Members’ News

November 2021

Access Hospitality reveals consumer opinion on technology and how to use it for business advantage in series of e-books #

Four e-books drafted in association with CGA released to help hospitality operators understand customer sentiment and respond to future growth potential with appropriate technology

Access Hospitality has released four e-books highlighting customer opinion about technology in the sector to help guide operations directors in decision making that builds customer and employee satisfaction and drives business growth. The background data is taken from research conducted by CGA for Access Hospitality, a division of The Access Group, a leading provider of business management software. 
The four guides highlight the technology shift in hospitality and how consumer views can have a positive impact on business. The series includes volumes on technology in a post pandemic world, increasing revenue, the impact on brand and team experience, and the importance of fully connected technology solutions. 
Henry Seddon, managing director of Access Hospitality commented “After an extended period of uncertainty, hospitality is rebuilding and preparing to lead economic recovery and growth in the UK. Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the plans of many operations so now is a good time to step back for a moment and check that business development and customer sentiment are aligned with each other. 
“The extensive research carried out by CGA found that consumers now start their digital journey a lot earlier, are receptive to the tech transformation being here to stay and identified the role a positive technology experience can have on future visits. It also showed that guests want greater flexibility and the desire to strike a balance between using technology and interacting with staff. From this feedback, Access Hospitality has been able to identify some practical advice for operators including reducing no shows, creating new revenue streams, boosting revisit rates and improving team experience alongside customer satisfaction.
To accompany the consumer research, CGA also conducted interviews with five leading hospitality operators from different sectors and their experience and responses are interwoven with the consumer insight. 
Having the two viewpoints of technology in hospitality side by side provides a unique and powerful perspective on what operations of the future should look like” added Henry Seddon. “With detailed research converted into straightforward opinions and advice, even the most experienced operations management teams will find some nuggets to help them plan their digital transformation more effectively with customer experience always top of mind.” 
The Access Hospitality e-book series ‘The Hospitality Tech Shift’ is available for free download at For further information please contact Access Hospitality on 0845 345 3300 or  

Müller reduces sugar in healthy balance yogurt range and introduces 100% recyclable pot #

Müller is targeting growth in the out of home sector with a reformulated yogurt range that now includes less sugar and comes in a 100% recyclable pot.

The new and improved recipe for the Müller Vitality healthy balance range now contains 11% less total sugar.  Primarily aimed at the education sector, the reformulated range is available now, and is also low in fat and a source of calcium.

The nation’s favourite dairy brand has also changed the plastic material used in the range from PS2 to PP3 , meaning that the yogurt pot is now 100% recyclable.  The Müller Vitality healthy balance range is made in Shropshire using milk from British farms and 100% naturally sourced ingredients.  It is available in smooth peach yogurt and smooth strawberry yogurt, in 12 x 110g mixed cases.

The move is in line with Müller’s strategy to add further inspiration to its range of branded products, while targeting new and growing channels. Jon Piper, Commercial Director at Müller Yogurt & Desserts said:-

There is a real opportunity for us to unlock incremental growth if we fine tune our proposition in new and growing channels, like the out of home sector. Müller is the number one brand in the yogurt category, so it is a brand that people already know, trust and love. We know that when it comes to choosing a yogurt, taste is by far the most important factor, followed by health. With our reformulated healthy balance range, our customers can be really confident that it is not only a product that meets both key needs, but it also now comes in a pot that is 100% recyclable.”

Your Home this Christmas....Bestway invests a Quarter of a £Million Pounds to support Christmas #

In a move more commonly associated with multiple retailers and high street brands, leading independent wholesaler, Bestway, has launched a major Christmas campaign across all its nationwide depots representing over a quarter of a million £ of investment.

In collaboration with key suppliers, the ‘Your Home This Christmas’ campaign has been designed to create theatre, fun, and visual appeal - and sees a large scale Your Home at Christmas ‘house’ being constructed in around 35 depots with large sleighs and reindeers and POS theatre  in the smaller sites where space has been a potential challenge.

Retailers can enjoy visiting the amazing Christmas house which spreads festive cheer and gives an immersive, impactful and emotional experience helped by Father Christmas’s sleigh and his reindeer pulling up outside – packed with Christmas products. There are supplier branded room in each house with product pallets that will rotate in four weeks to refresh the product offers.

