Thursday 30 November 2023



On November 12, 2023, a collapse occurred in the under-construction tunnel from Silkyara to Barkot due to debris falling in a 60-metre stretch on the Silkyara side. Immediate mobilisation of resources by the State and Central Governments ensued to rescue the 41 trapped labourers.

Safety concerns in opting for a 900 mm pipe through the debris led to the exploration of multiple rescue options simultaneously. The area of entrapment, measuring 8.5 metres in height and 2 kilometres in length, is the built-up portion of the tunnel, offering safety to the labourers with available electricity and water supply.

After 17 painful days, all the 41 workers who were trapped in Uttarakhand's collapsed Silkyara-Barkot tunnel were rescued on Tuesday 28 November. When all efforts since November 12 including the use of a highly sophisticated auger machine, to rescue 41 workers trapped inside Uttarkashi’s, hit a setback in drilling 60 meters of mountains, a team of rat-hole miners achieved success.

Since the collapse of the tunnel, various government agencies worked tirelessly on each assigned task to ensure the safe evacuation of the workers. National and International experts were also present at the site to render advice on the rescue operation. Several machines, resources, and experts from across the country were tasked with ensuring the safe rescue of workers. Many experts were involved in what is being touted as one of the country's biggest rescue operations.

Since the collapse of the tunnel, various government agencies worked tirelessly on each assigned task to ensure the safe evacuation of the workers. National and international experts were also present at the site to help with the rescue operation. Several machines, resources, and experts from across the country were tasked with ensuring the safe rescue of workers.

Six plans were executed including drilling from over three sites - horizontal and vertical. The machines did help in moving pipes for food and other necessary materials to the trapped workers, but the rescue pipe could not reach them till the end. A few plans were still in the making but rat-hole miners, experts in digging tunnels in coal mines, were able to do the impossible. The rat-hole miners, a team of seven from Jhansi, were able to dig over 10 metres (till the end) within 48 hours which the auger machine failed to dig when its rotor blades were entrapped in metallic rods running underside, relics of some past experiment.

Regardless of personal opinion of Prime Minister of Modi, one has to accept that this kind of rescue operation is unprecedented. Five people from the Prime Minister's Office were at the spot day and night for 15 days and lived there in the container.

The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand was present for three-four hours every day, General VK Singh, Nitin Gadkari and many other ministers visited the buzzing-with-activity site frequently to review the rescue work.

A special aircraft of the Indian Air Force was sent from Hyderabad and the auger machine was brought from Slovenia.  The world's best known rescue expert was called by a special plane.. To order a special kind of plasma cutter, the team was first sent to Hyderabad; then, the plane was sent to America and a special kind of plasma cutter was brought from there. Four machines and robots and ground penetrating radar were brought from Switzerland by special aircraft.

A helipad and a working runway were also built at the accident site and a vertical oxygen generator plant was installed there. Think whether you have ever heard of such a rescue operation being conducted in such a quick manner before in history.


Wednesday 29 November 2023



A list of actual announcements that London Tube train drivers have made to their passengers...

1) 'Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to your
service. I know you're all dying to get home, unless, of course, you
happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case you'll want to cross
over to the Westbound and go in the opposite direction.'

2) 'Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering
from E & B syndrome: not knowing his elbow from his backside. I'll let
you know any further information as soon as I'm given any.'

3) 'Do you want the good news first or the bad news? The good news is that last Friday was my birthday and I hit the town and had a great time. The bad news is that there is a points failure somewhere between Mile End and East Ham, which means we probably won't reach our destination.'

4) 'Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the delay, but there is a
security alert at Victoria station and we are therefore stuck here for
the foreseeable future, so let's take our minds off it and pass some
time together. All together now.... 'Ten green bottles, hanging on a

5) 'We are now travelling through Baker Street ... As you can see,
Baker Street is closed. It would have been nice if they had actually
told me, so I could tell you earlier, but no, they don't think about
things like that'.

6) 'Beggars are operating on this train. Please do NOT encourage these professional beggars. If you have any spare change, please give it to a registered charity. Failing that, give it to me.'

7) During an extremely hot rush hour on the Central Line, the driver
announced in a West Indian drawl: 'Step right this way for the sauna,
ladies and gentleman... unfortunately, towels are not provided.'

8) 'Let the passengers off the train FIRST!' (Pause ) 'Oh go on then,
stuff yourselves in like sardines, see if I care - I'm going home....'

9) 'Please allow the doors to close. Try not to confuse this with
'Please hold the doors open.' The two are distinct and separate

10) 'Please note that the beeping noise coming from the doors means
that the doors are about to close. It does not mean throw yourself or your bags into the doors.'

11) 'We can't move off because some idiot has their hand stuck in the door.'

12) 'To the gentleman wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second carriage -- what part of 'stand clear of the doors' don't you

13) 'Please move all baggage away from the doors.' (Pause..) 'Please
move ALL belongings away from the doors.' (Pause...) 'This is a personal message to the man in the brown suit wearing glasses at the rear of the train: Put the pie down, Four-eyes, and move your bloody golf clubs away from the door before I come down there and shove them up your arse sideways!'

14) 'May I remind all passengers that there is strictly no smoking allowed on any part of the Underground. However, if you are smoking a joint, it's only fair that you pass it round the rest of the carriage.'

Commenting on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, 'We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It's possible Mr Purdey has been charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed his house.'
(The Daily Telegraph)

Police reveal that a woman arrested for shoplifting had a whole salami in her underwear.. When asked why, she said it was because she was missing her Italian boyfriend.
(The Manchester Evening News)

Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because they cannot issue a description. It's a Special Branch vehicle and they don't want the public to know what it looks like.
(The Guardian)

At the height of the gale, the harbour master radioed a coast guard and asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry, but he didn't have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff. ( Aberdeen Evening Express)

Mrs. Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue , Boscombe, delighted the audience with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled -
'He'd always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out 'Heil Hitler.''
( Bournemouth Evening Echo)

Tuesday 28 November 2023







I am an ex-IAF Officer, who left home in 1966, to retire in 2000. I have seen one war and one small-scale skirmish and noticed how people react under stress. I pray that we are never subjected to another war, even a 'minor' skirmish like Kargil.

I shall be posting between 200-1,000 words a day, as I keep rather busy; yet, I feel it is necessary for the civilian population at large to understand what goes on behind the facade of a peaceful existence. I shall stray from the absolute truth deliberately, though not by much, as I do not wish to invite the wrath of the Powers That Be under the Officials' Secret Act.


Partition saw Pakistan getting the larger share of the booty, as the Brits, prior to WW II, were being rubbed raw in the NWFP, by the Pathans. Hence, the infrastructure to support air operations went to NW India, which ultimately became part of Pakistan. Pakistan soon became a Military Dictatorship, whereas India moved towards a Democracy of sorts, as it was more Socialistic than truly Democratic. Krishna Menon and Pandit Nehru gradually emasculated the Indian Defence Forces, seeing what was happening across the Pak border. In fact, the job a mere Captain would do then is now being handled by a full Colonel, having graduated upwards through the intermediate ranks of Major and Lt. Col. The movies now talk of Major General Sa’ab, not the Major of yore.

