Members’ News

February 2016

Win £300 to spend in a Michelin Star restaurant #

Get social with William Murray Communications' survey
William Murray Communications wants you to let them know how you use social media. What channels you use, how often and why? How you feel about customers using their smartphones to post reviews and pictures and what content you want to see on your feeds?

They want to know what you think.

And that's just for starters. To sweeten the deal they're giving everyone who completes the survey the chance to win a meal in a Michelin star restaurant. So what are you waiting for?


Terms and conditions
Two winners will be selected at random to spend £300 in a Michelin star restaurant of their choice. Entries are made by completing the survey which can be accessed by clicking on a link provided above. All entries must be received no later than midday, 7th February 2016. Only one entry per person will be counted. All other entries will be made void. The winners will be selected by William Murray’s Digital Director and their decision is final. The prize is only open to personnel in the foodservice industry and is not applicable to William Murray employees or anyone connected with the survey. The prize does not include travel, accommodation or any other expenses. The prize is as described, not transferable, not exchangeable for cash and no cash alternative will be offered in the event that the winner is unable to claim or use the prize for any reason. 

Santa Maria Foodservice helps caterers serve up Catering Mark success #

Santa Maria Foodservice joined the Food for Life Catering Mark Supplier Scheme as part of its ongoing commitment to help caterers create meals from scratch that are free from additives, sustainably sourced and packed with nutrition and flavour.

The scheme endorses the Santa Maria products that can help caterers achieve specific standards for the Food for Life Bronze, Silver and Gold Catering Mark awards.

Under the Bronze Catering Mark, Santa Maria’s range of dry spices qualifies for the following core standard – 75% of dishes are freshly prepared from unprocessed ingredients.

And using Santa Maria’s organic range of herbs and spices can also help caterers upgrade to the Silver and Gold Catering Mark.  The regular use of Santa Maria’s organic products will gain valuable points under the Food Quality section, specifically the ‘Sourcing of ethical and Environmental products’ (S8.i) and ‘Making healthy eating easier’ (S8.iii) criterion.

Eimear Owens, country sales manager - UK & Ireland, Santa Maria Foodservice comments: “At Santa Maria we’re all about making it easier for schools, hospitals and universities to deliver great tasting, healthy food. It’s fantastic to see our dry spices and organic range improving the nutrition of lunchtime meals for children, patients and students across the country.

“The Food for Life Catering Mark programme has proven very successful in focusing the attention of caterers on the ingredients they use and improving the food they serve. We will continue to work closely with caterers to show how Santa Maria can help them serve up Catering Mark success.”

Huhtamaki increases production capacity to meet growing demand from across the UK foodservice industry #

Following increased demand from across the UK foodservice industry, Huhtamaki announced plans to significantly increase its production capacity at its foodservice site in Gosport.

Rosemary Mason, managing director, Huhtamaki, foodservice Western Europe & UK, said: “With an ever-growing ‘café culture’ and more and more people eating out or ‘on the go’, operators are recognising the importance of attractive, high quality disposable cups and containers.  This has led to an increase in demand for products such as our colourful and stylish ‘enjoy’ cups and ‘Eatwell’ food containers, our RPET tumblers and recently launched food-to- go packaging range, ‘Taste’.  Over the past three years, Huhtamaki has kept pace with this growing demand by investing in new state of the art machinery.  Now, with investment in the development and expansion of our Holbrook site in Gosport, our production capacity will be significantly increased; ensuring that we can continue to meet the demands of a thriving UK foodservice market with products manufactured in the UK.”

All Huhtamaki UK paper cups and food containers are made with 100% PEFC certified paperboard; so everyone from coffee shops and cafés, to vending operators, can buy with confidence from the industry’s leading supplier of disposable paper products to the UK high street, contract caterers and vending operators. 

‘Eatwell’ in the New Year #

The ‘Eatwell’ range of paper food containers from Huhtamaki are perfect for operators looking to present customers with vibrant ‘grab n go’ choices that encourage healthy eating, which – after all the festivities – are sure to be the order of the day as we enter the New Year!

Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day, and according to Horizons’ Market Structure and Trends 2014 report, is expected to see a forecast growth of 9% by 2018.  With the ever increasing variety of food choices now available to suit this particular meal occasion, using the new Eatwell containers it is now even easier for operators to serve customers breakfast to-go.  Use the smaller 7oz and 8oz Eatwell sizes for hot and cold breakfast choices like hearty porridge; Greek yoghurt, honey and granola; fresh fruits and berries, and cereals.

For wholesome snacks and lunches, the 12oz (‘tall’ or ‘squat’) and 16oz (‘mid’ or ‘tall’) Eatwell sizes are perfect for Italian pastas and oriental noodles, as well as cold food choices such as Mediterranean salads and Moroccan cous cous.  The larger 24oz container is great for more hearty soups and Asian-inspired broths.

Made in the UK at Huhtamaki’s Gosport factory, the Eatwell range – with its choice of seven different sized containers – is one of the most extensive ranges of paper food containers available in foodservice.  Eatwell containers are available in plain white (with a choice of paper or new ‘wheel’ feature plastic lids); the popular ‘enjoy’ stock design; or can be custom printed with up to eight colours. Each ’enjoy’ container is coloured according to its size, and is stackable to save space – so operators can simply reach for the correct size pot at a glance.  For improved convenience, Eatwell containers are supplied in user-friendly combi-packs, with the containers and lids in the same case – great if you’ve got limited storage or kitchen space!

Like the rest of the ‘enjoy’ range, the Eatwell containers are recyclable and fully compliant with the EU Timber Regulation No. 995/2010.  All Huhtamaki UK paper cups and food containers are made with 100% PEFC certified paperboard, so you can rest assured that you are buying with confidence from the industry’s leading supplier of disposable paper products to the UK high street.

The popularity of lighter ‘grab n go’ food choices has never been more appealing, especially to those who are aware of what they eat; and the new ‘Eatwell’ range is ideal for serving quality takeaway choices which appeal to lifestyle-conscious consumers.

See how it’s done – super-fast cooking with FRIMA #

FRIMA shows speed and versatility of tabletop VarioCooking Center Multificiency at Casual Dining 2016 24 -25 February 2016, The BDC London

On stand M101 FRIMA will be explaining just how quick and easy it is to cook a variety of dishes with the latest compact FRIMA VarioCooking Center Multificiency 112T. The 112T is a tabletop version of the full-size FRIMA VarioCooking Center Multificiency. It’s four times faster than conventional cooking appliances – pans can get from 0 to 200°C in two and a half minutes.

Measuring just 962mm wide by 800mm deep and 400mm high, it has two 14 litre pans, giving it the same capacity as its big brother, the VCC 112. The 112T takes space-saving multifunctional cooking technology to a new level – it can boil, poach, shallow fry and deep fry, precisely and easily, with perfect results. Replacing kettles, large pots, bratt pans, fryers and griddles, it saves 30% or more space in the kitchen.

“The 112T can be sited anywhere, on a table, a work surface, a central cooking block or moved to where it is needed for event cooking,” says Graham Kille, managing director of FRIMA UK. “It’s great for front of house cooking as it offers maximum flexibility in a small footprint.”

Easy to use and with fully automatic cooking processes, there’s no need for monitoring and no chance of food sticking or scorching. It automatically lifts pasta out of the boiling water when done and tells chefs when to turn steaks and other fried food. It’s quick to clean between different cooking processes – only taking about two minutes to switch from cooking burgers to preparing custard.

FRIMA’s new Dynamic option for its VarioCooking Center allows kitchens with restricted power supplies to benefit from the FRIMA’s energy savings. The Dynamic option, which works by carefully optimising power usage, reduces the unit’s connected load with only minimal impact on performance. It is available for all models in the VarioCooking Center range, enabling them to operate with a significantly lower wattage than standard versions.

