Countrywide Butchers offers support for National Steak Day

Countrywide Butchers is encouraging hospitality operators to make the most of National Steak Day on 25 April, by putting the menu spotlight on great steaks that are well sourced, skilfully cooked and beautifully presented.

The day will see restaurants around the country offering a discount on steaks, or other steak menu deals. Countrywide Butchers, which supplies thousands of chefs and hospitality businesses with meat through its network of specialist butchers, is gearing up for the event with advice and support.

Nigel Tottman, managing director of Countrywide Butchers, says: “Steak has a special place on many menus. While we know that some consumers are cutting back on red meat, for a range of reasons, we want to encourage them not simply to enjoy a steak as a treat, but also to appreciate what goes into getting that steak onto their plate.

“We work with trusted suppliers to give operators a choice of steaks including local, UK and Red Tractor. As part of the Bidfresh group, we are members of the Ethical Trading Initiative, working with suppliers who both respect workers’ rights, and share our commitment to animal welfare.”

As highlighted in the Bidfresh 2020 Vision report into eating-out trends, the five best selling steak cuts in the eating out market are:

• Rib-Eye
• Flat Iron
• Fillet
• Rump
• Feather Blade

“Steak and chips is a classic,” says Tottman, “but alongside these different cuts, operators can boost consumer choice with options such as crisp and colourful salads, homemade sauces, fresh veg and spicy rice as accompaniments.”

Other advice from Countrywide Butchers to make the most of National Steak Day 2020 includes:

• Buy the best quality meat you can. Countrywide Butchers has in-house dry ageing facilities, enabling customers to specify the exact length of ageing they require to suit their menu style.

• Use the whole animal – nose to tail. A specialist catering butcher can prepare steaks to order to maximise yield, as well as use cuts form the trimmed steak to make burgers, pies and other menu favourites.

• Offer steaks in a range of sizes/weights to appeal to different customers.

• Spotlight provenance on the menu, by highlighting the farms and producers where the steak is sourced, and their animal welfare credentials.

Tottman says: “Customers should always feel that a well-sourced and served steak is a treat, but it should also be great value for money. We’re looking forward to working with our customers in the run-up to National Steak Day to make it a real celebration of a British menu classic.”

Countrywide Butchers ( brings together established catering butchers Campbell Brothers, Henson Meats, Knight Meats and Williams of Flint to supply chefs and catering businesses nationally.

The Bidfresh 2020 Vision – Food Trends Report is available to download free at

Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz adds premium mixer varieties

February 2020

Profit and sustainability boost using dispensed concentrates

Dispensed soft drinks specialist Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz is throwing a lifeline to operators struggling with packed bottle fridges and overflowing recycling bins, with the launch of four premium mixer varieties.

Three tonic waters, along with a ginger-based dark spirits mixer, are being added to the choice of concentrates in the Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz range. Each of the four new flavours – Aromatic Tonic; Mediterranean Tonic; Indian Citrus Tonic; and Ginger Beer, Orange & Nutmeg – is made with premium ingredients to an exclusive recipe formulated to mix perfectly with spirits.

Served using pure filtered sparkling mains water from the brand’s distinctive bar-top fount, the mixers boost both profitability and sustainability for hospitality businesses by eliminating the need for single serve glass bottles. Each bottle of concentrate can be used to serve 20 or more spirit-and-mixer drinks or cocktails, removing many thousands of bottles annually from a venue’s recycling costs.

Mark Fenton, head of brand for Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz, said: “The addition of premium mixers to our existing range of soft drink concentrates makes the business and environmental case for operators to switch to dispense even more compelling.

“The boom in sales of spirits and cocktails over recent years means pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants now send millions of single use mixer bottles to recycling every year, which has implications for both costs and sustainability.

“The Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz system is backed by the proven dispense expertise of Brewfitt. By switching dispense to pure filtered still and sparkling water, soft drinks and now mixers, operators can achieve market-leading GPs, as well as removing single-use glass bottles from the supply chain.”

For more information see

A quarter of UK adults cut down on drinking in January

February 2020

Three in four intend to continue in long term

More than a quarter of UK drinkers (27%) reduced, or completely stopped, drinking in January, reveals new research from independent alcohol education charity Drinkaware.

The study finds almost three quarters (72%) of those people who said they drank less or stopped drinking last month, plan to continue doing so in the long term. In this group, 59% said they plan to continue to reduce their drinking in the long term, whilst 12% said they plan to stop drinking completely.

The research, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Drinkaware, also found that taking drink free days is the most popular technique to cut down on drinking. More than a third (38%) of these drinkers who are planning to cut down in the long term say they will take drink free days during the week. Drinkaware’s Drink Free Days campaign is running until March on radio and social media channels, encouraging midlife drinkers – aged 45-64 – to take more drink free days.

