Streets ahead: My thoughts on my first half term at Cucina

Steve Quinn, Stuart Lenton 2By Stuart Lenton, Managing Director, Cucina Restaurants

As you can imagine, it’s been a very busy first half term for me as the new Managing Director of Cucina. Getting around the business and meeting many of our fabulous chefs, catering assistants, clients and customers. My feet have barely left the ground and whilst tiring, it’s been extremely rewarding. I may be new to Cucina but I am certainly not new to the school food market, having worked in the industry for 18 years. My connection with Steve Quinn, Cucina’s Chief Executive, goes back to when we both worked together for the largest contract caterer in the UK. Over the past ten years I have watched with admiration as Cucina has grown into the market leading provider of restaurant food in schools that it is today.

What impresses me more than anything is how Cucina follows up on its uncompromising commitment to the standard of food. I have worked in just about every area of school food catering and over the years have visited contracts of all our competitors, so this insight gives me a complete picture of the state of contract catering around the country. And so, I can say with certainty and a great sense of pride, that Cucina is simply streets ahead of its competition when it comes to the quality and choice of food that it offers to its customers.

The key for Cucina is the way it wins and opens its contracts, developing strong early relationships with its customers and clients which ultimately stands the test of time. I’ve been involved in a couple of these already now, and it has been fantastic to see our clients’ response when they see the company’s entire management team present through every stage of the process. Further, Cucina’s commitment to the highest quality, fresh food is consistently delivered by employing the best chefs in every school restaurant for our customers complete enjoyment and satisfaction.

Unlike some other caterers who set out to raise their standards in gradual stages, then often never quite getting there because other commitments take them away from the site too early. The result, is that the promises made to their clients are never fully achieved. With Cucina, it’s like a ‘big bang’. The MD, the Director of Food, the Chief Executive, the Operations Manager and the Central Chefs team – we’re all in there, working hard from 6am to do what we say we’re going to do. Cucina doesn’t aim to do that in a few weeks or so, we do it from day 1. This is one of the things that thrills me about working in the Cucina family.

As with all ‘new blood’, I will be developing some of my own ideas in the company, based on my experiences, and I look forward to sharing these with you here in this blog soon. In the meantime, I extend a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who has made my first half term at Cucina so satisfying and enjoyable.


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