Visitors can learn from FRIMA experts all the finer details of cooking with the 112T and the vast array of dishes it can cook, including how to get the best results and energy savings. For those interested in larger scale cooking, the 211+, which offers pressure cooking to further speed up the cooking process, will be on display giving caterers the chance to choose what best suits their needs.

Hotelympia 2016: Cooking in the fast lane with FRIMA #

FRIMA shows speed and versatility at Hotelympia 2016, ExCeL London, 29 Feb – 3 March

On stand 3471 FRIMA will be showing the 211+ VarioCooking Center Multificiency. This modern, multifunctional cooking appliance can replace kettles, large pots, bratt pans, fryers and griddles, saving 30% or more space in the kitchen. It’s super-fast too – four times faster than conventional cooking appliances – pans can get from 0 to 200°C in two and a half minutes. For even speedier cooking the 211+ has a pressure cooking feature that can cut cooking times for products such as casseroles, soups and stocks by 50% or more.

FRIMA’s VarioBoost heating system ensures that heat is transferred evenly all over the pan bases so there are no hot spots. Built-in cooking intelligence constantly monitors the process ensuring nothing boils over, sticks or scorches. It even tells chefs when to turn steaks and other shallow fried items. It automatically lowers pasta and vegetables into boiled water and lifts them back out when done.

“The 211+ is a perfect multifunctional cooking machine for those who need to cook fast and want consistent, quality results,” says Graham Kille, managing director of FRIMA UK. “It’s quick to clean between different cooking processes – only taking about two minutes to switch from cooking meat casserole to preparing custard.”

To demonstrate how quick and easy it is to cook a variety of dishes with a FRIMA, chefs will be cooking on stand with the latest compact FRIMA VarioCooking Center Multificiency 112T – the tabletop version of the full-size FRIMA VarioCooking Center Multificiency.

FRIMA chefs will be explaining how to get the best results and energy savings out of the multifunctional cooking appliance and how it can streamline cooking processes in the commercial kitchen.

FRIMA expands UK team with black belt chef #

Lee Hall to work with distributors to increase CookingLive demo sites

FRIMA UK has expanded its sales team with the appointment of Lee Hall as regional sales manager for the East Midlands and East Anglia.

Lee is an experienced chef – he started in kitchens at the tender age of 14 and subsequently worked in a variety of venues including gastro pubs, five star hotels and spas. He’s also an experienced foodservice sales professional whose previous companies include MKG Foods and Corkers Crisps, where he controlled the UK wholesale division, working with multiple foodservice operators and major retailers such as WH Smith and Amazon.

“I’m thrilled to be working with such a well-known and respected manufacturer of catering equipment,” he says. “Being at the cutting edge of cooking technology is really exciting – working with a range of equipment that brings genuine, clear benefits to caterers’ businesses, especially in terms of reducing time and costs, compared to traditional appliances.”

Lee will be looking to bring in new distributor partners for FRIMA in the East Midlands and East Anglia. “The interest in FRIMA is increasing all the time and there’s a great opportunity for new distributors to build on the success that we are already experiencing in other regions,” he says. “Initially I’m looking to increase our exposure in the education, staff catering, restaurant and hotel sectors.”  

One of Lee’s first tasks will be talking to distributors with a view to establishing more FRIMA CookingLive demonstration sites in his region. “This is modern kitchen technology and seeing it in action is the best way to understand how it can benefit your operation,” he says.

In his spare time Lee teaches karate at his local dojo. He is currently a Black Belt Shodan-Ho and is training for his next grade, Black Belt First Dan.  

The Stock People to unveil a flavourful new direction at Hotelympia 2016 #

Essential Cuisine will be giving chefs their very first taste of an exciting new product range – a complete departure from anything the company has ever created – when its dedicated chef team lands at Hotelympia 2016.  

Visitors to Stand 1050 will be able to see and taste the new stock range for themselves next February – learning more about its development, flavour profiles and how it can help chefs be more adventurous with menus.

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “In 21 years of production, we have never created anything this different. The new range has been inspired by our work with some of the high street’s most recognisable casual chains and has been through a long development process in the pursuit of perfection. The end result is a trend-inspired range that will give chefs the time and confidence to do different. We can’t wait to unveil it at the show.”

Essential Cuisine is also celebrating 21 years in business in 2016. Stand visitors can expect a party atmosphere alongside the festival of new products.   

Essential Cuisine begins 2016 search for young chefs hungry for the thrill of competition #

Entries are now open for North West Young Chef 2016 – Essential Cuisine’s search for the region’s finest young cooks, aged 23 or under.

The contest invites hungry young chefs from across Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Cumbria and, newly-added-for-2016, Shropshire, to do battle in a series of local cook-offs, producing a restaurant quality, three-course meal for two with an emphasis on the very best of local and seasonal produce.

Regional heats are set to take place in March and April, and only the six finest candidates will go through to a grand final scheduled for 10 May.

Entrants should visit: and register their interest today.

As well as being crowned the North West Young Chef of the Year, the eventual winner will receive £500, a set of professional knives and a semi-final seed into the coveted Craft Guild of Chef’s Young National Chef of the Year Competition.

Details of the regional heats for the 2016 competition are as follows:
• Lancashire – 9 March 2016 – Preston College (closing date for entries 10 February)
• Cumbria – 5 April 2016 – Kendal College (closing date for entries 8 March)
• Cheshire – 7 April 2016 – South Cheshire College (closing date for entries 10 March)
• Shropshire – 13 April 2016 – Shrewsbury College (closing date for entries 16 March)
• Greater Manchester – 14 April 2016 – Manchester College, Wythenshawe Campus (closing date for entries 17 March)
• Merseyside – 19 April 2016 – Wirral Met College (closing date for entries 22 March)

• Final -10 May 2016, Manchester College, Fielden Campus

Prior to the final, regional heat winners will also get to attend a masterclass with an acclaimed chef. Last year six finalists were treated to a session with Mark Birchall, who splits his time as head chef between Manchester’s The French and the world-renowned L’Enclume, both owned by the mercurial Simon Rogan. 

Essential Cuisine managing director and NWYC judge, Nigel Crane, comments: “Nothing trumps the sheer thrill of competitive cookery and in North West Young Chef we have a competition like no other – a showcase to uncover and reward some of the area’s brightest young talent.

“In 2016 we welcome Shropshire into the mix – the judges are excited to see what lies in store from there – their inclusion should make for an even stronger competitive set. I urge any young chefs keen to sharpen their skills in the heat of the North West Young Chef spotlight to enter today, as this is where it could all begin for you.”    

The search begins for Britain’s Best Brigade 2016 #

Following a highly successful first year, which saw eight supremely skilled chef teams from across the UK become YouTube stars, Essential Cuisine is launching its search for Britain’s Best Brigade 2016.

The Stock People are calling on kitchens to represent 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 – with the prize of £1000 cash plus a bespoke menu development masterclass, up for grabs.

Seven runners-up will also receive £300 towards a team night on the tiles.  

With regional pride on the line, kitchens across hospitality, from hospitals and schools, to contract caterers, pubs, hotels, fine and casual outlets and beyond, are invited to enter at before April 22 2016 and demonstrate that theirs is the team with the best cooking, the biggest characters and the greatest camaraderie.

All entries will be judged by a highly respected panel of chefs, with eight regional representatives being chosen to bring their paper entries to life in the form of a 60-second video.

The final eight videos will then be put to a public vote to decide which should be crowned as Britain’s best.

