Monday, 24 November 2008

Fish & Chips – reign supreme…

Those of you who know “Pappa Cod” well will know I am a big fan of the establishment “Chez Fred” in Westbourne, Bournemouth.

I have long said this is the epitome of what good fish and chips should be and it still continues to impress.

The owner Fred Capel once a chef himself has built up and enviable business that delivers consistently good well-sourced fresh fish and properly cooked chips but also I have to say really does understand the value of building a database of customers and the marketing it does with them.

The “little sprat” really loves this place especially their “sprat pack – kids menu” not only for the colouring competition and fishy related quiz questions etc but without fail each year for the past 3 years she has been sent a birthday card with an invite to claim a free meal… as long as she brings an adult with her. Simple but exceedingly effective to get us all back again…

Every table also has a customer comment card that is so well worded it makes filling it out a real pleasure. On top of that the fish and chips is really the outstanding feature. Even when they get it wrong (a nearby table on a recent visit complained their fish was undercooked) they dealt with it swiftly, professionally and in a sustainable way ensuring the customer felt truly valued.

It impressed me so much I left my glasses behind on the table and when I returned to collect them 30 minutes later I very nearly reordered my meal… but that would have just been greedy…

Little Chef - nothing has changed

It was a cold wet November evening and feeling in need of a break on a journey around the M25 on the way to the south coast we pulled into the car park of a Little Chef on the A3.

It has been many a year since walking into one of these establishments and it was like going into a time warp. It seems like time had stood still with a menu gargantuan in size appealing to all possible markets.

Any way our simple choices made were delivered promptly and the resulting items ordered were edible and fulfilled the need.

It was however the surroundings that seemed to have changed little in the last 20 years with an almost totalitarian feel to it, chairs with a leatherette covering were uncomfortable and had clearly seen better days few were not damaged by exploratory fingers.

The final nail in the coffin was the smelly toilets that welcomed you on arrival and ensured you left as quickly as possible… the crap in the bowl was the final straw… it might be their 50th year in existence but they really do need a makeover and revamp to bring them into the new millennium!!!

I think I will give them a miss for the next 20 years and see if things have improved on my next visit!!!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

A Bonus… to give or not to give that is the question?

I had a situation recently where a candidate was offered a job with a good basic salary then enhanced by a bonus scheme.

What’s wrong with that I hear you ask?

Well in all honesty nothing really. However, a discussion with the candidate got me thinking.

A bonus is all well and good but it only achieves its desired effect if it is actually achievable. The incentive it offers mean nothing if the person it is designed for feels it becomes a bigger issue than just doing the job they are employed to do properly. Thus the bonus only becomes worthwhile when it is not such a big issue.

On starting a new job there is a great deal to focus on and in some respects depending on what the issues have been prior to the new person starting. Making a bonus part of the package can be come a big negative.

Perhaps the solution should be to make the bonus something that kicks in a bit further down the line once the person has settled and then really make it something they can achieve.

I guess anything above and beyond a basic salary is not to be mocked but there is a strong case to perhaps question the validity of a bonus scheme from day one.