It’s only words…

‘Fine words butter no parsnips’ – a great saying when you think beyond its literal meaning.
(But if you’re asking, I prefer my parsnips without butter, thank you very much).

The lesson here is that any fine words we use in business should have truth behind them. Words spring easily to mind but these can be hollow unless you can show how they are borne out in what you do. In short, show, don’t just tell.

This was brought home clearly to me some years ago when we were pitching for a contract that we were fortunate enough to win. I was listening to the words of the existing contractor and so was drawn to check out how they presented themselves on their website.

It appeared for all the world that this company matched us at just about every level, with ethically-sourced ingredients used to cook appealing, nutritious food from scratch at every site every day.

But then, when this company didn’t make it through the early rounds of the tendering process, my fellow Director and I were not surprised. Why, you ask?

Because we’d witnessed their food service first hand, and seen quite a gap between what the company said they did, and what they actually did do at the service end. Sauces poured onto pasta from bought-in bottles gave the lie to their fine words about ‘cooking from scratch’.

I can say with great pride that what we say is a completely accurate reflection of what we do. We butter the parsnips first, before we talk about them, if you know what I mean. When we say we make our sauces and prepare everything from fresh ingredients, we  really mean it.

That, quite simply, is what makes us different. We do what we say.

The other great foodie saying is to do with puddings and proof, isn’t it?

As a team, we are incredibly self-critical. We always want to do more and better. As with the legendary British chef Phil Howard recently, I’m always delighted to show people around our service. Our big task is always to keep the food completely consistent across all sites, so that anyone can see, smell and taste the Cucina brand – and then form their own opinion.

I’ve heard this described as ‘transparency’, but maybe for us, there’s a little too much of the political speak in that word. Probably better if we stick to talking about puddings and parsnips!

Until next time,


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