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Let’s find the fun in catering, says Rob Kirby

Let’s find the fun in catering, says Rob Kirby

Let’s make foodservice as memorable, satisfying, rewarding and fun as any other dining experience, says Lexington Catering chef director Rob Kirby.

Health-conscious busy consumers are setting the stage for what’s to come in the food world over the coming year, but there is and will continue to be a time and
a place for many different food experiences, whether that’s casual dining, fine dining, fast food or restaurant chains.

When it comes to eating at work,  customers want good, simple, tasty, wholesome food that offers value for money. It is this that employers and contract caterers need to focus on over the coming year.

This doesn’t mean we can’t be creative in our kitchens. The increase in cooking shows on television and food-related articles in the press mean that people are thinking more about what they eat and they want to try something new. It has put fun back into the kitchen and, as chefs, we need to respond to this. Let’s make 2014 about having fun and creating a positive food experience.

In staff restaurants it is about cooking for your customers and giving them what they want to eat, whether that’s healthy food or comfort food – it’s about creating a balance. We understand that with work there is pressure and, let’s face it, there are days when some people just don’t want to be at work. With good food we can help turn a bad day into a good day.

We must continue to innovate and create a good experience for our customers, whether this is in a top-end restaurant, a fast-food chain or a staff restaurant. My personal view is that while we have an emergence of quality chains overtaking our high streets, it is so important that the delivery is there and the front of house service is key.

We need to get front of house staff engaged so that they understand the customer journey. Remember that people talk and they will walk to the next restaurant two doors away if they have just one bad experience.

Contract caterers need to keep things consistent and provide quality, fresh food to help our customers achieve a balanced and healthy diet. Offering a personal service to our clients builds strong relationships and allows us to align ourselves to their values. It’s this that will help enhance the ‘food experience’ within the work environment and ensure that we don’t lose our customers to the high street.

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