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Tue 26th Aug 2014 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Robert Cain Brewery owed unsecured creditors £44.6m: A long-awaited report by administrators of Liverpool-based Robert Cain Brewery, operated by Sudarghara and Ajmail Dusanj, shows the company owed unsecured creditors an estimated £44,628,841 when it went into administration in June 2013 – although there were no secured creditors. Administrator Begbies Traynor has reported that it believes there will be some sort of payment to creditors but “the timing and quantum” are unknown at this stage. The administration itself cost £102,858 in the first year. The administrator reported that £603,702 of book debts owed to Cains have been recovered. The administrator stated: “On appointment the company was holding significant stocks of lager and beer, both own-branded (mainly Cains) and supermarket-branded for particular supermarkets. We made approaches to all the supermarkets but none were able to commit to purchase the remaining stocks either because the quantities were too low to make it worthwhile or because the sell-by dates were relatively short. Additionally, the stock was all duty-suspended meaning that if the liquidators were to sell any stock we would have to account for the duty element to HMRC which, because the duty element was significant, means that the margins to be made were slim. We were able to negotiate sales of some of the non-supermarket stock to four unconnected parties for the combined sum of £43,440 plus VAT (before duty). Some of the Cains stock was sold to Freshfields, a connected party for £9,500. We worked closely with HMRC who allowed the liquidators additional time to sell as much of the stock as possible but once we exhausted all possible avenues the remaining stock was seized by HMRC under their statutory powers.” The Dusanj family plans to create a £150m Brewery Village complex at the Cains site, a craft brewery along with apartments, a boutique hotel, market, cinema and bar, which could be completed by summer 2016.

Industry News:

David Cameron blocks moves to stop pub opening at motorway service stations: Prime Minister David Cameron has blocked attempts by deputy Nick Clegg to crack down on moves to open pubs at motorway service stations. Nick Clegg is backing a move by Liberal Democrat Home Office Minister Norman Baker to close a loophole in the law that allows pubs on some major routes. But Liberal Democrat sources have told The Daily Mail that David Cameron is vetoing the measure – even though Home Secretary Theresa May and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin have given it the green light. JD Wetherspoon opened the first motorway pub at Beaconsfield services on the M40 in Buckinghamshire in January. Last month, Roadchef, which runs services at 20 sites, said it was considering launching its own pub.

Burger King and Tim Hortons in merger talks: Burger King has reported it is in merger talks with Tim Hortons, the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain. A merger would create the world’s third-largest fast-food company, with a stock market value of about $18bn (£10.9bn; €13.6bn). In early US stock market trading on Monday, Burger King’s shares were up by 15%, and those in Tim Hortons by 19%. The firms have said that any new group would have its headquarters in Canada, where corporate taxes are lower. The US corporate tax rate is 35%, but 26.5% in Ontario, Canada, where Tim Hortons is based. Burger King’s majority shareholder, 3G Capital, would stay in overall control.

McDonald’s president to step down in October: McDonald’s USA president Jeff Stratton will retire and be replaced in October by former Logan’s Roadhouse chief executive Mike Andres. Stratton, who is 58, said the decision to retire comes after 41 years with the company. “When I tapped Jeff to assume the role of McDonald’s USA president nearly two years ago, I asked him to lay the foundation for future growth in the US market,” McDonald’s chief executive Don Thompson said in a statement. “No one has worked more tirelessly to do that for this brand than Jeff. We are deeply grateful for his years of leadership and service, and wish him and his family all of the best.” Andres, whose prior experience includes three decades with McDonald’s, was most recently Logan’s Roadhouse chairman and chief executive, a position he held since February 2013.

FSA repeats egg advice amid salmonella link: The FSA has repeated advice for caterers on the safe handling of eggs. Strong circumstantial evidence suggests that eggs used in catering establishments may be linked to the recent outbreak of salmonella in England. There is also evidence to indicate that cases in Europe with the same strains of salmonella infection are associated with consumption of eggs. Key advice includes: keep eggs away from other foods, when they are still in the shell and they have been cracked them open; don’t use damaged or dirty eggs; and be careful not to splash raw egg onto other foods, surfaces or dishes.

