The power of prose

Words are a strange kind of currency to deal in – they have the power to wound or win over their audience. It’s amazing the effect some expressions have on this particular catering equipment sector readership too.

For instance, one company I wrote about in October was not happy about text from its website being used to describe what it does, despite the paragraphs being clearly quoted as appearing on its site. Apparently this was ‘unnecessary’. Obviously there is such a thing as too much publicity to an audience of your customers and peers.

Another firm which I spoke to this year had specific, set phrases used to describe its offering, and did not deviate from those mantras. The word ‘rental’ was particularly banned from its self-definition.

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It does tickle my funnybone when companies are so vehemently opposed to using particular words which accurately sum up what they do – and I’m sure their customers wouldn’t care either way.

Elsewhere, at the joint CEDA and CESA Technical Conference in October, the topic of Gas Safe engineers identifying unsafe situations was raised. We were told of a technician who found an appliance was dangerous and stuck an ‘unsafe’ label on it before he had to leave the premises.

Incredibly, an operator decided that using an ‘unsafe’ appliance was a risk worth taking, and was promptly killed by this course of action. Now however, the labels have been changed and it seems that switching the warnings to either ‘at risk’ or ‘immediately dangerous’ has had the desired effect. It just shows that two words can save a life.

Words will also be the deciding factor as to who wins the inaugural Catering Insight Awards. Having sifted our way through the many nominations to finalise a shortlist, we have handed the final choice over to you, the foodservice equipment industry.

Senior executives in supplier and distributor companies should have found an e-mail dropping into their inboxes inviting them to vote for the winners in their opposite section, i.e. suppliers are voting on the dealer awards and vice versa.

Each choice features why each company has been shortlisted, and it is up to these leading market representatives to judge which one is compelling enough to warrant their votes, while of course drawing upon their own experiences.

The vote closes on Friday 20 November, so if you’ve received the form in your inbox, don’t forget to make your voice heard in time.

I hope you will join us on 9 December at the prestigious Hurlingham Club in London for what promises to be a glittering awards ceremony and gala dinner, with a few entertaining surprises popping up along the way. See you there!

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