Healthy Eating At Work
Hospitality and Service in contract catering
What’s the difference?
have read many articles about the difference between hospitality and service,
which are both connected to customer service.
Hospitality can be described as “the relationship between a guest and a host, wherein the host receives the guest with some amount of goodwill, including the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers.”
can be described as “the action of helping or doing work for someone”
If you are working back of house
and you don’t have any interaction with guests you will provide a service. If
you are working front of house you will provide a service with hospitality.
Within our workplace dining
contracts the labour structure is such that all members of the team provide
service and hospitality. Our kitchens are open plan meaning that the customers enjoy
a bit of theatre while the Chef Manager is working, have a bit of banter, or discuss how the food
is prepared, provenance, and allergens, for example. Our Catering Assistants establish
a close rapport with customers at the hot counter serving breakfast, lunch and
backshift, and while servicing the vending machines. Our customers are in their
place of work regularly, so the relationship between customer and catering team
becomes very strong. Standard questions like “What would you like for
breakfast?” are no longer as important, as people are creatures of habit.
Our team intuitively remember individual
likes and dislikes, those with allergens or special dietary requirements, who
likes to have a bit of banter and who doesn’t. They quickly understand who fits
in where in the organisation, and how to act around them in an informal
situation on the counter and a formal situation providing a sandwich lunch in a
Our team tend to be the first
person an employee interacts with when the production line breaks, or at the
end of a tense phone call, or an appraisal, and absorb the mood of the person accordingly. They learn all
about their job, the issues, the highs and lows, personal life, family, and
what is going on in the workplace. And they adapt their behaviour accordingly
by offering sympathy, a smile, a recommendation for today’s special, or just
lend an ear when required. And they know that discretion is everything. That is
hospitality and empathy. You can train someone to be empathetic to a degree, or
there are people in the industry who are just naturally talented at hospitality
and service and would also make excellent social workers or therapists as they
have a naturally caring personality.
I saw a classic example of this
the other day in one of our sites when a customer had received some bad
personal news, and a member of the team brought their favourite lunch to their
desk without even having to be asked for it. Or the time I answered the kitchen
phone at a site and a customer asked to order a salad. Drilling down to the
person’s requirements was met with “I don’t really know – Jackie usually
decides for me”!
People buy people, and workplace
dining is such a personal style of hospitality that can’t be compared to buying
your lunch at a local sandwich bar, or ordering a takeaway delivered via an
app. As we are in the workplace we become an intrinsic part of the employee’s
I salute everyone involved in
hospitality and service for making someone’s day – every day!
I’m delighted to say that recruitment, selection and interviewing is very much a part of my day to day tasks presently. Refreshing, too, is the increase in the number of excellent candidates who are applying for the roles – a welcome shift after a period post covid when I would be lucky to get even one or two candidates apply, who, when contacted would disappear into the ether.
interview process be re-engineered? Is it fit for purpose and effective?” started me thinking
about my own experiences as an interviewer, and looking at the process through
the eyes of the interviewee.
Good open questions are essential to allow the candidate to talk from
experience and provide essential information about them and their suitability
for the role. An example of this might be “Your CV tells me that you mobilised
a new restaurant opening. Can you talk me through how you were involved?”
Where possible, I interview a candidate along with a scribe, who will
write down the answers to the questions. It’s impossible to really absorb the
answers when you are concentrating on the next question. And the scribe can
also observe body language.
I also agree that the process should be as short as possible, as the
longer it takes, the more likely you are to lose the best candidate. We are a
service company and we always invite our potential candidates to spend a day
working with us (for which they are paid), to give both parties the opportunity
to decide if the relationship is going to be a positive one.
I’m assuming that “talk at talent” refers to someone who has been
highlighted as being suitable for a role because of their past experience or
attributes? There may be a number of factors that the candidate may also be
considering , for example their five year career plan, salary, benefits, travel
time, and current domestic situation, and they don’t want to be shoehorned into
a role they are not really committed to.
