Thursday, 26 May 2011

Eurest Awarded Catering Contract by Defra

It is anticipated that contract catering equipment business, Eurest Services, could be set to create various new positions within its sector, following agreement on a new deal to provide its food service to the Department for Food and Rural Affairs' (Defra) entire estate.

Valued at a reported £12.5 million, the arrangement will cover the next five year period, with Eurest Services to run all of the Defra employee restaurants as well as catering for conferences and events taking place across the ten sites associated with the department.

Eurest, which forms part of the Compass Group, takes pride in its achievement and attributes its Defra success on the quality of its food, the coverage of its training programmes, as well as its focus on the environment, health and safety, according to managing director for the company, Andy Barry.

In relation to Eurest's parent company, Compass Group, the business just last month announced a ten-year contract with Edinburgh Zoo and, more recently, has also communicated news about its acquisitions in both the Netherlands and Sweden.

The Compass Nederland subsidiary agreed to acquire the food service operation of locally-based Elior for an undisclosed figure, a deal that is said to have already been completed. Meanwhile in Sweden, Eurest Services AB has purchased BGP Resurs AB, which serves the leisure, business and industry sectors, from Steringer Resurs AB, for the local equivalent of a reported £1.6 million.

In other related activity, Compass, which provides food, vending and other such services at its clients' sites, has also handed over its Express Cafes operation to Central Catering Equipment Services for an unknown sum.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Coffee and music – the religious experience

The BBC has reported a new phenomenon – the Sunday Night Live experience.

Many people in Britain are reportedly reluctant to venture into a church for a formal and traditional service because of certain perceived stereotypes and stigmas attached to this form of worship. This sentiment, however, does not apparently mean that some people are not curious about religious matters and the idea of faith.

A solution to this dilemma has been presented by Johnny Kinch, who has organised the Sunday Night Live series. The target audience is this very group of potentially religious people who resist the formal church setting. Coffee is offered to attendees together with Christian music and possibly catering equipment. The coffee shop environment in an event in Loughborough was said to be very popular and resulted in queues of people who were interested in taking part. These queues were not a one-off either – people came back month after month.

Mr Kinch has assisted in organising similar occasions at some 29 other places, to cash in on his successful reception. He is quoted as aspiring to extend this to 200 venues around the country, even extending the opportunity to a football stadium full of catering equipment.

Coffee has long been a beverage that has encouraged thinking and animated social gatherings. Coffee shops were originally referred to as 'penny universities' when the intellectuals of the day attended the early versions of the coffee shop in London. It seems that some elements of social ability and intellectual stimulation continue to this day.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Peter Andre's coffee house dreams

Love him or hate him, Peter Andre is a force to be reckoned with. Featuring regularly in the celebrity news columns and tabloid headlines, Andre has a private life that has entertained the nation. Originally catapulted into the public eye with his singing career, with hits such as Mysterious Girl, the singer has had 4 top ten albums in the United Kingdom, plus 10 top ten singles.

As well as earning money as a performer, Andre has written songs and cashed in on his brand by creating a perfume and invested in his television career.
The next big thing on his 'to do list' according to reports, is to indulge his passion for the coffee bean by starting his own coffee shop. He intends to open the shop near his own home in East Grinstead in Sussex. Hopefully, this will enable him to keep an eye on things. If all goes well, Andre may expand his coffee empire into a chain of coffee shops – watch this space.
Andre is also famous for his rather public private life. He married Katie Price, aka Jordan, after participating in the television show 'I'm a Celebrity… get me out of here' in 2003 and they then created a series of shows together. After their divorce in 2009, Andre released a book of his life story, My World: In Pictures and Words and went on to work with Kate Thornton on the daytime show This Morning. He has also hosted The 5 O'Clock Show.

Friday, 20 May 2011

First Fair Trade University Campus…

After a night of traditional student - partying, coffee is an essential morning wake-up fix to kick-start a day of studying and lectures. In the Canadian University of British Columbia, the students can feel smug as they drink their caffeine. Why? Because the University of British Columbia is the first Fairtrade campus in the country.

Fairtrade is an organisation that promotes fair trading conditions for local farmers and producers in disadvantaged countries and also often contributes towards improving the amenities in the communities in which they live. The Fairtrade certification mark can appear on many products, such as coffee and cocoa.

