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Keen to stay ahead of the market, Deralam have sole UK distribution rights for Homapal©, that specialise in laminates of various finishes including real metal surfaces, this leaves an almost unlimited scope for creativity and customisation; meaning that this product has a multitude of applications and finds its way into cruise ships, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and high street retail stores, in fact, any vertical surface that needs to be enhanced.
Over the years, hardly any other material has proven its worth in interior design to the extent in which the laminate has done. Looks, feel and function are combined to get the interplay of elements into all-embracing spatial concepts in a way that could not be more natural. Deralam is the Architects, ideal choice for manufacturers and retailers alike.
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Jean-Sébastien Robicquet Inducted into Gin Hall of Fame for Extraordinary Contribution to Industry. Founder and president of Maison Villevert, JeanSébastien Robicquet, is the 9th (and the first French) person to be honoured with the accolade of being inducted into The Gin Hall of Fame. Robicquet was chosen to become a member of this prestigious group following his extraordinary innovation within the global gin industry that led to the creation of an entirely new sector, taking the traditional use of cereal to create gin and replacing it with grapes. This innovation intended to showcase his unrivalled passion and understanding of the grape and vines, led to the inception of G’Vine gin in 2006, the first and only gin made with grapes. “Jean-Sébastien Robicquet has been selected to enter the Gin Hall of Fame because he has been in pursuit of spirits innovation and excellence for more than 20 years. One of the greatest steps the company has made in this direction came with its G’Vine Gin de France where the use of grape base spirits and botanical vine flowers set it apart from other gins, and it has maintained a reputation for its unconventional composition and unique taste. Drawing on his family’s rich history in the Cognac industry, Jean-Sébastien has earned Maison Villevert a name as a challenger of norms and producer of world-class spirits” said Bethany Whymark, Editor of Gin Magazine. The G’Vine gin family is made up of four varieties; G’Vine Floraison which is a fresh, smooth and rounded spirit with a distinct floral note from addition of fragrant vine flower. G’Vine Nouaison is a bold, spicy, crisp and aromatic spirit inspired from a recipe recorded in 1495 and is suited for cocktails particularly the Negroni. June By G’Vine flavoured collection (Royal Pear and Cardamom and Summer Peach and Wild Fruits) and latterly Nouaison Gin Reserve, aged in Cognac barrels, complete the family. “It is a great honour to receive the prestigious accolade and of course the first French person to be recognised in this way” says Robicquet. “When I set up Maison Villevert it seemed only natural to me as an enologist, distiller and a French man to embark on the adventure of making a gin based on grape. When I created G’Vine in 2006, there were about 700 gins on the market (today there are around 7,000) and I wanted to create something new in the super premium gin category, a French contribution. We believe, using grape spirit as our base, we deliver a gin that is unsurpassed in taste, flavour and texture” adds Robicquet. Robicquet himself grew up surrounded by grapes, raised in the French vineyards between Bordeaux and Cognac. “Grapes are part of the Maison Villevert DNA as much as it is of our French DNA,” he explains. “We have an unrivalled passion and understanding of the grape and vines and a vision that the grape is ennobling the spirits category,” he adds.
G’Vine gin has been recognised with numerous awards and accolades including being named the third super-premium gin in the world in 2016 barely ten years after its launch (source: IWSR). The brand received gold and platinum medals at the 2008 Beverage Testing Institute, was appraised trophy winner at the 2008 Drinks International Gin Challenge, awarded gold and silver medals at the 2009 Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition, rated excellent at the 2010 Ultimate Beverage Challenge, received platinum and gold medals again at the 2018 and 2020 Beverage Testing Institute respectively, and double gold and silver medals at the 2019 SIP Awards and San Francisco World Spirits Competition last year. On innovation Robicquet says, “One must be innovative, unconventional and ready to break conventions. One must not be afraid of challenging oneself, to challenge others, to invent or create. Of course it was an unconventional move and for me being unconventional, it meant taking down barriers and being innovative, but absolutely knowing and understanding our roots, what we do and where we are heading.” In 2021 Maison Villevert will celebrate their twentieth anniversary by setting a clear goal, to reach €100m of revenue in 2023 with 100 employees while keeping intact their history of faith, passion and innovation and maintaining the inquisitiveness and uninhibited spirit of a craft distillery in the competitive space of international markets. “This vision of the world of spirits gives us exceptional scope for international development, founded on our values of committed entrepreneurship, respect, and excellence, as well as channelling our team’s energy and avant-garde ideas to drive us forward. We are nothing without others around us. One must be able to state one’s own beliefs to share them,” adds Robicquet.
Limited, Terence Langley, said, “The pandemic has meant that we have had to regroup and review to navigate the current climate as best we can and put the business in good stead in order to come back strong. We have high hopes that Fazenda will find the right place in Birmingham to operate in the near future, and we can continue on the growth path planned pre-COVID.”
A substantial part of the business and assets of City District Limited was acquired immediately following the administration appointment by Southern Wind Group Limited, saving 243 jobs. Founded in 2010, the Huddersfieldbased company operated six South American gaucho-style grilling and Rodizio dining restaurants under the Fazenda and Picanha brands which are famous for the concept of continuous tableside service of high-quality grilled meats with the use of a double-sided card to control the flow of meats to the customer. Unfortunately, the business has suffered from the impact of prolonged lockdowns and restrictions caused by COVID-19. This resulted in a significant build-up of landlord and HMRC arrears which could no longer be serviced without additional funding. After a period of marketing undertaken by Begbies Traynor Group, a prepackaged sale was agreed to Southern Wind Group Limited. The new
company, headed up by City District Limited’s former chief executive Terence Langley and managing director Tomás Maunier, will continue to trade as ‘Fazenda’ and will retain the Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh and Liverpool Fazenda sites, saving 243 jobs. However, Fazenda Birmingham and Picanha Chester are not included in the deal and 69 staff will be made redundant. Joint administrator Julian Pitts said: “After more than 10 years of healthy trading, the Fazenda restaurant chain became yet another casualty of the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality sector. With the UK undergoing multiple lockdowns, together with social distancing measures and increased working from home, the restaurant trade has faced one of its toughest periods ever. “It is good news for employees, customers and suppliers that most of the popular Fazenda eateries will re-open for business once the current restrictions are lifted. We wish them well for the future.” Speaking of the change of hands, chief executive of Southern Wind Group
Managing director Tomás Maunier said, “Unfortunately rent negotiations and significantly reduced cash flow has led to this difficult decision to close two of the restaurants. The hardest part is that we were unable to retain the whole team, though we are extremely proud to have secured over 200 jobs in the process. “Despite the closures, we believe that the long-term future is looking bright for both the industry and the brand, and we are looking forward to resuming operations across our other sites in May.” Addleshaw Goddard’s restructuring team in Leeds and Edinburgh advised the joint administrators throughout the sale process. Walker Morris in Leeds acted as advisers to Southern Wind Group. The acquisition also includes the recently launched e-commerce arm of the business ‘Fazenda at Home’, joining many others in the ‘make-away’ market, where customers can continue to purchase quality meats and buy prepare-at-home meal kits. Southern Wind Group Limited will honour any gift vouchers previously issued by the Fazenda and Picanha restaurants, and further information will soon be available on the Fazenda website and via its social media pages.
