Unlike the poorly-attended trading forums last year, the first one of this year saw around 30 students turn up to quiz the Deputy President (Finance & Services) and staff members about the services in Beit. Staff and students spent over an hour discussing problems and potential solutions, with a large turnout from ESoc meaning the environmental policy was firmly on the agenda.
Speed of service was the major bugbear with catering, with service in dB's suffering from a lack of multi-tasking when many people were waiting to be served. Slow service in da Vinci's also came under fire, with the venue in some senses being a victim of its own success: an increase in custom combined with slow service times has caused queuing time to grow quickly.
The Beit masterplan called for the introduction of table service in Phase 3, however this looks set to be many years away. The Union is looking at introducing it more quickly, with students commenting that items like pizzas should be brought to the table when they are ready. However, the turn-up-and-go nature of the current da Vinci's offering was also praised for allowing (fairly) quick service and a take-away option. Being able to order food at any till across the bar has been suggested, but given other comments at the trading forum may not improve the speed of service.
Service at the bars was described as "horrifically slow", a comment which has been brought up numerous times in Live! discussions over the past year. The Union's current problem with beer flies was also mentioned, alongside other issues which affect the ambience such as music volume and light intensity.
A sometimes heated discussion about the environmental policy focussed on the continued use of plastic skiffs and cutlery. Plastic, recyclable, washable skiffs have been introduced, although there has been a problem with customers throwing them away. Disposable cutlery is still being used despite a policy calling for it to be scrapped, however this appears to be down to the theft of all the "real" cutlery in the space of a fortnight. The introduction of table service is seen as one way to decrease cutlery theft.