Rick Stein plans to expand into Falmouth – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

09 November 2009 by
Rick Stein plans to expand into Falmouth – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Rick Stein plans to expand into FalmouthRead the full article in the Observer >>

Jamie Oliver's iPhone cooking app tops the charts
Jamie Oliver's new iPhone cooking app has become the UK's number one app within a fortnight of its launch last month, beating 100,000 other new contenders. The app allows users to download recipes and videos for up to fifty 20-minute dishes and commands a premium rate of £4.99. "The iPhone is simply another brilliant tool for inspiring and helping people to cook fresh food, which is what I've been trying to do ever since I started 10 years ago," enthused Oliver. "A genius little piece of kit not only helps you decide what you want for dinner but also tells you the ingredients you'll need as you're going around the shops and gives you step-by-step instructions when you're cooking it in the kitchen" - 7 November, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>

Travelodge backs campaign to cut tourism VAT to 5%
Budget hotel operator Travelodge is backing a campaign to cut the VAT on accommodation and attraction providers to 5% to bring the UK rate in line with moves on the Continent. The campaign - spearheaded by the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) - argues that, while the cut would cost the Treasury £1b a year, it would bring benefits to the economy of more than £1.2b and create an extra entry-level 23,000 jobs. The BALPPA points to research in France, where slashing VAT on tourism firms from 19.6% to 5.5% in July has boosted the sector and cut VAT fraud by 74%. Germany also intends to cut its VAT rate on overnight hotel stays from 19% to 7% in January and most other EU countries are implementing similar cuts. UK operators, in contrast, face a New Year hike in VAT back to 17.5% from the current temporary 15% tariff. - 8 November, Read the full article in the Mail on Sunday >>

Gordon Ramsay slams international chains for 'wiping out' independents
Multi-Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay has lambasted international restaurant chains such as Pizza Express and Burger King for "wiping out" independent competitors. Ramsay, who has 25 restaurants across four continents, said the last 12 months had been "horrific" in terms of the number of restaurants that had closed because of the recession. "The struggle for these independent places is against chains, these conglomerates that are swallowing up and wiping out independent restaurateurs," Ramsay told the Sunday Mail. "We need to fight for our local places, and put a stake in the ground and say, ‘No, we're not going to give up and move out so a Burger King or a Pizza Express can move in'." ¬- 8 November, Read the full article in the Sunday Mail >>
Sir John Ritblat expected to buy back Merchant Inns
Sir John Ritblat is widely expected to buy back his seven-strong pub chain, Merchant Inns, less than a month after it fell into administration following the discovery of a number of financial liabilities. Merchant Inns was founded two years ago as a joint venture between Ritblat and entrepreneur Robert Breare, who quit in August after a row over strategy. Delancey, a Ritblat property vehicle, and Breare are both expected to table bids for the company which analysts predict could sell for between £20m and £25m. However, prospective bidders have criticised the tight deadline - offers must be lodged by 5pm tomorrow - along with the sparse information on the financial liabilities. They have also questioned the choice of Colliers Robert Barry (part of Colliers CRE, where Ritblat is chairman) to handle the sale. - 6 November, Read the full article in The Times >>
Pret a Manger faces inquiry over frozen foods labelled as fresh
Sandwich chain Pret a Manger may be forced to alter the wording on labels claiming the food in its 225 stores is "Just made with preservative-free, fresh, natural ingredients" following reports in the Sunday Telegraph that it is using frozen Brazilian chickens in its sandwiches and imported frozen fish in its sushi. Guidelines from the Food Standards Agency state that food that has been processed or frozen should not be labelled as 'fresh ingredients'. Westminster City Council said it would be making inquiries. But Pret co-founder Julian Metcalfe insisted the company had done nothing wrong. "Our sandwiches are freshly made. They have always been made in every shop with preservative free ingredients. Unlike our competitors such as] supermarkets we make our sandwiches every day in our shops and they are never kept overnight," he explained. - 8 November, Read the full article in the Sunday Telegraph >>

S&N launches alcohol unit warning for Foster's on pint glasses
Drinkers of Foster's lager will soon be served pint glasses warning them that they are consuming 2.3 units of alcohol in a move by Scottish & Newcastle to encourage responsible drinking among its customers. More than 1.8 million glasses have been stamped with the alcohol unit warning - but the figures are only accurate when Foster's lager is served. This has raised fears that customers choosing stronger brands may underestimated what they are consumer. Current guidelines are for men to drink no more than 21 units a week, dropping to 14 units for women. "It seemed logical that unit information has been included in packaged products for five years and we should extend it to draught beers," said S&N brands director Mark Given.- 7 November, Read the full article in the Daily Mail >>

Frankie & Benny's chef in Kingston arrested after immigration raid
A chef at Frankie and Benny's in Kingston's Rotunda has been arrested on suspicion of working illegally in one of a series of operators around the town. Diners reported that up to a dozen officers from the UK Border Agency ran into the restaurant at lunchtime with bullet-proof vests, handcuffs and retractable sticks and rounded up all the kitchen staff and waiters in the corner of the restaurant where they demanded to see their papers and mobiles. After one chef was arrested and taken away, diners also noticed a sign advertising for a new chef at the restaurant. A spokesman for Frankie and Benny's said: "We can confirm that one person has been arrested," said a spokesman for Frankie and Benny's. "That person had to the best of our knowledge had authentic documentary evidence that he was allowed to work in the UK.
The Sarada in Surbiton was fined £5,000 in September for use of illegal workers. ¬ 7 November, Read the full article in the Surrey Comet >>

Recession helps The Streat café franchise spread in Scotland The recession is helping The Streat, an Irish coffee shop franchise launched 11 years ago, spread across Scotland. Entrepreneur Gerry Carey, who acquired the master franchise for Scotland in June 2008, said redundancies were creating a pool of potential franchisees with some cash to invest, while cheap retail property deals were more readily available. Landlords were offering deals of up to 18 months rent free, or two-year packages including rent-free periods and money towards shop fit-outs. Franchisees need to raise 30% of the start-up costs, including a £23,500 franchise fee, which typically ranges from £120,000 to £150,000, with banks offering the remaining 70%. Carey plans to open between 25 and 35 Streat cafés in Scotland over the next five years. Franchised outlets have already opened in Glasgow's Silverburn shopping centre, with six more to follow in East Kilbride, Clydebank, Livingston and Aberdeen. The brand has 33 stores across Ireland. - 8 November, Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>
Starbucks launches first of 100 'individualised' stores in UK
Starbucks, the world's biggest coffee chain, today opened the first of 100 planned 'individualised' stores across the UK in Conduit Street, London, in a bid to tackle its 'brand fatigue' and woo back customers. The US giant is injecting local character into the new-look stores with designs and furniture sourced from local antique and second-hand shops and putting up community notice-boards. Starbucks also plans to close 50 of its worst-performing outlets over the next few months, but will retain its 712 stores by opening new ones. This week, the group announced a fourth-quarter net profit of $150m , compared with $5.4 million last year. Sales at the worldwide chain - which has 385 fewer stores than in the last quarter of 2008, fell by 4% to $2.4b. Like-like for like sales in Britain returned to the black. - 7 November, Read the full article in The Times >>
By Angela Frewin

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