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Julian Pitts and Bob Maxwell of Begbies Traynor in Leeds were appointed joint administrators of City District Limited, which trades as the Fazenda Rodizio Bar & Grill alongside sister brand Picanha by Fazenda, on 1 March 2021.
Hundreds of jobs saved as Yorkshire-based Fazenda restaurant chain bought out of administration
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
London based Carisips drinks is raising £25,000 to outsource production Carisips, an artisan spiced drinks brand, has launched its first crowdfunding campaign, to relaunch its ready to drink product range. The target, set at £25,000 on Crowdfunder UK, will allow the business to outsource manufacturing which, since the company was founded in 2019, has been done by founder Aisha Jade who hand makes all of the products at her home kitchen in South London. Over the past year Carisips drinks have been sold to thousands of customers at markets in Brixton, Belgravia, Croydon and Peckham as well as pivoting online, at the start of lockdown, to sell across the UK. Outsourcing production will allow the business to gain distribution and reach more consumers who connect with the flavours – Sorrel Spice, Zesty Tamarind and Ginger Zing (formerly Honey Ginger). All products are vegan friendly and contain botanical extracts that are known to aid digestion. They are still, nonalcoholic and can be served hot, cold or as a mixer – a range of versatile products used by mixologists, nondrinkers, epicureans and the health-conscious. At 20 Aisha travelled to cities such as Paris, New York and Toronto to explore Caribbean food. She realised that other cultures used the same ingredients for example, sorrel is called hibiscus in the UK,
karkade in Egypt and zobo in Nigeria. “Many people from these countries reside in the UK yet these products are not widely available. Carisips reminds people of their childhoods, holidays and good times with friends and family. They provide the ultimate drinking experience that allow you to live in the moment,” says Aisha. Any amount over £1 can be donated to the campaign, Carisips: an exotic drinking experience, through www.crowdfunder.co.uk/carisips. The rewards for donations are: a personalised thank you email – £5, 500ml spiced drink – £13, drinks gift set – £34 and an invitation to the official launch event – £150. The campaign ends 12/04/21. Carisips is a natural spiced drinks brand that offers consumers a unique and nostalgic drinking experience through exotic flavours that are popular in many cultures worldwide. The company was founded in 2019 and became a Prince’s Trust launched business in 2020. Based in London, where products are also manufactured, they deliver drinks across the UK. Visit www.carisips.com for more information.
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Barebells announces the latest addition contain no added to its range of protein-enriched snack sugar or palm oil. bars: Double Bite – a bar of two halves Double Bite contains that’s twice as nice! two individual bars within each packet, The new snack is available in a duo of making it easy to delicious flavours: share but too tasty to want to! Caramel Crisp features a smooth caramel centre surrounded by puffed soy crisps and covered in milk chocolate. Matt Hollier, Managing Director of Vitamin Well, UK Chocolate Crisp contains a rich and crispy cocoa core, this too wrapped in a & Ireland states: “Double Bite is the start of a whole new creamy layer of milk chocolate. category for Barebells; where consumers no longer have to choose between a True to Barebells’ ethos of snack alternatives that never compromise on confectionary treat and a protein bar. Double Bite still delivers the high protein flavour, it’s hard to believe that both content that our active community mouth-watering flavours are enriched enjoys but in a convenient two-part pack, with 16 grams of protein per pack, and
Double Trouble for Barebells newest flavours
allowing consumers the option of a lighter snack, to share a bar, or to split their treat before and after their workout.” Double Bite bars will be available to purchase at the RRP of £2.49 from the Barebells.co.uk online store, on Amazon and from Morrison’s stores nationwide.
Plateaway’s Heat and Eat – It’s as Simple As That!
Plateaway who launched their business in July 2020, during the outbreak of COVID-19, as a solution to helping customers to recreate their favourite restaurant meals at home. Plateaway are thrilled to have launched their very own convenience meals in their new ‘Heat & Eat’ range. This new range offers easy, every day, delicious family meals which are designed to
be prepped and cooked in under 15 minutes. Favourites include Thai Green Curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, Vegetable Katsu Curry, and Tagliatelle Bolognese with the option to incorporate glutenfree, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Unlike other meal kit delivery services, all the hard work of prep has been done and will only need heating up.
Plateaway sources all of their food from a renowned production kitchen and premium butchers to ensure their food quality is nothing but the best. Plateaway Heat & Eat is available for nationwide delivery with prices starting at just £7 per person at https://www.plateaway.com/heatandeat/
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SFP launches Guide to Business Survival to support hospitality businesses •
Assistance on short-term/longer-term funding options available
How to negotiate Time to Pay arrangements with creditors and HMRC
Demystifying and explaining the Insolvency regime including CVAs, CVLs and administrations
Spelling out a director’s responsibilities and the penalties for getting it wrong.
