BaxterStorey scores 2/5 hygiene rating for some British Airways lounges

I wrote back in June about the wall of criticism that had met the switch of British Airways lounge catering from Compass Group to BaxterStorey.  Although, when I tried it, it had settled down a bit.

The results, as per the picture below, certainly weren’t pretty.  However, I didn’t think that the problems were more structural.

Lounge Catering

Courtesy of IThink at Flyertalk, though, we now have the food hygiene certificate that was issued to BaxterStorey for the British Airways First Class lounge and Concorde Room catering in July:

Baxter Storey logo

Ever seen a venue with a ‘2’ rating before?

Interestingly, Plane Food in Terminal 5 also scores a ranking of 2.

Since some pressure appears to have been brought to bear on FlyerTalk to change the heading of the relevant thread on that forum to something less likely to attract a lawsuit, I would suggest that comments to this post are carefully considered before pressing ‘Submit’ ….

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  1. Jurgen Fenney says:

    To be honest I am not surprised as our company Sodexo who do the food at Virgin clubhouses have been awarded BA short haul winter menu onboard food.

  2. Interestingly the BA Staff Restaurants at T5 both scored 5 out of 5!

    • As of July, Baxter Storey are also the careers for the canteen at Waterside – something which isn’t universally popular with BA staff.

      I should point out that this has more to do with reduced value-for-money than hygiene, but the concept of profit maximisation may perhaps be the common factor.

  3. The Chinese, fish and chip and what looks like a grotty burger / kebab house round the corner from us all rate as 5 and are actually all very nice.

    An Indian restaurant in the city where I live recently closed after someone (oops) posted on fb that it had a zero rating!

    I think its wrong that the establishments DON’T have to display the rating if they don’t want too. It should be a legal requirement to display it and any score 2 or below should be given 6 months to improve their score or face closure.

  4. This is a pretty poor result particularly for the first class and Concorde lounges and frankly needs as wide an audience as possible to ensure change is brought about. My own experience of the lounges since the changes had been very mixed but it has has clearly been downgraded / cheapened and is a shadow of the previous offerings.
    Moreover food safety should be no less important to BA than flight safety. You cannot imagine a score of 2 for flight safety ever being acceptable to passengers or indeed any responsible airline board or leadership team. I would expect no less a reaction from them over food safety and hope they will react positively and immediately to this result.

    Apparently many other well known London restaurants have a similar score not that that should be a reason to ignore this.

    • Of course flight safety should be far more important than food hygiene! As bad as it sounds, I doubt many people have been made ill by the food there -and if they have it would be very mild. A safety rating of 40% on an aircraft however means possible death. I’d take food poisoning over a plane crash any day!

  5. I think the real issue here is – how difficult is it to be excellent at food hygiene? It essentially shows a complete pack of care by the staff and a failure to address it by the management. Compared to the cost of opening and running a lounge sorting the hygiene is peanuts.

    • Airlines have odd views of fixed vs variable costs, though. You could ask why anyone would spend $200m on a plane and then skimp on the catering to the extent that people don’t want to fly it.

      What costs are actually variable for BA? Planes, no (fixed finance deals). Fuel, no. Staff, no as CAA dictates crew numbers and UK law stops random firing of higher paid old school crew.

      Stuff like inflight and lounge catering is a teeny tiny percentage of BA expenditure but is actually something they can attack.

    • My local church runs a one-woman cafe using an improvised kitchen in a corner of their porch. That has a 5-star rating.

      • That’s exactly what I’m getting at, they. Just need to make sure people are trained properly and carry out the correct training to ensure hygiene standards are high. They already pay a small army of staff to run around the lounges, I’m literally gasping to think how the poorly things are working behind the scenes and nobody is questioning it as its happening!

  6. How was the FT thread title changed? Apparently it has gotten some BAttention.

    • I would be repeating an (allegedly) libellous statement if I told you which would see me in court behind Internet Brands.

      I will need to delete any further comments which discuss this aspect.

  7. Lady London says:

    No, I’ve never seen a venue with a rating of “2” before. And I’ve certainly never eaten in one.

    Thank heaven the disgusting appearance of the buffet food – and the shudders biscuits being handled directly from a jar gave me – have always put me off eating anything there.

    I’ve never had an issue eating from a buffet with reasonable caution in a number of other lounges though, notably those provided in various lounges around the world by SQ.

    Does anyone think this will lead to the displacement of Baxter Storey from the BA lounges? Even then, does anyone think it is BA’s intention to provide better a higher food quality offering? Even before Baxter Storey, for me the food ranged on the spectrum between unappetising and offputting.

  8. whiskerxx says:

    Lady London – I doubt you would be aware of the Food Hygiene Ratings for the places you have eaten at. As a previous poster has mentioned, there has been no requirement for establishments to display these ratings. This will change in Wales in November, and it will become a requirement. Its likely that ratings for premises inspected in the past year or so will now be available to view on the internet.
    Callum – there are generally excellent safety standards in the airline industry, but perhaps not so great in the food industry. That’s why statistically, you are far more likely to die from food poisoning than in a plane crash! With that in mind, everyone using the First Class Lounge and Concorde room should be concerned about what they eat and drink!
    n.b. food safety issues are not necessarily related to the taste and appearance of what you eat, nor the cost of ingredients. More to do with poor procedures, poor hygiene, poor storage and stock rotation and general bad practice.
    A two rating is indeed a cause for concern. Take your own sandwiches!!

    • I’m also far more likely to eat food than get on a plane. Comparing statistics like that is meaningless!

      I do think its a cause for concern (image wise anyway, it wouldn’t stop me eating there and the hysteria across here and flyer talk about someone else possibly touching a biscuit before you is beyond absurd), just not on parity with aircraft safety!

  9. It is shocking that a so called First Class lounge gets a 2 start hygiene rating – this is supposedly first class service… The level of hygiene and service at Tokyo and Seoul made me embarrased to come back to the BA lounges.

  10. Disturbing and disappointing. This news will honestly make me think twice about eating anything in the lounges that is not prepacked. I fail to comprehend some of the comments; surely the standard should be 5 regardless of what type of lounge it is? And, if a kebab joint and tearoom can get a 5 then surely it should be mandatory for all food handling establishments? I fail to see why anything less should be acceptable. In reality some will always fall short but scores less than 5 should only pertain to the process implemented to ensure failing establishments reurn to required standard.

  11. Are BA serious? They have just put out a Tweet about how nutritious the food onboard the A380 is! I should hope so too as I’m guessing it’s all any sensible HFP or Flyertalk member will be eating for a while. Disgusting!

  12. At least the Daily Mail isn’t afraid to hold back on their description of the lounges. If that FT title was libellous then this article is a lot worse. But then they’ll have lawyers on standby I’m sure!

  13. Just been reading the latest health inspection reports for T5 galleries North and South, doesn’t make good reading.