Top Five UK Restaurant Stories – July 2010

5. Skye Restaurant Named One of the Top 5 in the World by Famed Critic

A restaurant in Skye has been declared one of the best five places in the world to eat by famed food critic Frank Bruni. Staff at The Three Chimneys were ecstatic at the news that Mr Bruni rated them so highly, with the critic lavishing praise on the popular sea food restaurant in an article, stating that the restaurant was “an enchanting experience through and through. Some diners come by helicopter from Edinburgh or Glasgow: that’s how big a deal this restaurant is in Scotland. It’s intimate, beautiful, serves amazingly fresh local seafood, and does right by the local lamb as well.”

The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team, with Shirley Spear acting as Head Chef while running the business alongside her husband Eddie. She said that “We did not know it, but he visited us two years ago and obviously still retains fond memories of his experience here. To be selected as one of only five well-known greats such as Trattoria Monti in Rome or Hill Country in New York is staggering.”

The Spears took over the restaurant when they decided to make a lifestyle change and move their young children from Croydon to the comparatively quieter region of Skye.

4. EU Not to Ban Selling Eggs by the Dozen

In a move that food lobbyists in Britain will likely celebrate, it has been confirmed that the EU is not planning on banning the sale of groceries by quantity. Renate Sommer MEP responded to suggestions that shoppers might have to change their habits by stating that “There will be no changes to selling foods by number.”

Earlier in the month the European Parliament rejected an amendment that proposed that some foods traditionally sold by number could be exempt from the proposals to label food by weight.

However Ms Sommers confirmed that the new rules would simply allow for both weight and number to be indicated, requiring little in the way of changing the traditional method of purchasing. The law appears to have no actual effect on how goods are sold, and simply seems to enforce that each product sold should have its weight indicated.

British Labour MEP Glenis Willmott said “there is absolutely nothing in the new rules… that would prevent producers from selling their products by quantity – so to say that it won’t be possible to sell eggs by the dozen is plain wrong”.

3. Bromley Beats Out Birmingham to be Named UK’s Curry House Capital

The small town of Bromley has been named the UK’s curry house capital after a survey revealed that the town had one Indian restaurant for every 853 residents in the town in south-east London.

The town beat of stiff competition from a number of other locations, including Birmingham which has become renowned for its “Balti Belt”, a range of Indian Restaurants in the city centre. Other hotspots include Reading and Leicester.

There are currently believed to be around 9,000 Indian restaurants across the country, with Birmingham hosting a large amount of them but simply not matching the restaurant to person ratio of Bromley. The survey was released to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the UK’s first Indian restaurant, with one in five UK residents now claiming that Indian food is their favourite meal.

2. Radical Indian Restaurant Defies Normal Conventions

Chef Dev Biswal is looking to bring through wholesale changes to the Indian restaurant scene after opening a restaurant that doesn’t serve any curry dishes but does serve pork dishes. The controversial move comes attached to a promise that the restaurant will provide gourmet Indian food, however the use of pork seems to go completely against the halal traditions upheld by most Indian restaurants.

Biswal, who has worked as an executive chef in a Michelin starred restaurant, says the move is “something almost unknown in the UK’s 10,000 predominantly Bangladeshi-owned south Asian establishments.” Dishes are scheduled to change daily and will include a range of off-kilter Indian recipes.

He also intends to prove that wine can be matched to Indian cuisine, and is holding a tasting session to prove his point on the 8th August.

1. The Restaurant Show Begins Preparations for 2010 Event

The Restaurant Show 2010 is getting closer and closer, with event organisers promising everything from live shows to competitions and seminars in an attempt to attract visitors working in the restaurant and pub sectors. The show is now in its 22nd year and will run between October 11 – 13, boasting a line-up that includes some of the UK’s biggest chefs as well as tips from restaurant heads on how to succeed in such a competitive field.

Show organisers are planning a number of features, such as;

- A Centre stage to host the top chefs in the business as they provide workshops for interested foodies.