SFP, the restructuring and turnaround group, has published a new free Guide to Business Survival with easy to follow practical steps which includes a number of remedies to help businesses within the hospitality sector navigate through the current crisis. The Guide to Business Survival is set up in three clear stages of keeping or getting a business back on track. Part One explores the steps a business can take without having to resort to borrowing, and the importance of a cashflow forecast in understanding your true financial position; if the company is in need of cash, Part Two of the Guide outlines the various different funding options available, both shortterm lending schemes to help businesses ‘bounce back’ from the current crisis as well funding solutions for more longerterm planning. Part Three of the Guide goes on to explore the restructuring and Insolvency processes, and how there are still ways of giving a business and its employees a future. It explains each element of the Insolvency regime, and the differences between Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) and Creditor Voluntary Liquidations (CVLs), for example, through a series of helpful questions and answers. There is also guidance throughout on how to negotiate with creditors and HMRC with both formal and informal ‘Time to Pay’ arrangements, and how to choose a broker to help better understand the myriad of funding options available.
Simon Plant, Chief Executive of the SFP Group, says that running a hospitality business can be tough, even when things are going well: “Many in the industry fail, not because they don’t have a great product or service, or even a full order book, but more often because they’ve spent too much time ‘doing the day job’ and not enough time focusing on the cash,” he explains. “Throw in a global pandemic,” he says, “and that challenge is taken to another level. The Government has responded quickly and decisively to help small businesses with a variety of employer and employee support programmes and funding packages, and with tax breaks and payment holidays. But such support cannot go on indefinitely. “With the furlough scheme giving way to a Job Support Scheme, repayments of loans falling due, and deferred payments no longer deferred, businesses are facing a series of ‘pinch points’ that will undoubtedly impact their cash flow and their future prospects. “Our Guide equips business owners with the information and steps they need to navigate their way through this current crisis, or how best to restructure their business with the help of a licensed Insolvency Practitioner.” Throughout the guide, SFP focuses on the positive actions a hospitality business and its directors can take to recover and return to profit. It also explores a director’s fiduciary responsibilities, especially in an insolvency process, and spells out the financial and personal consequences of failing to act quickly and responsibly. Many hotels and hospitality businesses have failed within the last few months alone: International Retail UK Limited; Nuconnect Retail Limited; Liu Jo Retail Limited; Milligans Retail and Cafes Limited; and Quince and Harris Retail Limited. Similar failures have also been reported in the retail and catering businesses. [The Guide is available free to download here]
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
As hotel bookings pour in for summer, there are lessons to be learnt from 2020 By James Bishop, Senior Director, Global Ecosystem at SiteMinder SiteMinder’s annual list of the Top 12 hotel booking channels has, over the years, become the main source of information on which channels UK travellers are gravitating toward to arrange their stays, and subsequently, which are generating the most revenue for local accommodation providers. And, last year, in the UK, the most striking trend between the 4,000-plus UK hotels that we studied was not the consolidation we’ve seen in previous years, nor was it dominance among the known, major players. Rather, what the data told us was that direct bookings via a hotel’s website were no longer the unattainable unicorn that they once were not too long ago. On the contrary, as local domestic travel increased, the share of direct bookings comparative to other booking channels grew with it, overtaking even Expedia between April to December. Today, as cases continue to fall and the local industry braces itself for a wave of domestic bookings from mid-May, below are the other two major takeaways from our study of 2020, that will help hoteliers best prepare for the year ahead: 1. The growing popularity of Airbnb as a distribution channel for accommodation providers of all sizes. Airbnb debuted among the top 12 in the UK, as well as eight other destinations around the world, last year. 2. The strengthening of local and regional distribution channels as a result of restricted international travel. For example, MyHotelBreak.com made the top 12 for the first time, thanks largely to their focus on domestic leisure travellers, and while a channel like Off Peak Luxury didn’t rank among the top 12 distribution channels over the full 2020 year, it did emerge among the top 12 from April, when domestic travel really took off. In 2020, what we saw was a complete reset in the way that we approach our travels here in the UK. The impact of this was a levelling of the playing field, as more people booked via hotel websites, and many distribution channel providers showed the unique value they could provide. With travel again being eagerly awaited, it’s vital for hotels to be better prepped this time around; to be ready to capitalise on the increase in website traffic that’s on its way, and to have adapted to the lessons learnt from a year in travel like no other. For more information please visit siteminder.com
click image for large version
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
Kopus launches to offer the hotel industry an additional revenue stream As hotels, hostels and B&Bs prepare to open from 17th May, much of the industry will be wondering how to make their margins viable to break even, whilst travel restrictions and social distancing measures are still in place. Kopus, which launches this month, offers a lifeline: an additional income stream with minimal output, which is completely COVID compliant. Kopus is a digital platform that enables existing businesses to coexist as flexible working spaces: Kopus handles the bookings, the payments, the customer generation - and pays the venue every Friday.
Jason Allan Scott states: “ What Kopus can offer the hotel sector is an additional income stream that was there all along - and what’s more - your dedicated account manager will support, manage bookings and promote it for you. And whilst a coffee shop might suit some remote workers, without doubt, those seeking a corporate and professional flexible workspace will be excited by what hotels can offer via Kopus”. Instead of charging a per-order commission, Kopus operates on a SaaS model, charging venues a flat fee per month per location and or a profit share NOT revenue percentage.
Early adopting hotels have been swift to realise the potential of broadening their customer base by offering desks, wifi and great coffee to remote workers, freelancers and digital nomads and using dormant space such as function rooms as hireable meeting spaces. Kopus’ Founders: Jason Allan Scott and Sophia Giblin are passionate that their brand offers a sustainable solution and long term business growth model for the industry, but also the opportunity for local people to revive their community and support hotels in a refreshing way.
Remote working is currently advised to continue long into 2021, and many businesses have embraced the opportunity to downscale or completely obliterate the traditional office and need for presenteeism. WFH is set to be replaced by WFA, offering remote workers the freedom to roam, to detach from the kitchen table, to plug in elsewhere and connect with remote workmates. However, whilst a shared office desk costs £550/month at a Central London WeWork. Kopus charges members a PAYG fee, set by each individual venue - which could include packages such as meeting rooms, additional Wi-Fi and unlimited coffee or tea. To learn more about Kopus, please go to www.kopus.com
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What is Nordic Spirit? • 100% tobacco-free nicotine pouch for a full-strength nicotine experience
• The UK’s leading tobacco-free nicotine pouch brand*
• Available in Mint, Bergamot Wildberry and Elderflower, in varying strengths - including Regular, Strong and Extra Strong in Mint
• The fastest growing nicotine pouch brand in the UK over the last 12 months*
• The product has a gum base, which allows the pouch to fit comfortably under the top or bottom lip • Nordic Spirit has an RRP of £6.501 *
Why stock it?
