First, some cyber news for all you foodie techno-geeks out there: Radisson Edwardian Hotels are putting QR codes beside every dish on their menus. If you scan it with your smartphone, it’ll show you a video of the dish being prepared. In addition, The Hilton has received over 100,000 bookings through mobile phone apps since launch in 2010. On the back of our last post, we’re just saying ‘Hellooo restaurateurs – is anybody out there? Because we are – with the technology – and we’re just waiting for you.’ Read full post
It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete techno-geek or a Luddite these days; one way or another the wonders of the Web will ensnare you. But are restaurants struggling to keep up with our insatiable thirst for up-to-the-second information? Let’s face it, pretty much everyone lives some part of their lives online, be it checking emails, checking out Facebook or checking in on Twitter, and we’re no slouches when it comes to choosing where to eat out. 53% of us research places to eat online before booking, which shows that if the restaurant isn’t represented in cyberspace, we ain’t interested. In fact – and it’s hard to believe – but apparently over a third of restaurants still don’t have a website and a quarter don’t promote themselves online at all, indicating some places are seemingly, incredibly, content to rest on their bay leaves while the competition picks up the roaming punter. Read full post
There can be little else more trying to the gastronome’s nerves than the sound of shrieking children ricocheting off the walls of a favourite restaurant. Badly-behaved brats can ruin your well-earned meal out, but what’s the form when it comes to letting your displeasure be known?
Restaurants could take matters into their own hands: Last year Olde Salty, a restaurant in N. Carolina, banned children outright – ‘Screaming children will not be tolerated’ is their hard line and they have reportedly seen a rise in custom to compensate for the undoubtedly peeved families taking theirs elsewhere. Read full post
So it’s official. From September all dining establishments are ‘on plan’ to encourage the public to change their eating habits by declaring health information including calories per dish, ingredients and perhaps even fat content. All this will be appetisingly displayed on the menu, right next to your seared scallops (good) or your foie gras and sour cherry terrine (Hello? What were you thinking?). Of course, it’s not legislation (yet) but the government and the NHS would like to achieve the changes without such action and apparently 85% of us are in agreement, according to the Food Standards Authority, in that restaurants should make clear what’s in their food. Read full post
Last time we made our predictions for the new trends in food for 2011. This time, we’re gazing into our crystal soup bowl to see if we can spy what’s going to be hot hot hot in Restaurant Land this year. It’s no good for those whose partying days are far behind them, but if you’re still in the flush of youth – or can just stay up past 10.30pm – then this new trend is all yours. All-night dining is set to take the country by storm: whether you’re clubbing in The Blue Bar in Liverpool, fine dining at The Brompton Club or looking for a post-theatre pick-me-up at Fergus Henderson’s new joint, The St John Hotel, there’s something more on offer than a dirty burger past lights out. And we say, thank God, quite frankly – it’s been a long time coming. . . Read full post
Hold on to your toques. 2011 promises to be – despite what you might think – an exciting year in Foodie Land. We’re setting our stall out now with our predictions of what’s gonna be hot for the next months. The rise and rise of Asian food continues with a wave of new restaurants opening across the country. Hey, even Blackpool can boast its own Vietnamese bistro. But it’s not just Vietnamese pho bars, look out for Korean barbecue coming to a table near you. And although we all love a good Chinese, you can forget sweet-and-sour; think instead Szechuan hotpots and Hunan Province dishes – it’s getting regional. And if you’re finally bored of sushi, panic not. Just get yourself along to an izakaya – Japanese drinking establishments serving bar snacks to soak up the sake. Read full post
According to some little-known but tacitly-agreed law, the British don’t see service (ie waiting on) as a career in itself. It’s long been acknowledged – and we’ve said it here too – that practically every other country in the world serves better than we do because it is seen as a valued job, rather than a drop-out pastime for disaffected youth.
So it is incredibly heartening to hear that thousands applied to take part in Michel Roux Jr’s new BBC2 series Service. He’s chosen eight 17-24 year-olds from diverse backgrounds to be trained in the arts of front of house in establishments ranging from high-street chains to Le Gavroche, the two winners going on to be trained as professional maitre d’ and sommelier. And these young people, ranging from graduates to teen single mothers, all see the value and longevity in a career in front of house. It makes you proud – and even optimistic – that these young people, many of whom have never even set foot in a restaurant and frankly didn’t know the difference between a starter and a main course, chose this profession to turn their life around. Read full post