The new-style branded
often promote themselves as being food-oriented yet
they tend to have standard menus, being supplied via
chain-wide deals for packaged frozen foods from the likes
of Brake Bros. - and perhaps job-lots of microwave ovens?
For instance, Scottish & Newcastle Pub Enterprises (the leased pubs division) has produced
two "easy-to-use" generic menus called Scorching Value and Hunger Buster,
designed to make it easier for the pubs to push food.
[Source: Licensee & Morning Advertiser 3/5/99]
In 1997 Tom Finlay set up the Campaign for Real Food which
targets pub food.
It cites bad signs such as urban or suburban pubs with huge laminated menus
and that such places usually care more about the profit from bottled premium lagers than the quality of food.
Some industry statistics
[Quoted in an article by Matthew Muggeridge, Editor of the Pub Food Magazine,
in The Publican Industry Handbook 1999]
- 9 out of 10 pubs now serve food
- 44% of foreign tourists visit pubs to eat
- 18 million eat in pubs regularly
- 1 in 4 women would rather eat in a pub than cook
- 4 out of 5 people believe pub food is better value than restaurants, fast food chains and wine bars
The Government may yet relent on the flat £90 Food Standards Agency fee for all food outlets - whether a small pub or all of Tesco.
As for the media scare about genetically-modified foods, the pressure for labelling at all points of sale, however inappropriate,
is a worry for smaller pub businesses. There's a hint that some outlets such
as pubs may be exempted in any new labelling regulations, relieving them of
great difficulties. The implications if labelling were to apply to beer
production are even worse.
Good Pub Food Guide
The fifth edition of this CAMRA book, edited by Susan Nowak, is due out on
28th May and is priced at £9.99.
Around 700 pubs combining fine food and fine ales are listed.
These are the places to go to savour regional, traditional and original meals,
where chefs are creating dishes to complement the ales behind the bar.
The ales, menus, prices, vegetarian selections, facilities and travel options are listed,
along with easy-to-use maps.
ALE 26th Cambridge Beer Festival No. 295
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Cambridge & District CAMRA