Large digital screens will highlight special products, retailer promotions, supplier content and the campaign is supported by a series of competitions, with prizes to the value of over £56k to be won.  

Bestway have invested £56k in the retailer competition allowing retailers to win a share of the £56k prize fund , there will be one lucky winner every two weeks in each depot across the campaign where the winner receives credit of £250 to be taken in January 2022, giving a total of 224 winners over eight weeks.

Kenton Burchell, Trading Director for Bestway Wholesale and retail, says:  “We are really excited by this Christmas campaign and believe it represents a first in UK wholesale with echoes of what consumers have come to expect on the high street.

“Now, retailers can enjoy large-scale fun which is interactive and engaging directly in depot and executed in a way that is highly professional and enjoyable. Our Christmas house encompasses theatre, is a perfect forum for suppliers to showcase their Christmas products.  Never before have we looked to physically ‘bring alive’ Christmas in this way, or with such investment

What’s really important here is that after a challenging two years for the whole industry, the whole concept is designed to support, appreciate and reward our customers, and our suppliers too. 

“We have devoted a significant sum to prizes and promotions to help retailers enjoy an ever more profitable trading over the festive period and boost supplier visibility at the same time

Bestway’s Your Home at Christmas campaign is also supported by an above-line trade press media campaign and through the company’s digital platforms including a Bestway digital ‘takeover’ campaign – which plays a prominent role across its web site,

Burchell concludes: “We hope the campaign will encourage our retailers to make Bestway their destination of choice to shop this Christmas to buy their festive products and by doing so, be rewarded – our whole aim is help them make more possible for their business and their customers this Christmas”.

To view the full details of the campaign, please visit and

Clare Clark joins CH&CO to deliver bold CSR strategy #

CH&CO has appointed a Sustainability Business Partner to deliver its bold CSR strategy across the whole group and support the sustainability aspirations of its clients.

Clare Clark is responsible for upholding and driving forward CH&CO’s sustainability commitments, which have already earned the diverse catering and hospitality business the top-level three-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. The core CSR strategy centres around the four key pillars of Net Zero by 2030, Reduce Waste, Greenest Supply Chain Solution and Creating A CSR Culture.

Clare said: “I’m joining CH&CO at an incredibly exciting time. Sustainability is already a strong part of the business’s culture and it’s fantastic to see that despite the many challenges the industry faces, there’s a real desire from the teams to push boundaries to make a tangible sustainability contribution and difference.

“Our industry has a huge environmental impact, representing over a quarter of the world’s GHG emissions. We all have a responsibility to find ways to reduce this. We therefore have some very ambitious CSR targets in place that look at our social value as well as environmental impact and our people, whilst also supporting the wants and needs of our clients. Our bold strategy is laying the groundwork for a long and sustainable future for the company and our teams and clients can be confident that we’re operating in a way that’s best for people and the plane

Clare studied Environment & Sustainability at University College Dublin and gained PIEMA Practitioner level with the Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment. As well as being an expert in her field, she also brings valuable experience having previously worked for the Soil Association supporting businesses, local authorities and caterers to serve more healthy, sustainable and ethical food and to green their kitchen operations.

Compass Group UK & Ireland adopts electric vehicle policy #

Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s leading food service provider, adopts an 100% electric car policy for all new fleet cars with over 500 employees given the opportunity to order an electric vehicle (EV) by the end of the year.
This move follows the organisation’s commitment to reach Climate Net Zero by 2030, which saw it publish Our Climate Promise and Roadmap to Net Zero.
All employees entitled to company cars will be offered the opportunity to switch over to electric vehicles by May 2024 at the latest and this new policy impacts around 900 people. Compass has also taken an active role in improving access to charging points - funding installations at colleagues’ homes and installing points in UK offices in Birmingham and Chertsey. The rollout of EVs has started with those who have high mileage and the longest leases, so that the implementation has the biggest impact on emissions immediately.
Compass is also increasing the number of charging points at client sites. This announcement follows the Government committing an additional £620m to electric vehicle charging infrastructure and targeted grants, as part of its Net Zero strategy.  
Ian Cranna, Future Food Offer and New Channels Director at Compass Group UK & Ireland, commented: “COP26 has again brought into focus the necessity of taking action to reduce and reverse climate change and we are proud that our market leading Net Zero commitment and Roadmap to Net Zero outline how we will make our contribution to this effort. Our move to 100% electric fleet vehicles is an important milestone towards achieving our goals in partnership with clients, suppliers and employees.” 

