Members’ News

September 2022

The Access Group continues investment in people technology solutions within the hospitality and leisure sector with acquisition of Rotaready #

The Access Group has acquired the award-winning staff rota software Rotaready, as the latest addition to its business software solutions. Building on its strategy of bringing new and innovative products to market, Rotaready will be incorporated into its hospitality division and will enhance its existing people software solutions. This investment in best-in-class technology reflects Access Hospitality’s role as one of the leading providers of software solutions for the hospitality and leisure sector. 
Rotaready is an easy-to-use and highly adoptable workforce management solution for growing hospitality businesses. Developed for hospitality, leisure and retail, Rotaready helps operators schedule rotas, optimise wage spending, record attendance and approve timesheets for payroll.  
Henry Seddon, managing director of Access Hospitality, said: “The acquisition of Rotaready demonstrates our commitment to invest in technology that enables our hospitality customers to deliver great guest experiences, operate with maximum efficiency and profitability, and develop engaged and compliant team members​. 
With operators facing an increased need to focus on attracting, recruiting and retaining employees, adding Rotaready to the Access Group’s portfolio creates an unrivalled people software offering that gives customers the freedom to do more.  
Rotaready’s intelligent scheduling platform removes the hassle of planning employee rotas and gives operators more time to run their businesses. Demand forecasting means it’s easy to optimise schedules and labour spending, so staffing levels are aligned with demand. The employee communication features engage team members with real-time updates and empower them with a greater level of shift flexibility
Henry Seddon continued: “I’m confident that there’s a great cultural fit between the two companies, as well as experienced talent within the Rotaready team which will be a great addition to the Access Hospitality family.” 
Carl Holloway and Jamie Harvey, co-founders of Rotaready will join Access Hospitality to help integrate with existing hospitality software products through Access Workspace and steer further product development. 
Carl Holloway commented: “We’re thrilled to be joining The Access Group. They share our passion for building highly innovative software supported by world-class customer success, so Rotaready couldn’t be a better fit in the Access Hospitality family. 
“We started Rotaready in 2015 with a mission to revolutionise the way hospitality, retail and leisure businesses manage their teams and drive commercial performance, drawing on our experience from working in those very industries. Seven years later, that mission remains unchanged, and we’re delighted to be joining a business that shares our goals and ambitions. 
“Access Hospitality has an unrivalled reputation for providing innovative technology solutions for the hospitality and leisure sector. Existing Rotaready customers will benefit from the company’s extensive experience in accelerating product development, investing in customer success and providing software that gives customers the freedom to focus on efficient operations and great guest experiences
For further information please contact Access Hospitality at or 0845 345 3300. 

Heinz launches Battle of the Burger competition offering £5,000 prize to restaurant serving up Britain’s best burger #

Heinz is calling the nation’s independent burger houses to bring on the bunfight and create the ultimate burger using a Heinz sauce for a chance to be crowned the country’s best and win a marketing package worth £5,000.

Whether it’s a meaty masterpiece or plant-based patty of perfection, chefs can push the boundaries of their creativity to come up with a unique and delicious menu item that uses at least one Heinz sauce in its original form.

Entries will be judged on overall appearance, creativity and quality and the winning restaurant will receive a marketing support package to the value of £5,000 to run their burger special as a limited time offer with the brand.

Charlotte Crane, Junior Brand Manager at Kraft Heinz Foodservice, says:

 “The UK is a nation of burger lovers, eating 2.5 billion burgers per year. And we all know that key to a burger’s success is that final flourish of sauce.
“We wanted to encourage independent burger restaurants to get creative with this winning yet versatile combination. It is an opportunity for chefs to showcase their flair with flavour using the nation’s best-loved sauces from Heinz.

“Whether it’s our classic Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Heinz [Seriously] Good Mayonnaise or one of our more adventurous members of the Heinz sauce portfolio, like Heinz Smokey Baconnaise, we’re excited to see what our country’s talented kitchens cook-up

Independent restaurants who want to be in the running need to register their interest via email before Monday 5 September. Each will receive a Heinz Starter Pack featuring a selection of six Heinz sauces and to help inspire their burger special*.

