Lack of Sleep Impairs Decisions about Food

There have been two recent studies which consisted of scanning the brains of people who have been sleep deprived compared to people who have had enough sleep. The studies showed that people reacted differently when deciding on having healthy or unhealthy food depending on how much sleep they have had.

The results showed that the areas of their brain that were activated were those related to reward and those that were inhibited were the area’s that related to behaviour control. The results may explain the link between sleep deprivation and obesity.

Dr Marie-Pierre St-Onge led one of the studies said, “The results suggest that, under restricted sleep, individuals will find unhealthy foods highly salient and rewarding, which may lead to greater consumption of those foods.”

The study was conducted over five days on 25 men and women who were of normal weight. They were then allowed either 4 hours or up to 9 hours and were then shown images inside an fMRI scanner of healthy and unhealthy foods. Those who were sleep deprived and shown healthy images, the reward centres of the brain were not active compared to when they were shown images of unhealthy food and these same areas were very active.

Dr St-Onge carried on saying, “This may suggest greater propensity to succumb to unhealthy foods when one is sleep restricted.

“Indeed, food intake data from this same study showed participants ate more overall and consumed more fat after a period of sleep restriction compared to regular sleep.”

Stephanie Greener who conducted the work at the University of California said, “It seems to be about the regions higher up in the brain, specifically within the frontal lobe, failing to integrate all the different signals that help us normally make wise choices about the food we eat.”

This research does help explain other studies that have found a link between a lack of sleep and obesity by showing how the brain can’t make the right choices about food we should eat after being sleep deprived.

Maybe this is why many fast food restaurants, hopefully with the appropriate restaurant insurance are open till the early hours of the morning? Whether you are selling healthy or, perhaps not so healthy, food no matter what time of the day make sure you have the right insurance policy. This will mean your business can carry on as usual even in unforeseen circumstances.

Red Bow Causing Uproar

Adam Pledger who is the owner of Park House restaurant in Cardiff had placed a 65 foot, red bow around the building in which he operates his restaurant with the aim to attract more customers.

Pledger has been ordered by Cardiff council to take the ribbon down as it is illegal and they have threatened him with legal action if he doesn’t take it down. He says that the council should be helping businesses through the tough economic times and just letting companies get on with it instead of restricting them.

The reason the council have said the ribbon needs to be taken home is because the building is listed so Pledger needed to get consent which he hadn’t applied for. Adam could have prevented this from happening by applying for the proper consent and although his restaurant insurance won’t cover him for anything that is within his control, it is still sensible to be covered for things that are unforeseen e.g. fire or flood.

Mr Pledger said, “The council should be there to help businesses – not hinder them. They should be standing aside and letting businesses get on with it. It’s just red tape and bureaucracy.

“The purpose of it was to show that we are open to the public. It was to try to advertise a building that many people just walk past and make people instead take a second look.”

Adam Pledger has been operating in the building for seven years and said that the ribbon was temporary and would be taken down later on in the month. He said, “It’s not a permanent structure, it’s just to try to generate some interest. Far from complaints, I have got people who have events on next year asking if we can put it back for them.” He also carried on saying that the ribbon had been put up by a specialised company and that no damage had been caused to the building.

A spokeswoman for Cardiff Council said, “Park House is a grade I listed building designed by one of the greatest of the Victorian-art architects, William Burges. It was listed by Cadw for its historic and architectural value in 1966 and is probably one of the most important 19th century houses in Wales.

“Any alterations to a listed building require listed building consent and where appropriate consent has not been granted the alterations are deemed illegal.”