Since 1947, Pakistan has been under Military Rule except for a few sporadic bouts of civilian leadership, which have always been toppled by bloodless coups. There was one casualty, though. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged by General Zia, who himself was killed in an air crash engendered by the Israelis. His daughter, Benazir, herself an ex-Prime Minister, not once but twice, was assassinated recently by, in all probability, the ISI, though the word given out was that she was hit by a Militant outfit.

With the Military ruling Pakistan for so long, almost everything is under their control. Their infrastructure, used primarily by the population, has been devised by the Military, to support their forces in a war against India. Talking only about their Air Force, they have airfields strung along the tortuous border with India every 150 Km. These are about 60-75 Km deep and fully fortified. These airfields are called satellite airfields, the major bases being Sargodha, Jacobabad and Karachi. All these satellite airfields have been carefully built under a master-plan, which is something more than what the Indian Air Force has been permitted to do.

Allow me to digress a bit to cite an example. All runways of these bases are reinforced with dense cement-concrete, bearing a Load Classification Index of 70 and above. This figure of 70 is mandatory for any airfield handling big jets of the Boeing-747 class. All Indian military bases have an index of 40 at best and 30 as a norm. What this means is that runway denial weapons that will put Indian airfields out of contention need to have a capacity of damaging runways with an Index of 40 and the French BAP-100 Rockets are a perfect example, able to damage runways with an Index of 45. But these Rockets will barely scratch the surface of Pakistani Military airbases. Thus the cost of acquiring a runway denial weapon to hit Pakistani airbases quadruples; moreover, fewer numbers can be carried, as they are three-four times heavier.

The BAP-100 Rockets are carried in batches of up to 18 and released with intervals of milliseconds, so that craters are made on the runway every 50-75 metres. Attack aircraft carry up to 4 such groups and use them in attacks on the runway and then, further onto the taxiways, which can also used for take-off and landing. The IAF has huge numbers of this weapon which can only be used to hit taxy-tracks and the main runway denial weapon for the IAF today is the French Durandal Bomb, of which a maximum of 8 can be carried by the Mirage-2000, as against the 36 BAP-100 Rockets by the Pakistani Mirage-V.           

The Acquisition Procedure

The acquisition procedure has been simplified and is freely available on the net. The aim is to make the acquisition procedure transparent. When a need for any equipment is felt, the requirements are posted on this site and bids sought from approved Vendors. In case there is only one vendor, the requirements are modified so that at least two vendors can compete for the sale. If the equipment called for proves to be unique, a concession is taken from a Parliamentary Committee to permit a single vendor-purchase. The bidding takes place in two phases. The Vendors submit the Technical Capabilities of their product along with a sealed commercial bid. The technical capabilities are examined to see how close they come to those demanded and the first selection takes place here, reducing the Vendors to those who profess that their product meets with the requirements. These Vendors are then invited to display the capabilities of their wares and a long and laborious assessment is carried out, reducing the bidders to the least. Once this is over, the financial documents are opened and read along with the technical report so that a selection can be made. Generally, the lowest bidder is selected and this company meets with the acquisition committee to negotiate the deal in its entirety.

This process was initiated just three years ago. Prior to that, the process was actually rather arbitrary, with great scope for underhand dealing. Political requirements for campaign funds would also have a role to play, as was most probably the case in the Harshad Mehta scandal. Tehelka exposed the follies of the greedy and it was pitiable to see how little was required to make someone look the other way. It is hoped that the current acquisitions will be totally above board, though there is still space for corruption.  

The 15-Year Wish List   

Requirements do not pop up from anywhere. It has to be an item that is on record as desirable ‘in the near future’. What this means is that a special branch of the Forward Planning Section must have foreseen such a requirement and put it on record in the ‘15 Year Perspective Plan.’ Such requirements are found through research, discussions and information from Vendors of what they have in mind and are testing for both cost-effectiveness and feasibility. This 15-year plan is an on-going plan with no start or finish dates, just an estimate of progress in technology applied to aircraft or air warfare related equipment and when it is likely to come up.

It must be noted that, in the case of an aircraft, it takes not less than 10 years from the Drawing Board stage to Operational Status in an Air Force. The F-16 was first thought of in 1967 and, after a fly-off competition with the F-18, entered USAF service only in 1979. The Mirage-2000 took much less time-8 years-as the airframe had been proven with the Mirage-III and Mirage-V. Our LCA has already taken 22 years and will become operational in 2012, as claimed by an organization that goes by the most impressive name of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). When bought, it will be the most expensive aircraft on the Indian inventory, with all funding provided for by Air Force funds-which factor will not be added to its intrinsic cost in the world market.    

The 5-Year Plan

More concrete plans are drawn up under defined 5-year plans. These plans have a start and end date and also the total amount of money to be spent in the lustrum. I will not go into the details like Heads, Codes, etc. The 5-year plan is broken down into yearly plans, as mandated by priorities. Once a yearly plan is approved by MoD, the acquisitions branch swings into action. As laid down by the internet-listed arms acquisition procedure, Requests for Information on targeted products are issued, with a cut-off date. This is a prelude to the global issue of the all-important Request for Product (RFP) submission, with, of course, a cut-off date. Vendors submit their bids, as already explained and one is finally selected. Part of the final choice includes a demonstration of the product in operation in an Indian scenario.     

The number of contracts can be huge. In the current programme, they could well exceed three hundred per year, so you can imagine how arduous the task will be. There are, on an average, two meetings per working day. If a contract faces a delay due to reasons beyond normal control-like the Tsunami-an extension is given and the negotiations carry on into the next financial year, and the money reserved for it is also carried forward. Contracts that do not reach the negotiation table in time are axed for that year and the money reserved for it surrendered to MoD, for further disposal. This contract is negotiated the next year, at the cost of some other contract, which sets the latter back. This area is the worst-managed part of an acquisition, with MoD proving to be an intransigent and overly bureaucratic agency, to the angst of the Defence Force concerned as well as the Vendor.

