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Monday, 24 May 2010

Eurest caterers let ASDA at Leith down

Perhaps not something many of my current readers would expect me to be blogging about?

However, before my career in politics I worked for Catering & Allied, a contract caterer based in Hounslow, London for nearly 10 years - starting at Cameron, Markby & Hewitt, moving to The Royal Society of Arts and ending up at UBS Warburg.

Once Catering & Allied merged with High Table, I moved on and started as an intern with Chris Huhne, before 3 years with Vince Cable, 2 years with Simon Hughes, 1.5 years with Lynne Featherstone, 1.5 years as London Campaigns Officer and now 2 years as Deputy Director for Scotland.

Anyway, back to my past as a General Manager for Catering & Allied, as Sarah Morris will testify, I can be a pain when going out for food!

Criticising anything from the staff to cleanliness.

Anyway, I decided with a bad head cold to head home at lunch today, but via ASDA's cafe (Leith branch).

I really wish I hadn't because not only did I have to wait ages for food, I was then served the wrong food (I asked for beef olives and got vegetarian sausage) and then got angry about the general cleanliness.

Eurest (part of Compass Catering) have the contract to run the cafe at ASDA Leith which has been open around 18 months now.

Unfortunately most customers will not realise a contract caterer is in charge as ASDA has decided not to advertise that point, which I think is a mistake.

In 18 months Eurest have seen 4 cafe managers come and go and a 5th has just started.

I've met and discussed the situation with John, ASDA's store manager and today with Richard one of the other managers.

What surprises me is that Eurest are not taking this seriously, if my clients ever had a problem, I only ever had hours to get it solved, Eurest seem to have taken 18 months.

If anyone in ASDA is reading this, I'd love to put a tender together to run that cafe (properly).

Today as you can see from the photos was a bad visit - there was an unattended stock trolley in the cafe, a rubbish trolley piled with rubbish bags, dripping fat on the floor, out of date products on the shelves, empty dishes on the hot counter, dried up peas and carrots (in fact the peas could have passed for bullets) counter displays not full, tables not cleared and generally just very grubby and dirty.

This cafe run by Eurest at ASDA Leith should be a goldmine, but it appears that Eurest don't have the right manager or staff to do it justice - or don't really care, which is a great shame.


RantinRab said...

I work in food retail and the basic problem is that when you pay peanuts you get monkeys. Simple.

Andrew Reeves said...

RantinRab - Sorry, I really disagree, when I started my career in catering I started at the bottom, at Nottingham train station working behind the counter at the cafe/bars there. Making sandwiches, cakes etc.

I had some pride though, and thats the difference, no, the money is not great but you should still hold your head up high and have some pride in what you do.

BellgroveBelle said...

Interesting blog post - the quality of food at supermarket cafes in my experience leaves a lot to be desired, but I didn't really consider who exactly is to blame!

What is the food in the picture supposed to be?

Andrew Reeves said...

BellgroveBelle - Nothing more than fresh carrots and peas assuming you mean the middle photo. They were so dried up it was unreal.

RantinRab said...

I started as a YTS. Full time for £27.30 a week.

I agree with part of your point about pride. Perhaps it's a reflection on society as a whole.

is Tesco the same ? said...

Interesting. I never realised that supermarkets let outside caterers run their cafes. Seems daft trashing their reputation just to save a few bob. Is Tesco the same ? I stopped using their cafes as the food was disgusting. Fatty and salty curry etc. Huge queues. Surly staff. Rubbish on the floor etc. I've put all the blame on Tesco and shop less at their stores as I like to have a coffee and snack after my shopping.

Dan said...

Onecompass cafes at Asda too expensive, especially considering it's not Waitrose & customers struggling at mo. £5.10 for veg curry, chips, peas & drink over-priced. Please One compass review yr prices and may surprise yourselves!

Dan said...

One Compass cafes at Asda over-priced. Check quality of food and we are still in credit-crunch. It's Asda for #$%" sake! Not the Fat Duck !!!!

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