- A competition theatre that will see chefs from around the country go head to head to see which can create the best dish.

- A drinks quarter that allows bar managers to gain extra information and insight into stocking the right wines and spirits.

- Business seminars in which visitors can tap the minds of some of the biggest names in the industry.

Clair Bowman, features manager for the upcoming show, claims that “This year’s Restaurant Show is set to be the best yet – in fact I’d say it’s a must attend event for those working in the industry. We have a number of really exciting features, key industry networking opportunities and high profile competitions running over the three-day event providing even more entertainment for our visitors.”

5 Advantages Of A Rugged Monitor And How You Can Make Full Use Of It

The term rugged might be a known term for everyone, but "Rugged Monitors" is not so common. The following article contains information about the rugged monitors plus what advantages and disadvantages they provide to their customers or clients.

As the technology is advancing time to time, all portable computing gadgets are turning out to be tougher and rougher constantly. As consumer gadgets get littler they practice as a matter, of course, must be intended to be tougher. There are many different kinds of names you will see, namely minicomputers, UMPCs, ultra-mobiles, handhelds, and PDAs. In brief terms, two of the most critical parts of owning a rugged tablet are its adaptability and portability. Rugged portable PCs give you the capacity to work in a wide assortment of conditions and situations. In the event that your work obliges you to work on the outside, in a certain climate, or in other cruel conditions, then you usually will like the upsides of going with the rugged monitors.

Rugged monitors are in fact more expensive than their convertible or its spare parts, so there would be wise to be sufficient elements to legitimize its cost.

Apart from these two core benefits, more advantages of owning a rugged monitor are:

Portability

The portability of the rugged screen, intended to meet the requests of specialists who need to utilize their PC while standing up and conveying it to different areas, is the thing that makes it emerge contrasted with portable laptops.

The appeal of this element is upgraded by variety elements and inherent segments that can be found in the vast majority of these gadgets. Models of rugged screens can shift in size, with some being as little as 5.3 "x 8.5" x 0.85 "and as light as 1.2 pounds, making them the perfect hand-carry gadget.

Longer product life span

Considering its sturdiness, a rough screen guarantees a more drawn out life expectancy, since it can withstand extreme circumstances. This incorporates having a full IP-65 rating to ensure against dampness and earth. Subsequently, of its fast drive and durable development, it can likewise withstand stun in extra working conditions.

Different models of screens have a higher rate of being failed contrasted with tough tablets, making the last perfect for the individuals who rely on upon a functional PC in the field or in harsh situations.

Efficient and clear screens

A rough screen works well in poor visual conditions on the grounds that the show innovation can change in accordance with the circumstance. Be it a moist environment or a dry and flaming desert area, you can be sure that a rugged screen will have a reasonable show screen to satisfy your on-the-spot portable innovative needs.

We all know that if a thing has some advantages, then it must have some disadvantages as well.

Resolution

Every monitor has a settled pixel determination design determined at the season of fabricating that can not be changed. All other picture resolutions require rescaling, which for the most part results in critical picture degradation, especially for fine text and design. For most applicationsought to just be utilized for the local determination of the board. In the event that you require fine content and representation at more than one determination do not get an LCD show.

Interference

LCDs utilizing a simple information require watchful alteration of pixel following / stage keeping in mind the end goal to decrease or kill advanced clamor in the picture. Programmed pixel following / stage controls typically deliver the ideal setting. Timing float and jitter may require visit rearrangements in between the day. For some pictures and videos, you will most likely be able to view high-quality ones.

White Saturation

The splendid end of the LCD power scale is effectively over-burdened, which prompts to bad color and saturation. At the point when this happens, brightness at its maximum happens before achieving the maximum of the gray scale or the brightness increments typically close to the most extreme. Requires cautious change of the Contrast control.

The bottom line can be that although rugged monitors are not used in one's daily life, but they sure come handy in places where the situations are tough. A person can make full use of the rugged monitors where the level of weather and condition uncertainty is quite high. Although they are a bit expensive, but they come in handy.

