Hospitality and Catering News Stories update : Dec 2010

News in and around the Hospitality and Catering Industry for December 2010

Catering News Dec 2010

Gleneagles – first hotel in the UK to achieve a ‘Green’ gold award

The Gleneagles Hotels aim to implement proactive measures to help safeguard and sustain the local, national and global environment has been nationally acknowledged by the Green Tourism Business Scheme.

The AA Five Red Star resort in Perthshire is the first hotel in the UK to achieve a gold award under version four of the rigorous criteria.

The Green Tourism Business Scheme is the leading sustainable tourism certification scheme in the UK. The scheme honours independent hotels that demonstrate high levels of commitment in protecting the environment and promoting sustainable tourism with bronze, silver and gold awards.

Award winners are scrutinised on over 145 separate measures by qualified advisers before being appointed the relevant award.

Bernard Murphy, General Manager at Gleneagles commented:

“It is our aim to become the industry leader in environmental management and contribute to a sustainable society. We are therefore delighted to receive recognition for our efforts so far and we will continue to strive to do all we can as a business to protect the environment for future generations.”

Gleneagles is world renowned as the ultimate destination for luxury and hospitality, offering the very best in fine dining, a wealth of leisure activities and an award winning spa all set in 850 acres of spectacular Perthshire countryside. The hotel has recently undergone an £18 million development programme in preparation for hosting the Ryder Cup Matches in 2014.

The Gleneagles Hotel recognises its environmental responsibility and is committed to improving its performance towards a sustainable future.

Gleneagles realises the impact it can have on the environment and as a result has created a vision for the future, which states their aims. These are based on 5 key corner stones, guests, waste management, energy management, supplier management and team members.


The aims encapsulate the following:

1 Taking responsibility for impact on the environment
2 Raising awareness and motivate a change in behaviour
3 Promoting environmental best practices
4 Improving financial results, without compromising guest satisfaction.

Gleneagles is committed to ensuring our business minimises the impact it has on the environment. We are actively working towards the implementation of proactive measures to help protect and sustain the local, national and global environment for future generations.


The aims for sustainability at The Gleneagles Hotel are expressed below:

1 Waste Management – zero waste to landfill by 2010
2 Energy Management – carbon neutral by 2010
3 Supplier Management – Retain and procure suppliers with good Environmental Management Systems by 2010
4 Our Guests – £300,000 donated to Perthshire Big Tree Country by 2010.
5 Team Members and Culture – All team members understand their responsibility and contribution to minimise impact on the resort and in their lives.

Green Tourism Business Scheme is the largest certification scheme of its kind in the world and grades all types of tourism businesses. Originally developed in Scotland it now has over 2000 members through the UK.


UK’s first social enterprise hotel

Inspired by a Dutch scheme in which ex-convicts, women escaping abusive relationships and single parents run a four star hotel, Inverness is set to become home to the UK’s first social enterprise hotel.

Planning is still at an early stage for the project, but ambitions are high to create a hotel staffed by some of the area’s most vulnerable young people.

The idea is to provide training for youngsters not in education or employment, without a home, or lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills. They will help run the hotel alongside hospitality experts, gaining experience, training, and eventually a formal qualification.

It is hoped that guests will be unaware of the hotel’s social enterprise roots.

The aspiration is to open in 2014 and be part of the new Inverness Campus, future home to Inverness College and the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The hotel is modelled on Rotterdam’s highly successful Art & Woonhotel. Run by the Best Western group, the hotel provides employment for some of the most marginalised people in Dutch society. The hotel, which doubles as a contemporary art gallery, also provides temporary, affordable accommodation for the staff. Potential staff are referred to the hotel by social organisations and housing corporations.

The key partners for the Inverness scheme are Albyn Housing Association, which provides affordable housing in the Highlands, and Calman Trust, the area’s leading agency working with hard to reach young people.

Former Scottish hotelier of the year Grant Sword will advise on the development and running of the establishment.

Calum Macaulay, chief executive of Albyn, said, “It’s hugely exciting to be involved in this project. There is much work to be done but we are confident of delivering the UK’s first social enterprise hotel. Not only will it provide life changing opportunities for young people, it will also offer a fantastic quality of service to guests.

