H+J wins five-year contract for catering at new 58 Victoria Embankment

Leading London caterer H+J, has announced it has won a five-year contract to provide catering for both internal and external clients at the brand-new venue 58 Victoria Embankment (58VE).

H+J, which specialises in providing hospitality at some of the capital’s top venues and visitor attractions as well as staff dining for blue chip organisations, plans to bring its innovative catering style to a range of events and settings at one of London’s newest events spaces.

H+J will be providing a full hospitality service at the prestigious central London venue from working lunches and fine dining to barbecues on the sixth-floor terrace amid the magnificent views that overlook the River Thames and London’s skyline.

Alongside providing office space for up to 600 people, the 1,100 sq ft 58VE has been designed to provide a spectacular venue to host a variety of events from conferences, product launches and drinks receptions to intimate meetings, private parties and wedding receptions. H+J has been appointed as the exclusive caterer for the venue.

Patrick Harbour, Co-Founder and Director of Harbour & Jones, which owns H+J, comments: “58VE is the latest addition to the London events venues scene and we are really looking forward to bringing our ground-breaking catering offering to this brand-new establishment. We aim to offer cutting-edge catering within the beautifully designed and purpose-built events spaces.”

“We are looking forward to developing this significant partnership for H+J over the next five years. The imagination and versatility of our chefs, coupled with our use of sustainably sourced seasonal ingredients will ensure our catering stays ahead of the curve at this newly built venue,” he adds.

Neil Ormondroyd, Head of Venue Sales & Operations at 58VE comments: “58 Victoria Embankment is a stunning building, but having an amazing space is not enough if we don’t deliver outstanding catering.  We recognised very early on that we needed an innovative partner to help us achieve this.  From the very outset in the tender process it became apparent that H+J met this brief and shares a lot of our values in their ability to consistently deliver mouthwatering dishes.  We are delighted to enter into a five-year agreement with H+J to be the exclusive caterer at 58 Victoria Embankment.”


Welbilt and Halton Group announce strategic alliance

Welbilt Inc, a leading worldwide supplier of commercial foodservice equipment and Halton, a technology leader in indoor air solutions for professional kitchens, have entered into a strategic alliance to facilitate the integration of Halton’s ventilation systems into a wide range of Welbilt’s equipment to better meet the needs of their customers. Strong customer focus being the corner stone of Halton’s innovation, the company has a long history of partnerships and co-development projects with various related technology suppliers.  With this first strategic alliance, Halton also strives to speed up the international sales and further development of its latest innovations, such as the mobile mini-kitchen solution, Halton MobiChef.

The alliance provides a framework to combine the best from both companies’ innovation teams to develop system solutions with specific focus on the following areas:

  • Increase kitchen output while reducing kitchen footprint;
  • Improve speed of service and overall kitchen ergonomics;
  • Better manage kitchen temperatures to improve employee comfort and maximize productivity; and
  • Reduce total building energy consumption.

Restaurant chain businesses play an important role in both companies’ futures which supports the growth potential of the aforementioned areas in different parts of the world.

“We are pleased to partner with Halton as we believe that peak kitchen performance requires the integration of the cooking equipment to the ventilation systems. This integration includes the acceleration of digital technology, kitchen control systems, remote monitoring including KitchenConnect® to provide better systems and service over the equipment life cycle. The alliance also complements our fitkitchenSM approach to develop high output kitchens in smaller footprints,” said Hubertus Muehlhaeuser, President and CEO of Manitowoc Foodservice / Welbilt.

“We are very happy to be able to combine our own top expertise with the solutions of a leading kitchen appliance supplier like Welbilt. Through the cooperation, we will be able in the future to create even better well-being for kitchen staff who work around the world and better possibilities for operators in the restaurant field too to offer the best customer experience for their own customers,” says Mika Halttunen, Chairman of the Board at Halton Group.

“We also believe there is significant growth potential in mobile cooking globally. Partnering with Welbilt can help us expand our MobiChef solution by including an electric cooking suite, complete with refrigeration and have the combined products UL Listed for rapid customer adoption,” he comments.

For more information, visit www.welbilt.com.