How We Get There

It is indeed entrancing to see how a particular type of equipment is ultimately bought:

  • A particular item of equipment is found interesting at the junior levels in an operational directorate or acquisitions branch.
  • Details are circulated within the concerned branches at Air Hq, and Director Level Officers get together to discuss the item and its utility, if at all.
  • If found suitable, it is taken one level higher and Financial Branch officers are included. Its position in the 15-year wish list is finalized.
  • This is forwarded to the Integrated Defence Staff committee which acts as the interface between MoD and Air Hq.
  • IDS debates the issue before taking it up with MoD.
  • MoD accepts the idea or puts forward queries, routed to Air Hq through IDS.
  • Once resolved, MoD initiates technical discussions and conveys their findings through another agency, called the T&M, a Service Officer.            
  • The RFI stage, where Vendors are contacted on a global basis to submit a preliminary project with a can do/ cannot do clause.
  • The Collation stage at Air Hq, where all RFIs are examined, in-house discussions held re priority and a general concept mooted for the next stage. Concurrence is required from MoD (Finance).
  • The RFP stage, where Vendors bid in two areas-their technical prowess, to be proved live and the financial bid, which envelopes are stored securely in one of the many vaults that lie in MoD.
  • The Technical Evaluation stage, which is overseen by the T&M.

Monday 27 November 2023


Sunday 26 November 2023




Saturday 25 November 2023



Friday 24 November 2023



Thursday 23 November 2023





I’ve just finished reading a book about the world’s greatest basement…..It was a best cellar.

It’s my first week working at the bicycle factory and they already made me a spokesperson.

My laptop caught pneumonia, apparently because I left Windows open. 

I thought swimming with Dolphins was expensive until I went swimming with sharks….It cost me an arm and a leg.

The main function of your big toe is to make sure all the furniture in the house is in the right place.

Horses have lower divorce rates. It’s because they are in stable relationships.

It’s pretty obvious that if I run in front of a car I will get tired but if I run behind a car will I get exhausted.

My teachers told me I’d never amount to much because I procrastinate so much.    I told them you just wait.

90 % of bald people still own a comb; they just can’t part with it.

Every morning I get hit by the same bicycle……It’s a vicious cycle.

The word incorrectly is spelled incorrectly in every dictionary.

I’ve been experimenting with breeding racing deer.   People have accused me of just trying to make a fast buck.

The other day I yelled into a colander and I strained my voice.

What do you call a row of rabbits hopping backwards?... A receding hare line.

Always trust a nudist……They have nothing to hide …

Home (n.) The place where you trust the toilet seat.

English Teacher (n.) A person who puts more thought into a novel than the original author ever did.

Sibling (n.) You’d give them your kidney but you won’t let them borrow your charger.

Etc. (abb .) End of thinking capacity.

I’m fine (phr.) Not dead. Still alive.

Friend (n.) Someone who listens to your bullshit, tells you it’s bullshit, and then listens to some more.

Everything happens for a reason (phr.)  Sometimes the reason is you’re stupid and make bad decisions.

Psychopaths (n.) People who watch scary movies for fun and sleep fine afterwards.

Happiness (n.) Not having to set the alarm clock for the next day.

I’m going to sleep early tonight (phr.) The biggest lie you tell yourself.

Dad (n.) A person who has no clue what’s inside when you open a gift labelled “From Mom & Dad”.



Wednesday 22 November 2023

Tuesday 21 November 2023






 the 5 Golden Rules for property investment

In this article about successful property investing, you will learn the 5 Golden Rules for property investment that will make you a more successful investor. These simple rules and guidelines should be used to minimise the risk and maximise the return. So let’s examine each of these rules for property investing in detail for you.

1.      Always Buy From Motivated Sellers

The first Golden Rule for Property investing is that you want to buy property from what we call motivated sellers. A motivated seller is someone who really needs to sell their property. They've got some problem and because of that they're more flexible on the price and/or the terms of the sale. This is because for these people it's not about getting the most amount of money, which is what most sellers want by the way, it's about getting speed and certainty that this transaction is going to happen.

Most people when they're looking to sell a property don't start out as motivated sellers. They want to get the most they possibly can from the sale of their property, but as time goes on people become more motivated. They have deadlines they're trying to hit. Maybe they need to emigrate or they're moving for a job. They could be growing the family, or their family is shrinking. Maybe they've got financial difficulties. They see selling this property as part of the solution to that problem.

Given that one in three sales in the UK fall through, even if someone gets a sale agreed there's a pretty good chance it might well fall through. Selling a property is not a fun or enjoyable experience. If a sale falls through it's really quite stressful.

If you can find these motivated sellers and then come up with an ethical win-win solution, they get what they want, and you can get a much better price or flexibility on the terms of the sale. It's important to understand here that we're not looking to take advantage of people. One wants to find the ethical win-win that works for you and works for them. It is a numbers game. You need to learn how to find these motivated sellers and when you do, you're going to be far more successful in your investing.

2.   Only Buy Property in an Area of Strong Demand

The second of Golden Rules for Property investing is buy property in an area of strong rental demand. Sometimes people think they should buy a really cheap property because they think it meets the first Golden Rule for Property Investing. But if no one is going to want to rent that property, then there's no point buying it. So, it's got to be in an area of strong rental demand.

You can check this out by going online, you can see what the rental demand is in a particular area. You can also speak to local letting agents and ask them what they think the demand is like in the area. So it's about doing your research and your due diligence to make sure this is a good strong rental demand area.

Take into account what's happening in the area. Are they increasing the number of jobs? Are they extending universities? Are they building new hospitals? Are they creating business parks that will bring people into the area who want to work there and probably want to live in the area as well?

If you can buy in an area with a growing population you're going to have much stronger rental demand. You're going to also see better capital growth over the long-term.

3.   Only Ever Buy Property That Gives You Positive Cash Flow

Out of all of the Golden Rules for Property Investing, I think this is the most important one. What this means is, at the end of the month when you get the rent and take all the other costs away, there must be some profit left over for you.

Possible Costs:

  •     Mainly your mortgage
  •     The insurance you need
  •     The management fees
  •     Leasehold fees
  •     Maintenance
  •     All the bills if it is a Serviced Accommodation.

If there's no cash flow, no profit, then don't buy the property. That's not going be an asset, it could be a liability for the future. An asset is something that puts money into your pocket, a liability is something that takes money out of your pocket. Now with a rental property obviously you have a mortgage, but the whole point is you're putting tenants in for more than just covering the costs. You want them to give you some of that profit every single month.

You do need to pay tax on the profit, you do need to declare it to the tax man but it's in the same way if you have a job and earn an income, you pay tax. If you have another business that makes money, you pay tax on your profit. So it's no different to anything else. The rules around taxation may change so it’s best you speak to your accountant to understand how that might impact you.

A lot of people prior to that used to buy property in their own name, now many people buy within a company structure because it's more tax advantageous. But really you should get independent advice from a property tax specialist. They can look at your personal circumstance and give you the best advice and guidance based on your situation.

It's always dangerous to try and get advice on Facebook groups. People might give you advice on what they've done but that doesn't mean it's going to be relevant and correct to you. This is why it is really important you get the right advice.

4.  Buy Property for the Long Term

The fourth Golden Rule for Property Investing is to buy property for the long-term. Now you can make money for the short-term in property. You can buy a property, renovate it, and sell it straight on. It's called flipping property and it's a great, very profitable strategy in the right market conditions.

