City Desk

Cash-Strapped Washington Post Cuts Back on Cafeteria


The fringe benefits of being a Washington Post reporter are starting to disappear. First, citing an "urgent need to reduce costs," the paper ditched tuition reimbursement. Next up for cuts, according to a memo sent out today: the company cafeteria.

Chief Financial Officer Usha Chaudhary writes in the memo that, starting in March, the Post's cafeteria will transition from "full-service cafeteria" to "market style."

What's that mean? Judging from Chaudhary's memo, Post employees can expect a lot more salads and "pre-made sandwiches." Outside restaurants will now handle meeting catering.

Unlike the old cafeteria, the new food market will be open 24 hours a day, which seems like a great benefit until you realize it's easy to be open 24 hours when no one's actually cooking. Post spokeswoman Kris Coratti declined to comment on the memo.

Chaudhary's full memo:

ANNOUNCEMENT

I wanted to announce to all Post employees that, effective March 9, 2013, we are planning to change food-service vendors in both the NW building and the Springfield plant. We plan to move away from a full-service cafeteria with fixed hours, towards an on-site “market style” food service operation that will be open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

This “market style” arrangement will provide employees with access to an array of higher-end vending options, fresh meal choices, pre-made sandwiches, salads, beverages and other selections. We believe this arrangement will continue our ability to provide high-quality food options, and to do so for all Post employees. This food will be available for purchase at any time day or night, so everyone will be able to take advantage of these food options, no matter their work schedules. We will provide more specific information about this over the next few weeks.

For catering services, we are in the process of working with area restaurants and cafes to develop “preferred” partnerships to assist with meetings that require catering. Additional information will be forthcoming about this as well.

If you have any questions about these plans, please direct them to Jeff Cox (NW) at x44017 or Roddy MacPherson (SPR) at x 62470.

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  • anon

    If the Post is always described by you as "cash-strapped," what does that make the City Paper, which has, what, five full-time employees now?

    Poverty-stricken? On life support?

  • Jane

    Are you seriously comparing a major national newspaper to a tiny independent press group (that still manages to scoop the former on a pretty regular basis)? You are dumb.

  • kob

    Love the memo.

    Here's what it says:

    >This “market style” arrangement will provide employees with access to an array of higher-end vending options, fresh meal choices, pre-made sandwiches, salads, beverages and other selections.<

    Here's the translation:

    We will be installing vending machines stuffed with beyond-their-date egg salad sandwiches, chips and peanuts. There will be a stained and crusty microwave available for employee use.

  • kob

    More about the memo

    What it says:

    >For catering services, we are in the process of working with area restaurants and cafes to develop “preferred” partnerships to assist with meetings that require catering.<

    Post executives will now be switching to catered lunches from high-end restaurants.

  • Rik

    I love watching the WaPo die a slow death. It's an overrated rag that has been living off the Watergate story for decades and even Watergate was spoonfed to the two hacks at the WaPo by a disgruntled bureaucrat.

  • ABC

    I've eaten in the Post cafeteria. Shutting down the steam tables (which operated on an increasingly reduced schedule), and offering a 24-hour canteen is an improvement, especially for the many employees who don't work 9 to 5. The Post's decline is obvious in many ways, but I don't think this is one of them.

  • Big Jim

    If you want a kick-butt cafeteria, go to National Geographic down the street. The food is first rate and cheap too.

  • Mr Tom

    Our Government controls everything now with what you can and can't do or eat. I have served healthy foods for the last 4 years but now I have to serve the colors of veggies they want . My trash cans are getting heavier by the day

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