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The latest news, products and services from the restaurant industry, for the restaurant industry May 2018

CK Direct technology enhances 3 Michelin Star restaurant in London


Also featured this issue:

Trends in hospitality technology that restaurants should follow see


With Rockfon you can have your cake and eat it see p8

Rockfon - p8

May 2018

4 Industry News 8 Editor’s Choice 16 The Merrion Hotel 20 Alfresco Dining 36 Recommended Suppliers



New dining concept Huckster among new Paddington Central signings New dining concept Huckster is among three food and drinks brands to sign property deals at Paddington Central with developer British Land. Taking inspiration from the late 1980s lower Manhattan street scene, Huckster will serve coffee, cocktails and a selection of street food offers including burgers, sourdough pizza and vegan noodle soup. The 4,700 sq ft space, which has been taken on a 15-year lease, will also house a karaoke bar with booths available for hire for up to 30 people. Lords of Poké has agreed a 10-year lease for 840 sq ft, which will become the brand’s second permanent site after Peckham Levels. It will serve the fresh-cut, Californianinspired poké bowls sourced from sustainably caught fish. Coco di Mama is the third new brand to take space at Paddington Central. The London-based Italian food and coffee operator has signed a 10-year lease for 1,100 sq ft where it will serve six daily changing pasta dishes in addition to specials and breakfast options. Since its launch in 2011, Coco di Mama has opened 20 locations across London.

Tim Haddon, British Land’s head of campus at Paddington Central, said: “This is an exciting moment for Paddington Central as we focus on providing a diverse range of food and beverage options at the campus. Huckster offers a completely different experience to anywhere else in the area and Lords of Poké and Coco di Mama specialise in gourmet grab & go options. “The lettings are testament to our investment in curating a vibrant canal-side destination for the local community, workers and visitors, and further strengthen the campus’ reputation as a leading seven-day-a-week neighbourhood in central London.” The addition of these food and drink brands to Paddington Central form part of British Land’s strategy to transform the campus into a vibrant, mixed-use, seven-day-a-week destination on the Grand Union Canal.

Honest Burgers secures £17m refinance deal Honest Burgers has secured an increased funding package from its banking partner Santander to help fund its growth pipeline. The 25-strong company, which recently secured its first site in Bristol and is in advanced talks on a site in Manchester, told BigHospitality’s​ sister site MCA​ that the refinancing totals £17m, including a new capex facility. Santander have backed the business since the start, and this represents the fifth increase in facilities given by the bank to the company.

Honest has so far opened regional sites in Cambridge and Reading, and due to the “phenomenal success” of those two it is now looking at further expansion outside London.​​

Honest said it was delighted to have completed the refinancing with Santander and continue to partner the bank on its next stage of growth.

The group which has an opening in London Bridge already lined up for this year, is believed to be looking to open three to four sites outside the capital over the next 12 months.

The company recently completed on its third site outside of London after securing the unit at 21-23 Clare Street in Bristol.

The group’s first site of 2018 opened on 22 January on the former Feng Sushi site at Royal Festival Hall. It has 65 covers internally and 10 covers outside.

The new site, which will have 75 covers spread over two floors, is expected to open towards the end of this year.

Last month, the company promoted Gary Mann, its chief financial officer, to the position of joint managing director.

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WSET updates flagship wine course, adding new spirit qualification

Ruth Hansom to open her own restaurant this year Ruth Hansom, the first ever female winner of National Young Chef of the Year, has announced plans to open her own restaurant later this year.

One of the most sought-after qualifications across the UK spirit and wine world has been upgraded – as the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) announces the launch of a new spirits qualification, the WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits. As well as adding the level 3 for spirits, WSET have also revised its joint Wines and Spirits level 2 and 4, resulting in the spirit component being scrapped and new qualifications at those levels focusing solely on wine. The updated wine courses and new spirit award will be available from 1 August 2019. The overhaul comes as WSET seeks to change its education courses to provide distinct and separate awards in wine, spirits and saké. To take WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits you’ll need to have completed level 2. Once there, the new course has been designed to provide greater detail on production choices and their impact on style and quality. It will also cover a broader spectrum of world spirits, including the key Asian spirits: baijiu, soju and shochu. As with other WSET Level 3 qualifications, the exam will include both a blind tasting exam and a written paper comprising multiple-choice and short written answer questions. Those interested in a level 2 wine course – which is replacing the current Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits – will be able to focus exclusively on their wine knowledge. At level 4 – WSET’s new flagship qualification – students will be tasked with a new in-depth research assignment designed to assess their ability to research beyond WSET’s learning materials to evaluate the current trends in wine. ‘We continually work to ensure that our qualifications remain current and jobrelevant, equipping students with the skills and expertise they need,’ said Ian Harris, WSET chief executive on the new awards. ‘Extensive consultation with key industry stakeholders indicated a clear demand for specialist product education in the categories of wine, spirits and saké; our newly updated suite of qualifications directly addresses this demand, completing the separation of our products into three distinct subject-matter streams.’