Company News:

Frank Dowling – ‘my £300,000 legal fees were paid by the administrator’: Frank Dowling, the founder of Greenwich Inc, the company which ran three sites at 02 and Madisons as part of its estate prior to administration last November, has told Propel that the administrator paid his £300,000 legal fees as he challenged parts of the legal process that ended in a settlement by which he is paying £850,000 over five years in equal monthly instalments starting on 1 September. A further sum of £454,000 is to be paid over five years in respect of antiques owned by Greenwich Inc’s sister companies. The settlement also allowed the sale of Greenwich Inc’s Madison to D&D Restaurants for £4.5m without further legal challenge by Dowling. Dowling contacted Propel to dispute many of the claims made in an administrator’s report that Propel published on Friday. The businessman suggested that the £300,000 payment was made in acknowledgement of mistakes, particularly in the legal process, made by the administrator.

Little Gems Country Dining set to double to six sites: Little Gems Country Dining, led by Steve Wilkins, has secured its fourth site, The Chequers, near Ampthill, Bedfordshire, an Enterprise Inns site – and is in ‘legals’ on two more. The company plans to invest around £150,000 early next year to turn The Chequers into a “modern interpretation of a family dining pub restaurant”. The site comes with four acres of grounds, which, Wilkins told Propel, makes it ideal for staging weddings and small music festivals. Meanwhile, the company is in ‘legals’ on two more sites, which are scheduled to complete in October. Last month, the company partnered landlord Charles Wells in an investment to create a new garden room and conservatory at the Park Pub and Kitchen on Kimbolton Road in Bedford. The Park was named Town Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide 2014. Generally, Wilkins described trading as terrific.

Marco Pierre White leaves Whitney gastro-pub: Marco Pierre White is no longer running The Pear Tree Inn in Whitney, Wiltshire, which he acquired in 2011. He ran the site with business partner Paul Clark as one of six pubs from The Maypole Group which went into administration. He was criticised for removing draught lagers from the bar and stocking one lager costing £4.20 a bottle. A spokeswoman for Marco Pierre White said: “The Pear Tree Inn has been sold – the new owners take over tomorrow.” It is not known who the new owners are.

JD Wetherspoon wins planning in Felixstowe: Plans for a new JD Wetherspoon to be built on the site of a former doctors’ surgery in Felixstowe, east Suffolk (population: 29,349) have been given the go-ahead, despite scores of community objections. The company’s £2.6 million proposals for the former Central Surgery at the top of Hamilton Road in Felixstowe were approved by Suffolk Coastal District Council’s south area planning committee last week. The application had been recommended for approval by the council’s planning case officer Liz Beighton, who said the development represented confidence in the town and should act as a catalyst for further investment.

Ed’s to open first Scottish outlet in October: Ed’s Easy Diner will open its first Scottish restaurant in the Fort Kinnaird shopping centre in Edinburgh in October. The chain, which currently operates more than 30 diners across the UK, joins PizzaExpress, Nandos, Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and TGI Friday’s in moving into the park as part of a £13m redevelopment. The chain’s chief executive, Andrew Guy, said: “We’ll be opening Ed’s Easy Diner, Edinburgh sometime in October and have already started the job application process.” Fort Kinnaird is in the village of Newcraighall, just off the A1 in the southeast of Edinburgh.

Smoke Haus to open second venue in former Hooters premises in Cardiff: Smoke Haus, an American-style burgers-and-ribs restaurant which opened on Wind Street in Swansea two years ago, is to open a second venue in the former Hooters restaurant site in Mary Ann Street, Cardiff. The 6,000 sq ft restaurant, which will specialise in barbecue ribs, burgers, steaks and foot-long hot dogs, will accommodate 212 people. Mark Power, who set up the first Smoke Haus after 20 years’ experience in the catering industry, said: “We’ve had a great success in Swansea and I thought it was time to bring the Smoke Haus to the capital city. All our produce is locally sourced and butchered in Wales, except for the foot long sausages, as I couldn’t source large enough ones in the UK. I order them in especially from Germany. Size is everything and we specialise in huge portions and masses of meat. We also have the infamous 666 hot wing challenge, where we dare customers to eat six spicy chicken wings in six minutes, with a six-minute after burn. I challenge you to find a hotter chilli sauce in Wales.” The new restaurant has created 25 new jobs, with plans for a further five positions in the kitchen and front of house.