Ideally you want a rising market to be successfully flipping property. You don't want to be flipping property if it's a stagnant or a falling market because there's a good chance that you buy it, do the work, and it's worth less than when you first bought it. So that's not a profitable strategy. However, if you're looking to hold property for the long-term that's generally what I do.

I have sold some property in the past but I like to hold for the long-term. In the UK, one lives on an island with a limited supply of accommodation and an increasing population. This means over the long-term property prices must go up. So, holding property for the long-term, benefiting from the monthly cash flow and the long-term appreciation - that's how you create real wealth through property. Obviously you could then pass that wealth on to your family, to their kids, and their kids, your grandkids, by buying property and structuring it in the correct way.

5. Have A Cash Buffer In Place

And finally, Golden Rule for Property Investing Number Five is very important and it's about having a cash buffer. This is some money put aside. It could be on a credit card, it could be in a bank, it could be someone else's money you've agreed to borrow in advance, just to make sure you can fix any problems that aren't covered by insurance.

Now most of the things in property can be insured against, you know if your tenant runs off and doesn't pay the rent you can insure against that. If the tenant causes damages, you can insure against that. However, sometimes things aren't covered by insurance and it means you've got to spend several thousand pounds on your property to fix it and make it rentable again.

If you don't have that money you can't fix it, you can't rent it, suddenly that's a liability costing you money every single month. This is why need to have some money put aside which you can use to make sure that even if there's a problem you can fix the property. You can get it rented out nice and quickly to make sure it's bringing in money.


If you follow these 5 Golden Rules for Property investing i.e. Buy from motivated sellers; Buy in an area of strong rental demand; Buy for positive cash-flow; Buy for the long-term; Always have a cash buffer, you will minimise the risk of property investing and maximise your returns.



By 2030, the population over the age of 80 is set to quadruple… so if you want to maintain a comfortable lifestyle now and in retirement, you’ll need to be self-funded. Investing in property is a great place to start, but as with all major financial decisions, you need to be armed with information before you take the plunge. 

Surging prices pose a challenge for the ruling People’s Action Party. Its achievements include the highest public housing rate in the world, with over 80% of the country’s 4 million residents living in government-built homes. Singapore is defying a global property downturn, fueling concerns about affordability within the city-state.

The price jumps are fueled by a shortage in supply due to construction setbacks during the Covid-19 pandemic, and demand spikes from people looking for upgrades and an influx of well-to-do foreigners. Buyers are brushing aside concerns about rising interest rates that have dented property markets from Australia to New Zealand.

The world’s hottest housing markets are facing a painful reset. Interest rate hikes do not seem to have a significant impact on new home sales in Singapore. Property prices are more supply-driven rather than sentiment-driven.

Authorities are taking notice. The government introduced curbs last year to cool home prices that surged the most in a decade. Officials also announced tax hikes on high-end properties during the annual budget this year, and plan to increase the supply of private homes.

Despite a brief slowdown, residential prices have rebounded and grew at a faster pace than expected in the second quarter, climbing 3.5%.

Wealthy locals and high-earners moving to the city-state are pushing up prices. Singapore’s rent surged the most among 30 cities globally in the first half, tying with New York. The nation said last month it would try to woo highly paid expats with a new visa.

Don’t Believe the Hype

Always refer to facts and figures and not the hype surrounding the property or, especially, your own hopes and emotions. Before you dive in, do your research based on the two golden rules and work out if you have sufficient funds to hold onto a property for at least a few years.

Check Surrounding Value

For the most part, units on the same block will share the same problems and advantages. If you’re five minutes from the train station, so’s your neighbour. So when it comes to price, always check listings in the same general area. There may be other variables  but you’ll at least get a sense of the price range.

Enter At The Right Price

When it comes to choosing the right property, the star architect’s brand name or even the location is not as critical as the right entry price. This means cross-checking a property’s price against surrounding properties’; if it is lower than its neighbours, that means you’re taking less of a risk and have the potential to make more of a profit.

Popularity Counts

Besides the affordability angle, a property’s popularity is also a key consideration. It has to be sizable enough, be located in a reasonably well-known area and have a strong publicity push. When the market goes up, these are the properties whose prices will double or triple up faster.

 Look For Uncertain Times

The difference between newbies and “real investors” is that the former will wait for good times to invest while the latter craves market uncertainty. If the market isn’t good, there will be buying opportunities and interest rates will have to stay low. It can’t go up when the market is down because businesses will have problems and the government will not allow this to happen. As long as you have done your calculations and are not speculating, then you can take advantage of these opportunities.”

Monitor Interest Rates

For investors, home loan interest rates should factor into the buying decision. For example: During the past decade, typical home loan interest hovered around 1.7% (frequently falling to 1.3%). Now consider what happens if an investor uses their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings to cover such a loan: CPF grows at 2.5%, which means it grows faster than the interest of the loan. It’s almost as if some investors have been borrowing for free.

The home loans market also affects the return on investment. Buy property when the home loans market is at a peak (say 4%), and the capital appreciation of the property gets swallowed by the high interest. For owner occupiers, this isn’t really a factor (you buy when you need to, whatever the home loans market is like). But if you’re thinking investment, look beyond property prices, and weigh in property loans as well.

Make Your Money Work Harder For You

Shrewd investors carefully formulate exit plans: when to sell their property. For example, if today a private property has exceeded its 2007 peak price, investors should seriously consider selling. They should take this opportunity to cash out their profits and they will probably be able to buy more properties. Do not be emotional and just hold on to the property.

Damon Nagel, managing director of property investment advisory firm Ironfish, recommends that investors who adopt a long-term view and strive to build a balanced portfolio will have the most success. Nagel’s three golden rules for investing in property are posted infra:

1. Have a clearly defined strategy

From the outset, adopt a clearly defined strategy and aim to build a portfolio that will meet your objectives. Property investment can be broken down into three distinct phases – growth, consolidation and income realisation – and your objectives will determine the strategy and the types of property in which you choose to invest.

2. Invest where investment is being made

Property in areas where significant infrastructure investment is being made is likely to enjoy strong capital growth and be attractive to renters. “In South Australia, for example, we have hubs where new infrastructure is being built or is earmarked for future investment,” he says. “Look closely at these areas for their long-term potential.”

3. Minimise your time managing your investments

Establishing and managing a property investment or investment portfolio shouldn’t consume all of your time or impinge on your work and social life. “It should be as passive as possible,” Nagel says. “Consider how you get set up your property portfolio in a manner that allows you to almost forget it. This can be achieved by investing in low-maintenance properties and by engaging a competent property manager.”

One final tip? Don’t follow anyone’s advice unless they can walk the walk. “I advise investors to steer clear of advice from people who don’t have their own property investments,”

“The best time to have started building a property investment portfolio was 20 years ago – the second best time is today”.

