Compass CEO Richard Cousins dies in plane crash

Compass group chief executive Richard Cousins has died in a seaplane accident near Sydney, Australia.

The catering giant confirmed that 58 year old Cousins had died alongside four members of his family in the tragic accident.

He was with his two sons, fiance and her daughter returning from a restaurant in Jerusalem Bay on New Year’s Eve when the sight-seeing seaplane went down in the Hawkesbury River, near the suburb of Cowan.

The crash killed all six occupants of the seaplane, including the pilot.

Compass Group chairman Paul Walsh said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news. The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them.

“It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for the last few years. Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsense style that transformed Compass into one of Britain’s leading companies.”

Cousins was appointed group chief executive of Compass in 2006, following six years as CEO of building materials company BPB. He was due to step down as chief executive in March and retire from the group in September.

It was announced in September 2017 that Dominic Blakemore, chief operating office Europe, would be appointed deputy chief executive of Compass in preparation to replace Cousins in March.

UK diners could spend an estimated £54.7bn on eating out by 2017, a new study has claimed.

UK diners could spend an estimated £54.7bn on eating out by 2017, a new study has claimed.

The UK’s restaurant sector is booming, with Britons spending a total of £52.2bn eating out in 2015.

But NPD Group predicts this figure will climb to £53.3bn in 2016 with diners making 11.4bn visits to foodservice companies.

NPD said it expected the UEFA Euro Champsionship and the Rio Olympics to provide a boost to the eating out market later this year.

By 2017 Britons are forecast to spend an estimated £54.7bn on eating out, making 11.5bn visits to restaurants, pubs and other out-of-home food companies.

Cyril Lavenant, NPD’s Director of Foodservice for the UK, said: “It’s good to see that there was a bigger improvement in 2015 than anticipated, with the actual performance of 1.3 per cent visit growth against our prediction of 1.1 per cent.

“However, while 2017 will also see growth, it is likely that the pace will slow down. We do not see consumers increasing their spending in the foodservice sector any faster than this.”

Casual Dining

While the casual dining market is continuing to grow NPD said it would take until 2017 to hit the £5bn sales mark, compared to the £4.7bn sales seen in 2015.

The company said the slower rate of spend growth is due to casual dining reaching saturation point in the London market, with the capital accounting for 20 per cent of overall British foodservice industry spend.

 

 

The Association of Catering Excellence (ACE) launches new awards

The Association of Catering Excellence (ACE) last night launched its new awards aimed at showcasing young talent in the world of contract catering. The awards are named after Robyn Jones OBE, founder of CH&Co, who sadly died in September 2015.

The ACE Robyns were created by the ACE committee in memory of Jones, who was known for her tireless work in the mentoring, training and development of young talent.

They aim to recognise up and coming talent in all aspects of contract catering, from chefs to marketers and from butlers to business development staff.

Entries will open from 1 March and people can either nominate themselves or be nominated by a colleague. The awards are open to talented team members aged 35 and under who have what it takes to make a real difference in the industry, whether that’s cooking, serving or driving a business forward. Full details of how to enter will be announced on the ACE website, social media and newsletter in the next few weeks.

Speaking at a prestigious wine dinner, which was attended by over 200 guests at Goldsmiths Hall last night (18 February), chair of ACE, Paul Hurren said: “This is the first step on a long journey for ACE to promote the incredible talent that we are seeing from the next generation of contract catering staff. We want to show that contract catering has so much to offer in terms of job opportunities and is an exciting career choice for young people.”

There will be 12 finalists shortlisted and the overall winner will be announced at the ACE summer event, which is being held on a Bateaux London Cruise on the 21 July.

Talking about the name of the awards Hurren added: “It didn’t take long to work out what these new ACE awards should be called. Having known and worked with Robyn personally for many years, I know she would have loved to be involved with this programme and I am delighted that we are able to continue the good work she started so many years ago. I encourage the whole industry to get behind the ACE Robyns Award and seek out the talented staff members that truly deserve to be recognised in some way.”

Entrants and managers have until 20 May to submit their entry or nomination.

The winner will receive dinner and an overnight stay at the Shard, as well as Champagne and lifetime membership of ACE and be the first to join the ACE Robyns hall of fame

Shocking amounts of sugar in hot drinks

There are “shocking” amounts of sugar in some hot drinks sold in High Street cafes, a campaign group has warned.

Action on Sugar analysed 131 hot drinks and found a third contained at least as much sugar as a can of Pepsi or Coca-Cola, which contains nine teaspoons.