How to Enter:
Step 1: Register your restaurant’s interest in entering the competition by emailing before Monday 5 September. Please use the email subject; ‘Heinz BOTB Entry: [Insert name of your restaurant]’ after which you will receive an email of full entry details.
The first 30 to register will be sent a free Heinz Starter Pack including a selection of six Heinz sauces and a flyer with competition information.

Step 2: Create a unique burger using at least one Heinz sauce (note: the sauce must be used in its original form on the burger. Entries limited to one per restaurant).

Step 3: Submit your entry between the 12th-25th September. Entry must include:

Burger name
Photo of the burger
Description of the burger (including the Heinz sauce you used) and the inspiration behind it
Information about your restaurant: including a line about your mission as a company and the number of restaurants you have

Step 4: Share your entry on social media tagging @heinz_uk #HeinzBattleOfTheBurger (not compulsory but strongly encouraged).

Winner will be announced on 28th September and contacted by email. 

For further details on Heinz Battle of the Burger, contact Terms and Conditions are available here
*applies only to first 30 entrants

Sysco Speciality Group introduces new sustainable packaging #

As part of its core sustainability drive Sysco Speciality Group has introduced new Promens trays and thermoformed packaging to improve the transportation of fish and seafood.
The Promens trays replace traditional wax boxes and reduce the plastic in the packaging to just two types - LDPE and HD – both of which are easily recyclable. The structural integrity of the Promens trays not only ensures that there is no leakage, but also helps to maintain the freshness and quality of the fish whilst making it “shelf ready” for storage by the customer. 
The thermoformed packaging solution allows prepared fish to be sealed in an airtight mono material packaging. It also promotes more efficient portion control and reduced wastage by allowing the fish to be allocated to perforated sections – typically two to three portions per sheet. This all contributes to an enhanced shelf life.
As well as enhancing the Group’s sustainability credentials the new packaging helps us to consolidate the delivery of fresh products from different categories into one delivery for our Group and Corporate Customers. This is a far more convenient and cost effective solution for our customers, and it also reduces the number of deliveries required, which has a positive environmental impact. Consolidation has become a key element of Sysco Speciality Group’s proposition and the Promens trays and thermoformed packaging further enhance our capabilities in this regard,’ says Sysco Speciality Group Marketing Director, James Armitage.
For further information visit:

Foodbuy acquires Equinoxe Solutions to further bolster procurement capabilities #

Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest food and support services business, has acquired Equinoxe Solutions which will sit within Foodbuy, Compass’ procurement business. Equinoxe Solutions, based in Essex, provides solutions in hospitality procurement, supply chain, systems management and facilities management to help optimise efficiencies and ensure compliance.

Both businesses strive to offer bespoke solutions by understanding individual customer needs and Equinoxe Solutions brings a wealth of sector experience, in particular in the casual dining space which is a new sector for Foodbuy. Equinoxe Solutions works with a number of large and prestigious businesses and its expert understanding of sector specific needs, paired with its trusted relationships, means that Foodbuy can continue to offer agility and supplier flexibility on both a local and national level.

This latest acquisition will strengthen Foodbuy’s position in continuing to help businesses buy and operate smarter, offering a seamless operation that adds value beyond cost saving.

Equinoxe Solutions’ Senior Management Team will stay in place and will continue to operate under the Equinoxe Solutions brand.

Commenting on the acquisition Karl Atkins, Managing Director for Foodbuy said:

Equinoxe Solutions is a fantastic company, with a strong portfolio of clients and relationships within the marketplace. I am excited that, together with our existing relationships, this acquisition will enable us to further enhance our client proposition, as well as providing a new opportunity for Foodbuy to operate in the casual dining sector. Our two companies share similar values with a clear focus on providing solutions to deliver savings, add value to the customer experience and boost operational efficiencies. I am excited to welcome Equinoxe Solutions to Foodbuy and I look forward to getting to know the team.”