Luminar to call new £1.2m nightclub Fiction: Luminar’s new £1.2m nightclub in Swansea’s Little Wind Street will be called Fiction and will create 50 new jobs. The club’s general manager Jon Jackson said: “We’re creating a place where people can step away from reality and the daily pressures of life and enter a world of ‘Fiction’, full of fun, theatre and escapism where great stories can be shared.” The main room will feature a lighting and “video-mapping wall of vision and sound”. Throughout the club there will be pre-bookable booth seating and VIP areas featuring table service. There will also be a Myu cocktail bar where customers can enjoy freshly prepared cocktails from specially trained staff. Luminar recently closed its Oceana site in Swansea.

Dirty Burger celebrates fourth outlet with half-price food: Dirty Burger, the London-based better burger operator, celebrated the opening of its fourth outlet, in Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, last week by offering half-price food for two days. The operator, which also runs burger restaurants in Vauxhall, Whitechapel and Kentish Town, is part of the Soho House group.

Brain’s opens Coffee#1 outlet in Newton Abbot: The Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain has opened another of its Coffee#1 outlets in Newton Abbot, Devon. A former furniture store in Courtenay Street has been turned into a coffee shop, with mismatched chairs and tables. Old tiles found on the walls during the refurbishment have been incorporated into the design. The company now runs more than 40 coffee shop sites in Wales and the west of England. 

Harris & Hoole apologises over closure of Crowborough outlet: Harris & Hoole, the Tesco part-owned coffee shop chain, has apologised to locals over the closure of its outlet in Crowborough, Sussex after barely 18 months. The founder of the chain, Nick Tolley, said the decision had been taken after a review of the store as its lease was due to expire soon. Tolley said: “Harris & Hoole is a fast-growing business. We have six more stores scheduled to open this year and the vast majority of our stores continue to perform strongly. However, like any business that has grown rapidly, some locations have performed better than others, so it makes sense for us to review those locations which have done less well, or where the lease is coming to an end. Unfortunately based on this review, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to close our Crowborough shop.” The coffee shop opened in February 2013 in the old Clinton Cards store.

Pub People Company reports turnover boost: Pub People Company, the East Midlands multiple headed by Kevin Sammons, has reported turnover rose 11.2% to £11,021,000 in the year to 31 March this year. Pre-tax profit was £112,688 compared to £118,947 the year before. The company stated: “Any previously underperforming pubs have been jettisoned or a new agreement put in place. A small number of pubs remain under constant management attention with exit strategies in place for those where changes in operating processes and stringent cost control still fail to produce the required return.” Total gross margin dropped by 1.1% but total administrative expenses as a percentage of sales were lower than the prior year at 56.2% (2013: 56.9%). An interim dividend of £500,000 was paid.

Two Restaurant Group brands line up for Newport opening: Two Restaurant Group brands, Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito have applied for premises licences for new Friars Walk outlets in Newport, part of the multi-million-pound city centre shopping and restaurant complex and regeneration scheme. Friars Walk, which is being backed by a £90 million loan from Newport council, is due to open in November next year and Nando’s and Cosmo have already signed up.

Solo dining concept looks for Shoreditch site: A restaurant concept that claims to be the first in the world to cater purely for solo diners is opening in London. Marina Van Goor, the creator of Dutch eat-alone concept Eenmaal, has revealed she is looking at sites in Shoreditch. The restaurant for singles, or foodies who enjoy their own company, will open in London by the end of this year. The move follows the success of other Eenmaal restaurants. The version in Amsterdam has been fully booked every night and she is enjoying similar success in New York. Speaking to The London Evening Standard, Van Goor said: “London is ideal because it has a lot of people travelling alone for business as well as a growing one-person economy.”

Searcys rushes to reassure outraged Hampstead intellectuals over coffee shop hours: A coffee shop frequented by author John le Carré, actress Emma Thompson, Observer economics commentator William Keegan and jazz guitarist John Etheridge will not be changing its opening hours when it is taken over by the restaurant operator Searcys, outraged residents in Hampstead, North London have been reassured. The Brewhouse Cafe at Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath is a favourite haunt of local creatives, and it was feared the rumoured later opening time, 10am instead of 9am, would stunt the creativity of musicians, academics and writers who work there. Historian Dr Helen Fry, who writes all her books in the cafe, was dismayed by the rumours. “Everyone was outraged,” she said. “There’s a whole cluster of us who use it early. It would be devastating for us creatives. It’s a very literary, artistic space – it’s different from any other cafe.” However, English Heritage, which manages Kenwood, insisted the rumours were unfounded. It said that Searcys, which is set to take over the running of the cafe from the long-serving caterer Company of Cooks on 1 October, would not change the opening hours. English Heritage said new opening hours published on its website were a “human error” and would be amended. 

