Garden centres struggle to source organic mulch and due to Covid lockdown supply chain issues

Garden centres struggle to source organic mulch and bark chippings due to Covid lockdown supply chain issues

  • Lockdown supply chain problems and increased demand caused shortage 
  • Mulch is applied in spaces between plants and around base of shrubs and trees
  • Autumn is favoured as the ground is warm, meaning more heat and moisture

It is the time of year when those with green fingers think about mulching their shrubs before temperatures plummet and the first frosts arrive.

But lockdown supply chain problems and increased demand have resulted in a shortage of organic mulch products and bark chippings, garden centres have said.

Mulch should be applied in the spaces between plants and around the base of shrubs and trees to strengthen the soil and protect the roots.

It is the time of year when those with green fingers think about mulching their shrubs before temperatures plummet and the first frosts arrive

It is the time of year when those with green fingers think about mulching their shrubs before temperatures plummet and the first frosts arrive

It can be used at any time of year but autumn is favoured as the ground is warm, meaning more heat and moisture can be trapped in the soil. 

Mulch also helps to reduce weeds and provide nutrients for plants.

Materials such as bark chippings, leaf mould, straw, well-rotted farmyard manure and crushed shells can be used to cover the soil. 

But the Garden Centre Association said there was a shortage of mulch and bark chippings, caused by a ‘knock-on effect’ of lockdown which affected the supply of raw materials across the compost sector.

Iain Wylie, chief executive of the GCA, said: ‘Where garden centres are able to source supplies, they are often finding that it is selling out very quickly after delivery.’

However, Vicky Nuttall, of the Garden Industry Manufacturer’s Association, said garden centres may have blips in their supply chains ‘but in general… mulch is out there’.

Materials such as bark chippings, leaf mould, straw, well-rotted farmyard manure and crushed shells can be used to cover the soil

Materials such as bark chippings, leaf mould, straw, well-rotted farmyard manure and crushed shells can be used to cover the soil

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‘Dark kitchen’ chain works with local restaurants to sell over food delivery apps

The coronavirus has left many restaurants struggling as the pandemic forced them to temporarily close their doors and still has many operating at a lower capacity than normal.

Owners are looking for ways to bring in more revenue. Fast-casual Asian chain Wow Bao has one idea: open their restaurant inside an existing restaurant as a delivery-only “dark kitchen” eatery.

Wow Bao, which serves up steamed bao, potstickers, dumplings, rice and noodle bowls, announced on Wednesday that it has added 100 locations in just six months by partnering with other restaurants. Its food is offered via third-party delivery services like UberEats, Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates and Caviar.

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Geoff Alexander, president and CEO of Wow Bao, said the company came up with the partnership plan last November.

“Although we didn’t envision this initiative as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, we are proud to say our dark kitchen platform is assisting operators to help pay rent and employ staff in order to survive this difficult time,” Alexander said in a press release.

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Wow Bao isn’t the only “virtual restaurant” to take advantage of the proliferation of meal delivery services during the pandemic. Chuck E. Cheese has been selling pizza under the name Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings on Grubhub. An increasing number of eateries operate “ghost kitchens,” renting out kitchen space to other restaurants or adding other restaurant brands to its offerings for takeout and delivery only. And there are also “cloud kitchens,” which work exclusively with delivery brands.

These kinds of deals aren’t just good for restaurants seeing a slump in business. The brands they work with can use them to test out their products in new markets. The California-based Lemonade Restaurants recently opened its first ghost kitchen in Long Beach, allowing it to expand to the city “in record time and with a very low investment,” co-CEO Anthony Pigliacampo told QSR Magazine.

“In just three months, we moved from site identification to delivering food to guests,” Pigliacampo told QSR. “This would have been impossible with a brick and mortar site.”

Wow Bao said its partnership is different from ghost kitchens because it ships frozen items to its partner restaurants to be prepared by their kitchen staff.

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Edmund Woo, the owner of the Saskatoon Lodge in Greenville, S.C., and a Wow Bao partner, said in a written statement that the process of integrating Wow Bao into his kitchen was “seamless.”

“I have trained existing employees to handle the production at virtually no incremental cost,” he said. “The ability to not only continue operating during such a vulnerable time, but to help increase margins, is instrumental to help maintain

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Teenager allegedly fired from restaurant chain over series of ‘surprising’ kitchen videos: ‘It was a mistake’

A 19-year-old is going viral after being allegedly fired from his job over a series of TikTok videos.

The teenager, who goes by the name J Salsa on social media, claims he was a chef at J D Weatherspoon, a popular chain of U.K.-based pubs. That is, until he started recording videos from his restaurant’s kitchen.

J Salsa shared a series of clips on TikTok, during which he makes some of Weatherspoon’s most popular items. In one video, he whips up the chain’s Southern-fried chicken wrap. In another, he prepares an order of halloumi fries.

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Many of the videos impressed fans of the restaurant — which is known for low prices — with plenty of TikTokers sharing their “surprise” that certain menu items were freshly made. Others, like a clip of J Salsa heating a sealed container of chicken korma curry in the microwave, claimed that some dishes weren’t exactly homemade.

J Salsa’s videos have drawn millions of views over the past few weeks — more than enough, apparently, to tip off his bosses.

On September 13, the teenager shared a video in which he claimed he’d been suspended from his job. According to him, his managers made the decision after learning about his TikTok page.

