It’s all about 100%

It hasn’t ever happened before In Cucina’s 8 year history, but recently we decided to end one of our school catering contracts. This was no easy decision, believe me, but we are now convinced this was the very best outcome for us and the school in question.

So what would lead us to such a course of action? The answer lies in things I’ve said before on this blog. We think long and hard before we pitch for any contract, making sure that the school shares our vision of school food and also has the necessary physical resources for us to implement that vision.

In the case of this recent decision, we felt that things had changed a good deal from where we started five years ago. We had, in fact, got to a point where the school’s priorities for school food no longer matched our own and we became unable to offer the broad selection of choices on our 3-week rolling menu.

It is an essential part of our business operation that we maintain consistency across all of our units, something which we’ve continued to achieve across 42 kitchens nationwide, thanks to great communication and teamwork from highly committed people who share important values.

On this rare occasion though, when it became evident that we would struggle to achieve that consistency, the wise course of action for us was to walk away.

Our Catering Review Audit of a few weeks ago gave us a rating of 98.4% – an absolutely phenomenal score, as anyone in the catering industry would tell you. We’re all really thrilled with this, but I’d still like to know why we’re 1.6 short of 100%.

Ask auditing consultants this, and they’ll laugh and tell you 100% is unachievable. I disagree. GCSE and A-Level students are awarded perfect scores if they reach the required standards. So why not caterers? It shouldn’t be impossible to be rated perfect and we’re going to keep aiming for that. And when the hard decision are needed, we’ll keep facing them head-on, too.

Till next time,


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