Caterers are being urged to consider a voluntary code of conduct governing contract handovers to stamp out bad behaviour and boost professionalism.
Both Bartlett Mitchell and Charlton House are on board and have lent their expertise to the work-in-progress initiative, which is being masterminded by Stern Consultancy.
Chris Stern, director of the food service consultancy, said he had decided to explore whether a code of conduct would be practical and constructive for caterers after being approached by several unhappy parties aggrieved by the actions of their rivals.
He said: "We are all conscious how frustrating it is to lose a contract, but I am also sure that we all recognise the importance of behaving professionally and constructively, both for the benefit of the caterer's image with the client and, of course, within our industry."
A meeting to thrash out the details of the code will be held on 17 April at the offices of McGraw-Hill in London's Canary Wharf. A working draft is currently divided into the categories Introduction, Timings, Communication, Staff, Equipment, Stock, IT, Financial and Final handover.
- Records of hospitality bookings being wiped from the computer system, making it impossible for the incoming caterer to deliver booked functions.
- Staff say they will be transferring and then, at the last minute, decide not to.
- Tills and equipment sabotaged.
- Outgoing contractors bad-mouthing the incoming party.
- Staff being used as pawns by disgruntled ex-employer. A recent example was a disagreement over whether TUPE applied, as the new contract was at a new site. The new contractor said not, but the outgoing contactor ordered its former staff to turn up on the first day anyway, knowing they wouldn't be accepted.
Awarding of school catering contracts must be improved >>By Chris DruceE-mail your comments to Chris Druce here.