Nigel Crane, managing director for Essential Cuisine, said: “Teamwork is the element that elevates good chef teams to best brigades. Supreme skill and fantastic food are incredibly important factors in the success of an outlet, but in the heat of service, when the pressure is on, it is a solid team ethic that will carry you through to deliver brilliant dishes on time, every time. Last year we saw something very special and were able to crown a highly talented bunch of chefs. If you think your brigade has what it takes to top 2015’s crop, then I urge you to get in touch today.”

Elior wins gold for BT Murrayfield at Best Bar None Awards #

Elior UK, the catering partner at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh, won a gold award at the Best Bar None Awards 2015, designed to recognise and promote socially responsible venues. The team will now go forward to the Scottish National Awards in March 2016 in the category of Specialist Entertainment Venue.

Judges scored the caterer against a stringent list of essential and desirable criteria. Elior was the highest placed contender in its category and was praised by the judging committee for going above and beyond its remit and for demonstrating best practice.

James Nicholson, site director for Elior at BT Murrayfield said, “We’re committed to doing everything we can to safeguard the experience quality and safety of all our guests at BT Murrayfield. It’s fantastic for the team to be recognised in this way.”

The Best Bar None scheme was developed by Greater Manchester Police as part of the Manchester City Centre Safe project in 2003. Its remit - to address alcohol related crime, particularly anti-social behaviour and violence and promote socially responsible venues. It was felt that in order for progress to be made in delivering a safer night time economy, a new consensual approach across licensed businesses was required to enhance and complement traditional enforcement activity. In 2005, the scheme was launched in Scotland and since then it has grown from strength to strength.

Themes included in the inspection include: Capacity, Security, Drinks/Drunkenness, Drugs, Theft, Disorder, Terrorism Awareness, First Aid, Management, Glass, Fire Safety, Building Safety, Transport, Disability, Noise, Community Engagement, Public Health and Children.

The ceremony was held at the City Arts Centre, Edinburgh, hosted by the convenor of the Scottish Licensing Board, Councillor, Eric Milligan.

More details about the awards here:

People 1st: With the £100m apprenticeship levy a reality, industry must have a say in its management #

In the wake of Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement in November that the proposed apprenticeship levy is set to become a £3bn reality for UK businesses, People 1st said that, while the levy may not be positively received, the hospitality industry must now maximise investment and secure a central role in its management.    

In September 2015, CBI predicted that businesses in the UK would have to face up to a 0.5% levy on payrolls; this figure was confirmed in Parliament.

The visitor economy - of which  the hospitality industry is a key part - will make a significant contribution to the estimated £3bn figure (the amount the government predicts the levy will raise by 2019-20) with larger employers in the retail, hospitality, passenger transport and travel industries – those in excess of a £3m+ pay roll – facing bills in excess of £100m.

Simon Tarr, chief executive of People 1st, comments:  The levy is going to pose some real challenges and there is a risk that those businesses offering high quality training will have to divert this investment to apprenticeships even if this is not necessarily the right fit. 

“However, for many businesses apprenticeships can provide real bottom line benefits. For instance, 80% of companies that invest in apprentices report an increase in staff retention while an apprentice typically contributes £1,800 to the bottom line throughout their training, increasing to an impressive £5,200 per hospitality apprentice.

“We have been working with over 200 employers across the visitor service economy to create new apprenticeship standards, offering employers a system that has been designed by them and for them, and prepares apprentices for a career, not just a job. Launching in spring 2016 the new standards represent the biggest change to apprenticeships in recent times.  They have been created flexibly to allow businesses to choose a variety of training options which are right for their business, and we are working with the industry to demonstrate the benefits of apprenticeships. 

“For the sake of these new standards, we, as an industry, need to ensure the levy works for us; it’s going to be challenging for many businesses, but it’s not going to go away. We must now make our voices heard loud and clear to government on how it is managed.”

People 1st is bringing together a task force of employers and trade associations, including Whitbread, Hilton, Compass, Merlin, McDonalds, The British Beer & Pub Association and The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers. The aim of the task force is to help drive forward the implementation of the new apprenticeship standards and influence the government on how the levy is implemented.

Simon is keen to stress how critical the visitor economy is in relation to the government’s stated goals: “As a sector we will be making a significant financial contribution to the new apprenticeship levy. We also have the capacity to deliver high volumes of apprenticeships to help meet the governments’ £3bn target and sustainable plans for how we can self-regulate the system to achieve outstanding quality results. Therefore as a sector we have a compelling case to bring to government.

“We have 18 fantastic apprenticeship standards already approved by the Skills Minister, which form clearly defined career pathways. If the sector can influence how the levy is implemented and managed, there will be huge benefits to be reaped across improving productivity, driving sector recruitment, better career progression and of course assisting staff retention.

“The visitor economy needs to recruit 6.2m staff by 2022 and apprenticeships can play a valuable part in this as they represent an important entry route.

“Apprenticeships become even more integral when you consider that the visitor economy needs to recruit 1.4m managers by 2022. Put simply, apprenticeships are good for business.” 

People 1st reiterate importance of employer-led apprenticeship system to Parliamentary Committee #

Executive director, Martin-Christian Kent, was invited to share People 1st’s expertise and views with the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Visitor Economy (APPG) , following the launch of an inquiry into apprenticeships and skills development in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Martin gave evidence to Members of Parliament on the APPG on People 1st’s experience of apprenticeships and skills development within the industry. Crucially, he will be setting out how key issues raised in the initial inquiry can be addressed.

Martin commented: “Having been at the centre of our sector’s work on apprenticeships, we are pleased to have been offered this opportunity to discuss our views on the original inquiry. 

“Labour turnover is costing the sector £274m annually and 88% of the 993,000 projected staff needed by 2022 are to replace existing staff.

“Businesses across the industry have rallied enthusiastically to the government’s call to put employers in the driving seat of the new apprenticeships. The new, more robust apprenticeship standards, set to land this Spring, could have an extremely positive impact on the key issues of retention, progression and attraction of future talent. However, with the visitor economy set to contribute approximately one fifth of the total apprenticeship levy, we believe it is vital that the government support employers to develop a system that reflects the needs of industry in order to deliver quality apprenticeships.  This will ensure that employers are able to maximise their investment through the levy and that apprenticeships achieve the best result for the industry.

“As such, we’ll be highlighting the importance of an employer-led solution to ensure the quality delivery and assessment of the new apprenticeships.”

The View from the Shard team reaches exceptional new heights #

Towering over London at some 1000ft is the world-famous Shard, home to, amongst other things, a hotel, offices, two restaurants and a number of residential lodgings. It is also host to observation deck, The View from The Shard, offering the most exhilarating 360° panorama in Europe.

Most recently the attraction worked with People 1st to help implement Management 1st training, helping it to safeguard sustainable progression through the ranks for its leaders of tomorrow, allowing the team to reach new heights of excellence.

Training manager at The View from The Shard, Gemma Rowden, says she was keen to implement a management training scheme that would stand her staff in good stead when the time came for them to make the transition from being part of the team to leading it.

Specifically designed to support junior managers taking their first steps, Management 1st, was, as she attests, the perfect fit. 

The four-day programme helps first-time managers get to grips with the basics of leadership, teaching everything from coaching and communication skills, right through to more effective listening.

Gemma said:  “We were initially looking for a management programme that ticked all the boxes at the right level, for everybody, something we could send everyone on. It meant that we would have consistency across our management team and a real focus on leadership, but it wasn’t too full on. Management 1st hit all the right notes, it wasn’t too heavy and was pitched at just the right level.”

One of the benefits of Management 1st is that, once a Group Training Certificate has been attained by a candidate, that person can then facilitate and deliver training themselves.

Gemma has attained such a qualification and is now delivering the training to colleagues.