22-year-old Hansom, formerly a demi chef de partie at the Michelin-starred Ritz London, has developed a modern British concept called Epoch with business partner Emily Lambert, the Ritz’s first female sommelier. The restaurant is due to open in August and Hansom and Lambert will appear on BBC Two’s Million Pound Menu at the beginning of May to pitch the concept. She said: “My latest project to date is my own restaurant with business partner, Emily Lambert. We plan to open in August of this year. The details I can’t go into too much as it will appear on BBC Two’s Million Pound Menu at the beginning of May.” She revealed the news as she announced she is to become a chef patron for the Association of Catering Excellence (ACE). She joins fellow chef Adam Handling as well as patrons Chris Sheppardson (Chess Partnership), Marc Verstringhe, Wendy Bartlett (Bartlett Mitchell), Jane Sunley (Pur ple Cubed) , Rosemar y

Osb our n e, Al as t air Storey (BaxterStorey) and Chris Bray (Sodexo). ACE is focusing on getting young people in the industry more involved in networking. Young members have been invited to events such as the association’s Charity Dinner and Ready Steady Cook, which now has a special award for chefs under 25, and for which Hansom will be a judge in September. Hansom said: “I’m really looking forward to getting involved with Ready Steady Cook. I’m hoping younger judges will help put some of the younger contestants at ease. It can be quite daunting being judged by experienced, senior chefs, especially if you’re testing out modern interpretations and new flavour combinations.” ACE chair, Gaye Bullard, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Ruth as a patron and judge. She has clearly got ambition and drive and I’m sure she’ll bring a fresh new perspective to our mission to make networking appealing to young people.”

Industry News PAGE 5



Consumers cut back on leisure spend at start of year

UK consumers are spending less on leisure in order to prioritise the essentials and this cautious approach shows no signs of diminishing, according to new data. The Leisure Consumer Q1 2018 report by Deloitte found that consumers have reduced their leisure spending in seven of the 11 categories compared to the same period last year. The quarterly survey of 3,000 adults revealed a four percentage point decrease in culture and entertainment spending, while drinking in pubs/bars and in-home leisure both saw spending fall by three percentage points. When asked about their spending intentions for the next three months, consumers said they are planning to reduce spending on all habitual leisure activities, including going out to restaurants (down five percentage points) and drinking in coffee shops (down one percentage point). The prolonged cold winter sparked an increase in spend on holidays, with spending on long-stay breaks increasing by three percentage points, while short-stay spending rose by two percentage points yearon-year. But planned spending in Q2 on long-stay and short-break holidays is significantly lower compared to the level seen last year, falling by 10 and eight percentage points respectively. Simon Oaten, partner for hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, said: “Consumers are still feeling the pinch and, as a result, they are consciously re-evaluating the way they spend on leisure activities. “This is one reason why we have seen such a decline in spending on in-home leisure. Cutting back on takeaways and

6 PAGE Industry News

entertainment purchases is easier for consumers to influence and therefore this category is more volatile to changing levels of income. Leisure expenditure is a useful barometer to gauge consumers’ ability to spend their disposable income. For the first time since Q1 2016, overall confidence is growing while leisure spending is declining. It remains to be seen whether this divergence will continue, but it is a clear sign of the income pressures facing consumers and how they are being mindful when delving into their pockets.” Attending live sporting events and playing sport/going to the gym are the only leisure categories that can expect to see a rise in spending over the next three months, both rising by one percentage point. UK consumers are expecting to spend more on these categories as the weather improves during the spring months. Oaten added: “Consumers are sheltering their disposable income in order to prioritise spending on essentials. Leisure businesses will be hoping that improved weather conditions may encourage consumers to go out and spend in restaurants, bars and pubs after a long winter period. It appears unlikely that the ‘good times’ will return to consumers in the next three months, with spending intentions well below where they were a year ago. That being said, the World Cup – an event that typically gives a boost to leisure spending – could come at just the right time to encourage consumers to delve into their pockets to spend on leisure activities.”

Scott Smith leaves Norn but plans to open new restaurant Laura and Scott Smith have left Norn to set up a new restaurant in Edinburgh called Fhior. “It is with huge regret we inform you all that my wife and I have needed to leave Norn,” Smith announced on Twitter. “This was an incredibly difficult and heart-breaking decision to make as we have spent the past three years of our lives building and creating what has become a restaurant we were immensely proud of. We are very thankful to our team who have worked so hard for us to achieve some incredible press and accolades in such a short time… “We have a new project to work on that promises to be bigger, better and more ambitious than what we have achieved so far. Our new restaurant will be named ‘Fhior’ and will be located on Broughton Street.” Smith, who formerly worked under Geoffrey Smeddle at the Michelinstarred Peat Inn in Fife, opened Norn in Leith in May 2016 with his wife Laura, serving a modern Scottish menu. Norn was praised by critics, including the late AA Gill, who said the restaurant had “a lot to be proud of”. It has also featured in The Sunday Times’ Top 100 Restaurants in the UK and Scott was awarded one of The Caterer’s prestigious Acorn Awards last year.

Greg Clarke appointed head chef of 108 Garage Greg Clarke has been appointed head chef of 108 Garage as Chris Denney steps back to focus on the wider business.

