recently visited both cafes in the V&A (victoria and Albert museum) in one day, And I truly don’t understand why there so expensive ? outsourcing has revealed nothing here but ripoff pricing.
firstly the outdoor cafe :
expensive tea, coffee and cake dispensed in paper cups, I guess this is the future we have to look forward to as regards cafes in london in general ? mainly consisting of an east european person handing you an ok cup of tea , milk and sugar at least is not lots of little packets, yet it has a strangely over produced tea bag that flops wetly over the side of the paper cup ? at £2.30 a throw ? small square picnic slice of good cake £2.25 (larger slice of of a round cake = more money), Orange Juice £2.25 a throw and the paper and plastic waste and rubbish generated by this operation is outrageous, whether it’s claimed to be recycled or not ? the bin side of the operation seemed to just bundle everything together in the same bins. But I think a lot of these issues at the V&A stem from a lack of real kitchens located anywhere near the actual dispensary of the food, Im guessing perhaps that benugo’s kitchens are off site ? whichever way the courtyard cafe experience at the V&A is ruined by awkward ill proportioned tables and chairs, the tables are quite low like small round coffee tables, it always surprises me when design means we all end up hovering on low slung chairs crouching over tables trying to corral a selection of plastic coated paper cups and paper towels & plates that fundamentally don’t fit the table size or height on offer, no proper cutlery or china here, and the courtyard is such a nice environment architecturally the least they could do is create a cafe that was in keeping with the architecture ? i mean if Kenwood house can manage then why not the bloody V&A ? but im guessing the outsourcers profits leave little space for the civility of china, or staff with an english accent, when I was a student I worked summer jobs and part time jobs that weren’t to inspiring, McDonald’s to afford a ski holiday, various pub and casual restaurant jobs, that’s what they are for, some casual work to pick up some extra cash during the academic climb, by doing these jobs there is an civility of service provided to all which we all benefit from providing a basic structure to our society im guessing young english people don’t wish to look at such jobs even when they’re young, why the people always seem guaranteably east european is depressing. You might say the prices are ok but for the poor by the time youve added 2 adults 2 kids and 1 item to eat your talking practically £20.00 gone, sandwiches and an extra 1 item cake etc nearer to £30/£35 or over. The poor just have to bring a pack lunch and flask thats all dont depend on prices being within range anywhere, which to be honest with you we should all be doing. though iv’e noticed the social stigma /jokes growing towards those who produce flasks of tea ? when really theyre a sign of civility in my opinion, and are truly redilent of decent british culture now sadly seemingly shifting into past culture. Maybe im out of touch, maybe a cup of tea and 1 snack item is now basically £5.00 where ever you go now ?
the V&A need to in house this again for profit purposes for im sure benugo are making plenty ? they’re part of the time bloody warner group for christs sake, they’re not doing it for charity, and up the service to china and decent tables and chairs or something.
Solutions : Larger taller tables, a few more tables sizes that accommodate more than two people.
minimum standard use of porcelain plates and cups, real cutlery and genuine teapots per person which will yield 2 full cups of tea ? Obviously the current situation by benugo has been engineered for minimum staff use ? ie everything is disposable : every cup of tea served generates a paper cup its holder a long droopy teabag, some organic tea leaf waste a bit of flat cake yields a paper plate serviette and plastic fork plastic wrapper being thrown away, now the question is from an environmental perspective what is worse all this paper and plastic waste, or hiring someone to load and clean a dishwasher ? im not sure on the figures on this but i would have thought the waste generation was worse but maybe someones got figures to back this up ? and even if they want to go down this less civilised yet totally disposable road then why go the whole hog to provide a wooden fork with the cake shown on this page which cost about 3p each ? and somehow find a way of making the teabag not some floppy sock of paper leaking over the side of the cup, and have fill lines on the paper cup so the people working the cafe can’t underfill or overfill the cup which seemed to happen to two cups i drank. the disposable road also feels less civilised somehow compared to porcelain ? maybe that just me, it just seems like culture is creeping backwards, like everything is cheap and ephemeral and built for a moment of profit and loss the story weaved by the till.
The Main Canteen
as for the main canteen in the main decorative rooms including the morris room, well i bought a chicken pie and a veg bake hot-pot and some vegetables on a side plate type thing and two cans of drink … price ? £24.95 I know the museum doesnt charge entrance, £25.00 for two people to eat a canteen style lunch ? to be honest with the decor they have to work with, the morris room etc which is lovely visually if a little harsh auditorily due to all the enamelled and tiled hard surfaces, the least they could do is staff some portion of it like a restaurant and keep the prices where they are ? or if its canteen style which is equally preferable and makes more sense from an efficiency cost perspective perhaps, then the least they can do is make the prices reflect that and not be restaurant prices for canteen food held under hotlamps, mains without accompanying veg seemed to cost £9-£13 or a chicken pie in a bowl was £8.95. But to give them some due the pie contained generous portions of chicken and was a quality pie, possibly too much meat and a smidgen to large for some but hey, but none the less they should have at least made the mains include some form of veg as standard, which one can always refuse if one doesnt want veg of any kind. Id say if the chicken pie i was given was say £6.95 without veg and £7.95 including veg then the prices would have been reasonable for canteen food, and any canteen should have an ambition even in its hot food department to cater for all classes monetarily. To me it seems reasonable to say that individual in a canteen should be able to have a soft drink and a hot meal including two veg for £8.95. In The Victoria and Albert it looks more like £12.50 a head for lunch which is a little much im sure for a large number of the visitors, but i guess this operation being benugo also theres going to be the inefficiency of outsourcing and profit for shareholders of the Warner group ?