Members’ News

November 2020

10 Steps for a Smart Lockdown Strategy #

As hospitality operators prepare to go into another lockdown, businesses must rely on tighter controls to minimise losses and ride out the waves of continued uncertainty. The positive news is that operators can draw strength from the ‘lessons learned’ following the lockdown in March. Operators should follow these steps to ensure that they are ready to return to making a profit when the tide turns.

Prepare a lockdown checklist
Every hospitality business should have a lockdown contingency plan containing a set of close down procedures; a complete checklist of everything you need your sites to do before, during and after you close shop. These should address any problems that were raised during and after the lockdown in March too. Contacting suppliers that will take returns of stock should also be one of those procedures.

Monitor completion of lockdown tasks
The more sites you oversee, the bigger the challenge to ensure that every site has taken the necessary steps to prepare for lockdown and minimise overall losses. Underperforming sites will drag down your overall GP and therefore need immediate correction. Compliance monitoring of close down procedures across an estate should thus form a key part of your lockdown strategy.

Expand your circle and help each other
Reinforce relationships with people in the industry before and throughout lockdown. As travel is limited, take virtual tours of the area online, join local forums and discussion groups. These can be great platforms for gathering ideas on how to get through lockdown, support your supply chain and help each other. Are there businesses nearby that plan to sell takeaway during lockdown? Could they take some of your shorter dated stock in a safe and COVID-19 secure manner?  Alternatively are there local charities that you could help?

Complete a close-down stock take or stock count
Before you close shop, you need to know exactly how much stock on hand your sites hold. If you are not able to do it on the day you close the doors, completing one as you enter lockdown will also suffice. Whatever you do, do not skip your closedown stock count as it will make it impossible for you to identify levels of shrinkage endured during lockdown once it’s over.

Carry out an inventory count
Get detailed data on all your storage areas. Inventory checks will ensure that you know right from the outset exactly how much stock you’ll be writing off during lockdown, what you’ll be able to sell upon your return and how much you’ll need to order upon reopening.

Perform a detailed cash count
Do a full float and safe check upon lockdown. It may be a good idea to reduce the float, or bank all cash in order to eliminate any risk of loss. A full third-party cash and float check allows you to assess any variations from expected revenue income and present the reality of your cash on hold position nationally. Don’t neglect beer disposal and line checks

Complete beer and line checks at your sites to verify what scale of beer waste your venues will face.
Equally important are checks made on waste management and compliant disposal
of beer, by considering whether the correct processes were followed by your sites.

Step up security
Ensure that the right individuals hold the keys to your stock, cash and banking. Now, more than ever you need to make sure that responsible individuals and their supervisors are briefed to lock up all valuable stock and finances. Make sure your strategy outlines which individuals are authorised to attend site and access these areas.

Use the time effectively
Lock down can be tough mentally, especially if it’s your own business with plans for the future at stake. Keep busy and make good use of the time personally. You have a chance to open as a better business than before. Were there weaknesses in the business that need to be addressed? Take this time to breathe and focus on future goals. Invest time in a training plan for staff, tidy up neglected areas of the business, or reach out for your painting overalls and get stuck in.

Prepare a reopening checklist
Make sure that once a lockdown is lifted your sites can return to business as usual as soon as they emerge out of the lockdown. Don’t forget to plan a social media campaign to keep customers engaged and aware of your reopening date and offer. Have a list of all suppliers to hand and note which ones need to be contacted first upon reopening. Arrange for all eventualities, thinking through every scenario and establishing plans B and C where necessary too.

Operators looking to get through lockdown with minimal losses should visit for further information.

Smart Christmas Parties 'Party in a Box' #

It’s beginning to look a lot like (a virtual) Christmas...

When a face to face party isn’t possible during this year’s festive season, but engaging and rewarding your staff remains a priority, we can provide the solution.