“Between Calman, Albyn and Grant Sword we have the required mix of skills and a common goal to build and run a commercial hotel business focused on improving the lives of young people.”

The stakeholders plan to create a hotel with an “iconic design”. It will have 100 rooms, a cafe and restaurant.

Isobel Grigor, chief executive of the Calman Trust, said, “Running a hotel involves almost all the skills required in running a town. This project will see trainees work alongside staff throughout the business, including maintenance, food preparation, front of house and housekeeping.

“We intend to run a high quality hotel with industry leading service levels. Yes, that sets challenges for vulnerable young people, but our experience is that youngsters rise to challenges when they are made achievable.”

A business plan is currently being developed, and both public and private sector funding will be sought.

Talks are under way to be part of the new Inverness Campus, a new knowledge based hub for the Highlands incorporating the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scottish Agricultural College and Inverness College.

Billed as “one of the most important developments in the area in the next 20 years”, the Inverness Campus is being developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise


New hotels, bars and restaurants in £250m Telford development

Telford and Wrekin council has let the first package contract to kick start construction on the £250m regeneration of the Southwater area of the town centre.

Local civil engineering firm McPhillips (Wellington) will start enabling works this week under a contract worth around £3m.

McPhillips was selected following a closely contested procurement process which saw 30 contractors express an interest in the works package.

The £250m Southwater development will transform an area of the town centre, running from the shopping centre to The International Centre, with the aim of creating a major regional leisure and business attraction.

Plans for a new Telford & Wrekin Council civic centre, forming the cornerstone of the development, were also given the green light this week.

Morgan Sindall is believed to be one of several contractors to have submitted a bid for the £20m project.

The regeneration scheme also includes plans for office space, a library, two hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes and shops, a leisure hub with a space for a leisure pool and multi screen cinema.

There will also be hundreds of homes including apartments and town houses, a community medical facility and a new Meeting Point House.

The Southwater development is a partnership between Telford & Wrekin Council, the Southwater Event Group and the Homes and Communities Agency


Substantial grade II listed pub property acquired

Acting on behalf of the private owner, Christie + Co has sold the freehold of the Rose & Crown Hotel in Tonbridge, Kent, to experienced hotelier Nick Richards, for an undisclosed sum, off an asking price of £1.65 million.

Situated in a prominent High Street location, the Rose & Crown is a substantial Grade II Listed property, which is believed to date back to the 16th Century.

The 56 en suite bedroom hotel comprises the 22 cover Pawley Bar, 55 cover Crown Restaurant the 45 cpacity Medway meeting room, the 95 capacity Market Room and the 14,capacity Skinners function room.

The business, which is licensed for civil weddings, also benefits from its own private 45 space car park and 32 cover, canopied external seating area.

Nick Richards is an experienced operator having sold his last hotel two years ago. He plans to take advantage of the Rose & Crown’s huge potential by substantially investing in the business and upgrading both the accommodation and F&B offering.

Matthew Smith, Director at Christie + Co, said, “Appealing to both leisure and corporate guests, the Rose & Crown Hotel generated a good level of interest from a number of prospective buyers. There is enormous potential to grow further trade at this prominently located business and we believe this will happen under Nick’s experienced guidance


Sheffield Hallam University host event management master class

On Friday 14 January 2011 Sheffield Hallam University will be hosting a unique event management master class designed to give Event Managers the tools they need to deliver first class events in a climate of reduced funding.

The UK’s leading event specialists – including three times ‘Event Organiser of the Year’, Mike Richmond from REM Events – will be sharing their innovative and winning strategies. Attendees at the Sheffield Business School master class, can expect insight and inspiration and will leave with new ideas for delivering maximum return on their events.

Other speakers include Vanessa Toulmin from the University of Sheffield and Creative Producer for ‘Showzam, Blackpool’s Festival of Circus Magic and New Variety’, and Mark Spincer, Managing Director of Doncaster Racecourse.

Talks will cover the whole event spectrum, taking in large outdoor events, festivals, event venue management and event evaluation.

The master class will also include a series of workshops which will provide delegates with the opportunity to debate ideas and share their own challenges and successes with peers from the event industry.

Phil Crowther, Event Management Hub Project Leader at Sheffield Hallam University, said:

“The master class is a great opportunity for event organisers to learn from leading event specialists and discover new ways to deliver more for less in the challenging economic climate. Attendees will gain real world practical skills that they’ll be able to implement immediately.”

