Monday, February 22, 2010

Arbit Thoughts - Why would you ever change caterers...

Today, we had the umpteenth change in our caterer for breakfast. I am sure this happens in almost all companies regularly. There are several conditions under which this usually happens, some of which include - (a)The Facilities Dept. decides to do some extra work (b) Jobless employees crib to death on your bulletin board (mind you, they always crib about all food, or rather, about everything under the sun) (c) >5 cockroaches were found on the same day in the food. Almost always, it takes off from points (a) or (b).

Just as Rachel responds to Ross in F.R.I.E.N.D.S, "No uterus, No opinion", people should probably be told, "No cook, No talk". After all, mediocrity in catering is the established norm. From the caterer's side, you can well imagine their predicament. If they increase the quality of their food, that puts them in direct fight with their industry counterparts who will boycott them. They would also be made fun of, that they’d rather be in the restaurant business, not in the catering business, if they want to do cook really food. If they reduce the quality of the food to abysmal levels, cribs reach all time highs. So they have to maintain a standard in mediocrity perennially.

If the people in your org crib about an existing caterer the next time, the best strategy to follow is to implement the revolving caterer policy. This is how it works – you have one test caterer every week for a period of 4 – 5 weeks, after which the employees can themselves choose the best one. The first day always starts off with cribs about the speed of service. The second day is about the lack of variety in items. The third day is about the general quality of food. The 4th day - a cockroach would have been found in the sambhar. And the 5th day of the week, well no one actually cares as they eat out! So by the time the caterer’s test period is over, he is more or less out of there. After 4 – 5 weeks of painful tries, people would just want to go back to the original caterer since he is a known devil. For once, too many cooks, do not spoil the broth!

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