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Adam Pledger who is the owner of Park House restaurant in Cardiff had placed a 65 foot, red bow around the building in which he operates his restaurant with the aim to attract more customers.
Pledger has been ordered by Cardiff council to take the ribbon down as it is illegal and they have threatened him with legal action if he doesn’t take it down. He says that the council should be helping businesses through the tough economic times and just letting companies get on with it instead of restricting them.
The reason the council have said the ribbon needs to be taken home is because the building is listed so Pledger needed to get consent which he hadn’t applied for. Adam could have prevented this from happening by applying for the proper consent and although his restaurant insurance won’t cover him for anything that is within his control, it is still sensible to be covered for things that are unforeseen e.g. fire or flood.
Mr Pledger said, “The council should be there to help businesses – not hinder them. They should be standing aside and letting businesses get on with it. It’s just red tape and bureaucracy.
“The purpose of it was to show that we are open to the public. It was to try to advertise a building that many people just walk past and make people instead take a second look.”
Adam Pledger has been operating in the building for seven years and said that the ribbon was temporary and would be taken down later on in the month. He said, “It’s not a permanent structure, it’s just to try to generate some interest. Far from complaints, I have got people who have events on next year asking if we can put it back for them.” He also carried on saying that the ribbon had been put up by a specialised company and that no damage had been caused to the building.
A spokeswoman for Cardiff Council said, “Park House is a grade I listed building designed by one of the greatest of the Victorian-art architects, William Burges. It was listed by Cadw for its historic and architectural value in 1966 and is probably one of the most important 19th century houses in Wales.
“Any alterations to a listed building require listed building consent and where appropriate consent has not been granted the alterations are deemed illegal.”
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Michelin Star Chef Bites Back


Restaurateur Sat Bains is fighting back after he felt some of the comments left by critics on TripAdvisor were unfair.

He said he felt people who were unhappy with the service or food they received at his restaurant should have said something while they were there, instead of writing these negative reviews. “Most nasty reviews are done by hidden guests that do not make themselves known. This is my business and I do take all criticism very seriously.

“But I am finding it harder to do so from mysterious, scared guests who won’t even share their experience with us at the restaurant but decide to hide behind a mask and type away until their heart’s content.”

Bains opened his restaurant, Sat Bains, in 2002 and after just a year, he had already achieved a Michelin star and it was Nottingham’s first. In 2006 the restaurant won the restaurant of the year in England by the AA and he won the best starter award in the 2007 Great British Menu series.

Despite all these awards and having two Michelin stars, customers are still criticising his food and service. A customer wrote “The food is good but not exceptional, the prices are too high and there is just something missing here.” Bains wrote back, “I know what’s missing… You. Now stay away, the 2 for 1’s are missing your business.” He said the main reason he writes back is to give some balance to the negative reviews.

His comments appear to have caused little damage the restaurants reputation and many feel that he is entitled to respond to the negative comments as everyone is allowed their own views. Many also feel that it is done in a tongue and cheek way.

Sat Bains, like every other restaurateur, needs restaurant insurance to ensure his business and livelihood will carry on in the wake of an unforeseen circumstance.

What can we Expect from the Olympics Food Court?

The Olympic Games have been promising us all that the food served this year will be the “best of British.”

This makes us all think of our traditional English goodies: Sunday roast, tea and scones, fish and chips, beef wellington, Cornish pasty along with an Eton mess and a pot of hot tea or a pint of ale. What we are getting isn’t far off, according to a sample menu that has been released.

The menu for what will be on offer accompanied with prices was released early this week and the list includes: Singapore noodles, chicken wings, pizza, pasta and chicken burritos.  There will also be African barbeques, fish and chips and the good old pie and mash.  Also at the Olympic Park is the biggest McDonald’s in the world, which has a capacity of seating 1,500.

Organisers have said that the menu will reflect the “heritage and diversity of British regional products and recipes.”The prices for the food look a little steep but they are for most big events so this is to be expected. For a coca-cola at the games, it will set you back £2.60 and a bottle of water will be £1.60. A pie and mash will be £8 and a beer will be £4.20.

As the main sponsors, McDonalds, will be providing 10% of meals over the course of the Olympics and will be one of 3 branded products that will feature: Heineken and Cadbury’s will be the other two.

Jan Matthews, the head of catering at Locog has said, “We are trying to make it feel like a food festival and we have walked round Borough Market several times to try and get that feel. There will be fruit barrows and stalls where you can buy different types of olives.

“While sport will take centre stage, the ‘Olympic experience’ that people will take away will be build from and influenced by a multitude of factors, one of the biggest will be food and drink.”

Although the majority of places offering food at the Olympics won’t need restaurant insurance, the restaurants in the surrounding area definitely will. It is a great way to ensure your business carry on running as usual even in the case of an unforeseen circumstance, especially during the Olympics.

Marco Pierre White Launches Restaurant in Newcastle

At the end of this week the hotel that will include restaurant by top chef Marco Pierre White will open.

