Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: the impact of the UK’s new immigration system on the hospitality sector examined

All the news, reviews and trends from 29 February to 1 March, including the new shopping apps set to challenge Deliveroo and Wetherspoon’s switching to Beyond Meat

2 March 2020

Food news

Waitrose to ramp up grocery delivery plans

Waitrose is preparing to ramp up its investment in grocery delivery, according to The Telegraph, including ploughing money into its website and hiring new drivers. The investment is aimed at thwarting the online threat of Marks & Spencer and focusing on its own-brand products independently from its longstanding partner Ocado. Last year, Ocado ended the 20-year relationship by selling a 50% stake in its grocery business to M&S.


Wetherspoon’s swaps Meatless Farm for Beyond Meat

Wetherspoon’s will start serving vegan burgers from Beyond Meat as a replacement for the Meatless Farm option which it began selling in October. The pub chain’s burger will consist of Beyond Meat patties with chopped cos lettuce and sliced tomatoes in a sourdough burger bun, or in a "gourmet" version with rocket, red onion, tomato salsa, and smashed avocado.


McDonald’s trials triple cheeseburgers

Fast food giant McDonald’s has begun trialling a triple cheeseburger in a number of restaurants across the UK at a cost of £2.39. The burger, which is already available in the US and Australia, is currently available in 60 branches and if successful, could soon be rolled out nationwide.


KFC seeks professional chicken taster

In other fast food news, KFC is seartching for a professional chicken taster. “KFC is on the hunt for a professional finger licker,” a job advert says. “Yes – one clucky fan will get the chance to tuck into some of Kentucky’s finest, winging their way to stardom as the face of the chicken legend’s latest campaign.”


Lone Star targets Asda

American buyout firm Lone Star, which owns a major housing development near Wembley Stadium, is one of a number of private equity firms looking to acquire a stake in Asda. According to The Times, private equity firms Apollo and TDR are also said to be bidding as Walmart looks to offload after regulators blocked a £14bn merger with Sainsbury’s last year.


Food trends

The impact of the UK’s new immigration system

The UK government recently announced that, with the country having officially left the European Union, it will introduce a new points-based immigration system, which has caused concern among pub, bar and restaurant owners. The Telegraph this weekend investigated the impact the new laws could have on the hospitality sector, with figures from the British Hospitality Association figures showing that one in 10 bar staff and a quarter of chefs are EU nationals, along with 75% of all waiting staff.


The grocery apps set to challenge Deliveroo

According to the Financial Times, there are a wave of food shopping apps set to disrupt the dominance of Deliveroo as most consumers still buy most of their food from the supermarket, rather than buy a takeaway. Under the spotlight are apps including La Fourche in France (an online store offering heavily discounted organic goods), Matsmart in Sweden (sells dry goods for between 20% and 90% of original price) and Jow, which recommends 15-minute recipes and automatically fills shopping basket with the ingredients needed to buy them.


The invisible women at the heart of chocolate production

Approximately 60% of the world’s cocoa beans are farmed in West Africa, where those at the heart of production often live in abject on as little as 23p per day. The Independent’s Lizzie Rivera looked into how by owning land and working with co-operatives, the women most behind our chocolate are gradually improving their lives and the industry.


Food reviews

Davies and Brook, Claridge’s, Brook St, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR

“The main courses are simply two of the best plates of food I have been served in London in many years,” Jay Rayner writes in The Guardian this weekend where he reviews Davies and Brook in Claridge’s. Rayner bemoans the prices at the restaurant, run by three Michelin-starred chef Daniel Humm, but says it is all “extremely poised”, while that the food has a “pronounced Asian accent".

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