Dine on our delicious three-course decadent dinner or graze on our artisan cheeses and charcuterie, with sensational streamed entertainment and a live broadcast from your CEO or host. Accompanied by those all-important indulgent drinks, exciting party novelties and a stunning bespoke playlist which will add a memorable festive atmosphere to your night. The Smart Virtual Christmas Party allows your employees to truly let their hair down from the comfort of their own homes, enabling your guests to party all together or to go into separate rooms, just as you would at a Smart Christmas Party, making sure you can catch up on all the tales from the year.

Smart Christmas Parties have been entertaining party-goers for over 25 years’ with our spectacular high-quality festive events, and we have the know how to bring this to you virtually. Combining the expertise of our in-house caterer Moving Venue and our in-house event management team Smart Live, we will provide the ultimate party experience, delivering exquisite food, spectacular virtual interactions, mesmerising entertainment, and exceptional technical delivery. Our extensive experience allows us to work closely with you to create the perfect package for your guests, which is why so many of our clients would recommend us, including Danone, Freshfields, Hearst and JP Morgan.

Looking for something a bit different? We have a number of entertainment and catering upgrades that can make for a magnificent night, from stunning canapés with wine pairings to singing live with a four-piece band, from a streamed top London DJ set to a christmas dinner cook a long.

Take the risk out of this years’ christmas party planning and turn your event into a virtual celebration with our ‘Party In A Box’.
T: 020 7836 1033

A better Brexit: FEA joins leading UK and EU trade associations to lobby for a deal #

No deal would be “disastrous” says UK and EU manufacturers
FEA is a signatory to a collaborative letter sent to the UK government and the European Commission calling on them to keep negotiating, avoid a no deal Brexit, and ensure that the deal signed avoids tariffs, simplifies rules and minimises red tape. 
The letter, from British manufacturers and their European counterparts, is signed by many of the UK’s leading manufacturers and trade associations.  The UK version was sent under the auspices of MAKE UK, the manufacturers’ organisation. 
The letter makes no bones about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, describing it as ‘disastrous’ and saying it would threaten the jobs of millions in the UK and EU. 
The letter says:
“While UK manufacturing is slowly recovering from the ongoing Covid crisis, essential to that recovery is the seamless operation of supply chains and the modern marvel of just-in-time logistics.
“A no-deal scenario with our most critical trading partner, the EU, would be disastrous for manufacturing and for the millions more employed in supporting industries both here in the UK and across the EU.
“The impacts would go far beyond disruptions in trade at the border. Families and communities would be left hanging in the balance, affecting real people who need the well-paid jobs that manufacturing provides alongside its contribution of almost half of Britain’s global exports.
“Manufacturing and engineering companies employ 2.7million in every constituency up and down the UK and many millions more across the whole of Europe. Their products power our lives - the cars we drive, the technology behind our schools and hospitals, even the meals we consume. Britain is a leading exporter of innovation, product and technical skills which are playing a critical part in boosting efforts to lead our economic recovery and the same can be said for many of the great manufacturing nations across Europe.
“The Covid crisis has had an incredibly damaging impact across the UK and Europe. As a consequence it has been impossible to fully prepare for the changes that are coming in January. Should we face the challenge of an acrimonious exit without a deal, businesses in the UK and Europe are united in the view that they are not and cannot be ready for the disruption that we face.” 
Keith Warren, chief executive of FEA, signed the letter on behalf of the Association.  “The letter tells it straight – a no-deal Brexit will be disastrous for manufacturers in the UK and the EU,” he says.  “It’s in everyone’s interests to achieve the best deal possible, and that has to mean avoiding tariffs, simplifying rules of origin and minimising red tape and bureaucracy at the border.” 
The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing over 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes.  For more information on FEA visit

Indulgence central to viennoiserie in uncertain times #

Indulgence is key to driving the viennoiserie category as consumers look for treats in uncertain times, according to the latest insights report from Délifrance.

Prove It: A viennoiserie Focus, shows that 82% of consumers who have not already decided what they want are influenced by the smell, look and level of indulgence of a pastry.

