A taste of things to come…
Introducing the new RAF Super Catering, Retail and Leisure Contract at RAF Waddington from an ISS Defence perspective.
On 1st June, ISS Defence took responsibility for all catering, retail and leisure (CRL) services at RAF Waddington under the RAF’s Super CRL contract which sees all these services being brought under a single management structure rather than the various different arrangements that currently exist.
What will this actually mean for Waddington? Initially you will notice little change to the service that Waddington has enjoyed for many years from the Messes, the Families Shop, Ravens’ Club, BuzzBees coffee shop or from the Merry Melon Muncherie. Behind the scenes, however, there are a lot of changes taking place and most notably, civil servants working within these areas, the BuzzBees coffee shop team and the Aramark staff from the Families Shop and the Ravens’ Club will have had the opportunity to transfer to ISS Defence under TUPE arrangements. Their uniforms will change on 1st June and they will have started to receive training on the ISS Way and many of the new processes and equipment that will be put in place to support this contract. To all intents and purposes though, they will be carrying on doing their jobs in much the same way as before. The RAF Core Catering Manpower (the chefs and caterers) will be fully embedded into the operation of the contract on site, assisting the ISS General Manager, Richard Fletcher to make a success of CRL, but they will still remain fully under the management of offC Catering Squadron.
This contract will act as the impetus to make significant investment in the social infrastructure of the Station and these changes will be take place over a number of months culminating in the switching off of the food charge on 1 Nov 11. Up until then, menus will go through some redevelopment as part of the transition process, but things in the Officers’ Mess and Warrant Officers’ & SNCOs’ Mess dining rooms will stay very much as they are now. With the rebuild of the Junior Ranks’ Mess due in 2012, things will be a little in the air in the current building for the time being, but you can be assured that ISS will look to improve the current facilities in the meantime. With the current catering staff remaining, the quality will continue to be of the highest standard possible as ISS prides itself on selecting the healthiest possible ingredients, making use of British seasonal fruit and vegetables where possible and reducing the quantities of added sugar and salt. We believe our plans are complementary in nature and our venues will change during the course of the day and the week; catering for the whole community – people can choose to meet their friends for coffee in the morning; grab a quick bite for lunch; take the children out for a teatime treat after school; enjoy a freshly prepared meal in the early evening; bring the family out for Sunday lunch; go to the social function on a Thursday evening before heading into town or have a quiet drink with colleagues on a Saturday night. The choices are almost endless.
Some of the highlights
By working in partnership with SPAR, we will be giving the SPAR shop a new look under the ‘Store of the Future’ concept to improve its appeal to families and living-in personnel. This will not just be limited to new fridges, fancy display counters, a coat of paint and a new sign over the door. More fundamentally, the range of goods on offer will be refocused towards the needs of families living locally and for those living on Station who may wish to cater for themselves. In particular, more fresh produce will be available and pricing will be in line with SPAR’s national pricing structure. They have also promised competitive promotions to bring the very best deals into the shop.
Within the Junior Ranks’ Mess, the coffee shop will be rebranded as Cafe Qualitá but still offering Costa Coffee as now plus a range of snacks for a mid-morning break or a light lunch. We will also install a retail pod offering a small range of drinks, confectionery, newspapers, toiletries etc.
We will be transforming Ravens’ Club into a café lounge bar. During the day, this will provide food and great tasting coffee under our Real Bean banner. This will continue into the evening providing a real alternative to the Messes but with a change in ambience to a more traditional bar feel – without the cost of a taxi home. For those of you who are used to travelling around the RAF, you will find that bar prices will be the same regardless of location.
The BuzzBees coffee shop in the Intergrated Welfare Facility will be transformed into a Real Bean café offering our unique real bean blend created especially for the RAF CRL contract by the Wicked Coffee Company. The coffee is ‘Fairtrade’ so we know that the feel good factor goes right back to the coffee growing communities.
It doesn’t stop there. ISS is committed to working in partnership with the RAF. The business model is structured so that the gainshare will see profits generated at RAF Waddington being returned to RAF Waddington. There will also be a donation from the sale of some fresh made products and use of Forces Finance cash machines to RAF charities. A customer loyalty card will be launched in September – points can be collected at any CRL outlet at RAF Waddington as well as the other Super CRL sites. These will be redeemable within the outlets or against special offers from a range of partner organisations. An RAF Waddington CRL website will be online from the end of May providing information on special offers, events, venues and the ISS team. There will also be a member of the ISS team dedicated to working with the Station, Messes, clubs and wider community groups to ensure that the CRL contract is supporting the wider aspects of Service life.
That is all to come but right now the priority is on transferring responsibility to ISS as seamlessly as possible so that Waddington can go about its prime business. This will include training staff, delivering new uniforms; arranging suppliers for the kitchens, cafes, bars and shops; designing the new menus; sorting out packaging for the sandwiches; installing new electronic tills; getting security passes for our sub-contractors; finding our way around and getting to know our customers… it’s a pretty busy time for the whole of the ISS Team many of whom are working behind the scenes to ensure we got it right from Day One!
If you would like to find out more about the roll-out of Super CRL at RAF Waddington, Squadron Ldr Mike Sidebotham is the Stn Project Officer and can be contacted on ext 7238 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively please contact Richard Fletcher, the ISS General Manager for RAF Waddington who can be contacted on Richard.Fletcher@uk.issworld.com or 07789502904. You can also make any general enquiries to email@example.com. If you are interested in joining the ISS Team at Waddington, send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.