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Mentoring, External Management, Support and ‘Critical Friend’

Critical friend

Critical friend

Quite often facilities wish to operate their catering in-house or are already operating in-house but do not have the internal skill sets, time, resources or catering experience at senior management level to develop the business.  Alternatively there may be issues with their catering contractor but need external guidance on how to resolve issues.

By using this service we refocus attention onto the catering operation and the key operational issues.  Quite often this service leads on from earlier involvement such as operational review, tender process where changes are recommended but internal skills are limited to deliver the changes.

It is important to understand that writing a report with recommendations is a useless tool unless implemented.  Having an external party implementing these changes is quite often the only way that change occurs, staff may be too involved to implement effectively and the recommendations made may need to be adapted during implementation as catering is a wholly living organism.

Many organisations operate small catering facilities that cannot afford or retain an experienced Catering Manager of sufficient knowledge or expertise and the responsibility falls to the House or Operations Manager.  Working with the client we implement any changes recommended, train and educate staff giving confidence to management enabling them to manage effectively and challenge where necessary.

This type of service normally involves a tapered programme initially with daily hands on intervention. then acting as a ‘Critical Friend’ with weekly, monthly or periodic monitoring and then a twice yearly or annual review as required.
This tapering seems to be a welcome safety net for organisations to have external practical as well as managerial knowledge and expertise on the end of a phone that is focussed and objective.