Digital Signage – Powerful and Flexible Ways to Market Your Business in Tough Times

You gain new clients, increase average spend, save on print costs, introduce an elevated level of energy and vitality, and increase your profits. You have to have a good reason not to use it. Whether you're a hotel, Boutique, Pharmacy, Leisure Center, Car Dealership, Restaurant, or Take-Away, providing clients with eye-catching messages and information is vital.

Time to join your fellow SMEs who are tapping into the power of digital signage to attract attention, boost sales and avoid the costs associated with static, non-digital methods for presenting menus and promotions. Discover as many others have, the real benefits, savings and increased sales that exist within those pixels.

Impulse buying behavior

Where you have a market dependent on impulse ie Boutiques, Restaurants and Take-a-ways to name a few, you've got it made. Impulse buying disruptions the normal decision-making models in consumers' brains. The logical sequence of the consumers' actions is replaced with an irrational moment of self-gratification. Impulse items appeal to the emotional side of consumers. Some items bought on impulse are not considered functional or necessary in the consumers' lives.

Good signage solutions are designed to trigger these impulses, by exposing promotional messages at the right place and at the right time – you simply nudge consumers' to spot that something that stirs a particular passion in them – which in turn leads them straight to your tills .

Raise your company's profile

Many SMEs also realize that not only do they generate a great Return on Investment (ROI). Sure, we know they're eye-catching and that they can easily tempt passer-by's with mouth-watering images or up-sell on impulse using carefully crafted messages using the power of motion and change.

But now those screens are also saving money in creating a modernizing effect; At a lower cost than undertaking major leasehold improvements ie an "eye-catching" 40 "digital screen integrated into the design of your shop front, on display to anyone walking past." Digital Signage can introduce an elevated Level of energy and vitality to any shop front, adding a fresh look to your business promises. A more "high-end" appearance, this is easily achievable by any small business with a vision and desire to stand out from its competitors.

Not only does this provide SMEs with a prime promotional space on any busy high street, it also raises their profile. As digital signage becomes more established as a mainstream marketing technique it becomes more accessible to smaller businesses. The days of only seeing digital signage in Piccadilly Circus are over; The age of digital marketing is upon us.

Opportunity to profit from advertising time

These systems can also be used as a tool to generate advertising revenue by promoting other businesses and services; By selling advertising time on your digital display to other local businesses.

Revenue generation by advertising local non-conflicting businesses; A big brand like Budweiser may not get excited about advertising on your one – two screens inside your shop, but the local hairdressers or plumbers around the corner might. And with the local community Newspapers circulation falling – similar local retailers would be wise to follow.

Digital Signage can be an active element in anyone's marketing, unlike those never-changing listings within local directories and printed banners / signs – which when you add all these up – can cost the average retailer a fortune over time, and with a hard to measure ROI.

In tough times, you have to change the way you do business, by stopping the drip of less viable products that provide limited value to you. Digital Signage delivers real and measurable benefits to SMEs – proven business benefits.

Digital Signage = Smart Expenditure

The rising use of digital signage by small and medium-sized companies can be attributed to many factors, falling equipment costs – a 50% drop in the price of LCD displays over the last five years has previously made expensive solutions a realistic proposition for SMEs – Increased awareness and a realization of the competitive advantage that can be gained are all positive drivers. Smart expenditure, on this type of technology provides SMEs with a real affordable advantage in tough times.

The following excerpt from an article "Small businesses should make their technology pay" from SMEWeb.com (the online resource for SMEs in the UK) acknowledges this competitive advantage:

"Digital signage is another area which has seen leaps of progress over the past few years. And far from being a luxury, these screens can save thoughtful costs and so offer fast ROI – particularly for customer-facing businesses. Increase market share is to ensure your customers have the information they need about your company and products at the point of purchase.

Nowadays digital signage is far more than an elaborate poster; Used correctly it can provide real-time data; Stimulate demand by offering further information surrounding and complementary to products such as recipes or alternatives. Already they are being used extensively in restaurants and hotels – for example, to promote special dishes and update menus without the printing costs and allied transport overheads.