Hotel Indigo will open on Friday on Fenkle Street in Newcastle. The building has been left abandoned after the insurance company it housed, moved out over 10 years ago.

The world-famous chef Marco Pierre White will manage the hotel’s £20 million restaurant. The chef had three Michelin stars before he retired and became a restaurateur and has personally designed the menu and hired the staff.

The restaurant seats 100 people and will be a steakhouse bar and grill. It will be Newcastle’s first restaurant that is headed by world-renowned chef and he will be offering “affordable glamour.” Included in the restaurant will be a bar for non residents of the hotel which will have a regionally inspired menu.

Marco Pierre White was the first chef to be dubbed a celebrity chef and was at the time the youngest chef to receive three Michelin stars and is considered the Godfather of modern cooking.

 Like every other restaurant in the industry, White will need a good restaurant insurance policy just in case he encounters any unexpected problem.  This is the best way of ensuring your business can carry on as usual in most circumstances.

Suppliers Included in “Scores on the Doors” Scheme

Wales’ “scores on the doors” hygiene system for restaurants and takeaways will be extended to companies who supply food, health ministers have announced.

The companies who prepare food but do not sell it directly to customers will display a 0-5 rating on their premises.

The call comes after an E. Coli outbreak in Wales pushed for stricter rules.

Lesley Griffiths, Wales’ Health Minister announced the expanded scheme, would take into account wholesalers, transporters and manufacturers, which are not currently rated under the Food Standards Agency scheme.

Griffiths said, “Food hygiene is essential for the protection of public health.

“The rating scheme will help drive up standards and benefit both consumers and businesses.

“The scheme will enable consumers to make a more informed choice about where they choose to eat or shop for food, while good food hygiene means a higher rating which is good for business.”

Hygiene

William Tudor, a butcher from Bridgend was jailed for 1 year for food safety offences around a fatal E. Coli outbreak in 2005 in south Wales.

Businesses similar to this which supply ingredients and food to other retailers will also be required to display their food hygiene ratings, under the new proposals. If serious cases of neglect are discovered, owners could lose their businesses, commercial restaurant insurance, supplies and will also have a knock on effect on the jobs of the staff who work at the company.

The government in Wales states that 2,500 more businesses will be covered as a result, taking the total number to be around 32,500 in Wales.

On the behalf of the FSA, an evaluation undertaken in 2011 and found that only 31% of food businesses were voluntarily showing their food hygiene rating.

The government believes that the new statutory scheme will be in place by November 2013, which would make Wales the first place in the UK where displaying the ratings will be compulsory.

Darren Millar AM, the health spokesman for the Conservative party said, “We welcome this major step forward in improving food hygiene standards in Wales.

“Displaying visible hygiene ratings on the premises gives consumers clear information to make an informed decision about where they dine or purchase food.

“Giving customers access to information about compliance with hygiene regulations is critical in driving up standards and rooting out bad practice.

“Welsh Conservatives have long campaigned for a hygiene ratings scheme to empower consumers.

“I hope Welsh ministers will engage effectively with food businesses and consumers over the implementation of this scheme and examine ways of making additional information on hygiene inspections available to the public.”

Kirsty Williams Welsh Lib Dems leader, said “We welcome the introduction of the Food Hygiene Rating Bill and we hope that it will receive cross-party support.

“The people of Wales have a right to enjoy food that has been prepared in clean and hygienic premises.

“Scores on the Doors is something we called for in our manifesto last year and we will work with the Welsh government to implement this policy.

“The legislation must work to ensure high standards of hygiene and cleanliness for the Welsh public but it must also be legislation that is fair to Welsh food businesses.”

KFC Food Boxes "made from Rainforest Trees"

KFC has been accused of their takeaway boxes being made from wood harvested from endangered rainforests.

According to a Greenpeace report, independent tests on food boxes bought at KFC restaurants in China, Indonesia and Britain in the last two years found fibres from tropical hardwood trees.

It has been claimed that the wood comes from rainforests in Indonesia, where logging is destroying the habitat of the Sumatran tiger, an endangered species.

Forest campaign director of Greenpeace, Rolf Skar, said, “Do consumers want to have chicken wrapped in rainforests, or is there a better way of doing business?

“A big customer like KFC, they’re massive in places like China and Indonesia, they have a lot of control over where they get their paper.”

