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Catering industry news round-up

13 | 09 | 13

We take a look at some of what is happening in the food industry this week, with a selection of news relevant to those in the catering equipment section.

Breweries on the rise

Recent figures suggest beer and breweries may be experiencing strong growth.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) released its Good Beer Guide for 2014. It reports that there have been 187 new breweries opening up within the last year. The total number of breweries in the UK, according to CAMRA, is the highest for 70 years.

Good Beer Guide 2014's editor Roger Protz said: "There has been a boom in the growth of breweries over the last 12 months, resulting in a total of 1,147 breweries now producing beer in the UK - and with more breweries comes greater choice for the drinker and more opportunities to buy locally produced brews"

With the new breweries, CAMRA suggests there are now around 5,200 British beers available.

Wetherspoons reports record profits

JD Wetherspoons has released its interim results, showing record sales for the company.

The franchise's pre-tax profits were up 6.3 per cent to £78.9 million. It also reported like-for-like sales growth of 5.8 per cent for the year leading to July 28th 2013. Total sales came to £1.28 billion - up seven per cent.

Yet the group also took time to comment on the VAT rate in the hospitality sector. Chairman Tim Martin said: "It is unsustainable to have far higher taxes for the pub industry than those for supermarkets.

"In particular, there should be VAT equality for pubs, restaurants and supermarkets."

As such, Wetherspoons will be participating in Tax Party Day on September 25th to support Jacques Borel's VAT Club. It will reduce prices by 7.5 per cent on the day to "publicise this inequality".

Pied a Terre appoints "artist-in-restaurant"

Pied a Terre, the Michelin-starred restaurant, has appointed Tim Head as "Artist-in-Restaurant".

It is well known that, alongside catering and kitchen equipment, a restaurant needs to look and provide the right atmosphere, but this is thought to be one of a few such positions in the UK - if not the only one.

The British artist has free rein across the restaurant, including the kitchens. He will create work inspired by its location at Fitzrovia Charlotte Street, London. One work will be permanent while the rest will be sold. An exhibition of the work will start on October 8th.

The position is currently planned for one year, after which the restaurant plans to offer another artist the post. Last year's artist was Anna Freeman.

Speaking to Caterer and Hotelkeeper, owner David Moore said: "Although it poses many challenges, it offers the opportunity for the restaurant to renew and regenerate every year with the input of the artist."

Mr Head has also designed a set of plates for the restaurant.

Push for universal free meals in schools

A group is set to launch a campaign for free school meals for every pupil later this month.

It is led by Islington councillor Richard Watts, GMB union president Mary Turner and London Assembly member Fiona Twycross. The shadow minister for education, Sharon Hodgson, is also backing the scheme.

Free school meals are already available for all children in certain London areas, such as Southwark, Islington and Newham. Making lunch universally free could see a rise in school meals being eaten. In turn, this could put a greater demand on catering and kitchen equipment in affected schools.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801637295-ADNFCR

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