Members’ News

February 2015

Ferrero appoints Jellybean Creative Solutions #

Jellybean Creative Solutions has been appointed by the world’s largest confectionery company, Ferrero, to oversee its UK foodservice public relations.

The partnership, effective from December 2014, was sealed when Jellybean’s strategic thinking, insight into the foodservice market and creativity secured the business.

Commenting on the appointment, Natasha Quinn, foodservice channel operations manager, Ferrero, said: “Following the launch of our brand new product range specifically for Foodservice, we went out to pitch to ensure we work with the best in the business out-of-home and through their strategic thinking and creative approach Jellybean came out on top. We look forward to working with the team at Jellybean Creative Solutions in the foodservice market.”

The appointment follows the Italian family-owned company – with a portfolio that includes nutella, tic tac, Ferrero Rocher, Kinder, Kinder Surprise and Kinder Bueno – moving into the hospitality industry for the first time with a dedicated foodservice range.

Fiona Rickard, managing director, Jellybean Creative Solutions, commented: “We are delighted to have been appointed as the official foodservice PR agency to Ferrero. During our 28 year history Jellybean has helped launch many leading brands into foodservice, building our expanding client base predominantly through word of mouth and client recommendation. Our agency mantra is to find the ‘Jellybean Sweet Spot’ which enables us to develop strategic, creative and integrated solutions that clients need to succeed in this complex and fragmented market.”

High demand for Smart's Rugby Captains Dinner #

By the end of January, Smart Group had already sold in excess of £75,000 worth of tickets for the Rugby Captains Dinner, which takes place on 16 September 2015, with tables hosted by rugby legends Martin Johnson, Francois Pienaar and Nick Farr-Jones already snapped up.

The unique event will see international heroes and World Cup winning captain Martin Johnson (England), Francois Pienaar and John Smit (South Africa), Nick Farr Jones and John Eales (Australia) and David Kirk (New Zealand) come together to share and reflect on their respective tournaments, offering original insight into what it takes to build and lead a team of world beaters to the ultimate rugby prize.

The Captains will be supported on the evening by many of their team mates as well as stars from stage and screen along with other sporting greats all paying their own personal tributes to these legendary leaders.

Three packages have been specially created for the Rugby Captains Dinner in association with Smart Group’s creative director, Angela Hartnett OBE, with prices starting from £2,490 + VAT per table of ten.

Commenting on the Rugby Captains Dinner 2015, former England captain and guest of honour, Martin Johnson said: “This is a rare opportunity for me and my fellow captains to be reunited, it will be great to give our guests a preview on what is shaping up to be one of the best World Cups ever; an event not to be missed by any rugby fan.”

10% of all tickets purchased, plus all fundraising for the evening, will be donated to Restart the Rugby Players’ Association charity and Willow, the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days.

For more information and purchase ticket for the Rugby Captains Dinner 2015, click here 

Micromarket 24 - a cutting-edge solution #

24, the first micromarket of its kind to be introduced to the UK foodservice industry, experienced huge success last year having grown rapidly in the 12 months since launch. Eurest, part of Compass Group UK and Ireland, launched the innovative self-service 24/7 foodservice solution early in 2014 and business is now booming with five sites already open and another 18 in the pipeline.

Micromarkets are already a big hit in the USA and Eurest’s 24 solution is proving popular with call centres, manufacturing businesses and creative agencies, with clients including Dnata and ADP. 24 combines the latest cashless and card payment technology, and offers access to over 300 product lines to meet the changing needs of workplace catering.

Each facility provides an interactive shopping experience, with safety monitoring options and a backup system to ensure the facility is always available. To the majority of qualifying clients, 24 is completely free and the grab-and-go approach has been well received by clients, in particular sites with limited space whereby 24 can successfully operate as a stand-alone service or to complement existing work place restaurants.

Nicola Morris, managing director of 24 says: “24 is being really well received by clients and consumers alike and our pipeline is very strong. We’re looking forward to ramping up our roll-out this year; there’s great potential to grow with businesses. Workplace catering is changing and 24 is a great example of how, through innovation, foodservice providers can tackle this change head on, delivering a tailored service solution which meets the requirements and budgets of a diverse client base."

A leading client commented: “We have been very pleased with this partnership and continue to work with 24 on innovative concepts in this area. The food is all fresh and has transformed our workplace.”

The Search is on! #

The Craft Guild of Chefs opened the UK’s most prestigious annual chef competition, the National Chef of the Year 2016*, for entries.

The competition is open to all ethnicities of chef, male or female, from all sectors of the industry. The deadline for entry is Friday April 10.

The National Chef of the Year was established in 1972 and winning has helped establish the careers of its winners which include Gordon Ramsay, David Everitt-Matthias, Mark Sargeant, Steve Love, Simon Hulstone and Hrishikesh Desai.

National Chef of the Year 2016, Russell Bateman secured the title on his third attempt on Tuesday October 7, 2014, stating: “It’s a huge honour to win National Chef of the Year. It’s amazing to think my name has been added to that list of wonderful past winners. To be recognised by the fantastic line up of judges was a massive boost for me personally. I look forward to seeing the competition go from strength to strength.”

David Mulcahy, vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the competition is looking forward to commencing the search for National Chef of the Year 2016. “The National Chef of the Year is a benchmark for chef talent in the UK today and a career-enhancing challenge for anyone who takes part. Not only is the award highly respected but the competition process itself provides an unrivalled platform for testing your culinary skills to the max.”

This year, the esteemed panel of judges will be chaired by Clare Smyth, chef patron at the three Michelin starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Clare was among a ‘superchef’ line-up of judges at the October final which included the then chair Phil Howard, Brett Graham, Bruce Poole, Jason Atherton, Marcus Wareing, Monica Galletti and Tom Kerridge.

The competition would not be possible without the support of sponsors, which this year include: KNORR, Lockhart Catering Equipment, RARE, Nespresso, Continental Chef Supplies and Churchill China.

Stefan Horsnell, category marketing director, Unilever Food Solutions, the company behind KNORR®, said: “When National Chef of the Year launches it always creates a real
buzz in the industry.

“Who will enter and who will go on to compete in the semi-finals and finals is wide open at the moment. One thing we can guarantee is this competition attracts chefs from across our industry, who all share the same passion – food. Good luck to all those who are stepping up to the plate to compete for this coveted title.”

This year, the brief is to create an innovative menu for four people, focusing on technical skills, seasonality and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Entrants have until Friday April 10 to submit their entry for paper judging from which a shortlist of 40 chefs chefs will be selected to go through to the semi-finals in June. Go to for more details and an entry form. The initial paper judging of the entries takes place on Friday May 15 and the semi-finalists will be revealed on Tuesday May 19.

The heats will take place at Sheffield College on Thursday June 11 and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on Wednesday June 24. Eight chefs will go through to the National Chef of the Year final which takes place at The Restaurant Show on Tuesday October 6th, visit for details.

In addition to claiming the UK’s most prestigious culinary title including the specially designed framed winner's gold medal, Russell was awarded a £1,250 voucher towards its
product range, a unique study trip to France including dinner at a 3 Michelin starred restaurant. KNORR presented him with a £1,500 adventure voucher. He also received an
exclusively designed plate by Churchill and £500 worth of its product, £1,500 in Electrolux Professional equipment and a study trip to Dubai courtesy of Continental Chef Supplies.

*Due to the fact that the National Chef of the Year title is awarded in October (the last quarter of the year), in 2014 the decision was taken to change the title to 2015, to ensure more longevity for the winner.

The Search for the UK’s Top Young Chef Talent is also on! #

The Craft Guild of Chefs is seeking the next generation of talent with the launch of its annual Young National Chef of the Year competition.

Young National Chef of the Year represents the most talented pool of young chefs in the UK, taking in the winners of young chef competitions from the British Culinary Federation, the Academy of Culinary Arts Awards of Excellence, World Skills UK and the Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards.

These winners are automatically seeded a place in the final. The remaining four finalists will be
revealed following the semi-finals, to which 20 young chefs from recognised, industry competitions will be invited to compete. The semi-finals will be held at Sheffield College on Thursday June 11 and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on Wednesday June 24 to coincide with The National Chef of the Year semi-finals.