She said: “I’ve trained two cohorts now and I’m planning to do a third in October. Every manager within the organisation goes through Management 1st and it has been a real success. I’ve followed these up with one-to-one coaching sessions with each manager, looking at their actions from the outcomes of the training and how they’ve used the learning going forward and general support. It works really well.”

So has Gemma been able to see evidence of the benefits of the Management 1st programme since it was delivered?

“Definitely. Our managers have found many models useful, particularly time management, organising themselves, those tools around managing their workload have been really helpful too. The coaching models and feedback models too. We’re definitely getting more confident, I’ve seen it in emerging teams, and our younger or newer managers. And the training environment itself was great, having a group with the senior directors and my CEO, sitting with someone who’s just started – that was a fascinating dynamic. We’re seeing positive results from feedback from our visitors too. I’m extremely happy with how the scheme has been received.”

Wagamama, GBK, Punch Taverns and Revolution Bars to host keynotes at Casual Dining 2016 #

With its full Keynote seminar line-up now confirmed, a raft of high-profile brands and industry leaders are preparing to share their expertise with over 4,000 visitors from across the UK’s multiple restaurant and pub group sector at next month’s Casual Dining show.

Returning to the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, on 24-25 February, the multi-award winning trade event will feature an exclusive interview with Wagamama’s chief executive David Campbell.  He’ll be discussing his experiences in the UK casual dining sector, overseas expansion, site selection, staff retention and their plans for the future with Peter Martin, VP of CGA Peach.

Keith Bird, chief operating officer at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Paul Pavli, operations director of Punch Taverns, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, Mark McQuater, chief executive of Revolution Bars Group, Martin Morales, founder of Ceviche, Mark Linehan, managing director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, and David McDowall, MD of Bars at BrewDog complete the 17-strong, two-day seminar programme.

Free Casual Dining Keynote Theatre
Some of the biggest names in casual dining will be speaking at this year’s show.  Full timings and seminar summaries will be available at

Wednesday 24 February
• Peter Backman, MD of Horizons: Casual dining – where next?
• Exclusive interview with Simon Kossoff, co-founder and chairman of Carluccio's (feat. Peter Martin, VP of CGA Peach)
• David McDowall, MD of Bars at BrewDog: The BrewDog Charter and our retail strategy
• Mark McCulloch, founder and group CEO of WE ARE Spectacular: Market to hoodies or die – how to engage generation ‘me’ as customers and as employees
• The Sustainable Restaurant Association Panel (chaired by Mark Linehan, MD of The SRA): Fair pay – are we at a tipping point?
• Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the ALMR: Murder on the high street
• Mark McQuater, chief executive of Revolution Bars Group: Adapting, changing and growing
• The Training in Pubs Panel (chaired by Anthony Pender, chairman of The British Institute of Innkeeping and MD of Yummy Pub Co)
• Keith Bird, chief operating officer at Gourmet Burger Kitchen: The win win of the better burger market

Thursday 25 February
• Jamie Campbell, account director at CGA Peach: View From The Top – findings from the 2016 CGA Peach Business Leaders' Survey
• Steve Richards, chief executive officer at Casual Dining Group: Refreshing a brand
• Exclusive interview with Luke Johnson, chairman of Risk Capital Partners (feat. Paul Charity, managing director of Propel Info)
• Martin Morales, founder of Ceviche: How to build a hot independent restaurant group
• Paul Pavli, operations director at Punch Taverns: Concept and brand development – delivering and execution in a tenanted pub estate
• Exclusive interview with David Campbell, chief executive of Wagamama (feat. Peter Martin, VP of CGA Peach)

Register today
Thousands of key buyers and decision makers from many of the country’s biggest casual dining pub groups and restaurant chains, hotels, contract caterers, and independent operators have already registered to attend.  Among them are big brands like Admiral Taverns, Casual Dining Group, Ed's Easy Diner, Enterprise Inns, Fuller’s, GBK, Greene King, Hilton, Jamie’s Italian, JD Wetherspoon, La Tasca, Loungers, Mitchells and Butlers, Nando's, Oakman Inns, Pho, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, Spirit Pub Company, Strada, TGI Friday’s, TRG, Wagamama, Wahaca, Whitbread, Yo Sushi, and Zizzi.

“It’s great to finally have a trade show dedicated to our industry – it’s a really worthwhile visit,” says Steve Holmes, CEO of Ask Italian and Zizzi.

Casual Dining returns to the Business Design Centre in London on 24-25 February 2016, with 170 exhibiting companies showcasing a vibrant choice of food and drink, equipment, interior design, furniture, table top, technology and services.  For more information, and to register for a free trade ticket, please visit

Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016 announces finalists #

Brands including JD Wetherspoon, Young’s, Revolution, ASK Italian, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio's, Côte Restaurants, wagamama, Nando’s, Ed’s Easy Diner, GBK, and Pizza Hut, have made the shortlists for this year’s first ever Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards.

They’re among 48 casual dining pub and restaurant operators competing for awards across 12 categories, which cover everything from new concepts, social responsibility and employee engagement to marketing and design, as well as recognising the outstanding brands of the year.  The awards – launched to celebrate excellence within the growing multi-billion pound casual dining sector – will be presented at a prestigious awards dinner on the evening of 24 February 2016 at The Grange St. Paul’s Hotel in London, following the first day of next month’s Casual Dining show.

Diversified UK’s award manager, Louisa Pope, says: “The casual dining market is thriving, thanks in large part to the fantastic innovations and dedication of operators and the incredible dining experience they offer.  The launch of the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards is a fantastic way to celebrate their achievements and reward those companies who are making a real difference to the growth of this sector.  The calibre of entries has been incredible, congratulations and good luck to all our shortlisted finalists.”

Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards 2016 finalists include:

New Casual Dining Concept of the Year – sponsored by AAK Foodservice
• Coba
• Filthy Cow
• Hood Restaurants
• Project Pie
• The Beer Kitchen
• WM Barker & Co

The Social Responsibility Awards:
• Ed’s Easy Diner
• The Breakfast Club
• The King’s Head, Winchester

Casual Dining Marketing Campaign of the Year:
• ASK Italian – #FeedYourTemptation
• Cabana – #WeAreBrasil
• Chiquito - #SayFreeze
• Pizza Hut – Taste Freedom
• The Fox – Direct Mail Campaign
• WM Barker & Co – Will’s Campaign
• Zizzi – #ZizziTacklesCancer

Best Designed Independent Casual Dining Restaurant:
• Bonfire at the Barbican, London (designed by Catering Design Group)
• Ceviche, Old Street, London (designed by Martin Morales & Fabled Studio)
• Chai Ki, Canary Wharf, London (designed by DesignLSM)
• Filthy Cow, Manchester (designed by Mystery)
• KuPP, Merchant Square, London (designed by DesignLSM)
• Sulvaki, Bateman St, London (designed by AfroditiKrassa)

Best Designed Multiple Casual Dining Restaurant:
• Burger & Lobster, Threadneedle Street, London (designed by DesignLSM)
• Carluccio's, Market Place, London (designed by DesignLSM)
• GBK, St. Vincent Street, Glasgow (designed by moreno:masey)
• MeatLiquor, Upper Street, London (designed by Shed)
• Nando's, Guildhall, Southampton (designed by moreno:masey)
• Thaikhun Thai Restaurant, London (designed by Thai Leisure Group)
• Wondertree, South Terminal, Gatwick Airport (designed by FusionDNA)

Best Designed Causal Dining Pub or Bar:
• The Blue Ball, Tadworth, Surrey (designed by The JS Design Partnership)
• The Cock Inn, Headley, Surrey (designed by Jones Architecture Design)
• The Great Wood, Blanchardstown, Ireland (designed by KD Paine & Associates)
• The Pint Shop, Cambridge (designed by Macaulay Sinclair)
• WM Barker & Co, Bishopgate, London (designed by Jane Holme, Young & Co’s Brewery)

