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Recipe for better catering management

18 March 2010

Delegates at the Food @ Work seminar held at Kew Gardens this week worked through a menu of solutions for improving management of catering contracts and minimising energy use in the kitchen facility

In its first collaboration with FCSI (Food Service Consultants International), PFM this week hosted a seminar at Kew Gardens for FMs seeking to improve the performance of their catering operations.  With expert speakers from the FCSI all of whom had years of experience helping clients on workplace catering issues, the delegates were given a greater understanding of how contract caterers price and operate their catering operations, and how clients can take more control over their costs and quality.
In a £3.8bn contract catering market in the UK, the top five companies – Compass, Sodexo, Aramark, Baxter Storey and Elior have some 80 percent of the market.  Of this about 40 percent is in the business and industry (B&I) sector. 
The delegates heard about the importance of catering quality to the performance of the business in attracting and retaining staff. Understanding how the costs come together, how subsidies operate, how caterers obtain ‘hidden earnings’ and highlighting new trends such as ‘loyalty payments’ to be wary off were also covered. This all proved to be useful advice for the delegates who came from a range of business sectors, with a range of experience in contract management.
Key advice was to understand your service and responsibilities; aim for transparency in the contract operation, and develop robust monitoring and communication.
The afternoon session focused on kitchen design in light of new technologies and environmental and energy efficiency requirements.  A case study of HMS Collingwood in Fareham, Hampshire which serves 1200 navy personnel three times a day in modern facilities served to demonstrate some of the latest solutions available. These included a heat recovery system, a vaccum waste system to reduce waste to landfil, efficient dishwashers, a Glycol refrigeration system, a  ventilation system that adjusts to the volume of cooking and water saving for pre-rinse, vegetable preparation, pot wash and wash up sinks.
The FCSI speakers were  Andrew Etherington (Andrew Etherington Associates), Anne Brailey (Argus Consulting), Jane Dyer, (Stern Consultancy), Kerry Burnett (CDIS-KARM Consultancy) and Geoff King (King Design Consultancy).

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