Grandpa, can I print you some lunch?

Can you imagine this email going out?

“Dear Jon Rutter – we have had a lot more elderly customers in our restaurant lately and some of them are “chew challenged” so please can you ensure that your stocktaker adds the new “smoothfood” products to our inventory. Chef will send through the menu choices later. Oh and we also need to budget for one of those 3-D things so we can print their food out for them – sincerely Restrauteur, from Pull-the-Other-One Diner”

Starter, entree, mains & dessert!

Starter, entree, mains & dessert!

Some German scientists/cooks have developed gel-food using molecular gastronomy as an alternative to folk who find it difficult to chew their food. The process works by taking the real McCoy and then using Heston-style alchemy turning it into easy-to-swallow gel that is then put through some kind of 3-D printer to present the food in the shapes and colours the normal dish would look like. The report is not too clear on how it works but I suspect that it is much the same as a cookie cutter might operate – put in the ingredients and pop out the finished article.

However, regardless of how much they paid the photographer though, the finished product doesn’t look like it would tickle the old taste buds. Just like taking a pill as a substitute for an entire meal in science fiction movies didn’t seem to appeal to everyone either. I wonder if this will take off?

What might take off, however is the trick an American brewer has revealed that allows a person to drink without getting drunk! Jim Koch says that taking a teaspoon of yeast before you drink will stop you getting drunk. He adds that taking in dry yeast isn’t too palatable so suggests that it can be added into yoghurt. He is also quick to point out that the process doesn’t completely eliminate the effects of alcohol, just reduces it.

Apparently the yeast transforms the alcohol into carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules so before the alcohol reaches the brain it is effectively “neutralized” before it causes drunkenness. Which is fine for people who do not suffer from gluten intolerance – for those who do, moderation is still the key!

Publicans might have to ask their stocktakers to source a good stock of yoghurt and dry yeast for their patrons so they can also offer this remedy to their punters. Some would be forgiven in thinking that this concoction now gives new meaning to the term “gastro pub.”

Even supermarket chains have taken to using ‘science’ to attract their customers and sell their wares. Have you ever wondered why, after a few weeks the item you always found in aisle 6 has been moved to a gondola in aisle 2? Or that the size of mayonnaise bottle you really want is on the bottom shelf and the packet of flour your family uses now appears next to bottles of beetroot instead of with other baking products?

The answer is all down to the marketing schemes and tactics psychologists suggest the supermarkets use to keep us buying things we don’t really want, or things that we weren’t thinking about but end up filling our trolleys with. And beware the red stickers – they doesn’t always mean a “special discount” – they can also mean “danger, higher price!”

Some shoppers prefer to forego science and technology and stick to a shopping list, eat what they like and drink in moderation – yeast free!

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A Scotsman, an Italian and a Dutchman all walk into a football club …

 

Image: Sanja Gjenero

Image: Sanja Gjenero

Jon Rutter and his team will attest to the fact that running a business successfully can be tricky. It’s a bit like a juggling act, get one thing wrong and the whole lot can come crashing down. Whether it’s a pub or restaurant, guest house or hotel there’s a fine balance that has to be maintained for success to continue.

Or a football club.

Everything can be running smoothly, with great results and satisfied customers and in the case of some establishments – even the shareholders can be happy, and that’s no mean feat! The successful club can go from season to season only really upsetting the opposition. Scribes and newspapers can constantly be singing praise and running out of superlatives to use in describing their prowess. Then the manager retires.

In any business, the changing of the guard often leads to change and frequently comes in for criticism. If he’s wise, the ‘new broom’ uses the successful formula employed by the ‘old broom’ to move forward and gradually introduces change. David Moyes didn’t appear to have read that script though. Anyway, he had a decidedly “glazed” look about him after his session with owner Mr Glazer yesterday and even though he was technically on his bike, he was chauffeured from the ground only to later remark that he “was surprised” at the outcome of the days events. It’s interesting to note how many journalists out there are now writing “I told you so” pieces – but they were pretty quiet for the last few months.

And even across the pond in New York, the news of Moyes axing has got the SEC buzzing about the share price. Now that Moyes is history the shares have risen substantially and they argue that the news of anything substantial that could affect the share price, the Listed Company has a duty to advise the shareholders first, and they didn’t. I would have thought that the writing had been on the wall for a while. Clearly, a management change can affect shares.

