National Hospitality Day - KSB Recruitment

National Hospitality Day Celebrations

The industry gets behind #NationalHospitalityDay

Chefs including Angela Hartnett, Tom Kerridge, Gary Usher, Paul Ainsworth and more shared their passion for hospitality on Saturday (18 September) on the first ever #NationalHospitalityDay

The event was created to celebrate the industry after a difficult 18 months, with businesses encouraged to put on offers and events to celebrate while raising money for leading charities.

A multitude of businesses got on board with ASK restaurants providing free starters; Zizzi giving out free desserts; Wahaca donating £1 from every margarita sold; St Austell Brewery donating £1 from every pint sold across its managed pubs; and Searcy’s donating the profits from its brand-new venue’s afternoon tea – 116 Pall Mall’s ‘The Confectioner’s Afternoon Tea’.

Fazenda, Farncombe Estate, Punch, Shepherd Neame, and Red Cup Café were all busy publicising the event on social media.

BaxterStorey organised several initiatives and Pub In The Park in Marlow was taking donations from all visitors at the final location of Tom Kerridge’s series of food, drink and music festivals.

Ahead of the event chefs including Angela Hartnett, Tom Kerridge, Gary Usher, Paul Ainsworth starred in a video calling on the national to support their favourite pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels.

Kerridge said: “National Hospitality Day is a chance for us all to say ‘welcome back, we’ve missed you, and thanks for everything you’ve been doing’ to our favourite venues.”

National Hospitality Day had the support of the Government, with Business Minister Paul Scully MP, commenting: “We’re supporting the reopening, recovery and resilience of the sector so that it can build back better from what has been an incredibly tough period. And whether it’s an extra mimosa with your brunch or samosa with your bhuna, we can all do our bit to help.”

The original version of this article was first published on The Caterer

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Hospitality Customer Service

Hospitality standards have dropped under the cover of Covid and customers are being short-changed

The whole concept of service has changed as a result of Covid – for the worse

It will probably have escaped your attention, but last Saturday was the first-ever National Hospitality Day, an initiative to encourage people to celebrate “our brilliant and resilient restaurants, hotels, pubs and bars… by venturing out and re-engaging with the places they love”.

It is a noble enterprise because the hospitality sector has had a particularly savage time of it, the twin blows of Brexit (causing staff shortages) and Covid (causing customer shortages) resulting in a perfect storm for an industry that, in normal times, contributes £60bn to the national purse and employs more than two million people.

Hospitality’s contribution to our national wellbeing is inestimable. As the Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge says: “All our biggest moments go on in hospitality venues, from first dates to weddings, and baby showers to wakes.” And now, as some semblance of a post-pandemic world emerges, the sight of packed restaurants, busy pubs and hotels full to capacity is a visible, and psychologically significant, indication that life is returning to normal.

But we should not believe that things are as they once were. The landscape has been redrawn, possibly for ever. It’s not just the waiting staff wearing masks, or the Perspex grilles at hotel receptions, or having to let the NHS know where you are dining. It feels like the whole concept of service has changed as a result of Covid. And not, in my opinion, for the better.

In the past two weeks, I have stayed in six hotels of different standards in different parts of Britain – Yorkshire, Kent, Dorset, and Somerset; town, country and seaside – and I have been dismayed by the ways in which hoteliers have truncated their service to customers, sometimes as a result of restrictions placed on them, and sometimes, to be frank, because it makes their lives easier.

At one hotel, I was told they don’t make up rooms any longer, “to protect their young staff”. Yet rooms were cleaned when guests checked out. Check-in times have been made later and check-out times brought forward to “allow for deep cleaning”. What happened before Covid?

In a post-Covid world, when circumstances have forced us to make our own fun, the concept of service at Britain’s hospitality venues is more, rather than less, important

At another hotel, room service was no longer available “owing to Covid restrictions”. Breakfast times had to be booked, even though it was a buffet service. One establishment – a two-star hotel at best – hadn’t changed its website proclaiming it had four-star status “because of staff shortages”.