Ian Murphy, Managing Director, Foodbuy (Compass’ procurement business), said: “We’ve worked with our car partner, to research a comprehensive and forward thinking policy and range of cars that suit our peoples’ needs - this is an ambitious and significant investment. Our next step will be to look at our vans across the business - we’re already tracking activity and mileage to assess the viability of moving them across to electric vehicles, so we hope to make progress in this area very soon.”
Compass Group UK & Ireland has recently received confirmation by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), that its targets - submitted in July – have been approved in line with a 1.5°C trajectory as set out in the Paris Agreement. Assessors have also commended Compass Group UK & Ireland for its ‘best practice approach’; committing to:

Reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 46% by 2030 from a 2019 base-year, or 69% when including business growth.

Reduce its scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services 46% by 2030 from a 2019 base-year, or 69% when including business growth.

Increase annual sourcing of renewable electricity from 2% in 2019 to 100% by 2022. This is in line with the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement and what the latest climate science dictates is needed to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change. The business is a signatory of Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the UN’s Race to Zero campaign.

Making Sustainable Choices TWC Trends shows over half of UK consumers consider the environmental impact of their menu choices when eating out #

With all eyes on climate change at COP26, TWC Trends data shows that half of consumers (51%) say they consider the environmental impact of their menu choices when ordering food in restaurants.
Furthermore, the data shows that local sourcing is becoming increasingly important, with 66% of consumers agreeing that food menus should aim to list far more products or ingredients from local suppliers.
Tom Fender at TWC commented: “There is no doubt that UK consumers are ‘waking up and smelling the coffee’ when it comes to sustainable living and the importance of each one of us making a contribution to reduce the impact of climate change, reinforced by the messages currently coming through from COP26. 
“Covid appears to have been a trigger for many of us.  Nearly half of the people questioned said that ethical choices when eating out are now more important to them than before the pandemic began.  And 68% of the nation says that food waste is a BIG issue for them, alongside the use of plastics and the over-packaging that we continue to see across the supply chain.                   
“Hospitality outlets are already making massive strides when it comes to sustainability and in the last two weeks, we have seen an increase in those making pledges towards Net Zero and the interim greener pathways that take them along this journey.  For example, Nandos, who have committed to be Net Zero by 2030, have announced this week that they are now offsetting all emissions across their restaurants and supply chain, making every restaurant, meal, delivery and sauce bottle carbon neutral.
“Certainly, local provenance is becoming far more important in consumers’ minds.  This will have been exacerbated by the fact that they ‘shopped and stayed local’ during the lockdowns, which has been influential in shaping people’s opinions on how they will shop and eat out in the future
TWC Trends helps its clients understand what’s happening in wholesale and why it’s happening by undertaking focus groups and customer surveys across the trade community and consumer groups. TWC conducts two major surveys per year.

For more information or if you are interested in commissioning bespoke research, please visit

Hygiene demands by consumers serve as wake-up call #

One strike and you’re out, is the message from new consumer research by KAM Media for Food Alert that reveals hygiene is now a key decision driver when deciding where to go out for a drink or meal or order food for delivery.

In their survey of 500 UK adults, nearly two in three consumers agreed that hospitality hygiene standards had become more important since the pandemic and 69% wanted to see hand sanitising stations become a permanent feature. Some 49% of consumers had a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy when it came to bad hygiene standards.

The top five considerations for choosing a venue were ranked as food quality, prices, cleanliness of venue, range of food and the Food Hygiene Rating (FHR). The FHR was third in importance when choosing a restaurant for a food delivery.

Food Hygiene Ratings should be visible in venues, said respondents, with 4 being the minimum standard that was considered acceptable, but with newly opened venues the majority expected a rating of 5.