The report features consumer insight from 1,000 UK pastry eaters, conducted in August 2020.

Délifrance also welcomes food trends experts Harris & Hayes, who offer insights into consumer behaviour throughout the report. They suggest not only does indulgence pave the way for innovations, but ‘permissible indulgence’ also forms part of the wider health & wellness trend in terms of self-care, as consumers look for little treats during difficult times.

And while quality and convenience are most important when it comes to choosing where to purchase pastries (according to 96% and 95% of respondents, respectively), the pandemic means hygiene is also now key to 88% of consumers.

We know that pastry purchase is emotionally driven, especially for impulse purchases motivated by scent and visual appeal - but quality, convenience and hygiene are non-negotiable, especially post-Covid. Consumers are only willing to indulge and treat themselves if they know it’s worth it, easy, and safe to do so” say Harris & Hayes.

New habits and working routines have also shaped the times and places we enjoy viennoiserie. Homes have become offices and shopping missions are larger and less frequent. Despite these changes, temptation is still key with consumers split 50/50 between buying on impulse and planning to buy pastries.

The report also shows that when it comes to consumption occasions, snacking has come out as the preferred time to eat pastry, with 66% of consumers opting for a viennoiserie snack, compared to 29% who eat pastry at breakfast time.

Stéphanie Brillouet, marketing director, Délifrance, says these shifts present outlets with multiple opportunities: “This report highlights the changing consumer landscape, as people juggle post-lockdown (and renewed lockdown) life with work, leisure time and family. Interest in indulgence and snacking presents operators with a host of opportunities throughout the day – not just at breakfast time. Outlets should consider which formats suits their customers’ changing needs as well as which types of pastries answers the indulgence trend.

The report also suggests that convenience, health and choice could encourage people to buy more pastries. Viennoiserie offers a convenient treat at a time when self-care has become so important to consumers” she finishes.

To find out more about the latest bakery trends and download a copy of Prove It: A Viennoiserie Focus – Unlocking the category opportunities for operators visit

NESCAFÉ launches ALDO - the interactive coffee dispenser #

NESCAFÉ has launched a new innovative electronic coffee dispenser to help cut down on waste and modernise the coffee making experience in the workplace.
ALDO has a sleek and compact design. The practical machine enables workplaces to have tidy countertops for a more simplified and easier to manage communal kitchen.
Mariana Csányi, Channel Activation Manager, Nestlé Professional UK & Ireland says: “By electronically dispensing a pre-measured dose of coffee straight to cup, ALDO ensures each drink is freshly prepared as intended, allowing users to customise the dose to their personal taste with a perfectly consistent flavour. ALDO is a contemporary, efficient and convenient way to make coffee. And it takes up less counter space too.
With nearly half of all UK office-based employees saying they’re concerned about hygiene and cleaning standards in the office, ALDO can make sure your shared workplace kitchen space is kept easy to clean.”
ALDO has three key features:

A dosing dial with 16 calibrated settings ensures precise dosing for a perfectly consistent flavour in every cup
Rotating nozzle switches ALDO on and off, keeping your powder fresh
PLAY button to serve the recommended dose and a PLUS button to ensure every drink can be prepared to individual taste 

NESCAFÉ is offering UK workplaces a free ALDO coffee dispenser when they buy two or more tins of NESCAFÉ instant coffee from the core range*, while stocks last.
To find out more about ALDO™, watch here.