Monday 20 November 2023






Noel Moitra

Professor Trilokinath Raina

27 April 2010


A Case Study Of Roles and Responsibilities of Retail Managers in Two Existing

Hospitality Business Environments


      In today’s context, hospitality has outgrown its roots and is, in fact, representative of an industry. The definition of hospitality that perhaps suits this Paper best is, “the relationship between a guest and a host, or the act or practice of being hospitable, that is, the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers at resorts, membership clubs, conventions, attractions, special events, and other services for travellers and tourists” ( Since the field has opened up greatly, a surmise can safely be made that there is a vast number of players involved, each with his or her own role to play, blending in the ultimate picture with the host’s averment of caring for and entertaining guests. It becomes necessary, therefore, to go down a level or two and appraise the role of a retail manager, who, as we shall see later, is very much in the forefront of the situational management arena. Thereafter, an elite restaurant will be assessed with respect to its history and current status.


       The aim of this Case Study is to evaluate the roles and responsibilities of retail managers in the Food and Beverages category at both ends of the cost scale  and appraise a renowned restaurant in relation to its historical and current perspective in a retail environment, the public sector.

Scope of Study

       Having introduced the hospitality industry and stipulated the aim, this Paper will look at the industry in greater detail, compare the role and responsibilities of retail managers in the Food and Beverages category of a high end hotel, the Park Plaza Victoria London and the low cost

fast food giant, McDonald’s. Subsequently, El Bulli of Roses, Spain will be appraised in relation

to its historical and current perspective in a retail environment, the elitist public sector.

 The Hospitality Industry

      The hospitality industry is composed of a variety of sectors within the service industry that include, among others (

·       Food and beverage services, e.g. restaurants, cafes, bistros, clubs, etc.

·       Accommodation, e.g. hotels, motels, resorts, bed and breakfast, etc.

·       Entertainment, e.g. theatre, musicals, live band shows and cinema halls, etc.

·       Functions and event management, e.g. corporate functions, expos, etc.

·       Recreation services, e.g. health and fitness centres, golf clubs, theme parks, etc.

·       Gaming facilities, e.g. casino type hotels, casino type resorts, etc.

·       Additional fields within the tourism industry like transportation, cruise liners, special historic trains, etc.’

       ‘The hospitality industry is divided into two categories, the commercial and the non-commercial categories (ibid). The commercial category includes establishments that operate for profit, whereas the non-commercial category comprises establishments that operate on a not for profit basis. With the advent of government privatisation policies, commercial caterers are now replacing many of the non-commercial food operators. Thus, there is less of a distinction between non-profit organisations and profit making enterprises nowadays. Examples of the commercial category include:

·       Restaurants

·       Hotels

·       Takeaway / fast food shops

·       Motels

·       Bistros

      Examples of the non-commercial category include:

·       Hospitals (food services)

·       Relief agencies like The Salvation Army (food services)

·       School canteens

·       Prison canteens

·       Gurudwara Langars (Free meal at Sikh temple)

Note: The above list contains only the core sector within the hospitality industry’. (ibid)

      As stated, the hospitality industry offers a variety of services within several distinct sectors. ‘The quality of service on offer to guests depends on the price being charged. For example, in the food and beverage area, eating in a three- star rated restaurant will be far more expensive than eating in a one star-rated restaurant. This also applies in the accommodation sector. Staying for a weekend in a five-star international hotel will dent your wallet far more than staying for a weekend in a two-star rated hotel’ (ibid).

About the Hotel

        The hotel in question is the Park Plaza Victoria London. Part of Carlson, a global travel and hospitality company, the four star deluxe Park Plaza Victoria London hotel is centrally located just two minutes from Victoria Station and within walking distance of some of the city's main tourist attractions, including Buckingham Palace, Harrods, Westminster Abbey, etc. Apart from excellent accommodation, the hotel features a world-class, AA One Rosette award-winning restaurant, the on-site JB's Restaurant serving modern European cuisine and a comprehensive

wine list, as well as the collocated JB’s Bar (

Retail Manager

      The retail manager in any section of a hotel has an onerous job, particularly in the Food and Beverages (F&B) segment. Basically, he is responsible for ‘running the restaurant and bar to meet the hotel’s targets and policies, aiming to maximise profit whilst minimising costs. Retail managers ensure promotions are accurate and merchandised to the hotel’s standards, staff is fully versed on the target for the day and excellent customer care standards are met. Depending on the size of the establishment and structure, retail managers may also be required to deal with human resources, marketing, logistics, information technology, customer service and finance’( According to U.S. Lodging 1995 statistics, the F&B Department constitutes the second largest revenue generator of a typical hotel with an average of 23.1% for Food sales and 8.6 % for Beverage sales ( JB’s has a F&B staff of 22 under the Retail Manager.

Role of the Retail Manager

         A retail manager’s typical work activities may alter, but tasks usually involve, as listed in     

   managing and motivating a team to increase sales and ensure efficiency;

   managing stock levels and making key decisions about stock control;

   analysing sales figures and forecasting future sales volumes to maximise profits;

   analysing and interpreting trends to facilitate planning;

   using IT to record sales figures, for data analysis and forward planning;

   dealing with staffing issues such as interviewing potential staff, conducting appraisals  

    and performance reviews as well as providing or organising training and development;

   ensuring standards for quality, customer service, health and safety are met;

   resolving health and safety, legal and security issues;

   responding to customer complaints and comments;

            organising special promotions, displays and events;

·     attending and chairing meetings;

·     updating colleagues on performance, new initiatives and other pertinent issues;

·     touring the sales floor regularly, talking to colleagues and customers, and identifying or resolving urgent issues;

·     maintaining awareness of market trends in the retail industry, understanding forthcoming customer initiatives and monitoring what local competitors are doing;

·     initiating changes to improve the business, e.g. revising opening hours to ensure the store can compete effectively in the local market;

·     dealing with sales, as and when required.

·     Reporting regularly to superiors, providing feedback and, if called for, advice.

Low Entry Level

         ‘The hotel industry is characterised by a large number of employees’ (ibid). ‘Both white collar        employees and blue collar workers may find gainful employment. Entry level jobs usually require no formal education. Professionals in the sector are usually qualified with trade certificates and college degrees. Many hospitality schools offer specialised courses of study in the hotel industry. The retail manager will invariably be a degree holder in retail management; accounting/finance; business studies or marketing, and a relevant degree involving food technology’ (ibid). This leads to another important topic that is taught at diploma/degree level: Marketing Mix.