Food Alert operations director Mike Williams said: “As we emerge from the pandemic it’s clear that consumer hygiene awareness has heightened and shows no sign of waning.

Those venues that can prove they operate the highest levels of hygiene and food safety will be the ones to win trust and enjoy strong relationships with their customers and build sustainable businesses going forward.

“Our research shows that FHRs are decision makers – or breakers – for consumers and getting the scores on the door can be the difference between business success or failure.

Operators don’t have to do it alone. External consultants, such as Food Alert, can help businesses nail a 5 star rating on opening and beyond.

Blake Gladman, Strategy & Insights Director at KAM said: “COVID-19 has catapulted hygiene to the top of consumers’ minds. It’s now an absolutely key consideration when deciding which venues to visit and where to avoid. This heightened awareness means that consumers are more ‘ratings aware’ and also incredibly unforgiving when standards fall; if a venue falls short of a customer’s hygiene expectations just once they risk losing that customer for good. This research shows that there is now no room for error. Venues simply will not prosper if they fail to get the fundamentals right and meet the increased expectations of consumers on food hygiene and cleanliness.”

It was particularly relevant to the 18-34 year-old age group where they were 42% more likely to check Food Hygiene Ratings when visiting a hospitality venue than those in the 34-plus category. They were 84% more likely to check FHRs when ordering for delivery than those over 34 and they expected hospitality venues to be inspected more than twice as frequently as older consumers.

With this generation more likely to be ‘rating aware’ across various channels, from customer reviews to rating specific dishes, it gave venues an opportunity to use positive FHR scores to drive footfall. When ordering online, from Deliveroo and Just Eat for example, the FHR was more likely to be used as a sorting factor for venues above range of food and drink, delivery times and images of the food.

The independent research commissioned by Food Alert has been published in a white paper, Hygiene Matters – one strike and you’re out, available to download here.

Smart Group calls on hospitality industry to let their hair down this January #

Celebrate at Hospitality Rocks 2022 for a well-deserved Après-Ski party whilst supporting industry charities

While Brits across the country are celebrating the festive season, whether it’s the work Christmas party, an evening out with friends or a special family dinner out, the hospitality and events industry are busy making sure everything is running smoothly. In fact, rather than having some down time over the festive period, most of the UK’s hospitality and events industry workforce has its busiest time of the year.
Smart Group believes January is the time for the hospitality trade to treat themselves and enjoy some post-Christmas celebrations at its premier event, Hospitality Rocks, organised and priced* exclusively for the industry and taking place on Friday 7th January 2022 at Evolution London. In keeping with the festive spirit, Smart Group will be raising money at the event for industry charities The Springboard Charity and Hospitality Action. Having already helped raise nearly £15,000 each year at previous Hospitality Rocks events, the aim is to surpass this figure in 2022. In order to achieve this, Smart Group intends to exceed the 1,750 guests welcomed in 2020 and will guarantee to donate £5 to charity for every ticket sold, as well as helping to raise funds through exciting competitions and auctions on the evening.
Bringing together the industry at one exclusive event, guests will be treated to this year’s Après themed experience and transported to the slopes for one unforgettable night. The red carpet will be rolled out for guests into the incredible venue, where an outstanding range of entertainment will be showcased throughout the evening, from breath-taking artists, choreographed routines, and top London DJs. A state-of-the-art light show will dazzle guests during the evening. They will also be able to take a turn on the dodgems, sing onstage with a live rock band courtesy of Rockaoke, or hit the dancefloor with friends. A delicious three-course dinner is also included in the ticket price, as well as a canapé reception on arrival. Exciting optional extras also include after-dinner casino tables and a photo experience.
*Tickets are priced at £75 per person, which is nearly 40% discount from the usual Smart Group Christmas party rate at Evolution London. Tickets include a canapé reception, three-course dinner, and all the entertainment needed for a fantastic evening out with colleagues. Other benefits included in the ticket price are free car parking, free cloakroom facilities, dedicated black taxi rank and full disabled access.
For more information and to purchase tickets visit
Smart Group manages over 700 events every year, offering a dynamic collection of hospitality, venue, catering and events management businesses with over 25 years’ experience.

