How restaurants are reacting to Vegetarian Month

March is vegetarian month. Recent news shows that an estimated 29% of evening meals in the UK are vegetarian or vegan. These numbers only seem to be increasing, but just how is the hospitality industry reacting? Wayne Redge reports

Reports show that sales of meat-free ready meals were up by 15% in January compared to 12 months before. Vegan numbers went up from 150,000 in 2006 to 540,000 just a decade later, with 1.2 million vegetarians in addition to this in the UK. Not only that, but there has been an uprising of ‘flexitarians’, those who reduce their meat consumption by choosing to have meat-free days. As a result, evidence shows that 25% of people in Britain have cut back on how much meat they eat. With all of these figures on the rise, the transitions to a meat-free way of living aren’t just a ‘fad’.

Signs of the hospitality industry acknowledging these statistics has come with many different reactions. Nando’s, the Afro-Portuguese chain restaurant known for its chicken, has been consistently adding to its range of vegetarian and vegan options over the past few years. The spiced chicken giant has now announced that two more vegetarian dishes will be added to its menu: golden brown halloumi sticks served with a pot of sweet chilli jam dip to start, alongside a new main of Veggie Cataplana (a South African inspired stew dish.)

A host of vegetarian restaurants are also popping up, giving people who have adopted this lifestyle a lot more options. Run by former mentee of Gordon Ramsay, Minal Patel, “Prashad” is a 2 rosette and Bib Gourmand standard Indian cuisine restaurant. The personalised and crafted menu boards created by Smart Hospitality encase an all vegetarian menu that has been the talk of popular review site, Trip Advisor, since the restaurant opened its doors. Receiving the “Most Talked About Restaurant On Trip Advisor Award” and a “Certificate of Excellence” on the site, it is proof of the popularity that a vegetarian restaurant can receive by focusing its efforts towards a collective audience.

January of this year saw a mass of high-profile restaurants trying out full vegan menus or dishes for ‘Veganuary’. Harvey Nichols brought a full vegan menu to its OXO Tower restaurant in the shape of a three course vegan meal and vegan wine list. Upon opening their menu cover, guests were welcomed by the sights of Grilled Tofu with Miso and a Poached Pear and Blackberry Dessert.


Even Michelin Star chef, Tom Aitken took part in his Tom’s Kitchen restaurant . Teaming up with vegetarian burger company, The Vurger Co, he served up a hoisin glazed mushroom patty with pak choi, red cabbage and crunchy spring onions ( pictured above). Due to the success of this vegan burger, he has adopted a vegetarian burger to his main menu since then.

The amount of vegan festivals has seen a massive increase too, with at least 75 festivals lined up for 2018 in the UK alone. The festivals are a celebration of the natural lifestyle whilst also introducing its participants to new vegan restaurants and foods that they may not have tried before. Restaurants are creating pop ups at these events to promote themselves to the vegan following and gain some new supporters.

So, with the popularity of no-meat lifestyles on the rise, it is clear that restaurants have an opportunity to increase their offerings and enable themselves to appeal to a wider clientele. If 25% of evening meals being eaten are meat free, would restaurants do well to make 25% of their offerings meat free? It might even serve as a cost effective alternative whilst not compromising on quality.

Wayne Redge is marketing assistant, Smart Hospitality Supplies


Why is the casual dining sector in trouble?

Byron is one of a number of casual dining chains that are shrinking their estates

Five years ago, the casual dining sector was booming. Private equity houses were investing large amounts of money into new chains of restaurants which quickly expanded their outlets, for example Byron, the burger chain, was bought for £100m.

Today, the sector is, to say the least, struggling. EAT is the latest brand to announce closures. Byron is going through a restructuring, Jamie’s Italian has entered into a company voluntary arrangement, and Strada is implementing a closure programme.

What has happened to bring about this sudden reversal of fortunes? Roger Gregory, partner at Pitmans Law, has the answers. Read on

Roger Gregory
Partner, Pitmans
D +44 (0)207 634 4634
M +44 (0)774 760 3864

Pitmans Law is a Business Partner of the Institute of Hospitality.