Other techniques people intend to use to reduce or stop drinking include:

• A third (33%) intend to avoid alcohol on a ‘work’ night
• Over a quarter (26%) intend to set themselves a drinking limit
• One in five (20%) intend to avoid always having alcohol in the house

Drinkaware’s Chief Executive Elaine Hindal said: “It’s good to see such a high proportion of people who reduced or stopped their drinking in January planning to continue to do so in the long term.

“People who gave up or cut back on alcohol for the month will undoubtedly have seen benefits such as more energy, better quality of sleep and brighter mood. It therefore makes complete sense for them to keep these good habits going beyond January.”

She added: “With a growing number of people cutting down on their drinking or cutting it out completely, operators will need to continue to adapt their drinks offer. With the wide range of high quality no and low alcohol drinks now available, it’s never been easier to put together an appealing selection and make sure that people who choose to avoid alcohol don’t also avoid the pub.”

Drinkaware advises people, when drinking, to keep track of their consumption and stay within the Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines, which recommend drinking not more than 14 units of alcohol per week, spread over three or more days.


About the research: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,219 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23rd – 24th January 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About Drinkaware: Drinkaware is an independent UK-wide, alcohol education charity with the objective of positively changing public behaviour and the national drinking culture. It aims to reduce alcohol misuse and minimise harm by helping people make better choices about their drinking. It achieves this by providing impartial, evidence-based information, advice and practical resources; raising awareness of alcohol and its harms and by working collaboratively with partners, including the medical community, public health, third sector organisations, local authorities, police and the drinks industry.

Drinkaware has more than 130 funders, including UK alcohol producers, retailers in the on-trade and off-trade and wholesalers.

East London Pub Company hires Bizimply for workforce management

February 2020

As recent figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest a small upturn in pub numbers, workforce management experts Bizimply have added the East London Pub Company to the growing list of pub, casual dining and other hospitality businesses they support.

The three-strong operator of City pubs The Ten Bells and The Gun and the Lock Tavern in Camden, is using Bizimply’s software for a number of workforce management tasks including staff rota, payroll and induction training. The most tangible benefit is time saving, freeing GMs in particular from back office admin and allowing them to spend more time front of house.

Carly Pickering, East London Pub Company’s Recruitment, Training and Development Manager said: “All our pubs are finding Bizimply a great business tool that helps them on a daily basis. The software is really intuitive, with a simple clock in and out to record staff hours and payroll, and personnel files with notes all in one place. And, from a training perspective, we’ve integrated Bizimply with our FLOW e-learning platform, which has made the induction process really smooth.

“Using Bizimply has cut the time our GMs have to spend on routine admin, which means they have more time to focus on managing their pub in a hands-on way – that was our main goal for implementing their software, and it is delivering in spades!”

Bizimply CEO Conor Shaw said: “We’re delighted to be working with East London Pub Company. Like many of the small multiple operators we support, they recognise the importance of putting systems in place now that will help them as they expand. Our software can be adapted for single sites and groups with 100 outlets; the same goal, of freeing up GMs to manage their site in the best way possible, underpins our support – regardless of business size.

“It’s great news that pub numbers are growing according to the ONS, and we hope the trend continues. It is, we think, a reflection of the way pubs have adapted over recent years, adding food and entertainment to offer a much broader experience to customers.

“At the same time, as pubs become more complex businesses, they need to remember that it’s the quality of the customer service they offer that will set them apart from their competitors – which now include Deliveroo and Netflix as well as other pubs or restaurants. We know that GMs are key to delivering that memorable service that leads to happy, returning customers – but only if they are visible in the pub, managing and coaching their teams and interacting with customers, not tied up for hours with paperwork in the back office!”

Caption to attached image: some of the East London Pub Company team members

Notes to editors:

Bizimply works with 33,000 employees across 2,500 hospitality sites in the UK and Ireland, providing operators with an easy-to-use solution to workforce management tasks including staff rotas and payroll.

UK customers
• Dominion Hospitality: group of 24 pubs and hotels in the south of England
• East London Pub Company
• Dorman’s Group, Ulster: two bar-restaurants and one nightclub in Magherafelt

In Ireland:
• Causeway Hospitality: 7-strong group (3 bars, 3 hotels, one nightclub) employing 150 staff
• Hook & Ladder: six venues employing 100 staff
• Kay’s Kitchen: nine venues in Dublin
• Bodytonic: nine bars with 141 staff

World’s Biggest Pub Quiz passes 1,000 milestone

January 2020

More than 1,000 pubs have signed up to the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz, running from 8-12 March, with organisers PubAid confident this year’s event will hit an all-time high in pub participation and money raised for charities including Action Against Hunger, charity partner to the quiz.

The quiz has once again been supported by pub companies and brewers across the country and this year a number of multiple pub operators have registered for the quiz, including: Craft Union Pub Company, Greene King, Ember Inns, Sizzling Pub & Grill, Ei Publican Partnerships, Admiral Taverns, Hawthorn Leisure, Trust Inns, Stonegate and Wetherspoon. Others taking part include McMullens, Robinsons, Wells & Co, Thwaites, St Austell and Shepherd Neame as well as hundreds of independent pubs.