While automated interview systems can save time and remove interviewer
and candidate bias, one thing they cannot do is replace human behaviour. I have
never used this tool, and if I did it would be a small part of the process.
I do agree that generic job descriptions and specifications need to be
revised to include the employees approach to the customer and service, and that
company policies on sustainability and their role in community and society
should be part of the interview process as a positive selling tool for the organisation.
The world is changing and as we start to recruit more Gen Z and
Millenial candidates, and focus on equality and diversity within our
organisation, old fashioned processes can’t be tolerated. They are independent,
grew up with social media, the internet and technology, are very aware of the
social, economic and environmental issues happening globally, and are vocal
about social justice and gender issues. We all need to revisit our recruitment
processes to ensure we increase the talent pool and focus on the culture of our
organisations, speed up and personalise the process, look at people not CV’s
and look at the actual job behind the job title.
What have your experiences been as an interviewer or a candidate?
If you’re not quite
ready for Christmas and looking for some festive menus that don’t involve an
inexhaustible shopping list, click on the link below for some simple recipes
only requiring five ingredients…
My favourite is the
Slow Cooker Cola Ham…
Merry Christmas from Albacore!
When the nights draw in and the air gets chilly, the mind inevitably turns to warming, full-flavoured comfort food. Whether you have a distinctly sweet tooth, or revel in life's more savoury pleasures, this collection will have a dish for you.
Please click on the link below…
Christmas is back!
How is your company
celebrating the festive season this year?
It’s 43 sleeps until
Christmas Day, and here’s hoping that for the first time in three years
families can spend Christmas Day together again.
Most of us who do
celebrate Christmas managed to do so in some form or another over the last two years,
whether it was virtually, outside in the garden wearing many layers, or, in
some cases, carrying on regardless.
This year the Albacore
team are looking forward to providing a fortnight of festive lunches and events
for our clients and their employees.
The Christmas jumpers
will be reunited with their owners from the back of the wardrobe, the servery
and seating areas will be decorated with tinsel, baubles and lights, and there
might even be a tree! There may be an exchange of Secret Santa presents.
And this year people can
sit together with their teams instead of a table for one, they can
enjoy a delicious turkey dinner using crockery, cutlery and glassware, pull
crackers, and sing along to Michael Buble’s Christmas hits!
This may be the first
time they have all sat down together as a team in three years, and this is an
event that can really bring everyone together and cement relationships that
have perhaps only ever been virtual. And most importantly, it’s an opportunity
for employees to feel appreciated for all the hard work they’ve achieved in
2022. We are really looking forward to it!
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth earlier this month, it is interesting to look back on the monarch’s impact on dining over the past seventy years through the eyes of those who worked closely with her.https://www.foodandwine.com/news/how-queen-elizabeth-impacted-food-drink?hid=55d09a47720729402ac0c73a476582c6bb6f5378&did=837350-20220911&utm_campaign=faw-top10_newsletter&utm_source=foodandwine.com&utm_medium=email&utm_content=091122&cid=837350&mid=96816869894&lctg=78702369
ARE YOUR EMPLOYEES BEGINNING TO FEEL THE PINCH?
Caring employers can demonstrate their commitment to employee
welfare at this time of crippling energy bills and food inflation by providing
a subsidised catering facility offering their workforce a choice of nutritional
and affordable meals at break time.
Social media, newspapers and television broadcasters are
currently bombarding the public with tales of doom - soaring energy bills, the
Ukraine war affecting food prices, and more and more food banks and charities
opening up to help families make ends meet. Unions are demanding pay increases,
workers are on strike – in fact you could almost believe we are back in the
1970’s! People are feeling the strain of increased costs against their salary.
Employees not eating regular nutritious meals could become
unwell, resulting in long term absences or inability to continue in their role,
particularly if it requires the individual to be physically and mentally fit. You
can reduce the likelihood of absence through illness by providing a canteen for
your workforce with healthy options at a subsidised tariff.
