Supplying hotels ? quality and reliability
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CTA. 2008. Supplying hotels ? quality and reliability. Rural Radio Resource Pack 08/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57346
A purchasing officer from a luxury hotel explains the criteria that farmers must meet to supply this well-paid market
Supplying hotels ? quality and reliability Cue: The Senegambia Beach Hotel is a luxury hotel which caters for visitors from all over the world. In its restaurants, diners can expect high standards of food and service. But the hotel is also keen to buy food for the restaurants from local sources, and in many cases this will be from farmers and farmer groups. Vegetables such as cabbage and tomatoes, for example, are bought from a number of women farmers, who can earn a good price for their crop. But supplying a luxury hotel is not the easiest option. The women have to be well organised and able to supply top quality produce without delay. Simon Cole, one of the Senegambia?s purchasing officers, explained more to Ismaila Senghore. IN: ?Our stand here is quality ? OUT: ? and attitude to work. Really.? DUR?N: 5?36? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Simon Cole, and purchasing officer at the Senegambia Beach Hotel. The interview comes from a resource pack produced by CTA. Transcript Cole Our stand here is quality, timely delivery and reliability. These are the things that we normally look for from the women. Senghore Now let?s look at them one by one, let?s take the quality first. Cole Now the quality has to do with a very mature, like if you are talking of a tomato, it has to be matured, red and very nice for the cook to treat it the best way to be treated so that the guest, once that end user looks at that tomato and it is well cooked, that is where the image of The Gambia and the image of Senegambia comes to play. And we don?t normally joke with the image, because it is the image that promotes the tourism that we are trying to promote, for that guest to come again to The Gambia. Senghore Now the other aspect you talked about is the reliability of the market. What do you mean by reliability? Cole Now the reliability is, when the purchaser calls you and says, ?I want tomatoes, 30 kilos, to come at this time,? he is taking that information from the chef, who has a guest count for that day or for that evening to do a dinner. That person, that women?s group or that woman, should immediately strike a balance and say, ?Yes, I can do it. At sharp 2 o?clock you want those tomatoes?? You said, ?Yes, bring it for me at 2 o?clock.? Now if you don?t come at two, you have distracted or even given a big panic to the purchasing officer, and to the whole sous-chef and the chefs and the kitchen department. That?s disastrous. So for that person not to perform at sharp 2 o?clock to bring those tomatoes, it is a big disaster. So if you fail it means we don?t contact you again. Because the guest, at the end of the day, does not know what should have happened, whether there is a break in communication or whatever. The guest doesn?t want to know that. What the guest wants is that he comes in at 7 o?clock for dinner and realises that there is a perfect dinner prepared for him or her. That?s all. And that is the way that we should move. Senghore What are the kind of problems that you face, and how do you think you can solve those problems in the purchasing of vegetables? Cole For me really it is for the farmers themselves to come and look at the process. Because if you want to perform, if you really want to perform and be identified as a very good performer, you should understand the end user, what is hitting the end user. Because here is a tourism aspect remember, and it is an image issue. So your product adds in to the total quality that we are trying to achieve for that guest. So the farmer should really come over, and we sit down with the farmer and show him up to lunch time, or even up to dinner time, that impact of the vegetable, through the process up to the end user. I think those are the things that really the farmer should understand. I?m sure they understand it, but it is again also to give them the chance to once in a while visit us. I think it would be very nice. Senghore So in the process I see that you buy from middlemen and buy also from the farmers directly, the producers. Now how would you like to promote for example buying directly from farmers, because this may be to your advantage? You may get the end product cheaper, and the farmers also may earn more. Because we know middlemen are sometimes profit minded and they can be very unscrupulous. Cole What I would like, that?s my own contribution, is for the farmers to build up their capacity. You see sometimes they lack the transportation of moving faster. Probably that middleman is taking that advantage. ?Ah you cannot do it, probably you are very busy, I can do it for you.? And then they are gaining the profit out of it. But if they can build up, probably through hire purchase to have even a little Land Rover, to build up that capacity of moving faster and coming to the hotel at that exact time that the purchasing department would request for it, I think that would be fantastic. Because they are doing extremely well, they are really doing extremely well. Senghore Now what do you think can bring about that kind of understanding between you and the farmers. What kind of forum do you think can make that possible? Cole I suppose if we can have a forum where somebody can sponsor it. Let it be local first. So that we as Gambians would promote each other and come to sit down in a forum where we can talk it out, and go to the field and look at them also, that would really help. So that we build up the relationship. The buyer, the farmer and whoever is within the tourism sector. And this is what we want to promote, really. Senghore Now it seems there is really a very good market for our horticultural producers by way of the hotel industry in general. But also from the farmers end, they say sometimes some hotels don?t pay on time. Now what could be responsible for you not paying on the spot when you buy their produce? Cole Let me come back to the women. You see the payment period, also the women should understand it. Because it is the load of purchases that we have for a day. It?s not only vegetables, but then you can look at the whole, holistic aspect of beverages, vegetables, meat, fish, chicken, all coming in just for those guests. So to process those things, from purchasing through the approval level, up to the finance level, it normally takes a period of a week and a half. So that at least when you say 2 weeks, that person coming back within 2 weeks should come and receive a cheque, ready, signed and everything. That is one aspect. For the way forward, I suppose more is quality, because really at the end of the day, the quality can sell the country to wherever, and that is what we want now, in present Gambia: standard quality, timely delivery and attitude to work. Really. End of track