“My managers had a meeting with me today … about the whole situation,” J Salsa explains.

J Salsa said his managers were fairly calm and understanding. Meanwhile, he said he apologized and called the videos a “mistake.” Regardless, he was allegedly told he’d be suspended until the company could hold a disciplinary hearing.

On September 21, J Salsa shared another update claiming he’d been fired for good. The teen seemed to take the news in stride though, saying he understood the chain’s decision.

“I’m not surprised at all, because at the end of the day I did break company policy,” he explained. “I did have my phone in the kitchen and I did post like, in-work stuff on social media.”

He went on to say that his bosses brought up his continued TikTok posts about his suspension, citing those viral videos as yet another reason for his firing.

“I feel like I would’ve been fired anyway though,” J Salsa said. “Because that s*** went viral. It hit headline news like crazy.”

The teen concluded by saying that it’s been “weird” to see his story get so much attention, although he appreciates the “love and support” he’s received online.

J Salsa’s situation isn’t all that uncommon. Plenty of restaurants have rules against sharing in-store videos online, a policy that’s led to plenty of alleged firings.

In August, a teenager claimed she was fired from Chick-fil-A after sharing a menu hack video on TikTok. After the fact, she told In The Know that she “didn’t have any regrets” about posting her clip.

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White House dismisses criticism of persistent coronavirus supply chain problems as work of ‘useful idiot’

WASHINGTON — The White House is objecting to a new report from the Government Accountability Office that concludes that seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. continues to struggle with supply chain logistics that have led to shortages of personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests.

The authors of the nearly 400-page GAO report were concerned that not only did those issues continue to persist, but that the Trump administration did not take them seriously enough. “As supply constraints continue,” those investigators wrote, “we found that [the Department of Health and Human Services] and [the Federal Emergency Management Administration] have not developed plans outlining specific actions the federal government will take to help mitigate remaining medical supply gaps needed to respond to the pandemic.”

Those challenges could soon be joined, and supplanted, by an even greater one: that of delivering a coronavirus vaccine to millions of people. The report warned that “without clearly defined roles and responsibilities, the federal response structure may be unable to respond to new supply chain challenges that could emerge.”

The report called for a “national plan” for vaccine distribution. No such plan exists. The lack of such a plan for diagnostic tests through the spring and summer led to competition, replication and confusion.

President Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
President Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House, however, painted the agency’s findings as an attack on the administration. “It is well-known that the GAO is neither non-partisan or independent but simply a useful idiot for the Democrat Party and Big Labor,” White House economic adviser Peter Navarro told Yahoo News in a response forwarded by the White House communications department. “Its bureaucrats lean heavily left and contribute equally heavily to Democrat candidates. In this election season, this new ‘report’ is without merit and simply an in-kind contribution to the Biden campaign.”

GAO is an independent agency that reports to Congress, producing frequent reports on a wide range of government activities.

In response to the White House criticism, the GAO defended its report and conclusions. “For nearly a century GAO has been a source of non-partisan, fact based work for both sides of the aisle in Congress. We do work specifically at the request of both Congressional Chairs of Committees and the Ranking Members, and both turn to our subject matter experts when they are looking for facts,” Chuck Young, the GAO’s managing director of public affairs, wrote in an email to Yahoo News. “The CARES Act was no exception, since it was passed with a high level of bipartisan support, and with mandates for GAO to look at how the law was being implemented. Also in this report, the agencies we looked at all got a chance to comment on our recommendations and in many cases, agreed with them. We followed the facts in this report, as we do in all our work, and we will continue to take that

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Former Olive Garden employee shares list of alleged ‘secrets’ about working for the chain

A former Olive Garden employee is going viral after sharing the alleged “secrets” she learned at the restaurant.

Morgan Potter revealed the behind-the-scenes list on TikTok, in a video that’s drawn more than 740,000 views. In it, the 21-year old makes several claims about the job — both negative and positive.

For one, she called the training process “so much fun,” explaining that she was asked to try every item on the menu. Additionally, she claimed she got to eat the chain’s soup, salad and breadsticks “pretty much” for free during her shifts.

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There were some negatives, though. Potter claimed that the soup, salad and breadsticks weren’t “really” unlimited for customers.

“There definitely was a point where I would cut people off,” she joked. “Too much is too much.”

Potter also alleged that most items were “microwaved” and not made fresh — including the “fresh” breed. However, she later clarified in the comments that she meant to say items were kept in a heating drawer.

The TikToker’s comments sparked a major debate on the app, with other former employees weighing in on her claims. Some said Potter was exaggerating certain details, like her claims about the reheated food and eating free bread on the job.

“OK your [Olive Garden] is totally different from mine,” one user wrote. “All our stuff is made fresh daily and our bread is baked all day.”

“At my restaurant we had to pay $1 for soup, salad and bread and we could only have it on our break,” another claimed.

“Our bread is made fresh at the store and only a little bit of the food is made microwaved,” another employee wrote.

Others supported Potter though, saying they experienced the same things at the location where they worked.

“Amen girl. I worked at Olive Garden. Everything you said is correct,” one user commented.

Potter’s video follows a recent TikTok trend, in which former restaurant employees having been sharing the alleged “secrets” they learned on the job.

In August, a former Panera Bread employee detailed the items you should “never” order at the chain. One month earlier, a former McDonald’s employee went viral for sharing her own behind-the-scenes knowledge.

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