The charity said in some of the worst cases the drinks contained 20 or more teaspoons of sugar.

Coffee shop chains Starbucks, Costa and Caffe Nero said they were committed to reducing sugar content in their drinks.

The drinks assessed included flavoured coffees such as mochas and lattes, hot fruit drinks and hot chocolates from coffee shops and fast food chains.

The charity found that 98% of the drinks tested would receive a red nutritional value label for high sugar content.

The recommended maximum intake of added sugar per day for those aged 11 and over is about 30g or seven teaspoons, the NHS says.

Worst offenders for each type of flavoured hot drink
Cafe Drink Category Sugar per serving (g) Teaspoons of sugar per serving**
Starbucks Hot mulled fruit – Grape with chai, orange, and cinnamon – Venti Hot mulled fruit 99.0 25
Costa Chai latte – Massimo – Eat In Chai latte 79.7* 20
Starbucks White chocolate mocha with whipped cream – Venti White mocha 73.8* 18
Starbucks Signature hot chocolate – Venti Hot chocolate 60.0* 15
KFC Mocha Mocha 58.8* 15
Caffe Nero Caramelatte – Drink in Caramel latte 50.6* 13
   
   

 

Starbucks’ venti Grape with Chai, Orange and Cinnamon Hot Mulled Fruit was found to have the highest sugar content of the drinks tested, with 25 teaspoons of sugar per serving, the campaign group said.

Costa’s massimo eat-in Chai Latte was found to contain 20 teaspoons of sugar and Starbucks’ venti White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream was found to have 18.

KFC’s mocha and Starbucks’ Signature Hot Chocolate both had 15 teaspoons of sugar per serving while Caffe Nero’s drink-in Caramelatte had 13.

The group’s researcher Kawther Hashem called on coffee shop chains to reduce the amount of sugar in their drinks, improve their labelling and scrap extra-large serving sizes.

“These hot flavoured drinks should be an occasional treat, not an everyday drink,” she said.

“They are laden with an unbelievable amount of sugar and calories and are often accompanied by a high sugar and fat snack.”

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she was “surprised” by the results, and said the campaign group had tested only the larger portion sizes on offer.

Professor Graham MacGregor, Action on Sugar chairman, said it was “yet again another example of scandalous amounts of sugar added to our food and drink”.

“No wonder we have the highest rates of obesity in Europe,” he said.

A Starbucks spokeswoman said the chain had “committed to reduce added sugar” by 25% by the end of 2020 in its “indulgent drinks”.

“We also offer a wide variety of lighter options, sugar-free syrups and sugar-free natural sweetener and we display all nutritional information in-store and online,” she said.

Kerry Parkin, Costa’s head of communications, said the chain had already taken “significant steps” to reduce the sugar content of its drinks.

The company would be setting salt and sugar reduction targets for 2020, she said.

A Caffe Nero spokeswoman said: “We have already made changes to reduce the sugar content of some of our iced drinks for summer 2016 by over 10%.

“In addition, we offer sugar free syrups for many drinks, and all nutritional information is available on our website so that customers can make an informed choice. This will remain a focus as we look at the sugar content in all our drinks over the coming years.”

Unemployment falls

Unemployment in the UK fell by 60,000 between October and December to 1.69 million, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The rate of unemployment was unchanged from a month ago at 5.1%, maintaining a decade-low rate.

More than 31.4 million people are in work, the highest figure since records began in 1971.

But ONS statistician Nick Palmer said that growth in people’s earnings was still slow.

“While the employment rate continues to hit new highs and there are more job vacancies than ever previously recorded, earnings growth remains subdued and markedly below the recent peak of mid-2015,” Mr Palmer said.

Inactive rate falls

Pay increased by 2.0% during the period, very similar to the growth rate between September to November 2014 and September to November 2015, which was 1.9%.

The number of Britons in work increased by 278,000 in the three months to the end of December, to 28.28 million, while for non-UK nationals, the figure rose by 254,000 to 3.22 million.

The economically inactive rate for women fell to 27.2%, a record low.

Last month, Bank of England governor Mark Carney signalled that a rise in interest rates would not be imminent as global economic growth slowed.

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the US economy added 151,000 jobs in January, helping to push the country’s unemployment rate down to 4.9%.

However, the US number was lower than expected and was a sharp slowdown from December, when 292,000 jobs were added.

Unemployment in the eurozone dropped in December to its lowest rate in more than four years, despite worries about the global economy.

Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency, said the jobless rate in the 19 country eurozone had fallen to 10.4% from 10.5% in November.

