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Eating Out Up

Eating Out Up


Greene King has reported an increase in eating out spend in November by £76m (4%) up year-on-year. Family households drove the growth, although Brits across all regions increased spend on going out for meals. However, total leisure spend was down 8% versus last year, due to a 20% decline in spend on other leisure activities, including theatre-going, live events and gym membership.

Households with kids led the increase with spend up £14 (22%) year-on-year. In contrast, the average British household spent a total of £193 on leisure, a decrease of £16 (8%) year-on-year, although spend was up 3% compared to October. Other leisure spend was the main cause of total leisure spend decline, down £19 (20%) against November last year. Drinking out spend was flat compared to last year, although it was 4% higher in November than in October. A Christmas survey revealed that the pub is still the most popular place to celebrate Christmas Eve outside of the family home, with more than one in 10 people visiting their local this year. Around 2.9m Brits intended to go to the pub, with households in the North East twice as likely to go than the GB average.

Drinking Out spend was almost identical to November last year, a sign of resilience following three consecutive months of year-on-year decline.


King's Ransom for Maidstone Site

King's Ransom for Maidstone Site


The Giggling Squid Thai restaurant chain has sold the Maidstone site it acquired in April, but never opened, to ASK.

According to the former owners of the historic East Street site, they “Received an offer they couldn’t refuse,” from the Italian company, which plans to convert the building to a 200-seater restaurant.

The building was once home to Andrew Broughton, former Mayor of Maidstone and Clerk of the Court at the trial of King Charles I, whose death warrant was signed on the site.

Giggling Squid is now seeking an alternative site in Maidstone as well as Canterbury. The 10-strong Thai chain which has venues in Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks will also open in Bristol, Salisbury and Guildford in the first half of 2015.


Beer Sales Rise

Beer Sales Rise


Beer sales have risen for the first time in 5 years, according to a new report by research firm Mintel, with a volume increase of 1.3% to around 4.24 billion litres in 2014, buoyed by a warm summer and the football World Cup.

Lager is driving the market with sales up 1.7% in 2014, up to a predicted 3.17 billion litres. Ales sales have also climbed from 885m litres in 2013 to c891m litres in 2014, stout ales fell by a 183m litres.

Over half (54%) of Brits drank lager in the six months to September 2014, whilst a quarter (26%) opted for ale and one in five (21%) drank bitter. One in five Brits (20%) have drunk craft beer in the past six months, rising to almost a third (31%) of 25-34s and 24% of 18-24s.

However, sales of cider are surprisingly expected to fall by 0.8% to 949m litres in 2014, down from 957m in 2013. Mintel’s research shows that 57% of UK consumers drank cider in the 12 months to October 2014, with more than two in five (44%) drinking apple, 31% pear, and 29% fruit-flavoured cider. The craft segment is considerably less developed in cider than it is in beer, but 14% of Brits still reported to have drunk a craft cider within the last year.



Veg Out

Veg Out


Vegetarianism is going out of fashion as restaurant goers develop allergies and food intolerances, despite more people being allergic to plants than animal products.

Figures released by food pre-ordering service TellTheChef show that more people are identifying themselves as gluten and lactose intolerant when dining out, as vegetarian numbers seems to be on the wane.

The data is drawn from all dishes ordered through TellTheChef - a start up that makes it simple for restaurants to process group bookings and pre-orders. The company, which recently announced leading leisure entrepreneur Luke Johnson as chairman, has processed 1.7 million dishes to date.

The data shows that in 2014: - There was a 53% growth in pre-orders with dietary requirements identified; vegetarian diners declined by 4.3%; 'no nuts’ orders were down 5.9%; ‘no pork’ orders dropped 9.3%; - gluten-free orders up 12.8% and lactose free orders were up 7.05%

The news comes a few days after new EU regulations came into force, obliging restaurateurs to state when food contains certain allergens.

The data comes after a record-breaking Christmas party season, which saw 22,000 dishes served through TellTheChef on ‘Mad Friday’ – the final Friday before Christmas when many companies have their office Xmas parties.

TellTheChef allows diners to rate each course of each meal, and it would seem that – like ordering the second wine on the menu – ordering the turkey and Christmas pudding is a no-no; with each dish receiving relatively low feedback scores in November and December.

TellTheChef data claims to predict food trends as trending dishes are adopted by the mainstream. In 2012 “pulled pork” was a trending dish in fashionable restaurants before starting to appear in mainstream outlets through 2013. 2014’s trending dish is “salt marsh lamb”.


Sloe Gin Champion

Sloe Gin Champion


Glasgow-based “liquid deli” Demijohn has been crowned Sloe Ginster World Champion for 2014. The annual competition is hosted by The George Inn in Frant near Tunbridge Wells on the Kent/Sussex border.

Demijohn, which also has outlets in Edinburgh, York and Oxford took the award from among professional entrants, ships its liqueurs worldwide through its mail order operation

Winner of the Home-Made category was Grace Winey, originally from from the Portuguese Azores islands, who travelled down from her home in Bury-St Edmonds in Suffolk, with her American husband to attend.

Sloe Seduction based in Marden, Kent was named Gold Medal Winner for South East England. Sloe Seduction is also known for its award-winning sloe gin chocolates, sloe gin marmalade and sloe gin chuntney.

Demijohn’s sloe gin costs £30.50 for a 50cl bottle. A 20cl bottle of Sloe Seduction gin is £11.95.





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