1. Hospitality owners are of course free to sell JTI products at whatever price they choose.
• The nicotine pouch category in the UK is growing and is now worth approximately £11.2 million a year* • Already built a strong consumer reputation by winning the nicotine pouch category* in the Product of the Year Awards for 2020
HOW TO USE IT 1
POP UNDER YOUR LIP Position the pouch to the side for a more comfortable fit
TINGLING SENSATION This lasts around 15 minutes
ENJOY A fresh nicotine experience that lasts for up to an hour
DISPOSE RESPONSIBLY Use a non-recycling bin or the handy container at the top of the can
A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS
BENEFITS FOR HOSPITALITY • Customers are looking for alternative nicotine products that can be used for when smoking and vaping might not be possible • Nordic Spirit is discreet and easy to use, without smoke, vapour or odour • No need to leave the premises, it is perfect for use inside restaurants, bars, cafés and hotels • Presents an additional profit opportunity for operators as demand grows
Kieran Marsh, Portfolio Manager at JTI UK: Since launching in the UK in 2019, Nordic Spirit range has gone from strength to strength in traditional retail thanks to having a quality product which meets consumer demand. Moving into the hospitality space is a new venture for us, and we’re sure it will be a beneficial move for our new partners across the sector. We want the new relationships we forge to be collaborative and create the best possible results, and our team is on hand to help. We look forward to working together and are excited about what the future will bring.
SCAN TO REGISTER
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*For verification and sources contact us at nordicspirit.co.uk/contact. **Winner Nicotine Pouch Category, Survey of 9,865 people by Kantar. Dec 2020
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
Wipe away the risk of infection with new PURELL® Surface products Skin and surface hygiene expert enhances PURELL surface range to offer powerful, germ-killing peace of mind
Skin health and surface hygiene expert, GOJO Industries-Europe, has extended its PURELL surface range, with the addition of two new products, to help businesses keep their spaces hygienically clean and healthy. The portfolio also has a new look. The yellow packaging has been replaced with blue trigger handles, lids, and labels, bringing them into line with PURELL’s market-leading hand hygiene range. Added to the portfolio of PURELL Surface Sanitising Spray and Wipes, are a bucket of wipes and a 5-litre jug. The bucket holds 450 wipes, ideal for large surfaces and intensive use, whilst the 5L jug is designed to refill the 750ml trigger spray bottles, making it a more sustainable purchase. Fast acting and with high antimicrobial efficacy, PURELL surface sanitising products can be used with complete confidence in a variety of settings and sectors. They are compatible with most smooth surfaces such as desks, tables, toys, fitness equipment, and worktops. Bactericidal, fungicidal and virucidal, they come ready-touse with no rinse required. Last year, PURELL Advanced Hygienic Hand Rub and its Surface Spray and Wipes were tested against Coronavirus1, passing the EN 14476 standard with a contact time of just 30 seconds. The
1 BCoV (surrogate virus)
Surface range has also been tested specifically on Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and yeast, and conforms to the international food taint testing standard EN 4120:2007. This provides assurance that they are safe for use in food environments. Chris Wakefield, Managing Director UK & Ireland, GOJO Industries-Europe Ltd comments, ‘The PURELL focus on “formulation without compromise” is all about striking the perfect balance of efficacy and safety, which helps us to fulfill the GOJO purpose of saving lives and making life better through wellbeing solutions. ‘As society begins to re-open, employing effective sanitising and hygiene products will be crucial to keep spaces clean and COVID-secure, regardless of industry. Built on decades of scientific innovation and proven to work by independent testing, the PURELL brand can be trusted to safely and effectively eliminate germs and viruses.’ For more information, call +44 (0)1908 588444, email infouk@GOJO.com or visit www.GOJO.com
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Assured Hotels – Sales & distribution demand and operations review through to re-launch.
At last, we have a date – 17th May 2021. While we understand it is still “no earlier than”, and it will be at least full 14 months from the first stay at home message, at least now the hard work can start. Assured Hotels continue to offer independent support and impartial advice, from our unique position unincumbered by our own assets.
February/ March 2021 Subscribe to our Hotel Recovery data report
Thankfully with the health situation now improving to a sustainable position, backed by the vaccine program and other scientific progress we are quietly confident this will be our last period under these restrictive conditions. So we have taken the opportunity to look at a variety of initiatives we are adopting with at last a focus on sales, revenue growth and distribution. It feels like a very long time since looking at sales strategies had any worth or benefit, and we accept that the forced economic downturn and behaviour changes will mean trading conditions will be very different to just 12 months ago. There will be some markets which will bounce back quickly, whereas some will be slow to return or will not deliver prior volumes at all, so we believe creativity through a refreshed approach will be crucial.
Revenue Management, Sales & Marketing refresh. Subscribe to our Hotel Recovery data report
From late March Assured Hotels will be issuing regular market reports and analysis to highlight pricing trends as demand grows, regionally on rooms sales. We will also include pricing data and access to key supply lines. Market
data and wider intel is crucial for making good decisions in normal conditions, so with great uncertainty ahead the option to lean on regular & relevant 3rd party support will be a greater necessity if we are to understand and stay ahead of these shifting conditions. AH partner with various 3rd party sales channels and routes to market, we are very confident that this combined expertise can provide workable solutions in the recovery period ahead. A major focus has to be on rooms pricing and market trends, as consumers will be more particular on how and where they book. We are confident that a positive from the pandemic will be the opportunity to reduce the OTA cost and their historical market share dominance – behaviour has changed as we will all continue to seek the assurance of safe practices from businesses we visit. This safety verification is much easier to communicate direct on own websites so a massive opportunity to capture those bookings, drive repeat loyalty through brand recognition and save on commissions. Location specific strategies have therefore never been more relevant, with an expected significant bounce back in leisure locations from pent up stay-cation demand. Conversely town, city and airport locations reliant on business and travel dependent markets will need a different approach, particularly where international travel is a driver – we have set out a simple case study using data freely available from SiteMinder World Hotel Index below to give an initial flavour on this market and why some hotels will need to replace income. International travel markets tend to be booked longer lead than domestic leisure and contracted at known volumes or high ADR, or in some cases both, plus they are high incremental spenders on F&B and attractions. That makes
Booking Momentum by City - table below compares daily booking momentum as a % of year prior, taking three popular but very different destinations – Edinburgh, London & Bournemouth.
