Warren Page, commercial services director of Gala Clubs, with a spending power of £11m, says confusion about new hygiene regulations will be greatly eased by the new Simply Safe Hazard Analysis pack, launched by Support Training and Services. "A very well-spent £150," he adds.
The pack covers a wide range of topics, from temperature and pest control to kitchen structure and staff training. It also includes various monitoring forms for use by management, and good practice guides.
Page is also interested in the new Snak-N-Stand from Fast Food Systems. A space-saving table, it can fit eight people around it. The unit has a flip-top lid for rubbish in the middle, and a bin on wheels underneath. Page feels it has some useful applications, but at £800 is expensive.
Again with space as well as labour-saving in mind, Page is impressed with the Percell Group's Tellermate cash-processing system. The company claims it can count a cash till in 40 seconds with 99.9% accuracy. Page comments that the system seems to provide "more accuracy, it saved time, and would be useful in cash-oriented businesses".
The Tellermate is pre-programmed, but can be used for counting vouchers and scratch cards. It is priced at £695.
Page also looks at two new menu display systems. He commends the first, the "continental" from Showcard Display, for its user-friendliness. "It is flexible and versatile with easy-to-change pictures, and has some built-in safety elements."
The system comes in five sizes. The cost of five boxes, divided into three menu boxes and two pictures, is £1,100. Showcard Display has a stock of 2,000-3,000 pictures.
The second of the menu display systems comes from Great American Stock. The display posters are made up on computer, then mounted and laminated. Posters cost from $249 (£156) plus delivery for 24 x 30in, but there is no minimum order.
Page is impressed by the company's "quick turnaround" - five to six days' delivery time from the USA.
According to Page, caterers are moving towards real, non-disposable crockery, and he is impressed with the new Vernon Court pattern from Dudson, which, he says, "you would not mind having on your own dinner table".