Lee Parker, Co-Founder of Equinoxe Solutions added:

We are excited to be becoming part of the Foodbuy family. As a business and for our people, this is a fantastic step for us in our growth from where we began 15 years ago. Our clients remain our priority and we hope that through this acquisition we will be able to drive added value, opportunities and operational efficiencies for them.”

TWC wins two new Smartview Retail Clients #

Data and digital experts, TWC, has onboarded two new wholesalers to its growing portfolio of clients.  United Wholesale Scotland and DeeBee Wholesale are embedding TWC’s SmartView technology, with its market leading dashboards, to track product sales through depot, into retail and out to the consumer.  
Progressive independent wholesaler United Wholesale Scotland (UWS) is widely recognised as an innovative operator with a strapline of “We lead, others follow”. This is demonstrated through initiatives such as its ‘warehouse of the future’, its United Connect app and numerous industry awards.
The release of the company’s sales data represents the next step on the wholesaler’s technology and data journey. The new service, powered by TWC’s SmartView, combines total wholesale shipments data overlaid with retail EPOS sales from a hand-picked selection of retail club stores.
DeeBee Wholesale is part of the Ramsden Group, a well-respected family business with core principles of loyalty and value. With a strong group of customers including Todays fascia stores, DeeBee Wholesale is now building a company owned store estate to further grow the business. Using DeeBee’s in-house Re-Scan EPOS system, the business is now well placed to share its wholesale and retail data with its suppliers via the TWC SmartView platform, to drive targeted growth for mutual benefit.
Beyond this, the DeeBee commercial team wanted an effective tool to use with its customers and company retail stores to evidence best-in-class execution and to drive improved performance through sharing data. This will allow retailers to individually customise their store activation plan based on evidence of what works and what doesn’t.
By embedding one version of the truth regarding business performance, SmartView allows operators to make fast and accurate decisions and suppliers to follow their product sales from depot all the way through to the end consumer. The platform is renowned for being highly visual and intuitive – a recent survey amongst users scored the technology 9 out of 10 for ease of use, backed up by industry leading customer service, which was rated 9.3 out of 10.
Tanya Pepin, Managing Director at TWC said:
We are delighted that both UWS and DeeBee have chosen TWC as their data partner. We believe we are offering something unique here – enabling wholesalers, their retail customers, and suppliers to understand end-to-end performance. Our vision is for a channel that is truly data-led and combining wholesale shipments and retail data provides a holistic view of performance that can inform decision making right through the supply chain.”
Chris Gallacher, Managing Director at United Wholesale Scotland, explains why the business has invested in TWC SmartView:
The joint business plans UWS has with its suppliers have got to be meaningful; we will use data to drive our sales together more profitably and that’s going to be a massive change in culture for us at United.”
Andy Morrison, Trading Director at DeeBee Wholesale said:
The senior team at DeeBee recognise the wins to our business if we can leverage data effectively. Whilst it is important that it delivers incremental revenue, its real power is in showing our retailers ‘what good looks like’ and highlighting to our suppliers the opportunities both in store and in depot. The SmartView platform is a fantastic tool to do this, easy to use and very intuitive for both suppliers and our team alike.”

Bestway Wholesale adds further strength to its trading team as part of its strategic plan for growth #

Bestway has announced the appointment of Jim Brown as Trading Controller for Catering, Fresh and Frozen as of 3rd October 2022.  
Based out of Bestway’s Head Office at Park Royal, Jim will head up a team of six as part of Bestway’s strategic plan to further grow sales across the Catering, Fresh and Frozen categories within Bestway Wholesale. 
Jim has over 30 years of industry experience having previously worked at Booker, Landmark Wholesale and most recently Unitas Wholesale as Senior Trading Controller for Tobacco, Licensed, Impulse and Grocery.  
Speaking of his appointment, he says: “I’m excited to be joining Bestway at this point in the company’s journey and at a time when there are many opportunities to drive sales across Catering, Fresh and Frozen Retail sectors”.
Strong Supplier relationships are a bedrock of everything Bestway stands for and I’m looking forward to making a difference within the business as we continue to deliver the right products at the right price to our customers”.
Kenton Burchell, Group Trading Director at Bestway Wholesale, said:
We’re looking forward to welcoming Jim to the team as he brings a wealth of experience to our business.
Jim has immense knowledge in the wholesale channel spanning many categories, creating the best customer offer and working with suppliers to provide the best value to customers. I am sure Jim will be a perfect fit for us as we expand our Wholesale business across the Catering and Retail arms of the business

