerged as the most popular consumer experience for pub-goers according to the 2019 PUB Trends Survey. The hands-on sessions were aimed at those looking for advice, training and inspiration around great food and drink.
The sessions were targeted at keeping visitors up-to-date with the latest trends. They included tastings of alcohol free spirits, or distilled botanicals. This is one of the fastest growing segment of the entire drinks industry; with the value of alcohol free spirits sold in the UK growing from £17.5 million to £25.9 million in the year to June 2018. However, there was probably more attendance at the gin tasting event!
More Useful Facts
To end, here are a few more facts to digest: around 13 million tourists visit pubs every year. 82% of the beer sold in the UK is made in the UK. 20 million pints of beer are enjoyed every day brewed from the 1113 breweries operating in Britain. And my particular favourite: there is a cloud of alcohol in outer space which is enough to make four trillion-trillion drinks. Let it rain.
PUB20 is already in place for next February. So be sure you book the days to visit or exhibit well in advance.
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.