Allergic reaction? Some Twitterers are … to bunnies!

These days you have to warn people about things like nuts and or mushrooms in their food. Or whether the chicken was slaughtered in a particular way. The reason for this is that there seem to be a lot more people suffering from allergies or else they’re sensitive to the way their meat is killed and prepared. Or they’re sensitive as to whether their food even contains meat, or protein or dairy.

It must be a restaurateur’s nightmare trying to prepare a menu. But what if the chef also has a problem? Not with the food – but with the kitchen! In Scotland, Cameron Robertson has had to give up his career as a chef because he’s allergic – to the pots, pans and utensils. And now he’s had to give up his culinary dreams. Perhaps with the development of more implements made from silicon instead of metal and with the reintroduction of granite counter tops he’ll find his way back into the kitchen?

Image: Photonut

Image: Photonut

Some of award winning author Jeanette Winterson’s followers were aggrieved when she didn’t give too much warning before posting images of a recently-deceased parsley thief that she had dispatched in anger. Some of her 32 000 Twitter followers didn’t like seeing what she had done to ‘bunnikins’ who had been conducting an ongoing assault on Winterson’s garden. Eventually it was too much for her so she trapped, killed, prepared and ate the culprit. Some of the followers were more outraged by her comments about using the head as a glove puppet than they were about the slaying!

There was a furious Twitter-war raging between Winterson and some of her various followers. With two camps having a go at each other about the origin of food and its preparation. One angry follower wrote that she “… would never read a word you write. Rest in peace, little rabbit.” To which Winterson retorted, “Do you only read vegetarians? …”

Some establishments might consider asking their stocktakers to source a copy of the REAL health and safety regulations in case one of their customers wants to check up on things their staff (or themselves even) might have thought was in or out of the rules. A customer was told in no uncertain terms that her child couldn’t use a staff toilet in a Specsavers as it was “contrary to ‘elf-and-safety regulations” – but this was debunked by the Health & Safety Executive as nonsense. There are a whole lot of other misconceptions too, but it has been very convenient for establishments to use it as an excuse to say “no” to something. Like having to produce ID to buy Christmas crackers. Or being prevented from taking photographs of your child at a sports event under the Child Protection Act. Also rubbish.

Just as well, then someone was “breaking the rules” at a rugby game in the Herts Shield junior cup final when an unsporting parent was snapped deliberately tripping a player to prevent him scoring.

Jon Rutter and his team of professionals will tell you exactly what is and what is not permitted in the establishments that they look after – and contrary to the opinions of some, you CAN take photos of the food you’re about to eat and post it to Twitter – even if it’s rabbit!

Rules are made to be broken, said Bernard!

D Day CollageAccountants and stocktakers like Jon Rutter will tell you that there are rules for a reason and that they should not be broken. Like making sure that for every credit there is a corresponding entry in the debit column, or something like that. He will tell you that without the rules in place the wheels of a business can quickly fall off.

Sometimes ordinary folk will look at rules as something some “jobsworth” has invented to spoil our fun and restrict our freedom. One of those occasions is the ruling that has put a stop to what has been going on for 900 years – yes, Morris dancing cannot continue from Nottingham to Southwell. The Nottinghamshire County Council traffic manager has said, among other things that“…a need to recognise the complexity of managing old events safely on today’s roads which carry high volumes of fast-moving traffic.” Why they don’t just close the road like they do in Monaco, or on the Isle of Man or in half of France when sporting events happen. But then I don’t suppose Morris dancing brings in as much cash as racing does.

Sometimes the rule breakers just take the view that they’re going to do it anyway and the consequences be damned! Like Bernard Jordan who told the staff at his care home, “I’m going out for a while …” after they told him that he couldn’t go to Normandy for the D-Day memorial events. But he went anyway and those who told him “no” welcomed him back with applause! Bernard’s day out saw him negotiating a bus and ferry trip to pay his respects to those who fell in the events and after D-Day. No regulations and rules were going to stop him – that’s the spirit that won the war! If some of the present day ‘elf-and-safety’ crowd were around in 1944 they’d have had the whole fleet wearing high-vis jackets and “Mae Wests” in case they fell overboard en route to the Continent.

