Have you seen the BBC’s definition of Value For Money (VFM)?
It was £310,000 (an hourly rate of £45,000) for approximately seven hours of broadcasting for the Eurovision Song Contest. Now if you skip straight to the contest outcome, Englebert Humperdink coming second to last, then you have to question the notion of value.
However if you look at what the Corporation gained then the investment paid off. The contest’s viewing figures peaked at 9.6 million, the average for an episode of EastEnders is 8 million but EastEnders costs approximately £750,000 per half hour. So suddenly £45,000 per hour does seem a bargain. I must point out that the £310,000 is only the “entry fee” to the contest and doesn’t cover the travel and accommodation costs for production and presentation staff.
So, what constitutes VFM for you? As a general rule I think it is the quality of product or service received versus the cost paid. I had an inspiring example recently. Having watched a programme about the Roux brothers and their restaurants, my mother said she would love to eat at the Waterside Inn at Bray. I did a bit of research and found that the restaurant offered a lunchtime menu for £42 per head so I made a booking for Mum’s birthday and reasoned that even if we were sat in a dark corner at least she would have her dream fulfilled.
I should have known better. The Rouxs are defined by exemplary service and cuisine, what you are spending does not determine what you experience. For £42 the menu choices are limited but add generous sized amouse-bouche, the breads, the petits fours (the size and number made them petit sixes really) with coffee and that £42 begins to go a long way. When the staff realised that we were celebrating a birthday – they brought out a small “cake” with a candle. Yes the food was delicious and beautifully presented but it was the care and attention to detail that really delivered the VFM.
A week before the lunch I rang a couple of local hairdressers to see if I could get a basic wash and blow dry before heading off to Bray. One was “closed because of the Jubilee” which had finished a day earlier. The other was open and quoted £45, I squeaked that this was a bit expensive and could hear the rustle of a disinterested shrug down the phone.
A high street hairdresser costing more than a three Michelin starred restaurant? I know which one gets my VFM vote and, more importantly, which one I will visit again.