Food additives are a cause of obesity, says Mike Duckett MBE FIH

Mike Duckett MBE FIH, centre, meets HRH The Prince of Wales

The hospitality industry has a responsibility to promote healthy eating habits, writes Mike Duckett MBE FIH, the ambassador for good hospital food and the former award-winning head of catering at The Royal Brompton Hospital, London.

“I have always worried about the amount of chemical additives added to food during manufacturing and the number of alien ingredients used to extend the colour and the shelf life of food, especially ready frozen meals. I have been very vocal in expressing my concerns which were confirmed recently when I visited the local hospital here in Surrey.

I was disturbed to hear of two eight-year-old boys who were hospitalised with severe pain from type-one diabetes. The senior nurse on duty told me that the main cause was their poor diet and lack of a variety of healthy food.

We therefore as the hospitality fraternity  have a collective responsibility to ensure that the food we serve is healthier.  We should persuade those who manufacture meals to be more aware of the steps needed to reducing high levels of obesity.

Statistics show that we are eating out more regularly and that we tend to eat more in a restaurant than in the home environment. This raises one important question. How safe is it to eat out these days? Recently we have heard that a major meat supplier was told by the FSA to stop supplying, a popular pub chain received a zero rating for hygiene,  and food factories change best before dates on food.  We also hear of customers dying from eating food that cause allergies. It makes you wonder if eating out is taking your life in their hands.

Hospitals, care homes, meals on wheels services and the general public are in the habit of purchasing  ready frozen microwave meals. These meals are high in fat, sugar and salt. Scientists have warned that emulsifiers – the chemicals widely used in processed foods including ice cream, bread and chocolate – may be a key cause of obesity. These emulsifiers are used to make smoother textures in foods such as peanut butter, sausages and mayonnaise. They are understood to be chemically active long after we digest them and they increase hunger and therefore we eat more.

If we are going to take the growing obesity epidemic seriously, we need an urgent look at what is being used in our food manufacturing and in the type of food and ready meals we serve our customers and campaign for the use of fresh local ingredients from as near the point of service as possible.”

Institute of Hospitality Showcases Student Research in New Digest

Digest coverThe Institute of Hospitality has published its inaugural Annual Digest of research by students from universities and colleges that are members of its Education Membership Scheme.

The subjects explored in the research papers include sophisticated menu engineering; the impact of the airbnb on the UK hotel industry; revenue management in ski resorts; and waffleshop franchises.

Alistair Sandall FIH, the Institute’s head of professional development, says: “We thank the students for their submissions to this inaugural Annual Digest. Thanks too must be passed to their lecturers for encouraging them to submit their research. ”

“If through this publication we can bring new insights and ideas into the bright lights and away from university shelves,  hopefully we can help to create closer links and ties between educators and practitioners.”

The following students’ research is showcased in the Digest;

Rosie Magurie, BA Professional Culinary Arts, University of Derby

Haroon Khan Afridi, MSc International Hotel Management, University of Surrey

Mara Leidi, BSc International Hospitality Management, Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne

Ida Davidsen, UG studies BSc (Hons) Hospitality Leadership and Management, Leeds Beckett University.

The Institute has 75 universities and colleges on its Education Membership Scheme, adding up to more than 3,000 student members across the world.

Download the 2017 Digest Here

Submissions for the 2018 Digest will be open from September with a deadline of 31st October. Full information can be found by downloading the Institute of Hospitality Digest Submission Guidelines.

If you have any queries, please email

If you would like your college or university to get involved but are not yet members of the Institute, contact the Membership Department on 020 8661 4900 or




One third of hospitality sector unaware of GDPR

PrintA survey[1] conducted by Lolly, the EPoS and payment solution specialist, and The Institute of Hospitality suggests that one third (33 per cent) of the hospitality sector is still unaware of the upcoming GDPR legislation, which comes into force on 25 May 2018.

EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is intended to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union. It aims primarily to give control back to citizens  over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment.[2]

The survey also uncovered that nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of those surveyed wouldn’t know what to do if customers requested details of the data being held about them. And half (50 per cent) of respondents said they were not aware of how their methods of personal data processing will be impacted under the new regulations.