Luca Longobardi and Denney opened 108 Garage in in London’s Notting Hill in 2016, followed by Southam Street restaurant last year, and now have several projects in the pipeline together, including Home Noir, a members’ club with 20 loft apartments, restaurant, clubhouse and roof deck. Clarke will reinterpret the restaurant’s menus in his own style but will continue to serve a six-course tasting dinner menu that changes daily according to the season and produce. Dishes will include BBQ jersey royals and truffled curd with sorrel and lamb dripping; iberico presa and duroc with jowl, XO beetroot and black garlic; Wye Valley asparagus ‘en papillote’ with artichoke, anchovy and lovage (pictured below); and pine with yuzu and meringue. Clarke previously worked as a development chef at Daniel Clifford’s Midsummer House in Cambridge, as head chef at the Typing Room restaurant at the Town Hall hotel in London, and co-founded pop-

up restaurant Dead Rabbits. He also worked as a sous chef at Tom Aikens restaurant in London, as a senior chef de partie at the Ledbury and at Restaurant Martin Wishart in Edinburgh, and as a chef de partie at Le Gavroche. “We are extremely excited to welcome Greg Clarke to the team at 108 Garage,” said Longobardi. “We share a mutual love of innovative, intelligent cooking and look forward to watching him discover, create and deliver an enthusing new menu daily.” Clarke added: “Together with the talented team at 108 Garage, I look forward to creating food that is truly seasonal and original.”

Industry News PAGE 7



With Rockfon you can have your cake and eat it Following a €12million restoration, iconic 1927 Dublin landmark Bewley’s Grafton Street, has reopened to offer seating for 500. Rockfon® Mono® Acoustic ceilings are installed throughout to create a comfortable acoustic environment and meet the aesthetic demands of this historic space. Interior retrofit The careful restoration of its interior has seen many original features restored to their former glory. There are new additions too, including the expansion of the in-café bakery – enabling customers to see Bewley’s pastry chefs and bakers create delicious treats. Bewley’s interior features mahogany panelling and mosaic floors which could generate distracting background noise, particularly when the café is busy. We advised Gilligan Architects on the most suitable acoustic ceiling to control reverberation and harmonise with the building’s period features. Architect Brendan Duffy commented, “The introduction of Rockfon acoustic ceilings throughout, direct fixed to the plasterboard ceilings minimised the visual impact on the building fabric, particularly the ceiling covings, allowing these to be expressed. In addition, the spray applied finish to the Rockfon panels provides a seamless

8 PAGE Editor’s Choice

ceiling in keeping with the original plasterboard ceilings and concealing the use of a modern acoustic treatment.” What is Rockfon Mono Acoustic? This unique product combines the elegance of a seamless ceiling with Class A sound absorption, previously thought only possible with modular suspended ceilings. It can fit around curves and angled edges, making it ideal for retrofit. It also offers Class A2 fire protection for added peace of mind in any public buildings. How noise impacts on taste Research shows there is a direct link between what we hear and what we taste – meaning dining out is not just about the food. Background noise can overwhelm our senses, impacting negatively on how we experience what we consume. To counter this, installing sound absorbent materials can control unwanted sound. Measuring reverberation Irwin Carr Consulting Senior Consultant Acoustician, Malachy McAlister, advised on improvements to the acoustics at Bewley’s, “We were able to determine the additional

absorption provided by the new ceiling by undertaking acoustic tests before and after installation. The acoustic ceiling reduced the reverberation time (echo) by 35% from 1.1 seconds to 0.7 seconds.” Client feedback The client is delighted with the ceiling and the atmosphere it helps create. Bewley’s Assistant General Manager, Andrew Griffin, “Before the new ceiling, noise levels could get very high, making it difficult to hear what customers were saying. Now the feel of the café has changed; it is much calmer and more relaxed.” Installation We worked closely with the team at Reilly Ceiling & Drywall on installation. “Integrating services with new ceilings can be a headache. The Rockfon team were always available which made the process much easier. Rockfon Mono Acoustic is simple to work with and fits around the different elements with ease. There is no product on the market that can match it for acoustic performance and flexibility of design and installation.” For more information please visit or call 0800 389 0314

Part of the ROCKWOOL Group

79% of users have left a restaurant early due to noise

World of Acoustics

9 out of 10 people say background noise is the biggest problem they face when eating out

Contemporary monolithic architecture calls for undisturbed, expressive surfaces. Modern building design requires Class A acoustics, convenience and flexibility. Rockfon® Mono® Acoustic brings the two together with amazing results. Flat or curved. White or custom colour. For ceilings or walls.