The Top Nine Tricky Interview Questions

Here’s an overview of all our guidance on how to tackle specific tricky interview questions that you might come up against in your graduate job interviews.

Forewarned is forearmed, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the key tricky interview questions that recruiters love to use and candidates sometimes stumble over. Here it is in full, so read on to find out what employers are really asking and pick up tactics for giving answers that show you in the best possible light.

‘What is your biggest weakness?’

The problem with this question is that you’re being asked about your shortcomings, when your instinct, in an interview situation, is to keep your flaws as well hidden as possible. What you need to do is to frame your answer to as to give it a positive spin.

Strengths and weaknesses can be different sides of the same coin, so another way to approach this question is to think about how you overcome the potential downside of your greatest strength. For example, if you’re a natural teamworker, is it difficult for you to cope with conflict or assume leadership abilities? How do you cope with this?

‘Why do you think you will be successful in this job?’

This isn’t an invitation to boast – you are being asked to match your strengths to the qualities needed to do the job. Don’t forget, it’s a very specific question. Why are you suited to this job, as opposed to any other? Thorough employer research will save the day, as it will enable you to match your skills, interests and experience to the job role and the company.

‘Have you ever had a bad experience with an employer?’

Graduate recruiters use some questions as much to see how you cope when you’re put on the spot as to elicit a truthful answer. This question is a test of your ability to think on your feet and come up with a diplomatic response. Whether you sidestep the question by saying you’ve always got on well with your employers, or describe a tricky situation you’ve experienced that highlights your potential, you need to avoid attacking your previous employers. Also, take care not to incriminate yourself.

‘Give an example of a time when you handled a major crisis.’

Feel free to reframe the question. This is similar to asking ‘Can you give an example of a time when you had to cope with a difficult situation?’ or ‘Give an example of a time when you had to cope under pressure’. However, ‘crisis’ is a much stronger, more emotive word. You may find it easier to give an example if you think back through your work experience, study, extracurricular activities and travel and come up with a time when you had to cope with an unexpected problem.

‘Where do you expect to be in five years’ time?’

This is another question that allows you to show off your employer research and your understanding of your chosen career path. You’ll want to come across as enthusiastic, but not arrogant. Tailor your response to reflect the nature of the organisation, the sector, and your own experiences and skills. Specific details will impress.

What motivates you?

You are particularly likely to be asked about your motivation in a strengths-based interview, which focuses on what you enjoy doing and what you do well. Your answer should draw on an example from your extracurricular activities, work experience or studies that suggests you would be strongly motivated by the job you are applying for.

How do you manage your time and prioritise tasks?

When a recruiter asks how you manage your time, don’t just give an example of a time when you did this successfully. Your interviewer wants to know your tactics and strategies for getting yourself organised, so whatever approach you use to prioritising and listing your tasks, you should be ready to describe it.

Give an example of a time when you showed initiative.

If an interviewer asks you to describe a situation in which you showed initiative, avoid giving an example of an idea you had but never put into action. It’s much better to talk about a time when you not only came up with a solution to a problem but also acted on it. Then you can explain the effect your decision had when you put it into practice.

Give an example of your lateral thinking.

Lateral thinking is the ability to use your imagination to look at a problem in a fresh way and come up with a new solution. Companies prize employees with lateral thinking skills because without them, they can’t innovate and create new products. Think about times when you’ve been faced with real-life problems and have somehow managed to overcome them. Chances are your solution involved an original, creative approach, and that’s what employers want to find out about.

 

Restaurants drive growth in Oriental food consumption

The explosion in the number of Pan-Asian restaurants is driving the growth of Oriental food in the UK, according to a report published today to coincide with the start of Chinese New Year.

Commissioned by Oriental grocer Wing Yip, the Oriental Food Report is a comprehensive study of the growing influence of Chinese food and other South East Asian cuisines in the UK.

The report highlights that 94% of people have eaten Chinese food at home as a takeaway or in a restaurant, but very few ever dine out on Oriental cuisine in a pub.

The independent research was conducted through an online survey of over 3000 consumers and also includes commentary from some of the leading players in the Oriental food and restaurant sector, as well as input from Horizons and CGA Peach.

Restaurants, and particularly new openings in and around London, are driving consumption with 70-80% of those who eat Oriental cuisines, other than Chinese – where the takeaway sector remains a big player – doing so at a restaurant. With relatively few people cooking Oriental food at home, restaurants are critical to the success of the market and there are now more than 4000 Chinese, Thai and Japanese restaurants in the UK – an 18% growth in the last five years.