Observations: it seems incredible to say with confidence that London and other major cities will struggle to achieve 50% of pre-pandemic volumes, but with pressure set to remain on international travel and business markets that will likely play out to be the case, certainly in the next 6 months. As an indicative leisure dominant comparison Bournemouth fared well in summer 2020 and we can see booking momentum already lift into this February for 2021 season - as of 27th Feb Bournemouth is already at 90% of prior year compared to barely 20% in the other cities.
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
Forecast spring/ summer 2021 by international and domestic mix - makeup of domestic and international arrivals.
Observations: February 2021 shows just 10% of hotel arrivals will be international travellers, when the same month in 2020 was just over 23%. We must also consider that the new prohibitive quarantine rules have only just started, and for how long is a big unknown. We doubt therefore that the international mix will grow back towards the 20% of the suggested mix in the summer under those conditions this a difficult segment to replace like for like, so we are advocating a comprehensive business review, which could include: • Leisure destinations - have rate strategies and routes to market been reviewed to capitalise from pent up demand and expected stay-cation boom from 17th May? • Full service hotels - is now the time to readdress the balance of facilities which may not be required, potential to improve conversion with reduced operating costs? • City/ airport business hotels - is the business demand from a shift in behaviour and restrictions on international travel going to hinder recovery growth? Do hard decisions around rationalisation of a group to exit some assets or even look at property values for change of use? This is a high-level example of the shift due to behavioural change driven by current Government quarantine policy, which will likely be in place for some time to come. With only a handful of countries mirroring the speed of the UK vaccine roll-out this could be for several months, potentially into 2022, so we need to understand how these evolving factors will influence each location and hotel type. This will need to include not only the income drivers and market mix, but also revised cost base to improve margins and therefore the serviceability of new funding levels. Subscribe to our Hotel Recovery data report
Sales Growth, Impact on Operational Structure As we emerge most businesses will look very different to the ones we shut in spring 2020. During the past year Assured Hotels have gained valuable experience on options which achieve results in some very problematic scenarios. Even on some cases where values have fallen to the extent that funding levels mean stakeholders are underwater and recapitalisation or a reasonable exit price is not viable. Options we could discuss include: 1. Recapitalisation & refinance options - AH track record of working with most of the financial institutions and
other funders, allows us to independently support relationships and solutions between lender and operator, particularly where there are performance concerns. 2. Light touch administration - an underused tool where management & directors can retain some control with the support of an insolvency process, for more details read this article by FRP Advisory on light-touchadministrations 3. Property Guardians - secure your asset while mitigating costs over a period of at least 3 months by working with us and our partner Ad Hoc Property Management. 4. Change of use - we have worked on cases where, in conjunction with Guardians in situ to buy time, land or asset value is higher than a going concern sale. We have trusted contacts in legal property teams to explore this option. Over the months of the pandemic, we have worked on other asset value preservation initiatives, please see our website for other support during the remaining lockdown or planning ahead for the recovery phase.
Supporting Stakeholders – meet with us on a no obligation basis In direct response to ongoing challenges faced by the hotel & hospitality sector Assured hotels will be offering no obligation meeting time to sector stakeholders. We will be providing access to our senior team to discuss any challenges. We have made our significant experience and resources available without charge to cover all main disciplines of finance & forecasting, procurement, sales and revenue management, plus funding and government support access. We will endeavour to answer any question raised, so please click here to book a meeting email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0203 205 7239.
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Managing the Staycation Effect The Staycation looks to be top of the destination hit list in the UK again this year. Thankfully, this increase in people holidaying closer to home has offered a lifeline to many businesses up and down the country, not least small to medium laundries. However, as we continue to negotiate the Covid battlefield, it is often these suppliers who get overlooked and without their continued support, many sectors of the hospitality industry would struggle to function. We talk to just two such outfits, one in North Wales and the second in Cornwall, who saw business rocket late in the season last year as people looked for a change in scenery following weeks of lockdown, with a similar uptake expected later on this coming summer. Monarch Cleaners in Prestatyn, is a family business that has been serving the local community for over 40 years. Mikey Lloyd and his sister Annie now run the business on a day to day basis offering a range of services to commercial and private customers all over North Wales and Cheshire. “In Autumn 2020, we had almost a season’s worth of work in just over a couple of months,” states Mikey, “even our customers who we just work for now and then saw a dramatic increase in business.”
Monarch work with a range of B&Bs, small hotels, as well as a large amount of local private customers with personal linen to launder. This local business and their contracts with the North Wales Police and Fire & Rescue Service, helped them stay open all through lockdown, operating a reduced working week. However, by mid-July people were flocking to the area, desperate to have a break and keen to find accommodation. Following the provision of the required PPE, Monarch rapidly moved from a short working week to extended split shifts with its workforce of 25 working full out. By October things were back to near-normal for the time of year, confirms Mikey, but the rise in business couldn’t have come at a better time and made a huge difference to us. We are now better prepared for this new season, hopefully upon us once lockdown s lifted.
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Down in Cornwall, LJ Laundry Services experienced a similar situation. Usually a popular holiday destination from Easter onwards, Covid-19 hit their business badly in March 2020 and the laundry shut for two weeks. Again, buoyed by its local private customers who needed a laundry service, LJ re-opened running on a skeleton staff offering services for its local elderly customers and NHS workers. Set up by two friends, Hayley Richards and Hilary Mansell, this small business in Redruth has, over the past decade, grown into a multi-faceted laundry that operates from Lands End to Trispen and out to the Roseland Peninsula. Mandy Solomon, who joined LJ at the outset as a part time driver now manages the laundry but both Hayley and Hilary are still involved in the business and continue to drive it forward. “As soon as lockdown ended, business in the campsites and holiday homes went crazy,” explains Mandy. “We had all the staff back in off furlough, working flat out. It was a really busy July and August and business continued late into Autumn. “In the winter months we usually launder a lot of graduation gowns, this of course didn’t happen, but with people holidaying later and as Cornwall was a safe area Covid-wise, it was a bumper, extended summer all round. “One thing we noticed is that our customers were really glad to have us, appreciative of our services. A situation like this makes people realise just how much they rely on the service and support industries that keep their own businesses running.”