Bewley’s Grafton Street, Dublin

For further information or to book your CPD email visit



Italian gelato has a rich heritage dating back hundreds of years and is hailed as the original ice cream. Made with love the Italian way since 2005, Joe Delucci’s multi award-winning, indulgent gelato is made only with carefully sourced natural ingredients, whole fresh fruits and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. The Joe Delucci’s team is constantly working on developing further innovative flavours. New for 2018 are improved recipes delivering an even more powerful flavour and four new sensational additions: “Walnut & Fig” (awarded Bronze at this year’s Casual Dining Show Innovation Challenge), “Chocolate & Orange”, “Blood Orange, Lemon & Carrot” and “Lemon & Vodka”. Typically lower in fat (using milk, not cream) and incorporating much less air than regular ice cream, meaning more deluccious gelato per scoop, you can be assured of a mind-blowingly creamy texture. The effect is soft on your taste buds and leaves an intensive, long-lasting, clean taste. Their appealing range of 39 flavours is all vegetarian, predominantly glutenfree and includes non-dairy, fat-free and no fewer than 14 water-based, vegan-friendly flavours. BRC accredited, Joe Delucci’s is the discerning choice for many leading chefs and is stocked by well-known restaurants, hotels, gastro pub groups, cinemas, garden centres, universities, dessert parlours, delicatessens and cafes operations who either order and have delivered directly from Joe Delucci’s or order through their nationwide wholesale food distribution network. Joe Delucci’s is the ideal brand to supplement your dessert menu and to create bespoke recipes whilst catering to the demands of your most fastidious customer. It’s available in 5 litre, 2.5 litre, 500ml and 120ml theatre tubs - these in their five top-selling flavours – Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Coconut and Mango. Whether you are a new or an established operation, Joe Delucci’s offer a great start-up service with branded freezer


deals and point of sale items. They also have branded ice cream carts for sale which are a very popular addition to events, increasing revenue and creating a great atmosphere. To learn more about how you can get your hands on Joe Delucci’s remarkable Italian ice cream, or to enquire about their gelato trading services, don’t hesitate to contact them today using the information provided below. This is a strong brand with an awesome product and tasting is believing. Joe Delucci’s Ltd T 0844 557 1818

The Stable launches new menus for

The Stable, the cathedral to cider and gourmet pizza, has launched exciting new menus for spring/summer 2018. Each of The Stable’s 17 locations have different menus, depending on the local availability of ingredients and cider.

spring/summer 2018 The new menus have been inspired by bringing customers together and introducing them to local suppliers – with a focus on sharing dishes and locally sourced products on the menu. There will also be more salads and vegan options, while continuing to offer a wide selection of pizzas and pies. The Stable’s ever-popular £7 lunch menus will continue to be available and feature wraps, a selection of pizzas and fresh, tasty salads. Care has been taken to make sure ingredients are responsibly sourced. The fish for the new Hook, Line and Sinker pizza is sourced fresh from Weymouth-based West Country Catch and is dependent on the seasonal availability of either cod, coley or pollock – meaning that it will change based on the sustainable supply. With many coastal-based locations, this attention to detail is important to The Stable, who would like to help promote a greener, more ethical future for food and the environment. The Stable’s Executive Chef, Patrick Campbell, said: “Since we started in 2009, we’ve developed a reputation for our West Country inspired menu – using the best local produce to complement our vast range of ciders. With the new menu we wanted to capture our innovative fun spirit and the evolving tastes and dietary needs of our customers, while staying true to our authentic, rustic roots.

We love the restaurants’ social energy, so we’ve echoed that in our new dishes for people to share at the table. All our sourdough pizza bases are still handmade from scratch and our tomato sauce still made fresh every day – these values are really important to us and will always stay with us.” “Using local suppliers is a key part of The Stable” says Patrick, who has sourced all the produce himself – having worked with Capreolus Fine Foods, based in Rampisham in Dorset, for years. Their award-winning charcuterie on the menus is something he and The Stable are very proud of. These locally sourced, artisan products perfectly complement the craft ciders on The Stable’s extensive drinks menu. Its Cider Tasting Experiences allow diners to sample food paired with a range of ciders, in sessions conducted by its in-house Cider Masters. PAGE




MERCHANT’S HEART TO LAUNCH IN SAINSBURY’S STORES Premium spirit enhancer brand Merchant’s Heart will arrive in 500 Sainsbury’s stores across the country in June. The brand’s six flavours will be available in the supermarket as singles, joining its current stocklists Ocado, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and Amathus, alongside other specialist drinks retailers. The range is specifically intended to be paired with premium spirits and designed to allow the spirit to shine through on the palate for an enhanced drinking experience. The six variants range from a dry hibiscus tonic – suitable for lifting premium gins, to a Ginger Ale which pairs perfectly with exclusive rums. The range was developed with the help of some of the world’s best bartenders, who now form the Merchant’s Heart Beta Collective. The group includes former GB World Class winner, Ali Reynolds, bar manager at Punch Room London Edition, Davide Segat and founder of multi award-winning cocktail bar Happiness Forgets, Ali Burgess Alongside the unveil of the range, Merchant’s Heart produces KANPAI!, a quarterly magazine celebrating the skill, beauty and art of bartending and bar culture, available in all bars currently stocking Merchant’s Heart.



ith the recent opening of their newest establishment - T-bar - hospitality group Buzzworks Holdings has now invested over £750,000 in its Ayr venues over the past six months. The T-Bar is a casual pub with a modern twist that offers an impressive range of beers, carefully crafted cocktail list and stone-baked pizzas made fresh to order – alongside an unrivalled schedule of weekly entertainment. The Tree House, which underwent a major refurbishment just six months ago, is one of five House brand venues within Buzzworks expanding portfolio of ten restaurants across the west of Scotland and beyond. Although part of the House brand, The Tree House and new T-bar have their own unique identities. The interior features a selection of upcycled materials – including the original pewter bar from Elliots in Prestwick, unique artworks and exposed brickwork – providing an edgier public house for locals and visitors alike. The new pub will host a packed weekly schedule of entertainment, with a selection of live music performances and screenings of live sport events. The T-bar Sessions aim to support the local music scene in Ayrshire showcasing a diverse and eclectic line-up at its weekly jam nights. In addition to the weekly music offering, the T-bar will host some bigger events with named acts – starting with Mark Morriss from The Bluetones, who will be taking the stage in T-Bar on Thursday 31st May. The new T-Bar also boasts its own multi-purpose events space that can be booked for exclusive events. This striking indoor courtyard area also features an impressive selection of wall art from some of Scotland’s leading artists.