At each of the hotels, service had, in small but noticeable ways, been reduced. The only thing that hadn’t been reduced, it seemed to me, was the price.

I realise that this makes me sound like the pampered, over-indulged TripAdvisor from Hell, and hoteliers face far more serious challenges than my breakfast arrangements.

I am highly sympathetic to their plight, but my point is that, in a post-Covid world, when circumstances have forced us to make our own fun, the concept of service is more, rather than less, important.

Yes, we must “venture out and re-engage” with our hospitality industry. But there needs to be an honest settlement meaning that, under the cover of Covid, the customer is not short-changed.

The original version of this article was first published on INews

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College wins Award for Hospitality Skills Drive

Cambridge Regional College named catering college of the year for second year running

‘We are thrilled to have been recognised again for our work to enhance employability skills.’

At a live ceremony in London, Cambridge Regional College received news that they it had been awarded catering college of the year at the public sector catering awards 2021, one year after accepting the same award in a virtual ceremony during lockdown.

Graham Taylor said: “It is a huge honour to receive this award for the second year running, particularly after such a challenging year.

“The national lockdown put a strain on the service industries, however, through innovative delivery and strong collaboration we have been able to provide the best possible experience to our students.

“We are delighted that this has been recognised and we are looking ahead to the coming year where we expect to provide even greater opportunities to our learners as our campus café and restaurant reopen to the public.”

The public sector catering awards celebrates organisations working in catering, allocating awards across 18 categories. Cambridge Regional College featured as one of three UK colleges to be shortlisted for catering college of the year, alongside Edinburgh College and Eastleigh College.

Michelle Dowse, deputy principal, said: “A key priority for CRC is to ensure that our students are life, work and career ready.  Our commercial catering outlets, a restaurant and a café, enable our students to hone their skills learned in lessons, so that they are equipped with the skills, knowledge and behaviours that employers want.

“The collaborative working between our curriculum and commercial teams certainly pays dividends for the students and employers in the region and we are thrilled to have been recognised again for our work to enhance employability skills.”

The original version of this article was first published on In Your Area 

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Restaurant Menus are 20% smaller than during the pandemic

Are smaller menus here to stay?

Pub and restaurant operators are gradually beginning to add more dishes to their offerings but menus are still generally 20% smaller than they were during the pandemic.

Latest research from Lumina Intelligence’s Menu Tracker shows that average spring-summer dish counts across chain, managed pub/bar and fast food restaurants were up by 5.5% compared with autumn-winter.

Operators typically added an average of four menu items during that period.

Fast food operators have seen the biggest increase in dish counts on menus, up 6.9% in SS 2021 to 47 dishes.

In comparison, managed pub/bar restaurants have seen menus grow 4.4% to 63 dishes on average and chain restaurants 5.8% to 64.

Despite increases across menus since the peak periods of the coronavirus, menus are on average 20% smaller than pre pandemic.

Operators continue to battle staff shortages, supply chain disruption and price fluctuations while considerable uncertainty while planning SS 2021 menus would have contributed to continuing to restrict some items.

Katie Prowse, senior insight manager at Lumina Intelligence, said: “Whilst we have seen dish counts rise since restrictions have eased, menus still remain significantly smaller than before the pandemic. Whilst we expect menus to continue to grow, operators are still navigating staff and produce shortages.

“With a smaller menu, operators can potentially rely on fewer ingredients and fewer staff, which mitigates the potential need to close due to staff illness or lack of produce. Smaller menus also help manage costs and with hospitality businesses trying to recoup the revenue they lost during the past 18 months, owners will be keen to drive efficiency.”

The original version of this article was first published on Food Service Equipment Journal

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Vaccine Passport Plans Ditched for Events and Nightclubs

England vaccine passport plans ditched, Sajid Javid says

Plans to introduce vaccine passports for access into nightclubs and large events in England will not go ahead, the health secretary has said.