In the place of Moyes, in steps Ryan (not-without-his-own-controversies) Giggs. One wonders whether there’s a book running on how long it will be before Sir Alex is back (the chewing gum manufacturers will be pleased if that happens). Is the Glazer family going to settle on the Scot, on Ancelotti or on van Gaal?

What is definitely settled is that Jack Sparrow likes beer and red wine! This “Jack” is Norie MacKinnon’s pet parrot. He also loves Status Quo and wears a hoodie (of course he does) when he frequents the pub, the Stewartfield Farm in East Kilbride. Stocktakers for the Stewartfield don’t need to add parrot food to the landord’s list of bar snacks because Norie says that Jack also fancies a bit of curry to nibble on. He also likes riding in the open-top car.

Scot Norie also mentions that Jack “won’t speak to command, but he does have a good vocabulary.” Now that also sounds a bit like Sir Alex at post-match Man. United press conferences.

It’s all smoke & sundials …

nor in Llanfair PG

nor in Llanfair PG

Maybe he was just trying to compete with the speed with which Amazon delivers groceries. And he was so close to his depot too, only to have his journey cut short by the unfortunate accident he caused – trashing five other vehicles and a house. For all one knows the Tesco driver had been told to ‘shake a leg’ that day.

Perhaps the driver had been told about Amazon pulling out all stops to compete in the grocery-delivery business and that they were going to take on the big supermarket chains. Amazon boast that if a customer places an online order by 10am they will receive their delivery by dinnertime. And if you shell out more that £35.00 there is no delivery fee!

The report states that the driver was treated for shock. Perhaps the other vehicle-owners and the people in the house didn’t need treatment, but the report wasn’t that clear?

After last week’s revelations about the possibility of glasses with lines on them to indicate the amount of units in them, another marked glass has made its appearance. This time stocktakers can relax as it may not make up too much of their customer’s inventory they have to budget for as it won’t be compulsory. A pair of friends have perfected the ultimate range of “sunglasses” only not the type you wear on your face.

This is a sundial-on-a-beer-glass. Which is great news for those folk who are drinking outside, in sunny weather and somewhere along the 51st parallel of latitude who don’t have a watch or a mobile with a clock on it. So it is great if you happen to be in Canada, Germany or even Kazakhstan (not sure how popular it will be there…) – or anywhere else along that line of latitude you’ll be fine. The trick is knowing which way to align the glass so that it will accurately indicate the time. Jackie Jones quite rightly reflects that “there is nothing else like it on the market.” It does NOT come with a compass attached, so you’ll have to BYO.

Jon Rutter and his team of stocktakers have no need to worry about this time-telling-beer-glass being added to many clients stock, though. As the further north they go the possible usage of this quirky item wanes. The Scots won’t be able to enjoy at all, even when the sun does come out over Edinburgh, because they’re on 56°N.

How do you say it

Listen here!

The locals in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch (affectionately, and most sensibly known as Llanfair PG by the residents) have launched a voluntary project of making their town a non-smoking zone, even outdoors! Predictably, the smokers lobby group ‘Forest’ is reported to be ‘fuming’ but the Anglesey council said that the scheme had been ‘widely welcomed.’

But this raises another question that doesn’t appear to have been answered – what about the e-ciggie proponents? Can they ‘power-up’ in Llanfair PG and will ‘Forest’ fight in their corner because there is no real smoke?

“Big Brother” also slips up from time to time …

Line Of Police Cars In EnglandMany have complained that we live in a society where our every move is scrutinized. Others embrace the concept arguing that if we aren’t doing anything wrong there is no need for concern. But Sophie Vaughan was minding her own business in traffic, in a traffic jam no less, when she took a sip from her Slush Puppy.

A sharp-eyed policeman on a bike spotted her actions and handed her a £100 fixed penalty for ‘driving without due care and attention.’ Perhaps he thought she would throw cold Slush Puppy in his face and felt he needed back-up, so he called for reinforcements and another three colleagues came to his support. Ms Vaughan will now have to go to court to have the 3 penalty points that came with the fine rescinded, even though there is no clarity in the law on whether eating or drinking while driving is illegal. The law merely states that ‘if you present a significant danger’ and if the police think ‘you are not in proper control of the vehicle.’ So it appears that this particular band of four officers felt that sitting in a stationery vehicle and sipping a drink rendered Ms Vaughan reckless.

