Use local help to stop the rip-off servicing
SO Paul Hodson of the Caledonian Club thought piracy was a crime, and that to be charged £169.91 for fitting parts worth £2.60was daylight robbery.
The company which supplied my ice-making machine charges travelling time and engineer's mileage when it visits.
Last time I booked a call I decided to try and be clever. So I asked for the engineer to call when he was next in the Romford area, thereby negating the need to pay mileage and travelling time.
So much for cost-cutting efficiency - I was still charged three hours' labour and for 25 miles. The engineer's call before he came to me was about five minutes away.
Perhaps in future we should all use the Yellow Pages and try to find a local "little man" whose business does not rely on ripping off his customers.
A solution to service charges
There is an alternative to high equipment servicing charges.
Contract purchase allows the customer to buy catering equipment over a contracted period with a full service and repair warranty (including parts and labour).
At the end of, say, a three- or five-year contract the customer also retains title to the machine. Such a contract can help provide peace of mind as well as helping with cash flow.
Manford Systems, Ascot, Berkshire.
Two for one pays dividends
As the owner of a 48-bedroom, lively seaside hotel in a Devon resort, I have again leapt to join the English Tourist Board/Daily Telegraph Two for One offer.
It gave us excellent business during our traditionally quiet period of winter and early spring. Virtually everyone using the offer booked full-price dinner on their two nights and many have already returned as full paying guests or recommended us to family and friends.
This promotion scheme costs us nothing and was completely snag-free. Well done English Tourist Board and Daily Telegraph.
The Ilfracombe Carlton, Ilfracombe, Devon.
Make two for one two-way
I have read with interest the recent correspondence and articles on the English Tourist Board's Two for One promotion.
Surely, if that organisation is so convinced of the benefit of such schemes, it should demonstrate its commitment by promoting itself with an offer to the trade of two years' membership for the price of one.
This could be in exchange for a specified number of vouchers published in your magazine.
Austwick, Settle, North Yorkshire.
British food has a future
I felt triumphant while reading Bob Gledhill's Viewpoint (7 July) as it strengthened my argument about British food and also reaffirmed my beliefs.
I am currently a degree student undertaking my placement within a small chain of restaurants called the Famous Chop House and Pudding Emporium, which serve traditional British dishes from local produce.
When I originally announced to my lecturers and fellow students where I would be spending my placement, reactions ranged from disbelief to total mockery.
British cuisine is held in very low esteem compared with France, Switzerland, the Far East and other bastions of cuisine.
I can assure everyone still unconvinced of consumer interest in British foods that there is enormous enthusiasm towards dishes such as black pudding and game sausage hot pot, Barnsley lamb chops and steak puddings.
So, thank you Mr Gledhill for championing the worthwhile cause of great British cooking - and for enabling me to post a copy of your article to my university with a certain amount of smugness!
Job selection is discriminating
I fear the controversy surrounding discrimination in the jobs market has been blown out of all proportion to the scale of the problem.
The process of eliminating several applicants for one position is, by its very nature, discriminatory. Discrimination is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as: To single out a particular person or group etc, for special disfavour or favour; or to recognise or understand the difference (between).
There is no negative implication to the dictionary definition. But these days, the word discrimination has a distinctly negative connotation.
An employer seeking applicants for a position requires certain qualifications to be met by the successful applicant. It is the employer's right to determine the standards to be met by their employees, whether it be intellectual or physical.
Employers are obliged to set their standards on a fair and impartial basis and applicants are obligated to respect these standards and the basis on which they are made.
No employer has the right to discriminate for fundamentally wrong reasons such as race and sex.
Criteria for selection should include objective evidence of suitability, such as educational certificates and degrees, and the subjective, such as physical appearance and personality.
It is the interpretation of the subjective evidence that gets most employers into trouble.
The employer's difficulty in selecting the right person is compounded by the fear of making the wrong "political" decision, and applicants have to fight against positive (or reverse) discrimination.
An employer's decision can depend on a variety of factors. The mood or particular likes and dislikes of a prospective employer cannot be controlled by the applicant so it is the applicant's responsibility to manage those factors he/she can control.
General knowledge of interview etiquette and techniques say that a neat, clean and well-presented applicant makes a good first impression, so there can be no excuse for those individuals who attend interviews in less than that condition.
Other factors such as an applicant's physical size and general health may not necessarily be elective issues but may have proven medical bearing on the employer's decision to hire a permanent employee.
It is unfortunate that there are unscrupulous employers who hire personnel on a whim rather than a just basis, but this should not encourage honest employers to compromise their integrity by trying to follow the political winds of change.
Lostwithiel Hotel, Lower Polscoe, Cornwall.
Published by: The Caterer