The Canadian city of Vancouver has just been recognised as a Fairtrade City – the Canadians are quick off the mark to promote this ethical form of trade. The University has a history of supporting farmers by selling products such as chocolate, tea and coffee at their restaurants and cafes which have the 'Fairtrade' ethic, including selling Fairtrade coffee over the past 10 years.

The University now tries to increase the sale of Fairtrade products wherever possible (although this commitment does not include the franchises on campus). The national Fairtrade organisation asks that the University sells only Fairtrade coffee and offers at least three of the Fairtrade teas and one chocolate bar. The University also sells Fairtrade fruit, but no catering equipment

Other universities are also impressed by the ethical progress made by the University of British Columbia. In fact, UBS is one of a hundred universities worldwide to have made this move.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Support Stamp Out Hunger Day with a cup of coffee

May 2011 is a date to note in your diary. The conscientious among us want to do the right thing and help those less fortunate and May 14th has been chosen as a special day to do just that.

There are two particular reasons for this.

One: it's World Fair Trade Day. The Fair Trade organisation works to improve trading conditions for small and disadvantaged local farmers and producers of products such as coffee. The organisation also works to improve these farmers' communities and their social facilities such as medical care and schooling. Events and festivals will be organised all over the globe in support of the Fair Trade movement on this day. Anyone can participate – even if you are simply supping some Fair Trade coffee for breakfast, or using Fair Trade ingredients in your cooking and baking.

Two: it's Stamp Out Hunger Day in America too. This is a campaign sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers. The scheme aims to collect unperishable foodstuffs from donors' mailboxes and take them to those in need of sustenance, usually at one of the local foodbanks. Reported figures show that this campaign is aimed at reaching over 50 million Americans who need assistance.

Either way, you can help those less fortunate to benefit from one of these organisations. Coffee mornings are traditionally used for 'social gatherings' to invest time and energy in community matters – why not make the time you spend over a cup of coffee count?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Facebook Meets Foodservice

As the dawn of the social networking era reaches new heights, catering equipment company Stephensons has become the first business within the industry to introduce its own Facebook-hosted store, giving its customers the opportunity to purchase directly via the site.

The unveiling of the online store has been timed to coincide with the launch of various new products by the company, with customers able to browse the latest additions to its portfolio as soon as they become available. "The Facebook store will provide our customers with an easily accessible buying platform featuring our 'just-in' products," said marketing director for the business, Henry Stephenson.
The company's marketing director elaborated that the decision to open a store on Facebook follows the success of Stephensons' e-commerce website and the appreciation that more and more people than ever before are buying online, with social networking facilities bringing significant potential to realise this retail opportunity.

With the catering sector an increasingly busy and exacting sector where time is continually of the essence, Stephensons' latest move could well set a precedent for other like-minded businesses if it proves itself successful.

In other catering industry news, the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA), the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the publication Caterer & Hotelkeeper have joined forces to launch an Induction Cooking Equipment Forum, an inaugural event scheduled to take place on 10 June 2011. A one-day forum is positioned as a 'must' for all catering industry professionals using, associated with, or just interested to discover more about the benefits induction technology can bring.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Falcon Catering Equipment

Falcon Catering Equipment is one of the UK's most popular catering equipment brands. The popularity of Falcon equipment is due to their high quality, yet affordable prices. Their range includes products such as grills, chargrills, fryers, combination and steaming oven. Here are just some of the great products in this range.

The Falcon Pro lite hotplate is made of a durable stainless steel material. Other features include a rotary switch with six different positions and neon power indicators. The Pro lite Bain Marie by Falcon is a dry heat product and comes with two pots made from stainless steel. The thermostat control ensures that the heat is evenly distributed. The Pro lite Salamander Grill is electric and has some great features, including an enamelled interior; this means less time spent scrubbing and more time spent cooking! 

There are four shelf runners which is useful for cooking at various heights to heat things up as quickly or slowly as you wish. The steel exterior is hard wearing and easily cleaned. The Pro lite griddle by Falcon is also electric and has a spatter guard for oil, integrated into it for safety, as well as a drawer to collect fat from the food. Another product in the Falcon Pro lite range is the Free Standing Fryer; this fryer has an eight litre capacity and a stainless steel finish. Other features such as the integrated drainage system and cupboard allow for less cleaning and more storage space in a busy kitchen.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Generating Profit Where Capital Equipment Funding Not Possible

A way of driving increased profit potential from café areas without the means of funding capital equipment is the latest solution offered by CHR Equipment, an award-winning catering equipment company within the commercial sector.

