How many of our 10 memorable quotes from the foodservice industry did you get right? Answers below. 

QUOTE 1: “I wrote to Carillion back in July last year to express concern after hearing from FSB members that the company was making small suppliers wait 120 days to be paid. Sadly these kind of poor payment practices are all too common among some big corporates. Perhaps if they weren’t it would be easier to spot the warning signs of a huge company in financial trouble.””

ANSWER: Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, pulls no punches as it emerged that some contractors working for failed construction giant Carillion had waited four months to be paid. Catering contractors were among those impacted by its well-documented demise at the start of the year.

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QUOTE 2: “It’s an absolute cock-up. KFC are left with hundreds of restaurants closed while DHL try and run the whole operation out of one distribution centre — where conditions are an utter shambles. Three weeks ago KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late. KFC’s bird-brained decision has caused untold misery to customers, to Bidvest workers and restaurant staff who are not being paid. Now they’ve been left with egg on their face.”

ANSWER: Mick Rix, national officer at GMB, claims the union tried to warn KFC that ditching food logistics specialist Bidvest for DHL would have consequences as the fast food chain found itself plunged into a chicken crisis that saw dozens of stores temporarily close.

QUOTE 3: “I think there may be a dark kitchen model where you use multi-operators, but I can’t see Deliveroo Editions working as a model. And so what you’ve got now is the likes of Deliveroo — they will deny it — but they are looking at becoming operators in their own right. They start to become a competitor of ours. This is a big thing and if I was Deliveroo I would look at becoming an operator. It’s common sense.”

ANSWER: Deliveroo is ploughing millions of pounds into its off-site kitchen model, but Mark Smith, managing director of Vietnamese cuisine chain Pho, is among those who thinks the concept could be a precursor to a more direct approach. 

QUOTE 4: “The competition has moved around us and grown around us and circled us. We’d spent a few years conquering and settling into new territories and towns. We were really happy with our victories so we rested on our laurels a bit, without noticing that people around us were starting to form new businesses.” 

ANSWER: Jon Knight, CEO of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, offers a frank assessment of the mistakes the company made as it sought to recover from a difficult period in which it had to close 12 branches of Jamie’s Italian amid reports that it had run up debts of £70m.

QUOTE 5: “In order for us to make the effort to say that we would like to approve this new supplier selling us this bit of kit, they have really got to be offering us value.” 

ANSWER: Burger King’s UK arm must abide by a list of globally-approved suppliers that it can buy from. And while it can apply for new suppliers to join this list, CEO Alasdair Murdoch admits the complexity involved in securing approval means any recommendation has to be worth it.

QUOTE 6: “I can see a need for equipment manufacturers to take into account the rising price of overheads and the squeeze on business profit margins having an impact. This could lead to the situation whereby equipment is operated from a central power bank, charged overnight when the cost and demand for electricity is lower. The stored charge could then be used throughout the day to deliver the necessary power for the range of equipment used in a modern day kitchen.”

ANSWER: Simon Frost, managing director of Hoshizaki UK, peers into his crystal ball and predicts a future where operators will turn to new methods of operating kitchen equipment in a bid to curtail running costs.

QUOTE 7: “I think one of the biggest barriers to buying energy efficient equipment is lack of planning and lack of a strategy from a client perspective. And what tends to happen is that, through lack of planning, we will operate a kitchen and the fridge or the fryer or something will keep breaking down and we’ll keep it getting repaired, and it’ll keep breaking down and we’ll keep getting it repaired. Eventually it will fail, completely. Suddenly the client realises actually this is going to be a big issue for service tomorrow unless we can get this sorted out. So they get on the phone and they say, ‘get me a fridge, I don’t care what it is as long as it can be here tomorrow’.” 

ANSWER: A failure to properly plan ahead is preventing companies from taking advantage of the latest energy efficient catering equipment and instead forcing them into impulse purchases, suggests Mike Baxter, head of sustainable business at contract caterer BaxterStorey. 

QUOTE 8: “The best thing that ever happened to us was when local authorities brought out the five-star [food hygiene] scores on the doors and to everyone’s surprise a couple of years ago they said that over the last five years the best companies have been Wetherspoon and Pret A Manger. Most of my pals said, ‘we can understand Pret A Manger…’” 

ANSWER: JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin admits a glowing food hygiene score has helped to change a few misplaced perceptions of the brand within the market. 

QUOTE 9: “I think QSRs are pretty smart about their design and they have an established estate of properties that is generally fairly well-equipped and thought-through from a space point of view, so the bigger QSR chains don’t have to worry too much. I think the fast-casual, emerging chains space is where you will see quite radical shifts.” 

ANSWER: Mike Faers, managing director of culinary consultancy FIS, reveals where he sees the biggest changes to kitchen design occurring in the next five years.

QUOTE 10: They have become more personalised to give you a solution that’s right for your business as opposed to being modular and ‘this is what we do, take it or leave it’. In the past there would be some businesses that would just say, ‘well that’s what we have got, we have had that for 30 years and we’re not changing.’ I think the continuation of innovation and personalisation makes a difference.” 

ANSWER: Terry McDowell, head of food and drink at TGI Fridays, says there is greater willingness from suppliers to work with operators such as itself on a bespoke level than there ever was in the past, providing huge benefits when rolling out new restaurants across multiple sites.


0-3: Must do better! Don’t worry, there’s always next year – but we really think you should be logging onto more often!

4-7: Good knowledge! Well done – a credible score! We’re delighted to see you’ve been closely following the highs and lows of the industry this year!

8-10: Take a bow! You really need to get out more! Just kidding, we’re impressed you know the industry so well. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back!  

Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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