Latest MealTrak results from TWC #

Latest MealTrak results show the number of out-of-home eating occasions were 12% higher than the comparable period in 2021 on a 52 week/MAT basis.  In the latest 12-week, the number of out-of-home eating occasions were 9% higher than in 2021.  There were 807 million eating out of home occasions in the 12 w/e 11 July 2022. 

In the last 12 weeks, the ‘eating out’ channel (comprising pubs, restaurants and hotels) was in strong growth, +42% vs previous year. However, the growth rate has slowed significantly since last month (when 12 w/e growth was +97%). Growth in ‘eating out’ is driven by restaurants +58% and pubs +32%.

Sandwich shops (-5%), coffee shops/cafes (-9%), fast food & takeaway (-12%) and high street (-36%) are all in decline.

Forecourts are rebounding well – with a 17% increase in occasions in the previous 12 weeks compared to 2021. Convenience stores have seen a stronger performance in the last 12 weeks, at +18%.  Value sales are up 24% on a 52 week/MAT basis and +19% on a 12 week ending basis versus 2021.

Sub-sectors driving growth (last 12 weeks vs 2021) are predominantly ‘eating out’ venues: restaurants (+65%), pubs (+35%) and hotels (+104%). 

Commenting on the results, Tom Fender, Development Director at TWC, said:
The market has slowed as the impact of economic shocks bites, with growth dipping under 2% over the last 4-weeks, but the wider recovery remains solid, with both occasions and value making strong gains over 12 and 52-weekly periods across both FTG and Eating Out. 
“Encouragingly, for the moment at least, value growth remains ahead of occasions, indicating that spends are holding up and consumers are continuing to seek rewarding experiences rather than trying down on prices and functionality. That said, in FTG we are seeing the strongest growth in the Multiple and Convenience sectors, whilst Coffee shops and GTG Specialists are flat and Takeaways have fallen back.
“Eating Out continues to recover well across both restaurants (especially) and pubs.  Consumer Missions are also beginning to show some movement in response to current inflationary and economic pressures, with a higher proportion of consumers looking for FTG products which are ‘Not too expensive’ (7.6% of all primary FTG missions over the latest 12-weeks vs. 6.5% over the latest 52-weeks and 6.0% over the previous year) or ‘Quick & easy’ (21.7% latest 12-weeks vs. 18.9% 52-weeks and 16.7% previous year). Allied with a corresponding fall in demand for Hot FTG (weather-related), Treats and Cravings, missions which grew significantly during Covid.
“At Category level, we are seeing strong growth in the traditional ‘Meal Deal’ product groups (Sandwiches, crisps & snacks, soft drinks) and Hot Drinks, alongside above average growth in treaties sectors such as Confectionery and Cakes and pastries. Categories underperforming are led by FTG Hot meals, Soups and Cereals.
“Interestingly (and unusually) growth is currently being driven by older consumers now retiring to the market, especially 45 - 64’s, where growth is much stronger than for the younger age groups across both FTG and Eating Out (Millennials and Gen Z are generally the trailblazers). Over 65’s have yet to return to FTG whilst Eating Out, which had been recovering well in this age group, has dropped away over the latest 12-weeks, perhaps because this age group is more vulnerable to the impact of rising costs.
“Similarly, over the last 12-months growth in all channels has been driven more by women than men, but this has reversed over the last 12-weeks, with women too perhaps changing their behaviour more rapidly in response to current economic pressures
For more information on Mealtrak please contact Kim Reddick at TWC (