The Marketing Mix

         The marketing mix is probably the most common marketing term. Its elements are the basic tactical components of a marketing plan. Also known as the Four P's, the marketing mix elements are price, place, product, and promotion ( 


‘It is easy to understand by comparing it with another common mix, a cake mix, the basic ingredients of which are flour, eggs, milk and sugar. A cake is made using a certain mix. This is easily changed for the next cake. If a sweeter cake is required, more sugar is added. It is the same with the marketing mix. The offer made to the customer can be altered by varying the mix elements. So for a high profile brand, increase the focus on promotion and desensitise the weight given to price’ (

The 7 Ps    

          Modernists have found the need to increase the number of Ps by three, people, physical evidence and process ( These attributes can be used to compare entities. How does the award-winning JB’s restaurant fare, along with JB’s Bar, as controlled by the retail manager? Gavin Fernando, the Retail Manager at JB’s restaurant, amplifies hotel procedures and policies later in a free-wheeling extempore monologue. Illustrations quoted by Gavin Fernando are used in the two succeeding paragraphs.

1.       Price: There are many ways to price a product, like Premium Pricing, using a high price where there is uniqueness about the product or service. This approach is used where a substantial competitive advantage exists, as in JB’ Restaurant.

2.       Place: Place is also known as channel, distribution, or intermediary. It is the mechanism through which goods and/or services are moved from the manufacturer/ service provider to the user or consumer. Established concerns like JB’s Restaurant and Bar have intermediaries, established over the years for optimal cost effectiveness.

3.       Product: A product is simply the tangible, physical entity that customers may be ordering for consumption. Product Life Cycle has to be catered for, else it might go stale or get spoiled if it is a wine. JB’s caters for it, by ordering fresh vegetables every day and not storing frozen meat / meat products for more than one week.

4.       Promotion: This includes all tools available to the seller for 'marketing communication'. A restaurant may offer a glass of wine free with a particular dish, as an example. JB’s generally run promotions in the lean months of April and August, aiming to attract customers from outside, i.e. people who are not guests residing in the hotel.

5.       Physical Evidence: Physical Evidence is the material part of a service. JB’s use it in the excellent class of crockery and cutlery, layout of the menu card, décor on a dish, linen, etc. as is taught to all lesser staff on joining and clearly visible to all and sundry.

6.       People: People are the most important element of any service or experience. Services tend to be produced and consumed at the same moment, and aspects of the customer experience are tailored to meet the 'individual needs' of the consumer. JB’s customises service by reserving favourite tables, remembering favourite dishes, offering specific brands of liquor to fastidious customers, etc., using a collated database.

7.       Process:  Process is an element of service that sees the customer experiencing an organisation's offering. It's best viewed as something that the customer participates in at different points in time. For instance, JB’s maitre d’ takes the hats and coats of valued customers and ushers them to their favourite table.

Macro-environmental Factors

               The analysis of an institution is incomplete if the macro-environmental factors are not considered, to whatever end they are applicable. Used under the acronym of PESTLE in the UK, each factor will be considered in sequence (

1.       Political Factors: A reflection of how government laws, which vary from country to country, affect restaurants. British laws affect JB’s and were catered for, starting at the top managerial level and percolating downwards, as reflected by the award of the coveted AA One Rosette to JB’s Restaurant (

2.       Economic Factors: These affect JB’s as the exchange rate of the GBP has varied to a fair extent vis-à-vis the USD, the Euro and other currencies. The currently weak USD more or less offsets the strong Euro. The weak GBP is worrisome (

3.       Social Factors include cultural aspects, health consciousness, age of staff, career attitude and understanding of safety. These fall within the ambit of a retail manager and JB’s have not faced any problem in recent times.

4.       Technological Factors include ecological aspects, such as automation, technology incentives and the rate of technological change. JB’s feature state of the art technology in the kitchen, discreet billing procedure and all-round Wi-Fi availability for guests (

5.       Legal Factors include discrimination law, consumer law, antitrust law, employment law, and health and safety law. These factors affect how a company operates, its costs, and the demand for its products. JB’s is fully compliant with all relevant mandates.

6.       Environmental Factors include awareness to climate change, carbon footprint and greenhouse effect and adoption of the UK's Hospitable Climates initiative (  Though this is more of the hotel’s responsibility, JB’s does its best to stay within limits laid down by the Hotel Management.

 Tete-a-Tete with the Retail Manager at JB’s Restaurant

               Gavin Fernando, the Retail Manager at JB’s Restaurant explained Hotel procedures and policies regarding man and material management and the Marketing Mix on 15 April 2010. He said, “We are part of a 4-star hotel and there are mandatory standards and legal issues to be met and maintained. I hold degrees in both Marketing and Restaurant Management. Upkeep of the restaurant and bar is my prime responsibility and my staff of 22 helps out. Our restaurant has won the AA One Rosette; prices at JB's Restaurant are about 10% higher than in a comparable restaurant. I have delegated certain responsibilities to senior staff, i.e. my Shift Managers. They conduct short 10-minute classes for the rest three times a week on their individual as well as collective tasks. They ensure standards for quality, customer service, health and safety are met and report to me on a weekly basis. They also monitor our stock position, so that I am always forewarned.”

        “We get all our market products from our intermediaries, ASDA Groceries, on a daily basis. I visit the marketplace off and on, so I am at par with my suppliers and know what’s new. The months of April and August tend to be lean periods for both the hotel and JB’s. We run major promotions in these months, aiming to attract customers who are not residents in the hotel. Our promotion for this month is called, 'No meal, no deal.' It is an offer of a two-course meal with a half bottle of wine for £15 and is promoted through our website and leaflets in dailies, run by our print media supplier. It works well and we manage 10-15 new faces every day.”

       “Every time one of our regulars makes a booking, our alert system warns me. I run through our database to check on likes and dislikes, favourite table, favoured waiter/waitress, etc., and warn the Shift Head. Whenever a first-time visitor pays his bill, we inform him that he is on our database and the next time he comes, he will be treated like a Red Card Holder and get a 5% discount. After 5 visits, he is upgraded to a Silver Card Holder and gets a 10% discount. 10 more visits and he becomes a Gold Card Holder and gets a 15% discount. For guests staying in the hotel, this is done by the Hotel staff at the Billing Dept. All promos are sent by e-mail also.” 

               Having completed the review of a high-end restaurant like JB’s, a comparison could be made in the qualitative sense, using the same parameters, with the role of a retail manager in the fast food chain giant, McDonald’s. 

About McDonald’s

               When McDonald’s Corporation founder Ray Kroc’s first ‘Golden Arches’ opened for business fifty-five years ago, on April 15, 1955, little did he know that he was creating quick meal history ( He had organised an operation built on taking care of the customer, providing a clean, family environment, and serving hot, fresh product, fast. With all attention on details (ibid), the McDonald’s of 1955 focussed on three foundational principles: Quality, Service, and Cleanliness (‘QSC’). An additional ‘V’—for value—was added in 1975 (ibid). They have more than 32,000 restaurants around the world in 117 countries, one of the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food eateries, catering to close to 60 million customers every day (ibid). McDonald's main products are hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, egg muffins, French fries, milkshakes and desserts, sold under brand names (ibid).