Independent Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year:
• Filthy Cow, Manchester
• Hood Streatham, London
• HUBBOX, Plymouth
• Project Pie, Dundee
• The Yorkshire Meatball Co., Harrogate

Independent Casual Dining Pub of the Year:
• The Bull, Ditchling, Sussex
• The Gloucester Old Spot, Bristol
• The Long Melford Swan, Suffolk
• The Northey Arms, Bath
• Little Gems Country Dining: The Park Pub & Kitchen, Bedford and The Swan Inn, Denham, Bucks
• The Pint Shop, Cambridge

Employer of the Year:
• Brunning & Price
• Burger & Lobster
• Dishoom
• Jamie's Italian
• The Breakfast Club
• Wagamama

Multiple Casual Dining Pub Brand of the Year:
• Geronimo Inns
• JD Wetherspoon
• Revolution Bars Group
• Sizzling Pubs
• Whiting & Hammond

Multiple Causal Dining Restaurant of the Year:
• ASK Italian
• Burger & Lobster
• CAU Restaurants
• Chiquito
• Côte Restaurants
• Thaikhun Thai Restaurant
• Vapiano
• Wagamama

The winner of the casual dining ‘Champion of the year’ award, nominated by the judges, is to be announced on the night. 

The inaugural judging panel includes Karen Forrester, CEO of TGI Friday’s UK; Keith Bird, chief operating officer of GBK; Kate Nicholls, chief executive of The ALMR; Anthony Pender, chairman of the BII; Paul Charity, MD of Propel; Peter Martin, vice chairman of CGA Peach; industry pioneer Ian Neill; Alex Reilley, executive vice chairman of Loungers; Lorraine Wood, director of Arena; Mark McCulloch, founder and CEO of WE ARE Spectacular; David Worthington, chairman of Holmes & Marchant Design Group; Afroditi Krassa, founder of AfroditiKrassa; Theo Williams, designer & creative director of Theo Williams; Tina Norden, project director at Conran and Partners; and Chris Brazier, group event director of Casual Dining.

Commercial Kitchen announces partnership with CEDA #

Commercial Kitchen, the new event for the UK’s catering equipment industry, is delighted to welcome CEDA (the Catering Equipment Distributors Association) as a major association partner.  

The highly-anticipated new launch from Diversified Communications UK, the organisers behind the multi-award winning lunch! and Casual Dining events, will take place this summer at the NEC Birmingham on 7-8 June.

CEDA, the UK’s leading membership association for companies involved in the distribution and servicing of commercial catering equipment, is a pivotal partner for the show, which is set to bring the whole industry together for the first time in the UK.

Adam Mason, director general of CEDA, welcomes the launch, saying: “CEDA is delighted to support and be a partner on Commercial Kitchen, the only trade show dedicated to the industry that we are proud to serve.  We’re excited that a number of CEDA partners have already secured stands and that they will benefit from enhanced free marketing.  We encourage all our members to visit this major new show, which will bring together all the industry’s leading suppliers and showcase the best, most innovative commercial kitchen equipment and solutions.” 

Commercial Kitchen’s group event director Chris Brazier says: “Commercial Kitchen is delighted to be working with CEDA.  We already have many of their partners confirmed to exhibit at the launch and their members are a key part of the buying audience for us.  It’s clear that we all agree that a dedicated trade event for the commercial kitchen sector is long overdue and will benefit distributors, manufacturers and end users alike.  CEDA’s strong passion for excellence in design, supply, project-management and installation matches our own and we are delighted to finally be bringing this industry the trade show it truly deserves!”

CEDA partners confirmed to exhibit include Manitowoc; Rational; Electrolux; Gram; MCS Tech Products; Adande Refrigeration; Valentine Equipment; Die-Pat Divisions; Commercial Catering Spares; and ACME Facilities.  They are among 100 hand-picked companies set to showcase the complete range of innovative equipment, devices and utensils required to run, refurbish or build a commercial kitchen.

“Gram are delighted to be supporting a clearly focused capital equipment event that gives us an ideal platform to meet prospective purchasers across the independent and group marketplace,” says Glenn Roberts, managing director of Gram (UK).

“Commercial Kitchen is a fantastic concept and provides the market with a needed pure equipment focused show,” says Julie Fell, marketing manager at Electrolux Professional.

“We are very excited to be participating at the new Commercial Kitchen exhibition.  A dedicated event of this type, for the catering industry, where heavy equipment suppliers can showcase their latest products is something we firmly believe the market needs,” says Melissa Pereira, UK key account director at Rational.

Pret equipment buyer confirmed for Commercial Kitchen Keynote Q&A #

Pret A Manger’s senior equipment manager Dirk Wissmann has been confirmed for a headline Keynote Q&A at Commercial Kitchen, the new event for UK’s catering equipment industry taking place on 7-8 June.

Wissmann will take part in an exclusive ‘in conversation’ session at the new NEC show, sharing his observations and expertise of the industry and the growth of Pret’s network of food-to-go stores.

Pret A Manger has seen many changes in the foodservice market since it launched its first store thirty years ago.  Now one of the leading high street food chains in the UK, it operates over 400 units worldwide.  Wissmann will be offering his perspective on the challenges of designing, procuring and installing new kit across an ever-increasing number of sites.

The announcement coincided with the opening of online visitor registration for the inaugural event, which is set to bring the whole industry together for the first time in the UK.  A who’s who of leading equipment purchasers and specifiers from across the foodservice sector are expected to attend. 

“For someone who is dedicated to making sure the kitchens I help are the best in their sector, I believe there is an urgent need for a dedicated trade show that celebrates new innovation, energy efficiency and quality, and showcases launches of the most cutting edge kit and ideas for commercial kitchens,” says Matt Goodman from GKMS Consultancy (former head of kitchen projects & maintenance at Jamie’s Italian).

"I want my kitchen to be full of the best, most innovative equipment on the market.  A dedicated trade show for the catering equipment sector is the ideal arena for my purchasing needs," says Peter Woods, Exec Head Chef at Corinthia Hotel London.

“As a leading pub operator, our kitchens are at the heart of our business.  I think a dedicated trade show for innovation within the catering equipment sector is a must attend,” says Brian Whiting, managing director of Whiting & Hammond (and a former Savoy Hotel chef).

“CEDA is delighted to support and be a partner on Commercial Kitchen, the only trade show dedicated to the industry that we are proud to serve,” says Adam Mason, director general of CEDA.

Demonstrating the show’s enormous breadth of appeal, the inaugural exhibitor list will boast 100 leading commercial kitchen suppliers – from the first companies to book six months ago (Manitowoc Foodservice, Unox, Rational, and Hoshizaki Ice Machines/Gram Refrigeration) to the latest companies to confirm their presence (RH Hall, Synergy Grill, ACO Technologies, and Panasonic).

Premier Foods relaunches insight-led Menu Solutions Guide dedicated to Mother’s Day & Easter #

Premier Foods has relaunched its Menu Solutions Guide to highlight the significant sales opportunity presented by Mother’s Day and Easter within the foodservice channel.

Back by popular demand, the guide delivers nine costed recipes inspired by the results of exclusive independent research commissioned by Premier Foods. To celebrate the two key events, which fall early this year, the manufacturer is also running an online competition giving chefs the chance to win afternoon tea for two at The Dorchester.

To be in with a chance of winning, chefs must simply download the guide from the Premier Foodservice website.

