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.”

Internet Promotion – Advantages and Disadvantages

The emergence of globalise trade, increase in foreign investment and cross-border transactions have put many small businesses under pressure to find innovative ways to continue to market their products and services. This is especially difficult given that they often operate on tight marketing budgets.

In the quest for cheap marketing alternatives, these small businesses continue to use conventional marketing tools such as newspaper, magazine, radio and television advertisements, unaware of the advantages that Internet Promotion offers. All too often, these entrepreneurs focus on the disadvantages of Internet Promotion and fail to adequately take advantage of the opportunities that it presents. Moreover, their preoccupation with conventional marketing strategies is driven by a misconception that these are cheaper than Internet Promotion.

To most small business entrepreneurs, marketing or promoting their products or services via the Internet can be a daunting task. However, with adequate information small businesses can benefit significantly from Internet Promotion while minimising the disadvantages that it presents. In fact, it may prove to be the marketing strategy that generates the highest return on investment.

The Advantages

Cost Effective and Enduring Marketing Strategies

The Internet has become the information superhighway for the buying public. Most persons prefer the hassle free transactions that Internet shopping can offer. As a result, the Internet has become the most powerful selling tool. Internet Promotion offers cost effective ways for small businesses to enhance their product or service distribution networks. For example, the use of portals can help create new marketing channels and logistics, or provide better or faster product access for customers.

In comparison to other forms of marketing, Internet Promotion presents the advantage of reduced budget and storage costs, when compared with printing brochures, producing television or radio advertisements or managing a call centre. It presents a fast and cost effective option for penetrating new markets.

Market Penetration

With millions of person using the Internet to search for products and services, small businesses can penetrate other markets at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods.

Websites act as virtual storefronts, allowing businesses to stay open 24/7. Internet Promotion gives a business greater visibility, thereby creating more opportunities for increasing its customers at relatively low cost. Never before has it been easier for an upstart business to be able to reach out to literally millions of potential customers and to position themselves for success, without the need for costly infrastructure and overwhelming marketing costs. Thanks to the Internet, new businesses can become popular almost overnight.

Low Cost, Instant Communication

Email makes business communications instant, whether the customer or business affiliate is across the street or across the globe. It makes it easier for customers to maintain contact and readily facilitates repeat purchasing. An effective online strategy can therefore turn a small web business into a virtual cost saver and income-generating machine. The net result is that the small business can gain significant competitive advantage in a given market.

Many online businesses have therefore resorted to the use of ezines, blogs, pop-up ads and other online marketing tools to let customers know about new products or services as well as provide information relevant to their respective industry. The benefits of this strategy are two fold. Marketers can effectively heighten brand awareness for relatively new products on the market whilst strengthening customer relationships, with shorter time frames.

Content is Timeless

Internet Promotion also provides the advantage of being enduring. Whereas participation at a trade fair or conference loses sales impact, once it is over, and an advertisement in a newspaper or business magazine may quickly lose its sales generating value within a day or two or as soon as the next issue is released; Internet Promotion is often timeless. Apart from the dates and sometimes prices, much of your website content remains valid years after.

Real Time Statistics For Measuring Success of Promotion Campaign

One of the most significant advantages of Internet Promotion is that its success is measurable. Marketers can use tools that provide real time statistics, on unique visitors, repeat visitors, click through rates (CTR) on advertisements, thereby allowing them to evaluate the effectiveness of a promotion campaign. This enables marketers to determine what works for their particular market and to make timely changes in their marketing strategies.

Time Saving

Another important advantage of Internet Promotion is that it saves time since it generally does away with counselling on product uses and benefits, service information and sales administration. Visitors can access “frequently asked questions” to help themselves, and can buy online, without the involvement of staff. This saves time and money. So, whether 10 or 10,000 visitors visit the site, the increased cost is marginal whilst the savings can be immense.

But like any business approach, Internet Promotion is not without its risks and weaknesses.


Difficulty in Attracting Customers

Small business may not have the resources to pay for paid directory inclusion, pay per click inclusions and often have to rely solely on search engine optimisation or word of mouth to drive traffic to their sites. With millions of businesses selling the same product and services, competing with more established businesses can be frustrating and costly venture for small business.

On the other hand, larger companies can offer promotions, pay for directory inclusions, implement pay per click campaigns as well as employ the “who is who” in internet marketing to develop campaigns that generate traffic and leads.

Difficulty in Evaluating Legitimacy of Transaction

Another notable disadvantage of doing promoting businesses online is that it may be difficult for the businesspersons and consumers to thoroughly evaluate the legitimacy of a transaction. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to thieves using stolen credit cards and stolen information to do online transaction.

