(Thursday 29th August 2002)
Simon Monkman Wanderers Chief Executive Simon Monkman has announced that the Club have contracted out the matchday catering in an effort to improve the service to fans. The matchday teabars have long since been a complaint of fans for their slow service and limited choice. Lindley Catering have been awarded the contract and they boast over 30 years in the catering industry at more than 30 sports stadia across the country. Fellow Division Two clubs to use Lindley Catering include Bristol City, Mansfield Town, Plymouth Argyle, Brentford, Colchester United and Chesterfield.
Writing in Wanderers' matchday programme, Monkman said "I am confident that Lindley Catering will, after a week of two 'settling in', deliver you an improved product with improved service." The Club originally contracted out the Adams Park tea-bars following the move from Loakes Park in 1990 but reverted to 'in-house' staff following promotion to the Football League.
The new caterers are thought to be ready to take control of the tea-bars at Adams Park commencing with the home game against Blackpool on Saturday 14th September. Representatives from the company will also be at the fans forum on Thursday 19th September to field any questions.
The move to improve the catering has been partially provoked by the Club's novel approach of 'cold calling' supporters after home games and other events at Adams Park. Monkman told Talksport Radio during an interview on 20th August "It's the classic after sales service. We have a lot of good people who spend good money here and it's important for us to know that they are getting value for that money and this is a way of finding out what happened for the time they were here watching the game and if we can do anything to make that offer a bit better then that's what we're going to do." The Club originally employed Australian Amanda Davies to take the task of telephoning supporters but according to local press reports she has since been replaced by Anita Bali.
Earlier in the year Monkman appointed ex-NAAFI colleague Jon Follenfant into the position of of "Director of Commercial Development". Follenfant is currently analysing the results from a series of supporter, sponsor and staff surveys carried out by Henning Wehn, a life long football supporter and graduate in Business Management at Munster in Germany. The surveys were set up in conjunction with the Sir Norman Chester Institute of Football Research at Leicester University.
Commenting on the feedback received on catering, Monkman said "Like a lot of football clubs, we are getting lots of comments about bars and catering issues. Queuing is a bit of a problem and I guess it always will be but even that is helping us to form our opinions in terms of, is it actually worth taking the money we do for teas and coffees? Should we just have a honest system and let people pick it up and chuck the money into a tin - is it really worth the hassle - would it relief queues to such an extent that we can get through two or three times more people?"
Monkman said it was too early to judge the usefulness of the 'cold calling' idea but added "I can't tell you it's honestly identify brand new problems that nobody had ever considered previously but it shows you very much where you put the emphasis on your efforts, which is a help in itself. If it makes them [the supporters] feel more involved in what's happening and the decision making process, then it can only be a good thing."

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