Sajid Javid told the BBC: “We shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it.”

It was thought the plan, which came under criticism from venues and some MPs, would be introduced at the end of this month.

Just a week ago, the vaccines minister had defended the scheme as the “best way” to keep the night industry open.

No 10 stressed the plan – which had been set to be introduced at the end of this month – would be kept “in reserve” should it be needed over autumn or winter.

Under the scheme, people would have been required to show proof – whether of double vaccination, a negative Covid test or finishing self-isolating after a positive PCR test – in order to gain entry to clubs and other crowded events.

The Night Time Industries Association had said the plans could have crippled the industry and led to nightclubs facing discrimination cases.

The industry body welcomed Sunday’s announcement, saying it hoped businesses could now plan with some certainty and start to rebuild the sector.

The Music Venue Trust, which aims to protect grassroots venues, also said it was glad vaccine passports would not be going ahead, describing them as “problematic”.

There had been opposition from Tory MPs on the Covid Recovery Group as well as the Liberal Democrats, whose leader Ed Davey called vaccine passports “divisive, unworkable and expensive”.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Javid said: “We just shouldn’t be doing things for the sake of it or because others are doing, and we should look at every possible intervention properly.”

He said he had “never liked the idea of saying to people you must show your papers” to “do what is just an everyday activity”.

“We’ve looked at it properly and, whilst we should keep it in reserve as a potential option, I’m pleased to say that we will not be going ahead with plans for vaccine passports,” he added.

Mr Javid denied the government was “running scared” on the policy after criticism from its own backbenchers. He said the passports were not needed because of other things in the “wall of defence” including high vaccine uptake, testing, surveillance and new treatments

The move to scrap vaccine passports appears to be a sharp U-turn by the government.

On the same TV programme last week, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the end of September was the right time to start the vaccine passport scheme for sites with large crowds because all over-18s would have been offered two jabs by then and it was the “best way” to keep the night industry open.

In the interview, Mr Javid also said:

  • he wanted to “get rid” of PCR tests for travel and has asked for advice on the issue
  • he was “not anticipating” any more lockdowns, although it would be “irresponsible to take everything off the table”
  • if the UK’s chief medical officers advised 12 to 15-year-olds should be vaccinated, “we can start within a week” and schools were already preparing for it. The UK’s advisory body – the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – has recommended against doing so except for children with particular health problems – but the final say is with the CMOs.

Scotland is taking a different approach to England – they will bring in a vaccine passport for over-18s for entry to nightclubs and many large events from October.

In Wales, ministers will decide next week whether to introduce the scheme. There are no current plans for a similar scheme in Northern Ireland.

On Sunday, the latest government figures showed there were 29,173 new cases of coronavirus in the UK and 56 further deaths, of people who had tested positive within the previous 28 days.

Analysis: A government under pressure

By Ione Wells, BBC political correspondent

The UK government had faced pressure from a number of its own Tory MPs, as well as from nightclubs and the events sector, to ditch plans for vaccine passports in England.

First, there was a hint they were pushing ahead. Last week, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said they would be required in nightclubs and other indoor venues in England by the end of the month.

Then came the row-back. On Friday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said they would “almost certainly” be necessary for nightclubs this autumn but said he’d prefer a more limited use of them.

By Sunday at 08:30 BST, the health secretary said on Sky News that the government hoped to avoid having them, and within the next hour told the BBC they will not be going ahead with plans.

Clearly there has been debate within government itself about their use but a decision has, for now, been made – even if the option will be kept in “reserve”.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the government’s approach to Covid passports had been “shambolic from the start” and lacked any clarity from ministers about the purpose of the passports and how they would work.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael accused the Conservatives of needlessly sowing confusion among businesses for months and called for them to scrap the “unnecessary and draconian Coronavirus Act altogether”.

