PAX Checks in on… dnata SVP Robin Padgett talks about goals and plans for this year’s World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo
n February, the Singapore catering team at dnata earned accolades from SWISS International Air Lines as its top-performing caterer for 2016. With a score of 99.6 out of 100 against agreed SLAs, which cover all aspects of quality and service performance. dnata has catered to SWISS in Singapore for more than three years, seven flights per week from Changi Airport. “It’s great to have our dedication to quality product and service delivery honoured by SWISS,” said dnata Singapore Chief Operating Officer Lee Farrelly in the February announcement. “Our entire team strives for improvement daily and its very gratifying that our efforts deliver clear results to our customers.” The accolade kicked off what will no doubt be a busy year for the Emirates Group caterer, which logged US$514 million in sales and produced 57 million meals in 2016. Before this year’s World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo, Robin Padgett, dnata’s Divisional Senior Vice President of Catering answered a few short questions from PAX International. PAX International: How often do the food trends in restaurants around the world make their way into menus for dnata airline customers?
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Robin Padgett: Understanding current and potential future food trends is critical, as travellers increasingly expect airlines to provide the same quality and diversity of offering they’d expect on the high street. From health-focused trends, to portion types and packaging designs, we work with our airline partners to deliver to their preferences and those of their customers. PAX: Is there a “hot” cuisine making its way through the airline catering world now? Padgett: Airlines and travellers are placing more emphasis on provenance and it’s this focus that remains top of mind for airlines, and increasingly travellers, regardless of cuisine. Being able to communicate where product comes from and the journey it has taken is important. PAX: What should suppliers at events such as WTCE know about effectively selling products to dnata? Padgett: We are a diverse caterer, providing traditional catering, onboard retail, outdoor and event catering and operating more than 50 food and beverage outlets across the globe. With that in mind, we deal with a very diverse range of suppliers across our business so we’re very open to meeting suppliers, big or small, at events like WTCE. Effectively supplying to us requires the same focus on quality and attention to detail that we provide to our customers. PAX: The dnata website lists areas for suppliers. How often do you get a match from the website? Padgett: dnata.com is the primary channel for interested suppliers to access our supplier portal. Each week we get at least a few supplier registrations, via dnata.com.
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PAX: What are some of your goals and plans for the event in Hamburg? What other events to you attend in the course of a year? Padgett: WTCE Hamburg provides an opportunity to connect our own global teams with our growing network of customers, operating in different markets. It’s a great chance to showcase our broader network and skilled teams to these customers, and build deeper relationships. Our people visit different events throughout the year but as dnata we only exhibit at WTCE Hamburg, for now.