A laid-back bar and music venue is the latest addition to Buzzworks prestigious portfolio, as it opens a dedicated modern pub next door to the existing Tree House restaurant in Ayr.


This new space is in addition to the exclusive private dining area for up to 20 guests situated in the Tree House restaurant, with both spaces perfect for spending time with friends and family. Eager Ayrshire foodies can delve into the T-bar’s exceptional pizza offering, with a fabulous selection of stone-baked pizzas made fresh to order and available all day from 12pm to late. The gantry is also well stocked, with a carefully crafted cocktail selection, and a vast range of beers. Kenny Blair, Buzzworks Holdings MD, said: “The hospitality industry is constantly evolving and we saw an opportunity to create a cool and modern pub with a twist, which would both suit the local market and sit alongside our excellent restaurant offering at the Tree House. “Although connected to the Tree House, we are keen for the T-Bar to be recognised in its own right and look forward to welcoming both Buzzworks regulars and new visitors to our latest venture.” The T-bar is located at 2C Boswell Park, Ayr. To keep up-to-date with T-bar visit, @tbarayr on Facebook or @tbar_ayr Instagram.





Trends in hospitality technology that restaurants should follow


ll of those things, of course. But according to a new study, the biggest brand differentiator for any business from 2018 onwards will be customer experience.

Leading edge hospitality software including EPOS and hotel property management systems capture important information about each guest, building up a complete picture of their preferences and likes.

As I’m sure you are well aware, customer experience is your customers’ perception of how your company treats them.

As Forbes commented recently, “big data gives us trends and insights with uncanny accuracy – there is no reason not to create a more personalised experience that caters to a customer’s individual needs.”

If they like how you do things, it affects the way they behave, building up positive memories and driving both engagement with and loyalty to your particular restaurant or hotel. So when looking at the top trends in hospitality technology in this financial year, software that enables a great customer experience comes top of my list. There’s no doubt about it, creating the perfect customer experience requires a lot of knowledge about your customer. Personalised service is highly valued by guests, but to get it right requires a lot more than guesswork.

The loyalty-building element of customer experience can receive a big boost from this kind of technology, because armed with knowledge, business owners can email guests and diners offers and rewards they know will hit the mark. Another major trend in hospitality technology for 2018 is linked with today’s increasing demand for easy access at all times. Customers – and particularly the millennial generation – are now used to accessing all areas of their lives via their smartphone or laptop. The financial services and insurance industries are moving massively on this at the moment, and hospitality is following suit. In today’s climate customers are increasingly looking to make transactions at the click of a button. With the popularity of apps such as OpenTable this is particularly true of restaurant reservations. An online restaurant reservations solution such as that provided by Aloha EPOS software offers guests the opportunity to book tables 24/7 without ever having to make a phone call. It offers convenience for them and an additional stream of revenue for you because reservations


On the rocky road ahead to 2020, what’s really going to make your hospitality brand stand out? Great food? Great facilities? Fantastic value? By Luis De Souza, CEO of NFS Technology Group

can be taken around the clock, and it can be integrated with OpenTable if required. Staff, too, appreciate technology that is intuitive to use, which is why the latest generation of EPOS software in 2018 is made available as an app – load it and go; staff training is simple and they can be processing orders within a couple of hours. It enables the kind of seamless and effortless guest experience that today’s digital-savvy and time-poor customers require. Serving staff can take accurate orders on hand-held devices or tablets at tableside and send them instantly to the kitchen for action. Payment can also be taken rapidly at the table, with splitting the bill a cinch – good news for the increasing number of casual dining establishments, where groups tend to be larger. It’s also good news for the restaurant, because the quick service means table turn improves. Head office management technology will continue to be an important trend for 2018 for multi-location businesses where it can be hard of keep track of the organisation end-to-end. The enterprise technology gives the business owner or manager access to real-time data via their mobile device, anywhere they have an online connection – this can include sales, stock levels, labour- and even whether staff are dealing with any social media criticism efficiently. Business intelligence is a huge trend for 2018 after showing its worth in a tricky 2017. With comprehensive up-to-date reports available at all hours of the day or night, a business owner can make sound decisions based on real information. For instance, stock is kept under control thanks to accurate forecasting based on genuine sales figures and identified trends. A final further trend in hospitality technology for 2018 is easy finance. The best software is now available as a rental option, keeping costs down and providing an immediate ROI, which is important in these times of rising food costs and exploding business rates.