Many of those taking part have run the quiz at least once since it started in 2016, valuing it as a way both to raise money for charity and to drive traffic into their pub. The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz has raised £750,000 for charity since 2016.

Quiz packs, including two sets of quiz questions, posters and social media assets to promote the event, will be arriving over the next few weeks with pubs who have registered. Packs are provided free of charge to pubs, who are urged to sign up at before 21 February to receive their pack.

Pubs are free to fundraise for any charity, with many of them choosing to support Action Against Hunger, who treat more children facing life-threatening hunger than any other charity.
Co-founder of PubAid, Des O’Flanagan, said: “We’re delighted with the response to the quiz, with more pubs signed up than at this time last year. We’re grateful to every licensee who has registered, and to the pub groups who are supporting us.

“The quiz is easy for pubs to host, a lot of fun for the customers who take part, and a great way to support a charity. We expect more pubs to come on board before March and are confident that 2020 will be the best ever World’s Biggest Pub Quiz.”

Frazer Grimbleby, Operations Director, Craft Union Pub Company, said: “The Craft Union Pub Company is delighted to be involved in the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz, a fantastic opportunity to support a charity through PubAid’s great work.

“We’re pleased to be part of the overall pub community supporting the quiz. With more than 1,000 pubs across the country hosting a quiz in the same week, most people will see one taking place at a pub near them, making it a powerful reminder of the great work that pubs do to support charities and their local communities.

“We are confident it will be enjoyed immensely by Craft Union Pub Company customers and our Operators will love putting these events on. We can’t wait for it to start in March!”

Rachael Pomlett, Sizzling Marketing Manager said: “We are delighted that selected Sizzling pubs will be running the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz and are so pleased to be able to support PubAid.”

Matt White, Director of Fundraising at Action Against Hunger UK said: “We are thrilled to be working with PubAid on the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz and delighted that pubs are signing up in their hundreds to support charities, including ours.

“We have been working with restaurants for 20 years and their support has meant that countless children around the world have won their battle with life-threatening hunger. Now we’re building on that success by extending into the pub industry and we’re excited to see that many pubs are choosing to raise funds for Action Against Hunger, and support our mission of a world where no child dies of hunger.”

The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz is scheduled for 8-12 March 2020, but the organisers stress that this window is a guideline, not a requirement. Pubs who want to take part but can’t run the quiz during that week are welcome to run it at any other time.

Action Against Hunger has produced a short film demonstrating how the quiz will support their work, which can be viewed here

Drinkaware partners with Asda to promote Drink Free Days

January 2020

In-store campaign runs for fourth year

Alcohol education charity Drinkaware has partnered with Asda for a fourth year to promote responsible drinking to the retail giant’s customers. The one-day event, on Friday 17 January, saw Drinkaware stalls set up in 47 Asda stores across the UK, with trained Drinkaware ambassadors advising and engaging with customers.

This year’s activity included a focus on Drink Free Days, Drinkaware’s flagship campaign to help midlife drinkers – aged 45-64 – reduce their alcohol consumption by taking more drink free days every week. Ambassadors also handed out alcohol assessment scratch cards to encourage customers to reflect on their drinking habits, Drinkaware alcohol unit measure cups, and ‘talking to your kids about alcohol’ leaflets. They were also able to discuss any concerns shoppers had about their own or a family member’s drinking.

Around 3,300 customers visited a Drinkaware stand in-store and 150 people engaged with the campaign online in 10 stores where the Drinkaware ambassador was equipped with a tablet.
Drinkaware Chief Executive Elaine Hindal said: “We’re delighted with our activity in Asda stores, giving us a powerful platform to talk directly to their shoppers every January – a time when many people are looking for information and help to cut back on their drinking.

“Our Drink Free Days campaign, which is set to run again from early February, is proving a helpful tool for many people. We’re confident that its simple message, combined with the advice from our in-store ambassadors, will have encouraged many Asda customers to make positive changes about their drinking and lead a healthier life in 2020.”

Chris Lowe, Senior Director for Public Affairs at Asda, said: “We are pleased to have partnered again with Drinkaware, helping them to engage with our customers.

“We know that our customers respond positively to the Drinkaware presence in-store, and value the opportunity to receive factual, non-judgmental advice about drinking, in an informal setting. The initiative is an important part of Asda’s commitment to help our customers drink responsibly.”

Fourteen Members of Parliament visited their local Asda store and chatted to Drinkaware ambassadors and customers, including Dean Russell, MP for Watford, who said: “It was great to see Asda take a lead in promoting the need for responsible alcohol consumption. Drinkaware’s advice provides people with an easy and achievable way to cut back and reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm to their health.”

Caption to attached image: Pictured at the Watford Asda store (l-r): Christine Airey, Drinkaware ambassador; Beverley Ashdown, Asda team member; Elaine Hindal, Chief Executive, Drinkaware; Dean Russell, MP for Watford and Chris Good, Asda General Store Manager