It is also fitting that Mr Jordan hails from Brighton and Hove – the town where Rutters Stocktakers is head-quartered. Mr Jordan was also mayor there once and moves are afoot to have the Freedom of the City bestowed on him. I suppose it was easy for Mr Jordan to sit at the care home and ponder his moves seeing as you can virtually see Normandy from Brighton. Sometimes breaking the dictats of others is a no-brainer.

One wonders what the safety officers will make of the chef in Grantham in Lincolnshire who has invented a curry that is three times hotter than pepper spray. Apparently the customers who want it are made to sign a disclaimer warning of the consequences of eating it. For those hot food aficionados, this brew is 12 million on the Scoville heat measurement scale. What other stocktaker has to include goggles and gloves for the chef and gloves for the customers in his customer’s inventory?

It would be curious to know why people put themselves through that type of heat-experience … but hats off to the chef whose seen ‘an opening‘ in the market for this type of nuclear curry dish, boldly going where no gastronome has been before.

Bins, beer and regulations – it’s tough being a politician!

Don’t you just hate dodging bins and bags that are left out all over the pavement waiting for collection? It’s dodge this one and step into the road to miss that one – all as a result of the regulations (don’t even mention Brussels) imposed on the consumer. You can’t do this and you must do that in an effort to recycle or eradicate waste. After a long campaign it appears that plastic bags are now going to be charged for at the supermarket – at 5p a pop – in an effort to deter people from using new ones each time they shop.

They say that the money raised will go to charity. But, small and medium sized businesses with less than 500 employees will be excluded in order to protect independent retailers. What happens when these retailers get so busy with extra customers seeking to avoid the charge-per-bag that they have to hire more staff to cope and then exceed the magic 500 number? But I’m sure the regulators have thought that one through.

Image: Denis Slogar

Image: Denis Slogar

I wonder if Jon Rutter and his team of professional stocktakers are having to start suggesting to their customers ways they can provide packaging that meets all the regulatory requirements but still keeps the customers happy and prevents their purchases from falling on the floor at some inconvenient time?

Having dodged all the bins and bags on the way to work, can you imagine the irritation commuters faced when they had to dodge a hoard of press photographers sprawled all over the pavement outside a pub in London the other day? The gentlemen of the press were excluded from entering as some politicians were in there – no other punters either mind, just the politicos and their entourage as they sought to put on a brave public face in the wake of the election results. Nick & Vince were all smiles and even had some froth on their lips from the different brews they were sampling, mild and bitter.

The pub had possibly agreed to host the event on the off-chance that the press corps would surge in afterwards to take shelter and fortify themselves for the next stage in their busy day of seeking news once the main players had departed in their limos. I suppose the landlord of the Queen’s Head in London had told his stocktaker to factor-in an empty pub for the chaps do their photo-op in, ‘but make sure the keg of bitter is fully charged AND that the press lads have plenty of snacks and ale available for afters!’ It just didn’t seem to be as jolly an affair as when Nigel visits a pub, though.

What the England Football squad will have plenty of though – their stocktaker has seen to it – is their favourite sauce and butter, if they want it. Gone are the dietary restrictions imposed by the previous coach. Roy has rescinded the ‘no sauce’ ban and ketchup is back on the list. Some of the lads also like fast food and it appears that’s okay too. So hopefully, with their concentration off “what’s for dinner, coach?” the games will deliver the desired results too.

Roy might even throw in some of the prize-winning pies from The Chestnut Horse to keep the boys on track. Jon Allen has just won the “Pub Pie of the Year” with his Welsh cob pie (Wayne Rooney would like that). The pub has 42 pies on the menu – all named after breeds of horses!

How does Tom Kerridge get to be a judge at these events, lucky chap?

Here to vote? What colour do you want your pancake?