Small businesses need to be more responsive and quick off the mark than their larger counterparts – there's no better way to do this than using a digital sign which can be updated, either from a central location or locally, to reflect changing situations.

These are just two examples of the way that making smart investments in technology can make a real difference to the effectiveness of a business today. The challenge, particularly for SMEs, is to know what is available and how to implement them for the best return.

The key is to find a solutions provider that can give reliable advice and has a good relationship with a vendor so they can give you the inside track on the development of the product in future.

Hopefully we are through the tunnel of recession. However, it's worth coming up for air and taking a look at what there is to help smaller businesses. Far from being mere window dressing, the new electronics equipment just emerging onto the market can actually make a difference. "Time to open your eyes to the opportunities that digital signage has to offer.

Innovative Advertising Displays

You need a solution that addresses the fast growing need for digital signage displays in areas within the public eye, providing an effective form of advertising, information, communication or entertainment – you really need to be exploiting this, now.

Your best course of action would be to select one with a built-in media player and scheduling software; Allowing for simple plug and play methods for updating content, making them extremely user-friendly. Unlike many of your fellow SMEs, you will not be exploited into having to pay out for annual software licenses.

Using our Plug and Play displays, you do not need a computer or DVD support as the display has a memory card reader built-in. Simply insert an SD / CF Memory Card and power on. The screen automatically starts playing the images, video and music that are loaded onto the card.

You can easily set the position order and interval time (Breakfast, Lunch Hour Specials and Evening Dining) of each slide giving you complete control over every aspect of your digital signage – take a glimpse as to how easy our software is at Scheduling your playlists. The screen has a memory card locker to protect the memory card from public access. A wall mount also comes with the screen, so you can fix the screen on the wall without extra cost. Professional installation can be provided which also includes a walk-through of the product and its features.

Commercial grade displays are different from that of a TV purchased from your local electronic shop – these displays are more robust and rated to show content for more total hours, fit for purpose. All displays are designed for 24/7 use and have special LCD panels so that the color does not fade over time, as it would with other LCD panels found in TVs and PC monitors.

Their sleek, elegant tempered glass styling, ability to be in constant use (more energy-efficient) and wide viewing angle means that they offer many advantages over using home TVs for commercial display. As well as these benefits the Digital Advertising displays are also brighter than home TVs and have no buttons or controls on show. By placing a TV in a business environment, you typically lose or limit its warranty.

Additionally they can be easily networked or wirelessly connected to a PC for more frequent updates and even up to the minute RSS feeds.

Digital signage can be one of the most effective shopper marketing technologies in use in retail today; It can deliver the right message to the right place, at the right time, and in the right format; It has the power to impact sales, build brands and improve the customers' experience.

Cost of content and who controls it

There are companies that are claiming to be creators of Digital Signage, where the opposite being, there just jumping into the industry simply because it's hot. And with the analysts promising 33 percent or higher growth this year; This creates plenty of scope for others to follow.

One of their more noticeable mistakes, being content creation, an issue for these resellers, which in turn becomes an issue for their clients – these companies are simply not adept to creating interesting visual content – let alone the need and importance of refreshing content.

These companies often try to sell you expensive digital campaigns with their products – it should be noted that most of these content deals are just simple PowerPoint presentations that can be made by anyone with little experience. Alternately, most will provide you with contact numbers to very expensive Design Agencies that they have formed partnerships with – all this can be a real put-off for SMEs.

As an SME, you will want to cut costs when it comes to Digital Signage Content, so using in-house resources instead of giving the business to an outside supplier is one sure way of cutting costs. Most of us, have PowerPoint installed on our computers, and with powerful editing features such as adding videos, pictures and animations, you would be crazy not to use it for creating your own Digital Signage Content.

Integrating existing content such as logos, images, animations and video will be less time-consuming and inexpensive – this also ensures compliance with your existing image, listed by your company. Many SMEs may have internal / external marketing, printing and web design departments – these are great places to look for existing assets. Inevitable though, new content will obviously be required at some point in time.

