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A nation of food-shopping-lovers

For many years the UK’s major supermarkets worked hard to convince people shopping for food was a massive chore while there were so many more interesting things they could do with their time. To support their argument, they created sterile environments and put elements in place to ensure customers would be in and out of […]

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Queues leave me cold…

The cuisine coming out of the kitchen at the recently opened Berenjak restaurant in central London is described as “Iranian home-style cooking”. What’s most interesting to those people happily trapped in the capital’s restaurant bubble is JKS Restaurants is backing the venture. Berenjak is run by a chef who formerly worked in the kitchens of […]

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Retail climate becomes hard to stomach

Philippines-headquartered quick service restaurant chain Jollibee hit the UK market at the weekend when its first outlet opened in London’s Earls Court. The company announced it has high expectations for its proposition, which has fried chicken dish Chickenjoy as its flagship product. This opening reminded me of the time I was invited to dine at […]

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Data is the driver

When Boparan Restaurant Group launched a 50% discount on food for emergency service workers this week to support police, firefighters and NHS staff during the winter, it triggered the simplest of reward schemes that targets specific customers. To qualify, I suspect these essential workers simply have to show their ID card at the group’s Giraffe, […]

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That’s entertainment

High-profile crowdfunding platforms Seedrs and Crowdcube have both been highlighting their successes recently. The former celebrated raising funds for 66 food and beverage businesses since 2012, which is its most successful sector, accounting for more than 11% of its completed deals, while the latter pointed to the fact 100-plus companies had raised more than £1m […]

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Beyond the call of duty

We have just hit the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and it brought to mind an anecdote I heard from just before that period. Sir Fred Goodwin, chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and Terry Leahy, chief executive of Tesco, were sharing a platform at a conference when the subject […]

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Child-sized portions?

I’m very much hoping it was not an age thing but when on holiday recently I ordered two children’s meals on the same day – eating one at breakfast and the other at dinner. The child’s full English had been ordered by my son on the first morning of a two-night stay at The Bull […]

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Walking Away From Cash

Earlier this year Amazon opened its first Amazon Go store to the public, enabling shoppers in Seattle to pick goods off the shelf and leave. Cameras and scanners monitor the movements of each person and the goods they handle before automatically charging their account as they leave the shop with their items. Amazon has trademarked […]

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The delivery battle is heating up

Restaurants and foodservice operators of all shapes and sizes are either grappling with how to use home delivery to their best advantage or they are at the least being caught in the cross-fire as the rival aggregators and delivery firms suck in more consumers as they battle it out for dominance. From the point of […]

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Delivery land-grab still in full swing

One of the differentiating factors of Just Eat compared with its rivals Deliveroo, UberEats and Amazon is that it has a true virtual model. It simply acts as an online marketplace linking hungry customers with their local take-away operators. It certainly does not dirty its hands (and diminish its margins) by handling the actual deliveries. […]

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The taste-makers redrawing the food and drink landscape

  Prezzo, Chimichanga, Jamie’s Italian, Square Pie, and Byron are among the growing number of restaurant brands that are either ceasing trading or the shutters are being pulled down on many of their outlets. This is proof if it were needed that this is an increasingly tough environment for food service businesses to operate and […]

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Jury’s out on flights of fancy as retailers vacate high streets

City Darts used to be an unusual venue just off Brick Lane in London’s East End. It was a typical pub in all ways except for it having a large number of dartboards scattered around the room. This unique feature made it worth a visit for any group looking for something different to just sitting […]

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Secondary Siberia dining rooms

Regular restaurant-goers and those in the industry will know that every venue has its own versions of the Siberia tables, which in the case of the worst examples only the unwitting and timid would fail to reject when directed to by the front-of-house team. Those tables situated right next to the toilets, in draughty doorways, […]

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Brits have a lot to live up to when it comes to service style

Waiter: “Would you like this octopus dish?” Me: “No thanks, we’ve already had it. And it was very good.” Waiter: “Would you like another?” Me: “Not really.” Waiter: “It’s on the house.” Me: “Yes please.” This interchange took place during the early stages of lunch at the hot new Catalan-inspired restaurant Rambla that landed in […]

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Small is beautiful

Andrew Edmunds is a long established restaurant in central London that always features highly on top restaurant lists including that of Hardens, which currently has it placed as the fifth best within its price category and is it is also deemed the city’s third most romantic restaurant by the guide’s readers. I admit to venturing […]

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