Yes - it is an overhead to your organisation, however
replacing employees on long term sick and recruiting inducting and training new
members of your work are equally expensive. An unhappy workforce causes
interruptions on the production line and lead to loss of product or time. The
canteen is their place of sanctuary to relax and unwind with their colleagues
away from their place of work.
Over 25 years, Albacore have transformed the culture of many well-known
Scottish companies with our simple philosophy of providing fresh local produce
simply prepared and served by our team of professional chefs and assistants who
are always prepared to go the extra mile.
The space you choose for your catering facility should be convenient
for your workforce to access at break times, and should have power, water and
extraction. With the capital expenditure you have available we will advise the
best use of the space operationally for the kitchen, equipment, serving area,
and seating area layout, and recommend the style of service best suited to your
organisation in relation to your budget. We will then transform the area into a
vibrant social space for your workforce with our professional catering team
providing a friendly service and fantastic food.
You are at a point of decision.
Get in touch for an initial chat!
M 07734 734
Watching the closing ceremony of the 2022 Games the other night with Ozzy Osbourne, UB40 and Dexys Midnight Runners, brought back fond and vivid memories of when I worked at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games exactly 36 years ago!
Literally two days after
graduating from Napier University, I joined students and lecturers from the
Napier University Hospitality Department in providing the catering operations
in the Food Hall of the Athlete’s Village at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. We drew
the short straw – the 6am – 2pm shift! We fed and watered breakfast and lunch
to the 1,660 competitors who were based in Pollock Halls and other nearby
accommodation, the volunteers and the emergency, security and transport
My work placement at university
encompassed contract catering and five star hotels, followed by a holiday
season in a restaurant on a campsite in France. Weekends during term time
involved banqueting shifts at The Caledonian and Grosvenor Hotels which were an
extension of my social life with my fellow students. I felt I already had quite
a lot of experience in the industry, but working on an event of this magnitude
was an opportunity too good to miss – and it certainly turned out to be just
The village mobilised a couple of
weeks before the games opened, and we spent the first week gearing up, setting
up systems and customer journeys while learning about global foods, portion
control, customer service, and getting to grips with the politics between front
of house and the kitchen.
The sheer scale of daily food,
beverage and disposable orders arriving was impossible to comprehend, the top
commodities being bacon, 20 litre drums of oil, chicken breasts, haddock,
butter, and a daily plantation of bananas!
The range available for breakfast
and lunch blew me away, with menu choices from all over the world. Onion bhajis
and pakoras, pasta, eggs, rice, grilled meats, bread, yoghurt, exotic fruits
and vegetables, cereal and traditional breakfast disappeared at a rate of knots
from 6.30am. Our Food Hall team were paired at food stations - we were friendly
faces for the athletes, standing straight (no leaning!) throughout our shift,
and keeping the counters topped up by alerting the Operations Manager every
time we replaced a tray from the hot cupboard below. I can’t remember her name,
but I do remember she was super organised, had a great rapport with the
kitchen, and worked hard to make a team out of us and make it really fun. We
were instructed to control portion sizes, but found we were fighting a losing
battle with the gigantic weightlifters in the war of two link sausages versus
To pass the time we tried to
guess who played what sport by what they looked like and what they ate! I
became pretty good at it.
Highlights of the event were the
day that Prince Charles and Princess Diana toured the food hall, and the whole
place was awash with police and sniffer dogs who were going berserk with the
smell of the sausages! Also spotting famous athletes like Daley Thomson, Steve
Cram, Tessa Sanderson, Liz McColgan, Steve Redgrave, Adrian Moorhouse and
Yvonne Murray as they came in to eat their meal and relax with their fellow
Controversially, 32 countries
boycotted the games due to Margaret Thatcher’s government’s policy of
maintaining sporting links with apartheid South Africa, and the huge reduction
in numbers at short notice caused a logistical headache to say the least. The
City of Edinburgh was out of pocket by £500,000 due to funding issues.
Watching the Birmingham games
these past few days has brought it all these memories flooding back. It also
reminded me why I chose to work in hospitality in the first place.