Compass Chef of the Year Impresses with Two Worthy Champions #

Compass Group UK and Ireland recently held its annual Compass Chef of the Year competition to celebrate its chefs. Despite operating a COVID safe format the competition remained as fierce as ever and the quality of food outstanding. Peter German from Restaurant Associates walked away as the 2020 Compass Senior Chef of the Year with his main of Hay and Juniper Smoked Chicken Crown, Salt Baked Celeriac, Girolles and Leek Cep Jus; while Izabela Ginter of ESS Offshore, impressed with her Duo of Pan Roasted Corn Fed Chicken served with Seared Tomato Centred with Wild Mushroom, Jerusalem Artichoke and Fig Purée to take the title of Compass Young Chef of the Year.
Twelve chefs from across the business pitted their skills against one another in the two high-profile competitions held at West Herts College in Watford at the end of October. The senior competitors had two hours to complete three courses using seasonal produce – a vegetarian or vegan starter, a British chicken-based main and an autumnal dessert. The young chefs had 90 minutes and also had to prepare a British chicken-based main and a dessert, both incorporating seasonal ingredients.
After months of preparation, hard work and determination the chefs plated up their dishes and the decision was down to the esteemed judges – Craft Guild of Chefs National Vice Chairman – Matt Owens; Head of Pastry at Piglets Pantry, Ana Paula Oliver; and Andrew Wakeford, Head of School for Food Academy, Restaurant Services and Hospitality at West Herts College.
Peter German’s winning menu in the senior competition was inspired by the sanctuary of his allotment. Peter has been with Restaurant Associates for seven years and has recently been promoted to Hospitality Head Chef, responsible for overseeing the very best of fine dining at an investment company in the City.
He wowed the judges with his flavour combinations as he served up a starter of Red Kuri Squash, Kohlrabi and Burnt Pear Purée, Turnip Sauerkraut and Celery; his main was Hay and Juniper Smoked Chicken Crown, Salt Baked Celeriac, Girolles and Leek Cep Jus; rounded off with a Green Apple Parfait, Dill Meringue, Cider Apple Granita and Goat’s Yogurt.
Peter German, Hospitality Head Chef, Restaurant Associates said of his win: “I was completely shocked, but it was a very welcome shock, and I couldn’t be happier to have won Compass Chef of the Year! Spending time in my allotment with my fiancé over lockdown gave me time to experiment with different types of produce and I spent a lot of time in my kitchen enhancing flavours. This whole experience has without a doubt made me a better chef.”
ESS Defence’s Simon Coulter came second in the senior competition and previous contestant David Bryant from Eurest took third place this year.
Compass Young Chef of the Year saw Levy UK chef, Marek Sobczak, from The All England Tennis Club win Bronze and previous Compass Apprentice Chef of the Year winner, Sophie White from Chartwells Independent’s Christ’s Hospital School in Horsham take home silver. 
Izabela Ginter stole the show with her Duo of Pan Roasted Corn Fed Chicken served with Seared Tomato Centred with Wild Mushroom, Jerusalem Artichoke and Fig Purée; followed by an Orange Infused Belgium Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Nut Tart, Dundee Marmalade Steam Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Chocolate and Pistachio Soil.
Izabela has come through an apprenticeship programme with Compass and has had a successful year, previously winning awards at this year’s Salon Culinaire back in March.
Compass Group UK and Ireland MD, Robin Mills, announced the 2020 Compass Chef of the Year and had this to say about the event: “Brilliantly well done to all our chefs across both competitions, I know that getting to this final is an experience, and all of our chefs have taken something from the competition which will make them better chefs in our kitchens. It’s always great to see brilliant food and such expertise on show – congratulations to Peter and Izabela for taking home the 2020 titles!
“I’m really pleased we were able to make Compass Chef of the Year happen and my thanks to our teams for all their work putting such a great event together, ensuring the highest of safety standards were in place
Nick Vadis, Compass Group UK and Ireland Culinary Director adds: “The standard was incredibly high again and I’m extremely proud of all our chefs for preparing in the right way, working through adversity and competing under strange conditions.
“Our chefs continue to surprise me with their flavour combinations, new techniques and cooking methods, we truly are blessed to have such passionate people at Compass. Well done to everyone who took part, not only in the finals, but in the heats, which took place throughout the sectors.

