Speed of service was generally slower than before:
The Club agreed that it’s been difficult to maintain the expected speed of service as, in common with the rest of the service industry, it’s been extremely difficult to recruit high numbers of staff despite paying at and above the London Living Wage. They have experienced recruitment difficulties which have presented huge knock-on effects both in speed of service, training, and in which outlets can be open at which times. The Club have found creative ways to recruit new staff, such as Recommend a Friend schemes, and local job fairs, but the challenges remain.
There had been feedback that a supporter had seen staff serving food with their bare hands and not gloves. In fact, the staff member would have been following the Club’s catering partner’s policy and recognised good practice. Staff don’t wear gloves, but use utensils to serve food. The theory is that it is better to avoid all human contact with food and that if people wear gloves they are less likely to be vigilant about hygiene e.g. touching faces etc. and less likely to wash their hands. So food is served with utensils and not touched by gloved or bare hands.
Disappointment in the recent price increases especially as it was the second in the last 9 months:
We’ve made our feelings clear about the recent price rises. However, we’ve also liaised with other London PL Trusts and can see that e.g. Neck Oil is well over a pound cheaper than at other established PL clubs. We continue to lobby for a range of products including those at lower prices.
Bring back the early Pie and Pint Deal:
Bad news on this one. Despite the huge popularity of this scheme there is now very little prospect of this, or any deal like it, being brought back. This had been a planned ‘loss leader’ to support arrival patterns to encourage people to arrive early to avoid congestion at turnstiles. Although this is disappointing, we do recognise this in the context of an average 9% increase in food prices last month alone. This is due to global supply issues exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. We continue to lobby for a similar deal to be introduced when possible.
Bring back the sausage rolls from two years ago:
Supporters had felt that the standard of sausage roll had deteriorated over the last two years. The recipe was in fact the same but they were cooked at a different location. During the meeting we all sampled some of the new sausage rolls, made and cooked on site, which will be served from the next home match. These are 25% bigger, the pastry is excellent and doesn’t seem ‘fatty’ at all, and the meat is delicious with the right level of spiciness. For the rest of this season at least, the price will remain the same. If you try one at the Leicester game, let us know what you think in our April catering survey.
More sandwiches and bagels needed / Where are the Getir Hawkers?
Many supporters request sandwiches and bagels (smoked salmon) and healthy wraps which might be good candidates for sale via Getir. However, currently the Getir mobile Hawkers are not selling snacks and beers on the concourses as congestion means that they cannot move around freely and they are likely to cause bottle necks. We are urging the Club to find ways to sell and publicise these products. The sales on these products are currently very low but that is hardly surprising as there is no way of knowing where they can be bought. We really need a way of seeing what is on sale where and await the new app with enthusiasm.
Sweets and Confectionary:
THFC are confident that due to a new supply chain, there will be better availability of fruit shoots and sweets moving forwards.
Better communications needed around the supply and shortages of drinks and food at different outlets:
Responding to criticism of beer running out in some queues, the Club was keen to stress that the stadium has never run out of beer. They are working on a system of display boards above serving points to immediately highlight if e.g. a beer keg is being changed. This will enable supporters to move queues or wait a few minutes. In general, it only takes a couple of minutes for the beer to be changed, though there are staff training issues here to prevent this taking longer.
Leaking Beer Cups:
There is a problem with the valves at the base of the cups, some of which are not currently standing up to the heat needed to ensure a sterile wash. This is being urgently investigated and a solution is being worked on.
The Stadium App:
We have regularly fed back that the stadium app no longer assists people to find appropriate food and drink, especially for those with allergies. The Catering Team are doing a lot of work on the manageable provision of appropriate food items and THFC will be introducing a new App which will address this.
Satisfaction with the Club’s stance on recycling and environmental sustainability, but an urgent need for fans to play their part:
Feedback on rubbish disposal is very positive and the staff who collect it are extremely efficient. However, when people dispose of their own rubbish there is still a common misconception that the plastic cups should be put into the bins. The cups, when put into the vertical holders at the side of the bins, are industrially cleaned and reused. A shocking 15,000 reusable cups per season (out of a total 1.8 million) are thrown away – so if in doubt just leave the cups on the counters and staff will dispose of them correctly.
Outside Vendors in South Stand Square:
Vendors in this area are independent of the Club but have to sell all their products at the same price as the Club’s tariffs. This space offers an overspill area before and after the games as well as at half time.
We also asked the Club about the repercussions of constant changes to kick off dates and times:
As supporter behaviour patterns are fairly firmly established, there is very little difference in revenue from match to match. However, the last-minute cancellation of matches, such as the North London Derby due to the “outbreak of Covid” incurred huge costs and food wastage. Approximately 50% of the food and beverage costs were irretrievable. Obviously as much food as possible would be sent to local food banks but because of food hygiene, there is a large amount of wastage in such situations.
It’s important to acknowledge that while there are some difficulties, the Catering Team take huge pride in their work and read every piece of feedback to work on solutions wherever possible. Please keep your feedback coming and we will endeavour to ensure your voice is heard.
26 April 2022