The Retail Manager

                In general terms, the role of the retail manager at McDonald’s is similar to that of his counterpart at JB’s. There are, however, many differences when it comes down to the fine print. Firstly, JB’s is a 4-star rated high-end restaurant, catering to the elite and affluent.  McDonald’s is a low-cost minimum frills fast food eatery for people who either do not have the time to dawdle over a meal, or have a budget to adhere to. Generally, they are from the younger generation. Moreover, JB’s is a diner where no one can predict how many customers will turn up and what will be ordered on any specific day. All items listed on their wide menu have to be made available in a reasonable timeframe. As only fresh vegetables are served, their menu has to be seasonal. It is not so difficult at the Bar, as can be readily understood. In McDonald’s case, the only question is that of volume. The menu is fixed. Changes, if any, may be seen in different parts of a country, depending on demographics. Sometimes, competition may force a cut in prices. Pricing techniques need some flexibility. At JB’s, retention of staff is important, as considerable amounts of money and time are spent on bringing the staff up to desired standards. Staff at McDonald’s tend to be students working part-time, second jobbers, etc. Turnover is rapid for various reasons, but the cost involved in training is relatively small. So what does the Marketing Mix have in store for the retail manager at a McDonald’s outlet?

1.       Price:  As just said, pricing techniques need flexibility. McDonald’s therefore uses:

·       Penetration Pricing: When McDonald’s first began to break into the coffee market, they ran a large marketing campaign in order to gain some market share in the industry.  For a limited time frame, you could get a free small coffee every morning from 4-7 am.  This was to promote their new coffee partnership with Green Mountain Coffee and helped spread the word that McDonald’s had started offering coffee (Pappalardo, 2008).  This approach was also used by France Telecom and Sky TV (

·       Optional Product Pricing: Companies will attempt to increase the amount customer spend once they start to buy. Optional 'extras' increase the overall price of the product or service. McDonald’s often offer a large cola for the price of a small one, if overall spend is above a certain amount. This technique is used by airlines, who now charge extra for seats that provide more leg room. On a pricier scale, corner plots of land come at a premium (

·       Promotional Pricing:  McDonald’s, using a banner or spelled out on their sign, always offer some sort of promotional pricing.  For example, the McDonald’s in Maine is advertising “Two Sausage McMuffin’s for $3,” on a large banner draped across the building on their restaurants in Maine.  This promotion changes weekly and may consist of different menu items packaged together (Pappalardo, 2008). 

·       Value Pricing: This approach is used where external factors such as recession or increased competition force companies to provide 'value' products and services to retain sales ( The most notable and recent example of this is McDonald’s ‘Dollar Menu’. The Dollar Menu was created because McDonald’s recognised that the economy was in a decline and that their competition was getting fiercer.  The Dollar Menu satisfies the current economy status, increasing pressure towards competitors.  The Dollar Menu is by far the most economical product line that McDonald has ever offered. (Pappalardo 2008). 

2.       Place:  Logistics is the focal point of a quick-delivery entity. It is crucial for McDonald’s, which thrives on its reputation for speed. McDonald’s invariably have more than one outlet in any city it serves, located at spots where the younger generation tend to throng, like multiplexes and malls. McDonald’s outsources most of its supplies. For instance, in India, it has outsourced most of its supplies to McCain Foods, with Cremica bakeries in Delhi and Mumbai providing the 380 sesame seed-topped buns and Dynamix Dairy the sliced cheese ( The dynamic supply chain is constantly on the go. Chicken McNuggets are made with all white meat chicken, supplied by outstanding industry suppliers like Keystone Foods and Tyson Foods, and they contain zero grams of artificial trans fat per serving (      

3.       Product: The various items from different sources meet up at the restaurant at the right time, part of the retail manager’s charter of duties.

4.       Promotion: McDonald’s uses this strategy to good effect; for instance, its Extra Value Meals offers more generous helpings of French fries and chicken nuggets and since June 1979, its Happy Meals has a toy as a gift (ibid).       

5.       Physical Evidence: In 2008, McDonald's introduced its most comprehensive global packaging design ever, to reiterate honesty and openness with customers and remind them of McDonald's food’s quality and freshness (ibid).

6.       People: At McDonald's, all customer facing personnel are trained and developed to maintain a high quality of personal service. Attention is given to personal hygiene, dress and deportment (ibid).

7.       Process: McDonald's delivers value through all elements of the marketing mix. Process, physical evidence and people enhance services.

Macro-environmental Factors

          McDonald’s operates in 117 countries, all of which have different rules and regulations, specific to the F&B industry. Some countries impose limitations, e.g. Islamic countries ban pork and pork products, India bans beef and beef products and has not permitted the company to use pork either (Jatia, 2007). That forces McDonald’s to shift to poultry and a wider range of vegetarian meals/salads. The latter category is also touted as a low-calorie meal (ibid), much required in an obese populace in the U.S., while also offsetting the high content of oil in McDonald’s products and calories in their sodas and desserts. Poultry, per se, can be a risky proposition, with the world having already experienced three Bird Flu epidemics. McDonald’s must be complimented for managing so many outlets in so wide a range of countries, with absolute standardisation insofar as uniform, products, ethics, deportment and hygiene are considered. The only weak area identified is recycling, due to the volumes involved, but the Retail Managers are doing a good job at keeping their carbon footprint down to the lowest possible. This is in keeping with the company policy of 2009, named McDonald's 2009 Global Best of Green (ibid). Progress has been demonstrated on multiple fronts - energy, packaging, anti-littering, recycling, logistics, communications, greening the restaurants, greening the workplace, sustainable food and supplier leadership. As may be expected, McDonald’s success has led to several protests about diverse issues.

The Down Side

       Paul Hawken, founder of The Natural Step (TNS) is extremely critical about McDonald's:         "The McDonald's Social Responsibility Report is a fantasy. It presupposes that we can continue to have a global chain of restaurants that serves fried, sugary junk food that is produced by an agricultural system of monocultures, monopolies, standardisation and destruction, and at the same time find a path to sustainability. As the founder of TNS in the United States, I can say that nothing could be further from the idea of sustainability than the McDonald's

Corporation" (

        Greenpeace (London) lists several complaints about McDonald’s, one of which deals with    their staff, termed Exploiting Workers. It says, “Workers in the fast food industry are paid low wages. McDonald's do not pay overtime rates even when employees work very long hours. Pressure to keep profits high and wage costs low results in understaffing, so staff have to work harder and faster. As a consequence, accidents (particularly burns) are common. The majority of employees are people who have few job options and are forced to accept this exploitation, and they're compelled to 'smile' too! Not surprisingly staff turnover at McDonald's is high, making it virtually impossible to unionise and fight for a better deal, which suits McDonald's who have always been opposed to Unions”(

The El Bulli Restaurant, Roses, Girona, Spain

      El Bulli, a medium sized restaurant in the city of Roses, Spain was selected by the highly regarded gastronomic magazine ‘Restaurant’ as the best restaurant in the world in 2009 (, a distinction achieved for the fourth consecutive year ( Owned by Ferran Adrià, a Spanish culinary expert, in partnership with Juli Soler and Albert Adrià, the restaurant retained its 3 Michelin Star status since first achieving that laurel in 1997 (ibid).

