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A Tesco meal deal is not adequate catering…


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Why do some companies think it is acceptable to feed techs/staff/crew with a cheap sh*t meal deal from Tesco’s? 

And when is it acceptable for us as techs/staff/crew to reject such offerings and to ask for a better option? 

I have found myself filling out freelance forms and under “dietary requirements”, stating “no meal deals!”.

Thoughts from both other techs and companies would be welcome…

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On the whole I've been well catered for by the likes of Eat To The Beat. But that just makes the bad ones stand out.

Earlier this year a job at the Albert Hall. 7am call time so we could get trusses out of the way. Got that rigged so head down to crew catering for breakfast. No breakfast :(. Luckily my rucksack carries long-life calories.

Crack on till lunch time. Down to catering. Sandwiches. Just sandwiches, no soup, no crisps, just sandwiches which had been made the day before and were starting to develop distinct curves.

Crack on till dinner time. Down to catering. At least there's hot food. A chicken 'thing' for the meat eaters and something veggie for the rest of us. It was stuffed aubergine or, in other words, bits of leather with wet mush loosely attached to one side with some cous cous swimming in a watery tomato sauce.

Luckily I know where the IC food shop is so I rescued myself with something edible.


Oh, and that's the gig where I caught Covid.


Thanks Classic FM, you bunch of cheapskates. 

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Very poor IMHO.

A minimum offering in my view should consist of for breakfast, Fruit juice. Choice of breakfast cereal with fresh milk. Toast with butter., and marmalade or marmite. A choice of hot breakfast foods such as fried eggs, bacon, fried mushrooms, fried tomatoes.

For main meals, lunch or evening meal. A choice of hot main dishes including at least one meat dish and one vegetarian choice, with chips and vegetables. A choice of at least three hot snacks such as hot sausage rolls, burger in a bun, soup with buttered crusty bread, bacon in a bun, hot pies. Note no need to provide ALL of the above hot snacks, but at least three choices. In hot weather add a salad option.

Tea, coffee and drinking water to be available at any time.

LPG cooking equipment or if electric confirm sufficiency and reliability of electricity supply.

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7 minutes ago, david.elsbury said:

What’s a “meal deal” consist of?

It's a combination where if you buy a "main" (usually a sandwich or pasta salad), a "snack" (usually potato crisps or similar) and a drink, all from a specified restricted selection, you get them for a discounted price. The savings over buying the items individualy vary, but it can halve the cost of the purchase.

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Ooof... catering...

The majority of my live career was corporate events in venues where we were contracted as the in-house supplier. Generally I was in large 5* hotels with 600-1000 pax ballrooms.

Some times you got good clients who would pay for crew meals - and the crew meals would be a guest mains. Tasty meals, even if we were eating them on our laps at ops 2 hours after being plated because by the time they were served we were 30 minutes into the next bit of formalities. There was however a >30% chance if you were meant to get guest meals that they would decide NOT to serve them for reasons unknown (actually I do know, it's because they either under-catered or decided to feed the serving staff... there was also the time they put all our meals in a crew room and never told us that there WAS a crew room...)

The okay times, we might get sandwiches.  Usually at a time where no one is hungry (served prior to 3pm rehearsals for example... with a midnight finish). Main problem here is that they would typically make "gourmet" finger-sandwiches with weird combinations (I assume, trying to clear the fridge of leftovers?) ie: no ham, cheese and tomato - more often than not it would be pickled capsicum, camembert and chicken or some other weird choice. 

The bad times, nadda. 9ish hours from rehearsal to close, no catering - and a groan when we flag someone down dare to ask for a pitcher of water. Sadly this happened more often than not - and there were a few shifts where we would operate for 45mins a man down so that someone could go do a food run. 

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11 hours ago, alistermorton said:

It's a combination where if you buy a "main" (usually a sandwich or pasta salad), a "snack" (usually potato crisps or similar) and a drink, all from a specified restricted selection, you get them for a discounted price. The savings over buying the items individualy vary, but it can halve the cost of the purchase.

A good meal deal can be great. My otherhalf loves "triangle sandwiches" *  so meal deals are a win, but the ones she likes are the ones that make money. 
My 1st job her ever we had a pretty good lunch, and surprised we had it even but it was not bad  - this is in the same building as work, and a rough idea of what is "normal" for about £10 including drink and salad https://ganymeden.se/ . 

* in sweden you dont do food on the go you have a meal, sandwiches, wraps, etc are rare but becoming a bit bigger. One time I got a tuna sandwich to discover it was 3 layers of bread, a sneeze of tuna, and roughly a field of lettuce, AND paid about £4 for the pleasure.  wraps etc can be up to about £6 if from a wh smiths type place. oddly we are very monopoly, there are maybe 2 brands of sandwiches that appear in ALL shops, 1 brand of pastrys.   if anyone wants to move and start a "triangle sandwich shop" im sure it would go well. 

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20 hours ago, KevinE said:

I don#t want to sound too northern but the closest I've got to onsite catering has been receiving vague directions to the nearest chip shop

I didn't want to bring a downer on the OP but being the guy who organised the cookers and the tent and the gas and the fridge and... well you get the picture, when a self-employed person tracked me down on an empty festy site to ask about crew catering I used to advise them to "take that to your employer, he hasn't paid for your name to be down here." 

E2B are great and I did a gig with their silver service corporate company who are even more yummy but in six weeks they were on site for 4-5 days only. Then again I did a six week gig where they fed me three a day in a medieval hall they used for a Harry Potter location but the week of the festival they shut down so it was DIY. Rough with the smooth, innit?

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Quite apt considering today's news, but I did a big event with members of the Royal Family present (Prince Philip and Some other senior more elderly Royals) There were only three of us, plus a bunch of Royal Marines. A very senior type - assistant Lord Lieutenant actually came and found us and took us to the catering. We got the same as the guests and an open bar. The Marines were legless by the time their fanfare was due and played it perfectly. However - this was just once in fifty years. The rest of the time, it's been none or rubbish. In my band years, if the food supplied was crap, then I'd just go off and find food locally - I don't drink, so food is more important.

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I too have had many cheapskate catering expereinces but occasionally things turn out better than expected. I was rigging table lights at The Savoy Hotel for a production campany to take their main clients for an annual bash. There were 200 guests. As the guests were about to walk in the crew, about 6 of us, were ushered into a side room where we were fed the same 7 courses each with wine as the guests got with our own team of waiters. At the end of the gig we packed down for half an hour and went home. I later found out that the cost of the meal was way more than what I was invoicing for at a day and a half plus travel.

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