A new catering solution, Epicure Secure, will provide the events industry with a cost-effective and sustainable cutlery cleaning product that is COVID-secure.

Created by Iain Shelton and Julian Ebbutt, the innovative cutlery solution utilises the pairs’ combined 60 years’ experience in the hospitality industry to meet the customer demand for increased hygiene precautions. Ebbutt, former managing director of Best Loved Hotels and currently operations director of Alfresco Drinks, and Shelton, managing director of The Swinton Estate, have harnessed their extensive knowledge of the luxury sector to deliver an inspired innovation for venues, events spaces, hotels and catering companies.

With leading trade association UKHospitality suggesting to remove cutlery from tables as part of its draft guidelines, and a recent survey from Marcus Wareing detailing that 73 per cent of respondents expressed concern for transmission of COVID-19 from surfaces, many organisations are seeking alternative methods for reformulating dining options when attending events, including implementing disposable plastic cutlery, a significant U-turn from the proposed single-use plastic ban that was set to outlaw such waste from 2021.

Created to help solve these challenges as the events industry prepares to reopen, the self-seal thermal sanitised cutlery pouches were developed to provide delegates with reassurance that their cutlery has been thoroughly sanitised and not touched by others. With disposable cutlery imposing a significant impact on both operational costs and sustainability measures, alongside undermining the dining experience, Ebbutt and Shelton have sought to deliver a cost-effective solution that tailors to the needs of both the MICE industry and its customer base.

The efficient technology has been created to work in partnership with steam and combi ovens, using basic catering equipment for thermal disinfection to ensure a simple and quick sanitation process, and after usage, the cutlery pouches, which are made from sustainable sources, are 100 per cent recyclable. With bespoke branded options available, the pouches are ideal for use in a variety of dining options working lunches, buffet-style service and event banqueting, and additionally minimise the frequency that staff need to return to tables, easing operations and facilitating social distancing.

Having only launched on June 8, the solution has already been adopted within the hospitality industry throughout the UK, alongside a number of contract caterers across the country.

Ebbutt, co-founder of Epicure Secure, said: “A particular challenge we all face is how do we ensure cutlery is safe and is perceived to be safe by the customer, without negatively impacting the guest experience, the environment and the P&L by using pre-packaged disposable cutlery. Our cutlery pouches are ideal for events venues, hotels and restaurants looking for an affordable solution to post COVID food service and giving their delegates re-assurance about the steps they are taking to ensure impeccable hygiene standards.”

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