Scottish Development International hosted a whisky reception at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and Safetray swooped in to lend a helping hand.
Delighted to find out that Safetray's South African patent has officially been granted. Now, where did we leave that vuvuzela?
Safetray has received a five star review from Netherlands hospitality site Horeca Trends.
You can see the full review here, which, roughly translated, says:
"Sometimes a server in a restaurant drops a tray accidentally and knocks over all the drinks. With the 'Safetray' this will not happen again soon. There is an 'All-important clip' placed under the 'Safetray' which will easily support your fingers, so the tray will be much more stable. A useful gadget for restaurants!"
We also had the following lovely testimonial from Theater aan de Parade, Hertogenbosch:
"I ordered several online because we work a lot with new catering staff. Positive reactions and we have seen a reduced number of wasted drinks only one month after purchase!"
Customers in the Netherlands can order their Safetrays online here: www.safetray.nl
Safetray CEO Alison Grieve will be speaking at the Scottish International Trade Network (SITNet) event on Thursday 24th January.
The focus of the evening's talks will be on licensing in the USA, with Alison speaking about negotiating Safetray's licensing agreement with San Jamar Chef Revival. Alison invented the Safetray after witnessing a tray laden with champagne toppling over at an important function and recognising that this was an embarrassing, costly and potentially dangerous situation. Since its invention in 2009, the Safetray has been enthusiastically welcomed by the hospitality industry around the world.
Ian Murphy, Director, Innovi Business Growth will speak about licensing as a route to international markets.
Ian has 27 years’ experience of successfully negotiating licences for IP in a number of fields including aircraft cockpit displays, genetics, musical instruments, silicon chips and power generators. Ian provides advice and support to companies who wish to explore licensing as a potential route to international markets. Ian will share some key lessons based on his experience.
Event: Licensing as a route to market - Focus on the USA
Date: Thursday 24th January 2013, 18.00-20.00 hours
Topic: HSBC, 76 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1EL
Tickets are available here
The moves were Sexy and he Knew It when chair of the Glasgow Restaurant Association Ryan James took to the stage at the Citizens Theatre to dance to the LMFAO hit. Since he knew his backing dancers would be working their trays hard at yesterday's Glasgow Restaurant Awards ceremony, he chose Safetrays to add a touch of flair - as well as safety - to proceedings.
Click below for a gallery of images from the event on the stv.com website, and click the link below for more info on all the winners.
The Glasgow Restaurant Awards 2012 celebrated the best in fine dining across the city.
Nominated by the public, each finalist restaurant was visited by a secret industry judge, before a panel of judges visited each category winner in order to identify the restaurant of the year.
The much anticipated event revealed Amarone, in the city’s Nelson Mandela Place, as Glasgow’s best restaurant.
Other winners included La Vita in George Square, who scooped the family restaurant of the year and Lychee Oriental who were named best newcomers.
This year’s awards were bigger and better with over 40 finalists up for the 19 award categories.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council and chairman of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB), said: "Congratulations to all of the GRA award winners at what has been a fantastic celebration of Glasgow’s exceptional culinary standard.
"I had the honour of presenting the GCMB sponsored award for Best Use of Social Media, which went to Arisaig."
IN PICTURES: All the photographs from the glitzy awards
The winners on the night were:
Posh – Brian Maule at Chardon D’or.
Smart But Casual – Amarone.
Casual - Art Lovers Café At House For An Art Lover.
Family Restaurant of The Year - La Vita George Square.
Non European - Sapporo Teppanyaki.
Best Newcomer - Lychee Oriental.
Best Breakfast - Café Gandolfi.
Best Italian - La Lanterna.
Young Chef Of The Year - Morven Gibson, Restaurant At Blythswood Square.
5pm On-Line Users - Number 16.
Outstanding Maitre D Of The Year - Ali Mohammed at Charcoals.
Kitchen Porter - Peter Hynes of The Pipers’ Tryst.
Best Use Of Social Media – Arisaig.
Aspiring Front Of House Manager - Claire Mcculloch of the Restaurant At Blythswood Square.