David Mulcahy, the competition organiser and vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, says, “Young National Chef of the Year supersedes all other young chef contests as it brings together those identified as the best young chefs in the industry and gives them a platform on which to build their future careers. Not only does it celebrate young talent but it ensures that the young chefs are mentored and supported throughout, enabling them to achieve their best in the final. Winning Young National Chef of the Year firmly establishes a chef as a rising star of the culinary world both in the UK and beyond.”

Luke Selby from Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons collected the prestigious Young National Chef of the Year 2015 title along with the winner’s plate, £250 of branded Churchill products and a study trip to Lyon, which included dinner at the three Michelin starred restaurant Régis at Jacques Marcon.  He recalls his experience, “Taking part in the competition was both challenging and re-warding and winning Young National Chef of the Year was the icing on the cake. I learnt a lot and it certainly helped me grow in confidence as a chef. I’d definitely encourage my peers to take part.”

Luke was mentored throughout the competition by Gary Jones, executive chef at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, a strong supporter of Young National Chef of the Year as a platform to launch the careers of young chefs.

Mark Sargeant, Young National Chef of the Year 1996 will continue in his role as Young National Chef of the Year Ambassador and has high expectations.

Stefan Horsnell, category marketing director, Unilever Food Solutions, the company behind KNORR®, said: “Without great chefs we wouldn’t be able to satisfy the nation’s love affair with food.

“We need young chefs coming up through the ranks to bring with them new techniques, flavours and experiences. Competitions like this attract the best out there, helping them connect with colleagues and develop their careers, so wherever they work they can fulfil their potential and be the best they can.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide the best culinary experiences in the world. It’s only right we recognise how talented they are.”

This year’s winner will be revealed along with The National Chef of the Year at an awards ceremony following The Restaurant Show on Tuesday, October 6th. 

For more information visit:, or follow @Craft_Guild on Twitter. 

The Big Hospitality Conversation reaches new milestone #

• The British Hospitality Association’s Big Hospitality Conversation staged at White Hart Lane Stadium on Tuesday 10 February secured 2,123 pledges (2000 jobs, 86 apprenticeships and 57 work experience placements)

• The White Hart Lane event pledges take total UK career opportunities generated by the BHA’s Big Hospitality Conversation to over 40,000

• Tottenham-Hotspur hosted event attended by football legend Ledley King and Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith – making the Premier League Football Club’s official charitable body the first football charity to deliver a Big Hospitality Conversation event.

• Over 250 young people attended the Big Conversation with a further 750 attending the careers market place which had 35 exhibitors

The British Hospitality Association’s (BHA) national campaign The Big Hospitality Conversation teamed up with Tottenham Hotspur Foundation to generate over 2,000 job opportunities, work placements and apprenticeships in the hospitality sector for 16-24 year old Haringey residents. 

100 top business leaders, including household names like Bourne Leisure, McDonalds, Spirit Pub Company, Costa, Premier Inn, Hilton, Sodexo, Centreplate, and Nandos attended the event, pledging live throughout the day alongside Tottenham Hotspur Foundation’s education and employment team who were on hand to offer practical employability advice and guidance on gaining relevant qualifications, interview techniques and career choices.

Delivered in partnership with Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Department of Work and Pensions and Haringey Council, this Big Hospitality Conversation is the first of its kind to be delivered in partnership with a Premier League football club. Previous events have generated over 38,000 job opportunities and yesterday’s pledges mark a significant 40,000 milestone. 

The Big Hospitality Conversation has an ambitious 2015 programme which seeks to generate a further 20,000 career opportunities across the UK at venues including Nottingham, Sheffield, Newcastle, Swansea, Belfast, Lambeth, Cardiff, Hackney, Legoland, Bournemouth, Llandudno, Dundee / Perth, Preston / Blackpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Exeter, Maidstone, and the Isle of Wight – taking the total to 60,000 opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds.

Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association, which is focused on growth and job creation for hospitality and tourism said: “This event demonstrates that our industry is about action to grow jobs. We are going out into the community to demonstrate the range of exciting careers available across our industry. The BHA wants politicians to understand how important the hospitality and tourism industry is in generating high quality careers for young people.”

Ledley King, who made over 300 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur between 1999 and 2012, captaining the Club and earning 21 caps for England, attended the event in his role as Tottenham Hotspur Ambassador. He works closely with the Club’s Foundation to inspire young people to access local job opportunities and said: “Tottenham Hotspur is committed to creating employment opportunities for local young people, and holding regular job fairs at an iconic venue like White Hart Lane is a great way of doing this. It was great for me to attend yesterday’s event and speak to the many young people who are looking for a new challenge in their careers and being able to offer them some advice that if you are willing to work hard, there is so much you are able to achieve.”

Aparthotels and Serviced Apartments gain recognition #

According to the BHA, branded Aparthotels and Serviced Apartments will be at the forefront of new hospitality innovations and have already started to gain solid recognition as a core part of the hospitality industry.

Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association, said: “Independent apartment-living with all the benefits of expert hospitality services are a popular and fast-growing trend, particularly for young people and business travellers. As well as dedicated new brands, many of our international member hotel brands are adding serviced apartment offers to their brand portfolios. That’s why it’s vital to have a dedicated representation within our membership.”

The BHA defines Aparthotels and Serviced Apartments as branded ‘cook-in’ plus sleeping accommodations with various degrees of hospitality services offered. This sector of the industry often has very specific customer target markets such as the increasingly mobile business traveller, family leisure travellers, retirees or even university students.

Marie Hickey, at Savills says: “While the sector in the UK remains small compared to hotels accounting for only 3% of hotel bed supply, expansion has been picking up pace with almost 50 new site openings over the last two years as opposed to the five openings reported back in 2005 with 3,200 new units in the development pipeline through to end 2017.”

Savills has identified the fastest growth markets for the aparthotel and serviced apartment sector as Birmingham, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.

Max Thorne CEO of CL Serviced Apartments, who is representing a PE fund that is investing over half a billion dollars into this sector and is also Chairman and founding member of the BHA’s sector programme for Aparthotels said: “Aparthotels and serviced apartments are one of the fastest growing sectors of the hospitality and tourism industry, particularly in London and the UK’s leading regional cities, so it’s important that our Group has a strong voice in shaping key issues. For our sector, this year we see these priorities as sector brand building, jobs and skills, the sharing economy and cutting tourism VAT.”

There are currently over 15 members of the committee, including key representatives of the major sector business and a balanced addition of other supporting industries, including, planning, building, design and legal sectors.

The Hub #

The Hub was appointed by energy drink giant, Red Bull, to look after its full-service trade communications programme, as of the start of 2015, integrating PR, creative, sponsorship and media buying across both the convenience retail and foodservice sectors.  Adding an international flavour to its client list, The Hub was also selected as the official show PR partner for IFE by Fresh Montgomery.

Intrepid Fox takes to the sea #

Intrepid Fox, the single-serve ‘wine in a glass’, has become the latest product sold on the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ferry services. The ferry operator will sell Intrepid Fox on all routes between the Isle of Man, Ireland, and the UK, from March onwards. The product’s clever design and ease of handling were key factors behind the company’s move to stock Intrepid Fox.

Speaking of the decision to sell Intrepid Fox on all ferry services, Steam Packet Company’s food and beverage manager, Iain Pearson, commented: “Occasionally our services travel over rough seas, and so we only use plastic glassware on board our ferries to serve drinks. Intrepid Fox plastic wine glasses will look much more appealing to our customers than wine served in a plastic tumbler, while still avoiding the risk of breakages. The foil lid also prevents any spills when serving or carrying the drinks. Stocking Intrepid Fox was an easy decision for us to make.”

The pre-filled Intrepid Fox glasses are made from shatterproof PET, and are sealed with a foil lid, giving each unit a shelf-life of up to a year.

Iain also noted the storage benefits of the product’s design, commenting: “As well as safety benefits, the Intrepid Fox glasses can have a significant impact on storage capacity. As each unit comes pre-sealed in its own glass, we can achieve a massive reduction in the number of disposable plastic cups needed on board.”

