TAF Catering Consultancy’s 3rd Birthday & TAFTALKS Post Pandemic 2021 Report

Happy 3rd Birthday to TAF Catering Consultancy … and we’re delighted to announce our new TAFTALKS 2021 Foodservices for Facilities report is due out at the end of this month (seeking to make sense of the post pandemic, post BREXIT world, with all the labour and haulage challenges that have come with it).

Back to today though and TAF celebrates our 3rd birthday, post pandemic and what a busy year we’ve had so far. 

Since January, we’ve worked non-stop, around the clock sometimes (with talented associate specialist teams) for facilities clients the length and breadth of the UK, clocking up over 10,000 miles (if you can believe it). 

5 Fast Facts Around Our Post Pandemic Projects around Foodservice

  • 1 Catering Mobilisation | We supported an energy client with a nationwide catering mobilisation of eight sites (from outsourced to in-house), saving circa. £400k in food costs alone. Jan – Apr
  • 1 SMART Catering Tender | We supported a property client, with a new build, and a catering tender (whittling down an initial list of 17 TechDine SMART solutions providers from 17 to 1). Mar – Jun
  • 2 Foodservice Options | We supported two nationwide essential services providers with “options” documents benchmarking/presenting the latest catering models pros/cons. Jan – Jun
  • 1 Stakeholder Engagement Project | We’re currently supporting a major financial services client with a strategic stakeholder engagement piece to define bespoke best practice future foodservices. Sep – To date
  • 1 Catering Market Project | We’ve engaged over 40 UK contract caterers, meeting half in two months – around UK flagship & satellite sites – to see WHO is doing WHAT for WHO and HOW they’re doing. Sep – Nov

Whilst we are still operating in unprecedented and challenging times post COVID-19, we’ve found it more important than ever to stay true to our company values to LISTEN, COLLABORATE and DELIVER solutions.

No more so than today are the 5 things we’re known best for – fresh, forward-thinking, innovative, app-savvy and sustainability focused – important.

These are where the TAF Catering Consultancy can support those in facilities best, around bespoke workplace feeding scenarios, and their return-to-work strategies.

Here’s to a whole new world of foodservices post COVID-19, and to our forthcoming TAFTALKS Report in November 2021.

If you are a corporate client organisation with people in the workplace to feed at the office (or at home) and you need disruptive foodservices post pandemic, do contact us to project manage your future catering consultancy needs… if we come and see you, and you’re in facilities, we’ll even give an overview of our latest TAFTALKS Report, November 2021!

In the mean time, Happy Birthday to US and wishing you the best with your return-to-work foodservices!

Tracey Fairclough - TAF Catering ConsultancyTRACEY FAIRCLOUGH | Consultant & Managing Director

Natasha’s Law comes into force today: is your business ready?

According to a recent statistic presented at Lunch! 2021 by research and insights company IGD, post-pandemic consumers expect food-to-go retailers to offer a wider range of gluten free and vegan options.

With Natasha’s Law coming into force in the UK today, catering effectively for specific dietary requirements especially around allergies has never been more important: the legislation will in fact enable consumers to make safer, informed choices on what they buy and eat.

The legal requirement: all food that is prepared and packed on the same premises from which it’s sold  (i.e. pre-packed for direct sale, PPDS) will have to display a label with a full ingredients list, including the 14 allergens.

Is your catering business or workplace restaurant “Natasha’s Law ready”?

Consultant Alex Mingoni (an allergy sufferer herself) advises on the 4 key elements to look out for in foodservices:

  1. Supplier Information: accurate, clear supplier information on allergens managed effectively across the supply chain (especially for potential product swaps);
  2. Management: a robust allergen management and labelling system in place (preferably tech-based, to avoid human error);
  3. Training: teams trained on the implications of the new legislation and on how to communicate allergens to customers effectively and
  4. Support: regular access to FSA tools and advice and an ongoing dialogue with your company food safety specialist.

To find out more about the progress made in the UK to prevent and end allergic disease since 2016, visit the Natasha Allergy Research Foundation website: https://www.narf.org.uk.

 

 

TAF’s Trade Show Season Starting on a High: Lunch! 2021

On Thursday TAF Catering Consultancy attend Lunch! – the definitive event for the café, coffee shop and food-to-go sector. Visiting Excel for the first time in nearly two years was almost emotional and something we were really looking forward to.

Despite the changes brought about by the pandemic – with visitors required to show proof of their vaccination status or a negative Covid test before entering – it was great to see the foodservice sector come together again, with traders very keen to showcase their fantastic products and services.

Here’s the show highlights, according to Consultant Alex Mingoni.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

1 | Paul Ettinger (Caffe Nero) | After reflecting on how the business has evolved its offer and strategy over time, the Business Development Director offered his expert advice around 3 Key Elements to consider when opening an independent coffee shop:

  • Location, location, location: getting the location right in terms of how the business would fit within the local community is vital;
  • USP: “walking the streets” to assess what the competition is doing, what is popular with customers and what their needs and priorities are, to help establish what your own point of difference is (whilst ensuring consumer preferences are met);
  • Local Quality: speciality coffee is a must, as well as having a network of local suppliers to tap into to produce unique, sustainability friendly F&B with a story to tell.