Sarah Robb, channel marketing manager says, “With Mother’s Day and Easter arriving early this year, chefs need to make sure they are prepared. In addition to exploring new recipes, outlets need to consider putting on set menus or special offers to attract consumers, as well as finding the best way to advertise their offering in advance. Our guide was a real hit last year with our customers so we hope that by relaunching this for 2016, we are giving chefs a good steer on what consumers are looking for when eating out over these occasions. With 55% of consumers opting to eat out for Mother’s Day and 45% on the lookout for a ‘special’ menu, there is certainly a big opportunity for caterers to increase sales.” 

Designed specifically for Mother’s Day and Easter, the guide has been updated to feature information about the latest star to join the Premier Foods Foodservice line up, Bisto Gluten Free Gravy. With no artificial colours or added preservatives, Bisto Gluten Free is suitable for vegetarian and vegan dishes, whilst also meeting the 2017 salt content guidelines. As the ‘free from’ market continues to grow, with more consumers seeking out gluten free options, whether they have an intolerance or not, the new product enables chefs to serve the traditional dishes consumers know and love whilst adhering to allergen regulations.

With 81% of caterers citing Mother’s Day and Easter as key opportunities to attract new customers, Premier Foods is proud to support its customers from product purchase to the final meal. From roast dinner inspiration to lighter fish dishes and salads, the recipes within the guide are ideal for both occasions and use Premier Foods’ trustworthy brands, such as Bisto, Sharwood’s, Ambrosia and McDougalls. The guide also provides top tips on how to make the most of these events, drive sales and increase footfall among both new and existing customers.

To be in with a chance of winning afternoon tea for two at The Dorchester, chefs must download the Mother’s Day and Easter Menu Solutions Guide from  by 10 April 2016.  

Health board appoints Medirest to provide new café and retail services #

Hywel Dda University Health Board has selected Medirest, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland to provide new café and retail services for patients, staff and visitors across all acute hospital sites, following a competitive tender process.

Medirest will provide Costa cafes and amigo shops at Withybush, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Bronglais hospitals, with the addition of a Deli Marche at Bronglais. The new facilities will be opening in Spring 2016.

The Health Board is working with the Royal Voluntary Services, who previously oversaw the operations, to explore ways of retaining the services of its volunteers in the healthcare community, where they can continue to make a positive difference to patients.

Steve Moore, chief executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “Our Partnership with the RVS is something we value highly and although the organisation’s role will change, the benefit their fantastic volunteers offer our patients will not be lost.  This new arrangement with Medirest will support the patient and visitor experience, while also generating income that can be reinvested into improving hospital environments, benefitting everyone who uses and works at our hospitals.

“We are pleased to select Medirest to deliver the quality and financial returns we expect against what is currently provided at each site. This is based on potential income for Hywel Dda UHB, as well as quality and scope of services being offered.”

Andrew Jones, retail operations director healthcare, Compass Group UK & Ireland added: “We’re looking forward to working with the Health Board, across its four hospitals in Wales. We’ll be implementing our trusted partner brands in these sites, bringing an enhanced service to patients, visitors and staff, as well as offer a source of income for the Health Board.” 

Interested parties were asked to outline their plans for the refurbishment of areas of the hospitals at zero cost to the Health Board, in order to generate income for the organisation through rent and turnover rent. This can be used to improve the hospital environment for patients and visitors.

Hywel Dda UHB is committed to the Welsh Government’s vision to supporting healthy eating, which will be reflected in the change.

Medirest wins new contract with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust #

Medirest, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has been awarded the contract to provide domestic services at Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in a five year deal worth £3.3 million annually.

The leading provider of catering and support services to the NHS and wider UK healthcare market, will provide cleaning services to Blackpool Victoria Hospital from next April. To deliver the domestic services to the highest quality, Medirest will work with 200 on-site colleagues. The team will provide general cleaning services, as well as utilising their A+ cleaning solution, decontamination services and a rapid response team supporting the Trust to deliver the highest possible infection control and prevention practices. The Medirest team will also be investing in a number of innovative cleaning tools to ensure the highest level of service such as UV Dazo Markers, which allow high touch areas to be assessed for cleanliness and UVO Decontamination, to kill healthcare associated pathogens.

Steve Cenci, managing director, healthcare at Compass Group UK & Ireland commented: “We are extremely proud to be awarded this contract by Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. It’s exciting to be given the opportunity provide our services at the hospital and we’re looking forward to delivering the highest quality cleaning there and to building a strong relationship with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.”

Nigel Fort, associate director of facilities, from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are pleased to be working with Medirest, who secured this contract off the back of their excellent reputation, as well as their proposals to introduce new equipment that will take this service to the next level.”

Compass Group UK & Ireland provides clean drinking water to over 66,000 people #

Compass Group UK & Ireland started the New Year with a bang with an exciting charitable milestone of providing more than 66,000 people in developing countries with clean drinking water.

Through its partnership with ethical bottled water company, Life Water and associate charity drop4drop, Compass Group UK & Ireland has successfully completed 44 clean drinking water projects by donating wells to communities in India and Uganda.

Altogether, the company has now provided clean drinking water to 66,531 people.
Earlier this year, Compass Group UK & Ireland signed a three-year contract with Life Water to be the primary bottled supplier across its organisation and through every bottle it sells, at least 1,000 litres of clean drinking water is provided to a community in need.

To date, more than 9million bottles of water have been sold.

Mr Kallol Chakrabaty, from Haldarchak Uttar, India, explained that his village has benefitted from the water bore-well that was donated by Eurest, a division of Compass Group UK & Ireland, through purchases of Life Water bottles.

He said: “Ever since I was born the village has faced drinking water shortages and issues.

“We only ever had one bore well which was not sufficient and the queue to collect water was long. Now we have two our water stresses have been reduced dramatically.”

Life Water’s partner charity, drop4drop, work directly with country partners to identify communities in need of clean drinking water before managing and developing each project.

Charlotte Fennell, national accounts and marketing manager at Life Water, said:  “We are very happy that Compass Group UK & Ireland decided to partner with us for their water supply.

“By simply purchasing Life Water, they have changed the lives of over 66,000 people by giving them a sustainable source of clean drinking water in their communities.

“Each month, Compass Group UK & Ireland continue to fund more projects, and I think it’s amazing to see how a simple purchasing decision can have such a long lasting positive impact on the lives of many.”

Dennis Hogan, managing director for Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “It’s quite a milestone for Compass, which employs over 60,000 people, to be providing a similar number of people in Uganda and India with clean drinking water.

"We are extremely proud of this achievement as we have helped to make an extraordinary difference to communities in need through our partnership with Life Water.”

Apprentices show off culinary talents during Compass Group UK & Ireland Annual Mentor Day #

Compass Group UK & Ireland recently put eight of its best apprentices through their paces at the Compass Group Annual Mentor Day held at the Unilever headquarters in Leatherhead.

Under the guidance of the Compass Senior Chef of the year – James Hart – the soon to be graduates cooked James’ winning “Chef of the year” four-course menu for 24 VIP guests.

The apprentices, who come from various divisions of the company, were chosen to take part in the two-day event, as a result of their high performance levels in the past year.

David Bittlestone, culinary programmes manager, said: “Apprentices loved the day and enjoyed cooking with different combinations that we don’t always use on an average Compass site.”

He added: “The apprentices gained an amazing insight into James Harts’ dishes. He also gave up his time to demonstrate some new and inventive preparation and cooking techniques, which were completely new to them.

“The group felt they had picked up some really great knowledge. I have every confidence that these exceptional individuals are going to be ones to watch for the future. It’s great to be able to provide young chefs with an opportunity to cook at this level before they graduate.

All eight apprentices are due to complete their courses in February and are due to graduate later this year.