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is the oldest continually operated passenger shipping company in the world, having been in operation since 1830. With passenger expectations rising all the time, Steam Packet operated ferries are constantly looking to offer better quality and better value for customers.

Iain Pearson commented further: “Of course, it is not just the practical benefits of the product that initially attracted us to Intrepid Fox. Visually the product is impressive and most importantly, the taste is excellent. I anticipate that passengers will appreciate the innovative design. Some may even decide to keep the empty glass to reuse, giving them extra value for money.” 

SAFC and Bidvest 3663 showcase... #

SCORES of North East professionals headed to one of the region’s largest sport and hospitality venues to get a taste of the best in the catering industry.

Sunderland’s Stadium of Light – in conjunction with Bidvest 3663 - hosted a Food Fest showcase evening to give club partners and the region’s top business people the opportunity to see what the venue has to offer and to enjoy samples from a range of top suppliers.

More than 250 people enjoyed a range of foods from companies including King Asia, Delifrance, Seabrooks and Westlers.

Bidvest 3663 also showcased a range of own brand and branded products served from a range of stalls, along with a selection of the dishes available at the stadium as part of its extensive hospitality offering.

“The event was a huge success,” said Matt Smith, assistant commercial director at SAFC.

“It gave suppliers the chance to really showcase their products and our guests were able to also see the range of facilities we have at the stadium.

“We are delighted that Bidvest 3663 once again agreed to partner with us on what is a really popular event.”

Terence McMaw, regional marketing controller at Bidvest 3663 said: ‘We were delighted to support this event, which has become a major part of the partnership we have with Sunderland AFC.”

“Enabling people to try the food we offer first hand is an important part of making it easier for customers to work with us.”

Sunderland AFC Ladies also attended the evening event to promote their debut season in the FA Women’s Super League 1 after being promoted at the end of the previous season.

Earlier in the day the suppliers welcomed more than 400 youngsters from schools across Sunderland, who were able to sample the various foods as part of a careers event to introduce them to the world of hospitality and leisure.

“We also think it is important to support up and coming chefs and to teach young people about the hospitality industry - therefore the careers event earlier in the day was a great opportunity to showcase our offer to this market,” said Terence.

New MD for Nestle Professional UK & Ireland #

On 1 February, George Vezza became Managing Director of Nestlé Professional® UK & Ireland.

Prior to joining Nestlé Professional® as Sales Director in 2011, Vezza was based in Switzerland as assistant vice president of Nestlé’s Global Sales & Marketing function.  He formerly worked with Nestlé Canada and Nestlé Caribbean Region where he held various sales and marketing roles of increasing responsibility. 

Vezza replaces well known industry figure, Neil Stephens, who has been appointed managing director of Nestlé Beverages UK & Ireland. 

Stephens successfully led Nestlé Professional® through a period of major change, returning the business to growth and achieving record market share in core categories of catering coffee and confectionery, as well as entering new categories with long term growth potential.

Speaking of his appointment Vezza says:

“It is an enormously exciting time for Nestlé Professional® as we continue to morph into a business partner that delivers entrepreneurial solutions to its customers.  Neil has created a legacy that I am proud to be taking forward to a new level, as we continue our journey of growth and innovation”.

Stephens says:

“George has played a key role in our on-going vision of "Inspiring our Partners’ Growth”.  He knows our industry well and will provide great continuity moving forward”.

As a result of the above changes, Nestlé Professional® is also pleased to announce that Steve Norris currently sales controller for the RTM channel has been promoted to sales director for Nestlé Professional® UK & Ireland.

Norris has been instrumental in delivering consistent profitable growth while building a strong team and solid customer relations. Steve joined Nestlé Professional® in 2008 and currently has over 30 years’ experience in the UK food service industry with a track record of achieving motivational results. Steve is a trained chef with a solid sales background in wholesale and FMCG manufacturing.

e-foods wins contract to serve YHA #

e-foods announced that it had been awarded a three year deal to serve YHA (England and Wales) after winning a competitive tender at the end of last year. e-foods will be supplying fresh produce, dairy and bakery to the YHA’s countrywide network of accommodation that includes 140 youth hostels.

e-foods has already successfully served YHA for 4 years through its carefully managed network of local suppliers, a network that has proven capable of serving even the most difficult to reach sites. The shared values of supporting the local economy through local supply, an area that e-foods is expert in, cements the relationship.

YHA will be utilising e-foods’ e-live online system that dramatically simplifies supplier administration with an end-to-end ordering, invoicing and payment solution. The system allows YHA to enjoy the benefits of local supply without the paperwork mountain and costs associated with managing such a large network. Sites place one consolidated order online and have access to a wealth of information, including integrated menu costing, nutrition and allergen data.

John McGrath, head of enterprise & procurement for YHA (England and Wales) said “Local supply is important to us, as is supporting the economy around each of our hostels and campsites. Through e-foods we have our ideal supply chain and support at site level - something that is essential as some sites really are off the beaten track and need special arrangements to get supplies to them. Not only this but we’ve gained control of our purchasing that can be carefully monitored through the online system. A real win-win situation!”

e-foods wins £3m Cambian contract #

In a three-year deal worth £3m per annum, e-foods was successful in tendering to supply food for the Cambian Group. Cambian is a specialist provider of behavioural health services across England and Wales. They support over 2,400 children and adults in 250 services and employ more than 6,000 people.

e-foods will be providing local supply to Cambian sites across all food products – fresh produce, meat, fish, poultry, dairy, dried and frozen goods through its national network of accredited suppliers.

Chris Shadrach, procurement co-ordinator at Cambian commented, “We were looking to centralise our food purchasing and bring better oversight and control to ensure Cambian maintain quality, whilst getting best value. e-foods’ ability to provide a managed, accredited supply chain and management information through its online system will give us the visibility and ease of administration that we need to achieve our best value goal. A single national, fixed term pricing structure further improves our ability to support our sites with a consistent high quality food offering”

Cambian will be utilising e-foods’ e-fresh online system. The system dramatically simplifies supplier administration with an end-to-end ordering, invoicing and payment solution. Cambian sites phone through their orders to suppliers and suppliers use the e-fresh system to process the orders that in-turn allows Cambian management to track and control spend in real time. Later in 2015 Cambian will move to e-foods’ e-live platform that further extends capabilities with online ordering at site level and integrated menu costing, nutrition and allergen data.

“We’re delighted to be working with Cambian” said Paul Mizen, e-foods’ managing director. “Our systemised approach to providing a supply chain is exceptionally effective at bringing costs and spend under control. Consolidation though our systems brings many advantages including the simplification of supplier administration.  Invoice volumes are dramatically reduced with consolidated electronic invoices and the ability to pay all suppliers with a single payment to e-foods are just two examples of the many further benefits Cambian will receive.”

Alex Fisher joins e-foods’ Board #

Ex MD of Bidvest 3663 Alex Fisher joined the board of e-foods as a non-executive director.

Under Fisher’s leadership, Bidvest 3663’s brand recognition with the public reached a level normally reserved only for major consumer brands and saw its reputation for service and innovation reach award-winning levels. A European quality award and ranking in the Sunday Times’ ” Best Companies To Work For” culminated in the appointment as official supplier to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

e-foods is a company at the forefront of bringing smart online purchasing systems to the food and hospitality industry.

e-foods’ online system allows its clients sites to place a consolidated order that covers multiple suppliers and purchases. This, in turn, generates a consolidated electronic invoice. Clients then make just one single payment to e-foods for all their sites’ suppliers. The result is a dramatic simplification of the purchasing to payment process and makes real the ability to manage an entire supply chain as easily as if it were a single supplier.

Alex commented, “I saw in e-foods many values I share – a desire to enable and simplify purchasing with technology, underpinned by a genuine focus on customer service. They have great people and a real understanding of the key issues that face food service and hospitality businesses”

Paul Mizen, e-foods’ managing director, said “We major in accredited, local supply of fresh produce, meat, dairy and other food lines to national operators in the care, contract catering and hotels sectors. Our solution is uniquely capable in its ability to support local supply through an online system that dramatically simplifies the purchasing process at site level, yet gives oversight and control of spend at head office. We are excited to welcome Alex to the team and are certain his strategic vision and service led operational acumen will be a significant factor in pushing forward e-foods’ growth plans.”

e-foods hires the mod father to oversee purchasing #

e-foods welcomes Kevin Denyer as purchasing director to head up e-foods’ purchasing and procurement team. Kevin is a self-confessed follower of all things Mod, right from sharp suits, a “Welleresque” hair style, to an, as yet, unrequited desire to ride to work on a Lambretta. Not only will Kevin be adding style to the office, he will also be bringing with him almost 30 years of experience in the food service sector.

