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Website reviews 'guests from hell' – For more stories, see what the weekend papers say

04 October 2010 by

Newspaper decries launch of website reviewing hotel "guests from hell" An article in The Guardian has questioned the desirability of a new internet site that will enable British hotels to blacklist their "guests from hell". Announced this week, Guestscan (whose motto is "protecting you from unwelcome guests") allows hoteliers to review customers in a reverse of the TripAdvisor model where guests review the hotels they have stayed at. The article argues that, while it might seem like a chance for hoteliers to redress the balance against rogue reviews of their businesses, Guests can "compromises the very notion of hospitality" and threatens the unique relationship between hoteliers and guests. It added that it was easy to weed out customer reviews by mischief-makers and business rivals, and that the rising popularity of user-generated reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor had coincided with a rise in hotel standards - 2 October
Read the full article inThe Guardian >>

Primary school pupils find rare truffles in school food garden Pupils at Moncrieffe Primary in Perth have found 10 rare truffles in the vegetable garden they were growing in partnership with local chef Graeme Pallister, the owner of 63 Tay Street restaurant and Scotland's 2010 Executive Chef of the Year. Although the variety has not been confirmed, they are believed to be white spring truffles, which have not been discovered in Scotland before. White spring truffles are highly sought-after in northern Italy and can cost up to £2,700/kg. Pallister described the find as a "pot of gold" that would help the school children fund a working kitchen and cooking programme that he is helping them develop. "I'm now hoping to do a deal with them," Pallister added. "I would use the truffles in a simple pasta dish and stick it on the restaurant menu, and my customers and the people of Perth can get a taste for them." - 3 October
Read the full article inThe Scotsman >>

Scottish education inspectors slam ‘ineffective' hospitality courses Scottish education inspectors have accused college hospitality, travel and tourism courses of declining standards and concluded that they were "ineffective". The HM Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) said a significant number of students did not leave with qualifications that helped them find jobs in the industry. It added that few Scottish colleges had links with business and that the wide range of hospitality courses confused students and employers. Tourism is worth £4b to the Scottish economy and employs some 200,000 people. North East Tory MSP Alex Johnstone said the standards of some courses were also worthless for the Scottish food and drink industry: "I have argued for better standards and qualifications in the hospitality sector for years. It is not acceptable to offer courses that are worthless to students, employers and the industry in general". Malcolm Roughead, chief executive at VisitScotland, said increased investment was needed to support training - 2 October
Read the full article inThe Scotsman >>

Innocent opens one-week café - and gives away 40,000 veg pots Smoothie maker Innocent opened its first café in Shoreditch, east London, on Friday, which aims to serve 5,000 diners their five-a-day helpings of fruit and vegetables. Although the café will stay open for just a week, co-founders Richard Reed and Adam Balon said the experiment, if successful, could be repeated next year, possibly around the country. Meanwhile, the group has kicked off a £1.5m marketing campaign to promote its veg pots that it claims will mean the consumption of 4.5 million extra portions of vegetables. It involves a TV campaign and the handing out of 40,000 free pots to 1,500 offices. The veg pot line includes the new Bombay Curry, along with Mushroom Risotto and Vegetable Masala - 3 October
Read the full article inThe Mail on Sunday >>

Apex hotel boss to give evidence in Holyrood inquiry Award-winning hotelier Norman Springford, the boss of the Apex hotel chain, is to be called to give evidence in a probe by the Scottish Parliament into the use of taxpayers' money to bail out last year's loss-making Gathering event. Springford quit the Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance, which he headed, amid claims that the £300,000 financial rescue of the event was approved behind his back. Labour MSP and member of a public audit committee inquiry Lord George Foulkes said that Springford - a former Entrepreneur of the Year - might be able to "shed light" on the role First Minister Alex Salmond played in propping up the event. "Mr Springford was a key player in the Gathering, but he walked away," said Lord Foulkes. "I suspect he felt as though he had been conned and I feel as though he could shed light on what happened." - 2 October
Read the full article inThe Scotsman >>

Premier Foods looks to sell non-meat business to slash £1.6b debt Britain's biggest food producer, Premier Foods, has revealed that it is in talks to sell its meat-free business for up to £250m in a bid to slash its £1.6b debt, which is more than four times its stock market value of £384m. The group, which is under pressure from shareholders to reduce its borrowings, took on the debt after its 2004 flotation to buy a raft of food brands, including the non-meat Quorn name, which it acquired for £172m in 2005 and is now thought to be worth between £200m and £250m. Selling Quorn would halve its planned four-year programme to cut debt. Premier shares have crashed to 16p, down from 215p six years ago - 3 October
Read the full article inThe Observer >>

By Angela Frewin

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