Lusso secures £3m contract with AECOM

Lusso, the specialist City caterer and part of CH&Co Group, has added the US-based multinational engineering firm, AECOM, to its client portfolio, continuing its successful period of growth.

The new three-year contract, worth approximately £3million in turnover, will see Lusso provide quality catering, hospitality and concierge services for 1,200 AECOM employees at its new London head office in Aldgate Tower.

Lusso will bring its expertise, Food Philosophy – the ethos that focuses on seasonality, sustainability, provenance and partnering with small local suppliers, and quality food and service offer to a variety of areas, including concierge, staff café, tea point consumables, and refreshments for an extensive hospitality and events service.

Following an in-depth tender process, Lusso beat stiff competition to secure the contract. The team stood out for its innovative catering and service proficiency and solutions, and for clearly demonstrating that it understood AECOM culturally. AECOM was also impressed by Lusso’s strength in concierge services, and by the site visits that showcased the company’s approach in action.

Paul Hurren, managing director for Lusso, said: “AECOM is a fantastic addition to the Lusso portfolio and I congratulate the team on an exemplary tender process. As well as presenting a quality proposition of delicious, sustainable food and excellent service that understood and matched AECOM’s requirements, we showed that we understood them on a cultural level too. This combination is a great foundation for building a strong client relationship.

It’s been an incredible year of growth for Lusso but delivering the very best for our clients remains at the heart of what we do. We look forward to forging an exciting, progressive partnership with AECOM, and to bringing quality, innovative solutions to its employees.”

CH&Co holds a Royal Warrant for catering services to HM The Queen.

Discover more at www.chandco.net


Vending for the future: The changing face of on-the-go catering

John Broderick, managing director of Broderick’s – the UK’s leading vending and refreshment business – shares his views on the future of vending as a positive choice for public sector spaces and his belief in the channel’s responsibility for providing healthier on-the-go snacking options.

For years vending machine products were viewed as a distress purchase for out-of-home refreshment, only called on when there was no alternative.

However, with the latest innovations changing the face of the channel, facilities managers are turning to vending machines as a leading-edge, healthy solution for everywhere from hospitals, to educational establishments and from offices to call centres.

Gone are the days when the extent of vending’s offering was sugar laden snacks and watery coffee. Facilities managers are catering for an increasingly educated market: with initiatives like Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush War on childhood obesity and the sugar tax on fizzy drinks hitting the news, consumers are more health conscious and discerning than ever. Further, the NHS is leading by example: with the proposal to impose a 20% tax on all sugary drinks and food in NHS cafes set to be introduced by 2020.

Embracing healthier options, at Broderick’s, we’re proud to be spearheading a vending revolution. Whilst the vending sector overall experiences a 6% decline, Broderick’s continues to grow by 8% year on year. So, what’s this down to? It’s an absolute passion for putting consumer choice front and centre, to make vending an active and positive choice.

Healthier snacking solutions

A hard-working product mix is vital, and at Broderick’s we work on a bespoke basis, rather than a one size fits all approach. Directly answering market demand, Broderick’s has developed a Better for You range, backing emerging brands in the healthier snacking sphere, bringing on board exciting innovations like 9bar – a source of naturally healthy energy in a tasty bar format.

Future-fit machines

A startling 53% of the workforce and people in public places don’t carry coins, which means that if vending machines accept only coins as payment, they instantly preclude 47% of their potential market! Add to this the imminent introduction of the new £1 coin in March 2017, and many machines will instantly look archaic, calling for an expensive upgrade – and all the associated disruption for facilities managers – when companies belatedly set about updating their machines.

Broderick’s 500-strong estate of smart vending machines is getting establishments like Manchester Grammar School and Stepping Hill Hospital – amongst many others – fit for upcoming changes and keeping consumer lifestyle choices firmly in mind in the development process of its innovative machines. Accepting payment methods including Apple Pay, PayPal, Wave&Pay, foreign currencies and note loaders, Broderick’s is working hard to keep currency real. It’s a little-known fact that vending machines can detect fake coins where the human eye cannot, which just goes to underline the importance of accepting alternative payment methods.