Rutter Collage‘Politician-speak’ is the use of a number of words and phrases that are designed to placate, pacify and deflect scrutiny. Some people call it ‘spinning‘ or saying things in a way that while no untruths are told, the real story is not revealed to those asking the questions. And while this week may have been a bad week for some politicians don’t think that ‘politician-speak’ is only limited to them.

Renowned chef Marco Pierre White (or at least, his spokesman) was quoted as saying things like, “… we can confirm …” and “… the feedback was provided in an informal way …” and my favourite, “… we have acted on what needed addressing and we continue to work closely with the Birmingham City Council …” All this because the food safety inspectors slapped a zero-rating on the good chef’s four-star restaurant that sits perched on the top of the block in Birmingham known by many as The Cube. But I suppose mouse droppings, mouldy cow carcasses and old and re-labelled chicken will do that to a restaurant. I shouldn’t think that there was much ‘politician-speak’ behind the closed doors of the restaurant when Marco got his certificate and window sticker with a big fat “Zero” on it that is supposed to be displayed to the paying public.

More of the same type of language was doled out too by the powerful and seemingly immoveable Sepp Blatter who admitted that awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar was “a mistake.” In response Gary Lineker Tweeted that he imagined that “Sepp’s resignation letter was being composed as we tweet” … don’t hold your breath, Gary. Sepp has indicated that he will be seeking election for a fifth term as FIFA President next month. The soccer supremo suggested that his French rival who might oppose him was “… a man of very deep character, he wouldn’t do it.” The maneuvering and discussions that go on in the corridors and boardrooms across the world of football also confirm that “politics” is not always limited to running a country. Perhaps the irony of Sepp’s comments about referring to his rival as being of “deep character” was lost on himself.

The good news for Gary and other supporters of Team England is that London has once again outshone the French. London has been crowned the most attractive city in the world, knocking New York of the top spot, while Paris moved down two places. This has got have a positive impact on attracting visitors to England in general and to the capital in particular. So people like Jon Rutter and his team of professional stocktakers will probably have even more challenges placed on them as their customers plan and innovate to stay ahead of their competition.

Jon is probably hoping that he doesn’t have to analyse the profitability of new technology someone might want to install in their restaurant after having read about personalised pancake designs. If some place that sells pancakes gets it in their heads to get the “design-your-own-pancake” machine it will be one more thing to consider whether it is worth investing in or not. It is a nifty little number though. Apparently you can program in a unique design and then the “PancakeBot” machine uses CAD technology to distribute the design, in batter, onto a hotplate. Flipping the pancakes still requires human intervention.

Knowing politicians, though, come this time next year you might find a slew of tables outside polling stations with activists giving out pancakes in the shape of their party logo using coloured batter that matches their party’s colour.

Give me a pub team anytime! (… so says Roy)

Image: Felipe Dan Reis

Image: Felipe Dan Reis

Any place that runs speed-eating competitions would probably have their stocktakers tearing their hair out over pre-ordering quantities for the event. Especially if the world champion competitive eater is expected in town. But in order to be recognized, she’d probably have to wear a notice saying “I’m the Champion” because the petite, size 8 mum-of-four doesn’t look like she could shovel away a 5000 calorie burger in six½ minutes! The “Stellanator” consisted of six slabs of meat, slices of cheese, six fried eggs, 12 slices of bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, pickles, grilled onions, peanut butter, jalapenos and then there was the bun (top & bottom) to keep it all together.

It all started off as a way of proving someone wrong – as one does – and things escalated from there to 9 lb burritos, 54-inch pizzas and more. I’m still trying to get my head around how she manages to work her way through a 12 lb sandwich and 1 lb of fries in 53 minutes!

The question many ask is, “Why?” But Mollie Schuyler does it for the money. In January she scooped £17 800.00 for guzzling 363 chicken wings in 30 minutes.

Money also seems to be the motivation for becoming a professional football player. You’d think that earning 200 grand a week would be enough. But no, Yaya Touré “wants his cake and eat it” too! But Manchester City insist that they did give him a cake to celebrate his birthday. I didn’t realize that birthday #31 was such an important milestone.