Four out of ten respondents were unsure as to whether their operational data is safely backed up. However, on a more encouraging note, more than half (57 per cent) of hospitality providers are confident in the systems they have in place.

Peter Moore, CEO of Lolly, said: “A number of the findings uncovered in the survey are alarming given organisations of every size are going to be affected by the GDPR legislation. This will include small hospitality providers with fewer in-house legal and IT resources.”

“GDPR is only around the corner. It is time to take action and get to grips with your data – before it becomes too late. The fines are high, up to €20m or up to four per cent of the annual worldwide turnover, whichever is greater.[3]

Peter Ducker FIH, chief executive at the Institute of Hospitality, added: “Getting ready for GDPR is a good opportunity for operators to spring-clean their databases.  There is a tendency in organisations to hoard data and you will probably be surprised by how much data you hold – about customers, employees and suppliers – that is old, out-of-date or of no benefit to the business at all. That’s the first step. Then it’s a question of getting in touch with your customers and asking for their consent to be contacted. It is an opportunity to forge a new and more meaningful relationship with them.”

In order to get ready for GDPR, companies must:

  • Review the types of personal data currently held on file (paper, audio or digital formats);
  • Identify lawful grounds for collecting the data;
  • Identify how the data can be kept correct and up-to-date;
  • Identify redundant or erroneous data to cull, and
  • Make a plan as to how ALL of this data is going to be kept secure.

About Lolly
Lolly is a Point of Sale (PoS) specialist serving small businesses across the UK in the hospitality industry; from coffee shops, pubs and night clubs, to mobile catering, pop ups and corporate caterers.

The company offers a complete point of sale package where customers can use its EPoS software on tills and PoS tablets. Lolly then networks these to card payment machines, to speed up service and provides a cloud-based back office, supplying real-time business analytics. The tills and software are designed to help businesses with their bottom line.

In February 2017, Lolly launched LollyPoS – the first Windows-based downloadable EPoS with integrated payment processing. The solution is designed to provide a simple, efficient and dependable point of sale solution anytime, anywhere.

Lolly provides enterprise level EPoS to hospitality and retail SMEs at an affordable price. Today, it is the only UK business of its kind that can truly scale from a downloadable product to a fully connected real-time network of tills, powered by an enterprise-level inventory reporting management system.

Find Lolly online:




[1] The survey opened on 3rd October 2017, 120 hospitality sector respondents



trivago Awards 2018: Top-rated UK Hotels

trivago Awards - Top-rated hotels in the UK

Hotel search website and Business Partner of the Institute of Hospitality trivago releases the results of its annual trivago Awards, using over 175 million aggregated hotel reviews to determine the best-rated hotels in the UK.

This year, the top-rated hotels have been awarded across six different categories: 5-star, 4-star, 3-star, Alternative Accommodation, Value for Money and Chain Hotel.

“As an independent source of hotel information with data on over 175 million guest reviews, we are well-positioned to identify the top-rated hotels that excel at delivering exceptional guest experiences,” says Johannes Thomas, Managing Director of trivago N.V. “The trivago Awards give us the chance to recognise and honour the hard-working hoteliers behind these exemplary hotels, and we are thrilled to do so again this year.”

The Arthington Guest House - Blackpool

The award for the best alternative accommodation goes to The Arthington Guest House in Blackpool (pictured above) which was awarded also last year. Stephen Fazakerley cites their guests as the source of success: “A big thank you to all the guests both old and new who have posted reviews about us. We would not be a success without them.“

Hotel 41 - London

London’s Hotel 41 is the best 5-star hotel in the UK  (pictured above) according to their guests’ online reviews, making it a trivago Award winner for the second year in a row. Edward Boulton, Digital Marketing Manager, acknowledges the team for providing an exceptional service to their guests: “Our team go above and beyond to provide five-star service to each and every guest, ensuring that a stay at Hotel 41 is remembered for more than just the luxurious décor.”

The Clontarf Hotel - Llandudno

This year, the top-rated 4-star hotel is The Clontarf in Llandudno (pictured above) followed by The View at The White Horse Woolley Moor and La Place in Saint Aubin.

Cedar Manor - Windermere

Cedar Manor in Windermere (pictured above) is recognised as the best 3-star hotel in the UK and the best value for money can be found at St Michael’s Guest House in Scarborough.