Some large venues such as football stadiums, live music venues and music festivals have already been asking people to prove their vaccination status to gain entry.

An Office for National Statistics survey, covering 25 August to 5 September, found about 1 in 10 adults across Great Britain reported that they had been asked to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to be allowed into a venue or event.

On Saturday, Manchester United introduced Covid spot-checks on match days at Old Trafford, with the club saying it expected proof of full vaccination to become mandatory in the Premier League from 1 October.

The Premier League said at the start of the 2021-22 season that fans would face random spot-checks of their Covid-19 status at grounds over the first few match days. Brighton, Chelsea and Tottenham have introduced mandatory checks for fans at their stadiums.

A series of key government announcements and decisions are expected in the coming days.

Boris Johnson is expected to outline plans for booster jabs soon. Mr Javid said that if the JCVI advised having a broad booster programme, he was “confident” it could start this month “as planned all along”.

And on Tuesday, the prime minister will set out his Covid Winter Plan for England, likely to include contingency measures that would be implemented if the NHS was at risk of becoming overwhelmed.

The original version of this article was first published on The BBC

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Home to one of the most exciting food scenes in the country, Birmingham is no stranger to a few unique eats. Across the city you’ll find plenty of weird and wonderful destinations fronting cool interiors and mind-blowing menus, from trailblazing fine dining to bizarre brunch spots. Read on as we round up a few of our favourite quirky Birmingham restaurants.

The Lost & Found Birmingham

Head over to Bennetts Hill where this quirky Birmingham restaurant is bringing you floral motifs, big eats and fruity cocktails. Try them for dinner if you’re in the mood for a moreish selection of international mains, or head over at brunchtime for some classic boozy breakfasts.

The Birmingham Stable

Dubbing itself a cathedral to cider, The Stable is a cool and casual dining spot with a few quirky twists. Tuck into their delicious range of pizzas washed down with fresh brews and enjoy neon signage and live music nights.

The Botanist, Birmingham

One for lovers of all things floral, The Botanist is a beautiful and unique restaurant in Birmingham. Feast on a mix of British and European classics, including their signature Hanging Kebabs, washed down with a whole host of vibrant cocktails.

Gaucho Birmingham

From the futuristic design through to those legendary steaks; Gaucho is a top choice if you fancy something a little different for your next meal out. Expect sophisticated interiors, with textures and tones inspired by Argentina’s forests and an extensive wine selection at this quirky Birmingham restaurant.

The Alchemist Birmingham – Brindleyplace

Whether you’re heading to their Brindleyplace or Colmore Row outpost, The Alchemist is a must if you’re looking for quirky restaurants in Birmingham. Join them for some of the most theatrical cocktails in the city, alongside a menu of unique eats.

8 Birmingham

Looking for Birmingham most unique eatery? About8 is the tasting menu experience you’ll want to try. Inspired by the number eight, the Centenary Square restaurant is the place to head if you’re hoping for something very much out of the ordinary.

The Karczma

A warm and friendly restaurant in Birmingham, The Karczma has made a name for itself on account of its cool and cosy decor and authentic Polish eats. The ultimate spot to hole up on a cold evening, you’ll find hearty plates of grub and snuggly furs to wrap yourself in.

Henman & Cooper Bar And Rooftop

A cool and quirky rooftop restaurant in Birmingham, Henman & Cooper promises more than a bit of booze and few views. Head up to their Colmore Row perch for a tasty selection of British and European small plates to pair with your cocktails.

Eat Vietnam

A cool and quirky restaurant in Stirchley, Eat Vietnam is a little eatery with a big reputation. Serving up some of the most delicious food in the area, their dinky venue is a must for authentic plates to have in or takeaway.

The Ivy Temple Row

If it’s good enough for the famous, it’s good enough fir us. Celebrity haunt The Ivy have planted a brasserie in Birmingham and it comes complete with their signature interiors. Head over to this quirky quirky Birmingham restaurant for stunning plates of British fare and fancy high teas.