Communication is key

Vending is an important revenue stream for many organisations, and keenly specified vending machines are now able to share invaluable sales data that offers insight into shoppers’ habits in different environments. Pioneering intelligent vending machines with integrated screens, Broderick’s can help organisations – from hospitals to schools – tailor on-screen messaging to suit their needs: whether that’s sharing important health messages, fundraising or advertising. We’re currently working with Manchester Metropolitan University Business School to create a loyalty programme centred around an app for vending to reward regular custom.

Procurement of vending machines – 5 things to look out for:

  1. Does the vending machine accept alternative payment? Machines with everything from note loaders to Apple Pay facilities are now a reality.
  2. Do the provider’s testimonials or case studies stack up? It’s worth checking out other clients the provider supplies: a history of long-term agreements gives an indication you can trust the machine provider.
  3. What’s the after sales service like? Dig deep here! Does the provider use the latest in reporting technology? What’s the engineer call-out policy? What about hygiene practices and standards?
  4. Is the choice of product thoughtful and innovative? Ask about the provider’s attitude to negative filling. It’s a cheap tactic that will keep fulfilment easy for the machine company, but which can cause menu fatigue. The Broderick’s team pride ourselves on dedicating time and energy to understand what the consumer wants and what sells well.
  5. Where’s the added value? Do check if the vending machine provider is willing to upgrade equipment mid contract rather than just at the start of a new agreement. The market moves quickly and it’s important not to be tied to out-dated equipment whilst paying current rates!



New workplace catering business launches in the City

Grazing Catering, a flexible workplace and venue food company, was launched recently, aiming to offer customers a new and unconventional foodservice offer.

The company, focused solely on the business and industry sector, will provide contract options ranging from traditional fixed-term agreements, right the way through to a new ‘pay as you go’ model.

The new model, aimed at small and large businesses, will enable clients to partner with the company without being tied into long-term contracts.

Services will range from full in-house workplace restaurants, hospitality and directors dining, to regular or ad-hoc breakfast and lunch deliveries prepared off-site at the company’s new kitchens on the edge of the City.

The purpose-built kitchens, costing around £400,000 to construct, will provide Grazing Catering with the ability to prepare a broad range of fresh food services for companies without their own onsite facilities.

The business is being launched by Sam Hurst, founder of Grazing Food, which currently operates an event catering and food delivery company to clients across London and the South East.

Hurst said: “The traditional contract catering landscape is changing dramatically. We’ve seen dilution of boundaries between high street and workplace catering, with the former increasingly offering direct to office services.

“The flexibility these businesses provide means traditional caterers need to be more nimble with their approach. That’s why we’ve introduced our ‘pay as you go’ contracts.

“Whilst our new business will offer traditional contracted services, including investment where required, we will also offer quality food on a daily rolling basis. No contracts or long-term commitments are required.”

He adds: “We appreciate that space is at a premium in the City and there are many businesses looking to maximise every square foot possible, that’s why our offsite kitchen gives them that additional flexibility.”

Grazing Catering already has business and industry clients in the City, operating in the tech, insurance and media sectors.

Hurst explains: “We’ve been providing events and food delivery services for some time to a wider array of corporate clients. Many of these have asked us to provide a broader range of services to them so, whilst we are formally launching this dedicated new business today, we have been providing these services informally for some time.

He added: “The B&I market is consolidating daily and we feel we can offer something a little bit different to the market. We have the infrastructure to challenge some of these players and are excited to see what the future holds.”

For more information on Grazing Catering, please visit www.grazingcatering.com


Leading contract caterer Edwards & Blake launches new Super Saver Menu range.   

East Anglian-based contract catering firm Edwards & Blake has launched a new range of value healthy snacks called the ‘Super Saver Menu’ into its Education and B&I client business to meet their customer’s needs

The healthy snacks are priced from 75p and are another innovative addition to their existing portfolio of own-brand ranges including the Street Food range of wraps, pasta pots and Grab’n’Go picnic packs and flatbreads.

