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Focus on Foodservice Update with reporter Sarah Allen

Here we catch up with Sarah Allen of Foodservice Update, who tells us why a phone call is always better than an email. She also gives us an insight into the weird and wonderful world of the foodservice industry.

About the publication:

Who reads it and how many of them are there?
Foodservice Update is mainly read by senior buyers for quickservice outlets like cafés, sandwich shops, coffee shops, juice bars, bakeries and delicatessens as well as independent pubs. We currently distribute the magazine to more than 22,000 owners.

What subjects do you cover?
The magazine is all about new products to keep the industry fresh and up to date so we feature the latest product launches in food, drink and equipment plus other non food products like tableware and cutlery.

What makes you different from the other outlets in your sector?
Foodservice Update is a product book and the editorial is succinct and to the point with important information for the buyer. As it’s an objective magazine, we never favour one product over another but rather present each one as a product in its own right.

Do you produce a features list? Yes.

Why? So that press representatives know what we’re planning to write about and can send in the relevant information.

Do you use freelance contributions, and if so, are they for any particular section/type of work?
No, all editorial is done in-house.

About PRs:

What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?
A phone call. It’s much easier to discuss things. Emails are easily sent to the wrong address or not caught in time for deadlines if I’m out of the office. With a phone call, I can actually find out about the company and whether or not what they’re promoting is relevant to Foodservice Update. The PR can also ask me any questions they might have to ensure they send in the relevant information.

What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
As much detail on the product they’re promoting as possible. Who is it ideal for? Why? Where can customers purchase it from? Distributor’s website and UK telephone number? Also high resolution images, preferably jpegs.

Do you have a PR pet hate?
Generally I’m quite happy but every now and again, there’ll be one that calls repeatedly to find out whether something they sent in was of interest, even after you’ve confirmed receipt of the information. This is why the initial phone call I was suggesting is so handy as they can find out then and there that it could be used or it definitely won’t be because it’s not relevant to the magazine.

When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
There’s never really a ‘best time’ for PRs to contact me as I can never predict what I’ll be doing from one day to the next. I’m always working on something. Deadlines vary depending on the issue and can be found on our website

About you:

What interests you most about your job?
The weird and wonderful inventions that come through every day. The product launches really do seem to be endless!

What led to you becoming a reporter for Foodservice Update?
I’d just completed a Masters degree in journalism. I saw an advertisement for the job online by an agency, applied, went in for an interview with the editor, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Do you Twitter? Why, why not?
No. I’m not a fan of faddy things like that and from what I’ve heard of it, I can’t see the value in it.

I’d like to have a go at…
Horse riding is the first thing that springs to mind. I’ve never tried it before and would love to – it seems like fun! Failing that, Go-Kart racing.

If you could time travel what time would you go to?
That’s a fab question! I’d probably go back to the early nineties. I’ve got pretty eclectic taste in music like blues and jazz but I developed a belated appreciation for grunge rock – Nirvana, the Pixies, Soundgarden – about ten years ago. It would be great to go back and go to some great gigs, like I do now with today’s bands!

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[img|jpg|Sarah Allen, Foodservice Update]