With Internet credit card and identity fraud on the rise, small businesses are forced to finance costly security measures to reduce their vulnerability to fraudulent transactions.

Salespersons and Customers are Isolated

Another disadvantage of promotion via the Internet is that the customers and businesspersons are isolated. There is little personal contact between customer and salesperson prior to and after the sales is closed. Thus, the prospect for repeat sales may thus be diminished. Entrepreneurs are therefore compelled to adopt marketing strategies to drive online users back to their site.

From all indications, it appears that the advantages of Internet promotion, far exceed the disadvantages. With adequate knowledge, entrepreneur can benefit significantly from Internet promotion, especially small business owners.

More and more, the growth and outreach of the Internet’s, its ease and accessibility for customers is becoming inevitable. Small business would therefore be well advised to start their web advertising function in order to improve their competitiveness online.

Evaluating Credit Card Offers: Essential Terms You Must Understand

Credit card offers, they're everywhere! They appear in your mailbox. They pop up while you're surfing the Internet. They're in slick brochures next to the cash register or gas pump. They're in full-page ads in the Sunday papers.

If you need a new credit card, how do you choose? You should evaluate each offer carefully, and to do that you must understand these essential terms.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) :

The interest rate charged on your account balance. (But see "Balance Calculation Methods," because the rules for computing interest from your balance and your APR can vary.) Your statement will typically show the APR and a monthly and / or daily rate based on the APR that's actually used to calculate your Monthly interest. There may be several APRs applicable to different portions of your balance, for example an introductory rate, a regular purchase rate, and a regular cash advance rate.

A fixed APR is set by the credit card company, which can generally change it with as little as 15 days advance notice, especially if you run afoul of any of the "gotchas" in the terms. These "gotchas" are often very consumer-unfriendly. For example, many companies these days reserve the right to raise your rate if you've been late on a payment to another, unrelated company.

A variable APR is tied to some widely used economic index, such as the Prime Rate. It may be stated as "prime + x%, currently y%," for example "prime + 7%, currently 13.5%." This means that when the Prime Rate is 6.5%, your APR is 13.5%. When the Prime Rate goes up or down, so does your APR. But beware, because some of the same "gotchas" apply to variable APRs as to fixed APRs. Read the fine print. It may state that if you're late with one payment, your APR will no longer be variable but will rise to an exorbitant fixed rate, usually over 20%.

The penalty APR is the rate to which your APR will immediately be raised when you violate any of the "gotchas" in the terms. This rate is usually at least 50% higher than the regular APR. Again, be sure to read the fine print to see what situations will trigger the penalty APR. You'll often see these: failure to pay this or any other account on time, exceeding your credit limit on this or any other account, excessive credit balances on your accounts in aggregate.

Balance Calculation Methods:

These are important to understand, because your APR is only part of the story when it comes to calculating the interest you'll be charged each month. The other part is how the balance is calculated to which the APR is applied. In any case the balance is multiplied by the daily or monthly interest rate. But the balance calculation is not as straightforward as you might think.

1. Two-Cycle Balance. This is the worst method from a consumer's point of view because it can lead to the highest interest calculations. Unfortunately, it's also becoming the most widely used method. To calculate the balance, add together the average daily balances for the current billing period (sometimes even including new charges) and the previous period. Here's why this is so unfriendly to you. Say you have run a balance for a few months and finally pay it from $ 200 down to zero at the end of May. You think it's safe to use the card in June for a new $ 100 purchase, and if you pay the $ 100 by the end of the June grace period, you will not owe any interest on it. But you're wrong. Since your average daily balance in May was not zero (say it was $ 120), and since you used the card in June, your interest will be calculated on May's average balance again, so even if you pay the whole June purchase in June, you Will still owe additional interest. In other words, you must wait two months, allow the account to cycle once with a zero balance, before it's safe to use it again – "safe" in the sense that you will not incur extra interest if you pay the balance in full By the end of the grace period.

2. Average Daily Balance. This was once the most common calculation method and is still popular. Add the daily balance for each day in the billing cycle, then divide by the number of days in the cycle. Depending on the terms, this may or may not include new charges.

3. Adjusted Balance. This is the best method from a consumer's point of view, but it's rapidly going the way of the dodo. Take the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle, then subtract any payments or other credits recorded during the cycle. Do not include new charges during the cycle. For example, if your beginning balance was $ 1200, and you paid $ 400 during the cycle, the balance to which your monthly rate will be applied is $ 800, regardless of any new charges.

