Secret garden 18 October 2019 After months of secrecy the Newt has opened its gates to a luxurious hotel, extensive gardens, cyder press and restaurant in the core of the Somerset countryside
In this week's issue... Secret garden After months of secrecy the Newt has opened its gates to a luxurious hotel, extensive gardens, cyder press and restaurant in the core of the [...]
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Reader diary

11 September 2003 by
Reader diary

Is innovation available at the flick of a switch?

Six weeks on from the new office move and it feels like home. What we hadn't planned for was the high temperature, and when it peaked at 97°F something just had to be done. (Saying "Well, this was a waste-of-make-up day" came to mind.)

Tucked in our "creative corner" among piles of recipe books, magazines from around the world and aides-m‚moire, I spied David, our resident solution finder (creative director). He was, as usual, scribbling out another menu or idea. "What can we do?" I asked. "Get air con," he replied with an "it's obvious" look. With one call and a flick of a switch we were back in cool land.

The great weather has afforded me lots of time for dining alfresco, picnicking by the Thames and the odd self-invitation to friends with pools.

In a recent survey of our clients we scored famously in accessibility, innovation and our "delivering the promise". Our clients and teams know that if they have any catering conundrums, with one call they get one of the directors (and, importantly, a decision maker) supporting the solution. Action rather than talk is so refreshing sometimes.

David, however, often reminds me that anyone can flick on a single switch and get a single light, but this can soon become dull - the secret is to switch on and get a real light show that lasts. This is what we intend to do at our newest contract, which opens this month, where the client has a real passion for fun, funkiness and living the culture. We aim to always impress. We have achieved this. Our enthusiasm and commitment from bottom to top, which they lacked from their former supplier, has already earned us a second contract with them before we start.

Enthusiasm and commitment from all the team is a huge part of our success, for which we thank them. A recent report showed that staff turnover at Bartlett Mitchell is at a healthy low of 6%, so there is a real show of commitment. We are proud to see that our value of looking after our people - who hold our reputation in their hands - is safe and consistent.

In my role as a Bridget Jones singleton I have measured that consumption of chocolate is down (yeah!) but consumption of cool low-cal ice-cream is up. Therefore, logically, an air-conditioning unit helps as part of a calorie-controlled diet.

I was also wondering whether the "man thing" can be sorted out with the flick of a switch - 500 volts should do the trick.

WENDY BARTLETT is a director of contract caterer Bartlett Mitchell

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