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Viiking Ventures shortlisted for English Asian Business Award

Viiking Ventures shortlisted for English Asian Business Award


Vikking Ventures, the distributor for Goa Premium Beer, has been named as a leading contender for The English Asian Business Awards 2017.

Unlike other ‘Indian’ lagers sold in Britain, the gluten-free craft pilsner, is a genuine import – not brewed in the UK under licence by a multi national conglomerate.

Thousands of nominations were cast for the sixth annual English Asian Business Awards. Based on a public vote, the awards highlight the value of English Asian businesses. The awards seek to reward the entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen embodied by the English Asian community in the country. The black tie event will be held at the Mercure Hotel in Manchester on Monday 31st July.

Vikking Ventures will compete in the Marketed Business of the Year with Kahn Design (automotive fashion design); Nudge Factory (PR); Awakening Worldwide (music publishing); Groundshaker (discotheques); Pepe's Piri Piri (restaurant franchise); Creams Café (gelato); dsgnuk (web design); and Honeymoon Dreams (travel agent).

“This accolade vindicates our decision to focus our marketing activities in supporting our resellers, typically independent restaurants, bars and local retailers,” said Viiking Ventures’ MD Ben Parmar, adding “Typically, these businesses often have limited market budgets or know-how and tend to be slow to adopt social media initiatives.

“We support restaurants’ special events, charity fund raisers, gourmet dinners and the introduction of gluten free menus, with PR, social media support, point of sale materials, merchandising, competitions, waiter incentives and a unique Brand Ambassador scheme.

“Helping restaurateurs to increase an achievable 15 percent rise in sales, doubles their net profit as so many costs are fixed,” said Parmar.


Pizza to Go

Pizza to Go


The pizza sector could be under threat, post-Brexit, according to the Pizza Pasta & Italian Food Association, which suggests that more than half the workforce currently working in restaurants and pizza delivery businesses in the UK, would have to leave if there is no agreement with Europe. It says most of these could not be replaced by British nationals.

The Association says there is already a shortage of skilled pizza chefs in the UK with the uncertainties of Brexit causing some Italian pizzaiolos to return to Italy or take up jobs in mainland Europe. It maintains that in some London restaurants, the issue is more critical with some 70% of employees coming from mainland Europe and beyond.

“The uncertainty over Brexit is already being felt,” says Jim Winship, Director of the Association. “Some workers from overseas have already started leaving because they feel insecure and this is not helped by the weak pound.

“Although Theresa May has made a statement that those EU nationals resident in the UK for more than 5 years would be offered residency if the EU reciprocates with UK nationals, this does not entirely give confidence and does not deal with the on-going needs of the hospitality industry.

“Our research says that around 40-50% of the industry’s workforce nationally comes from outside the UK and in some areas, such as London, it is as high as 70%! Many of these are relatively short-term and transient ‘immigrants’ who will stay for a year or two, get experience and then go home.”

The Association is calling for the Government to introduce a visa system that would allow unskilled or semi-skilled workers into the country for a limited period to take up vacancies that cannot otherwise be filled. It also wants specialists, such as pizza chefs, to be included on any acceptable skills lists.

“The vast majority of these workers do not stay in the UK long term,” adds Jim Winship. “However, without them our industry will struggle as there simply aren’t the people here to fill the vacancies.”

The Pizza Pasta & Italian Food Association was founded in 1977 and the only trade association dedicated to representing the interests of manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and foodservice outlets operating in the UK pizza, pasta and Italian food markets.


Muffin Break opens in Chatham

Muffin Break opens in Chatham


Bakery chain Muffin Break has opened in Chatham, Kent. The 70-seater venue has opened in the Pentagon Shopping Centre creating 16 jobs and offering 200 varieties of muffin alongside freshly-made sandwiches, toasties, wraps, paninis, and hot and cold drinks. The Chatham site is the company’s third in Kent.

Muffin Break marketing manager Gemma Sandells said: “We’ve had great success at our branches in Ashford and Tunbridge Wells so we hope Chatham will continue this trend. The early signs have certainly been positive. This is our 58th store in the UK, which demonstrates the growing popularity of the Muffin Break brand.”

Franchisee Muhammed Kamal, who also operates a Muffin Break site in Epsom, Surrey, added: “Muffin Break has something for everyone and caters for a wide range of dietary needs.”

Founded in Australia, there are more than 80 Muffin Break sites in the UK and 300 worldwide.


Free Wheeling

Free Wheeling


The freehold Wheelwrights Arms pub in Matfield, Kent has been put up for sale for £650,000.

Dating from the early 1600s, the pub has been run by Rob and Gem Marshall since May 2011 and listed in the Michelin Guide to Eating in Pubs since 2015. Located in a village setting, in an area of outstanding natural beauty the pub is situated next to reputedly the largest village green in Kent, home to the local cricket team.


Gold Blend

Gold Blend


Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes has opened a second café in Kent. The new venue is at the outdoor multi-sport centre on Wrotham Road, Gravesend.

Holmes, who launched Café 1809 in her home village Hildenborough, near Tonbridge, said the concept involved a healthy menu featuring Kent produce alongside activities such as yoga classes. Café 1809 Active is intended as a lifestyle social hub with the on an active lifestyle, healthy mind and body.



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