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MPs seek Europe-wide fair tipping rules – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

21 July 2008 by

MPs seek Europe-wide fair tipping rulesRead the full article in the Independent >>

Councils crack down on Peking Duck ovens
Peking Duck could soon be off the menus because the six-foot-tall, drum-style ovens used to cook the UK's favourite Chinese dish lack the CE mark to show they comply with EU standards on carbon monoxide emissions. Westminster council has already sealed with tape the ovens in 10 Chinese restaurants and other councils across the UK are being urged to take similar action. One victim was the £40-a-head Phoenix Palace in Marylebone, which counts several prominent Labour politicians among its clientele. The restaurant, which imported its ovens from China eight years ago because there were no European makers, said it would take a month to take delivery of a new, £4,000 oven with the CE mark. There have been no reported health problems linked to the ovens, which are also used to cook Cantonese Duck and suckling pig - 20 July, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Dawnay Day sale slashes 45% off Premium shares
High-street bar operator Premium Bars and Restaurants, which owns the upmarket Prohibition and Living Room bar chains, saw its shares slump by 45% after unravelling investment firm Dawnay Day was forced to offload more than 5% of its stake in the group. Dawnay Day's financial backers forced the sale of two million Premium shares yesterday after the investment firm failed to meet a margin call on contracts-for-differences (CFDs) connected to Premium's owner. Dawnay Day held a 29.4% stake in Premium that were a mix of shares and CFDs. The sale of the shares at about 30p cut Premium's share price by 29% to 34½p. The fall cut the value of the Reuben brothers' 32.5% stake by more than £3.5m. Dawnay's creditors are also thought to have taken control of another nine million shares in Premium which they may sell to recover losses. - 19 July, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>

SATS exam markers headhunt Hilton bar staff ETS Europe, the US company behind the SATS exam-marking shambles, poached a 21-year-old woman to help grade the late exam papers within minutes of her attending an interview at the Hilton hotel in Manchester for a job as a cocktail waitress. A senior manager at the hotel added that the company - which has set up an emergency marking centre at the hotel - had also approached bar staff with offers of work. None took up the offers after Hilton managers complained and warned ETS to back off. The senior markers, who are paid more than £180 a day plus £30 spending money and £3 per paper marked, are said to be costing ETS £500 a day and have already run up a hotel bill in excess of £100,000. - 20 July, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Luminar approaches Regent Inns over Jongleurs
Nightclub operator Luminar is said to have made an informal bid approach to Regent Inns in the past few days that could see the break up of the embattled group. Luminar, which runs almost 100 nightclubs, is believed to be interested in Regent's 16-strong chain of Jongleurs comedy clubs as a complement to its own Jam House string of live jazz and blues clubs that it developed with Jools Holland in 1999. The complex proposal would see 3D Entertainment (a company in which Luminar holds an unwanted 49% stake and whose portfolio includes Chicago Rock Café) reversing into Regent Inns to retain its stock market listing. Luminar would take Jongleurs, Regents' Old Orleans restaurant business would be sold, and 3D would be left with Regent's 50 Australian-themed Walkabout bars. Regent is believed to be unenthusiastic about a plan that could leave it over-exposed to the high-street market. - 19 July, Read the full article in The Times >>

McDonald's breastfeeding ban prompts demo feed-in
A McDonald's branch in an Asda store in Bournemouth was confronted with a protest of angry breastfeeding mothers after the manager threw out a young woman for breastfeeding her 10-week old baby earlier. Maddie Reynolds said she was wearing a proper maternity top so other customers could see nothing when she was told to leave. She was so angry she returned with five friends she had met at ante-natal classes to stage a mass feed-in at the restaurant. Alison Purves, spokesman for McDonald's, said the company was ‘disappointed' by the junior manager's actions, which did not follow company policy. She insisted that breastfeeding mothers were welcome in all its restaurants: "If another customer ever expressed their discomfort about breastfeeding we would encourage them to move rather than the mum," she said. "'What we don't want to do is to make mums feel as if they have to hide away.' - 20 July, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

By Angela Frewin

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