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A Tesco meal deal is not adequate catering…


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A few years ago when I was the maintenance engineer for an office building, I was asked at lunchtime on Friday to "provide tea and coffee and drinking water for a few contractors working in the building"  The next day. That seemed a reasonable request and sounded like a days overtime for easy work.

Over the following hours, the request expanded to "a few hot snacks" To this I objected on the grounds that I had no significant catering equipment. And that a basement workshop and store was not suitable. "Well do what you can, we know that you have a cooker and a fridge"

I arrived just before 08-00 on Saturday, that being the usual starting time and no other time being specified. Was greeted by an angry crowd demanding to know "why is the canteen not open, it was promised from 06-30"

I did what I could which was limited. Facilities comprised electric kettle, microwave, baby belling cooker, and a hotel mini-bar type fridge. Crockery for TWO persons. No sink for hand washing or for washing utensils. The crowd of about two dozen also expected seating and tables, smoking and non smoking. I had one office chair and two folding chairs. No table, use the work bench.

Fortunately I able to bribe the office cleaner to assist, mainly in fetching supplies of food and drinks, buying a second kettle and a hotplate and loaning an extension lead. I had materials to make extension leads, but no time.

Total fiasco. The "few contractors" turned out to be a small film crew who had been promised "catering" 

Apparently I should have prepared better ! without notice, or budget, or knowledge of what was required. And my expenses claim was rejected on the grounds the kettle and hot plate were capital expenses, and to claim was dishonest as they knew that I already had these. Food and drink claim also rejected on the grounds that "we dont provide food on duty"

Another manager stated that I should have charged for the food ! No advance warning of this, no cash register, no float of change, no receipt book. 




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On 9/7/2022 at 11:52 PM, KevinE said:

..... the closest I've got to onsite catering has been receiving vague directions to the nearest chip shop

I guess I've been lucky. For corporates & dinners it's usually been what the clients/delegates were offered (including a few silver-service gigs), but never less than the production team were having.

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Back in the day I would have taken the meal deal and rejoiced rather than the in house catering at the ICC. Rumour told that if managements wanted to bring their own tour catering in the ICC would charge the same as if you were using the in house. Night crew meals were the worst

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I'm lucky if I get a meal deal where I work - sometimes I'm an after thought for "we ordered some food do you want any chips?"  Best place I've been fed is production park/backstage academy - the nicest food 🙂

Edited by ekul1978
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For me it is simple - catering exists because it means we can eat at the job site thus saving time vs stepping outside for catering which (especially in the case of outdoor festivals etc) could be some distance away and thus traveling to catering would delay the job unnecessarily. But I do not necessarily expect to be fed because most people in the world do have to arrange their own lunch at work.

So, for me - if the catering option provided at the work site does not constitute a balanced and nutritious meal, then we will leave site, find somewhere that sells one, take an hour's rest at that location and then return to work. If this delays the build/break as a result of our time off-site then this is their lesson to provide better catering.

I know this sounds petty but frankly my experience nobody actually acts on problems like this until it hits them in the pocket.

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