Sky By The Water

Head over to Resorts World and you’ll find one of Birmingham’s most weird and wonderful restaurants. Sat on top of the complex, this gorgeous rooftop spot promises a stunning selection of menus and some of the best views in the city.

Tattu Birmingham

This gorgeous bar and restaurant is one of the biggest underground haunts in Brum, specialising in contemporary Chinese cuisine. Swing by and sip on qinger mint smoke mojitos while grazing on foie gras gyoza and decadent chocolate pagodas.

670 Grams

One of Birmingham’s most unique dining experience, 670 Grams is a bold eatery from chef Kray Treadwell. The Michelin-starred restaurant offers a tongue-in-cheek menu of ‘common food’ made fancy – think veal popcorn, curry-cured salmon and Yorkshire Tea with smoked bread.

The original version of this article was first published on

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Contract Catering Industry Giant Dies age 86

Tributes paid to ‘giant of the hospitality industry’ Marc Verstringhe

Marc Verstringhe, the co-founder of Catering & Allied (C&A), has died at the age of 86 following a short illness.

Former industry colleagues have paid tribute to a “true gentleman” whose creative and visionary leadership helped transform the world of contract catering over 50 years.

Verstringhe, the son of a hotelier, was born in the seaside resort of Knokke-le-Zoute in Belgium in 1934 and spent five years living under German occupation during World War Two. He often recalled how from an early age he learned the “value of freedom, a resistance to subjugation and a love for life”.

In 1954, after completing National Service with the Belgian forces in Germany and an apprenticeship at the Norfolk hotel in Knokke, he moved to the UK to take a role as restaurant manager at the Lygon Arms in Broadway, Worcestershire.

Verstringhe’s career progressed rapidly. In 1960 he joined Sutcliffe Catering Group as a unit manager and by 1971 he was group managing director. By 1973 the company had grown to almost 1,000 units employing around 10,000 staff.

In 1975 Verstringhe left Sutcliffe and teamed up with former colleagues Jop Koops and Kit Cuthbert to launch C&A in the UK, which Verstringhe was to lead as chairman for the next 25 years, alongside sister company Holland Catering in the Netherlands.

At C&A Verstringhe was highly respected for his management style. He believed that directors should not work in “ivory towers” but stay close to clients, and insisted people work “with” not “for” the company. He saw traditional workplace canteens as a thing of the past and spearheaded the move towards offices providing staff restaurants inspired by high street trends. C&A was also at the forefront of promoting healthy eating, and by 1985 had launched nutritionist-led ‘Hungry Health’ seminars, while vegetarian options were integral to menus.

Wendy Bartlett, executive chair of Bartlett Mitchell, said the biggest compliment she received was when people compared her business to C&A.

She said: “Marc was a true gentleman – he was always so supportive and genuinely enthusiastic about new start-ups, us at Bartlett Mitchell and our journey. He was an amazing believer in women in business and, in my mind, instrumental in putting quality into the world of food in the workplace.”

Verstringhe was a passionate believer in business education and in 1972 pursued the advanced management programme at the Harvard Business School faculty at University College, Swansea.

He was awarded the 1989 Foodservice Caterer of the Year at the Cateys, and later went on to become a regular judge.

Alastair Storey, chairman of Westbury Street Holdings, BaxterStorey and Springboard, said that C&A was ahead of its time and Verstringhe’s influence ran deep in hospitality.

“Apart from being a lovely man, Marc made a huge contribution over many decades to the hospitality industry,” Storey added.

“He loved excellence and his knowledge of food and wine was amazing. Marc was always willing to help the industry and was a great mentor to many of us. It is impossible to think of Marc without smiling, as his kindness and generosity were accompanied by a delightful sense of humour and warmth. We have all been fortunate to have had him as a friend and colleague.”

By 1995 Verstringhe had become honorary president of the European Catering Association, where he worked with David Battersby of Hospitality and Leisure Manpower to create the Ecarus workplace learning and professional development scheme, which has helped hundreds of young people.

