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The Grouch – 14/10/2010

Broomhead goes; Hough and Yoko; Whelan plotting in Manchester; silly burgers and a building that looks like a sex toy

Published on October 15th 2010.

The Grouch – 14/10/2010

Broomhead steps down
Steve Broomhead announced he was stepping down as chief executive of the NWDA yesterday – strengthening rumours that the agency may not make it until its planned March 2012 abolition date.

He said he was not interested in taking on another big job and would look for a ‘portfolio’ of roles instead. Maybe for the best, as Broomhead has been dogged by a series of embarrassing incidents over the last few years – including questionable text messages and accusations of nepotism.

A replacement chief executive will be brought in – succession plans are being led by NWDA chair Robert Hough but will have to be rubber-stamped by Business Secretary Vince Cable. Insiders claim it’s unlikely to be an external appointment given the short-term nature of the role, so it could fall to Broomhead’s deputy, Mark Hughes, to wind the agency down.

That’s why Bob’s gone to Iceland
Speaking of Hough, we hear he was in Reykjavik over the weekend to attend Yoko Ono’s birthday bash for the late John Lennon. He wasn’t on the NWDA payroll, we can confirm; perhaps he was there as figurehead of sorts for Liverpool Airport, named after the erstwhile Beatle. Peel retained 35 per cent of its airport division after selling its majority share to Vancouver Airport Services in June after managing to shave 20 per cent off JLA’s running costs to lure in investors, in the face of a £13m loss.

Or perhaps he was there under one of his other countless exec and non-executive roles: for Business in the Community Northwest Advisory Board; North West Vision + Media; Northern Way Steering Group; Northwest Business Link; PJ Kennedy Investments; PJKI Ltd; Provident Financial plc; Styles & Wood Group plc; Turley Associates or the University Of Manchester?

Peel is working on an answer – we’ll keep you updated.

Whelan planning Manchester gym?
Guess what we saw out of our window this week? Dave Whelan, owner of Whelco Holdings, Poole Pies and the chain of DW sports shops and fitness centres stepping out of the former Sports Cafe unit on Peter Street with some agents.

The unit has been empty for a good couple of years, and it probably a good size for a no-frills fitness centre. Unless he’s planning a Poole’s Pies outlet of course, in which case he has the full Manchester Confidential seal of approval.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen gets saucy
It’s time to name and shame. Step forward Gourmet Burger Kitchen on Spinningfields for the most impressive display of pettiness and jobsworthiness of all time.

Eleven not-so-Grouchy colleagues in the Manchester Confidential office decided they wanted to take advantage of a £10 for two burgers offer. The Grouch wanted in, and made the numbers up to 12. Burgers were duly ordered. The Grouch, being a fiery sort, wanted chilli sauce on his. Off trotted Kelly and Tamar to collect the food with £60 in their hands. Not a bad lunchtime haul for GBK.

When they went to pay for the TWELVE burgers they’d just bought and handed over the £60, Johnny Jobsworth behind the till frowned. “I’ll need another £1.15 for the dash of chilli sauce,” he said.

“We’ve just ordered £60 worth of food, and that’s all the money we’ve got,” replied the girls, hungry and hoping for a modicum of common sense.

“Oh,” said Jobsworth. “Well, could you come back later with the £1.15?” So, GBK, for £60, you are not prepared to forgo £1.15? You want to make people actually come back after their lunch, for the amount of a packet of biscuits? Sadly, you have now lost the custom of our staff.

Kelly and Tamar, being honest types, went back with £1.15, despite The Grouch’s protestations that he would phone GBK and tell them to do rude things to themselves.

And the burgers weren’t up to much either.

The building that never was
Much excitement on the Skyscraper City forum this week, over a rather marvellous looking building, called Maison De Verre, of House of Glass to you and I.

‘Build it!’ they cried. ‘We love/hate it!’ they proclaimed. ‘It looks like a giant butt plug!’ argued some deviant or other.

Alas a bit of research and The Grouch discovered that the firm responsible for design – who would probably prefer to stay nameless, despite featuring it on their website – had drawn it up for a possible buyer of the site pre-recession, but the deal had not gone ahead and the scheme was how just a distant memory, to be filed alongside all the other skyscrapers that Manchester never got to see.

It does look a bit like a sex toy, to be fair.

