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What is going on with BaxterStorey and British Airways lounge catering?

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There has been a huge amount of complaining on Flyertalk, Business Traveller and Twitter about the new food offerings in British Airways lounges, primarily at Heathrow.

The contract moved to BaxterStorey last month, and was either accompanied by a MASSIVE budget cut or was negotiated incredibly badly.

(EDIT, October 2013 – The main BA lounge at Heathrow has now scored a shocking 2/5 in its first Food Standards Agency report since BaxterStorey took over the contract.  More details here.)

Here is a typical Flyertalk post:

In the Galleries First this lunch time; it gets worse; yes – I know it is extremely hard to believe but BA and BaxterStorey [the new caterers] continue to exceed my worst expectations.

The fresh orange juice has GONE – and been replaced by something which tastes like processed chemicals; it is cheap and very nasty packaged orange that you can buy for 39p a litre in a Tetra Pak – it is truly VILE.

The sandwiches; I braved a prawn mayo – had so much salt in it- that the prawn had probably died of salt poisoning. It didnt taste of anything except salt. I gave up after two bites; it was nasty.

The ham on the buffet was the only edible cold meat – apart from heart attack salami; and the ham was full of gristle.

The legendary hot buffet; what can I say that hasnt already been said? I tried the hot beef/hot pot dish. OMG – it tasted worse than my school dinners 35 years ago. It was watery and tasteless – apart from the salt. I think BS must have bought all the salt on the world salt market and decided to try and kill us off quickly.

The “Book of Shame” continues to be full of complaints.

Here is a typical picture of BaxterStorey food from the Galleries First lounge at Heathrow. I won’t repeat what my 5-year old said when she saw it!


I haven’t commented on this issue before. The bottom line is that I haven’t yet experienced the new British Airways lounge food offering and it seemed unfair to criticise BaxterStorey without having seen it.

However, there is now a dedicated website set up to pressurise BA to think again. The site is well worth a look, especially the comments, and includes links to all the relevant threads elsewhere.

I will be in Terminal 5 in a few days so I will take one for the team and try a few plates of BaxterStorey gloop. (Which is clearly more than Alastair Storey of BaxterStorey / WSH must have done.) I hope you’re grateful.

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Comments (12)

  • Dave says:

    I’m not sure if you can post links in the comments but if you visit the site mentioned above and click on ‘Menus’ in the navigation bar then you’ll see a picture of the galleries first buffet before the change and after. It’s clear from the picture that both variety and presentation have taken a MASSIVE drop. It now resembles what you’re used to when you were a silver card holder.

    The cook to order menu still has some reasonable options on it. Unfortunately for BA + BaxterStorey it costs more for each customer who orders from the menu rather than using the buffet. Hopefully the increase in menu orders may encourage the buffet selection to improve.

    • Volker says:

      “It now resembles what you’re used to when you were a silver card holder. ”

      I actually thought the picture was taken at the T5 Galleries Club Lounge 😯

  • DV says:

    Is there a Twitter hash tag for comments?

  • Ben E says:

    I was in the T5 Galleries lounge at the start of May and everything from the cold offering was either running out or completely out of stock – it was a terrible sight. In the hot offering, there was some pasta and then 5 trays of hot food with sauce, such as curry, hot pot, chilli etc. But nothing to eat it with other than pasta! And looking rather similar to the ‘gloop’ first class photos. Disappointing

  • Mogadon says:

    Wasn’t there a schoolgirl who became famous a few months ago by tweeting pictures of her school food?

    People should also contact BaxterStorey to complain about what’s on offer:

  • Lady London says:

    My G*d! Worse than school dinners! And it was bad enough even BEFORE they switched to Baxter Storey.

    One can only think BA, who after all are a very competent large company, has determined that this is the level of service it wishes to offer those with frequent flier credentials with itself and other airlines. Isn’t it time we got the message BA is so clearly trying to give us ?

  • AusTraveller says:

    Have yet to try the new catering service at the BA lounges at LHR but that’s not promising.

    The very sight of that catering is off-putting and, frankly speaking, having previously experienced BaxterStorey catering (they’re contracted to English law firm Herbert Smith Freehills whom I’ve previously worked with and hence had to suffer the ‘delight’ that is their catering – they’ve also got the Slaughter & May contract I think) I think one is better off avoiding it as much as possible.

  • Daftboy says:

    I was in T5 Galleries on Monday evening for the first time since the change, arriving around 5:20pm when obviously all the customers have told BA they want a light afternoon offering. Cue a few forlorn prawn sandwiches, which I didn’t feel the need to sample. Then the fabled 6pm dinner arrived, and despite being the woeful slop pictured above there was a queue stretching away from the buffet of poor bedraggled travellers gasping for a hot bite to eat. And no plates of course.

    The sensible lady eating some takeaway from Itsu at the high tables near the buffet says it all really.

    I thought the biscuits and bar snacks in big, self-serve kilner jars were nice, and they can only lead to less packaging waste over time, but obvioulsy of no use to those who are used to shoving a few packets of shortbread into their carry on baggage for the flight.

    All in all, pretty lame.

  • Richie says:

    I will be at t5 Saturday so will get there early and try the breakfast . Hope it’s not as bad as people are saying ….

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