Am I taken aback by these comments? No. I’m gobsmacked!

The other day I was flicking through The Oxford Times and I saw where Primary School Head Teacher Julia St Clair Hoare was quoted as saying:

“My main concern is if people are trying to make a profit, it becomes the priority over nutrition and children’s well-being. We think a private company would be making money on behalf of schools but not putting it back into them.”

Now, I can understand where this Head Teacher is coming from. She wants to safeguard what’s most important about school dinners – providing daily food that is good for her pupils.

But this worries me too, because there are probably many other educational leaders in secondary schools who think like she does, promoting naïve views which betray a lack of basic business knowledge.

Business success hinges on many factors, but the two most basic are: profits coming in (mentioned in Ms Sinclair Hoare’s comments) and provision of quality goods or services going out (ignored by Ms Sinclair Hoare).

If you’re doing things right, the second factor will look after the first. And if you want an incredibly simple understanding of our success formula, this is it!

If Julia St Clair Hoare were to look at Cucina, she would see a private company that is doing a great deal to improve young people’s nutrition, alongside their understanding and appreciation of good food.

Last week I was with Sam my co-Director and we were looking at a piece about Cucina in The Times Educational Supplement from back when we first started, just on 6 years ago. The article talked about what made us tick as a company; making good food delicious to eat, putting the fun back into food, educating kids about food.’

In those days we had just one contract. Today we have 37 contracts and around 50,000 customers. But we still have the same vision. And that’s what pleases me most of all about our success. We have a vision, we put it before everything and we let it drive our profitability.

Put all this another way: We’re still bang on message. Everything we set out to do, we’re doing. And we’re doing it better now than we ever have.

In the current business climate, you’d be mad not to think there may be difficult times on the horizon. But I am confident that the heart of our company culture which sustains our growth now will do exactly that in the future.

Till next time,


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