Location: Enfield Town, North London.
We started by conducting a survey of the food offering at the Civic centre restaurant and Dugdale theatre café. This involved visiting the sites on several occasions, sampling the food, watching the customers and asking the staff questions (without them knowing who we were).
A report of our findings highlighted key areas where we could make a difference and defined the parameters of our involvement around the following objectives:
- Improve the food prepared and served at the Council’s civic centre staff restaurant, the Dugdale theatre café and the Millfield theatre bar.
- Increase the number of workers that purchase food at the restaurant
- Encourage and enable Council staff to consider healthy eating and a balanced diet while at work
- Engage with local food producers
- Develop the offering across the Business to ensure consistency.
- Make better use of the restaurant’s kitchen
- Train restaurant staff on the benefits and importance of healthy eating
- Work alongside the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) to make the business more in line with current sustainability standards
- Make the Business more profitable
We then interviewed all staff and formulated an action plan. It was clear that the restaurant did not have the management in place to drive major changes forward. We helped write the job specification for the new management positions and handed over to the council’s HR department for approval.
Meanwhile we decided to use the Dugdale theatre café as a test-bed for new products, new suppliers and new systems. We identified that the current client base was hindering any growth and set about changing everything to be more inclusive and representative of what the people of Enfield wanted. We were hand’s on in the process and achieved the following
- Introduced new Local suppliers
- Completely changed the sandwich menu
- Replaced all unhealthy drinks and snacks with healthier alternatives
- Developed a range of seasonal freshly made soups
- Installed advertising boards, menus and customer information leaflets
- Installed a new counter fridge for drinks and ‘food to go’ options
- Trained staff on preparing and cooking with fresh ingredients
- Trained staff on sustainable practices
- Introduced direct trade coffee and tea
- Developed costing sheets for all products
- Designed ordering sheets for all suppliers
- Wrote specifications for all menu options
- Developed new health and safety policies and compliance documents
The results of this test were positive and encouraging in all areas except one. The high number of casual staff being used meant that there was no-one to carry forward the implemented changes. Therefore, it was decided to scale back some of the changes until a new manager was appointed.
We were then involved in an all-day strategy meeting to define sustainability in the context of the council and how we could use the findings of the test to make the changes at the civic centre restaurant.
Once the new positions had been approved by HR we advertised and vetted candidates before their applications to the council. We wanted to entice potential candidate’s and discuss the project without them knowing it was a council position. This had the desired affect and 2 new managers were appointed who had the necessary skills and drive to implement the changes we had planned.
At this time, we also developed a brand for the business to encompass the idea of local to Enfield and came up with the name EN_food.
One of the objectives of the project was to be the first council to enrol with the SRA and go through their sustainability rating process. For this to happen we wrote all the sustainability policies based around the 10 pillars of sustainability as set out by the SRA. The policies gave a framework in which the restaurant had to work within thereby exercising control over things like suppliers, waste management and nutritional requirements. This was the key to ensuring the sustainable principles were going to be practised and adhered to.
We also helped with the following:
- Introduced numerous new suppliers and helped them navigate the council systems of procurement and payment
- Removal of vending machine containing unhealthy snacks
- Replaced all unhealthy drinks and snacks with healthier alternatives
- Introducing a new lunch time menu and seasonal salad offering
- Introduction of meat-free Monday and greater focus on vegetarian, vegan and gluten free offerings.
- Installation of barista style coffee machines and new bulk brew coffee machines
- Compliance and Health and safety documentation
- Developed a new conference menu with a view to using this at other council venues and remove the need to outsource.
The civic centre restaurant achieved the top rating of 3 stars from the SRA and is currently waiting on a possible short list for an award from the SRA.
The changes to the restaurant have received praise from its customers and backing from the highest ranks in the council. The number of customers has increased and there is still lots more room for growth as more advertising is done.
The number of skilled kitchen staff has increased to cope with the demand and fresh talent has brought in more new ideas. The overall staff satisfaction is high as they see first hand the benefits of the changes
The customers now have a greater choice of healthier, balanced and above all delicious meals.
Allow the public to enjoy what the council workers now can by developing the offering at the Dugdale theatre café and Millfield bar. If the same sustainable policies are adhered to then there is no reason why these can’t also be as successful.
Gourmet Goat has built up a number of solid relationships with suppliers in London and further afield. We used this relationship to encourage suppliers to work with the council. This has been a key point to getting suppliers on board as they are sceptical about working with council due to many having the opinion that there are high levels of bureaucracy and that they don’t pay. By getting to know the procurement and payment systems in detail we have been able to assist with all aspects and secure early payment terms.
These are suppliers we introduced to the council and the main reason:
- Coffee – Union Hand Roasted (Direct Trade coffee)
- Tea –Chash (Direct Trade tea)
- Vegetables –Forty Hall (Local community organic farm), Chegworth Valley (Local)
- Beef – Native Beef (Local and pasture fed)
- Rose Veal – Westons (Dairy by-product)
- Chicken – via local Butchers, peatcheys (Local and free range)
- Pork – Great Garnets farm via local Butchers, peatcheys (Local and free range)
- Bread – Holtwhites (local and sustainable award winner)
- Fish – sticklebacks (MSC / MCS approved fish)
- Dry Goods – Infinity (Co-operative)
- Milk – Enfield and North London Dairy (Local and Organic)
- Ale –Toast (Made from surplus bread)
- Beer – Enfield Brewery (local)
- Cider – We are Hawkes (local)
- Wholesale items – Local via Marigold Health Supplies
- Cheese – Kuprus Dairy (local)
Local defined be the SRA is 100 miles from Enfield. However, we decided to prioritise those that are based in Enfield Council or within 30 miles.