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Response from BaxterStorey [lounge food hygiene "poor" rating]

Old Sep 29, 13, 5:07 am
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A Food Safety Inspector from the London Borough of Hillingdon has inspected the food preparation areas of the Concorde Room and Galleries First Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5 (run by BaxterStorey on behalf of British Airways) and has indicated under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme that Food Hygiene and Safety is POOR:



It's an appalling score, putting the lounge in the bottom 10% of food establishments in England (worse than many burger vans and kebab shops!).

A 5/5 score was awarded in the past year to BA's T3 and (unspecified) Galleries T5 lounges (whilst under Compass' control prior to handover to BaxterStorey). Galleries Club Lounges in Terminal 5 A were reassessed in September 2013 and scored 4 (North Lounge) and 2 (South Lounge) - both are discussed here. Aer Lingus, Cathay, AA, Virgin and other airside lounges all scored 5/5. Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food received a 2/5 rating (food being cooked in a different way to the manual, burgers being kept warm rather than hot, a broken fridge and washing hands in a "utensil only" sink).

5 days after the score was first revealed on Flyertalk, BaxterStorey posted a statement just prior to a story being published in the Daily Mail (which was sourced from this thread!). A spokesperson for British Airways said "We work with BaxterStorey to provide a high quality service to customers using our lounges, and take all feedback seriously. We continue to invest in our product and are currently renovating our kitchen facilities.

The Council's Report was obtained by Fife, published in .pdf here. The reasons for the poor score were not just the kitchen facilities, but included the following areas for immediate rectification:
Out of Date Ingredients: eggs and quince beyond their safe use-by date were being served to passengers.

Meat Stored at Room Temperature: ham sandwiches and cooked ham left at 16C/61F. The maximum safe temperature is 8C/46F

Hot Food Not Hot Enough: sausages and scrambled eggs left at 50C/122F. The minimum safe temperature is 63C/145F

Dirty Kitchen: 7 separate areas were found to be so dirty they needed an immediate thorough cleaning.

Cross Contamination of Food: a member of staff handled raw salmon, then immediately performed other kitchen duties without removing their gloves, or washing their hands, risking cross-contamination.

Risk of Access by Rats, Mice and Insects: a long gap in a kitchen back door required immediate filling to minimise pest entry points.
In addition, BaxterStorey were given until the end of September to accurately record the training given to their staff - Compass did not pass on their training records to BaxterStorey, and as BS had no record of training performed since it took over, BS was unable to hand any record of compliance with training standards to the inspector.
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Response from BaxterStorey [lounge food hygiene "poor" rating]

Old Sep 25, 13, 11:49 am
  #1  
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Response from BaxterStorey [lounge food hygiene "poor" rating]

Hello,
I have been asked to share the following communication from BaxterStorey.
Best regards,
Gauthier.

--------------

BaxterStorey are very disappointed with the results of the audit by Hillingdon Council of the British Airways First Class and Concorde kitchen. We would like to acknowledge that a score of 2 is not acceptable to us and we apologise to our customers and British Airways for the management failures that contributed to this score.

The inspection took place on the 29th July 2013. The full report was received by BaxterStorey on the 3rd September 2013 and subsequently posted on the FSA website. We had already taken immediate remedial action based on the points highlighted verbally during the inspection of July 29th. All specific management failings were rectified immediately and we continue to monitor our performance rigorously.

BaxterStorey and British Airways have been working on a plan to renovate the lounge kitchens to ensure we can deliver a product to meet the high standards required by both companies and to cope with increasing demand. This refurbishment programme commenced on Monday 23rd September with the extensive renovation of the First and Concorde lounge kitchen including upgraded storage facilities and new equipment. This phase of the programme will be complete by the end of October 2013.

We are investing considerable resources in training and development and are grateful to our teams in the lounges for their support and enthusiasm. A substantial investment in craft skill recruitment was already underway at the time of the audit and this is near completion.

We have actively invited Hillingdon Council to return and re-audit the facilities and are awaiting a response.

