Bribery Bill could hobble corporate hospitality, warn legal experts
Read the full article in Scotland on Sunday >>
Compass cuts sales decline and buys Canadian firm Compass, the world's biggest contract caterer, has bought Toronto-based cleaning and FM provider the Hurley Group for £30m. The Canadian group operates mostly in the B&I sector, along with airports and cultural venues. Compass also confirmed new contracts with Aviva, Banca d'Italia and Viva. Its shares rose by 5.2% to 450p on the news that it had cut its fourth-quarter sales decline from 3% to 1.7% thanks to a £161m cost-cutting exercise to improve efficiency last year. Overall, the group achieved a pre-tax profit of £773m on turnover up 1.3% to £13.4b, up from 13.3%. Although restaurants operated for companies and food outlets at sports and leisure outlets continued to be hit by the recession, Compass said like-for-like sales in schools, hospitals and the military remained solid. - 5 and 6 February, Read the full articles in The Times, 5 February, and The Times, 6 February >>
Scottish hotelier to launch country's first home-grown commercial wine
A Scottish hotelier is set the launch the country's first commercially-produced wine made from grapes ripened on the banks of Loch Tay. The Ardeonaig hotel in Perthshire has been maturing the vines for four years and expects to harvest its first grapes in September to produce a crisp Riesling wine. Owner Pete Gottgens - a chef who has cooked for Nelson Mandela - plans to sell the wine in the hotel restaurant and run classes in wine production. He said the biggest problem was not cold but lack of sunshine. The hotel currently has 48 vines but plans to plant another 800 on four acres of land once it knows which of the four varieties of Bacchus and Madeleine Angevine vines it has planted work best. Some experts believe climate change could make Scotland a leading wine producer within 70 years. At present, there are 416 vineyards and 2,732 acres of vines under cultivation in England, a 45% increase in the past four years. - 7 February, - Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>
PizzaExpress named as Britain's most valuable casual dining brand
PizzaExpress is the most valuable casual dining brand in Britain, according to research by M&C Report. The pizza chain is owned by Gondola Group, which also operates the Ask and Zizzi restaurant chains founded by the Kaye family. Nando's and Pizza Hut are the next most valuable brands named in the report. - 7 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>
McDonald's links up with Italian government to create the 'McItaly'
Fast-food giant McDonald's has joined forces with the Italian government to create the 'McItaly', a burger with a national twist made from Italian DOP products (Protected Designation of Origin) that mimic the red, white and green colours of the country's flag. It sells under the slogan "McDonald's speaks Italian" with a choice of artichoke spread and Asiago cheese or onion, lettuce and smoked pancetta. Agriculture minister Luca Zaia said the McItaly was designed to promote the taste of Italy and encourage European youngsters to choose healthier food. However, it has come under fire from food critics, including Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food Movement. "Globalising a taste does not promote it but rather standardises and homogenises it," Petrini said in an open letter in an Italian newspaper. "This isn't about supporting Italian farmers and products, it's about making money by working with a multinational that actively takes power away from local producers." Zaia rebutted the claims, saying the McItaly would use 1,000 tonnes of Italian produce each month. - 6 Feburary, Read the full article in the Daily Telegraph >>
Scottish Labour party calls for curbs on caffeinated alcohol The Scottish Labour party is proposing to outlaw alcoholic drinks with a high caffeine content by setting a maximum limit of 150mg per litre in alcoholic drinks, following in the footsteps of Denmark, Iceland and Norway. In the USA, which is considering a similar ban, scientists have warned that mixing caffeine with alcohol leaves drinkers both "wide awake and drunk", and prone to chaotic and risky behaviour that can lead to violence, injury or unsafe sex. The 150mg limit would outlaw drinks such as Buckfast tonic wine (with 375mg of caffeine) which Strathclyde Police say has been implicated in 5,638 crime reports over the past three years, of which one in 10 involved violence. The ban would also affect mixers such as Red Bull (320 mg) and Red Square Reloaded (420mg). The proposals will be put forward as an alternative to the SNP bill aimed at setting a minimum price of around 40p per unit of alcohol, which Labour opposes. - 7 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >> By Angela Frewin
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