Plant Forward on the menu for Steamplicity #

Steamplicity, the innovative steam cooking system created by Compass Group UK & Ireland, has launched its Autumn/Winter menu, bringing a range of new dishes to thousands of patients across the UK, with a focus on plant forward options.

Steamplicity meals, created by development chefs and nutritionists, are served at over 20 NHS Trusts throughout the UK. Steamplicity uses a unique steam system, which cooks fresh and raw ingredients, on the ward, close to the patient in under five minutes, meaning that nutritional value is maximised, alongside offering mealtime flexibility and consistency.

The new menu has an increased focus on plant forward concepts, with 35% of meals catering for vegetarian or vegan diets - in line with patient demand and Compass’ Net Zero and NHS Food Review commitments. These new options include the introduction of the Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, using du berry lentils and mung beans; and Bean Chilli, served with wholegrain rice.

The Autumn/Winter menu provides 30 dishes across lunch and dinner, with highlights including Steamed Wild Salmon in Hollandaise Sauce and a Chickpea & Spinach Curry. The concepts continue to cater for a wide range of dietary requirements, which are essential in a hospital setting. The Steamplicity team has also reviewed the labelling of meals, making information clear and concise for patients and healthcare teams. 

Steve Cenci, MD – Healthcare, Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “Our team of dedicated chefs and dietitians work side by side with our partners and patients to create tasty, nutritious meals. It’s imperative we cater for a wide range of tastes and requirements and this menu delivers on that, but also provides a more sustainable menu than ever before. Food may be the only thing that patients really look forward to in hospital, so it’s vital we provide a wide choice to inspire their recovery.”

Bruce Toon, Compass Group UK & Ireland, Healthcare – Head of Culinary, commented: “Our meals are based on feedback and research - over the past few years reducing meat intake has become a lifestyle choice for many people, especially as we are all more conscious of food choices, from a health, locality, seasonal, ethical and environmental perspective. The menu caters for this growing demand, alongside keeping our more traditional favourites on the menu too.”

Compass recently announced that it is rolling out an innovative packaging system, which uses a circular closed loop recycling system for Steamplicity. The trays will now be manufactured in a different type of plastic, making it easier to recycle, and will ensure all the plastic trays used are returned to a dedicated recycling plant. This significantly reduces the need for virgin plastic for the 5 million meals served by the Steamplicity team every year.

The system is proven to reduce food waste – typical health setting food waste levels run at over 10%, with Steamplicity reducing waste to below 2.5% of the meal served. The steam cook technology also means less energy is used at site level.

Following Compass Group UK & Ireland’s commitment to climate Net Zero by 2030, it launched Our Climate Promise and Roadmap to Net Zero, to provide more detail on the strategy to create a sustainable food system. This includes a promise to use 100% reusable or recyclable packaging by 2023 and a 40% switch from animal proteins by 2030.

Lexington launches delivery service to meet evolving London business needs #

As organisation’s adapt their schedules and premises to the ‘new normal’, leading caterer Lexington has expanded to provide deliveries to businesses across London. Extending access to the leading caterer’s nutritionally balanced menus to business meetings and events, LexUnboxed enables businesses to keep clients and staff sustained and well nourished – whether they’re internal, external or virtual.
Known for its skilled team of chefs and food development experts, Lexington creates tasty dishes that use seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Designed to incorporate optimal nutrition, dishes provide a healthy balance of protein, vitamins, antioxidants and fibre. And with a keen eye on ingredients and allergens, chefs carefully craft snacks and dishes to suit every dietary requirement and palette.
The new LexUnboxed service delivers to businesses across London. Businesses located within two miles of Lexington’s city kitchen can also order on Just Eat for Business.