Food Development Manager, Daniel McClelland said: “Following an intensive research programme we identified a market for highly nutritious but lower-priced food offerings and we have responded to meet this need with a range that offers people great value food but not at the expense of quality, taste or nutrition. Our development team have come up with a winning collection of healthy sweet and savoury dishes that are proving very popular with children and adults across our business.”

The range features nine mouth-watering combinations of flavours and ingredients including sugar, egg, gluten and dairy-free Date, Oat and Cranberry Flapjacks and Branflake Pancakes with blueberries and honey.

Shirley Edwards, Co-founder and Director of Edwards & Blake said: “We pride ourselves on our innovative credentials and our development team have done a fantastic job in creating a range that not only tastes delicious but also represents excellent value for money.  We’re looking forward to more exciting product launches throughout this year.


At last! An ‘OhSo’ clever chocolate…

Yes, it is true!  There is a delicious-tasting yet ‘clever’ chocolate that is actually good for you!

The ground breaking and award-winning OHSO ‘clever’ Chocolate – which contains over a billion live cultures a bar – has launched to caterers in a range of formats to suit customer needs.

Perfect for snacking, whether ‘on the go’, as an accompaniment to a hot beverage or as an in-room value-add, OHSO ‘clever’ Chocolate gives operators the opportunity to offer their customers a ‘permissible’ and delicious treat.

The famed Belgian chocolate is trailblazing the confectionery category with its health benefits, carrying live bacteria, which is three times more likely to get through to the gut than it is via a probiotic yoghurt.

At the forefront of innovation and right on market trend, OHSO Chocolate has the added benefit of being produced with NO added sugar whilst also being gluten and nut free.

Available in a variety of formats, from weekly packs to single bars, all products are the finest quality Belgian Chocolate with natural flavours. OHSO Chocolate’ signature original bars come in plain and orange, and the “No Added Sugar” range comes in Plain, Raspberry and Lemon.

Co-founder and CEO Andrew Marten reinforces that OHSO ‘clever’ Chocolate is unique and is set to take a leading role in the chocolate category offering permissibility on a whole new scale, sitting perfectly with caterers’ NHW strategies: “Government’ concerns relating to obesity and associated sugar content of food products – confectionery and carbonated drinks in particular – are well documented” he says, “and we are constantly seeing manufacturers striving to take calories OUT of confectionery, to improve NHW values, without eroding the taste.

“Here we have a great tasting chocolate, which actively promotes health and ticks all those boxes.  A 13.5g bar represents only 70 calories to the consumer whilst they enjoy over a billion live cultures, which is a powerful aid in the health of the gut.

“We believe this is a great opportunity for caterers either as a pure-play snacking product, in-room value-add, or on the side of a hot beverage/coffee – the applications are extensive”.

OHSO ‘clever’ Chocolate is available as:

  • Single 13.5g bars, which come in either a 24 bar counter-ready case or a 300 bar case, RRP 60p per bar.
  • Seven bar ‘weekly’ packs, which come in either a 10 pack shelf-ready case or a 50 pack case, RRP £4.59 per pack.

For more information go to www.ohsostore.com


Trends in the hot beverages market

Here John Broad, barista training and development manager from the business-to-business division of British tea and coffee merchant Ringtons looks at the considerations Facilities Managers need to take into account when reviewing hot beverages facilities.

The first question which needs to be answered when looking at hot drinks provisions is the reason for the facility – primarily whether hot beverages are intended to boost income, or if they are to be a service to staff and others.

If hot beverage facilities are specified as an income stream, a decision on which equipment to install needs to be tailored to the venue’s individual use and available space. Options include stand-alone vending machines with coin payment, freestanding self-service coffee towers next to a catering or retail outlet to take payment, or a service-only facility within a manned catering outlet. The latter could comprise of hot water boiler, vending equipment or a full blow espresso machine with barista-trained operator. There are also self-service tower stations with card payment options to consider.

If drinks are to be available for free to staff and visitors the options for making and serving hot drinks are vast – ranging from more traditional kettles or water boilers in a staff kitchen to hot water flasks, self-service table top vending machines or even free standing towers / vending machines in staff areas. With so much choice on the market it’s sensible to seek assistance of an expert who could advise which option fits based on the use of the building, footfall, staff availability, space, existing catering and range of product to be sold.