Boxes from KFC restaurants in Christchurch, Dewsbury, Wood Green and Tooting were analysed by scientists.

It was discovered that 7 out of 10 boxes from these outlets contained rainforest hardwood, says Greenpeace.
The charity said that the boxes that tested positive included Popcorn chicken, Streetwise Lunch Box, Boneless Banquet and the Fully Loaded Meal.

It’s claimed that some boxes contained 10% hardwood, while others contained 50%.

A spokesman for Yum! Brands, which owns KFC, Jonathan Blum, said that 60% of the paper purchased is from sustainable rainforests and that suppliers were aiming for 100%.

He said that the study is a “publicity stunt” by Greenpeace.

Indonesia has lost about 5 million acres of forest a year to logging, since 1996, which figures suggest is double the rate in the 1980s.

The loss of forests accounts for a fifth of emissions blamed for global warming across the world.

As part of the protest, Greenpeace supporters hung a sign on the HQ of Yum! In Louisville, Kentucky.

The Institution for Paper Science and Technology in Darmstadt, Germany, and Integrated Paper Service in Appleton, Wisconsin were hired by Greenpeace to test for fibres in Yum’s food packages.

A spokesperson for KFC UK & Ireland said, “100 per cent of KFC UK & Ireland’s packaging is either recycled or from sustainable sources. Neither KFC UK&I, nor any of our suppliers, source from APP.”

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) said that the report was misleading as the mixed tropical hardwood (MTH) could be found in products that had come from “sustainable and legal sources”. A spokesperson said “As far as APP products are concerned, MTH does not come from the felling of virgin tropical rainforest trees in Indonesia. APP has strict policies and practices in place to ensure that only residues from legal plantation development on degraded or logged-over forest areas and sustainable wood fibre enters the production supply chain.”

It’s difficult to know who is telling the truth, but we do hope that everyone in the industry including suppliers, manufacturers, restaurant insurance providers and other food companies, will be doing their bit to lessen the effect their activity has on the environment.

Government Urged to Rethink Pasty Tax

Today, a group of MPs from across political parties gathered today to urge the Government to rethink its plans to place 20% VAT on baked goods including hot sausage rolls, pasties and rotisserie chicken.

Chancellor George Osborne was criticised by pasty fans in the industry including UK restaurant insurance providers, bakeries and small businesses after he announced the “pasty tax” in the Budget.

Liberal Democrat Stephen Gilbert told MPs during a Westminster Hall debate on VAT on hot takeaway food, that the plans created fresh anomalies, were unenforceable and undeliverable.

St Austell and Newquay’s MP said, “The Government’s proposals are unenforceable, they’re undeliverable by business, they replace one set of anomalies with another, they are likely to be heavily contested and they will do significant damage to the Cornish economy and high streets across our country.”

He went over concerns in the industry that the plans could put 300 bakeries under the threat of closure and could put 2,000 jobs at risk.

He said, “In short we are seeking to amend the Government’s proposals to include the provision for baked goods to be charged VAT, only if they are kept in heated cabinets or in other paraphernalia that has the effect of keeping them hot for sale in the same way that the battered fish and chips would be kept hot for sale in the cabinet in fish and chip shops across the country.”

He argued that the amendment was, “Clear and consistent, it is enforceable by the revenue, it closes the loopholes exploited by the supermarkets and therefore raises the vast bulk of the revenue that the Treasury is seeking to obtain from this move.

“It creates the level playing field with the fish and chip shops that the Prime Minister rightly demands, it is deliverable and would be publicly welcomed by the baking industry.”

Labour’s John Mann (Bassetlaw) suggested that the proposals were made by an “out of touch, anti-English, inept on detail Treasury team and Government” and urged them to “do the decent thing for England, get rid of this nonsense.”

Simon Danczuk, his party colleague (Rochdale) questions whether the proposal would affect samosas sold by businesses in his area, adding “I get the impression that the Government just doesn’t understand ordinary working people’s lives … I believe there is actually a snobbery with regard to pies, pasties and samosas.”

Lib Dem Dan Rogerson (North Cornwall) mentioned the “cultural element” of eating pasties, saying “There is also in Cornwall a feeling of the Government taxing something which in Cornwall people would eat instead of a sandwich.”

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said it was a complex matter, adding the Government was taking into consideration other ideas put forward and would respond to the extended consultation.

