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Chez Gérard owner reveals £27m pre-tax loss – for more hospitality stories see what the weekend papers say

23 February 2009 by

Chez Gérard owner reveals £27m pre-tax loss
Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Two village pubs close every day, warns BBPA The economic downturn is closing two village pubs every day, according to new figures from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which warns that "popping down the local" could become a thing of the past in many areas. While national chains such as Wetherspoons are thriving, community and village pubs are being forced into administration thanks to stringent drink-driving laws, cheap supermarket beer, rising costs and alcohol duty, and the smoking ban. The BBPA estimates that around 4,000 village pubs have disappeared since 1980 and that the current closure rate of 13 rural pubs a week is 20% higher than three years ago. A total of 1,973 pubs shut in 2008, 40% more than in 2007 when 1,409 closures were reported. "The Government must do more not only to alleviate the pressures facing community pubs but also to support communities who are striving to save their local pub," commented Jonathan Mail, a spokesman for the Campaign for Real Ale. - 22 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph >>

Fast-food giants outpace Government moves on healthy eating
Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner has unfavourably contrasted the slowness of Government initiatives in tackling Britain's ballooning appetite for junk food with the speed at which the fast-food chains are taking advantage of the recession. Rayner points out that KFC - whose latest drive-thru netted £100,000 in just one week last month - plans up to 300 new outlets, while Subway is opening 600 new venues, McDonald's is creating 4,000 new jobs, and Domino's Pizza has seen sales grow by 10%. By contrast, he says, the Government's announcement last week of public sector catering targets for such things as pastry bulk in pies, the quantity of salad in sandwiches, and salt levels, comes across as "just so much more paternalistic finger wagging". He did find two causes for optimism in the war on diet-driven obesity and disease. Rayner praised Jamie Oliver for highlighting the public's widespread lack of knowledge about ingredients and simple cooking skills. And government grants to local food retailers in the North-east to improve the display and storage of fresh produce and to link up with local cookery clubs had, he said, brought a "significant lift" in fresh fruit and vegetable sales. - 22 February, Read the full article in the Observer >>

Domino's Pizza set to build on recession-fuelled boost Domino's Pizza is set to build on the recession-fuelled surge in fast-food sales this year with increased TV advertising, more on-line promotions, 50 new stores, and a new assault on what chief executive Chris Moore calls the "e-commerce" sector. The pizza home delivery group recently announced a 25% surge in annual profits and an 18.4% increase in sales, with analysts forecasting a further 13% rise in pre-tax profits to £26.5m. On-line sales have grown by 70% in the past year to account for one-quarter of group sales. Moore says the advertising chest will rise to £20m this year, from £18m in 2009 and £15m in 2007. In a bid to get a competitive edge on takeaway rivals such as Pizza Hut, Domino's has also reduced cooking times for speedier deliveries. "Back in 2005 what we call the ‘out the door time' was 17 minutes. Last year we got that down to 13 minutes. Which means if you allow for a 10-minute drive time, the average delivery time to our customers last year was 23 minutes," said Moore. - 22 February, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>

Brooklyn restaurant liberates 140-year-old lobster A Japanese restaurant in New York has decided to liberate a 140-year-old lobster named Craig that it has been holding in a display aquarium and release him into the Atlantic Ocean. The Halu Japanese Restaurant and Grill in Brooklyn has handed the 20-pound crustacean to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) to return to the wild at Maine. Peta has been campaigning to release restaurant lobsters and save them from being boiled alive. Lobsters have a sophisticated nervous system and feel "a great deal of pain" when cut or cooked alive, according to invertebrate zoologist Jaren Horsley. - 22 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph >>
By Angela Frewin

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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