They are very much listening.
Speaking to a Baxter Storey manager yesterday, they are very “embarrassed” by the situation. In summary it appears they do not yet have full access to the offsite preparation facilities the previous supplier used (formerlyBAA’s T5 prohibits deep fat fryers and some types of oven/grill, which complicates things somewhat).
No excuse whatsoever for this as even I knew this contract was being renegotiated last summer, and Compass’ replacement was announced in February so plenty of time to prepare.
I would say that in the F lounge I enjoyed a very decent Full English breakfast, the champagne remains excellent (Taittinger 2005, retailing at £50/bottle and Bolly Rose as well as something unmentionable for Americans who know no better to drink). The oft-criticised jars of cookies are actually a bespoke husband and wife supplier, which do not deserve the disparaging comments; tongues are freely available and there are clear notices about not handling the contents.
The offerings in the Galleries were unacceptable for breakfast (mostly toast) and lunch (trays of slop the gardener wouldn’t feed to the dogs), and there is little differentiation between Galleries and Galleries F for the lunchtime period; the quality and range well below standard, and is not as good as Compass offered during their last hurrah (Compass is notorious for upping its game late in the day, though).
I haven’t sampled the evening offerings, which may or may not, be better.
However, for balance, then new sandwiches are an improvement, square cut and better fillings.
Also, staff seem better motivated, though that might simply because the place is swarming with wide-eyed managers obviously exercised about the situation.
This new contract was not focussed on price, but on improving the offering; I think we can see elements of that, but the broader impression is the opposite. I am assured there will be marked improvements during the course of the summer.
There better had be.