This year, experts are saying that hospitality technology is moving from ‘nice to have’ to ‘have to have’, and of course we wouldn’t disagree. As times get tougher, and even some famous names fall by the wayside, it’s not just the efficiencies and savings created by EPOS systems that are important, although these easily-quantifiable elements are instrumental in giving businesses a competitive edge. It’s harder to quantify the value of an enhanced customer experience. But it’s already becoming apparent that in the rest of 2018, it may be the most valuable advantage that EPOS can bring to a restaurant business.


NFS Technology Group is a leading supplier of software to the UK hotel, restaurant and venue market. Find out more at PAGE


The Merrion Hotel Situated on Upper Merrion Street opposite the grand Government buildings, and a mere stones throw from the National Gallery, The Merrion Hotel is close to the heart of everything that Dublin has to offer - a real jewel in Dublin’s crown.

You are welcomed at the spacious reception area, where everyone is extremely friendly and they couldn’t have been more helpful. We were shown around the Drawing Rooms and Bar 23 after checking in, and provided with details of the Hotels facilities. Great artworks on almost every wall in every corridor, and the rooms off. From No 23, through to the Grand Drawing Room, all are very welcoming and elegantly decorated throughout, giving the feel of a stately home. The Cellar Bar is like stepping back in time, and all the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Gustaf couldn’t do enough for us, and was also very happy to share some of his extensive knowledge of the local Whiskies. The Spa and pool areas were immaculate, and the staff there were keen to show us around the facilities and explain everything that was available to us. Our Superior King Room was, in fitting with our whole experience, totally perfect. Regally adorned, a bathroom to die for! With all the luxury essentials. And everything we could possibly have needed, from the wellstocked mini bar to the Nespresso


coffee machine. We had views across the road overlooking the Government Buildings, but had no noise from the road The attention to detail was second to none, even down to the business cards with your address whilst staying in Dublin, should you over indulge in one of the many Irish bars nearby and forget. Fresh fruit and flowers arrived in our room during the afternoon, and with the “Turn Down service� during the early evening we were supplied with fresh water and ice, and also offered fresh towels. Friendly and attentive

members of staff on hand almost everywhere, even when we got lost looking for the Spa! Exquisite food and surroundings in the Garden Restaurant, offering a totally relaxed atmosphere, with immaculate and efficient service, mouth-watering menu with the emphasis on the best of Irish produce, complementing it very well. Our Steak was superb, and there was also a very extensive selection of fine wines available. Breakfast was also served in The Garden Room, beautifully arranged

with options to suit everyone, the Eggs Florentine were particularly good. Once again the service was second to none and nothing is ever a problem. The Gardens, with the ornate fountains, abundant flower beds and seating area, would make a great place for breakfast in the warmer weather. Check out was as smooth as the rest of the stay, and all the staff were keen to ensure that our stay had been a very pleasant one, and offered forward transport options, should we have required them.







Held at the Kingsgate Conference Centre, Roythornes – a national law firm which specialises in food and drink - welcomed more than 100 delegates from across the sector for a morning of networking, refreshments and to share best practice with fellow industry professionals. Held at the Kingsgate Conference Centre, Roythornes – a national law firm which specialises in food and drink - welcomed more than 100 delegates from across the sector for a morning of networking, refreshments and to share best practice with fellow industry professionals. Sam Norman, a Director of the OAL Group, led an interesting and lively presentation as the event’s keynote speaker. She talked about the technology OAL are developing to support businesses in the food industry to stay competitive, innovative and overcome the challenges they face. She noted that some of the biggest issues at the current time include stagnant productivity, the implementation of the living wage and Brexit. Mark Dodds, marketing manager at Roythornes Solicitors said: “Our Food Business Breakfast has become a key staple in the networking calendar for business professionals based in both Peterborough and other areas of the UK. “Improved efficiency, reduced labour costs and reliability are all potential benefits to implementing robotics, and Sam offered an interesting perspective on what this actually means in practice, exploring the use of robots in the sector and how the industry needs to work collaborative in order to stay flexible and compete with organisations within Europe and across the world.” The Food Business Breakfast is a bi-annual event which aims to bring together a diverse range of organisations, including food producers, machinery suppliers and professional services, to create new opportunities for business collaboration with likeminded experts. For more information about Roythornes, visit or follow @roythornes on Twitter.

THE potential for revolution in food manufacturing through cutting-edge robotic technology was the hot topic discussed during the latest Food Business Breakfast in Peterborough, organised and hosted by Roythornes Solicitors 26th April. 18 PAGE



LOFAssured initiative gains strength across the garden furniture industry with fourteen members already certified. LOFA’s (Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association) “LOFAssured” initiative ensures that all cushions sold by members comply with current government fire safety regulations.


is raising awareness of fire safety standards/regulations for garden furniture cushions in this young campaign and, already, fourteen members are certified with 24 in progress and soon to be completed. Certified members are –

• • • • • • •

A Mir & Co - Daro – Desser - Europa Leisure – Extreme Lounging - Glencrest Seatex – Glendale Garden and Leisure –

• Hampson Agencies – • Kettler (GB) Limited – • Lifestyle Garden - 20 PAGE Alfresco Dining

• Maze Rattan - • Munro Importers - • Norfolk Leisure Lifestyle Limited – • Quest –

