In this week’s news we reveal the UK’s first staffless restaurant, the new Energy Bill Scheme and a new tourist tax is considered in Wales.  It was also the week that celebrated the best of the best with the AA star and rosette awards for 2022 announced.


UK’s first 24-hour ‘staffless’ restaurant to launch in Oxford

One UK restaurant has found a novel way to overcome the hospitality staffing crisis.  EZ 24 Ramen, is the first to open a 24-hour staffless restaurant, serving a range of Korean ramen.  Located in Oxford, customers will pay a subscription to access the site, where they can use machines to cook their own noodles with a range of toppings.  The concept was inspired by a visit to an unmanned ramen store in South Korea during the pandemic and hopes to attract people who want a quick and easy meal.  The machines can cook packets of ramen in three minutes with customisable toppings such as kimchi, mushroom, pickles and bean sprouts.  Drinks, ice creams and meal kits will also be sold in Korean and Japanese-style vending machines, and the store will feature arcade games, WiFi and plug sockets for laptops.



The government has unveiled its Energy Bill Relief Scheme for Businesses

The government has unveiled its Energy Bill Relief Scheme for Businesses. This new scheme will see energy prices for non-domestic energy customers such as businesses, charities and public sector organisations cut from October 1st – helping protect them from the rising energy costs this winter. Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO welcomes ‘unprecedented measures’ on energy but calls for more comprehensive package to safeguard the sector.



New tourist tax proposed for Wales

People visiting family and friends in Wales are set to be liable for a new “tourism tax” if they stay in hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses. They are likely to be treated in the same way as holidaymakers under new taxation measures being considered by the Welsh Government.  To make tourism more sustainable in Wales, Cardiff is proposing a self-assessed tax based on the number of overnight stays, the first local tax of its kind in Wales. Also included in a consultation are plans for a licensing scheme in Wales similar to one being introduced in Scotland.  It will be interesting to see if other UK nations and cities consider a similar approach.



The AA reveals new starred hotels and restaurants

The annual AA awards for 2022 have been revealed.  The Cameron House hotel on Loch Lomond in West Dubartonshire and the Grove, Narberth, in Pembrokeshire have both been awarded the maximum five-star rating.  Nine new restaurants, including the Dining Room at Whatley Manor in Malmesbury and the Ledbury in London, received four rosettes, which are granted to those considered among the top restaurants in the UK.  AA rosettes have been awarded to restaurants since 1956, with the top award of five rosettes being introduced in 1991.