Our teams continue to work tirelessly with British Airways to improve services within the contract and believe that with continuous training, inspection, audit and a program of refurbishment, we will achieve the very high standards we demand as a business

We are very proud to be working with BA and we are determined to make sure our service, performance and management are exemplary throughout.


Alastair Storey, Chairman
BaxterStorey

Noel Mahony, Co-Chief Executive
BaxterStorey
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Old Sep 25, 13, 11:52 am
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Does this mean that everything will go back to the previous (Compass) level of standards then? Sat in GC now with no hot food for another 9 minutes. Getting quite peckish...

Edit: fair's fair, the hot food just came out 5 minutes early. Definitely an improvement.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 11:57 am
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Originally Posted by User Name View Post
Does this mean that everything will go back to the previous (Compass) level of standards then? Sat in GC now with no hot food for another 9 minutes. Getting quite peckish...
I doubt it. It will still be slop, just that it won't (probably) kill you.

Appreciate the response from both BA and BS, however, and it's good to see that the kitchen refurbishment will be complete within a month or so.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 11:57 am
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Originally Posted by User Name View Post
Does this mean that everything will go back to the previous (Compass) level of standards then? Sat in GC now with no hot food for another 9 minutes. Getting quite peckish...
I don't think that's BaxterStory's decision. Although it was never explicitly stated I'd be surprised if the 'no hot food between 3 and 6' wasn't a BA decision. Whether they were expecting something better than the fairly horrible looking cake they offer is another question however.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:03 pm
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Thanks for the reply Gauthier (are you one of Nicci's colleagues?) I have total confidence that BaxterStorey will get their rating back up to 5 for hygiene but I'm still concerned those who use Galleries Club get a substandard experience in the afternoon when no hot food available.

As a gold card holder I'm happy with the menu items in general (although some variety is needed I end up getting bored with the choices). But prior to the cahnges I was happy enough with the buffet so never bothered to order off the menu.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:08 pm
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It would be interesting if they'd given some reasons for the failure.

It doesn't add any further clarity - but the reply to the request under Freedom Of Information to Hillingdon will undoubtedly either show it was either really trivial and sort of unlucky or something that proves a lack of any interested or effective management.

Just a matter of waiting until 18th October latest ....
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:16 pm
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I would far rather the safety issues were resolved before any service issues.

Once the safety issue is resolved, restoring hot food throughout the day in Club lounges should be top priority. Ridiculous that connecting pax and pax with afternoon flights are not catered for.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:19 pm
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Nicely timed to coincide with the Daily Mail picking up on it?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...urger-van.html
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:21 pm
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Response from BaxterStorey

Thanks for the information. Appreciated.

Also appreciated that BS appear to be dealing with this matter and are taking it seriously.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:24 pm
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A real shame that we (some of BA's best customers) have been discussing it for 5 days without any response, and it takes the Daily Mail (and we know how much they love BA) to get this published

Interesting to see BA PR focussing on the dead tree press - that'll guarantee long-term success for IAG.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:25 pm
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Originally Posted by saintby View Post
Nicely timed to coincide with the Daily Mail picking up on it?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...urger-van.html
That report sounds like it was written by someone on here.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by angatol View Post
That report sounds like it was written by someone on here.
I would say it appears to be somewhat lazy journalism (allegedly), mostly (appears to be) composed of stuff picked up from the BaxterStory thread here unless it's a coincidence of course!
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
I would say it appears to be somewhat lazy journalism (allegedly), mostly (appears to be) composed of stuff picked up from the BaxterStory thread here unless it's a coincidence of course!
What is journalism other than putting together source material...?
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by User Name View Post
Does this mean that everything will go back to the previous (Compass) level of standards then? Sat in GC now with no hot food for another 9 minutes. Getting quite peckish...

Edit: fair's fair, the hot food just came out 5 minutes early. Definitely an improvement.
It's 6.30 and I'm still alive, just in case any of you were worrying. The food was definitely almost nice enough for me to wish it had been out 2 hours and 55 minutes earlier.
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Old Sep 25, 13, 12:32 pm
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I'm rather surprised by the timing of this reply.

It is good to see a response from BS. I wonder why this sort of general "We promise to do better" wasn't put out days ago when the story broke.
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