2 | Kate Nicholls (UK Hospitality) | The UK Hospitality Chief Executive summarised how the organisation has worked with the government to ensure hospitality businesses were able to survive the “black swan” of Covid and outlined how they are now collaborating to implement a future strategy for the sector, to facilitate recovery and dodge the “grey rhinoceros” of uncertainty, debt and still fluctuating consumer confidence.

3 | Sonia L. Carvalho (Restaurant Associates) | RA’s Head of Coffee and Communities shared insight on how to craft the perfect coffee offer, elaborating on 3 Key Elements:

  • Product: a dynamic coffee offer that changes often and meets client and customer evolving needs in terms of quality and value;
  • People: empowering and educating catering teams by teaching them how to craft the perfect cup of coffee and the story/science behind what they serve, as they are ultimately responsible for delivering a fantastic customer experience and drive sales;
  • Purpose: a coffee offer with a positive social and environmental impact, especially in light of the current focus on “net zero strategies” and increased customer awareness around the ethical credentials of coffee brands.

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Foodservices Round-Up: Food, People and Technology Trends in 2021

“The world has changed. Coronavirus has seen to that. Counting on a quick return to business as usual is not a viable strategy. The shock of the pandemic and future behaviours can’t be ignored. Whatever the path forward, companies need to think strategically and plan for a new normal”.

This is what PricewaterhouseCoopers was writing at the end of 2020, which feels like a lifetime ago.

Having supported corporate clients – all global organisations – throughout the last year and a half, TAF Catering Consultancy now reflects on what’s in store for foodservices for the rest of 2021.

However, before concentrating on future developments, we’d like to summarise “the story so far”.

The Before: January 2021

Defining Moment: Due to changing working patterns and a staggered, highly regulated return to work, caterers evolved their workplace offer around shorter working weeks and immune/energy boosting menus allowing better control of food waste.

  1. Food | Whilst traditional B&I was at a standstill, with lockdown three underway, contract caterers concentrated business development efforts in key sectors that were unaffected by the pandemic: cleaning, security, healthcare, education, and supply chain.
  2. People | Redundancies affected operators to various degrees, depending on caterers’ size and core business. The UK accommodation and food services sector had the highest number of employees furloughed, with London recording the highest uptake (27%). (source: gov.uk)
  3. Technology | Innovation around techdine was at an all-time high, accelerating the digital transformation through App development and tech-enabled, flexible, delivered-in catering.

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TAF Tells Facilitate Magazine Staff Shortages caused by Departing Overseas Workforce & Furlough Hangover

Tracey Fairclough, managing director of TAF Catering Consultancy, commented in Facilitate Magazine today, saying: “There’s no doubt to my mind our hospitality sector has experienced unprecedented and severe labour shortages since the sector reopened following lockdown. This is due in part to workers from overseas leaving the UK to return to their home countries either because of Brexit or the coronavirus pandemic. Then there’s the furlough ‘hangover’ where a lot of people have now got other jobs to keep themselves going and are not coming back to the industry. This has been frustrating for many of the caterers we’ve been talking to.”

CLICK here for the full article NOW: Catering and Hospitality Hit Staff Shortages 2021.

#hospitalityneedsyou

City-based solicitors Bates Wells said, last week, shortages in the sector could hit ‘crisis levels’ following the post-Brexit deadline for EU citizens to apply for settled status in the UK on 30 June, saying: “EEA [European Economic Area] workers comprise 7.3% of the UK’s working population. The June 30th deadline will create enormous problems for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors. These businesses are already seeing severe labour shortages. This is set to get significantly worse.”

DO YOU KNOW YOU CAN HELP?

TAF Catering Consultancy know, having engaged by talking directly to 40 caterers in the last 6 weeks alone, that Nine in 10 caterers are already facing staff shortages this year.

Daily Business Group also reports similar results and, from a recent poll:

  • 51% anticipate shortages in all roles and
  • 39% were concerned about back of house roles only.

All of these signs reinforce widespread concerns about the current crisis in hospitality recruitment as trading restrictions ease.

PLEASE HELP US.

Why? We’re simply people with huge passions for our industry and chefs in it… and have a “can do” approach.

We’re reaching out, having commissioned a talented illustrator we know to create two posters for us to SHARE, to help rebuild our Hospitality sector by inspiring those outside and inside to join.

We see life simply: a picture pairs a thousand words. Have a look at the attached and see what you think?

As time is precious and you’re likely to be juggling many balls, besides actions speak louder than words…

Please help us by posting or sharing both these posters adding your own personal (inspirational) message to inspire ANYONE, who might be in your network, to join our wonderful hospitality sector (and/or ask them to SHARE the posters).

Perhaps we’ll meet someday if for a proper chat about this and other things.

In the mean time, thanks for listening and hope to be able to thank you some day for your support.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)

Best Wishes and Keep safe.

