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Antony Worrall Thompson's restaurant empire goes bust – for more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

09 February 2009 by
Antony Worrall Thompson's restaurant empire goes bust – for more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Wozza restaurant empire goes bust
Last month the chef closed his Greyhound pub in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, to try and save the rest of his business but on Friday - which also happened to be payday - he was compelled to hold crisis talks with the administrators after bookings collapsed. Although his firm made a £293,000 profit on a £5m turnover in 2007, it was late in filing its accounts for 2008. Worrall Thompson - who said he was "absolutely gutted" by the collapse - has bought back the Kew and Windsor restaurants which continue to trade along with his Ferry Lane Farm and deli near Windsor. Worrall Thompson, who has been battling to get information about employees rights translated into Polish, promised that staff would be paid on way or another: "It will either be through a Government scheme that pays £330 a week for 12 weeks or I will pay them out of my own pocket." - 7 February, Read the full article in Daily Mirror >>

Scotland to support its food and drink abroad as UK scheme is axed The Scottish Government will put its own money behind promoting the country's food and drink to an international market following the closure of the Food From Britain (FFB) scheme next month. Scottish companies will be marketed abroad under the Scottish Food and Drink brand, which will be launched at an international conference in South Queensberry on Wednesday. FFB was launched in 1983 to promote UK produce and was successful in selling Quorn to North Americans and Tyrells parsnip chips to the French. Its closure follows the decision by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs withdraw £5m a year in funding. Scotland's food and drink sector is worth £7.5b and employs around 350,000 people. Scottish Food and Drink will support more than 100 companies at around 12 events over the coming year and is expected to generate £60m in sales. The Scottish government has already invested more than £14m in helping Scotland's farmers and producers become more profitable and boost sales both at home and overseas. - 8 February, Read the full article in the Observer>>

Guinness puts alcohol units on glasses Guinness has become the first UK brewer to print the number of alcohol units being consumed on the side of its new pint glasses. The units are printed on the 500,000 glasses that Guinness is issuing to pubs and bars from today, which also marks the 250th anniversary of Arthur Guinness founding the St James's Gate Brewery in Dublin. The marked glasses are intended to help drinkers keep to Government recommendations that men should drink no more than three to four units a day, and women no more than two to three units. A pint of Guinness accounts for 2.33 units of alcohol, against 2.84 for a Stella Artois and 2.05 pints for a Greene King IPA. Research by the UK government last year found that only 57% of drinks companies provided information on alcohol units on cans and bottles. - 7 and 8 February, Read the full article in The Times](http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/consumer_goods/article5679843.ece) and [Scotland on Sunday](http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/uk/New-pint-glasses-will-be.4958435.jp)

Wetherspoon poised to benefit from rivals' problems Despite cutting back plans for new openings, Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin sees big opportunities to snap up new outlets from cash-strapped larger rivals such as Punch Taverns, Enterprise Inns and Mitchells and Butlers to help boost his chain from 714 to 1,500 outlets. But he has ruled out rural pubs because their customer base is not big enough. The group, which recently announced record sales figures and is forecast to generate £950m in sales this year, say it is coping better with the recession as it is underborrowed and its 99p pint and £2.99 meals have drummed up new fans among students and pensioners. "There's a bigger gap between us and the competition than there has ever been," said Martin. Wetherspoons pubs already average £30,000 a week in sales, which would make it the UK's biggest chain by sales if extended to 1,500 outlets - 8 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

'Spy kids' catch out underage drink sellers
A number of 'Spy kids' working with the police were able to buy alcohol at 200 of 1,600 licensed premises in the first nationwide police 'test purchasing' sting in Scotland. The children, mostly aged 16, were able to buy booze at 227 (mostly off-license) outlets on their first visit and those working with Strathclyde police caught more than half the offenders - 118 off-licenses and three pubs - in the 13 months from December 2007. While most outlets had cleaned up their act by the second visit, 22 continued to break the law and have been reported, with several having their licences suspended. MSPs said they were appalled that the level of prosecutions does not match the scale of the problem. Last year, Scotland on Sunday revealed that only 47 licensees were convicted of selling alcohol to under-18s in 2007-08, and that half of all prosecutions failed in some areas. - 8 February, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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