Compass Group is very proud of its apprentice record. The company currently has 418 apprentices across the company. Altogether, the company has 74 culinary apprentices who are all due to graduate this year.

One of the apprentices chosen for the mentor event, 22-year-old Shannon Loughlin, said: “The best thing about being an apprentice at Compass is the great atmosphere. The chefs are very helpful. A good working environment can be hard to find in a high pressure environment such as cooking, but this is a great place to work and develop our skills.”

During the event, James Hart, from Chartwells and winner of Compass Chef of the year said: “It was a proud moment to see my winning menu served to the VIPs.

“It’s fantastic to be providing opportunities, such as these, for young chefs starting out. It really helps them to build strong foundations and also develop skills that they will continue to use throughout their careers.”

The eight best performing apprentices that were selected are on target for completing their courses. They are practicing the new skills they have learnt in the workplace and some have supported the company with events.

The VIPs were made up of senior executives from both Compass Group UK & Ireland and Unilever.

Following the event, the apprentices also took part in a ‘Curry Inspiration Day’ where they were given a master-class around Indian flavours and cuisine. 

Hounslow Mayor opens the Chartwells Creative Kitchen #

On Thursday, 14 January, the Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow, Councillor Nisar Malik opened the exciting new Chartwells Creative Kitchen facility. The event was attended by Head Teachers, Business Managers and schoolchildren from schools across the borough including Lionel Primary School, Smallberry Green Primary School, St Michael and St Martin Catholic Primary School.

The Hounslow-based kitchen produces meals for the borough’s schools that currently do not have cooking facilities. The addition of the Chartwells Creative Kitchen will provide an educational hub for students and parents; supporting schools in delivering hands-on cookery sessions that go beyond the kitchen with assemblies, workshops and tutorials.

With learning about cooking and nutrition now part of the National Curriculum, the Chartwells Creative Kitchen will offer programmes tailored to schools to get young people’s creative juices flowing and introduce them to the wonderful world of good food and cooking.

The kitchen will also be open to members of the local community. People can learn to cook from scratch, or develop their skills to make tasty, nutritious meals at home. Sessions at the Chartwells Creative Kitchen will include “Dough and Bread Making”, “Pizza Making” and a “Five a Day” course, which will teach young people about the nutritional benefits of the foods that they will be cooking with, encouraging them to make healthier lifestyle choices.

In addition to this, the kitchen will serve as a training hub to Chartwells staff, offering sessions for their frontline teams on cookery, presentation and health and safety among other things.

Leanne Turk, training and development chef for Chartwells said; “I will look to bring my wealth of experience from working in fine dining kitchens across Europe, including the Gaillac in France and at Gordon Ramsay Holdings, into the training kitchen. Nothing satisfies me more than seeing young students trying and enjoying new foods, learning new and interesting facts about nutrition and creating new food memories.”

The Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow, Councillor Nisar Malik said; “This joint venture is a great opportunity for Hounslow residents. I can’t wait to see the positive impact that this will have on the community, and urge everyone to make the most of the resources on offer.”

Two thirds of workers believe high quality coffee makes the workplace a good place to be #

New research has revealed that two thirds of workers believe high quality coffee makes the workplace a good place to be.

The survey of over 1,000 consumers by UCC Coffee UK & Ireland , the total coffee solution provider, also found that over 50% of workers would be willing to pay more for a better quality cup of coffee at work – up to £2.02. A third (33%) of workers leave the workplace during the day to buy coffee, with 66% of these doing so because they think the quality is better.

Phil Smith, head of category and insight, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, comments: “As a nation we’re becoming increasingly concerned with coffee quality and it’s affecting the workplace. Our latest research found that two thirds of workers believe a high quality coffee makes the workplace a good place to be. But currently, only one in three employees expect a great coffee at work, presenting a great opportunity for caterers.  Many have yet to fully realise this, which could be due to a range of factors including resource and training. But the reality is that there is the potential to increase sales by delivering a great coffee experience that will keep employees on site during work hours.   

“Creating an experience that competes with the high street doesn’t need to be complicated. Caterers should focus on getting the basics right – coffee that tastes fantastic, great service and good value.”

Other key findings were:

• The average worker drinks between two and three cups of coffee a day at work
• The average worker is willing to pay £1.61 for a coffee in the work place – a 40p rise in the past year
• 54% of people would be willing to pay more for a quality coffee at work
• Top three factors people consider when choosing to buy coffee at work are taste (82%), convenience (82%) and quality (79%)

The research of 1,118 UK consumers was conducted by Allegra Insight in November 2015 on behalf of UCC Coffee UK & Ireland. 

Gram UK has kicked off 2016 in style with its nomination for the ACR News Refrigeration Product of the Year award #

Signalling a great start to the New Year, Gram UK has been shortlisted for the Refrigeration Product of the Year at the industry renowned ACR News Awards. The award celebrates innovation in the air conditioning and refrigeration sectors and Gram UK is proud to be recognised as a forerunner in this category. 

Following the success of 2015 Gram UK is keen to continue to raise the profile of its latest generation 5 model – SUPERIORPLUS 72 which combines revolutionary design with ground-breaking technology. The SUPERIORPLUS 72 is 44 percent more energy efficient than its ‘best in class’ Plus 600 predecessor, therefore, energy use and running costs have decreased massively from 509kWh year to 285kWh, based on a rate of 10p kWh the average operator can expect to spend only £28.50 per year on this revolutionary model*.

Gram UK’s managing director commented: “We are extremely proud to be nominated for this award. The category requirements reflect Gram UK’s dedication to bringing to the market the most energy-efficient and revolutionary technology. The recognition is a real testament to the hard work of the sales team as well as the teams in the factory”.

The winner will be announced on 17 February 2016.


Unilever Food Solutions announces festive gingerbread challenge winners #

An inventive gingerbread birdhouse, created by residents of Admiral Court in Westcliff on Sea, has been crowned overall winner of Unilever Food Solutions’ festive gingerbread challenge.

Chosen at random from a shortlist of 20, residents of Admiral Court will now enjoy an afternoon tea party with Jo Wheatley, winner of TV Bake Off 2011, as their prize.

Sarah Savidge, Admiral Court’s events and activities coordinator, said: “The idea actually came about while we were decorating normal gingerbread houses. One of our residents, Derrick – who has diabetes – grumbled he ‘might as well feed his to the birds’. Since we’ve been trying to attract birds to our garden all year, another resident, Doreen suggested we make another house for the birds, so we did.

“The residents couldn’t believe it when we told them we’d won. They’re so excited about having afternoon tea with Jo Wheatley. Everyone had so much fun making the house and it’s nearly all gone now – so it looks like the birds enjoyed it too!”

The winning 20 homes were selected by a judging panel headed up by Sylvie Silver, director of NAPA (National Activity Providers Association). All 20 winners will receive a hamper of Dove goodies and a recipe book. They will also feature in the winning gingerbread houses booklet that UFS is creating.

Sylvie Silver said: “There were some really spectacular entries, from castles to igloos, even an aircraft hangar. A lot of care settings had obviously put in a lot of time and effort into the challenge. We were really impressed. And it’s been great to see residents, chefs and activity coordinators coming together for some fun Christmas baking.”

UFS’ elderly care development chef, Paul Wright, who was also on the panel said: “We were looking for not just the most attractive houses, but original ideas and most importantly those where the residents really embraced the activity. The entrants really rose to the challenge.

“I’d also like to congratulate my personal favourite – Four Acres care home – who created a really impressive replica of their home. The activity was a lovely way for the staff and residents to say farewell to the building before it’s knocked down.”

To view some of the most impressive entries visit

Unilever Food Solutions has a new challenge coming out soon to celebrate the Queen’s birthday. So keep your eyes peeled and whisks at the ready.