The top-rated hotels within the most popular hotel chains in the UK are The Montcalm London Marble Arch, The Principal York and Laura Ashley The Manor.

For further insights and more detailed information about the winning hotels as well as the top-rated 10 hotels in each category in the UK, visit the trivago Hotel Manager Blog


Who will be judging the Restaurant Manager of the Year 2018?

RMOY 2018 logo copy (4)
As the closing date for entries into the Restaurant Manager of the Year approaches, we reveal who will be judging the final in January 2018. We are delighted to reveal three new judges who will help find the next big name in hospitality. Romain Pottier from Rhubarb, Paul Hurren FIH from Lusso and the current title holder, Matthew Mawtus from Pollen Street Social join an already prestigious list of names. John Cousins will be the chair of judges for the final and joining him on the expert panel is: –

  • Alper Zan
  • Rory Kelly-Naughton
  • Stephane Davaine
  • Chantelle Nicholson
  • Johanna Wimmer
  • Ian Sturrock
  • Ludovic Solmi
  • Roy Sommer

What will the judges be looking for to find their next winner? What does it take to be a good restaurant manager? And why should you enter? We caught up with some of the judges to find out more.

Roy Sommer, Chairman of the F&B Managers Association commented: “The Restaurant manager of the Year award highlights the great talent in our industry. Its history has shown many deserved winners from all backgrounds. This award is about the overall package and shows that it doesn’t matter if you work for one of the best hotels in the UK, or for a high street chain. To be an award-winning restaurant manager you need to have everything under control, remain calm, guide your team through service and ensure that guests have the best possible experience. And if they don’t, it’s how restaurant managers deal with the situation that makes them stand out. For those considering entering, there is nothing to be afraid of. You will take away a lot from the day itself which will help you in your career. Previous winners have included people from contract catering, high street and Michelin restaurants, private members clubs and hotels. Everyone has as much chance as each other to take this title.”

Rory Kelly-Naughton, hotels divisional manager at Evolve Hospitality said: “This is a great opportunity for a UK restaurant manager to show their skills and knowledge to the wider hospitality industry. I am going to be looking for someone with personality, the ability to interact with everyone and a positive attitude. To be a great restaurant manager you must have an ability to cope under pressure, a logical mind set and a great sense of humour. I have been involved in this competition for five years and I have enjoyed seeing how it has developed and how the winners have done in their careers, I look forward to discovering who will take the title next. To anyone who enters the competition, my advice would be to enjoy the experience, make connections with your competitors and judges, be yourself and have fun.”

Reflecting back on his success in 2016, Matthew Mawtus, general manager at Pollen Street Social added: “To be a great restaurant manager you need to know your business inside out, have complete product knowledge, show fairness and a desire to motivate and develop staff, whilst always engaging with your guests. As a judge I am going to be looking for confidence, clarity, warmth, personality and enthusiasm but above all, a genuine love of hospitality.”

Alper Zan, operations manager and hospitality consultant, won the title in 2014 and so he has seen this competition from both sides. He told us: “This is a really special award for our industry because it provides an opportunity to recognise, learn and celebrate the success of front of house managers. It can help influence the next generation as they discover how the UK’s leading managers adapt to exceed guest expectations and help their teams develop. Hospitality is a way of life for me and not just a job. I believe we need to do more to champion front of house service and restaurant managers in our country. It is a privilege to support, learn and influence people who have devoted their life to serve others.”

Romain Pottier, director of restaurants at Rhubarb was delighted to be asked to judge the award this year. He said: “This award provides a great opportunity for talented individuals to challenge themselves in front of a panel of experienced and senior industry experts. It sets the standard of what is expected from a restaurant manager nowadays, exposing them to all areas of our wonderful industry. I will be looking for a natural ability to lead and influence people in a positive way. Candidates must be very well groomed, articulate and clearly passionate about the art of hospitality.”

Restaurant mangers have until the 24th November 2017 to enter this award and the entry form can be completed online at
To enter, managers must answer three questions as well as submitting a CV and reference.  The best candidates will compete in a final on Monday 8th January 2018.