UK: Brain food - Canteen Culture - Shell.

UK: Brain food - Canteen Culture - Shell. - In the same way that the Bank of England was designed to let Johnny Foreigner know that his gold was safe with us, the canteen in was designed to reassure staff that, while in Shell's employ, they wouldn't go h

by GUY BROWNING.
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

In the same way that the Bank of England was designed to let Johnny Foreigner know that his gold was safe with us, the canteen in was designed to reassure staff that, while in Shell's employ, they wouldn't go hungry.

When it was first opened there was only one complaint and that was that the size of the holes on the salt and pepper pots wasn't generous enough.

Today there are television screens outside the canteen showing exactly what's on the menu and how many calories it contains. Breaded haddock, for example, is 350M; the M is for medium, presumably the life expectancy you could hope for if you lived exclusively on breaded haddock.

You can also call up today's menu on the intranet (perhaps Shell should consider starting a newsgroup to discuss how good it was afterwards).

The service areas are arranged like Kwik-Fit bays, although luckily for employees hygiene is markedly better. Worryingly, the same graphics used in the service stations have recently appeared in the canteen.

Worth noticing too are the market stall with shopping bargains outside the canteen and the attractive cafe for coffee afterwards.

Cynics have suggested that these were provided in a desperate attempt to stop people leaving the premises at lunch for coffee and shopping.

As a strategy this obviously didn't work as Shell Mex House is to be vacated entirely and staff encouraged to work virtually with a generous allowance to be spent on sandwiches in Shell Select shops. The service-station graphics were probably to break everybody in gently.

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