Mission Foods re-launches foodservice range with NEW Super Soft recipe #

Mission Foods is introducing its ground-breaking new Super Soft recipe to the UK foodservice market from March 2016. The Super Soft recipe is the brand’s biggest piece of innovation launched in recent years and ensures that Mission Foods wraps are market leading in quality. Consumer testing has shown that the wraps performed significantly better than competitor products on all measures, such as flexibility, flavour, appearance and texture (1). Crucial for any professional kitchen, the wraps also do not dry out and they hold their shape once assembled.

Mission Foods will initially be introducing a 10-strong Super Soft range which will consist of both plain and flavoured wraps across a number of different sizes; followed by further NPD launches throughout 2016. The new range will be rolling out immediately to existing customers, and will give new customers even more reasons to buy into the brand.

With latest Horizons data showing that the number of tortilla dishes on mainstream menus has increased by 20% since summer 2010 (2), Mexican street food and hand held breads have taken off in the last two years, making it the perfect time for foodservice operators to explore ways of incorporating wraps into their menus.

Dave Edwards, head of sales at Mission Foods, comments: “Following the success of Super Soft within the UK retail market, its launch into foodservice will give chefs a new and improved product. We have seen great results from our consumer testing, and the initial feedback from our customers has been really positive, so we are confident that the new proposition will help outlets to increase their wrap sales.

“Ideal for the out of home market, the range will be easier to work with as the wraps are more pliable, less likely to tear and don’t dry out; allowing chefs to really get creative in the kitchen and explore the different usage opportunities. As eating out occasions such as breakfast and snacking continue to grow, there are more opportunities for wraps to appear on menus. From bar snacks and canapes, to breakfast burritos, the possibilities are endless and we will be showcasing how our Super Soft range can be utilised through brand new recipes available on our foodservice website.”

The launch will also see Mission Foods introduce its Super Soft logo to the outer boxes and wrap packaging to help increase brand awareness and communicate the product benefits. This is the first of a series of strong NPD launches throughout 2016 for Mission Foods as the company aims to highlight its number one position within the market and inspire chefs on how wraps can be used to create a multitude of different dishes.

1 Wirral Sensory Services, November 2015 *significant result at 95% confidence
2 Horizons Menurama Summer 2014

Ferrero launches Nutella® Breakfast Club #

To celebrate Breakfast Week (24-30 January 2016) Ferrero launched the Nutella® Breakfast Club, created to support caterers looking to target the 21% of consumers who eat breakfast out-of-home (Allegra) and sweeten their profits.

With research revealing that 73% of 26-35 year olds expect to see Nutella® on menus and 81% would pay more for a branded spread (Toluna), the Italian family-owned confectionery company encouraged caterers to visit and sign up to the club to get their free pack as part of the week-long celebration.

The limited edition packs included a 3Kg tub of Nutella® for back-of-house, a Nutella® breakfast booklet with recipes such as waffles and breakfast pizzas,  plus high impact point-of-sale materials to promote Nutella’s superbrand status to consumers.

Natasha Quinn, foodservice channel operations manager, Ferrero explains: “We know through external research and our own insight that breakfast as an eating-out occasion has never been more popular. However the bar continues to be raised as consumers look for wow-factor dishes with a difference and the traditional English breakfast is having to move-over for granola pots, breakfast burritos and American pancakes.

“Our Nutella® Breakfast Club is about supporting and inspiring operators to wake up to this opportunity and help bring variety to their menu. We’re giving operators the tools they need to boost profits and set themselves apart from the competition, so join us today and discover the sweeter side to profits. ” 

Nutella® can be teamed with 60% of breakfast options^, making the hazelnut and cocoa spread a versatile addition to menus that will enable caterers to update a whole range of dishes.

Natasha adds: “Over fifty years Nutella® has firmly established itself as an important part of the breakfast occasion and today, consumers expect to see it when they eat out. It’s great and unique taste can not only enhance a range of classic breakfast items such as toast, porridge and pastries  but Nutella’s flexibility means caterers can create a whole new offering, from waffles and pancakes, to breakfast pizzas and granola fruit bars – the only limit is your imagination.”

Nutella’s dedicated foodservice range has a format for every operation; including a 15g single serve portion pack for breakfast buffets, premium mini jars ideal for hotels and coffee shops, plus a 3kg tub that works hard for back-of-house.

^ Toluna November 2014, consumer panel 300.   

Consumers Go Nutty for World Nutella® Day #

This February (5th) sees the annual celebration of everyone’s favourite hazelnut and cocoa spread, World Nutella® Day.

As consumers all over the world go nutty for Nutella®’s unique taste – did you know you could circle the world 1.8 times with the amount of nutella produced in a year* – Ferrero is calling on caterers to make the most of the UK’s number one spread brand* and boost their offering. With seven out of ten people expecting to see Nutella® on menus, operators can sweeten their profits with the Italian family-owned brand.

So as not to miss out, Ferrero is encouraging caterers to join in the World Nutella® Day celebrations and visit  for wow factor recipe ideas, as well as the chance to claim one of 20 limited edition packs – which include a 3Kg tub of Nutella®!

Natasha Quinn, foodservice channel operations manager, Ferrero explains: “For over fifty years, Nutella® has been giving customers the perfect mix of great flavour and brand reassurance. Our own research, as well as the fact that Nutella® is celebrated on a global scale with World Nutella® Day, shows there is a huge demand for our best-selling spread, especially as part of the breakfast offering. Caterers looking to increase profits, should look no further when it comes to giving their menus the edge.”

Natasha adds: “The day is a real indication just how popular Nutella® is; the launch of the club is just the beginning and we’ll be supporting our valued customers with a whole host of activity to help caterers update their dishes and set them apart from the competition – so watch this space!”

Nutella®’s dedicated foodservice range means there is format for every option; including a 15g single serve portion pack for breakfast buffets, premium mini jars ideal for hotels and coffee shops, plus a 3kg tub that works hard for back-of-house.

* Source: Nielsen – MAT w/e 10/10 ^ Toluna November 2014, consumer panel 300. 
*Source: nutella facts -

BaxterStorey sponsor the hottest foodie event in town! #

Award-winning chefs Monica Galetti, Mark Sargeant and John Campbell are teaming up to create a fabulous three course menu for Hospitality Action’s latest fundraising event on 25 February. 

Each chef will mastermind a delicious course, offering diners a unique experience at one of London’s top restaurants; Brassiere Joël within the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge. 

Sponsored by BaxterStorey, the event promises to be an exceptional evening offering attendees a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience whilst also supporting a worthy cause. Last year Hospitality Action raised over £630,000 for workers in the industry who had fallen on hard times, and in 2016 aims to help as many people as possible, whether it’s helping them pay their Winter fuel bill, or providing a much needed family day out.

Noel Mahony, co-chief executive of BaxterStorey UK says: “BaxterStorey is delighted to have been able to support Hospitality Action with this event.  We hope the chefs, with whom we proudly work, will add interest and excitement to the evening.”

Previously kept under wraps, Hospitality Action has revealed the menu for the evening:

Starter by Monica Galetti

Black curry scallop, basmati and white miso purée, fresh lime

Main Course by Mark Sargeant

Braised pork cheek and black pudding steamed suet pudding with wild garlic, smoked bacon and leeks

Desert by John Campbell

Chocolate crémeux, passionfruit, coconut, black olive

The dinner will be supported by the Executive Chef of Brasserie Joël, Walter Ishizuka, who will also prepare the evening’s canapés and amuse bouche.

Tickets are priced at £135 per person or £1,300 for a table of 10, and a limited number are still available. To secure your place, contact Giuliana Vittiglio via or on 020 3004 5504 or online at