Kevin brings his proven purchasing acumen to further strengthen a team with responsibility for around £50 million of e-foods’ client spending. Kevin’s approach to delivering best value for e-foods’ clients focuses on providing shared opportunities that build positive trading relationships with suppliers to ensure they bring the very best to the table in terms of pricing. Delivering savings is core to Kevin’s nature, having overseen a 3 year deal for a frozen bakery range saving in excess of £1m over this period, but he also shares e-foods’ values for providing a top rate service and believes that “You are only as good as your last delivery”.

Kevin is expert in wholesale food distribution, cross-category purchasing and negotiation. He also brings an understanding of the technical requirements for products and packaging that are becoming increasingly important after the recent changes to labeling and FIC regulations. He joins e-foods from Fairway Foodservice where he worked as Purchasing Director of the frozen and chilled category.

“e-foods purchase to pay systems deliver significant savings on administration and it’s my job to ensure e-foods’ clients also see savings on their purchasing through smart procurement and securing supply partners that can deliver the best value”, commented Kevin.

The Search for The UK’s best kitchen teams #

Is your kitchen a well-oiled machine turning out plates to be proud of? Does your team possess serious chemistry? Essential Cuisine is on a nationwide hunt to uncover and reward the UK’s hardest working chef teams; Britain’s Best Brigades. 

The Stock People are recruiting kitchens to represent and do battle in eight regions across the UK – London, the South East, the South West, the Midlands, the North East, the North West & Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “Camaraderie, skill, commitment and a tireless work ethic; these are just some of the qualities that make good brigades great, and we want to uncover the best. It doesn’t matter which sector you work in, tell us why your kitchen should be considered and you could be chosen to represent your region.”

Getting involved couldn’t be simpler. Entrants have until 20 April 2015 to go and leave a few details about them and their team. From there, entries will be judged on a number of key criteria by a very special panel including chef patron of Liverpool’s Hope Street Hotel, Paul Askew and Executive Chef at London’s Park Lane Sheraton, Andrew Bennett MBE, before eight regional finalists are chosen. 

Finalists will then be required to create a simple 30-60 second video that perfectly sums up their kitchen philosophy.  The videos will go to a public vote during the summer on Essential Cuisine’s Facebook page with the triumphant team scooping £1000 in cash plus an exclusive menu development masterclass. Runners-up in each region will receive £300 towards a team night on the tiles. 

Nigel adds: “For the video round, we want these kitchen teams to capture the spirit that keeps them ticking. Let’s be under no illusion, we’re not looking for the next Spielberg, more the characters, camaraderie and the cooking skill. Regional pride is at stake, I urge kitchens with serious chemistry and the will to win to get involved, stand up and be counted.”

Teamwork in the kitchen #

The winners of Essential Cuisine’s ‘Teamwork in the Kitchen Challenge’ were revealed at the Hospitality Show.

Chef pairing, Nathan Gallagher, 21 and Fred Wilson, 26 from Colette’s Restaurant at The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire, mastered the Stock People’s Salon Culinaire challenge, with their junior/senior partnership proving irresistible in using Essential Cuisine products to create three main courses – fish, meat and vegetarian – against the clock.

In the wake of their win, the pair commented: “It’s an honour to win, we’re really chuffed, and a little surprised.”

Nathan added: “The most important thing in a kitchen is teamwork, you’ve got to get on with everyone, and if one person goes down on a station, you’ve got to make sure the others can carry on.”

The pair’s meat dish consisted of Venison with roasted parsnips and Brussel sprouts, mixed with Game Glace, Signature Beef Jus, and Signature Chicken Stock Reduction.

Next, Nathan and Fred created a fish dish of Cod with Cauliflower puree, using Lobster Glace and Fish Stock.

And finally, the duo’s vegetarian main course was mushroom tortellini with a butternut squash puree, taking advantage of Essential Cuisine’s Wild Mushroom Glace, Vegetable Mirepoix Glace, and Mushroom Stock.

The award was presented to the pair on Tuesday afternoon by managing director of Essential Cuisine, Nigel Crane. He commented: “Fred and Nathan’s partnership had all the hallmarks of those factors that make good teams great: communication, coolness under pressure and cooking to truly set them apart from the pack – congratulations to them both.”

SUPERIORPLUS 72, the fridge of the people #

Having bagged a hat trick of awards to round off an excellent 2014, Gram’s SUPERIORPLUS 72 has added a cool fourth win to its growing collection of awards with the Hospitality Show’s People’s Choice award.

With 2015 already following the success of 2014, the energy efficient refrigeration manufacturer is shaping up for another big year in the catering equipment industry.

Buoyed by winning FCSI Sustainable Equipment Award 2014, The Caterer Product Excellence Award 2014, and Catering Insight’s Equipment of the Year 2014 award, Gram went to the Hospitality Show with high hopes of adding to its collection. This time round, the award was the Hospitality Show’s Star Product Award, of which the Gram SUPERIORPLUS 72 had been shortlisted as one of the Show’s Top Ten products, an achievement in itself.

Out of the TopTen finalists, the SUPERIORPLUS 72 was highly commended in the Star Product Award, for its revolutionary design and energy efficiency. As well as earning the commendation of the judges, the SUPERIORPLUS 72 also won the People’s Choice Award. This award was decided by the public, who voted for their favourite TopTen product via Twitter by using the hashtag #starproduct.

The Gram SUPERIORPLUS 72 provides operators with the most sustainable refrigeration available on the market. Its innovative technology sees it offer ground-breaking levels of energy efficiency meaning that it is 35% more efficient than its previous best-in-class predecessor. Part of Gram’s SUPERIORPLUS 72 success is due to the fact that the product’s energy usage has drastically fallen to 329kW/year, which means reduced running costs for operators. Gram has also included its five-year parts and labour warranty with this product, so operators can be confident that they can rely on their investment in the long-term.

Glenn Roberts, managing director at Gram UK, commented: “We had a brilliant year last year, winning three awards, and adding a fourth award to our growing collection is a truly fantastic start to 2015. To win this award is very satisfying because it was down to a public vote. It reinforces our standing in the refrigeration industry, and demonstrates that our innovations are being well received by the end users”.

A green light for the Gram Green Paper #

Continuing its winning streak, Gram UK added yet another accolade to its trophy cabinet with the National ACR Award 2015 for the Best Marketing Campaign. Gram’s entry was based on their highly successful Green Paper, a bi-annual review on sustainability and environmental issues in the foodservice industry.

The Gram Green Paper is a unique industry report, which analyses behaviours and attitudes throughout the foodservice industry. The aim of this research is to further support operators, making a significant contribution towards sustainability alongside the most energy efficient refrigeration available.

Hotelympia 2014 saw the launch of the fourth Gram Green Paper on the Main Stage, which was the most comprehensive Green Paper to date: asking more questions, comparing more sectors, and providing a more detailed breakdown of the results for end-users than in previous years. The target audience for the Green Paper 2014 campaign was not just the supply chain but also the wider foodservice industry as a whole.

Overall, the award-winning marketing campaign wanted to convey the message that Green Paper is able to analyse how far the industry has come, and how far the industry has left to go with regards to sustainability, and that it will continue to be an incredibly useful point of reference for the entire foodservice industry for years to come.

To achieve this goal, the 2014 Green Paper aligned itself with the leading channel associations within the industry to produce the report, demonstrating the importance of this report for operators. Combined with a very busy press office, as well as a strong e-marketing and social media campaign, the Green Paper generated excellent coverage in print publications and online media alike.

The judging panel said: “The end user information is impressive, making a strong statement on an important issue to make influential people aware”.