Greenest Restaurant - Cup Tea Lounge.
Spirit Of Glasgow - Guy Cowan.
Entrepreneurial Spirit - Maurice Taylor, Chardon Group.
Lifetime Achievement Award - Jim and Gilly Wilson.
Safetray has been named as a finalist in this year's prestigious International Trade Awards, in the SME category. The ceremony, which last year was held in the Houses of Parliament, takes place on the 10th December and our CEO Alison Grieve will be flying down to London to represent the company. Look out for news closer to the date, but in the meantime we'd love to hear from other companies who will be attending - hit us up on Facebook and say hello.
Safetray was included in the Financial Times' supplement 'A Blueprint for British Business'. CEO Alison Grieve spoke to Paul Solman about the benefits of exporting. Since Safetrays are sold all over the world, she had a lot of interesting points to make.
Financial Times, 24th October 2012
Helping hands to sell abroad
Government financing and other services for exporters have had a mixed reception, writes Paul Solman
...Safetray Products is a business that sees its future primarily in overseas markets. Alison Grieve set up the Edinburgh-based company just three years ago to sell her invention, a tray that has a retractable handle to stop it toppling over. Already she has landed distribution deals in the Middle East, Australia and North America.
She, too, says government support was important. "We were lucky in that, although we aren't really part of the food and drink sector, we can slip into that category," she says.
"So in the Middle East there was a food and drink trade mission and a lot of UKTI support, and we were able to jump on that bandwagon. We also used Smart Exporter, a Scottish [trade support] scheme."
Nevertheless, Ms Grieve says UK companies that want to sell their own inventions abroad often struggle to protect their intellectual property - an issue that government schemes fail to address.
"For all but the largest companies it would be extremely expensive to defend your patent in different markets," she says. "What many companies do is end up licensing their innovations away at a very early stage.
"That is where the government is missing a trick, because what you get for a licensing deal in the early stages is not what you get if you hold on, start manufacturing and start to sell - which is what we have done."
Read the full story here
Nice and steady
After witnessing an accident at an event, where a waitress dropped a tray filled with glasses of champagne, Alison Grieve got an idea. The former waitress and event manager, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, invented the Safetray. The service tray features a retractable clip on the underside that slips between the middle fingers of the server to offer stability through downward and horizontal traction, providing greater balance. For more information, visit www.safetrayproducts.com. To order, vist www.kegworks.com
Australia has been a brilliant ride so far, and we're delighted that Safetray has been selected as a finalist in the Hospitality Equipment category of the Best New Product Awards 2012 at Fine Foods Australia.
There's just one more day to see us in action on Stand A1 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, before the team heads for Sydney on the evening of the 13th and then on to the Gold Coast on the 18th. Even Pastor Sir Douglas Nicholls has been getting into Safetray:
No spilt drinks with Safetray
Invented by a former waitress and events manager, the Safetray is a service tray for busy wait staff featuring a discreet retractable clip on the underside.
After witnessing a spectacular accident involving a tray full of champagne glasses, Alison Grieve came up with the idea for Safetray, where servers slip their fingers into the clip, increasing the tray's stability and preventing spills and slips.
Research by Iris Worldwide found that 91.8 percent of servers had been involved in or seen an accident involving a tray at work. Of the respondents, 72.4 percent gelt that managers underestimated the difficulty of mastering a tray and 35.1 percent estimated the cost to the venue of a tray spill that they'd been involved in to be over £30.
Safetray is manufactured in the UK from polypropylene and high grade, wipe-clean rubber and has a five year guarantee against delamination. They can be washed in commercial dishwashers and lie flat when not in use, so the trays can be stacked when not in use.
For further information, visit www.safetrayproducts.com
Safetray was showcased on leading UK industry website BigHospitality. Read the full story by clicking the link below.
A new style of tray which promises to make it easier and safer for waiting staff to carry and deliver drinks and food to tables has been launched in the UK.