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19 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2010.

GBK is anything but 'gourmet'. It's one burger offered with different 'toppings'. As for the £1.15 for chilli sauce, shame on them, but I guess the jobsworth was following company proceedures........

The GrouchOctober 14th 2010.

'Procedures' are the biggest single obstacle in Britain. It's a kop out for lazy staff who would rather blame 'the system' or 'our computers' instead of using a bit of initiative.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2010.

I agree Grouch. People hide behind 'proceedures' because they simply can't be arsed. There is, officially, no such thing as initiative anymore; it's disappeared at the same time as common sense, pride and self-responsibility. I've now put the Daily Mail to one side :)

Spreading Waistline : (October 14th 2010.

Too many panjandrums in the country!!

TomegranateOctober 14th 2010.

Good to get the mystery of that building cleared up. But I don't like being described as a deviant.

Well.. maybe I do.. a bit.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2010.

Why be so rude about GBK? So someone had the nerve to upset the mighty ManCon juniors, so what. Seemingly he bent the rules to allow your staff to bring the difference back later, which is fair. If you'd have done the same in an Indian take away, would that be so awful? Stop acting like prima donnas and accept that you didn't read the menu properly and you got it wrong. The guy you condescendling refer to as Johnny Jobsworth, was in the right.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2010.

£1.15 for a lick of chilli sauce versus a £60 lunch time order. GBK got it wrong

AnonymousOctober 14th 2010.

It's the price, if you don't like it don't go there. We're not talking high rollers here, a fiver each. If you get take away food from anywhere and order something with a charge attached then you've got to expect to pay that charge, espcially if the food is on a special offer.

AnonAnonOctober 14th 2010.

A lack of common sense has resulted in GBK suffering a double-whammy; they've lost at least 12 customers (local, across the square)and had some bad publicity to boot. Do you pay extra if you want another pot of mayo at MacDonald's? No. Thought not.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2010.

Of course I'd expect to pay for it if it had a price attached. Take Zouk for example, they do a pickle tray which is a quid or two, should I expect to order take away from there at a fiver a head and then act shocked when they ask me to pay for something with a price attached?

AnonymousOctober 14th 2010.

There's only one person who can settle this, Mr. Binns, or should I say, The Grouch. Was the chilli sauce listed as an extra Mr. B? Or was it just a craving you had?

AnonymousOctober 14th 2010.

They have chilli sauce on the menu, with a price though it's more than what you paid.

D KesslerOctober 14th 2010.


Smyth HarperOctober 15th 2010.

Have to say that think Mancon comes out worse from the GBK tale than the poor sap who works there. If they charge for it, and it says it on the menu, is it really that outrageous to expect to pay for it? And since when did mancon pick on the little guy?

still sore from my slapOctober 15th 2010.

Smitty, I sell stuff and if someone came to me with a smile and placed an order for multiple units ,units which are more highly priced than most places too, I would smile and say "Thank for your business, have this item (that costs me very little)on me.

It demonstrates rapport with the client, chippies throw in extra crispy bits, the chinese will give spring roles or a bottle of coke for a larger than normal order and this demonstrates the ability to show gratitued.

I'm sure a normal savvy owner would have said the same. (ask him/her)

But if the ownwer's tight(charging for a squirt of sauce on a large order)
Then the owner clearly expects his/her staff to do the same)

So I agree,


AnonymousOctober 15th 2010.

Why the assumption they approached the situation politely? Reading between the lines, you wouldn't be out of order for assuming the ManCon employees were a bit arrogant about it as ManCon seems to be arrogant about most things and the response is incredibly arrogant. I think they should back down on this one to be honest.

Still sore from my slapOctober 15th 2010.

reading between what lines?

AnonymousOctober 15th 2010.

Read the quotes, 'we've just ordered £60 worth of food', 'Johnny Jobsworth'. This place is a chain, do you get freebies at other chains often, especially when you're having special offers anyway? At the Mark Addy they do side orders, if you ordered a £10 dish (twice what was spent pp here) and ordered a side dish and then expected not to pay for it, what would be the response? If anyone kicked off then ManCon would ridicule them on here.

still sore from my slapOctober 15th 2010.

Anon you make comments on assuming, then like 'a right conker' go on to make an assumption.

That is assuming you are the same anon?

Past caring now TBH

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