Glenn Roberts, managing director at Gram UK, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. We have been working very closely with our communications partner, The Hub, to sustain the momentum of the Green Paper since it first launched in 2008. Since then, it has become an anticipated tool in the industry to educate and inform on sustainability issues in the market.

“As a leader in energy efficient commercial refrigeration, we take our commitment to sustainability seriously and are proud to see the Green Paper receive such a positive response from the industry. It demonstrates that both suppliers and operators are starting to truly commit to a more sustainable future”.

‘Walk the world’ at IFE 2015 #

Those looking to experience new tastes and culinary delights need look no further than this year’s IFE (International Food and Drink Exhibition). In the comfort of the London’s ExCeL Centre visitors can ‘walk the world’ and sample a wide range of diverse delicacies from across Central and South America.

With an impressive number of exhibitors arriving from Central and South America including Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Ecuador, there will be no other show offering such diversity in product innovation and world dishes.

IFE 2015 has seen a surge in exhibitors from Central and South America which is no surprise given the increasing popularity of cuisine from these areas. Chefs, buyers and consumers alike are becoming increasingly excited about the bold and authentic flavours that are arriving from across the Atlantic. Out of home outlets are aware of the demand for these flavours and alternative menus and consequently demand is growing for suppliers to offer relevant products.

According to a survey conducted by The Food People, Brazilian, Peruvian and Argentinean dishes are tipped to be the top trending cuisines of 2015. For many this won’t come as a shock with an increasing popularity of Brazilian Churrascaria, a growing demand for Argentinean steaks and Peruvian delicacies such as ceviche.

IFE 2015 will offer exhibitors from Central and South America unrivalled access to unique networking opportunities as well as the ‘Meet the Buyer’ programme, where exhibitors have the chance to market their product to some of the biggest buyers in the industry in a one-to-one meeting.

Visitors to IFE’s 2015 Walk the World area will be able to get a taste for the flavours coming from Central and South America as well as network and generate new menu ideas. IFE 2015 is the go to place for retailers, distributors, manufacturers and buyers alike.

Show director, Chris McCuin, comments “With increasing excitement around the tastes and flavours coming from countries in Central and South America, we are extremely pleased that we have so many exhibitors at IFE this year. The exhibition will offer both exhibitors and visitors the perfect vantage point for understanding and following 2015 food trends. Previous international exhibitions by Fresh Montgomery have proved extremely successful for international exhibitors, with many averaging 60 serious export contacts.” 

It is Pig and it is clever… #

Actively demonstrating its dedication to bringing the freshest ideas in food and drink innovation to the wider industry, IFE 2015 (International Food and Drink Event), is proud to announce that it has partnered with pioneering food waste charity, The Pig Idea.

With more than 33 per cent of all food globally being wasted, The Pig Idea has been set up to help reduce human food waste, by feeding pigs surplus bakery products, whey from dairies and spent brewers grains, before the pigs themselves enter the food chain.

Supported by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Wahaca, Soho House and The Delaunay – to name but a few, the project is fast gathering credible momentum. The Pig Idea looks at the bigger picture, as not only does it reduce human food waste, but through sustainable meat production also helps to protect the South American rainforests. In the long term, feeding pigs UK food waste reduces the need for the thousands of tonnes of soy imported annually to feed livestock in Europe, ultimately reducing the amount of soy trees planted in South America.

IFE show director, Chris McCuin comments; “We are really proud to be working with The Pig Idea at this year’s exhibition. Food waste is a big concern for many within the foodservice industry, as is that of human impact on the environment. By teaming with The Pig Idea IFE hopes to raise awareness of food waste and environmental issues, as well as offering a practical solution”.

To find out more come and meet the pigs changing the way we see food waste visit IFE between the 22-25 March at London’s ExCeL Centre.

For information or to register as an visitor or exhibitor at Europe’s leading industry event visit and follow the action on Twitter @IFEexhibition using the #ife15.

Pedal to the metal #

IFE (The International Food and Drink Event) announced a further partnership, making this year’s exhibition the best place to be to take advantage of unrivaled opportunities to help businesses influence buyers and expand their horizons.

IFE’s exclusive partnership with The Grocery Accelerator aims to help businesses secure investment and deliver increased year on year growth. The Grocery Accelerator works exclusively with promising start-up food and drink companies, with high-growth potential.

Advisors from the Grocery Accelerator will be present on all four days of this leading industry event to offer expert advice. Most excitingly, they will be giving start-ups the opportunity to pitch their business model in three-minute slots throughout the show. Each applicant will receive detailed feedback from a panel of specialists as well as having the chance to showcase their product in front of key industry buyers who have been invited exclusively by IFE. 

With limited spaces at IFE and only five places on the annual scholarship programme, competition will no doubt be fierce, but there will be no losers, as the advice given by these industry experts will be invaluable to small businesses seeking to develop and plan for the future.

Not only will the successful applicants win investment for their business, but they will also be able to take advantage of a two-day business ‘bootcamp’, have access to a network of food and beverage experts, as well as being assigned a dedicated FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) mentor. Ultimately the programme supports businesses in their bids to expand affordably and accelerate into a market-leading position.

Prestigious Q Grade for UCC Coffee barista #

Katherine McCarthy, coffee specialist at UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, is now a Q Grader – one of the industry’s highest accolades – having passed the challenging Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) course this month.

The professional qualification positions Katherine among the best coffee specialists in the UK and the world – there’s only 4,000 specialists who have passed the qualification globally. To qualify as a Q Grader, specialists undertake a rigorous six day course, which includes three days of exams on over 20 different coffee areas, including sensory triangulation (selecting the odd one out based on coffee origin), coffee cupping (to identify coffee regions and origins) and green grading (ascertaining defects in green beans).

Elaine Higginson, managing director, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, comments: “Coffee quality is at the heart of our business and we are committed to continually delivering the best products to our customers. Responsible for ensuring we hit this quality is our coffee specialist team, which Katherine plays a key role in.  Katherine’s fantastic achievement reflects both her individual and professional passion for coffee and further cements her coffee credentials. She’s a real asset to our team and her Q Grade status demonstrates just how dedicated our team is to recognising quality coffee in everything we do and developing it further.”

Katherine McCarthy, coffee specialist, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, comments: “Part of my role at UCC Coffee is to cup all of our range and ensure the highest quality is delivered to our customers, so I was well positioned for the test. However, as the standard is very high, it did require a lot of practice too.  There was a lot riding on the results and I couldn’t contain my excitement when I heard the news.”

Katherine is the second UCC Coffee UK & Ireland specialist to secure Q Grader status – coffee development manager Gayan Munaweera also holds the accolade.  UCC Japan additionally has 30+ Q Graders within the business.

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland's go to market strategy #

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, the total coffee solutions provider, kicked off the New Year by realigning its sales, operations, marketing & category and coffee specialist teams, to further strengthen its support for its customers and add more value than ever before.

The strategic move, which is the latest stage in its Go to Market strategy, includes a number of significant changes that focus on the core drivers of growth and align with the evolving needs of UCC Coffee’s customers’ businesses, as well as promoting coffee excellence.

To meet the demand of independent businesses across the UK, UCC Coffee is expanding its popular Northern speciality coffee brand, Coopers, to three new regions. To support the expansion of the brand, the regional sales team has seen the introduction of a new role – regional account executives who will work with independent customers across the country.

Also in sales, UCC Coffee’s director of business development, David Porteous, will now head up all new business activity in both the out of home national and independent teams, creating closer alignment of the two existing sales channels. David will work closely with OOH national account controller Beth Langley and retail Senior National Account Manager David Alexander, as well overseeing the regional independent sales team. 

In operations, eight dedicated coffee trainers will join the team to integrate quality control, installations and training within its existing service business. This will add further value by ensuring the delivery of the highest quality product and services across all customer sites.

In addition, this year sees the creation of a new team of coffee specialists. The team includes coffee development manager Gayan Munaweera, Q-grader Katherine McCarthy and SCAE judge Sean Pittaway. They will continue to be responsible for the business’ coffee strategy and will work together with the roasting teams in Dartford and Corby to continually develop UCC Coffee’s range of own label and branded coffees.