      What was amazing about this restaurant is that it was open for only twenty-seven weeks in a year, from mid- June to mid- December every year. El Bulli always announced its operating schedule for the coming year. It was virtually impossible to get a reservation for a meal in El Bulli, as it received over one million requests for its seating capacity of about eight thousand a year, when open (ibid).

         Adrià was known as the ‘alchemist of the kitchen’. Both he and his restaurant were recognised “for their research in the realm of molecular gastronomy, in which his studies of the micro-properties of specific foods, species and ingredients have led to the development of unique recipes” Sandulli and Chesbrough (2009: online). The research was carried out in the six months the restaurant closed. “Studies of the micro-properties of specific foods, species and ingredients have led to the development of unique recipes. In 1999, they decided to share their knowledge about creating oils, sauces and aperitifs with Borges, the food manufacturer. Borges launched products that were co-branded by both companies. This became a new source of revenue for El Bulli, which concluded similar co-branding agreements with other companies such as NH Hotels and Nestlé. This strategy, based on a small number of close alliances, aimed to avoid any loss of control over the brand” Sandulli and Chesbrough (ibid).

       “They also aimed to find and absorb new ideas in that period. This enabled the restaurant to stay one step ahead of other restaurants that tried to copy its formula for success” Sandulli and Chesbrough (ibid). On the other hand, add the authors, “El Bulli markets its brand and its knowledge through a variety of tightly managed relationships that have enabled its brand to penetrate business sectors far beyond the typical business activities of a restaurant. So while the restaurant is not profitable, its overall group of businesses does make money” Sandulli and Chesbrough (ibid). This paragraph is a succinct summary of El Bulli’s strategy and part of its perspective of the restaurant business.

       The restaurant had a limited season: the PIXA season, for example, ran from 15 June to 20 December. Bookings for the next year were taken on a single day after the closing of the current season. It accommodated only 8,000 diners a season, but got more than two million requests. The average cost of a meal was €250 (US$325). The restaurant itself had operated at a loss since 2000, with operating profit coming from El Bulli-related books and lectures by Adrià. As of April 2008, the restaurant employed 42 chefs.

       El Bulli’s perspective was of exclusivity: to provide exotic and one-of-a-kind dishes, seeking to stay atop the lofty peak of ‘best restaurant in the world’. There are more than 10 million restaurants in the world (, but we can discount 99.99% of them on grounds of quality. The competition is fierce and Adrià was willing to accept financial loss on account of El Bulli, to retain top slot!

         A look at their past history ( will provide an idea of how the restaurant and its concepts evolved. From a minigolf installation that provided barbecues alfresco in 1961 to a beach bar in '63, the first restaurant came up as a grill in '64. Owned by a Dr. Schilling, whose hobby was gastronomy, and who spent a lot of time away in Germany studying fine restaurants and dishes, the restaurant would gain from his inputs and El Bulli went from strength to strength as a restaurant. From '70-75, many more fancy French dishes began to be served, including flambéed sea-bass with fennel, prawns in Pernod, double entrecôte with béarnaise sauce and emincé of beef Stroganoff (ibid). A new chef, Jean-Louis Neichel joined in 1975 and he was asked to study the cuisine in the most famous restaurant then, La mère Charles, whose owner was known to Dr. Schilling. By 1982, El Bulli was on its way to stardom (ibid). Ownership changed hands, with age catching up with the Schillings. Staff stayed on. El Bulli was one of the first haute cuisine restaurants in Spain to serve sea urchins. Prices went up, as did decor and style. Quality became a byword and soon, tables began to fall short. As the Michelin stars came in, the concept had already evolved (ibid). Uniqueness. One-of-a-kind. Exclusivity.


               In 2010, Ferran Adrià announced he would close El Bulli in 2012, due to the massive monetary loss it was incurring. He was quoted by The New York Times as planning to replace it with a culinary academy. He later denied the announcement, saying that The New York Times had misquoted him, and stated that El Bulli would reopen in 2014 after a two-year hiatus, as "initially planned" and would still serve food. Adrià later confirmed, in an October 2010 Vanity Fair article, that the restaurant would be closing permanently after July 2011.

In 2011, their website stated: "On July 30th 2011 El Bulli will have completed its journey as a restaurant. We will transform into a creativity center, opening in 2014. Its main objective is to be a think-tank for creative cuisine and gastronomy and will be managed by a private foundation." Bourdain interpreted the goal of the new El Bulli Foundation to be an elite culinary and dining experience development workshop, hosting not only chefs but "architects, philosophers, [and] designers", and allowing them to "not just share [their] successes, but to share [their] mistakes or [their] process with the world as it's happening" by providing a forum to explore such concepts as "do we need a dining room?" In 2021, The Observer named the closure of El Bulli as one of the 20 "key moments in food" of the prior 20 years.

Commercial Products

The kitchen at El Bulli

Texturas is a range of products by brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià. The products include the Sferificación, Gelificación, Emulsificación, Espesantes and Surprises lines and are the result of a rigorous process of selection and experimentation. Texturas includes products such as Xanthan and Algin which are packaged and labeled as Xantana Texturas and Algin Texturas respectively.

Xanthan gum allows the user to use a very small amount to thicken soups, sauces and creams without changing the flavour. Algin is a key component of the "Spherification Kit" and is essential for every spherical preparation: caviar, raviolis, balloons, gnocchi, pellets, and mini-spheres.


        In the Case Study supra, the roles and responsibilities of Retail Managers in two existing hospitality business environments, the exclusive Park Plaza Victoria London and the fast food eatery, McDonald’s, have been compared using the standard parameters so specified, i.e. the Marketing Mix with its 7Ps as also the macro-environmental factors bunched under the U.K. acronym PESTLE. Strengths and weaknesses in the organisations have been described, with McDonald’s under the hammer because of its size and diversity. The world’s best restaurant in 2003 and again from 2006 to 2009, El Bulli, has also been reviewed in relation to its historical and current perspective in a retail environment, the public domain and the factors contributing to its phenomenal overall success analysed, despite the fact that the restaurant per se is actually losing money.


          It is recommended that unique or standalone restaurants take a leaf out of El Bulli’s book and apply logical steps to improve their status. While a six-month layoff might not be either feasible or practical, time could certainly be taken off by the upper echelon to study workable principles.

          It is also recommended that higher-end hotels, mainly those in the 5-7 star category, enlist the aid of reputed chefs from diverse locations like Bali, Goa and Viet Nam, etc. Dishes from these countries/places have not been heard of yet and could well be a hit.  




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Optional Product Pricing: available at

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