Where an unmanned vending machine or coffee tower is installed a FM needs to decide whether the facility is managed in-house or with the help of a contractor. A fully managed service – whereby a third party stocks, cleans, maintains and handles cash – is a more expensive solution, but it is also the easier option which could be particularly beneficial where resource is tight, a number of sites are under a FMs remit and space is limited.

Alternatively internally managed equipment requires staff training (and staff presence in some instances), regular maintenance, stock management and ongoing replenishment. This option can result in a greater financial return, easier troubleshooting and more control over which beverages are served which in-turn offers a venue greater flexibility.

As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of tea, coffee, catering equipment, machinery and catering the greatest trend Ringtons Beverages has seen is greater demand for quality espresso bean and fresh tea on the go.

Substantial developments in vending machine equipment means the days of weak coffee and poor quality tea from plastic cups are well and truly over. Consumers are increasingly savvy – they know what makes a good cup of tea or coffee and expect quality wherever they are.

With this in mind, vending equipment today can include fresh beans or whole bean instant coffee, on-demand grinders, fresh milk, superior milk granules and great quality tea and infusions which mean hot beverages are increasingly being enjoyed on-the-go. Consumers are happy to pay a little more per cup for a better quality end result, which in time will more than make up for any initial output required to invest in equipment, ingredients and staff resource. With a take-away cup of tea or coffee costing as little at 15p to produce and average charge per cup tipping £1.50 there’s opportunity to be had by offering a great hot drink range.

Even if tea and coffee is free there’s a lot to be said for providing staff and visitors with a better quality drink – not only can it boost morale but if on-site facilities are good, staff are less likely to leave the building which in-turn reduces down-time. It also reflects well on a company who can impress visitors with a great cup of tea or coffee.

Developing trends

In addition to consumer tastes becoming more sophisticated, the hot beverage market has also diversified in recent years. While most Brits will opt for a traditional black tea (it makes up 80% of the whole tea market), figures show black tea is actually in slow decline and has been for a number of years. While Ringtons’ sales figures are better than national findings, and English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Assam remain top sellers, the company is also seeing more green tea and fruit and herbal infusions taking a chunk of the market; a trend which echoes national sales. To keep ahead of industry trends we recommend menus not only cover black tea but also include fruit and herbals and green teas and a decaf option.

When we look at coffee, again tradition dominates and black coffee is the biggest seller, but consumers now also expect to see a range of coffee options on the menu and as a minimum we recommend cappuccinos, lattes and filter coffee are available. Menus can be diversified by using syrups – an easy way to offer something new throughout the year at minimal cost and hassle.

Although coffee and tea tastes are diversifying there is always going to be demand for traditional coffee and black tea, so operators must ensure this remains a pivotal part of their offerings and the best way to sell this is to offer quality fresh tea and coffee. Although tea and coffee may seem like a small pointer, once equipment or services are installed, tea and coffee can be a great income generator and it can boost the overall experience of staff, a customer or visitors so it’s wise to invest carefully and provide a good standard of beverage options.

For more information on Ringtons Beverages go to www.ringtons.co.uk or call 0800 0461 444.


Ampersand awarded prestigious Sage Gateshead contract

Ampersand, part of the CH&Co Group, has been awarded a five-year contract to provide all catering services to the iconic concert and events venue, Sage Gateshead.

Located on the banks of the River Tyne, the flagship venue was designed by renowned architect, Lord Foster.  It opened in December 2004 and today attracts over 600,000 visitors per year and hosts events featuring a wide range of stars from Sting and Katherine Jenkins to Gareth Malone’s choir, Voices, and Showaddywaddy.  Sage Gateshead is also home to the Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Ampersand’s responsibilities within the multi-million turnover contract will include managing the bars, brasserie, café and events for Sage Gateshead and a team of up to 70 Ampersand staff will provide the services.   Within Sage Gateshead there are five bars, a café, a brasserie and scope to run events such as dinners for up to 400 people. If both concert theatres are in use, there are in excess of 3600 customers on site.