Who would be a football coach? Especially when your star player is miffed because no one (allegedly) gave him his birthday bumps? And especially if you’re Louis van Gaal, the new coach of Manchester United when the National Coach has said that he could beat Man U with a pub team if he had six months to prepare! And he’d probably only have to pay them in pints and crisps, too.

But for that matter, who’d be a politician when things go wrong for some of them the way they did this week. You had a leader who didn’t know who he was there to support, nor who was running that particular council – all caught on two separate occasions on TV and on radio. Awkward.

Or the politician that organised for steel band who were all set to play their tunes and entertain the crowds when they discovered that the political party that had contracted them wasn’t who they wanted to support. “Pack the drums away, lads, we’re outta here!” I wonder if they had to return their fee?

Jon Rutter would be the first to tell you how imperative careful planning and good strategy is in running a successful pub, restaurant or club. Sportsmen and politicians could do well to take note of his principles and ethos – if they did, they’d end up with the cake they wanted, knowing what candidate they were there to support and they’d have had music to dance to as well.

The beautiful game showcase kicks off in Brazil in 21 days time – hopefully the hosts have their careful planning and good strategy all in place. 

We DO have a child-free area, sir … it’s called the cockpit

Airplane Flying Towards The SunsetThere are times when people visit restaurants and pubs for special occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations. Sometimes business meetings also take place over a meal or a snack accompanied by a glass of wine or a pint of beer. The waiting staff and management of these establishments are generally conscious of these things and usually don’t intrude on the people’s conversations – they like to leave them to get on with it!

But when a guest arrives with a child in tow it has been known to cause some consternation and disruption. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong or bad about the child, but management may be concerned that some of the child’s table manners and behaviour might not be as restrained as the majority of the patrons they are trying to serve. And this is why Grant Achatz, chef of Alinea in Chicago, is considering a ‘baby ban’ at his restaurant as it would put diners off their hors d’oeuvres and other courses.

It is reported that some diners have expressed the opinion that they would be livid if they were out for a quiet dinner and their senses were being assaulted with a crying baby in the background. Especially if they are paying the type of prices the Alinea charges.

These ‘noise’ concerns are probably also the reason that 7 out of 10 Britons also want to see child-free flights on airlines. It is reported that as much as 35% of those interviewed would be prepared to pay extra for child free flights. The awkward part about the survey though, reports that ‘drunk and rowdy travellers’ or ‘people with bad hygiene’ and ‘seat-kicking passengers’ were rated even more aggravating that crying babies. So will there be advocates of alcohol-free flights? And who is going to determine who are those with bad “B/O” and redirect them to board the ‘stinky’ flight from Heathrow to Dubai?

At what age does it then become acceptable to introduce one’s child to fine dining? Some would even say that there are some chefs even better behaved than their customers – regardless of the customer’s age. And when is it acceptable to have a child in a flight, when there are adults who cry and shout and throw tantrums on a plane when there isn’t a child in sight?

The lawyers must be rubbing their hands in anticipation.

In much the same way Mrs Attenborough’s barrister son (how convenient for her) had prevented a cricket team from hitting sixes when they have home matches as it might annoy his mum. She doesn’t like the odd cricket ball landing in her garden which is next to the field. Apparently they have come to an ‘amicable solution’ with the club. I’m sure that the Britwell Salome Cricket Club’s opponents are the ones who are most pleased with the solution – especially if they have a dodgy slow bowler – they aren’t going to be slaughtered in their matches.

All the permutations each restaurant, each airline, each cricket club has must be challenging to stocktakers like Jon Rutter and his team of professionals. What a good thing there are easy tools like spreadsheets, stock programmes and CRM platforms to help them keep track of what each client needs in their quest to keep patrons happy.

How long will it be until a restaurant is threatened with legal action by some customer with a relative who’s a judge for playing the wrong music, or being seated at the wrong table because it upsets their feng shui?

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!

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.