Marketing and category has been further bolstered with two new roles to provide customers with unique insight, trends and brand support. Michela Yardley joins as category manager, responsible for both retail and OOH accounts, bringing a wealth of experience to the existing team. Nicole Hartnell joins marketing as brand manager, responsible for delivering the company’s coffee and equipment brand strategy.

Marcus Swift, sales and marketing director, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, comments: “2014 was a strong year for us; featuring the transformation of our service proposition, investing in our people and further improving our customer experience. We’re fortunate to have a great deal of unique expertise within our team and these changes further align our business with what our customers need. We’re starting this year in a solid position, where we can work even more closely with our customers to deliver exceptional quality, products, services and support.”

For more information on UCC Coffee UK & Ireland visit or follow on Twitter @UCCCoffeeUK

New Premium Single Origin Ethiopian Guji #

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland launched a new THREESIXTY˚ Ethiopian Guji coffee into the out of home market. The premium washed single origin coffee taps into the demand for seasonal coffee and allows operators to keep their coffee menus fresh and innovative.

All coffees in the THREESIXTY˚ range, which also features Blend Number One and Rainforest Blend, are seasonally sourced from some of the finest coffee growing plantations around the world before being artisinally roasted to produce complex and unique flavour profiles. The new Ethiopian Guji features aromas of warm marzipan and bright orange. A light body and fair acidity with notes of red grape and zesty orange, leading to a marmalade bitter finish.

Katherine McCarthy, coffee specialist, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland comments: “The Ethiopian Guji is perfect for operators who want to take their consumers on the crop-to-cup journey, while keeping their menus fresh and seasonal. The range offers bold coffees for consumers looking for something exotic and this new single origin fits into the THREESIXTY˚ family beautifully.”

The THREESIXTY˚ range also takes consumers’ curiosity over provenance to a new level with each individual coffee displaying the coordinates of the coffee beans’ origin on its packaging. The coordinates can be typed into Google Earth, or looked up on a world map, to show the coffee’s country of origin, providing consumers with a unique ‘sense of discovery’ experience.

Each coffee is available in 10 x 500g bag sizes.

Casual Dining 2015 ticks all the right boxes #

The second edition of Casual Dining – the award winning trade event for the UK’s pub, restaurant and bar sector – has been hailed a big success.

Brilliant, lively, informative, refreshing, and relevant – is just some of the feedback received from visitors so far; with Paul Pavli, operations director at Punch Taverns calling it “a must attend event”.

The show, which took place at the Business Design Centre in London on 25-26 February featured over 150 exhibitors and welcomed 3,608 attendees (from nearly 2,000 companies).  Notably, over 30% of visitors cited a corporate spend of over £500k (a further 21% of survey respondents quoted over £5 million).

Alongside the show’s bustling exhibition, the Casual Dining Keynote Theatre was a hive of activity throughout.  Powerful Keynotes – led by a stellar line-up of industry big hitters, including Karen Forrester (TGI Friday’s), Stephen Holmes (ASK Italian and Zizzi), and Alasdair Murdoch (GBK), enjoyed standing room only crowds.  Whilst panel sessions hosted by CGA Peach, Propel Info and David Coffer Lyons sparked plenty of insightful debate from entrepreneurial operators like Martin Morales (Ceviche), Harald Samuelsson (Côte), Brandon Stephens (Tortilla), Simon King (Burger and Lobster restaurant group), Alex Reilley (Loungers), Kevin Charity (Bulldog Hotel Company), and Tim Foster (Yummy Pub Company).

“Innovation is the life blood of the casual dining market.  It doesn’t just have to be for the casual diners, we can all benefit from the huge advances in innovation, product development and technology.  Casual Dining 2015 had a great number of these suppliers on offer and was definitely worth the journey,” says Tim Foster, head of being awesome at The Yummy Pub Co.

Big name buyers and exhibitors
The show’s aisles were buzzing with a ‘who’s who’ of the sector, with many of the UK’s biggest pub and restaurant groups in attendance – including The Restaurant Group (owner of restaurant chains Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and Garfunkel’s); Mitchells and Butlers; Marston’s; Prezzo; wagamama; Giraffe; Strada; Byron; Fuller, Smith & Turner; Greene King, Stonegate Pub Co; Whitbread; Spirit Pub Company; Young’s; Carluccio’s; Pizza Hut Restaurants, and Casual Dining Group (the new name for Tragus, owner of the Bella Italia and Café Rouge brands).

More than 1,200 independents (including restaurants, bars, pubs and hotels) were also represented, as were big contract caterers like BaxterStorey, Bidvest 3663, Elior UK, Compass Group, and Sodexo.

Casual Dining Innovation Challenge Awards 2015
Designed to promote and celebrate genuinely new ideas in the market, including new innovations and new twists on established concepts – the Innovation Challenge Live saw 12 finalists pitch their ideas to a panel of industry judges on the second day of the show.

The panel included leading pub and restaurant entrepreneur Peter Borg-Neal, chief executive at Oakman Inns & Restaurants; Brian Whiting, owner of award winning pub group Whiting & Hammond; and Keith Bird, commercial director at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Entries included food, drink, packaging, equipment and technology.

Casual Dining Innovation Challenge Gold Award recipients were Aryzta Food Solutions UK for Bun Appetit – a new Pretzel Burger Bun made using traditional pretzel baking methods; and Gram UK for Superior Plus 72 – claimed to offer operators with the most energy efficient refrigeration available on the market.

Commended entries include It's A Wrap’s Printed Grease Proof Paper, L'Aquila’s Roasted Tomatoes Au Natural, Manitowoc Foodservice UK’s Convotherm 4, Millenium Foodservice UK’s Individual Gluten-Free Pastry Cases, and Purbeck Ice Cream’s Dorset Wasabi Ice Cream.

King of Craft
Innovation is also key to the success of the growing craft beer and cider markets – currently enjoying their biggest renaissance in years.  Attendees were able to enjoy tasting sessions from all eight of the Craft Beer & Cider Showcase exhibitors in the new Drinks Innovation Theatre.  Bru Ri, an Indian Pale Ale (IPA) brewed by Bru Brewery in Ireland, was the recipient of Casual Dining’s first ever ‘King of Craft’ Award (voted for by visitors to the show).

Casual Dining Design Awards 2015
Other show highlights included the announcement of the winners of Casual Dining’s prestigious Design Awards.  Under the chairmanship of designer David Worthington, the three judges (Theo Williams, Afroditi Krassa, and Tina Norden) described the entries as producing great and exciting work, and discussed the role of design and branding in helping to create differentiation and enhancing visitor experience within the hospitality industry.

This year’s shortlist included selected interior design projects from over 40 finalists; including high street brands like ASK Italian, Carluccio’s, GBK, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Red’s, and Tortilla.

Faced with an extremely high standard of entries, The Perfectionists’ Café, Heathrow Terminal 2 (operated by The Fat Duck Ltd, designed by AfroditiKrassa) won over the judges[1] in the Best Designed Independent Restaurant category.  Praising the design’s attention to detail, the judges said they loved the way the space had been laid out and constructed.
Alston Bar & Beef in Glasgow Central Station (operated by Glendola, designed by Jestico + Whiles), and Smack Lobster Roll Deli in London (operated by Goodmans, designed by DesignLSM) were both also highly commended.

Hare & Tortoise in Chiswick (operated by Bronzemarch Trading Ltd, designed by SAY Architects) took away the winning trophy for Best Designed Multiple Restaurant.  Summing up their decision, the judges said the design was “beautiful, simple, and elegant”.

Wagamama Uxbridge (designed by Blacksheep) was highly commended in the same category.

The Fable in London (operated by Drake & Morgan Collection, designed by Fusion Design and Architecture) was awarded highly commended in the Best Designed Casual Dining Pub category.  After much debate by the judges, no overall winner was selected this year.

Save the date for 2016
Looking ahead to 2016, around 80% of exhibition space has already been reserved, with many exhibiting companies having already requested to increase the size of their stands.  To accommodate growing demand, organiser Diversified Communications UK has also revealed that exhibition space will be expanded to include more of the Upper Feature Level at the Business Design Centre next year.

The expansion will grow the show from 151 to around 190 exhibiting companies for its third edition.  They’ll be in great company, as 87% of surveyed visitors have already indicated that they intend to revisit when the show returns to the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, on 24-25 February 2016.