‘Performance cafe’ pops up in Hanley: Customers at a new cafe in Hanley, Stoke on Trent can order a jam doughnut and a joke in a scheme funded in partnership by Stoke-on-Trent Council, Appetite, a programme aimed at promoting the arts in the Potteries, and Arts Council England. After selecting food and drink from the menu, diners can also purchase a performance from their waiter for some entertainment while they eat. The pop-up cafe will run for a month, with a pair of street performers, Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton, fresh from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in charge. Hunt said: “It has been great to see so many people come to appreciate what we are trying to do here. It can be quite subversive, but customers can order what they want. We try to portray the hospitality in a comedic way so everything we do in her has a slight twist. We will try to engage in general banter with our visitors, but we also have the set menu if they want something a bit more obvious.”

McDonald’s looking to launch a music and entertainment offering: McDonald’s global digital unit is advertising for a product director for music and entertainment, whose role would include crafting the strategy and product roadmap “for a variety of digital music and entertainment experiences that McDonald’s will provide to customers.” In addition to negotiating contracts with the music and entertainment industries, this person would also “establish multi-channel music and emerging entertainment programs to reward our most enthusiastic customers and drive frequency.” The company recently announced the hire of Ticketmaster’s Julia Vander Ploeg as its first US vice-president of digital, and its global digital team is understood to be devising a range of loyalty and e-commerce initiatives to increase sales. Another job ad, for an ecommerce platform project lead, states that McDonald’s aims to remove “physical boundaries” and allow its customers to “connect to and order McDonald’s any time or place, globally”.

Micropub for former Tonbridge tattoo parlour: A micropub called The Two Pigs is due to open in a former tattoo parlour in Tonbridge High Street, Kent. The new pub will be a “parlour-style” set-up, without a bar, with beer held in and dispensed from a store room, according to the man behind the new pub, Saxon Shenstone, of Lavender Hill, south London. In his application to Tonbridge and Malling Council, Shenstone said he wanted to “create a micropub, using the shop area as the serving area. Due to the smallness of the area there is not intended to be a fixed bar as such, reverting to the parlour style of public house, which was the norm prior to the 1830s. The trading intention is to provide premises where there is no music, no television or youth-orientated products, selling quality beer, cider, wine and soft drinks, with the emphasis on local products, attracting a more discerning and mature clientele, promoting conversation and a positive social atmosphere.” The application has been granted, subject to the opening hours being noon to 11pm Mondays to Saturdays and noon to 10.30pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Council loses bid to list pub closed for six years as asset of community value: A challenge to South Norfolk Council’s decision to list a pub that had been closed for six years as an asset of community value (ACV) has been upheld by a tribunal, which agreed that the council had failed to demonstrate that the pub had been in community use in the recent past. The council had added The Kings Head pub in Pulham St Mary to its list of ACVs in October 2013, after a request from Pulham St Mary Parish Council. The owner of the pub, GK Scott, applied unsuccessfully for a review of the decision and subsequently appealed to the First Tier Tribunal, on the grounds that the council was unable to demonstrate that the pub, which had been closed since 2007, had been in community use “in the recent past” as required by the Localism Act 2011. Judge NJ Warren, upholding the appeal, said that, in drafting the Act, Parliament had used the vaguer term “in the recent past” for the test for past use, while using a definite “five-year period” for potential future use. “Where Parliament has opted for a loose expression, it is not the tribunal’s role to [give] the phrase a meaning which is certain,”the judge said.

Wetherspoon apologises over wrong Auld Brig: JD Wetherspoon has had to apologise to the people of Irving in Ayrshire after it was revealed that the “Auld Brig” depicted on the logo of its new pub in the town was actually the one in Stirling. A pub-goer pointed out the mistake at the new pub in Irving’s Riverside Mall online last week, leading one resident to comment: “This calls for a boycott until they rename it Any Auld Brig.” The company has now told The Irvine Herald newspaper it will install a new logo. A spokesman said: “The sign and logo were installed in good faith – however, it is obviously wrong and we apologise.” The pub was named after a bridge in the town that was controversially demolished in 1973 and made way for the Rivergate Mall.

