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Gordon Ramsay turns his sights on Canada – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

22 November 2010 by

A round-up of the weekend's news affecting the hospitality industry. News includes: Compass back on the takeover trail after completing turnaround; waiter service to be axed as Commons seeks savings and more

Gordon Ramsay turns his sights on Canada Gordon Ramsay has turned his sights on Canada, according to The Sunday Express. The celebrity chef has just bought into a famous family-style restaurant - Rotisserie Laurier BBQ - in Montreal and speculation is growing that he intends to either buy the Araxi restaurant in Whistler, British Columbia (where the Winter Olympics were held earlier this year) or open a new one there. "I'm going to retire in Whistler," Ramsay reportedly told a Canadian journalist. "I want to ski for six months of the year and cook for six months of the year." The Sunday Express said Ramsay was expected to spend six months in America next year - 21 November
Read the full article inThe Sunday Express >>

Compass back on the takeover trail after completing turnaround
Compass is back on the takeover trail after completing its turnaround under chief executive Richard Cousins, who joined the company in 2006 after it had posted four profit warnings. Cousins told The Sunday Telegraph Compass had grown too quickly between 1995 and 2005 and had too many layers of management, creating governance and control issues. Under his leadership, Compass has exited 45 countries, sold non-core businesses in travel catering, streamlined its structure and shaved more than £200m from annual costs. Cousins said Compass was now in a "pretty healthy place" and was eyeing "a rather interesting pipeline of small to medium in-fill acquisitions", especially in healthcare and education catering. The group is also keen to grow its support service business such as cleaning, receptions and security, which account for just 15% of turnover. The City expects the contract caterer to announce a 12% hike in operating profit to a record £989m on turnover 5% ahead at £14.1b - 21 November
Read the full article inThe Sunday Telegraph >>

Waiter service to be axed as Commons seeks savings
Two House of Commons restaurants could lose their waiter service under proposals to cut running costs at Westminster in line with public sector cuts. Plans to "reduce the range of catering outlets open during less busy periods" include converting the Members Dining Room to a "buffet menu and carvery" and transforming the Adjournment in Portcullus House into a sandwich bar. The moves are estimated to save £145,000 and £157,000 respectively. Other money-saving ideas include a restricted menu and Friday closure at the Members' Tea Room (£84,000), and introducing a "self-clearing" regime in two Commons cafeterias (£81,000). The cost of alcohol, tea and coffee in parliamentary bars and restaurants has already been raised - 21 November
Read the full article inThe Sunday Telegraph >>

Food overtakes drink as reason for going to the pub For the first time, more people are now going to the pub to eat than to drink, according to new figures from market analyst Mintel. It found that 72% of Britons went to their local for a meal, compared with 63% who wanted a drink. According to the research, 41% of 35-to-44-year-olds go to the pub to eat at least once a fortnight compared with 33% who go for a drink. Specials menus such as theme nights attracted 33% of diners and special offers - including meal deals as low as £2.99 for a main course - have also boosted numbers. Experts said the relaxed dining environment was a key selling point, and that pubs with a decent food offering would be more likely to survive the recession. Alcohol consumption suffered its biggest drop since 1948 last year, while the number of pubs dropped from 59,000 to 52,000 - 21 November
Read the full article inThe Mail on Sunday >>

Mitchells & Butlers expected to reinstate dividend Pub group Mitchells & Butlers, which was embroiled in a boardroom power struggle last year, is expected to reinstate the dividend it scrapped in 2008 as the City anticipates a strong rise in annual pre-tax profits from £134m to £166m. Group chief executive Adam Fowle said at the interim results (which showed a 55% surge in pre-tax profits) that the board "would consider the dividend decision in a good light" if the company was still trading well at the end of November. The group sold 300 low-margin wet-led pubs to TDR Capital in the summer and is expected to present more evidence of its move to a more food-led offer this week - 21 November
Read the full article inScotland on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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