anything affect the industry in the way Covid-19 has. These smaller laundries have benefited through supplying linen to the likes of Air B & B’s, rented lodges and cottages, which large commercials are not geared up to deal with. In keeping their businesses running they have provided a lifeline to the UK holiday industry, especially in rural areas and will continue to do so again this coming season. Managing rapidly changing linen requirements and the logistical and staffing issues related to this, has been extremely challenging. In addition, reclaiming linen when premises close suddenly also has its problems. But these laundries are better prepared, with new skills and knowledge that can only benefit their customers and the industry in the long run.” www.coleandwilson.com part of www.christeyns.com www.laundryservicesinwales.co.uk www.ljlaundryservicesltd.co.uk
LJ saw such an increase in linen requests from holiday lets and pubs offering rooms that they had to buy new linen supplies. This was the area of business that increased the most as people sought the safety of private lets, whereas their wedding dress service has understandably tailed off. “We diversified to fit the situation, providing the services that our customers needed most. We now offer a dissolvable red bag service for our clients; we supply the bags and their guests pack the used linen themselves, avoiding any contact with potentially contaminated linen down line. This has provided peace of mind for our customers, letting them know we are taking hygiene matters very seriously.” Darren Brown, Cole & Wilson Business Development Manager works with Monarch and LJ Laundry Services, providing dry cleaning, wet cleaning and professional laundry liquids along with state-of-the-art dosing systems. “It was great to see my clients bounce back to full speed. Laundries like these are part of the essential supply chain that often get overlooked but they really rose to the challenge during a difficult time. In my 25 years in the industry, I have never seen
Cole & Wilson is part of Christeyns UK, based in Bradford. Known for its specialist hygiene chemicals, dosing and water and energy saving equipment, Christeyns works with both commercial, on-premise and high street laundries across the UK. Through its various divisions including gentle care specialists Cole & Wilson, professional hygiene specialist Clover Chemicals and its food hygiene division in Warrington, Christeyns supplies the hospitality industry with innovative and sustainable products for every hygiene-related task. For more information www.christeyns.com
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Artificial Plants & Trees for Businesses
Our master craftsmen construct each bespoke order with painstaking care and attention, to create an exceptionally ‘real’ artificial showpiece, and we offer bespoke solutions to suit the needs of your space, business and tastes. Whether you need simple plants and trees that don’t need tending to or you’re going for a full artificial landscape with turf, hedges and more, we have existing products and the capacity to create custom designs for any need and budget. We’ll offer a no obligation quote to help you plan your projects and we can tailor our service to ‘fir’ your needs. Full Support Whatever your choices, we have the design experience and know-how needed to make you stand out. We can work with your design to make your premises look incredible, whatever the space and whatever the industry. We can even help you develop the design, drawing on years of experience.
Who Have We Supplied? Major companies in many industries including ITV, BBC, Channels 4 and 5, Mulberry, Innocent Drinks, Monsoon, Bella Italia, Tescos, Big Brother, The Only Way is Essex, Coronation Street, Dancing on Ice, Park Resorts, Volkswagen, and more. We’ve also sold to house builders, zoos, hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, theme parks, colleges and schools, cruise ships, theatres… the list goes on! We have tens of thousands of satisfied customers in the UK, in Europe, and across the World. We can provide offers for procurement managers and corporate buyers on
bulk orders and for trade, to help you finalise your design. Our quotes are no obligation - so call us today. We look forward to working with you! Get in Touch! Call us today on 01524 858888 or email email@example.com or browse our Web Store online for our full stock range and more info on our bespoke solutions on offer.
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
Best Western The Dartmouth Hotel, Golf and Spa Joins Vine Hotels
Best Western The Dartmouth Hotel, Golf and Spa in Devon is the latest hotel and conference venue to join the Vine Hotels portfolio this month. The Hotel sits in 200 acres of South Devon countryside, and offers 35 bedrooms and suites, seven self-catering lodges, a nine hole and 18-hole Championship Golf Course, the Dartmouth Spa and a Bar and Bistro. The Hotel’s two event spaces for wedding, meeting and conferences provide space for up to 90 guests in the Kingsbridge Suite and 100 guests in the Dartmouth Suite, which also overlooks the golf course and provides a sun terrace for outdoor drinks and dining. Vine Hotels adds the Best Western The Dartmouth Hotel, Golf and Spa to its growing portfolio of hotels and venues under a management contract with owners. The group also includes five properties in Sheffield, the Best Western Cresta Court hotel in Altrincham, The Charlecote Pheasant in Stratford and the Mercure Dolphin Southampton Centre hotel. Greg Dyke is the majority owner of Dartmouth Hotel, Golf & Spa as well as Vine Hotels, and this announcement represents a further strategic positioning of these two companies.
rural location near to Dartmouth, the venue offers a blend of high-quality leisure facilities with two golf courses and a luxury spa. Its location is under an hour to Exeter Airport/ M5 and Plymouth, and the superb event spaces makes it ideal for corporate gatherings, management retreats and business meetings. We recognise the immediate limitation for all hoteliers on live events business, but with a long-term perspective for this Hotel, we see potential to grow this market in 2021/22.” Garin added: “This property is the latest in a series of hotels and events venues that the company operates or manages for independent owners. Bringing our considerable industry knowledge, and operational skills to properties that have development potential. And importantly, supporting owners to return a profit on their business.”
For more details about venues the company owns, manages and operates, visit: www.vinehotels.co.uk Vine Hotels chief executive Garin Davies commented: “The Dartmouth Hotel is an exceptional property with immense potential. Set in a beautiful
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
Grab a Pizza the Action With American Craft Beer! Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, looks at how pizza and beer can help with re-opening: 3. Pepperoni + IPA. Hops will enhance the spiciness of the pepperoni and cut through the grease so go for a robust, bighitting, hoppy IPA. Strongly flavoured and spicy toppings should be paired with an equally strong and flavoursome beer. There are endless potential pizza toppings Hoppy IPAs balance the saltiness which means that different beer styles of the meat helping to refresh the can interact in different ways with each palate. component part. You may find that one style works with the prominent Beer: Firestone Walker Union Jack ingredients of the topping while another IPA or Stone Ruination IPA style echoes the toast of the crust. 4. Hawaiian: + gose. Ham and Suggesting back up styles is a good tropical pineapple pair well with strategy. the fruity notes of gose while Consider the following guide to pairing the gentle tartness balances the beer with pizza: sweetness of the pineapple and the When the hospitality world reopens be ready with new ways to interest and engage your customers. If you serve pizza, American craft beer is a classic accompaniment and best-selling beer styles such as lager, IPA and stout should be on your beer list.
salty note brings out the salinity of the ham. Beer: Cigar City Margarita Gose or Rogue Ales Honey Kölsch for a subtle sweetness 5. Spicy Meat Feast + stout. Sweet malty notes echo the intense, meaty flavours of the topping and calm the heat of the spice. The savoury or umami flavours of the pizza will be balanced by the chocolatey, roasted, richness of a full-bodied stout. Beer: New Holland Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout or a brown ale for something lighter and more approachable.
