Just Hospitality takes inspiration from the world of tech to hold their first hack week focussed on embedding a culture of quality within the organisation.
Just Hospitality is the leading caterer for London’s tech community. With clients like Twitter, Dropbox, Box, and Oath their teams are surrounded by tech culture every day. Therefore, it was only natural that when it came to innovating their own processes that they take inspiration from their clients. For a full week the teams at Just Hospitality participated in activities aimed at embedding a culture of quality within the organisation.
On the decision to launch their first hack week Dean Kennett, Managing Director at Just Hospitality, had this to say: “This year is all about perfecting our business model that combines high quality food with a delivery service for companies that don’t want to give over office space for kitchen space. We realise we need to keep our standards high to retain and win new clients so we’re always looking for new ways to improve our processes and deliver the best possible service to our customers. Launching a hack week was a great way to formalise some of this work and get all our teams collaborating on a common issue.”
Experiments during the week included a quality survey, job swaps, visits to food markets, competitor benchmarking and a proposal competition for a fictional piece of work. The results of the quality survey were particularly interesting. To better understand what quality means to their staff and what quality messages would resonate most as reminders to keep standards high, Just Hospitality asked employees questions about quality behaviour and how Just Hospitality performs on quality standards. Remarkably, the majority of Just Hospitality’s employees understand quality as directly related to customer satisfaction rather than fulfilling standards or working as they have been taught; showing that the group are good at thinking independently and willing to break the rules to deliver total customer satisfaction.
One of the best ideas to come out of the week was using a social messaging app to ensure that the food leaving the central production kitchen is presented by the front of house teams the way the chefs intend. As development chef Susi Hester puts it: “We were already using the social messaging app to talk to each other but we had never thought of taking pictures of the finished dishes and sending those to the onsite catering teams. It seems like a real no-brainer now and I can’t believe we didn’t think of it before!”
The goal of the week was to produce something useful; whether that be a new process, product or simple idea that would improve Just Hospitality’s quality standards. Cristina Covello, Just Hospitality’s manager of marketing and strategy feels the week was a success: “It’s part of our culture to be on the hunt for new ideas but sometimes teams are so wrapped up in day-to-day operations that they forget to stop and just think. Hack week gave us a chance to do that and the results couldn’t have been better.”