Many providers and brands that may be part of your on-going promotions can also provide these assets. Existing logos and graphics can be retouched and animated, to provide a more dynamic and contemporary look. There is no reason why an SME can not produce and deliver a broadcast-quality experience to their clients, using in-house resources.

Small businesses in particular need to control the cost of content, to make their investment in a Digital Signage System, worthwhile. Therefore, when considering your Digital Signage Partner, it is best to choose a provider that will consider your size, budget and needs – one that specializes in designing low-cost media and content for SMEs.

A knowledgeable partner that has the time and desire to provide you with that one-to-one attention, dedicated to the highest level of customer satisfaction and service – walking you through every step of the specification and implementation process; Focusing on three things: improving sales, reducing costs and improving customer relations. A Digital Signage Partner with, a good proposal at good cost.

Financial Strategies For Troubled Firms

There are strategies that troubled companies can use to save themselves from dire straits and regain their former financial success. These same sort of strategies are valuable for business owners and financial executives to understand how their firms can avoid financial turbulence and failure.

We must first realize that business failure or bankruptcy never happens overnight. Normally there is a gradual trend of financial deterioration that is sometimes exacerbated by industry troubles. No doubt in the current 2009-2010 environment the auto industry is a poster child for a troubled industry, as an example.

Naturally firms that are on the very precipice of failure or bankruptcy do not have many options or time left. It has to fix itself, or sink. No business owners or entrepreneurs want to face bankruptcy, liquidation, and other creditor issues.

Do financially failing firms survive because of a revival in products or their services, or have they in fact executed on improved financial management. This is a challenging questions, because the very financial problems that beset a firm hinder it in getting new sales, acquiring inventory, and regaining supplier credibility.

Also, lets be realistic, banks and other finance companies do not throw themselves at failing firms with financial offers of loans, lines of credit, etc. In fact what usually happens is that the company is forced to pledge some or all assets at much higher rates, sometimes simply accentuating the financial problems that were already there.

So what are the financial strategies that a firm can undertake to avoid financial failure when it has been losing sales, not generating profits, and generally traveling down a potential death spiral?

There are three or four solid strategies that can save the firm. The first is ‘ assets ‘. The second is liabilities and debt, and the third we will simply call ‘ maneuverering ‘.

Strategy 1:

Assets have value. They can be sold, re financed,, or pledged to secure new financing. This type of strategy works best when it works for all parties, the company and the lender, or the company and another firm. However lets be clear that this is somewhat of a one shot strategy. It either must work or it doesn’t. Asset maneuvers have 3 stages of success: assets can be used to get a new loan, assets can be sold, or they can, in somewhat of a worst case scenario, be liquidated.

Strategy 2:

On the other side of assets on the balance sheet is debt and equity. Debt can be structured properly to ensure the lender gets a reasonable reward, and the company is able to both repay and survive. There are too many types of debt to consider for the purposes of this article – suffice to say that creativity in debt is somewhat unlimited. A firm could issue debt, as an example, and repay only when the company is earning profits again.This would normally entail higher rates, but again, as we have stated, the transaction has to make sense both for customer and lender. A solid alternative solution is to simply re – structure existing debt at new rates and amortizations.

Alternatively to debt a company with promise can bring in new equity or ownership. This is somewhat more risk for all as dilution of ownership is usually significant when a company is failing and bring in new equity capital.

Strategy 3: A firm sometimes has to look to the outside for help. Since the owners and managers are often too close to the problem it is somewhat of a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees. Outside consultants and industry experts can often bring a solution to the table. They have insights that management simply did not possess. These strategies include developing new sales and product strategies, bring in new management, or considering a strategic merger.

In summary, anyone who has worked through several business cycles over a number of years knows that companies can in fact be saved. Some go on to be the new super stars of their respective industry. The company must clearly uncover what the problem is, and then adapt strategies, financial or otherwise, to fix those problems