The Event Management Master Class is presented by The Event Management Hub at Sheffield Business School and runs in partnership with Welcome to Yorkshire and Sheffield City Council. Prices start from just £39 including lunch, tea and coffee.


Debut of the Brasserie Blanc brand in the North West

Acting on behalf of Neptune Developments and Countryside Properties, Christie + Co has secured Brasserie Blanc, the restaurant chain founded by chef Raymond Blanc, for the prestigious Mann Island scheme on Liverpool’s waterfront.

The 4,750sq ft restaurant will mark the debut of the Brasserie Blanc brand in the North West. The new site, which will include an outdoor piazza style seating area, will be situated in a ground floor waterside setting overlooking the canal basin and locks.

The company currently operates a further nine restaurants across the South of England and in Leeds.

Christie + Co has been jointly instructed with Mowbray Gill to secure operators for what is prime leisure space at the Mann Island scheme on Liverpool’s waterfront. Mann Island Liverpool is a £135 million mixed use commercial, leisure and residential scheme, currently under construction, with 140,000sq ft of pre- et accommodation. The first phase of the scheme is due for completion in 2011.

The leisure units can provide accommodation from 1,000sq ft upwards and can deliver outstanding south facing, dedicated external trading areas facing onto the main piazza overlooking the new canal basin which has the benefit of waterfront views.

John Lederer, Managing Director of Brasserie Blanc, commented, “We have been looking for the ideal location in Liverpool for some time, and we found it at Mann Island. This is an exceptionally original development in a fantastic waterfront location. It is both a hub and an oasis. It offers us everything that we have been looking for.”

Steve Parry, Managing Director at Neptune Developments, said “I think their decision speaks volumes for the quality and location of the Mann Island development, with Brasserie Blanc keen to find a location with a stunning sense of place.”

“So, yes I’m delighted that Brasserie Blanc will be opening here, it is a brand and an offer that fits perfectly with the Mann Island ambience of quality, informality and accessibility.”

Jon Patrick, Head of Leisure at Christie + Co, concluded “Liverpool’s iconic waterfront is one of the most recognisable in the world. Mann Island is an integral piece of this evolving jigsaw which has seen the arrival of the city’s arena and convention centre. It is also shortly to welcome the new £65 million Museum of Liverpool that is projected to attract around 750,000 visitors annually to the Mann Island area in its own right. We believe that Neptune Development’s scheme provides an exceptional trading environment within which quality food and beverage operators can thrive.”


New Chief Executive of The Clink

Chris Moore has recently been appointed as chief executive of The Clink, a training restaurant for prisoners and charity based at Her Majesty’s Prison High Down in Sutton Surrey.

With over 25 years experience in the hospitality industry, Chris previously worked for Fenwick Ltd, the UK’s largest independent department store group, as head of group restaurants.

Prior to this, Chris worked at Harrods Ltd as restaurants general manager and developed the in store restaurants and food hall eateries. Chris also worked for the Hilton Hotel group in the UK and Holland and trained with the Holiday Inn hotel group in New York.

Chris Moore says, “I am thrilled to join The Clink and take on this immense and rewarding challenge which lies ahead of me. I am going to be focusing on increasing awareness of the work and skills being developed at the clink as well as securing support from the industry and finding the necessary funds for expansion. I will also be sourcing knowledge and industry skills that can be passed on and shared with the trainees.

“Currently 70% of all prisoners released from UK prisons re offend within the first year. I hope to demonstrate that The Clink aims to reduce the number of re offenders by equipping the men with qualifications, skills and real restaurant and kitchen experience whilst they serve their time that can be put to use once released, therefore protecting potential victims of crime.”

He continues “So far The Clink has produced 13 graduates in the first year, most of whom are now working internationally in the hospitality industry. The re offending rate of these graduates fell to 30% and we hope to see this continue.”

The concept of The Clink restaurant came from Alberto Crisci OBE, High Downs catering manager and it was opened in May 2009. The restaurant trains prisoners on City and Guilds / NVQ’s in food service and food preparation up to level 3 and also A1 assessor. Prisoners are also trained under the British Institute of Cleaning (BIC’s) in levels 1′ 2 and 3.