Not only does the solution, managed by experts in their field, bring greater profit opportunity, but it is also positioned as an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible answer to the use of otherwise under-frequented areas within educational, healthcare and public establishments.

CHR's café package centres itself around the franchise of a leading coffee chain, but has the added dimension of running and executing the entire programme. Carrying out feasibility studies and/or re-designing and kitting out such under-used café areas, the financing of any equipment needed is done through purchase lease arrangement.

To achieve its socially- and environmentally-friendly credentials, CHR's solution involves the use of recycled paper cups and coffee produced in Fair Trade conditions.

Commenting on the potential success of the programme, company sales director, Paul Neville, said, "In one installation we are carrying out now, the feasibility study revealed potential turnover of £½m+ for the first year alone."

Through almost 20 years in operation, CHR Equipment areas of expertise have grown to include solutions for a broad range of venues such as local pubs, Michelin accredited restaurants and stadium areas. Based in Preston, Lancashire, the company has been recognised for its work by CEDA (Catering Equipment Distributors Association) for two consecutive years - highlighting its quality and consistency.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Catering Equipment - Mondial Elite

Founded in 1996, Mondial Elite continued the traditions of high-quality professional refrigeration equipment, started by Mondial Frigor and Franger Frigor in the 1950s. Joining forces with Framec in 2006, the Mondial Group was formed. The mission statement of the Italian manufacturer is to become the “reference” company in the refrigeration market, utilising a combination of cutting edge technology, design and excellent customer care. Mondial Elite’s production complies with the standards of ISO 9001 and the environmental standards of ISO 14001. Quality control is meticulous, with rigorous checks throughout the production cycle to ensure the output of the highest quality products. Mondial Elite offers an extensive range of commercial refrigeration units including fridges, freezers and multidecks. The Italian manufacturer continues to thrive and the top-quality catering equipment brand is becoming ever more popular.
The Mondial Elite Stainless Steel, Single Door, 13ft³ Refrigerator offers the benefits of a plastic interior, ideal for food storage, with a bottom shelf and five further adjustable shelves. This refrigerator operates from 2°C to 8°C, with the temperature clearly displayed, ensuring the unit remains cold enough to keep food safe. A further benefit is a 2-year Parts Only Warranty.

At the budget end of the price spectrum is the Mondial Elite Slim Line Refrigerated Multideck SLIM60L. An ideal application for this model is as a display for soft drinks, wine and beer or sandwiches. Finished in white, with dimensions of H 2005mm x W 670mm x D 580mm, this slimline multideck offers fully automatic operation, with electronically controlled temperatures from 1°C to 4°C. Key features of the Mondial Elite Slim Line Refrigerated Multideck SLIM60L include interior light, adjustable feet and 4 shelves with variable tilt, together with a night blind fitted as standard.
In the mid-price range, the Foster Slimline Multideck FMSLIM 12S0H is ideal for the storage and display of small products. With external dimensions of H1780mm x W1200mm x D650mm and finished in 304 stainless steel, its fresh, simple looks make it an exceptional product. Four extra-wide shelves provide improved storage volume over similarly-priced competitors and its reliability makes it a great product choice.
At the upper end of the price scale, the AHT Hi Capacity Stainless Steel Multideck Display Cabinet CSH200S offers high capacity and excellent product visibility. Features include a full-length top mounted light, 5-tier adjustable shelving, digital temperature control and a lockable shutter.

The Mondial Elite range of freezers offers both white and stainless steel exterior units, suitable for all catering establishments. The Mondial Elite KICNX60 freezer is extra large, with a capacity of 21ft³. It offers all the benefits expected from a top of the range commercial freezer, including a stainless steel finish, food safe plastic interior with 6 shelves and independently adjustable feet. It also provides the benefit of a 2-year Parts and Labour Warranty.
The Mondial Elite Slim Tiered Display comes finished in a white or stainless steel. Useful benefits include 4 shelves (with edge stoppers) which can be tilted, internal light, night blind and handy price holders. The unit can be easily levelled via 4 independently adjustable feet.