Quality or Quantity?

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It’s a simple concept taught to us throughout our formative years – but it’s one that often fits like a square peg in a round hole in today’s corporate environment – Quality will always be more important than Quantity. However, once the merciless drive for greater profitability and the increasing presence of Procurement firms or departments intervenes, quantity and price all too often become the operative factors.

Since Chefs On The Run was started, we have had a commitment to our Industry, the people who work in it – and to resisting profit-driven attempts to diminish the requirement for quality and professionalism.  Throughout our history, the important task of matching the right person to the positions our clients need filled has only ever been entrusted to hands-on hospitality people who really ‘get it’. We see our role as being pivotal to our clients’ profitability and sustainability – so we take this really seriously.

Ever since we started – but with increasing frequency over the past couple of years, we have been told by people responsible for procurement that we have to cut our rates or lose their business. In the past two years, we have probably turned down 10,000 hours of work based on our refusal to give in to this pressure, because we truly believe that there is a limited number of quality people in the industry and because inflicting people who aren’t really up to their job on our clients is unthinkable to us.

Closeup of a concentrated male chef garnishing food in the kitchen

Needless to say, a number of our competitors have not been so selective about the business they say yes to – or the margins they make – so in the short term they get more business while we fight for the preservation of standards and quality in our industry.

Rather than cave in on price, we continue to innovate to deliver quality. Better systems, better reporting, the same 24/7 service – and the same absolute commitment to providing only quality staff and service. We’d rather justify a small premium and delivery a higher quality product and service than accept that quality isn’t important.

But here’s the second interesting observation – we’re now seeing more recruitment firms closing down, or amalgamating so that they can get more hours at lower margins. At the same time we’re saying a big hello to clients who have gone down the path to price-driven outsourcing and realised that quality does indeed matter when the people coming into your business directly impact on the satisfaction of your customers! Paying a small premium for quality out-sourced casuals who can really do the job you need them do – the minute they walk through the door – is a lot cheaper than losing valued customers!

So as the years roll on, and no matter that people tell you that everything is about price – and quantity justifies a reduction in quality because it comes at a better price – stop to think about the harm that can be done if the people you are supplied are treated like numbers and farmed out to anyone who wants them.. That has never been our approach – and never will be.