Health secretary calls for voluntary calorie counts in restaurants – for more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

27 September 2010 by
Health secretary calls for voluntary calorie counts in restaurants – for more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Health secretary calls for voluntary calorie counts in restaurants Health secretary Andrew Lansley wants restaurants to display calorie counts for meals on their menus as part of a new "public health responsibility deal" between the Government and food producers and retailers. His call for a voluntary calorie count was raised at the first meeting of an advisory group of health experts, food and drinks companies and campaign groups aimed at helping people lead healthier lives and to reduce the £4.5b annual cost to the NHS of diet-related problems. Critics such as the Sustain charity said the calorie scheme needed to be mandatory to be effective and should also include fat, sugar and salt content. It pointed out that Pret A Manger was the only restaurant chain of 18 that continues to operate a calorie count programme piloted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The same day, the FSA released details of 33 companies that have decreased portion sizes or improved ingredients, such as Pizza Hut, which has lowered the salt in its pizzas by 5%, and Costa Coffee, which now offers lower-fat sandwiches and muffins. - 26 September, Read the full articles in the Observer and the Mail on Sunday>>

Luminar denies breach of banking covenants Luminar, owner of the Liquid and Oceana nightclub chains, has denied that it is on the brink of breaching its banking covenants after reporting a 20.2% slump in interim sales across its 76 clubs. The company said in a trading update that it had a net operating cash inflow for the six months to 31 August and raised £3.7m from the sale of four properties, allowing it to continue to trade within the terms of its bank loans. During the half-year, admission revenue dropped by 26.5% and customer numbers by 19.1%. The group's chief executive and founder Stephen Thomas stepped down in March in the wake of three profit warnings in the previous fiscal year and his replacement, Simon Douglas, has pledged to target older customers, offer more live music and expand the range of drinks on offer. The company share price, which has plunged by nearly 90% in the past year, fell further to 14p after the announcement. - 24 September, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph>>

Scottish hotel makes Forbes' list of top 10 remote hotels A tiny Scottish hotel has come 10th in a list of the world's top 10 remote hotels by Forbes magazine. The Garvault hotel, which describes itself as Britain's most remote hotel, sits between two sporting estates in the Scottish Highlands and is more than a two-hour drive from Inverness. Graham Bentham, who runs the £130-per-night hotel with his wife Doreen, said two or three months could pass in the winter without a visitor. The list also includes two hotels beneath the earth's surface - Jules Undersea Lodge in Florida (in fourth place), which is accessed via a 21ft scuba dive, and Kokopelli's Cave in New Mexico (third place), which is 70 feet underground. The top 10 is headed by Bloomfield Lodge in Cairns, Australia, and also includes: Winterlake, Alaska; the Andean Cottage, Peru; the Beach House at Manafaru, Maldives; Desroches Island Resort, Seychelles; Hotel Arctic, Greenland; and Petit St Vincent Resort, St Vincent and the Grenadines. - 26 September, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday>>

River Café's Rose Gray leaves £1.1m in her will Rose Gray, the chef who co-founded the River Café with fellow chef Ruth Rogers in 1987 and died of cancer this February, has left £1,122,817 in her will. Gray and Rogers popularised authentic Italian food through their Michelin-starred restaurant and cookbooks. The restaurant employed both Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall early in their careers. Oliver described Gray as "one of life's very, very special, natural, genius chefs". He said in tribute to the chef: "It was my honour to have worked with her - a really great boss, a wonderful person who gave me some of my fondest cooking memories and great funny times." - 26 September, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday>>

Scottish tourism worth double the official figures, finds report The total economic contribution of tourism to Scotland could be double official calculations, according to a report by accountancy firm Deloitte that was commissioned by VisitBritain. It estimates that tourism contributes £11.1b to the Scottish economy, compared with official figures of £4b, exceeding the £10b financial sector in size. The report also predicts that tourism spending in Scotland will rise from £9.2b this year to £14.8b in 2020, boosting its total economic contribution to £17.3b. The report puts direct contributions from hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and operators at £5.2b - or 4.9% of GDP - while indirect contributions from firms selling to or buying from the tourism front-line adds a further £5.9b. The report suggested the wider definition of tourism supported 270,000 employees or 10% of the work force. The country's key tourist agency, VisitScotland, is currently in the midst of a £335,000 cost-cutting and efficiency-savings drive. - 26 September, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday>>

Guinness supplier pilots pull-your-own-pint scheme Guinness supplier Diageo is hoping to revive stagnant sales in Ireland by allowing customers to cut out waiting time at the bar by pulling their own pints. It has installed special tables in 220 Irish pubs with taps that are linked to Guinness kegs behind the bar, where customers leave their credit card to pay for a given number of pints. Staff are able to switch off the supply to the tap if they think customers have had too much to drink. If the trial is successful, the system could be introduced into UK pubs. - 25 September, Read the full article in the Daily Mail>>

By Angela Frewin

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