Food for Thought

by | Feb 15, 2019 | Explainer, News | 0 comments

In January there were a lot of complaints, the catering service of the UG doesn’t meet their agreements and doesn’t reach any of its goals. De Ukrant published about this and even shares a petition to lower the price of the soup. This issue didn’t go unnoticed for Lijst Calimero. At the end of this year, the continuation of Beijk’s contract will be discussed. What should the UG do and how should Lijst Calimero approach this issue? To find out Lijst Calimero launches its own customer satisfaction inquiry. At foodfindings.nl you can fill in the form.

But why did the UG hire Beijk as the catering service? To find out we have to go back to 2016, the year the first plans were drafted to improve the catering services of the UG. During the assessment of the results from customer satisfaction reports and the NSE (National Student Survey), it turned out that the services didn’t meet the requirements of the students and staff. The University of Groningen came up with the idea to outsource the services of Food and Drinks to an external party. The idea was that an external party could provide a greater variety, more innovation, healthy meals, greater sustainability and an overall increase in customer satisfaction. Besides that, it would tackle the problems in the quality-price ratio and the organization would be more flexible, although that was the idea.

After a lot of research and contracting by different parties, the catering-service of Beijk proved to be the best. The University Council decided to consent if certain requirements where met. Beijk was required to do regular customer satisfaction research, keep all the personnel of the UG in its service, support people with a disadvantage on the labor market and to conclude Beijk should reach a customer satisfaction of at least 6.5 on a scale of 10.

When these conditions were agreed upon, Beijk began in January of 2018 with the catering of the UG under the name Chef Serveert. During the first half year, problems with meeting the conditions of customer satisfaction arose. The Ukrant published an article where it turned out that the quality-price ratio was insufficient according to the customers, that there was too little variation, not enough options for vegetarian and vegan meals and that there was not enough in stock near the end of the day. This resulted in a hail of criticism, resulting in a grade of 1.3 out of 5 on the Beijk Facebook page and a quick glance now shows no improvement in the grades during the past six months.

Both the UG and Beijk responded by saying they would start a customer satisfaction enquiry before the start of the summer holidays. This was at the 27th of June 2018. Until now little has been done with the results, and at the moment new problems with Chef serveert arise. This time the scope of the issue reaches such an extent that the Ukrant decided to share a petition to force a price reduction.  

The accumulation of complaints should be handled seriously, the Board of the university should take responsibility and use its role as controller. They should get in touch with the university council and dare to make decisions. Lijst Calimero noticed room for improvement. The prices are too high, the opening and closure times are to limited and diversify the product selection. To help Beijk identify the main issues, Lijst Calimero launches a customer satisfaction inquiry at foodfindings.nl.

There should be made some serious changes before the start of December, otherwise Lijst Calimero will not see any reason to extend the trial period of Beijk after that. The external catering services never achieved its goals and never proved to be an improvement to the original services under control of the UG. Has nothing changed during the past year? Beijk has taken large steps to improve the sustainability, by using among other things fairtrade products, but to achieve this do we need an external catering service? No we don’t. It does not suffice as an argument to keep supporting a plan that time after time enrages the students.