One of the conditions of LOFA membership is that members must adhere to a code of conduct, part of which is compliance with all current legislation; it is this culture of propriety that the retailer and customer buy into when they source product from LOFA members. LOFAssured is a distinguishing factor setting LOFA products apart from other non-compliant suppliers. LOFA appointed FIRA (Furniture Industry Research Association) and entered into a Primary Authority Partnership with HertfordshireTrading Standards to aid the members in their quest for full compliance. For further information on the Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association, call 02392 258844 or visit and

Guide answers outdoor furniture flammability questions highlighted by LOFAssured scheme success

Photograph courtesy of Jati & Kebon

Produced by FIRA to give a greater understanding of fire safety issues that may concern those buying or selling outdoor furniture, the LOFA Outdoor Furniture Flammability Guide provides a basic introduction to the LOFAssured Scheme with essential information for retailers and consumers. One of the conditions of LOFA membership is that members must adhere to a code of conduct, part of which is compliance with all current legislation. The new guide explains that, in order to achieve LOFAssured status, LOFA members must pass an audit process supported by Hertfordshire County Council which acts as prime authority and offers assured advice which will be accepted across all county and borough councils. The scheme shows a member company is compliant to flammability regulations and performs sufficient due diligence to ensure products are fit for purpose. Providing answers to 12 key questions relating to flammability concerns, the LOFA Outdoor Furniture Flammability Guide makes it clear that any form of garden/outdoor upholstered furniture that could be set up or carried into a dwelling and conservatory must meet the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989, 1993 and 2010). These regulations are enforced and policed by all local trading standards departments across the United Kingdom. Flammability labels are an important aspect of fire safety regulation compliance. While some of these are for display purposes, others must be permanently attached to outdoor furniture and the guide gives invaluable details coupled with illustrations of what to look for. The final section of the LOFA guide provides invaluable details of further resources, including organisations relating to consumer support, associations and regulations. For further information on the Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association, call 02392 258844 or visit

Alfresco Dining PAGE 21



and energy consumption when needed.

Al Fresco Dining More Appealing Thanks to Tansun Heaters Located in the popular canal side development of Brindleyplace, Bank Birmingham is a chic and lively brasserie with outdoor terraces in a vibrant setting. The restaurant has been fitted with Tansun infrared heaters to keep its customers dining outside all year round. In order to create a better outdoor dining experience, Bank has installed a selection of different Tansun infrared heaters on their terraces so that their customers can enjoy themselves both indoors and out. These are from the Sorrento, Eclipse and Monaco ranges. Making al fresco dining appealing to customers is vital for the restaurant, so along with its retractable roof, each of Tansun’s heaters warm an area of 36 square metres to make sure guests are always comfortable. At Bank, the infrared heaters are wall-mounted, but they can also be hung and are suitable for awnings. Sarah Pryer from the Individual Restaurant Company commented, “Tansun has supplied its quality infrared heating systems to the Individual Restaurant Company for some time. We are pleased with the performance of the heaters and our customers have found them beneficial, particularly on colder evenings.” She continued, “We would definitely consider using more of Tansun’s products again in the future where there is a requirement for instant, powerful heating.” The Monaco heater’s versatility makes it the ideal choice for heating large areas with its powerful ultra-low glare. Its slick design is perfect for bars, restaurants, commercial areas and terraces. Monaco infrared heaters come with a two-year warranty, glarereducing gold reflectors, energy efficient low glare lamps and mounting brackets as standard. They can be controlled with a remote or presence detector to easily adjust the heat output

22 PAGE Alfresco Dining

The Sorrento infrared heater’s versatility makes it the ideal choice for heating large areas as it features a superior long-lasting infrared lamp and a polished parabolic reflector that enhances the heat distribution. The Sorrento Double is durable in all weather conditions, making it the ideal heating solution for restaurants, bars and other establishments looking to maximise the potential of their outdoor areas all year round. The Eclipse range of zero light ceramic infrared heaters are specially designed to not give off any glare and are fitted with far-infrared technology, which is considered one of the most energyefficient forms of infrared heating available. The Eclipse range uses advanced ceramic heating technology which gives the heaters 35% more energy efficiency than lower-spec near-infrared products. All of Tansun’s products are made in the UK and designed using premium components. The company has been established for 35 years and pioneered the concept of infrared electric heaters alongside Philips technology. Tansun has the largest range of commercial, industrial and domestic infrared heaters in the world, providing maintenance-free, safe and healthy shortwave heaters for customers up and down the country. Tansun heaters are available with a full range of energy-saving controllers which further enhance the efficiency of the products. Further information is available from Tansun on 0121 580 6200, by emailing sales@tansun. com or by visiting the company’s website at

