GPL RC believes that to determine a viable strategy for catering it is crucial initially to clearly define the broad objectives and policies at a strategic and operational level and to communicate these clearly to both the Catering Team and the employees as a whole. Some of the questions that require clarification include: To what extent should catering be providing a welfare benefit to the staff? Should catering operate as a service to support the wider needs of the company? Should the financial target for catering be set to recover direct operating costs only, as opposed to total cost recovery or profit generation? Should all facilities remain for the use of Siemens personnel only as opposed to being open to members of the public? To what extent has the balance of using bought in products been assessed against the merits of producing items on site (e.g. sandwiches, fresh vegetables)?
Consideration of the trading accounts for 2006/7 indicates that GPL RC delivers a sound financial performance. The overall requirement to break even was achieved with all individual trading outlets returning a gross profit contribution. GPL RC is considered to be fairly well advanced in terms of cost recovery in comparison to many institutions, with a contribution being made towards the recovery of both utility costs and equipment depreciation in addition to direct operating costs. It is to be expected that there would be an element of cross subsidisation between outlets as each provides a differing level of service. Operating margins are healthy with an overall labour cost of 40% and a cost of sales 34%. This compares fairly well with the industry norm for this type of refectory where the average would be 50% and 40% respectively.
Marketing has summarised their view of the current business’ positioning in the SWOT analysis below:...