Opinion: The Caterer Survey

This week The Caterer released its customer feedback survey into the wild. It’s been 6years since Travel and media entrepreneur Clive Jacobs purchase the industry journal and it has been a slippery slope ever since.

In that time it has had three editors, vast swathes of journalists who knew the industry and built up a rapport with those in it have left and now it has an editor whose background was in convenience store journalism, unlike previous Editors and senior staff who have come through the ranks.

Those lost long-standing journalists are costing The Caterer its edge. In my previous guise as an industry blogger my biggest fear when writing a breaking story was that Lewis & Afiya (two previous Editors) would beat me to the punch. There would be no point in writing a post if it already appears on The Caterer. Now, things have changed. I use RSS feeds from approximately ten Hospitality outlets and quite frankly The Caterer is just becoming part of the noise.

The fundamental problem with The Caterer currently, is that it IS the story rather reporting the story. Multiple times Gamm and the team have been challenged over recent articles showing a clear reporting bias. Their answer? To block any dissenting voices on social media – The snowflake equivalent of burying their head in the sand.

Late last week two publications published a story regarding 3 Michelin starred chef Heston Blumenthal and his company’s tax affairs, coupled with alleged breaches of Australian employment legislation. Where was The Caterer on reporting such a massive story? – NOWHERE, THAT’S WHERE!!!

It’s widely known if you stick certain chefs on the front cover of most food or Hospitality lead magazines you’ll increase sales – Heston is one of those chefs. So is it more of a coincidence that Gamm  & the team are either oblivious to the story or are afraid to report it because the Fat Duck Group will snub them in the future?

That said, it’s not like The Caterer doesn’t have form when it comes to turning a blind eye to those with more creative tax arrangements. One particular hotel group & their MD make regular appearances in spite of the company owner’s son serving a two-year jail term for multi-million dollar tax evasion & the owners paying substantial fines. And these are only the tip of the iceberg we know about.

Then we could move onto the age-old ‘Cut Tourism VAT’ farce. I have researched this extensively and repeatedly level the question of:

Where will the Govt find the £10bn to fund ‘Cut Tourism VAT’?

The £10bn figure, by the way, is from HMRC so it carries a little bit of weight. I’ve had conversations with Gamm regarding this topic and clearly, his stance is a little different to what I’d expect from a journalist. I would expect journalists to investigate a story like this, play Devil’s Advocate with those that support it but remain impartial when actually reporting it. Sadly The Caterer currently wants to flush 140 years of journalistic integrity down the toilet to cosy up to an industry it is fast losing touch with.

Verdict: Get back to basics & must try harder, or the sad reality is that you won’t have a generation of Hospitality staff that crave to get industry recognition by being in The Caterer

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