He added that current rules, had been made unfair and complicated by previous legal decisions and was one the Government sought to change to create a level playing field.

He said, “I have of course been listening to the contributions to this debate and will ensure that they are taken into account in the Chancellor’s decisions.”

Fast Food Meals Healthier than NHS Hospital Meals

The campaign group Sustain conducted a study which revealed a staggering 75% of NHS food had more saturated fat than a McDonald’s Big Mac burger. Furthermore, 60% of NHS food also had more salt than this popular fast food burger. However these troubling statistics are not limited to McDonalds, as the KFC Zinger Burger meal was found to have 6 times less salt than an NHS curry.

Looking at Italian dishes, 40% of NHS meals contained more saturated fat than a 9 inch Pizza Hut pizza and an NHS supplied pasta dishes had 3 times the daily recommended allowance of saturated fat and double the amount salt recommended.

This news is extremely worrying because for many years great measures have been taken across the country to encourage healthier eating. Alex Jackson of Sustain said, “It’s staggering to think sick patients could be better off eating at McDonald’s. Without standards, many meals will remain unhealthy and unappetising.”

25 NHS meals were examined in this study and one of the researchers commented, “Salt and saturated fat is linked to heart disease and strokes. Hospitals should provide tasty and healthy meals, rather than ones that could lead to more health problems.”

These food reports come in the wake of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley insisting that work is being done to ensure patients in the NHS receive nutritious meals. The quality has been so poor that many people have returned their meals untouched, consequently costing the NHS over £22million a year. Mr Lansley recently spoke on the Andrew Marr Show and stated that food quality under the labour government caused many patients to leave hospital malnourished. “It shouldn’t happen. I accept we need to ensure, and we are increasingly going to ensure, that patients who are in hospital get the right nutrition. To some extent it’s personalised, because what you need as a patient in terms of your diet often is very personal.”

These revelations are not just limited to the NHS. Many restaurants in the past have received bad publicity for providing extremely unhealthy meals. It is important for restaurants to have a balance of healthy and indulgent meals; otherwise customers may be reluctant to dine with them. So during the quieter months of business, both expected and unexpected, restaurateurs can have more peace of mind if they are covered with restaurant insurance.

Buffet Restaurant’s £20 Fine for not finishing Food on your Plate

A Chinese buffet restaurant, Kylin Buffet, in South Shields has upset customers for charging a £20 wastage fee if they leave food on their plates.

The managers at the restaurant have put up a sign noticing customers of a penalty charge if they do not eat up the food that they have picked.

One mother has be outraged by the policy who was told that when her and her son and niece left a prawn toast, spring toll and two onion rings on their plate she had to pay the £20 fee.

Beverley Clark has accused the restaurant of poor customer service but the manager has stood by the wastage policy.

Clark said, “After we had our starters, we went up for our main course. But a member of staff came over and asked if we weren’t going to eat the food on our plates, and said we would have to pay an extra £20 to cover food wastage costs.
“I was furious and said we were already paying £18 for three meals, but the staff kept checking if we had eaten the food.

“In the end I wrapped it up in a serviette, and put it into my bag when they weren’t looking, so it looked like we had eaten it.”

She complained after the meal and was given £3 off her bill. Clark said, “We squared the bill and left before having our main course. In the end I didn’t have to pay the extra charge, but it felt as though they were trying to rip me off.

“This was very poor customer service and I wanted to make the public aware.”

Because her son was over 145cm tall, she claims she also had to pay an adult price of £6.95 for him to eat there.

The manager of the restaurant, Sam Fung, said, “I accept that my staff should not have spoken to the family about the food on their plates more than once.

“However, they left a lot of food from the buffet on their plates and we have to charge for wastage of food. We stand by our policies.”

At QuoteSearcher we recently went to an all you can eat buffet style Chinese restaurant that also had a notice about food wastage and a £5 fine if we left food on our plates. Even though the fine is not as big as Kylin Buffet, we understood and agreed with the policy and made sure we ordered what we could manage.

In a way, messages and notices like these will encourage customers to not waste food. It will help with the UK’s increased wastage problem which is costing us billions of pounds and could also help with the restaurant’s finances as they have to pay for supplies, food, commercial restaurant insurance and staff. It could also help our waist line!