Safetray is mentioned in a feature in the Guardian about the Marketing 4 StartUp Britain award, which we won last year. Our CEO Alison Grieve will be speaking at this year's event, which takes place on Monday 16th July. Other speakers include Facebook's European customer marketing chief Felicity McCarthy and Mumsnet co-founder Justine Roberts.
Safetray fought off stiff competition from other start-up brands such as Rocktails to take home the top prize, a year's marketing agency services from Iris Worldwide. Read the Guardian's coverage below.
From MediaGuardian, Monday 9 July 2012
Digital and advertising startups get chance to win expert help
A range of established agencies will offer advice on social media and digital strategy in government-backed initiative. By Mark Sweney
Digital and advertising startups are being given the chance to win the services of an established agency for a year to help get its business off the ground, in an initiative backed by the government.
Lord Young, the minister for employment relations, is to open a free event next week called Marketing 4 Startup Britain which aims to drive the entrepreneurial culture in the nation's creative and technology industries."
CEO Alison Grieve spoke at the Business in the Parliament conference last month, and was praised by First Minister Alex Salmond in his opening speech.
Click below to watch the full video. The section where the First Minister mentions Alison begins at 46:20.
"The next generation of people to emulate is here amongst us today, and with us in the communities of Scotland. The people ... here range from Alison Grieve, whose Safetray business was established two years ago but is now exporting to Europe, North America and the Emirates, to Jim McColl who famously started as an apprentice at Weir Pumps and is now Chief Executive of Clyde Blowers, a company that employs thousands of people across the planet."
From Business Comment, June/July 2012
The road to investment starts here
...After participating in the program, Alison Grieve has seen her Safetray product receive support of £200k from investor syndicate Equity Gap and some individuals to accelerate the company's global commercialisation plan and to further expand and protect its IP.
Alison devised a unique serving tray, which prevents waiters and waitresses from spilling drinks. The company has achieved sales throughout the US, Canada, the UAE and is now manufacturing the product in Scotland.
Alison said: "The workshops were really useful. It can be a lonely business seeking funding for a new initiative. The support and understanding of advisors like John Hughes has enabled me to attract the support and build the networks essential to bring Safetray to market..."
CEO Alison will be appearing on Sunday Politics this weekend, 12noon on BBC1. Here's a sneak peek of her filming at McLaren Plastics, where the Safetrays are made.
Click on the article to read more or click the link below for the full story.
Support every step of the tray
When Alison Grieve saw champagne worth hundreds of pounds topple over at an event she had organised, she immediately spotted a business opportunity for a non-topple drinks tray.
Now, just over three years later, Alison’s Edinburgh-based company, Safetray Products Ltd, is supplying two of America’s largest food services companies and the product is being manufactured in Scotland.
Sodexo USA and Compass Group USA became early fans of the Safetray, purchasing stock at a trade show in Chicago, and the company has now secured customers in the UAE, as well as throughout the UK and Europe.
Alison said, “it was very exciting when Patrick Robineau, food and beverage director of the Four Seasons Hotel on the Las Vegas strip, described the Safetray as ‘an awesome product’ after showcasing samples at a product innovation event, adding that he was ‘very impressed’ by the invention.
“Securing orders with such leading names in hospitality highlights how innovative the product is. The orders have sparked interest from across the globe with enquiries coming in from hotel groups including Hilton and Marriott. It’s amazing to think that a product made by a small Scottish company is now being used in places such as Alaska, San Francisco and New York. We’re heading to Gulfood, the world’s biggest annual food and hospitality event, in Dublin in Februay, which is very exciting.
“I came up with the idea for the product in 2009 and Business Gateway Edinburgh supported me every step of the way – from ensuring my business plan was robust to helping me with the latest investment round. They helped me secure support from Scottish Development International (SDI) which, along with a small overdraft from the bank, enabled me to attend the Chicago show. They also put me in touch with Scottish Enterprise, whose market research highlighted that America is the product’s biggest market with 60 per cent of its top 100 bars providing VIP table service areas.
Alison added: “We are a classic Business Gateway story, in that we needed to develop intellectual property and it helped us secure a grant to do that, we needed to expand and export and so it put us in touch with SDI, and now its support has helped us secure investment and we are taking on new members of staff.”