Five Guys secures 02 site and Bristol site: Five Guys has secured a site at The O2, which will open on 9 November 2014, marking the 15th branch to open in the UK in just over a year since launching. The 3120 sq ft site that includes mall seating will be adjacent to the escalator entrance to the cinema. John Eckbert, director of Five Guys UK, said: “We are excited to be opening our next central London venue at The O2, which is home to some of the best eating and drinking locations in London. As an incredible hub for entertainment that draws visitors from all over the UK, we are pleased to offer visitors the perfect pit stop to refuel and discover our vast selection of fresh burgers and signature Five Guys style fries”. Commenting on their selection of The O2 for the continuing growth of Five Guys, Richard Collier, property director at Five Guys UK, said: “Five Guys’ expansion across the UK is highly dependent on the locations chosen, and The O2 was on our list of locations from day one. It gives us the buzz and atmosphere of London in a location that provides access to a unique catchment area.” Meanwhile, Five Guys is planning to open a restaurant in the former Cafe Rouge premises on the second floor of Bristol’s Cabot Circus shopping centre. The fast-growing chain made its UK debut in Covent Garden, London last summer and now has five restaurants in Greater London, one in Manchester, two in Birmingham, and six in the south east, with another planned for Glasgow. Five Guys says it is aiming to establish 20 restaurants a year in the UK.

Chicago Rib Shack opens in Clapham: Chicago Rib Shack, the BBQ restaurant brand, has opened its latest outlet in Clapham, the first venture as part of its new neighbourhood format that will see three or four new openings within the next twelve months. Christian Arden, chief executive of Chicago Rib Shack, said: “This is an important milestone for the company. I am delighted of the look and feel of the new style Chicago Rib Shack, serving the neighbourhood. The wider menu is going down really well, paving the way for the future development of the group.” Initial activity has included a soft launch, blogger evening and a series of special offers to engage locals and encourage repeat visits. The restaurant will be open all-day, serving American and home-smoked food. Leading hospitality sector agency, Elliotts, supported the launch with brand development services, helping the team to refine the concept to be the ‘go-to-place’ in the neighbourhood.

Duke of Roxburghe sign partnership with Albert Roux: The Duke of Roxburghe, owner of luxury Borders hotel The Roxburghe, has unveiled plans for a major tie-up with Albert Roux and the appointment of Inverlochy Castle Management International Ltd (ICMI) from 1 September 2014. The restaurant, which will be headed by a Roux-trained chef. Both ICMI and Roux have agreed 15-year contracts with the Roxburghe. His Grace, The Duke of Roxburghe, said: “Our hotel is already a well-loved Scottish luxury hotel, and this new alliance with ICMI and Roux will ensure we achieve a world class reputation for hospitality and food. We are delighted to have the new management team in place and believe ICMI and Chez Roux will help position the Roxburghe among the finest small luxury hotels in Scotland. This is an important development not only for the Roxburghe Estates, but also for the Scottish Borders, increasing our role as a destination hotel.” Albert Roux said “This is a dream come true. The Roxburghe is such a prestigious place and connected with Floors Castle, which is so much a part of the history of my beloved Scotland. We will definitely put it on the world map.”

Mitchells & Butlers to open Miller & Carter in Newcastle next month: Mitchells & Butlers is to open a Miller & Carter steakhouse on Mosely Street, Newcastle, next month. The new steakhouse will create over 45 jobs and add to city’s already diverse mix of dining options. The site was made famous as The Lodge bar, part-owned by TV personalities Ant and Dec – the Grade II listed building is undergoing a major refit. Spanning across two floors, Miller & Carter, Newcastle will accommodate dining for circa 165 guests, with room for a further 31 customers in the bar. The mezzanine level will provide an option for those seeking private dining. Rob Allison, the new manager at Miller & Carter Newcastle, said: “Newcastle has a vibrant dining scene, but we will set ourselves apart by showcasing our steak expertise in the city. We are incredibly passionate about steak and this really shows in the food we serve. This is a fantastic building in a great location.”