But for the Met officer who was caught on camera, sipping at his drink while he was driving his patrol car there seems to be a bit of the pot calling the kettle black going on. I’m sure the Met would argue that police officers undergo stringent driver training before being placed in charge of a vehicle, so presumably being able to “sip-and-drive” comes into their training regime.

What happens if someone is seen chewing gum while driving?

Another ‘Big Brother’ moment occurred when it was mooted that pubs or restaurants should have glasses with lines marked on them that indicate how many units of alcohol are in the glass. The campaigners for this move appear to think that if the lines are prominently displayed on each glass then consumers will suddenly suffer a dose of ‘guilt and responsibility’ and only consume what the recommended plimsoll line indicates. Or consumers will decant their drinks into their own glasses or they will develop ‘line-blindness’ as a consequence.

If the move was introduced, would the Palace also follow suit at their State Functions? Would restaurants be able to order colour-coded lines on their glasses to match their décor? It would be a maître-d’s nightmare trying to get his table settings to look good in a Michelin-starred establishment with all those lines, logos and information printed on their finest crystal.

For hard-working stocktakers there was some cost-cutting good news from the USA recently. A 14 year old student in Pennsylvania has advised the USA Government how they can save $400m by making a simple adjustment to the way they print out things. He worked out and analysed that by merely changing the font on their documents from Times New Roman to Garamond the amount of ink saved on the less bulky font will save that massive amount of dosh!

Now if Jon Rutter and his professional team recommended a pub or restaurant change their menu fonts in order to be more profitable, it is unlikely to save them $400m – but the principle of using less ink on the fonts and not so many twiddly bits as decoration could reduce the number of times the print cartridges are changed, which mean savings. Stocktaker’s job done!

Or you could just use a blackboard – chalks are probably cheaper than paper and print cartridges. It would save more trees too.

“… we apologize for the inconvenience …” (it’s April Fools, and you’re it!)

Looking through the papers yesterday, or watching stories on the TV it was difficult to discern what was true or what were “April Fool” gags. Some of the real events should have fallen into the ‘you couldn’t make it up‘ category while others were just plainly bizarre to the extent that if you analyse any news story these days, they should all be of the “April Fool” variety.

Take the news that Tesco staff banned a customer from paying for his petrol using the £20 commemorative coins for instance. They then called the cops and banned him from the premises! Later they stuck up a sign saying,Please make sure you have significant funds to pay for your fuel. Sorry for any inconvenience. What’s really bizarre is the fake apology at the end … many folk will ask, when has a firm really been sorry for any inconvenience?

Another “you couldn’t make it up” event was Lady Gaga doing a “Big-Bird” impression in New York. That’s what happens when you let some celebrities go “free range” it seems.

Nike timeoutWhat is glaringly obvious is that Nike won’t be sorry for any of the inconvenience fans might face in wanting to purchase the Replica England Team World Cup shirt. At £90 each there’s an outcry at another rip-off to the extent that the Sports Minister is demanding Nike “rethink” – I wonder whether Nike will listen or ‘just do it’ anyway? Maybe that’s why their website was down. Possibly they were ‘rethinking’ as the Minister suggested, but they weren’t apologising.

And does the ECB’s gag on the news of Kevin Pietersen’s sacking actually help? The ECB might as well issue the following statement:

we apologise for the inconvenience of not letting you know the full story as to why we sacked Pietersen. We want you to speculate and spread rumours over the next number of months so that we can continue to say ‘no comment’ because we’ve been practising that line and it would be a pity to waste it.

There might have been some stocktaker’s eyes lighting up at the news that Heston Blumenthal was moving the Fat Duck down under for six months while the premises in Bray get a refurb. Heston intimated that he was shifting the eatery to Melbourne virtually lock, stock and even the sign to let the Aussies experience what his three-star dining is like. No ‘XXXX’ beer and beetroot with his burgers! He also said he was shifting the ‘whole team’ with him. And as Jon Rutter will tell you, a decent stocktaker is part of any team that makes a place profitable and function correctly. His role is just as vital as the sous chef or the front of house manager.

No one has yet confirmed whether this news of the move to the Antipodes is really an April Fool’s joke or whether it is serious. But if it is on the cards, then the £190.00 meal for two will see Sheila and Bruce shelling out AUD350.00.

But I’m sure the management will apologise to Bruce for this inconvenience, and of course they will mean it too.