Safely packed and available individually, or for groups of six or more, it provides premium catering for meetings and events throughout the day.
For businesses concerned with workforce wellbeing and productivity, LexUnboxed delivers breakfasts incorporating fibre, slow-release carbs and Omega 3s. These range from breakfast bowls through to freshly baked pastries and breakfast rolls served in brioche, focaccia, muffins, and bagels. The lunch menu offers guests personalised options, including salad and sandwich boxes to share or serve individually. And hospitality menus offer a wide variety of indulgent options – designed to suit a range of occasions or budgets.
Fabrico Aguilar, Marketing Manager at Lexington says: “As London adapts to the post-pandemic landscape, we’re seeing more and more organisations scaling down premises. As a result, more meetings are being held off-site, or in less traditional locations. Added to this, businesses now tend to have a highly mobile workforce with a growing emphasis on health and wellbeing. So it’s important that when staff and clients get together, catering reflects this, while at the same time catering for diverse dietary needs.
“Our focus is on providing nutritious delicious dishes that use seasonal, locally sourced ingredients – this is the secret of Lexington’s success. We’re also continually innovating, coming up with tasty dishes that suit vegans, vegetarians, food allergies and more. So we’re delighted to extend this to a wider market using LexUnboxed, After all, delicious healthy catering is the perfect way to bring employees and business contacts together.” 

Talking food waste, Christmas planning and the no-commission mission on HRC Connects #

Check out the latest webinars and articles from Hotel, Restaurant & Catering’s online platform HRC Connects.  

Available on-demand  

Preparing for the festive period 

Hospitality Jobs Founder Dawn Bowstead is joined by Megan Martin, Recruitment Manager at Daylesford and Mark Vaughan, People Director at Beds & Bars as they look ahead to the staffing challenges which might be presented by the UK’s first Christmas out of lockdown, and how hospitality businesses can ensure continued customer satisfaction over the festive period.   

The No-Commission Mission, with eviivo  

Web tools have levelled the playing field for hoteliers when it comes to competing for bookings online, enabling savvy businesses to get more of their bookings direct and save on commission. However, with so many ways available to sell rooms online, it’s important that websites for hospitality businesses work effectively. Check out this on-demand session as eviivo share key learnings and insights.   

Five steps to reducing food waste with Too Good To Go  

Food waste reduction is an important part of the sustainability roadmap in the foodservice sector, and an effective food waste prevention plan can attract new customers, engage staff, and prove that your business takes environmental issues seriously. HRC event partner Too Good To Go has shared its top tips for small businesses to make an impact, check it out on HRC Connects.   

Ask the experts: Getting to carbon zero in the kitchen  

In this on-demand session from HRC partner the Foodservice Equipment Association, chief executive Keith Warren is joined by Paul Fieldhouse of Ramco UK, Richard Fordham of Ki-Tech Solutions, Graham Kille of Rational, Chris Stevens of Quintex and Lugano Kapembwa of Loopcycle to discuss the journey to a more sustainable kitchen.   

Registration for the event will open in late November, head to for the latest news and updates.  

October half term sees eating out penetration, spend and frequency increase #

According to the latest data from Lumina Intelligence Eating & Drinking Out Panel, in the four weeks ending (4WE) 31/10/2021, eating out penetration increased +1ppt to 54%, eating out frequency grew 8% to 1.5 times per week and average spend was up +3% to £11.76.

Dinner increased its share of occasions by +0.8ppts at the expense of breakfast (-0.2ppts) and lunch (-0.5ppts). Drinks only accounted for 23.4% of all eating and drinking out occasions, +0.3ppts versus the previous four weeks.

The QSR channel increased its share of total occasions by +1.7ppts over the last 4 weeks, with consumers opting for quick service options. QSRs, including Burger King and Pizza Hut, utilised Halloween as an opportunity to boost advertising and encourage visits.

The catering and retail channels saw share of occasions increase by +1.0ppts and +0.8ppts respectively, driven by more snack and drink occasions in and around the workplace.

The two most popular items, chips and burger, experienced a fall in share of occasions, with the proportion of eating out occasions including chips shifting -5.5ppts and burgers -4.5ppts.

Commenting on the results, Insight Director at Lumina Intelligence, Blonnie Whist, said: “October half term has resulted in a buoyant four-week period for UK eating and drinking out. A shift towards the QSR channel indicates consumers are more on the move and looking for quicker, more convenient solutions, which could correlate with more families being out and about in city centre during the school holidays. As December approaches, we expect to see frequency, participation and spend continue to grow, as consumers and operators alike look to make up for lost time following 2020.”

Find out more about Lumina Intelligence’s Eating & Drinking Out Panel here.