Friday Wrap: 21 October 2005

21 October 2005
Friday Wrap: 21 October 2005

It's been a good week for fish.

Monday saw a £30m offer for Loch Fyne Restaurants from private equity firm Hutton Collins, while on Wednesday the FishWorks café chain netted a 51% increase in sales for 2004.

Not such good news for poultry, though, with the spectre of bird flu looming. Suppliers, however, are insisting that there are no immediate prospects of shortages.

Meanwhile KFC made its biggest nod to the health lobby since dropping the "fried" from its name, announcing that it will no longer add salt to its fries.

Plenty of other shake-ups elsewhere in the industry as well.

The £52m sale of Little Chef finally went through yesterday, while pubs group Spirit is still being circled by predators too.

The £113m cash offer to take private Tiger Tiger operator Urbium was declared unconditional.

And Ask Restaurants was breaking out of its comfort zone by launching a new grill and bar concept with no pizzas in sight.

More in need of a shake-up are the industry's managers, who are apparently costing the sector £900m a year by failing to hold onto their staff.

And it looks like the NVQ system for training chefs is in dire need of an overhaul too, if speakers at this week's Chef Conference are to be believed.

Also getting it in the neck was the new star ratings system for accommodation, announced in Caterer last week, which hasn't gone down too well among operators of small hotels.

In Northern Ireland, the Government announced an all-out ban on smoking in public places, including all pubs.

Looks to me like the wind is blowing in the direction of a total ban in England too.

Quote of the week:

"We don't serve any pizza and we have a proper bar, so it's all rather alien to us." - Ask and Zizzi operations manager Spencer Graydon on their new concept

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