Tracey Fairclough | Managing Director

#hospitality #chefs # foodservice #restaurants #taftalkshospitality #contractcatering #foodservices #events #workplacecatering #UKreopening

Weathering The Storm (A Catering Consultant’s Story)

 

Whilst Boris Johnson last night confirmed a four-week delay to the lifting of all restrictions in England beyond 21 June, the new date for lifting the restrictions now set for 19 July, the worlds of Facilities, Contract Catering, Foodservices and Hospitality should not lose hope.

Yes the UK hospitality does face a jobs crisis, in the aftermath of the typhoon coronavirus pandemic; but the reason hospitality will pick up is because drastic times call for drastic measures and change is happening. 

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A New Dawn of Catering Consultancy: My First Two Years at TAF

June 2021 is a special month for me, as it marks my first two years as a consultant at TAF (15 months of which during a global pandemic).

For those who don’t know me already, I would describe myself as follows:

  1. One of the few UK female consultants;
  2. A member of the LGBTQ+ community;
  3. A British citizen by naturalisation.

I’ve been living in London for over 10 years and worked in hospitality throughout my whole career. I love this industry and I am not planning on leaving it anytime soon. I only wish more people felt the same.

Since indoor hospitality reopened on May 17th, we’ve been hearing worrying news about hospitality staff shortages across the country. A recent survey by UK Hospitality revealed that the vacancy rate across the sector is 9% – a total shortage of circa. 190,000 workers, especially in Front of House and Chef positions. *1  

 

And why would that be? Obvious reasons aside – Brexit and a global pandemic causing people to go back to their countries of origin or changing sector altogether – there’s a more deeply rooted issue within British society (and many others): hospitality has never been considered a “career of choice”.

Hospitality is one of the industries with the highest turnover and is perceived by the general public as “unskilled”. For younger UK generations, hospitality is usually a stopgap career and for foreigners, it represents the proverbial “foot in the door” while getting used to life in a different country. I believe that’s simply unfair.

A career in hospitality deserves as much care and attention as any other sector, both from an employer and employee point of view. It should not mean stressfully long hours and poor working conditions, it should not mean low pay rates, it should not mean precarious contracts.

The point I am trying to make is very simple: I am living proof that focus, commitment and resilience go a long way, and you can really achieve your self-actualisation goals in this wonderful industry.

Focus. Commitment. Resilience. Interesting word choice. Why? Because that’s exactly what the contract catering world (and each of the 40 caterers in our network) demonstrated during these challenging times. They shaped the future of the workplace catering industry (more on this later).

It was an absolute delight to resume non-project related site visits a couple of weeks ago, meeting again face to face with the best and the brightest, the engine of our industry.

What did TAF Catering Consultancy do in return? To answer this question, I’d like to borrow TAF’s mission statement: listening, collaborating, delivering.

  1. We listened | We listened to our clients, supporting them throughout and helping them answer the questions: “How has the market changed? How does it look like today? What do we do next with our foodservices?” The nature of our work has changed as a result, and we are engaging more and more with senior stakeholders, to establish at a corporate level what food/foodservices mean to them and a baseline for a more fit-for-purpose approach to deliver relevant, reliable and timely catering services contracts.
  2. We collaborated | We embraced the “virtual world” and engaged with caterers (having regular conversations at least three times a year), fellow consultants, specialist collaborators (from executive chefs to HR experts) and industry publications – writing thought-provoking articles, trying to make sense of it all.
  3. We delivered | Originally focussing on London corporate organisations by choice, TAF adapted and evolved too, taking on several new projects for essential services clients – none in London and none in B&I. Tracey and I strongly believe a brighter future awaits for all of us, and we look forward to keep breaking the boundaries of traditional consultancy, making our mark along the way.

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TAF’s Top 10 Tips for Seamless Client Communication and Collaboration

COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed workplace practices and dynamics beyond all recognition and brought about substantial change in the way people work. We’ve heard it many times, but what does it really mean?

According to a survey published by the BBC last week, over 80% of the 50 UK’s biggest employers said they are not planning to bring staff back to the office full-time but embrace a mix of home and office working instead, with staff encouraged to work from home two to three days a week. (source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-56972207)

With shorter working weeks on the horizon for the UK working population – Thursday appearing to be the new Friday – TAF Catering Consultancy asks: how can organisations guarantee operations run seamlessly and business objectives are met?

We believe it all comes down to effective communication and collaboration. In this era of virtual employee relations, communication is the most important factor that influences success. Implementing practices that promote effective workplace conversations is critical to producing results, as poor practices could cause organisations to miss deadlines and, even worse, lose revenue.

What does this mean to foodservices? The answer is simple: when you learn how to achieve seamless communication/collaboration internally and externally, the impact on catering operations can only be positive, especially in terms of managing client’s expectations and delivering first class service.

Having recently supported an essential services client with operations spanning across the UK, TAF Catering Consultancy understands the challenges both clients and suppliers are facing and has developed a “10 Top tips to a seamless collaboration process”.

Top 10 Tips for seamless communication

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