Balance Transfer:

This means that you're charging card X to pay off (all or part of) the balance on card Y. So the balance is, in effect, transferred from card Y to card X. Why would you want to do this? Usually to take advantage of an introductory low interest rate when applying for a new card. Look closely at the terms. Sometimes these introductory rates last only a few months. The best ones are for the life of the balance. You will often have to pay a transaction fee equal to 3% of the balance transferred. Sometimes these fees are capped at $ 75 or so. Be sure to see whether or not the transaction fee excepts what you'll save in interest. If so, do not do it. Sometimes the credit card company will agree to waive the fee, especially on a new account. Do not be afraid to ask.

Cash Advance:

A cash loan charged immediately to your credit card account. Usually there is no grace period for paying off a cash advance, which means you'll be charged interest starting from the day of the loan, even if you pay it in full by the end of the billing cycle. Also this type of charge may have a higher APR than purchases or balance transfers. Check your terms. Note that some kinds of transactions, like buying casino chips or lottery tickets, may be valued as cash advances. This can also apply to writing a purchase check to your own bank account. Be sure to read the fine print.

Credit Limit:

The upper limit on your account balance. Exceeding it may result in penalties. Be very careful if your balance is close to the limit ("maxed out"), because you can exceed it without charging anything new if you fail to pay enough. Remember that just because the company has approved you for a certain limit does not mean you can afford to take on that much debt.

Disclosure Chart:

An important portion of the Terms and Conditions statement. It's a little bit like the Nutrition Statement on a food package because the law dictates what has to be listed here. If you can not stand to read all the fine print, be sure that you read this part.

  1. Fixed APR or APRs after any introductory rate (s) have expired
  2. Rule (s) for calculating variable APR (s) if applicable
  3. Grace period
  4. Annual fee if applicable
  5. Minimum per-cycle finance charge
  6. Additional fees if applicable, such as cash advance fees
  7. Balance calculation method
  8. Late payment and delinquency fees
  9. Over limit fees

Grace Period:

The time, calculated from the account cycle date, during which you can pay the balance in full without having any interest charged. This usually applies only to purchases, and only if you've paid the previous month's balance in full and on time. (Sometimes even that's not enough. See "Two-Cycle Balance" calculation method for an additional "gotcha.")


This can be very misleading. It does not mean the company is guaranteeing to issue you the card in the offer. It just means that they chose you to receive this offer based on some general screening of your credit report. They always reserve the right to deny or alter the offer based on a more detailed examination of your records.

The History of Online Shopping

The internet is a fantastic and useful tool. With a click of our mouse we can read today’s news, play an online game and if we wish shop to our hearts content. But when did it all start? What is the history of Online Shopping and what does it mean to shop online?

Online shopping is the process a customer takes to purchase a service or product over the internet. In other words a consumer may at his or her leisure buy from the comfort of their own home products from an online store. This concept was first demonstrated before the World Wide Web was in use with real time transaction processed from a domestic television! The technology used was called Videotext and was first demonstrated in 1979 by M. Aldrick who designed and installed systems in the UK. By 1990 T. Berners-Lee created the first WWW server and browser, and by 1995 Amazon expanded its online shopping experiences.

The history of Online Shopping is amazing. Gone are the days of waiting in traffic and working our way through overcrowded stores. All we need is a computer, bank account, debit or credit card and voila freedom! From books, to cosmetics, clothing and accessories to name a few, shopping online is the answer to the 21st century. Simply find the website that offers the objects of your desire, price and delivery terms and in a matter of a few days your purchase is at your door. The advantages and convenience are obviously predictable as we are offered a broader selection, competitive pricing and a greater access to information in regards to our purchase. Online stores are usually available on a 24 hour basis, and permit consumers to shop at their leisure without any traveling and outside regular business hours!

Another point to take into consideration is that when the internet was first conceived it was not with the ideal that it would change the way we shop. On the contrary the web was created as a tool for communicating, which in time let to the convenience of shopping virtually. The history of online shopping by itself symbolizes the change in our society and has by now become a service used by business and regular shopper all over the world.

Shopping online is easy, fun and secure and has for many taken the place of the Saturday afternoon window shopping at the mail. Still considered as a fairly recent phenomenon, online shopping has without a doubt made the life of countless consumers easier and more convenient. May it be for a home loan, buying car or ordering your weekly groceries, the web has forever changed our outlook on shopping.

The history of online shopping shows to all that a good idea, great presentation, and a desire to offer the best to your customers can make a dream come true. Now considered tried and true, it will be interesting in the next 20 years or so to see where the History on online shopping will take us!