Not content with her interview on BBC Radio Four's PM programme earlier on today, our CEO Alison Grieve trundled on down to the TV studios to get herself on first name terms with the Shadow Business Secretary. Ooh!
Jon Sopel: There's mixed news tonight for thousands of British companies and the millions of people who work for them. New figures show that while UK banks are ahead of schedule for overall lending to business, they've fallen a billion pounds short of their target for small- and medium-sized firms under an agreement with the Treasury, called Project Merlin. Alison Grieve runs a business in Scotland called Safetray, and struggled to get her bank to lend her company money when she first approached them earlier this year. She joins us now from our studio in Edinburgh.
JS: Thanks very much for joining us. So, how is your business going?
Alison Grieve: Well, our business is going very well now. We were able to get a small overdraft from the bank, and even just a small amount did go an exceptionally long way in supporting our exports. We were able to go to a trade show in Chicago, and at that show we made substantial sales, which then allowed us to ship the machine that makes our product back from where we were manufacturing in the Far East. We set up manufacturing in the UK, which is great for the economy here.
JS: Do you thank Project Merlin for that, or is it just good relations with your local bank manager?
AG: I think that Project Merlin has gone some way to put pressure on the banks to lend to small- and medium-sized businesses; there's still a lot more that could be done. My company is one of many that's on a high-growth pipeline and I know that very few of them have managed to receive any bank funding whatsoever. Actually, our company decided to go down the angel investor route, selling a share of our company in return for funds.
JS: What more would you like to see being done now, if you could wave a magic wand?
AG: I think it's about the banks recognising the different types of start-up businesses. There are some that are very much lifestyle businesses, and could have steady growth along a long period of time. But there are others, like a Facebook, for instance, which was an exceptionally high-growth company and one of the most resounding success stories of the last 100 years, commercially-speaking. They wouldn't have received funding at an early stage, because of the way banks value early-stage companies, as opposed to the way an investment angel would.
JS: Alison Grieve, very good to talk to you, thank you for being with us on BBC News. Let's speak now to the Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, who is in our Westminster studio. A very good evening to you, thanks for being with us. I know if you could wave a magic wand, you'd change the government and you'd be in power yourself, but short of that, what do you think the government could, should be doing?
Chukka Umunna: Well, it's interesting hearing Alison speaking there, and I'm pleased that at least her business is doing well, that's fantastic news. There is a problem, though, with the way the finance sector is serving business today. I think part of the reason that we're not getting money out of the door to SME's in particular in this country, is that one of the things that's holding them back from going and approaching banks for finance is the economic outlook. Vince Cable, when he took over the department I shadow, the Business department, said that it was supposed to be the Department for Economic Growth. The simple fact is that since he took over we haven't had enough growth in our economy, because of the too-far, too-fast deficit reduction strategy that his government is imposing. That's one part of it. The other part is actually just the general culture, Alison touched on it there, of our banking system. The banks say, "We don't lend, because there's not enough demand." But at the same time we see people running small businesses using their own personal finance, credit cards or overdrafts to finance their businesses, which to me would demonstrate that there is a demand there. But there's a problem, A. with the money getting out of the door, and B. with the actual culture - does a bank have a local relationship manager, does it actually bother to get to know the business, or does it put the business on the phone to somebody in some remote location who doesn't really understand the context of the business?
JS: But Alison was also saying there that the banks had helped and it was largely thanks to Project Merlin.
CU: Well, no, she didn't say that it was largely thanks to Project Merlin.
JS: She was very supportive of it. She said it had helped.
CU: No, Jon, you're slightly misinterpreting her words there, because she said she thinks it has helped put some pressure on the banks. The point is it hasn't put enough pressure. We've got stakes in two of the largest banks, and the government needs to use its influence, through UK Financial Investments, which holds and runs our stakes in those banks, to make sure they get the money out of the door. But as I said, the other part of the equation is to get growth back into the economy, get demand back into the economy, to give companies and businesses the confidence to go out and get finance to expand. The problem is that they just don't have that confidence at the moment.