“We’re delighted with the show,” comments group event director Chris Brazier, speaking on behalf of the Casual Dining team.  “We saw record numbers of innovative exhibitors doing business with a quality of decision maker that you rarely see at any trade show – let alone one in only its second year.  No wonder so many of our exhibitors have already signed up for Casual Dining 2016!  Big thanks must go to the senior buyers from across the casual dining sector for embracing the show – we’re already looking forward to making it even bigger and better for them next year!”

Next year’s Casual Dining will also feature the launch of the recently announced Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards, which will take place on the evening of the show’s opening day – Wednesday 24 February.

For more information, please visit Booking for new exhibitors opens at 10am on 23 March 2015.

Casual Dining launches major new industry awards #

Casual Dining, the award winning trade show, which ran its second edition at the Business Design Centre in London last week, has announced the launch of The Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards, in response to industry feedback.

The awards will take place on the evening of 24 February 2016.  Not only will they form an important highlight of next year’s event, but aim to become the leading celebration of the growing £7 billion casual dining sector.

The launch of this prestigious industry awards dinner follows the launch of the highly successful Casual Dining Design Awards last year – which recognises and celebrates the importance of great design as a part of the eating and drinking out experience.  The awards attracted nearly 100 entries including most of the leading operators and design agencies, many of which have commented that the awards need a ‘proper’ home.

Design will only form part of the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards, with other awards to include Best New Restaurant Concept, Best Pub Group, Best Bar, Best Rebranding, Best Drinks Offering, Most Innovative Menu and The Innovation Award.  There will also be a Gold Medal award to recognise outstanding achievement.  The evening will culminate with a Lifetime Achievement Award, with the winner being interviewed exclusively at Casual Dining on 25 February 2016.

A full list of categories is being finalised with the Advisory Committee at the end of May.  The venue for the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016 will be announced at the same time.

Commenting on the announcement, Chris Brazier, Casual Dining’s group event director, says: “We’re delighted that Casual Dining is already seen as the place where decision makers from the restaurant and pub sector do business.  Following great feedback, we’re delighted to be launching a major evening awards event where these key players, along with our innovative exhibitors, can let their hair down, network, and celebrate the best that this sector has to offer.”

Little things prove a big earner #

Little things can mean big business for operators, with new research revealing that a whopping 87% of consumers would return to a hotel or restaurant that went the extra mile, rising to 90% amongst 18-34 year olds. A warm welcome from reception, service with a smile and complimentary mints proved the top three little things that make a big difference to consumers.

This fresh new research*, commissioned by Ferrero – the Italian family-owned confectionery company who’s portfolio includes tic tac® – delved into the small but important issues that make a good impression with consumers, including the role of mints. Despite the fact consumers were happy to receive complimentary mints, the research revealed that 60% believe a bowl of open mints at a hotel or restaurant reception looked dated and unhygienic.

Natasha Quinn, foodservice channel operations manager, Ferrero comments: “When it comes to good hospitality the devil is in the detail, something as small as complimentary mints makes a big impression to consumers, and can prove highly profitable in the long run. The fact is, 80% of people would expect a quality establishment to give complimentary mints with a coffee or bill, but Food & Beverage Managers need to ensure they are offered in the right way – 15% of consumers would actually think less of an establishment that offered a bowl of unwrapped mints.” 

Ferrero’s new tic tac® pillow pack is the fresh way to provide consumers with complimentary mints. Encased in a convenient and hygienic format, the pillow pack contains four peppermint flavoured tic tacs and is the new branded mint available to out-of-home. This provides both operators and their customers with quality reassurance – an important factor to the 68% of people who feel reassured of the quality of an establishment based on the brands it serves.

Natasha adds: “When it comes to consumer perception tic tac is the little thing that makes a big difference to operations. The new pillow pack, combined with the fact tic tac is the fastest growing top ten pocket confectionery brand^, provides an innovative way to offer complimentary mints – a feature 85% of people would opt for over unwrapped mints.
“tic tac is versatile too, it can be used across an operation including front of house and hotel reception desks, as part of the turn down service, offered with the bill or coffee, as well as conference and meeting rooms – in fact delegates will thank you for it being readily available, as 92% of people surveyed said they would feel more confident in a business environment if they had fresh breath!”

To support operators Ferrero has created tic tac shaped display cases to promote the pillow packs to consumers. The complimentary units can be requested from 

The new format is available in boxes of T4 x 10 x 100 tic tac pillow packs. 

Elior UK 21st in Sunday Times Top 25 Best Big Companies to Work For #

Elior UK scooped a place in the Sunday Times Top 25 Best Big Companies to Work For list for the second time, cementing its commitment to its employees and a culture built on developing its team.

The contract caterer was placed at number 21 on the list - the UK’s definitive survey on engagement in the workplace based on employee feedback.

Since becoming the first ever contract caterer to make the list in 2013, Elior has continued to invest heavily in employee development, resulting in improved scores across the board - wellbeing, leadership, fair deal, and personal growth. This continued improvement has also gained Elior a One Star rating from Best Companies – another exciting first.

Catherine Roe, chief executive, Elior UK says:  “Being listed as a Best Company to work for is a reflection of our continued commitment to all of our team, investing in our people to ensure we have a strong colleague culture across the business.

“Over the past three years, we’ve developed a unique and compelling proposition for the contract catering market: to deliver great customer experiences and to measure and demonstrate this mission. This could only be delivered by motivated and well trained employees.”

As part of its commitment to employee training, Elior UK has developed eXperience, an award-winning customer service training programme. Employees at each of the caterers 650 UK sites select a peer who they feel delivers a great customer experience to become a Service Champion.  These Service Champions deliver the eXperience training to colleagues in short, interactive sessions using a series of games, cartoons and practical tasks that bring the modules to life. 

Arran McDowell, HR director, Elior UK, says: “The eXperience programme and our emphasis on two-way communication gives our employees a sense of inclusion and is a huge part of our culture. We may be a big organisation but every employee has an identity, is referred to by name and impacts the customer experience through their daily roles. It might sound simple but happy employees equal happy customers.”

Catherine adds: “I recognise that our success is only made possible by the dedication of each and every one of our team working at our sites and I hope they’re as proud as I to feature in this prestigious list for the second year running.”

New food and hospitality Apprentice Academy launched by leading businesses #

BaxterStorey, Holroyd Howe and Caterlink, all part of WSH, have joined forces to launch a new Apprentice Academy, aiming to create more job opportunities for young people in the food and hospitality industry.

The Academy, which was launched to coincide with National Apprentice Week (9-15 March), will see the three companies commit to creating more 200 new roles within their businesses over the next three years.

This means that, by 2018, the companies will have trained more than 500 apprentices through the academy in total.

The new apprenticeships will also contribute directly to the hospitality industry’s ‘The Big Hospitality Conversation’, an initiative aiming to create 60,000 new hospitality job opportunities by 2016.

A recent report published by People 1st identified that the hospitality industry will need to fill over 800,000 jobs by 2020, with 66,000 skilled managers required by that year.

Working alongside HIT Training, the recruitment and training provider, the companies are aiming to create 50 roles in the first year, 100 in its second, and more than 200 positions by 2018.

The companies will be launching two primary programmes; food service and professional cookery, where apprentices will work in either front of house roles or kitchen-based positions. There will also be apprenticeship opportunities for young people looking to seek employment in business administration. 

The apprentices will work across the UK, in roles such as chefs, baristas and food service assistants in a broad range of environments across a wide portfolio of client locations in business and industry, state and independent schools. 

The Academy was developed over a ten-month period as part of an Advanced Management Project, a training and development programme designed by the business to prepare high-achieving location managers for their next step on the managerial ladder.

Alastair Storey, chairman, WSH, said: “Our business is built on the talent of our people. We place great emphasis on developing and nurturing individuals who are passionate, enthusiastic and willing to embrace what can be a hugely rewarding career in hospitality.

“This industry can provide a career path like no other and our academy isn’t just about helping young people get into work, it is about investing in the future leaders of tomorrow.

“The opportunities in this industry are often a well-kept secret. Our academy will provide individuals with the chance to get into a career which can be very financially rewarding, as well as offer specific benefits such as Monday to Friday hours, working in iconic locations.