Both winners will enjoy an educational trip to New York in 2021, where they will take in the city on a memorable food tour, dining at the three Michelin Star Eleven Maddison Park restaurant, as well as the famous street food stalls in Brooklyn.
Compass Apprentice Chef of the Year, which used to be part of the Compass Chef of the Year competition, has been revised and will be held during National Apprenticeship Week – 8th-14th February 2021. This will also enable a larger number of apprentice chefs to take part in the competition.

Montgomery Group announce cancellation of HRC 2021 due to Covid-19 #

After long discussions with industry stakeholders and key partners, Montgomery Group has taken the extremely difficult decision to postpone the 2021 Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) event until 28th February 2022.
Ronda Annesley, Event Manager for HRC explains how despite implementing everything required to ensure the event could go ahead to help support the hard-hit hospitality industry, in the end they were left with little choice:

Even though we had introduced ‘All Secure Standard’, a risk-assessment based framework for Covid-19, and planned for the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness, ultimately the lack of guidance and clarity from government on when business events can restart has meant that we have had to take the painful decision to postpone HRC until 2022

Although HRC has a large international attendance of both exhibitors and visitors, we felt extremely confident that we could deliver a safe and secure live event for the tens of thousands of hospitality industry professionals that look forward to the show each year. We are devastated that we will not be able to play our part next year in helping the hospitality industry recover from the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic in a face to face format. However, we are currently investigating numerous ways in which we can continue to support and connect with the hospitality industry throughout 2021 and beyond, and hope to make an announcement around this in the near future. 

We would like to thank our loyal exhibitors and visitors for their ongoing support and look forward to seeing them again, face to face in 2022.

HRC was due to run from the 22nd to 24th March 2021 at ExCeL, London alongside the International Food & Drink Event (IFE), IFE Manufacturing Solutions (IMS), PUB21, The European Tea, Coffee and Soft Drinks Expo, The London Produce Show and the Festival of Enterprise.

FEA asks Johnson to support the foodservice equipment supply chain #

Open letter to Prime Minister proposes three-point financial support package
FEA has written an open letter to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, highlighting the risks of lockdown to the foodservice equipment industry and asking him to take a “pragmatic view” and give financial support. 
The letter is signed by FEA chief executive Keith Warren.  It says:
“The recent announcement regarding the closure of a significant proportion of the hospitality industry will be catastrophic for the foodservice equipment supply chain. This includes manufacturers, importers, resellers and service companies who are 100% reliant on the hospitality sector for their income.
“As a result of the first phase lockdown, sales declined by 80% to 90% for the majority of our membership, in what had been a £1.3 billion per annum industry. Foodservice equipment suppliers employ over 10,000 staff who have specific knowledge, expertise and skills which are haemorrhaging from our industry as a result of the shutdown.
“As the foodservice equipment industry is reliant on the hospitality sector for its income, we urge that additional financial support is made available so that it can survive. It’s not only a matter of businesses going under, there is also the fact that the key skills which will be lost, at all points of the supply chain, will be almost impossible to replace.  
“The hospitality industry is actively committed to net zero carbon by 2050.  Energy efficient catering equipment will play a key role in meeting the target and FEA has developed a four point plan to help the industry achieve it.  But it will only be brought about by having the support of a viable foodservice equipment supply chain.  Indeed, without a viable catering equipment supply chain, the hospitality industry will face critical problems in the future. 
“We propose a three-point financial package to support the foodservice equipment industry: 
·        80% salary support for employees
·        Access to support for companies who have not previously used employee support schemes
·        Business rate relief for those foodservice equipment supply chain businesses whose sales to the hospitality industry account for at least 75% of their total sales
“In order to rebuild the economy it will be essential to have an economically viable and well-resourced infrastructure in all areas. In order to rebuild hospitality it will be essential to have an economically viable foodservice equipment supply chain.  We hope you will take a pragmatic view of this and support our industry, so that it is able to meet the needs of the recovery and the long-term and sustained viability of the hospitality sector in the UK.”
Keith Warren says, “We would urge any supply chain companies to forward the letter to their MP – we need to apply as much pressure as possible.”  Copies of the letter can be downloaded from the FEA website