Two iced teas and a ginger tom, please …

(Update: the butcher in Sudbury who was pressured by one person to remove his dead animal display from the window of his butcher shop has received so much support and encouragement from the local residents and businesses that he has put the display back up. The local businesses say that his display actually brings visitors to the area to see it and that there is a spin-off of increased sales to the neighbouring shops. It’s good to know that one complainer has basically been told to mind their own business – or words to that effect.)

Kiddy Kat 1There were two situations that caught the attention of the courts recently, and possibly also the attention of some stocktakers.

The first was the case of the ‘greasy-fingered’ McDonald’s customer. Mr Lucas is suing Ronald McD for $1.5 million because they neglected to give him more than one napkin and the incident caused him so much mental anguish he is now unable to work. Was that Californian McDonalds trying to save some costs on their overheads by cutting down on their paper napkins? Was it a suggestion from their stocktaker or Franchise holder? We’ll probably never know as unsurprisingly, they have declined to comment on the incident.

The other case was probably where a stocktaker (we have to blame someone) urged the management of an Essex school to make tomato ketchup freely available. So available that it was lining the corridors – or that’s how it sounds. One teacher was awarded £230,000 because he wasn’t looking where he was going and he slipped and hurt himself as he walked out the staffroom. With that type of payout, perhaps the rest of the staff will now diligently be looking for any stray sachets of tomato paste so they can also ‘hit the jackpot’ so to speak. And they said teaching wasn’t dangerous!

In other news, it is probably a first for some professional stocktakers like Jon Rutter and his team if they were asked to add ‘cat food’ and ‘kitty litter’ to their restaurant customer’s inventory. What has been popular for years in the Far East has arrived in London – the first ‘cat café’ where customers can have their cake and tea while cuddling a cat at the same time. And it seems to be very popular too, seeing as their website crashed from booking enquiries within hours of it opening. The owner does say that she is unable to own a cat herself where she lives – so I suppose the next best thing is to stock up with moggies at work. The cats are ‘resident’ so anyone wanting to visit can’t BYO (and if Jon Rutter does happen to visit there he would be well advised not to take Unique Billy with him – it could cause a bit of a stir)!

Hopefully, no one allergic to cats will visit either – it would be a test case if Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium were to be sued by someone because they had started sneezing uncontrollably as a result of the décor.

Dining in the sky with diamonds (and a seatbelt) …

Image: Colin Brough

Image: Colin Brough

It is probably de rigeur to attend the restaurant in the sky when it comes to town. This extravagant example of the “peripatetic food wagon” has been doing the rounds over the last few years.

Major cities in the Middle East, the Americas, Africa, Australasia and Europe have seen the vertically portable arrangement swaying gently above their streets. This is one of those places where dinner is definitely different. There are 22 places around the table with the central boardwalk reserved for the staff who prepare and serve the three course meal plus drinks to guests who plainly need a head for heights. The whole table is raised into the air above the city and well-heeled diners get a birds-eye view from 40 or so metres. Meals are mostly pre-prepared and then finished off in a convection oven in the “kitchen” – no open flames or that type of cooking is permitted (health and safety issues, it seems), so crépes won’t be on any menu!

The good news for restaurateurs is that this whole apparatus can be rented. Stocktakers can be instructed by their clients to factor the costs in to their calculations for the new year. Well, summer, actually because even though you can pay a bit extra for some heating to be included, the open air nature of this beast will probably meet its match in the English winter. So for the chef who wants to give his guests that special experience, he can bank on £12,500 for the five hour junket. This of course includes everything – the campaign planning, risk assessments, hire of the table, the crane, the crew and management who set up everything and then break it down (no pun intended) and also the £10m public liability insurance. All the host will have to provide is the food, the serving staff and the guests.

It would be recommended that guests be carefully selected. Those with vertigo or incontinence issues should probably best stay home. While it is quite fine for guests to leave the table to visit the little boy or girl’s room during the meal, the lowering and raising of the table each time could grate on the other guests when they’re trying to get the perfect shot on their camera-phone and suddenly they lose their vantage point angle because someone ‘needs to go.’

And if Malcolm Walker happened to be a guest at one of these soirées he’d be the first to suggest using products from his Iceland chain. And for the attending stocktaker, factoring in Mr Walker’s products could keep the costs of the whole event down to below 14K. His company’s products would also help the kitchen staff in their preparations too. A lot of dishes could just be bunged in the microwave in situ, 40m up!

People shouldn’t be surprised if there’s an extra name on the Christmas cards they get this year. An interesting survey shows that one in four dog owners add the name of their pet on to the cards they send out. I suppose because animals and our pets are considered part of the family.

So it would be quite normal to get one from Jon Rutter signed “from Jon, all the Rutters team and Unique Billy.”