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Persuading customers to spend up is key in downturn 25 June 2009 | by Olivia Collings Increasing customer spend is the key to lifting profits in the hospitality industry, says foodservice industry consultant Tony Eldred. Speaking at the Foodservice Infocus Expo trade show taking place in Melbourne on the topic of how to maintain profitability in difficult times, Eldred said foodservice companies which simply increased the number of customers would not receive the same results by more than half. Is this ethical??
Clean bill of health for Coffs Coast eateries Coffs Coast restaurants are cleaner than their Port Macquarie counterparts. A Sydney newspaper report at the weekend highlighted the number of hygiene assessments of food businesses carried out by councils across the state, finding that there was disparity between the numbers. Looking at the statistics though, we found something even more intriguing. Out of 419 council assessments in Coffs Harbour, only 13 restaurants received warning letters and no fines were issued. In Port Macquarie, 491 assessments were carried out, with 142 warning letters handed out. No fines were issued there either. So does this mean our restaurateurs are more vigilant when it comes to food safety standards? Is compliance with food safety standards an issue?
Dining hot spot reports rise in inspections For decades, Leichhardt's cafes and restaurants were renowned among food safety inspectors as places where food hygiene standards were seldom enforced, with council records showing just a handful of fines imposed in Little Italy in the past five years. Food Authority figures reveal it was business as usual in the latter half of last year when Leichhardt Municipal Council inspected just eight of its 434 food businesses and fined one. At that rate, it would have taken 30 years to get into every kitchen even once. Restaurateurs on Norton Street told The Sun-Herald there had been a sudden change in the rate of recent inspections, and in the level of scrutiny. Council records back their reports, a spokesman saying about 300 businesses had been inspected since August last year. At Belli Bar, part-owner Anna Cenfi said inspections conducted in the past few months were more thorough than in previous years. The Sun Herald (Sydney), July 12. Food safety laws and compliance issues
Chooks push red meat off recession menus Consumers are turning to the humble chook over red meat to beat the economic downturn as poultry production surges. Increased demand for chicken as people eat at home or turn to fast food has seen national chicken meat production hit 212,000 tonnes in the March quarter, up 6 per cent on the same time last year, Is the global economic crisis better for the environment?
Winning recipe - MasterChef serves up family values She's carved her way through the competition and now Justine Schofield is ready to take her final bite. The talented Sydney-based chef is odds-on favourite to win the Channel 10 reality series MasterChef next Sunday and said she was honoured to be considered No.1. ``It's really overwhelming to know that I'm seen as the favourite,'' the 23-year-old said. ``It's a pretty good feeling, but the pressure is certainly on to do the best I can.'' MasterChef Australia has been a breakout hit for Channel Ten, with an average nightly audience of more than 1.5 million. Is Masterchef having a positive impact on the food industry?
Officials slow to digest food laws; Why eating out remains a geographical lottery Dozens of NSW councils rarely check if food businesses are complying with food laws while many others inspect businesses but take no action where breaches are observed, according to government data providing the first insight into the state of food regulation. Detailed results of the first batch of information councils have provided to the Food Authority under new laws reveal huge inconsistencies over how councils carry out their responsibilities to ensure restaurants and takeaway businesses are not putting the health of customers at risk. Some councils inspected most of their food businesses once in the six months after the laws came into effect on July 1 last year. Others, especially in country areas, told the Food Authority they inspected none or hardly any, making dining safety a geographical lucky dip. The Sun Herald (Sydney), July 12. Food Safety Laws and compliance issues
Sunday Night Dinner Restaurants like this are a bit of an endangered species - suburban BYOs where you turn up with a favourite wine, they charge you a paltry $4 per bottle to serve it, and feed you well for less than $35 per person. Afghan Village used to be something of a secret spot for locals who enjoyed the easy hospitality of Afghanistan-born Monir Samad and his family. That's changed since Matt Preston, food writer and judge on TV's MasterChef Australia, listed the restaurant as a favourite place to eat in his Saturday column in The Age in June. Suddenly business is booming, and the little one-room restaurant on Burke Road hill is juggling bookings like MoVida on a Saturday night. Previously, you could have gotten into the Afghan by phoning up just as your tummy started to rumble on a Sunday evening. Now you may have to plan further ahead. Sunday Age (Melbourne), July 12. Global Economic crisis impacts on restaurant trade
