Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Raising money with the coffee bean for peacebuilding organisation

As reported in the Kenilworth Weekly News, there is a plan underway to raise money for the international organisation CORD. In time-honoured fashion, a church coffee morning using coffee machines will be the stalwart vehicle to gain funds and awareness for this important organisation.

Where and when is the event going to take place? At St Nicholas' church on 23rd September 2011.

CORD was chosen because of its emphasis on proactive and peaceful actions to help those who have suffered during conflict. And CORD certainly has plenty of experience in carrying out valuable work in this arena. For over 40 years and throughout some 26 countries, the organisation has promoted peace after violence and helped communities rebuild their collective lives.

Interestingly, CORD notes that when a population has suffered much violence, they somehow cannot develop the 'capacity' to think of moving forward in non-violent ways. CORD works hard to overcome this problem and looks at the root causes of the conflict. They encourage the communities themselves to become empowered and take charge of their own healing and rebuilding. The imposition of schemes and solutions from the outside, has been found to be less effective.

Where does CORD operate? There are around 800 employees of the organisation in places such as Africa and South East Asia.

The coffee morning using coffee machines will hopefully do much to promote the organisation. It has been chosen, too, because St Nicholas' church wants to support the United Nations International Day of Peace.

Monday, 19 September 2011

C House coffee shops look to the UAE

Let's face it – the world loves coffee. Many countries that were previously not known for their love of the coffee bean have been converted. China, Russia, India - they are all developing a growing love affair with the beverage.

C House

And now, as reported recently, the Italian brand, C House, is about to be launched in the UAE – the estimated date for the new venture is the end of this year. The coffee has had much success with its brand overseas and so the odds are that this will also be a success. Already, C House has almost 50 sites in countries including Morocco, Greece, Spain, India and the UK.

The company, based in Milan in Italy, has developed a reputation for its stunning interior design and prides itself on its 'perfect espresso.' Those who applaud the company are impressed by the use of seven different coffee beans to create the espresso. C House also goes to some lengths to create a signature coffee experience by using lounges, coffee machines and design to create the right atmosphere.

The franchise consultant, MEFranchising, is said to be helping out with the translation of the brand to the UAE. C House has gone on record as confirming that they are aware of the sophistication of the Middle East's tastes and are anxious to ply them with an excellent example of their service, d├ęcor and coffee-drinking experience. If they play their cards right, they could be on to a winner.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Good news for UK hotels

In these financial times, many of us are reigning in our spending and choosing value for money when we make spending decisions. One of the choices many Brits have made, is to have British holidays, rather than incurring the expense of travelling abroad. And this may be one of the reasons for the development strategies of British hotels who use catering equipment.

catering equipment

As reported online recently, Travelodge has plans for considerable expansion as their customers look to UK attractions for their holidays. Apparently they are planning to create up to 500 new hotels, particularly near National Park areas. This would be a considerable £135 million investment in 37 hotels close to attractions in the UK. Guy Parsons, the CEO, is quoted as ascribing the new strategy to high occupancy levels this year. It is rumoured that places such as Aviemore in the Cairngorms, Grasmere in the Lake District and Betwys-y-Coed in Snowdonia are possible locations for the company.

Premier Inn is another company in the news for creating hotel jobs who will need catering equipment – their latest development is in South Wales with the creation of an 80 bedroom hotel, according to BBC news. The target date for the opening of the new venture is late next year. Again, this is excellent news for those in the hospitality and catering equipment industry. The company also recently announced that their new West Yorkshire Premier Inn would be creating new jobs in the industry, hopefully when the venue opens in 2013.

It seems that there is a silver lining to all financial clouds

Friday, 9 September 2011

Do you want to meet up for a coffee?

How often do we offer to meet up with friends, work colleagues, family or potential dates with this question? Given the increasing popularity of coffee shops as the place of choice to meet up, it is little wonder that the website letsmeetandwork.com has been such a hit. Of course coffee shops need coffee machines.
It is reported that thousands of Londoners have clocked this website and use it to find recommended places to stop for a cup of coffee and meet up. Published reports suggest over 40,000 users have visited the site since it was launched fourteen days ago.
The person behind the concept is Alasdair Monk. The idea for the website struck him when he found a piece of paper, listing suitable places with wi-fi when he was on campus at his university in Reading. He wanted to replicate the idea online – to give a list of places to drop in if you want a coffee and so on. As such, he created a list of coffee shops and cafes who use coffee machines and also book shops. It is said that he checks out every recommendation personally.
The lists online proved popular and were recommended by word of mouth on the net.
The idea is growing too – not only is Monk covering the London area – he is also looking into creating a similar website for coffee shops and places to meet in New York. The aim though, according to reports, is to keep things simple. Despite requests for more websites for other cities, he's limiting the idea to London and New York for now.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Concerns About E.coli in South East Wales

Of course, food hygiene and preparation together with strict compliance with health and safety obligations is something that all catering establishments need to be mindful of. It has transpired that there are problems in South East Wales however – there have been eight cases of outbreaks of food poisoning by E.coli. This brings into sharp relief the reasons why care needs to be taken when preparing food.