“In this election year, the training and development of the next generation is high on the agenda of all parties. The Apprentice Academy will deliver high quality on the job training that offers a real alternative to university and equip our business with the skills we need to grow and compete.”

Skills minister Nick Boles said: “Apprenticeships make absolute business sense while providing life changing opportunities for young people across the country.

“I am therefore delighted that BaxterStorey, Holroyd Howe and Caterlink are launching their new Apprentice Academy.

“I would urge employers of all sizes to consider how they can make apprenticeships part of their growth strategy.‎"

Jill Whittaker, managing director, HIT Training added: “We’re delighted to be supporting this impressive training initiative, The hospitality industry offers a great career path for those with the drive and determination to succeed, and we applaud WSH’s investment in, and commitment to, this significant and long-term training programme. Well trained, competent staff are a valuable asset to any business and investing in staff training not only benefits employers but gives employees the opportunity to kick start and develop their careers in this wonderful, fast-growing and dynamic industry.”

Ufi Ibrahim. CEO, British Hospitality Association, added: “BaxterStorey, Caterlink and Holroyd Howe should be applauded for their commitment to training and apprenticeships. Inspiring, exciting and dynamic career opportunities offered by companies like these are vital in helping the wider industry and its Big Hospitality Conversation programme to encourage more young people into a career in hospitality.”

Pelican serves up Cherry Pi™: new centralised supplier ordering system #

Pelican Procurement Services, the procurement and supply chain management specialist, announced the launch of an intelligent new cloud-based ordering system that enables customers to place orders for multiple suppliers in one central platform.  Cherry Pi™ has been launched to save customers time when ordering products, as well as provide a host of advanced features to help control expenditure and simplify the procurement process for multi-site organisations.

By logging into the Cherry Pi™ dashboard, customers can easily find the items they wish to purchase using a dynamic search function Once a search is performed, items are ranked by historic purchasing trends, meaning more frequently ordered items will feature at the top of the results table.  The system also shows products from agreed suppliers only, and has the option for managers to limit available items to those included on the agreed purchase contract list.

Cherry Pi™ has been tested by a number of Pelican clients and to date over two thousand orders have been processed on the new system.  Surrey County Council Commercial Services is a Cherry Pi™ user and Mark Capper, its marketing and development manager, explains: “Cherry Pi™ gives us much more flexibility, and saves both time and resource. It only takes 10 minutes or less to place orders so the process is much easier and simpler and it also provides a clear on-line audit trail.”

Additional benefits of Cherry Pi™ include the ability to save template ‘shopping lists’ making it extremely quick to order items that are required on a regular basis, plus orders can be developed in collaboration, meaning various team members can log-in to complete an order, which is ideal for multi-site operators who wish to place one single order for all outlets, at one time.

Mark continues: “Following a short tutorial, our caterers have found the system easy to use and very intuitive - it’s like placing orders on Amazon. Cherry Pi™ allows additional users to access the system if required, so orders can be collated without waiting for one individual to handle the task. Previously the catering team placed orders via telesales, one at a time. The whole process could take up to 40 minutes due to the manual entry involved and waiting for multiple order acknowledgements.”

Once an order is submitted, customers receive confirmation of when the order was sent in addition to an acknowledgement once each supplier has received the details. A confirmation is also shown on the supplier’s system when the order has been downloaded and actioned by a member of the team, in order to avoid duplication.   If the time between the ‘sent’ and ‘acknowledgement’ goes over an hour, Pelican is alerted and contact is made with suppliers to ensure there are no problems.

Shabaz Mohammed, managing director of Pelican Procurement Services said: “Cherry Pi™ is a brand new extension to our suite of online tools that are designed to make the procurement, fulfilment and cost management process as easy as possible.  The system is a complimentary add-on service provided to Pelican customers enabling them to place orders from multiple suppliers, without needing to check what you buy from where, or what your agreed contract list contains; it’s all here in Cherry Pi™. We’ve received incredible feedback from both customers and suppliers regarding the new module, everyone remarks on how easy it is to use.”

Mark Capper concludes: “From a management perspective, Cherry Pi™ enables our regional and operational managers to gain remote access to individual sites’ purchasing history and to collate purchasing reports and buying trends and confirm what’s being ordered and by whom. It also assists us in properly managing the supply chain to ensure procurement compliance.”

For more information regarding Pelican’s range of procurement services or to arrange a demonstration of the new system Cherry Pi™, call 01252 705 222 or visit

Reynolds gets recognised for sustainable practice #

Reynolds has been awarded the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s (SRA) Approved Supplier accreditation, a first for a national fresh produce supplier.

Changes to the SRA approved supplier programme make for a more robust process, which is better for both supplier and members. The criteria for becoming an SRA approved supplier are now significantly more comprehensive, with additional focus on corporate ethics and traceability.

Conor O’Brien, environmental coordinator at Reynolds commented: “To retain the accreditation, Reynolds had to complete a comprehensive survey across three main categories - sourcing, environment and society. We are extremely proud that Reynolds has retained the SRA approved supplier accreditation and it is testament to the hard work of the team and the goals that we have set, that this has been achieved.”

”Our customers already know that, by working with Reynolds, they have access to traceable, British food with provenance, delivered by a family business which cares about the environment. The SRA accreditation is an independent endorsement of these commitments,” added Conor.

Mark Lineham, managing director of the SRA, said about the achievement: “Reynolds supply a number of our rated restaurants. Achieving the SRA’s ‘approved supplier’ status means these businesses can work with Reynolds with increased confidence, knowing this helps them to meet their sustainability goals.”

Reynolds is entrusted with delivering short shelf-life products to many of the biggest brands in the business, as well as many smaller, emerging operators. Customers include many SRA Sustainability Champions such as Carluccios, Byron, Camino, Feng Sushi and Lusso.  Reynolds also counts many other SRA members as customers and continues to assist them in achieving their sustainability stars.

ScotHot 2015 a Red Hot Success #

A revitalised ScotHot returned with a bang, with exhibitors and visitors alike praising it and an increased audience of over 7,000 industry professionals visiting over the course of the two days.

ScotHot  - Scotland’s biggest event for the food, drink, hospitality and tourism industries - was opened by Scotland’s Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP.  The new two-day programme for the show included a host of influential speakers, a brand new Liquid Academy Live stage and the largest collection of new catering and food products available anywhere on the market.

Event director, Soraya Gadelrab said: “I’m absolutely delighted with ScotHot 2015 and would like to thank every visitor, exhibitor, competitor and contributor. The event has demonstrated the dynamic nature of Scotland’s catering, hospitality, food and drink industries.  We’ve worked hard to reflect this in a programme that was crammed full of talent.  This has been really well received by attendees at ScotHot.”

The ScotHot 2015 line-up included:
• A brand new Liquid Academy Live run by the LA Group which hosted talks and interactive seminars for the drinks and bar industries. 
• The final of the UK Barista Championships, which saw Maxwell Colonna Dashwood from Bath triumph to win the right to be crowned the best and go on to represent the UK in the World Barista Championships in Seattle in April.
• The Spotlight Stage, which showcased experts ranging from marketing and technology leaders to those involved in the development of nationwide tourism and hospitality strategy. Top names like Andrew Fairlie appeared alongside tourism and hospitality chiefs and government ministers.
• The Scotland, Land of Food and Drink Pavilion bringing together Scotland’s finest food and drink producers to celebrate 2015’s Year of Food and Drink.
• The 30th Scottish Culinary Championships, which challenged chefs to create show-stopping food sculptures as well as being judged in a live cook-off on the Live Theatre. Adam Handling was awarded the title of Scottish Chef of the Year at the Thistle Awards, taking place on the last evening of the show.
• The CESA Innovation Zone provided the provided the visitors with the chance to see the most innovative products on the market.
• The Buell Business Advice Clinic, a central hub where professionals could seek free specialist business advice from the experts

ScotHot took place within Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink as part of Scottish Tourism Week’s Signature Programme in Glasgow’s SECC on the 4th and 5th of March.  With a heritage dating back over 40 years, the show runs every two years.

ScotHot will return in 2017.