Bargain meals in unlikeliest place Forget cheap furniturefamilies are flocking to IKEA just to cash in on cheap meals. While many SA restaurants are feeling the sting of the global financial crisis, IKEA's Adelaide airport store restaurant is packed with people every week. Every Thursday up to 600 people, mostly families, queue in the shop's restaurant to take advantage of the $4.95 all-you-can-eat soup and pasta deal, where children aged under 12 eat free. Few of them bother to look at the sofas, beds or kitchen fittings but for many battling families, that's beside the pointa free dinner is worth the trip. Mark and Kate Pickford, of Warradale, have been regular visitors to the furniture shop since it opened in 2006not that they really go there for the furniture. The Pickfords and their childrenThomas, 12, Sarah, 11, Lauren, 8, and Rachel, 5 - said they made the half-hour drive to IKEA almost weekly for a good feed and a ``cheap night out''. Sunday Mail (Adelaide), July Global economic crisis impacting on eating out behaviours
Fast food fight; Unions oppose Maccas Construction workers may be asked to refuse to build a McDonald's outlet at the new Royal Children's Hospital after a leading union official said that Trades Hall would oppose the restaurant. Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Brian Boyd said that he would meet construction and trades workers next week to voice opposition to McDonald's being at the remodelled hospital. ``We'd have a debate about how far we'd go with the new building,'' Mr Boyd said yesterday when asked whether a work ban would be imposed. Despite the threat, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said it would not back a work ban. Mr Boyd argued the new hospital should feature Australian food and symbolsas well as the planned flora and fauna in its entrance foyerand not be a celebration of an ``American clown''. Mr Boyd said Trades Hall retained its strong opposition to McDonald's at the RCH, a position it took 15 years ago when it was first built at the existing hospital. Herald Sun, July 11. The impact of the fast food industry
Why Master Chef is causing chaos in shops Adelaide butchers are getting their slice of the popularity of reality TV show Masterchef Australia, with shops reporting they are being swamped by home cooks following the program's recipes. Keen amateur chefs are storming butcheries the morning after the show highlights particular cuts, Stirling Variety Meats proprietor Chris Pfitzner said. ``The show is definitely impacting on our business,'' he said. ``They tell us they saw it on Masterchef last night,'' he added, recalling last weekend when he sold out of his entire stock of lamb shanks by 11.30am. Adelaide contestant Andre Ursini experienced his own cut last night when he lost a sudden-death elimination guessing game. His failure to name the ingredients in a curry challenge did not stop him being snapped up by Norwood eatery Martini Ristorante on the Parade. Speaking to The Advertiser yesterday, Mr Ursini, 28, said: ``I definitely want to be trained up after this experience. I want to be a qualified chef.'' The former projects officer starts training next week. The Advertiser (Adelaide), July 10. The impact of MASTERCHEF
Drinkers absorb quirky campaign; Message taken seriously A safe-drinking campaign in Newcastle's CBD is knocking out alcohol-fuelled violence on licensed premises, dropping the number of incidents between 10pm and 6am by almost 30 per cent. The quirky delivery of strict drinking guidelines imposed by Newcastle CBD Liquor Accord has been branded the reason for its success. Posters and more than 20,000 safe-drinking instruction booklets, modelled on in-flight safety cards, have been handed out at Newcastle pubs and clubs since May, listing do's and don'ts for revellers, who are encouraged to "behave well and spread the love". "It is different, a bit tongue-in-cheek, and we are seeing a real difference because of it," Queens Wharf Brewery owner and licensee Michael Hogg said. "Alcohol-related violence is continuing to decrease. It's down 29 per cent compared to this time last year." Newcastle hoteliers have financed the initiative, which promotes a collaborative approach from licensees. Newcastle Herald, July 13. Alcohol & Violence in the hospitality industry
Pubs with no cheer for dry spell; Good causes tap into longer drink drought Publicans are frothing at the mouth over charity campaigns that urge Australians to give up the grog for three months a year. Australian Hotels Association chief executive officer Bill Healy said patrons were being "bombarded" with anti-drinking drives that could hit revenue in pubs and clubs. Dry July, an initiative started by three Englishmen in NSW last year to raise money for cancer, has expanded nationally this year. It joins FebFast and Ocsober, campaigns designed to raise awareness of alcohol and drug-related illnesses and funds for childhood education about substance abuse. "Drunks are not good for hotels, but I don't think any business is comfortable when there is a campaign or an incentive [against] a core part of their business, for their customers to be dissuaded from buying their products," Mr Healy said. The Sun Herald (Sydney), July 12. Hospitality Industry Vs Health
