Sunday, 18 March 2018


Flippy the burger-flipping robot that started work this week in a California restaurant has been forced to take a break because it was too slow. The robot was installed at a Cali Burger outlet in Pasadena and replaced human cooks. But after just one day at work the robot has been taken offline so it can be upgraded to work faster. Its human helpers are also getting extra training to help the robot keep up with demand. In a statement Miso Robotics, which made Flippy, said it was testing the code that controls the robot to ensure that it can cook quickly enough to fulfil orders at peak times. Prior to starting work, Flippy was said to be capable of cooking up to 2,000 burgers a day. Cali said that it started to use the robot to get around the problems it has recruiting staff. The high turnover rate among staff in fast-food restaurants meant it often spent time and money training people to prepare food only to have them leave after a few months. Eventually, said the chain, burger-flipping robots will be installed in up to 50 of its restaurants.

Change Please

For the last two years, London-based social enterprise Change Please has demonstrated a radically different way of doing things, and now it’s beginning to scale up rapidly to take on the industry’s really big names. For a start, all of its cups are 100 per cent recyclable. Its beans also come from farms that support local communities. One supplier in Peru helps victims of domestic abuse, while another in Tanzania supports people injured by landmines.  When the beans get to the UK, people who have been sleeping on the streets roast them and are also trained as baristas to work at the company’s 17 locations. Change Please pays the London Living Wage, currently £10.20 per hour, and provides help with opening bank accounts, housing, therapy and assistance with onward employment. All profits are put back into helping to reduce homelessness.

Walkers 70th Birthday

Walkers is set to celebrate its 70th anniversary with a range of flavours inspired by every decade it has been making crisps. The crisp company are recreating the classic flavours from the UK’s favourite dishes of decades gone by. The flavours from the last six decades are: coronation chicken (1950s), roast lamb and mint (1960s), cheese fondue (1970s), chicken tikka masala (1980s), BBQ ribs (1990s) and sweet chilli (2000s).Walkers was founded in Leicester in 1948 by Englishman Henry Walker. The company started making crisps after World War II to keep customers satisfied while meat rationing took meat off the table. Rachel Holms from Walkers said: “To have been a household name in homes up and down the country for the last 70 years is a remarkable achievement.”

World's Most Expensive Chocolate

The world’s most expensive chocolate went on display at a chocolate fair in Obidos in Portugal on Friday. Priced at 7,728 euros ($9,489) and covered in edible gold, the chocolate is part of a limited edition of 1,000 bonbons. It has a filling of saffron threads, white truffle, vanilla from Madagascar and gold flakes. It was guarded by two uniformed men. Its creator, Portuguese chocolatier Daniel Gomes, said the diamond-shaped chocolate was certified as the world’s most expensive by the Guinness Book of Records, which in 2017 listed $250 La Madeline au Truffe made by Danish artisan chocolate-maker Fritz Knipschildt’s as the record holder. Its crown-shaped box is decorated with 5,500 Swarovksi crystals and also carries personalized pincers.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Lego Not Clicking With Customers

Lego's latest set of annual numbers showed its first drop-off in profits and revenues for 13 years this week. It said it had produced too many bricks, and had to sell off excess stock at a discount. Every year it forecasts how much Lego it thinks it will need to manage its production, and last year its forecast wasn't on the money. A Lego spokeswoman said it had "too much" stock in warehouses and shops. "There wasn't enough room to get 2017 toys into the stores, and the toy trade is driven by newness," she added. Lego Group chief executive Niels Christiansen said there was "no quick fix" and it would take the firm "some time" to grow long-term. Also  the Danish toymaker said they would be making bricks with plastic sourced from sugarcane. The pieces will be included in Lego's box sets from this year onwards. The move is part of the Danish company's pledge to use sustainable materials in its products and packaging by 2030. The toys will be made with a polyethylene produced with ethanol made from sugarcane.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

New Look Shutting 60 Stores

New Look has become the latest high street retailer to fall victim to tough trading conditions, announcing on Wednesday that it plans to shut 60 stores which could cost almost 1,000 jobs. Like other high street retailers, New Look has been battling tough trading conditions, made worse by the surging popularity of online retailers. Last month the company posted a pre-tax loss of £123m for the three-month period to the end of December 2017. Earlier this month both Toys R Us and Maplin collapsed into administration, putting close to 5,000 jobs at risk. Several restaurant chains have also been forced to restructure and cut jobs, partially as a result of inflation squeezing consumer spending power and confidence, but also a rise in business rates and minimum wages.

Alcoholic Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is planning to produce an alcoholic drink for the first time in the company's 125-year history - with an alcopop-style product in Japan. It is keen to cash in on the country's growing taste for Chu-Hi - canned sparkling flavoured drinks given a kick with a local spirit called shochu. The product is typically between 3% and 8% alcohol by volume. A senior Coke executive in Japan said the move was a "modest experiment for a specific slice of our market". "We haven't experimented in the low alcohol category before, but it's an example of how we continue to explore opportunities outside our core areas," said Jorge Garduno, Coca-Cola's Japan president. It was unlikely the drink would be sold outside of Japan, he suggested. Chu-Hi - an abbreviation for shochu highball - has been marketed as an alternative to beer, proving especially popular with female drinkers.