1. Margherita + pilsner or lager. A crisp, clean Helles or pilsner lager with a high level of carbonation will scrub the palate clean of greasy cheese and cut through the fat content while a Dunkel with a lightly toasted malt backbone will complement the pizza crust. Beer: Oskar Blues Mamas Little Yella Pils or Oskar Blues Slow Chill Dunkel Lager 2. Vegetarian + pale ale. Veggie toppings vary wildly - earthy mushrooms, salty cheese, bitter spinach. Offer beer that is versatile enough to resonate with each flavour but not be overshadowed by the acidity of the tomato base. Beer: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Heretic Evil Twin Red Ale
For more information and pairing ideas visit www.craftbeer.com American craft beer is available from selected wholesalers nationwide. www.brewersassociation.org
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
Luxury Event Caterer Brings Starchef’s Creations Straight To Your Door London’s leading event catering and food design company can today announce its collaboration with multiple leading chefs to produce the ultimate treat at home; beautiful feasting menus created at Bubble HQ and delivered straight to your door. In association with StarChefs, the innovative new platform that showcases the best chef talent, the very first food and drink experience comes from culinary genius Andrew Wong. In time for Chinese New Year, the 13- course banquet comes complete with delectable items, decorations and a playlist to set the scene. Carefully curated dishes include seared Wagyu beef with three sauces, barbecued sweetcorn with beef XO sauce, whole sea bass with ginger spring onion en papillote and scalded kingfish “yu shang” with garlic, chilli and coriander soy. All dishes will arrive with the preparation done and with instructions on how to finish, heat and serve.
Then, on 17th March, comes Dublin’s finest Robin Gill as he works with StarChefs and Bubble Food to design a St Patrick’s Day feast. Easter weekend will see the next in line as StarChefs and Bubble Food join forces with Michelinstarred chef superstar Tom Aikens, creating a banquet fit for the familyfocused period. Bubble Food was chosen for its capability in scaling up without losing any attention to detail – essential when preparing restaurant food of this quality and attached to distinguished names.
Bubble Food’s Executive Chef Director, Jens commented “As a business operating predominately within the events sector and having been unable to work at full capacity for nearly a year, we are delighted to be announcing this incredible partnership. At a time where dining patterns and habits have pivoted with at-home dining becoming the norm, we see this trend complimenting the in-restaurant and at-event experiences rather than disappearing once restrictions ease. It’s an honour to be chosen to work so closely with some of the finest chefs in the business and bring our large-scale facilities and experience to the mix. It is the perfect example of our flexibility and scalability as a business.” For more information visit www.bubblefood.com and https://www.starchefs.co.uk/
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
Kitchen owners can’t rely on Government support to succeed in our increasingly on-demand economy Salima Vellani is a serial restaurateur and food business founder available to provide an informed look ahead to the budget or immediate reactive comment post-statement. It has been a tough start to the year for the hospitality industry, with significant restrictions still in place for restaurants, pubs, bars, and hotels. The UK’s ‘roadmap’ has provided hope of reopening soon, but the lack of absolutes when it comes to the pandemic means operators are nevertheless facing many nervous months ahead. Not only that, for most operators’ overheads have remained worryingly consistent. Indeed, the reality is that, for many kitchens, it will be more cost-effective in the months ahead to remain closed up and reliant upon Government support rather than attempting to continue trading..
Sector support, but will it suffice? In last month’s Budget, several welcome measures were announced by Rishi Sunak, from the extension of hospitality VAT cut to the availability of further support grants. However, too much of the current support package is focused on bricks and mortar and doesn’t reflect the massive shift to online food delivery that has occurred in the past year. Restaurants, pubs, and cafes that have been forced to move into delivery need a level playing field if they are to compete effectively with digital competitors that have far lower property overheads. Similarly, the extended VAT reduction will do little to help thousands of SMEs, for whom rents, and business rates are the biggest drag on their profitability. 50% of these food businesses are facing closure, and the current measures do not enough to mitigate this risk and protect jobs as these businesses attempt to transition towards a delivery-first mindset.
Realising the rewards of the on-demand economy For the past 12 months, we’ve been working with kitchen operators across the country to help them branch into online food delivery in a way that’s profitable and sustainable. We’ve shown how unnecessary it is to invest in more property. For no upfront cost, by reconfiguring kitchens and using technology to run them more efficiently, it’s possible to serve up multiple, high-quality food brands for local delivery and create a vital new revenue stream, even for operators still bearing the costs of their substantial real-estate footprint. Food delivery and the on-demand economy is here to stay. And despite the lack of Government intervention to make it easier for traditional hospitality businesses to compete, with the right processes and the right technology, it is still possible for every kitchen owner and venue operator to get involved and fire up a more profitable kitchen.
About Salima Founder of six location chicken restaurant chain Absurd Bird Founded Kbox Global in 2019 – host kitchen network, empowering restaurants and pubs to move into food delivery, but avoiding the ghost kitchen route Partnered Kbox with Asda, in a UK supermarket first, to establish the first vegan butcher and deli
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The Greengrocers are supporting local neighbourhoods during this lockdown, by offering same day home delivery to all customers within a 2 mile radius of the stores on electric scooters.
