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Hi,
In last three years we have changed three to four cafeteria vendors. Initially all vendors provide good food for couple of month but again the food quality goes down. Employees start cribbing about the quality, they are bored with variety which is offered in canteen. To change the vendor everytime has become a challenge now. Can anyone help me with a peramanent solution to this?

From India, Mumbai
Hi
Do provide more information:
What trade is your company? How big is your workforce? Is the cafeteria open to staff only or is it open to the public too? Do staff get a subsidised rate eating at the cafeteria? Cafeteria vendors pay month rental? What types of food are being offered?
Autumn Jane

From Singapore, Singapore
Dear Ms. ,
Every other work place cafeteria has the same problem and some basic considerations should be seen in order to keep the constant factor running -
-- Ensuring that the dishes are kept clean as sometimes food residues on the vessels may be safety hazardous along with no much cleanliness bothering the employee.
-- Having occasional mixes with all sorts of indian cuisines may port the variety of essence in daily bread.
-- You may also try altering the direction of the seating in the cafeteria weekly or a fortnight to ensure the territorial perceptions at bay.
They may be temporary solutions to ensure ongoing process, permenant had not been a solution to cafeteria issues as concerned.

From India, Visakhapatnam
Hello,

Like Sharmila Das mentioned, this is common problem with most cafeteria.

Some of the queries Autumn Jane raised are quite important to understand the level & scale of the problem you currently have & also to suggest ways to handle it.

For one, how many people/employees does your cafeteria serve on a daily-basis? More the people, higher the chances of the problems you mentioned.

Next, do you have shifts? And does the cafeteria work in shifts too--to sync with the worker shifts?

Coming to the 'boring variety which is offered in canteen', is the daily menu decided by the canteen owner or is any employee involved in the process? Most mid/large-sized companies have Canteen Committees that act as the liason between the tastes of the employees & the intents of the canteen owner. In such situations, variety of menu is usually well-handled with minimum complaints--though it goes without saying that there would be still some employees who will crib [after all, NOTHING can replace home-food].

In many companies, these Canteen Committees also involved in the quality maintenance of the food being prepared--not on a daily-basis, but sort of as a checkpoint. That way, the canteen owner knows there's someone keeping a watch.

However, w.r.t. such committees, a word of caution. Ensure the committees are changed on a regular basis. If not, you will have a different set of problems while solving this. Canteen owners are known to pamper committee members while ignoring the other regular employees--you know why.

If you can give more inputs, more accurate/realistic suggestions can come from the members.

Rgds,

TS

From India, Hyderabad
Dear Priya,
This is in addition to what previous members have said.
Where is your company located in Mumbai? Are there catering contractors in nearby area? Go there and find out about the quality of the food. If overall employees of that company are satisfied then the catering contractor should satisfy your employees as well.
The second benefit of hiring the contractor from nearby area is his cost will come down because he will get economies of scale.
Lastly, has it become culture in your company to blame the food quality? If employees have become that fastidious then let them arrange their own food. As such Mumbai is famous for services of Dabbawala . You just pay to the employees food charges + dabbawallah charges.
Ok...
Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Tell them to get their own food.
Outside we are more demanding.At home people are eating same food rajma/chawal,vada/sambhar etc everyday.
or Arrange your own inhouse cooking.
Tell people to learn to love and respect food and make them do work,so that they feel hungry.
People are all the time waiting for lunch time and they have nothing else to do but criticise.
SPS Malhotra
Realistic Trainers

From India, Delhi
I agree with TS regarding a rotating volunteer employee cafeteria committee. A pool of committee members comprising employees of each department should be recruited and a 5 member panel reconstituted from the pool every 3 months. A member cannot participate on the committee for at least 3 cycles (9 months) unless there are insufficient volunteers.

The function of the Cafeteria Committee should be to offer menu suggestions to the owner, insure that the proper sanitation procedures are in place and utilized, address the quality of the food, and convet any relevant employee complaints.

The contract between the company and the vendor should be specific as to the quality of the food, the skill of vendor's employees in preparing and presenting the food as well as promoting sanitary conditions throughout the cafeteria to include the plates, glasses, utensils used by the employees and the pots, pans and other implements used by the vendors staff in addition to the proper storage of the food.

You may also want to consider rotating the vendors every 2 months, explaining that after a year - 6 vendors - one will be chosen as the permanent vendor. However, as an incentive to maintain the highest quality of food, service and sanitation, any serious complaints will result in penalties to the vendor, such as a percentage reduction in the monthly billing. As an example, a minor sanitation complaint, such as a dirty glass, or unwashed plate, if verified would result in a reduction of .001 of the monthly billing; while a major complaint, such as uncooked or improperly cooked food, would result in a .05 penalty if verified by a member of the Cafeteria Committee.

Just some thoughts to consider.

PALADIN

From United States,
Thank you guys for all your suggestions. Well here are the details abt cafeteria &employees.
1. employee strength is about 400-500, and cafteria serves food to atleast to 200 employees
2. No shifts in company
3. only three time food available- morning snack, lunch and evening snack. Tea/coffee throughout the day
4. Contractor is coming from nearby area and food is prepared in his kitchen. We dont have kitchen facility here to prepare live food such as dosa, maggi or toast sandwich and all.
5.We provide Indian food and sometimes chinese too
6. There is no subsidies to food rate. its on actual basis. We dont pay to contractor either, we have just given him canteen place to serve food to our employees.
7. We are in process of setting up food committee too.
rgds
priya

From India, Mumbai
Dear friend,

There are a few suggestions/options which you might also as well know. Of course Canteen problems never solved to the satisfaction of everyone. However as others opined we could make some changes to the extent possible in addition to what others suggested:

Options:

1. You can either engage contract labour only for cooking and serving/cleaning by providing infrastructure facilities, utensils, provisions, water, power etc. A remuneration package could be finalised on the basis of samples of food articles which the team could prepare as daily menu.

2. Keep a panel of vendors, short listed based on the quote, quality and qty. of food articles they could provide as samples at the time of assessment of competitive quotes.

3. You can order food articles from various vendors around your premises on rotation basis who could prepare at their places and serve based on standardised daily menu & timings which you could prepare as a chart and give it those caterers, with qty. on daily basis after collecting from staff for the day. No cooking in your premises except warming and serving, against food coupons. In this option you have to bear the cost of residuals remain unsold. (This is more or less like railways & airlines catering)

4. Follow present system with suitable modifications in the contract for deficiency if any, in quality and qty. which could be checked by your staff canteen committee on surprise or routine inspection with a rider that deficiencies would attract penalties.

kumar.s.

From India, Bangalore
Of course Canteen problems never solved to the satisfaction of everyone.
You can not satisfied all employees at all the time in industrial canteen.
In many company those employees are suit the canteen food they will bring their own food.but changeing the canteen contractor or people will not solve the problem.
Some of the suggestion and experience has already contribute by members.
J L Trivedi

From India, Ahmadabad

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