Last drinks: laws to ban cheap booze; State looks to end deals that promote binge drinking Alcohol promotions that encourage irresponsible drinking face bans under new laws proposed by the Victorian Government. While the time-honoured tradition of "happy hour" at the local pub or RSL appears safe, limits could be imposed on the length of time discounted drinks can be served. Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson has asked the Liquor Control Advisory Council to examine tougher measures to curb drink promotions in response to a sharp rise in late-night violence and antisocial behaviour. The Government "is taking action to make Victoria's licensed venues safer and more enjoyable and reduce the impact of the irresponsible service of alcohol", Mr Robinson's spokeswoman said. "Cheap drink deals served for extended periods of time or promotions that make a virtue of drinking quickly or getting drunk may be deemed inappropriate and banned by the director of liquor licensing." Sunday Age (Melbourne), July 12. Alcohol & Hospitality Industry –Profits & violence vs the law
Raising the bar Cocktails have always been fun and decadent - and now they can be healthy too, writes Matthew Clayfield. When it came to dieting under the influence, British author Kingsley Amis had some sage advice. "The first, indeed the only, requirement of a diet," he wrote, "is that it should lose you weight without reducing your alcoholic intake by the smallest degree." Of course, Amis was better known as an immoderate soak than a fitness guru, and for a long time his advice went unheeded. But things have recently begun to change, and the bottom of an empty glass is no longer strictly a window to weight-gain. With the rise of the low-carb beer and now the healthy cocktail, Amis's ideal booze-friendly diet has come that much closer to realisation. But hang on a minute. The healthy what? I grew up in a town where a cocktail party meant nonstop sugary syrups and creamy liqueurs followed by falling over, so to someone like me the words "healthy" and "cocktail" are somewhat uneasy bedfellows. But is it so hard to believe that in a world where every staple, indulgence and even the occasional vice has been reimagined in some healthier form, the last great symbol of decadence might also have its day in the gym? To low-fat milk, magnesium-rich chocolate and cardiac-friendly red wine, welcome the aloe vera martini, the beetroot pinot and their low-sugar, high-vitamin, antioxidant-rich companions. The Cosmopolitan's days, it would seem, are numbered. The Australian Magazine, July 11. Alcohol & Health
Food service employers to repay hundreds of thousands to workers Almost half a million dollars in unpaid wages to food service employees is to be repaid across Australia following a national campaign by the Fair Work Ombudsman. More than 700 workers will be back-paid $470,000, an average of $671 per employee, following the six-month campaign, which targeted take-away food outlets, supermarkets, grocery stores, bread and cake shops, meat, fish and poultry distributors and dairy manufacturers. Of 481 employers randomly audited by inspectors, 129 were found to be underpaying 714 staff a total of $469,502. The largest recoveries were in NSW ($203,919) and Victoria ($140,975) followed by Queensland ($42,781), Northern Territory ($38,664), Western Australia ($28,760), South Australia ($9188) and Tasmania ($5215). The biggest underpayments were in the take-away food sector, where $227,946 is to be reimbursed to 221 workers Are workers in the hospitality industry treated fairly?
Clean, green and smart 5 June 2009 | by Rosemary Ryan In the commercial kitchen the dishwasher is one of the biggest workhorses and one of the most essential pieces of equipment for the successful and problem free running of any foodservice business. Lately dishwashers have been under the spotlight because of the focus on more environmentally friendly and cost effective equipment that offers water and energy savings, as well as chemical savings for foodservice operators. Pressure has been steadily building for hospitality and foodservice businessesparticularly large hotels and convention centresto take action to minimise usage of water and energy Does the hospitality Industry have too much of a negative impact on the environment?
Food waste targeted 4 June 2009 | by Olivia Collings A NEW campaign and website has been launched to address the grow ing issues associated with food waste in Australia, and organisers are urging the hospitality industry to get behind it. The 'FoodWise' campaign has been launched by Do Something, a not-for-profit organisation that brings together the resources of the business community and commu nity concerns. Hospitality industry and the environment
Restaurants seek time on new pricing rule 4 June 2009 | by Rosemary Ryan The restaurant industry has taken to the Federal Government its concerns over the implementation of new pricing rules that will mean operators will have to have different menus for weekends and public holidays. The changes to the Trades Practices Act means foodservice businesses that have a surcharge for weekends or public holidays will no longer be able to just state the amount of the surcharge on their menus. From last week they are required to provide their customers with a menu that includes the charge in each of the prices listed. Do laws help or hinder hospitality businesses
Restaurateurs victorious in award battle 1 June 2009 | by Rosemary Ryan The restaurant industry has scored a major victory in its battle against the implementation of a proposed new award with the Deputy Prime Minister bowing to pressure and instructing the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to look at creating a separate award for the industry. Julia Gillard notified Restaurant and Catering Australia late on Friday afternoon of her decision to direct the AIRC to develop an award that treated restaurants, cafes and catering businesses separately to hotels as part of its award modernisation process Hospitality Industry and workers rights