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News review 2011 – what happened when

30 December 2011
News review 2011 – what happened when

JANUARY
For the first time since its launch 100 years ago, Michelin released two guides to Great Britain and Ireland in the same year - the first in January and the second in October after it brought forward the publication of its 2012 guide. Four chefs celebrated winning a second star: Nathan Outlaw, Hélène Darroze, Sat Bains and Tom Kerridge.

Contract caterers BaxterStorey, Do & Co, Sodexo, Amadeus, Compass Group, Aramark, Global Infusion and Arena Leisure were all believed to have won a series of multimillion-pound contracts at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

TripAdvisor was constantly in the news in 2011, starting when Duncan Bannatyne called on more support for businesses impacted by dishonest reviews.

FEBRUARY
The Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS) announced plans to create a single professional roadmap for front of house following the success of BBC2 TV programme Michel Roux's Service. The qualification begins at entry level and can be followed through to a foundation degree in food and beverage management.

MARCH
Tourism minister John Penrose launched the Tourism Strategy, pledging to introduce an industry task force to cut red tape, a proposal to move the May bank holiday to a date either in April or October and plans to cut queuing times for inbound passengers at airports.

The publication of highly priced hospitality packages costing up to five times the rate charged by hotels during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games caused a huge row among hoteliers and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games.

Restaurants, pubs and caterers were urged by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) to sign up to the Government's Responsibility Deal in order to avoid mandatory regulation. More than 140 organisations signed up to at least one of the 19 pledges.

APRIL
The collapse of Von Essen Hotels with debts of more than £250m in April was undoubtedly the biggest hotel story of the year. While the initial focus was on what had gone wrong behind the scenes at the company of 31 of some of the UK's most prestigious country house hotels which the flamboyant Andrew Davis had built up with great pomp and ceremony, latterly the interest has surrounded the future ownership of the individual properties.

MAY
Hospitality industry heavyweights including Tim Martin, founder of pub firm JD Wetherspoon, and Guy Parsons, chief executive of Travelodge, called for a reduction in VAT in the UK after Ireland dropped its rate from 14.5% to just 9% for all goods and services related to tourism. The UK rate remains the second highest in Europe at 20%.

JUNE
Contract catering giant Aramark demanded its suppliers cut prices by 12%, in a letter dated 1 June. The letter from chief operating officer Mark Faulkner, said that the company requires some of its suppliers to "make immediate proposals for price reductions" in order to "secure a long-term relationship" with the caterer.

World Champion Sommelier Gerard Basset; Judy Hargadon, chief executive of the School Food Trust; Stephen Magorrian, managing director of Botanic Inns; and Namita Panjabi, co-founder of Masala World; were awarded OBEs, with award-winning pastry chef Claire Clark receiving an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours.

JULY
The Government revealed it had no intention of introducing nutritional standards in academies and free schools, despite pressure from the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA). Sandra Russell, then chair of LACA, received a letter from Government minister Sarah Teather which said that schools converting to academies "will already have been providing healthy, balanced meals" that meet the standards.

Greene King trumped Fuller's by reaching agreement on a £93m deal to buy Capital Pub Company.

The opening of a 26-bedroom mid-market hotel in the New Forest, the Pig, created the most enthusiasm among reviewers in 2011. The hotel was the latest venture for Hotel du Vin founder Robin Hutson.

AUGUST
Young's pulled out of brewing after 180 years after it sold its 40% shareholding in Wells & Young's brewery to Charles Wells for £15.1m to focus on its pub estate in London and the South. Charles Wells will continue to brew well-known Young's brands like Young's Bitter.

Hospitality operators in London came under fierce attack from rioters in August, who ransacked venues and assaulted staff and diners.

SEPTEMBER
Westfield Stratford City, the retail development next to the Olympic Park in east London, opened its doors to the public. The £1.45b development is the largest urban shopping centre in Europe, featuring 300 shops and 70 restaurants across 177,000sq m.

OCTOBER
Hospitality businesses in St Paul's in London were at risk of losing hundreds of thousands of pounds in revenue due to the anti-capitalist protestors camped outside the cathedral blocking Paternoster Square.

NOVEMBER
Contract caterer BaxterStorey scooped the prestigious catering deal at Goldman Sachs, thought to be worth about £20m. The independent caterer replaced incumbent operator Aramark.

Britain's biggest nightclub chain Luminar, the firm behind Oceana and Liquid, went into administration putting 3,000 jobs at risk. The move came after a consortium of banks backing it decided not to extend a waiver on the covenants of its three-year banking facility. A group including former director Peter Marks bought the group for £45m in December.

Restaurateurs in the £3.2b Asian dining sector reacted with scepticism to leaked Government plans for a "curry college" to train British workers in the art of Asian and Oriental cooking.

DECEMBER
Six companies in the Chez Gerard group - Chez Gerard Restaurants, Craftbutton, Paramount, Caffe Uno Brasseries, Paramount Restaurants and Groupe Chez Gerard Restaurants - went into administration. The firm comprises 32 restaurants employing 713 people. Raymond Blanc's Brasserie Bar Co bought eight London sites.

The British Hospitality Association announced plans to ramp up its efforts to campaign for a cut in VAT to 5% in hospitality for 2012, as its work with Treasury officials began to bear fruit.

Go to www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/slashVAT to sign the Slash VAT petition.

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