That same year Verstringhe and his partners began an exit strategy from C&A, entering into a partnership with Elior to create Eurocaterer. In 2000 the remaining shares were sold to Elior. By this time C&A had become a multimillion-pound business with 220 contracts employing around 2,000 staff.

Retirement was not part of Verstringhe’s vocabulary and he continued to provide consultancy services and remain heavily involved in a number of industry organisations. He founded the MESV charitable trust, was a fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, a director of the Academy of Food & Wine Service and a judge and ambassador for the Gold Service Scholarship.

Alistair Sindall, head of professional development at the Institute of Hospitality, praised Verstringhe as a very well-respected fellow who will be sadly missed.

Edward Griffiths, trustee and chairman of the judges for the Gold Service Scholarship, praised Verstringhe as a “bastion” of the industry.

He said: “I first met Marc while setting up the Roux catering services in 1986, and I remember his reaction not being that of a competitor, but one of interest and admiration that more food and service quality would be joining the sector.

“He was always interested in sharing views, helping others and talking passionately about good food and wine. He was both a gentle man and a gentleman, and inspired respect from all sectors, always ready with a dose of good humour.”

“A distinguished man of great urbane charm, and a measured, empathetic and inspirational leader to so many who worked for him in Catering & Allied.”

Battersby said: “Throughout his career Marc also showed himself to be a most warm and kind individual with boundless energy and ideas. He was always generous with his time and cared deeply about the wellbeing of all those he came to know. Sadly, with his passing, we have all lost a most remarkable and special person. Although Marc is no longer with us, his ‘can-do spirit’, the impact of his many achievements and his drive to create partnerships between education and business will live on.”

Verstringhe passed away on 21 August 2021 and is survived by his wife Carole, sons Simon and James, and four grandchildren.

The original version of this article was first published on The Caterer

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Hospitality-Apprenticeship-placements - KSB Recruitment

Hospitality Apprenticeship Placements

Lifetime supports the hospitality sector get back on its feet by placing 400 new hospitality apprentices during August 2021

Lifetime are delighted to have placed 400 new apprentices in the hospitality sector during August 2021, double the amount of hospitality apprentices placed pre-pandemic in August 2019.

The hospitality sector has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, with industry bodies reporting that 1 in 5 workers have left the hospitality industry since March 2020 and the sector seeing a 12.1% increase in hospitality job vacancies in the UK in August 2021 compared to August 2019 (BBC). By placing over 400 new apprentices, Lifetime are proud to support the recovery of the hospitality and catering sector.

Mitchell & Butlers, one of the UK’s most successful pub companies, with circa 1,700 pubs and restaurants, have taken on 300 new apprentices with Lifetime. Vocational Learning Manager at M&B, Paul Capper said:

“We were delighted to take on 300 new apprentices at Mitchell and Butlers in the month of August, with this number looking likely to further increase in September and October. M&B have been working with Lifetime since 2015 and we are thrilled with the progress we have seen with our apprenticeship programme over the years. We are very much looking forward to continuing our working relationship with Lifetime Training, and many more apprentices starting their journey with us.”

Although hospitality roles and supporting Mitchells and Butlers was a huge focus for Lifetime in August, overall, they had a record number of placements with a total of 574 apprentices and 143 Kickstarters placed in new roles across Hospitality, Business Administration, Health and Social Care, Leadership and Management and Retail.

Head of Employability at Lifetime, George Dee said,

“We’ve been working hard to support our employer partners promote their apprenticeship vacancies and we’re so pleased to see so many people secure new employment. Over 700 people securing an apprenticeship or Kickstart position is an amazing result, and we’re so pleased that we can support the hospitality industry during such a difficult period for the sector. We’re striving to continue the momentum and look forward to supporting many more people with the next steps in their careers.”

The original version of this article was first published in FE News

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