Check the cell-by date
Alan Tuckwood, head of catering at UK prisons, proved every cloud has a silver lining at Hotelympia last week. Asked whether he thought better food in schools was a good thing, he said it would have various knock-on benefits. "If children are educated about food today, it means that my customers of tomorrow will better appreciate what we do," he said. We presume that doesn't include cakes with files inside.
Poachers or gamekeepers? While researching this week's cover story (see page 28) on hotel spivs, con artists, and Fawlty Towers-style "Lord Melbury" impersonators, we spoke to the London Met's Hotel Crime Unit and to the Institute of Hotel Security Managers (IHSM). But, along the way, we started to think someone was having a laugh. First, the officer we spoke to was Detective Sergeant Andy Swindells. And who heads the IHSM? Hold the line while we put you through to our chairman, Linda Crook.
A bit of asset sniping The unseemly bickering between Travelodge and Whitbread's Premier Travel Inn escalated last week with more snide words across the budget hotel divide. Announcing its trading statement on 1 March, Whitbread ruled out buying "other people's worn-out assets" - an apparent dig at Travelodge. Maybe it was miffed that Travelodge chief executive Grant Hearn had said two weeks earlier that Whitbread was in no state to swoop for Travelodge. "They are in a complete mess," Hearn had bragged to the troops in an internal memo. The passion clearly burns deep.
More licensing woes Best excuse for missing Hotelympia this year must surely go to Jerry Brand. The voluble campaigner for greater transparency in contract catering was due to take to the mic in a seminar on Monday 20 February. Sadly, the Host managing director had an appointment at Swindon Magistrates' Court, after his Mercedes E320 was caught doing 53mph in a 30mph zone last year. No doubt one of his more "opaque" rivals tipped off Wiltshire's police.
The new buzz in sales Never mind medals for the chefs at Hotelympia, what about an award for the equipment supply salesman who showed an incredible in-depth knowledge of his product when he explained that a particular plastic component was made from the same plastic used in the manufacture of certain… ahem… female-targeted pleasure toys? When asked why this material was selected, he replied: "Well, it's extremely hard-wearing."