Outdoor Solutions UPDATE

May 2018



After a sell-out season at The Lodge, the capital’s favourite pop-up creator, Jimmy Garcia, is excited to announce the return of his largest and most ambitious residency, The BBQ Club at London’s Southbank Centre. be guided through an interactive six course tasting menu; including dishes such as Char Ma Lass, with miso-glazed charred baby aubergines, pomegranate molasses yoghurt, pickled green chili and a sprinkle of Featuring a walk-up BBQ Bar fresh mint and Hard Core Prawn, with showcasing gourmet dishes straight fresh langoustines, roast red pepper from the grill and the BBQ Club rooftop restaurant, which is serving an puree, black garlic, jamon, smoked ever-evolving six course tasting menu, almonds. set against the stunning backdrop of As the summer sun begins to set, London’s River Thames. the tasting menu will conclude with griddled apricots served with honey Both the walk-up BBQ Bar and BBQ Club rooftop dining menus will feature mascarpone, ginger biscuit crumbs innovative and exquisite BBQ dishes, and candied orange peel. For those served straight from a Big Green Egg who like their toasts a little stronger, grill, staying true to Jimmy’s acclaimed there will be a rooftop private bar interactive, alfresco cooking style. where guests can enjoy refreshing gin From the fresh charred squid to the concoctions, chilled beer, or bottles of delicious pork chop and potato salad, wine. each dish will tell a tale of provenance and sourcing. The walk-up BBQ Bar will serve speedy, fresh and flavoursome The upstairs BBQ Club tasting menu gourmet BBQ dishes such as Hot will once again invite guests to baste Smoked salmon with grain salad and grill dishes alongside their chef and crème fraiche, or the delectable on their very own BBQ built into monkfish burger with tarragon the centre of the table. Guests will mayonnaise and dill pickled Launching on Saturday 5th May 2018, with tickets on sale 27th March, the split-level, riverside Summer eatery is back!

24 PAGE Alfresco Dining

cucumber. All priced at £10 or under, the dishes are ideal for a working lunch or an afternoon drinking by the river. A separate downstairs bar will also be situated at the river’s edge, serving a dazzling selection of G&Ts, beers and ciders, meaning even if guests are not dining at The BBQ Club they can enjoy watching the light fade over the London skyline with a drink in hand. TICKETS ON SALE NOW THE BBQ CLUB IS EXPECTED TO SELL OUT FAST. TO RESERVE YOUR TABLE PLEASE VISIT: WWW.THEBBQCLUB.COM OR EMAIL

Forbes Group is a leading British manufacturer and supplier of hospitality, conference and banquet furnishings to leading venues worldwide.

ta ues re q e R chu bro | +44 (0) 1568 616638 |



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CK Direct technology enhances 3 Michelin Star restaurant in London CK Direct have had the amazing opportunity to implement brand new Ventilated Ceilings and Air Jet Canopies in a 3 Michelin Star restaurant. The London-based restaurant was the perfect candidate for the latest additions to CK Direct’s product range. During the restaurant’s 8-week refurbishment, the existing extract systems within the kitchen and rooftop were stripped out and replaced. Roof Mounted Air Handling Units, Extract & Supply Fans, Air Conditioning and Toilet Ventilation - All of which was fitted to service the launch of the showpiece Ventilated Ceiling, Air Jet Canopy System and the new Air Jet Extract Hood.

How do these new installations improve the restaurant? • Ventilated Ceiling

• Air Jet Canopy System Air Jet hoods prevent the heat and impurities produced by cooking appliances from spreading to the work area. The hoods deliver a small air flow to push the upward-flowing thermal current toward the filters. Included inside CK Direct’s hoods are unique Franke Cascade filters, which remove 95% of grease particles sized eight microns and above. These save on energy and maintenance, as the pressure loss is low, and the stainless-steel filters are easy to clean. CK Direct Senior Design Engineer, Martin Culham was thrilled to see their new products in action at such a high-profile establishment.

The modular ventilated ceiling system is perfect for kitchens with an extensive range of cooking surfaces. It’s recommended for kitchens where natural points of extraction such as windows cannot be utilised—in other words, places like a residential area in London.

“In this, and also past cases where CK Direct have had the opportunity to introduce our services to a renowned restaurant, we’ve relished the chance to show what we’re capable of. Time and again we’ve seen that our innovations in ventilation are exactly what these establishments are seeking.”

The ceiling system is ideal for cooking areas that are viewable to the public. The consumer can see the staff hard at work, whilst the staff retain a safe and clean environment.

Martin continued and explained that refurbishments like this one will not only benefit the restaurant’s employees, but their customers too. Cleaner and safer kitchens are a win-win!

• Air Jet Canopy system CK Direct’s Air Jet Canopy System allows the kitchen ventilation system to provide sufficient capture and containment at a minimal exhaust flow rate. It creates negative pressure along the front edge and side of the hood, assisting in containment of heat and effluents in the critical work area. The high efficiency of Air Jet kitchen ventilation systems reduces the effective net exhaust volumes, whilst improving extraction efficiency and minimising fan and ductwork size.


You can find out more about CK Direct’s commercial kitchen ventilation and extraction systems on their website:

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Lightique is a long established, reliable decorative lighting manufacturer and supplier to the contract and domestic markets. Our ethos is Quality, Service and Affordability. Whether choosing from our standard range of products, or something special that has been individually designed by yourselves, we shall endeavour to produce items to very strict standards and specifications in an extensive range of finishes.



We remain one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of decorative lighting, supplying the needs of interior designers and end users alike, constantly evolving our range of products to suit your requirements and ever changing fashions in the interior design industry. To find out more and to see our full product range and services on offer please visit our website



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Restaurant Update - May 2018  

Restaurant Update - May 2018