ALE 26th Cambridge Beer Festival No. 295

Pub Food

The new-style branded pub chains often promote themselves as being food-oriented yet they tend to have standard menus, being supplied via chain-wide deals for packaged frozen foods from the likes of Brake Bros. - and perhaps job-lots of microwave ovens?

For instance, Scottish & Newcastle Pub Enterprises (the leased pubs division) has produced two "easy-to-use" generic menus called Scorching Value and Hunger Buster, designed to make it easier for the pubs to push food.
[Source: Licensee & Morning Advertiser 3/5/99]

In 1997 Tom Finlay set up the Campaign for Real Food which targets pub food. It cites bad signs such as urban or suburban pubs with huge laminated menus and that such places usually care more about the profit from bottled premium lagers than the quality of food.

Some industry statistics

[Quoted in an article by Matthew Muggeridge, Editor of the Pub Food Magazine, in The Publican Industry Handbook 1999]

Government plans

The Government may yet relent on the flat 90 Food Standards Agency fee for all food outlets - whether a small pub or all of Tesco. As for the media scare about genetically-modified foods, the pressure for labelling at all points of sale, however inappropriate, is a worry for smaller pub businesses. There's a hint that some outlets such as pubs may be exempted in any new labelling regulations, relieving them of great difficulties. The implications if labelling were to apply to beer production are even worse.

Good Pub Food Guide

The fifth edition of this CAMRA book, edited by Susan Nowak, is due out on 28th May and is priced at 9.99.

Around 700 pubs combining fine food and fine ales are listed. These are the places to go to savour regional, traditional and original meals, where chefs are creating dishes to complement the ales behind the bar.

The ales, menus, prices, vegetarian selections, facilities and travel options are listed, along with easy-to-use maps.

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