Founder, Ben Ozmen developed a passion for fresh organic produce at a young age and lives on an entirely plant based diet. He opened his first store in Notting Hill in 2013 with the intention to supply an unrivalled variety of fresh and organic produce to the local community. Today, Ben and his team continue to procure on a daily basis and visit the markets and growers in person 6 days a week What sets BENS apart is not just great quality but an extensive range of fruit and vegetables, with more than 300 different kind of produce in every store. From beloved Kanzi apples and conference pears all the way to fresh dates, snake fruit, Chinese cabbage, custard apples and cucamelons. All fruit and vegetables are wrapped in sustainable 100% compostable bags.
DELIVERIES – LOW EMISSION At Bens, we have seen a dramatic increase in deliveries since lockdown began in all three stores, so much so, that we had to increase the number of delivery slots on a daily basis. We had a much smaller delivery demand, prior to covid – but since the pandemic took hold, we have doubled our fleet. Since covid, we have gained a lot of new customers who used our delivery service for the first time and we now count them as our loyal regulars who have placed the same order every week. What has really picked up is ‘same day delivery’, so the customers that are shielding or have been in isolation can get exactly what they need the very same day. We are dedicated to helping those who need it more and prioritse those elderly and shielding. We are now 40% take-away and delivery and the sales have almost doubled vs. the previous year driven by the trend towards more home cooking and search for organic and fresh fruit and vegetables.
ELECTRIC SCOOTERS Our scooters are environmentally friendly with zero emissions. They are fun, easy, reliable and low cost to run. You don’t need annoying refuelling breaks, the battery can be changed easily and everywhere. They make no noise so great for quiet neighbourhoods. Bens staff love them too, they really enjoy going around delivering on our scooters. How can you not smile when you get on one, even in the rain!
Purveyors of the finest fresh and organic fruit and vegetables
In addition to electric scooters, we also have electric vans for bigger deliveries. If you order via the website we deliver via scooter, for those who live a little further away we are also on Deliveroo.
PERSONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE Building a relationship with your customers, it’s something that you simply don’t get in the bigger stores, that personal touch is irreplaceable. It’s also important to respond to what your community needs. For example, we have a number of
customers who have been shielding or have to self-isolate, so increasing our delivery slots has been essential. We, like many other small retailers, want to be a force of good in the community and we do our bit to keep our carbon footprint low and its something our local community has really responded to. We also help the elderly who cannot carry the grocery bags after they shop so we just deliver their bags with our scooters for free. The goal is to have a very intimate, local high human touch grocery experience.
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
The real deal, tamper-evident labels from TamperTech providing food security! With the dramatic growth in on-demand food deliveries in the recent pandemic, the need for security of your food on the move and building customer confidence is vital to your brand, no matter if you are a local restaurant or a global fast-food giant. Tamper Technologies, a UK manufacturer of tamper-evident labels and tapes have been producing food security tamperevident labels throughout the pandemic, ensuring demand can be met and customers are happy. The company supply worldwide and provide over 50 million tamper-evident seals per order. The competitive nature of this business has led to threats from logistical reliability, product quality through to fraud. Food security is now an issue that must be tackled. The real deal food labels from Tamper Technologies are designed with an innovative finger lift to enable the restaurant employees to remove the labels quickly from the roll and apply them easily to the packaging without them getting glue on their fingers or stuck to each other. Preventing waste and increasing the speed of customer service. “These real deal labels are offering a more environmental solution with linerless labels, more security and a greater choice on messages for the brands,” explained Harriet Chiles, General Manager at Tamper Technologies, “As well as an easier product for the restaurant crews to use and a better quality product for the customer to receive. We are seeing a huge growth in this market sector which is very exciting!” Tamper Technologies have tried and tested food labels seals in various sizes, the real deal label finger-lift design is smart and easy to use. Delivering instant security on the outer packaging for food on the move. To find out more visit www.tampertech.com or contact Harriet@tampertech.net.
EAT. DRINK. SLEEP April 2021
Essentials for re-opening a foodservice business
Takeaways and restaurants across the country are re-opening under new rules designed to protect staff and customers. As the foodservice industry comes out of coronavirus lockdown, the focus has turned towards restoring consumer confidence and getting businesses reopened safely and trading successfully. “During lockdown, with many core supply chains broken, we were pleased that many businesses came to Tri-Star for both products and advice,” said Tri-Star Packaging Sales Director Lee Richards. “We are able to offer a consultative approach on how to safely open and operate the full range of foodservice businesses from sit-in restaurants to takeaways, in the right way with the right products and with the correct advice. “Our Essentials Range now includes everything a business needs to reopen and operate safely. It features a comprehensive range of foodservice packaging that is not only convenient, hygienic and fit for purpose, but also easy to store and use, therefore speeding up service – and that’s of huge benefit to a takeaway operation working with limited staff. We also stock hygienic singlewrapped disposable cutlery and wrapped four-in-one packs, with knife, fork, spoon and napkin.
foodservice businesses reopen, wipes, sanitisers, soaps and gloves will be core day to day essentials alongside our food and delivery packaging ranges.”
“Considering the increased importance of health and safety, the Essentials Range features personal protection equipment (PPE) as well as convenient and flexible janitorial solutions from cleaning chemicals to paper hygiene products and cloths and wipes.”
“We’re not just the packaging guys. We supply everything a foodservice business needs to operate safely and efficiently – and by default, we have developed a larger consolidated offer which gives greater convenience while offering a fantastic price point.”
Tri-Star Packaging’s PPE products include face masks, powder-free vinyl gloves, aprons and hairnets. Tri-Star also stocks anti-bacterial soap, hand sanitisers, a touchless hand sanitiser dispenser station, and two different designs of floor signage illustrating social distancing guidelines.
“Re-opening presents many challenges while also providing operators large and small with the opportunity to review their business models. Many of the changes needed right now to enable contact-free delivery and service will be long lasting, such as a social distancing and an
“We have always offered janitorial and cleaning products alongside our core packaging ranges, but these are now more in focus than ever. For example, our Cleanline® range – already becoming popular in the casual dining sector – provides solutions for routine daily use on floors, glass and surfaces as well as specialist heavy duty products such as descaler and oven cleaner. The range includes the fast acting Cleanline® Ultra Disinfectant, a high-performance disinfectant with broad spectrum activity against bacteria and yeast, which is virucidal and effective against enveloped viruses including Coronavirus (BCoV). As
increased awareness around hygiene. Our Essentials Range delivers everything an operator needs to re-open safely,” said Lee Richards.
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