Deli-vering more

18 February, 2011

Diversifying the product range is one of the quickest and most straightforward ways to build a business.?For an established wine shop trading at the medium to top-end of the market, a deli is one of the most appealing as it can instantly enhance the look and atmosphere of the shop and because of its enormous potential in linking food and wine sales.

Sourcing products to sell in the deli is the easy bit, although looking for specialist deli wholesalers rather than relying on what the local cash and carry has tagged on to its own business should provide you with extra quality.?Get into direct contact with local manufacturers, as some sort of local angle to your food product range is very desirable for many customers these days.?National suppliers such as Shop-Equip ( provide a range of specialist display and counter equipment.?Where the shine rubs off for all but the most dedicated converter to a deli format is the extra red tape involved. If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to register as a food business with the local authority.?It’s a legal requirement to have food safety management procedures, a record of which must be kept in writing, along with relevant documents – although these can be very simple for small businesses handling limited quantities of food.?The procedures should identify “critical control points” – that is, places where the most hazards occur associated with handling food.?Stores have to allow for adequate maintenance and cleaning, minimise airborne contamination and provide enough working space for staff to carry out all tasks hygienically.?There are also rules on the position of toilets, the availability of washing facilities, staff changing areas, lights, drainage, food waste, water supply and the storage of cleaning materials.?If you’re going to be preparing food on

the premises – making salads, for example – then separate rules apply to areas where this is carried out, covering the nature and maintenance of floors, ceilings, work surfaces, doors, windows and equipment.?Staff should wear a hat or hairnet and keep hair tied back when preparing food, and shouldn’t wear watches or jewellery and, of course, shouldn’t touch their face, hair, spit, sneeze, eat or chew gum when doing so.

Employees involved in handling food who have had diarrohea or vomiting shouldn’t be allowed to return to work until they’ve had at least 48 hours without symptoms. Staff should be trained in hygiene procedures to a level appropriate to the business. It is not necessary to go on formal training courses, although sometimes these are offered by local authorities.?Cold foods have to be kept at a temperature below 8°C by law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while the minimum temperature for hot food is 63°C in the whole of the UK. Cold food can be kept above the maximum level for up to four hours when it goes on display in the counter. Anything left after this time must be thrown away, so don’t get the whole day’s stock on display from the moment you open.?There should be separate fridges for raw and ready-to-eat food, and where this is not possible, they should be kept on different shelves with the ready-to-eat food always at a higher level.?Local authority inspectors have the right to enter your business at any reasonable time and will frequently turn up unannounced. They can take samples of food, look at your records, insist on any problems being corrected or even make a recommendation for a prosecution in serious cases.?If you’re making significant changes to accommodate food in your business for the first time, it’s a good idea to contact your local authority for advice.?For more detailed information see “Food Hygiene: A Guide to Business”, published by the Food Standards Agency.?For independent off-licences and convenience stores, there are other ways of adding footfall. Pay Point ( is arguably the best-known utility payment provider, covering around 22,000 retailers and used by major energy, cable, mobile and fixed-line phone companies to collect payments.

It also sells tickets for public transport, including Arriva, Stagecoach and National Express, and handles payments for the London Congestion Charge.?3R Telecom (0870 240 4251) provides a single terminal for credit/debit card payments, international phone cards, mobile cash transfers and mobile phone top-ups.?The lottery and scratchcards are another good footfall driver in many areas.

Camelot has a retailer hotline for online game enquiries on 0800 0649 649 and a

telesales ordering line for scratchcards on 0845 9666768.?

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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