Paul Jackson, Managing Director of Ampersand, said, “Even though Ampersand has contracts across the UK, Sage Gateshead is our first contract in the North East and it’s a very exciting opportunity for us.  The building is incredible, the location is great and the facilities inside are amazing.  These three elements give us a very good platform to build on with Sage Gateshead to maximise the potential of the venue.

“We have some very exciting initiatives and concepts that we’ll be launching with Sage Gateshead in January 2016 and these will help cement its place as the premier venue in the North East.”

Abigail Pogson, Sage Gateshead’s Managing Director said “We’re here to offer great music and great experiences and that’s why it’s important to us that Sage Gateshead’s bars, cafes and brasserie are a cut above.

“Ampersand won a highly competitive tender process with a combination of creativity, innovation and flair and we’re looking forward to working with them, and making a visit to our great building as enjoyable as possible.”



To buy or not to buy? How do you choose your kitchen equipment?

Shopping. Some of us love it, some of us hate it, but when you are investing in a piece of commercial kitchen equipment that can be worth hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, the pressure is on to make the right decision.

So where do you start, how do you do your research and whose opinion should you trust? Every major brand will tell you that theirs is the best option, that is a given. You can compare energy ratings, overall costs, functions, programs, bells and whistles. You could stay loyal to a brand you have used before or switch to one that is offering a large discount or new customer incentive. You could scour the net for user reviews. It can all be a bit bewildering.

But, if you want an informed, unbiased, warts and all review of a particular brand or item, from someone who knows what they are talking about, then you should ask TWO Services. Not only can we source and supply kitchen equipment at competitive prices, our certified engineers can install it and if you wish, we can carry out the future cleaning and maintenance of your shiny new appliance. In short, we offer the complete service your equipment needs to ensure it stays in tip top condition and provides years of good service.

As experts in commercial kitchen cleaning, maintenance and repairs, we are dealing with all sorts of equipment from a vast range of manufacturers, day in and day out. We work with all the major suppliers but are not affiliated to any particular brand, so have no hidden agendas or vested interests. And what’s more, if we already clean your kitchen or carry out maintenance, we will know exactly what space you have and how well a specific appliance will integrate with your existing set up.

TWO Services take into consideration all the factors of your exact circumstances and budget, the nature and size of your kitchen, the level of intensity the appliance will be used at, how easy it is to get hold of spares at short notice, and our experiences with similar models. And only then do we make our recommendations, advising you on the reliability and suitability or otherwise, of particular makes or models and providing quotes to supply. After that, it is entirely up to you. But at least you will have had an unbiased view point on whether that fridge/cooker/microwave/combi steamer is really the best option for your kitchen.

Take refrigeration for example. Barry Osborn, TWO Services MD says: “There are numerous types of fridges and freezers that can be combined in a number of ways to give you the most practical set up for needs. And don’t forget that the type of units you choose will affect your energy consumption – so it is important to consider the factors that will help you cut costs.

“Energy efficiency is a big priority within the catering industry. There are many ways of contributing to this, including the addition of night blinds and strip curtains and switching off lights in cooled areas, when not in use. Keeping fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible and ensuring that the door seals are kept in good condition are essential for maintaining temperature.

“Like most things in life, commercial refrigeration needs looking after to give smooth service and prolonged life. To optimise efficiency, all of its elements must be able to function properly.   Regular maintenance, cleaning of fans and condensers and leak testing are essential for minimising energy spend.

Where refrigeration is used ‘front of house’ it needs to be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.   Assisted serve-over/display counters, with curved glass frontage, are more economical to run than open fronted units.

“Whilst a run of refrigerated cupboards may look neater, these use more energy to maintain temperature than separate units. You don’t have the same flexibility as you have with individual cabinets. Single fridges and freezers can be isolated and switched off when not required and can be run at different temperatures depending on content.

“Modern and energy efficient refrigeration systems will help save money. However, just following simple advice can deliver big energy savings.”

So if you are in the market for a new appliance and would like some independent advice, why not visit www.two-services.com or give us a call on 0800 22 44 33 today – after all what have you got to lose?