What has happened? The latest in the unfolding drama is that The Adonis Kebab House in Cardiff has been subjected to an order to request them to stop trading. A consultant in Communicable Disease for Public Health in Wales has been quoted as saying that there has been serious bacterial infection, which has resulted in pain in the abdomen and diarrhoea. One victim is still in hospital, according to reports at the time of writing. Apparently around 53 people have contacted Public Health Wales since Monday. Maybe they need some better catering equipment.

As a result of this health issue, investigations are underway. The Conservative party is so concerned that they have asked for restaurants and takeaways to be obliged to make their food hygiene ratings public. It has been made clear, for example, that the Adonis Kebab House was inspected in July and was only given a one out of five rating under the food hygiene ratings system. The proposal would mean that customers could evaluate the standards of the eating establishment and be in a position to make an informed decision before they choose to eat and buy food prepared there.

The investigation and monitoring continues.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Age UK benefits from coffee morning in Harrow

If you happen to be passing the St Georges Shopping Centre on Friday 26 August, why not drop in at Wilkinson for their charity-supporting coffee morning?

Just think about it – there are many benefits to stopping by. You can get a decent cup of coffee, a little shot of caffeine to help you in your shopping endeavours and you can meet some interesting people to chat to.

More importantly, however, you would also be supporting the charity Age UK, which focuses on the many elderly people living in the UK at the moment. Wilkinson is a shop with a heart – they had a coffee morning using coffee machines in June too.

The locals who attend the event will also have the opportunity of learning about how to deal with issues that trouble them and get general advice about their daily challenges.

Age UK recognises that the older population needs information and advice on the issues that face them as they age. This advice covers all sorts of topics, from financial worries, health issues, housing problems or concerns and equipment to help the aged within the home. They also operate a free national information line, which is available every day, from 8am to 7pm and they also offer guidance leaflets, factsheets and other publications on relevant topics.

The charity does much other good work too – for example, campaigning for changes to help the aged, such as reforming the care system or improving local transport. It has also achieved breakthroughs in its research programme into how to improve the lives of older people.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Recession? What recession?

Here's some good news from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG Report on Jobs. Want to hear it? There is a greater demand for people working in the hotel and catering equipment industry in the United Kingdom over June. While there are riots, government cut backs, staffing reductions, worries about a double dip and fears about the monetary stability because of the financial situation in America and the Eurozone, the catering equipment industry is doing all right for itself.

What did the results show? There was a slightly higher demand for temporary workers than permanent staff. In addition, the report commented that the position which is lacking skilled workers are chefs jobs. The Chief Executive of the REC commented that there were more placings of permanent workers in June which might account for the difference in demand for temporary and permanent staff. However, the official figures show a staggering 23 months of continued increase in permanent staff placings.

One recent such success story is the merger between BaxterStory and Holroyd Howe. The former company was one of the largest British independent catering companies as at 2006 and the latter company listed as one of the Sunday Times best UK company employers.

The result of this partnership will, it is said, form a 'platform for growth' which can only be welcome news to those in the industry. A coffee shop chain, Benungo, has also recently been acquired by BaxterStory to 'expand… reach into the venue market.'

Things are looking up, it would appear.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Want to vote for HR in Hospitality Awards?

If the answer to this question is 'yes,' then you are in luck: the closing date for the awards has not yet passed. You have until 22nd July to make a difference.

Given the gloom of the current economic climate, it is worth making a splash and raising the profile of those who have performed well in their field over the last year. Why not take the opportunity to celebrate?

The industry awards are run in association with caterer.com and, according to the winner of one category (Excellence in Training and Talent Development) in 2010, the prize has been an 'amazing achievement'.

The shortlist has been drawn up and there are six categories which focus on various areas of Human Resource work, including recruitment and retention of employees, an award focusing on establishing links with schools and colleges to inspire youngsters to create a career in hospitality, learning and development too. There are also classes relating to employee engagement, operations and line managers' excellent work and for those with under five years in the industry, there is also a rising star award.

The catering equipment news has recently reported various job vacancies which is heartening and it is important to praise and incentivise those in the business. Especially in these times of doom and gloom, it is important to celebrate a job well done and focus on achievements, high standards and inspiring excellence in service and promotion of the industry. It is also key to ensure the flow of good quality candidates from schools and colleges into the world of hospitality.