Spirit offers general manager degree opportunity: Spirit Pub Company is raising the bar by offering its general managers an opportunity to gain a degree level qualification as part of its award winning ‘Career Pathway’. Spirit has partnered with Leeds Metropolitan University to run the 12-month programme, which focuses on key aspects of leadership, commerciality and business development in the hospitality sector and culminates in a qualification that is at final year honours degree level. The programme kicks off in September and will see 27 general managers embarking on a new level 6 Diploma in Hospitality Retail Leadership. Mark Peters, Spirit’s head of learning and development said: “This is another step towards changing the perception of hospitality as a career. Over the last five years we have strived to embed qualifications at every step of our Career Pathway and the new level 6 represents the final piece of the jigsaw – offering a fantastic opportunity for our general managers to gain professional development and hone their business leadership skills through a university-led, work-based learning programme.” This new programme is the latest addition to Spirit’s partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University. Last month saw three senior leaders from Spirit graduate from the University with a full Level 7 Master’s Degree in Multi Unit Leadership.

Camerons signs new Head of Steam site deal: Camerons Brewery has entered into an agreement with Leighton Management and the Sunderland MAC Trust, which will see the brewery operate the historic 1901 Dun Cow pub in Sunderland as a Head of Steam venue. The vision is for The Head of Steam at The Dun Cow to be a key part in helping create a ‘Music, Arts and Cultural Quarter’ (MACQ) in the centre of Sunderland. This will restore a much-loved section of the city, re-establishing its former importance as the Edwardian heart and soul of a neighbourhood, which already includes the famous and thriving Empire Theatre. Camerons pub estates and operations director Joe Smith, said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with Paul Callaghan, Leighton Management and the MAC Trust in the development of this exciting new scheme in Sunderland. The vision of the MACQ will create a vibrant cultural environment in the city, and The Dun Cow will be at the centre of this. We are working closely with the team to restore the venue to its previous glory, and all of the historic features will be kept. The Dun Cow, which will be part of our managed Head of Steam brand, will offer over eight traditional hand-pulled cask ales and ciders from local and national brewers, as well as also having eight rotating craft keg fonts. Being next door to the Empire, we will provide theatre-goers with a fantastic selection of great food and drink offers”. The Dun Cow is due to open its doors in late September. In addition to the new site at the Dun Cow, Camerons has refurbishment schemes completed or planned at 25 venues within its 71 retail pub estate, to upgrade the venues and improve retail offers to drive the company’s QISS initiative (Quality, Innovation, Standards and Service). This has been running alongside new signage schemes to improve curb appeal in both the managed and leased and tenanted pubs. Camerons has re-opened eight closed sites with investment, removing them from their disposal list and returning them into their core estate.

Cinnabon to trial smaller treats to appeal to Millennials: Cinnabon, the American bakery and coffee chain with more than 1,200 outlets around the world, is to test a new concept called Bon Bake Shop that will feature a wider variety of smaller items than a typical location. The new concept, called Bon Bake Shop, is particularly targeting Millennials, according to Kristen Hartman, Cinnabon’s vice-president of marketing. She said: “If you look at the food trends among Millennials, they are really looking for things that are bite-sized, and they are all about sharing. In many ways, they are more conscious of calories. This opens us up to a broader spectrum of Millennial customers, to those that are looking for a boutique feel. We know that consumers will always treat themselves. We think these bite-sized cinnamon rolls will give them permission to do that.” Cinnabon has already expanded its brand into a wide variety of items, including Cinnabon-flavored vodka and a broad assortment of retail grocery items, such as Pillsbury rolls and flavoured nuts.

Food allergen regulations will cost business £200m per year, say hospitality chiefs: As food businesses gear up for new EU Food Information Regulations, the British Hospitality Association estimates the cost of implementation to be up to £200 million per year. In time for the Christmas party season this year, every restaurant, hotel, pub, take away, motorway service station, cafe owner and festival caterer, as well as schools, hospitals and prison meals services, will have to accurately track, record and communicate to the public what menu items contain any of 14 of the most common foods to cause allergic reactions, such as nuts, shellfish and eggs. Some eight billion out-of-home meals are served every year. With up to 2% of people being food allergy sufferers and 20% of people believing they have some kind of food allergy according to NHS figures, there could be millions of requests for information for food businesses to deal with. The new EU regulations, which come into force on 13 December, seeks to provide the public with better information about the foods they are eating. The British Hospitality Association is launching a guidance toolkit designed by its food advisory team, members and Bond Dickinson to help hotels, restaurants and caterers implement the new regulations and cope with these requests for information.

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