Manuel Flores Buendía
Country Manager
Taylors
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View from the Top

Catering to Round One Winners

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 12:44

Q: What role does Mexico play in your global portfolio, and how is this evolving with Round One?

A: We operate in Mexico and in the US, and we plan to make strategic commercial alliances with the US companies before they enter the Mexican market, therefore gaining an advantage. Right now, the focus is on finding out PEMEX’s plans, and once we have that information, we will be able to develop the correct strategy. At the moment, we also want to concentrate on those entering in Round One and Round Two, and map the kind of participation we want to attract for this year.

Q: To what extent do you take into account culture, and what role do you have in adapting the local offering?

A: What we offer depends on the clients, for example we cater to any dietary restrictions, and we can provide gluten free, vegetarian, and halal options. After we obtain the contracts, we hold meetings with operations staff on the platforms in order to establish dietary requirements and desired style of food based on the workforce. We agree on a meal for each day of the week from a different part of the world, meaning that for at least one day per week, each staff member should be able to eat the type of food to which they are accustomed. At the end of the week, we gather feedback from the workers and substitute, when necessary, any unpopular styles of food with any requests. From the medical center, we obtain information about the demographics to which we are catering, such as age, nationality, weight, and dietary restrictions. We also have nutritionists designing our menus so they are carefully tailored to provide nutritional, tasty food for the workers. We redesign menus based on weather conditions, for instance, and if the employees are working in extremely hot temperatures, we offer menus with a higher caloric content to compensate for the amount of energy burned and the amount required to effectively carry out their work. Each week, the medics on the platforms are given the menus and they sign to confirm medical approval regarding the nutritional content.

Q: What percentage of participation do you hope to achieve from PEMEX?

A: In 2015, our sales were composed of 50% PEMEX and 50% private players, but in 2016, I believe that 30% will be PEMEX and the remaining 70% of business will come from private companies. PEMEX also has multi-year contracts, and our contract runs from 2014 until 2017, but with these other companies no mistakes can be made as contracts can be terminated at any point. We have a quality control team that always oversees our operations, and success is measured by baseline indicators to help us to continue improving our services. We are constantly striving to offer new features, with updated menus and healthier meals, while taking into account the habits and preferences of the workers. It also helps that we have a global presence, as generally the practices and standards on an international scale are much higher than those in Mexico. We have to be aware of the standards and requirements companies bring with them and customize our services to those levels. In terms of budget, regardless of the size of the company, the budgetary restrictions cannot be presumed and sometimes major companies have small budgets for these kinds of services, especially in current market conditions.

Q: Speaking of the budgetary restrictions, how have Mexico’s recent cuts impacted your company, and which services will see a drop in demand?

A: All the companies that are entering will require catering services, and this is a promising opportunity for us. It is important to create a market and generate as many clients as possible, as the profit margin on this type of service is minimal. Right now, we have been affected by PEMEX redundancies since, of the 60 or 70 platforms that were operating, 15 have closed, having a significant effect on offshore E&P activities. However, in 2016-17, we hope that new companies will enter, and the demand for our services will increase with a renewed E&P focus. We also hope for a greater profit margin, as PEMEX consumes extremely high volumes so the margins are low. Normally, the ratio in the private market is 1:10, but with PEMEX the margins are squeezed to 1:5, so the cost to the company is extremely high. Hopefully, when the PEMEX structure is more secure, the contracts we can offer it will be similar to the terms offered to private companies.