The latest data from Horizons backs up the research, highlighting that the number of Pan- Asian dishes listed by branded restaurants has also grown by 9% over the last three years.

Chinese dominates Oriental consumption Chinese food continues to dominate the favourite meal list with 87% of those who have tried any Oriental cuisines eating it nowadays. The most popular Oriental dish is Sweet and Sour Chicken with Thai Green Curry at number two and Sushi coming in at number four.

The report also highlights that consumer tastes are becoming ever-more adventurous with 39% choosing to eat Thai food and 20% Japanese – now the UK’s third most popular Oriental cuisine.

Supporting this trend, Horizons says sushi is now the most commonly listed Pan-Asian dish on branded menus, representing one in four of all pan-Asian menu listings – up from 14% two years ago.

Travellers’ choice With more people holidaying in South East Asia, the report also highlights that these consumers are motivated by the food and those who have visited the region are more likely to eat it back in the UK.

Brian Yip, managing director of Wing Yip UK Trading, said:  “This report highlights that consumers are becoming far more adventurous in their tastes and with the number of pan-Asian restaurants growing, including some exciting new concepts, the future looks bright for the sector.

Wing Yip’s Oriental Food Report looks at some of the trends and behaviours driving the changes in the marketplace and includes:

  • Britain’s most popular Oriental dishes
  • How often people eat out at Chinese restaurants
  • The growth of pan-Asian dishes on mainstream branded restaurant menus
  • The rising influence of Japanese food
  • The reasons why Oriental cuisines are so popular
  • The importance of London
  • How travel influences growing Oriental food consumption
  • The barriers to cooking Oriental food at home

 

 

 

Latest Words To Avoid On Your CV

It’s a new year, but the dictionary hasn’t been updated much.

Sure, there are a few emojis to clutch onto, but at heart you’re at the mercy of the English language yet again.

This can prove especially difficult when you have a résumé to write.

Each time someone writes their résumé, they think they’re being original. Or, perhaps, they’re merely writing what they think HR directors (or their software) want to hear.

So here are the latest words to avoid.

1. Motivated

Yes, because anyone who doesn’t write this word is merely looking for a job to fund their pot habit. Of course you’re motivated. You’ve just sent out your résumé.

2. Creative

Indeed you are. Because every creative person on earth has “creative” on their business card. That only happens in advertising. Which isn’t very creative.

3. Enthusiastic

I would rather leap at a résumé that actually had “bit of a miserable sod” as a self-description. It would at least show self-awareness. Of course you’re enthusiastic. For the first month of your new job, at least.

4. Track Record

Otherwise known as Broken Record. These are the people who boast that they’ve been there and done that. Well, if you’ve already been there, why do you want to come here? To do the same boring job all over again?

5. Passionate

Your job and you are like frisky lovers. You can never get enough of each other. You think about each other all the time. There’s never a dull day. Till the divorce, that is.

6. Successful

Wouldn’t it be lovely to read a résumé that began: “Under-appreciated, frustrated executive looking for a home.” Instead people write: “I’m great.” Oh.

7. Driven

This one drives me crazy. The only way to succeed is apparently to be obsessed and to express your obsession at every turn. Because business is a race. Or something.

8. Leadership

You’d hate anyone to think you’re a follower, wouldn’t you? So you must be a leader then. Even if the only leadership jobs you’ve had so far are leading one student march and a few fellow workers to a new lunch spot.

9. Strategic

You’re not a functionary. You’re strategic. You strategize day and night. About what, exactly? Is this some fancy word for saying you have a brain that works?

10. Extensive experience

I learned this very young: Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. Why don’t you just write: “Been around. Still not happy.”

I think we have a résumé crisis.

We need to be passionate, creative, and think strategically about this. We should use our track record and our extensive experience to give guidance

Sugar tax not ‘off the table’

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that the Prime Minister has not taken a sugar tax off the table, ahead of this month’s child obesity strategy.

Hunt said: “David Cameron has said that if it isn’t a sugar tax then it needs to be something equally robust, but he has not taken a sugar tax off the table.

“Partly it’s what food manufacturers do and that’s why you have discussion about taxes on drinks. It’s also what the retailers do, it’s what schools do, it’s what parents do.”

A sugar tax was first proposed in a joint campaign led by Jamie Oliver and Sustain, which was then backed by Public Health England in its October report as a means to reducing sugar intake.

More recently, City Hall announced it was introducing a ten pence charge on all added-sugar soft drinks sold in its café. NHS England announced earlier this month in the Guardian that a sugar tax would be introduced across its hospital cafes in a bid to tackle obesity in England.