EP Insights & Action


Expert observers comment on the Industry. This magazine is designed to bring together the thought leadership, ideas and opinions of leading consultants and operators from across the industry. EP's vision is to create an open narrative and debate that explains the perspective and thinking on the market and Industry. It will help all progress, so let us know your thoughts, subscribe and be involved.


The thoughts and views of leading consultants

July 2017 • Issue 05 • £5.00 • epmagazine.co.uk


EP | INSIGHTS & ACTION July 2017 • Issue 05





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We are delighted to introduce Insights & Action which is

designed to bring together the thought leadership, ideas and

opinions of leading consultants and operators from across

the industry. Our vision for the magazine is to create an

open narrative and debate that explains the perspective and thinking of

consultants on the market and Industry.

There is so much change taking place and it is easy to get lost and to

misunderstand the dynamics at play. We therefore believe that this title will

hold a valuable role to all.

We thank both the leading consultants and thought leaders that have

contributed to this edition. There are some challenging views presented

in the following pages. There are also articles from both the established

and the emerging – both with different perspectives that add to an already

engaging discussion.

We also thank those companies that work closely in support and have

sponsored our activity in reaching this point. We can only achieve our

objectives with the support and input of both the consultants and the

operators that too want to encourage open discussion and learning.

Our aim is to develop constructive debate on the market, people and

services. This helps all progress so please join us – let us know your

thoughts and be involved.


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epmagazine.co.uk | 3


July 2017 • Issue 05 • epmagazine.co.uk





6 The industry has failed to meet the challenge

The biggest danger facing Britain’s hospitality industry, post

Brexit, is the potential clamp-down on migrant labour.

14 Lessons in consumption

The new ‘food savvy’ generation are progressively demanding

and knowledgeable. Companies must act to match their habits.

16 A sense of community

A strong workplace culture can make all the difference.

22 Intrapreneurs can act like entrepreneurs

John Dixey explains how he introduced an intrapreneur approach.

24 Time to find the balance and reignite old skills

28 Insights are great but then what do you do?

The importance of taking action following research.

32 Innovating in business

It’s no secret that businesses must innovate to grow.

35 The tipping point

In an increasing fast paced world, the risk of workplace

behavioural health issues intensifies.


44 Sweating your assets

Niall McCann explains why not using the regulatory regime

to its full extent can be wasteful in the extreme.

51 The theory of equality of respect

Aren’t you bored hearing that Hospitality is not a profession?


8 Time to get a grip

Chris Stern argues the dominance of red tape in the

procurement process is causing mass frustration.

10 Why is productivity such a puzzle for


Chris Humphrey and Malcolm Ross argue why creating real

value for customers can improve productivity.

15 Multi-sensory dining experience

What role can architecture play in the balance between

technologies and dining?

18 Research in the health care profession can

answer questions in hospitality

Behavioural techniques can benefit businesses.


4 | Insights & Action | July 2017



The thoughts and views of leading consultants





20 Is there more to nutrition than just

sustenance, satiation and longevity?

26 The performance and talent revolution

Many are having a rethink on how to maximise staff value.

30 Does a catering tender work?

Problems are cropping up in the current catering tender process

and small organisations are potentially missing out.

36 The move of sustainability to become an

increasing core issue

The conversation has truly started.

37 Doing best what matters most

Consumer insight allows companies to focus.

40 Which hat should procurement really wear?

The very varied world of the procurement process.

42 What can we do to help tackle obesity?

Should consultants put pressure on caterers?

45 A journey of transformation

The process that led to the launch of a new consultancy.


48 How will we cater for the rise of office towers?

The potential effect on future catering service delivery.

50 Is this the magic solution?

Greater empowerment ticks all the right boxes but isn’t the

default management style in many companies.


12 Auditions not interviews

Kevin Watson, Managing Director at Amadeus explains

how they always look to recruit, train and retain the best.


27 The risk of unregulated nutrition


38 Leading the war on waste

The Compass Group and Winnow Solutions partnership.


46 Reinvention: What is the approach?

It is not an easy process to go outside one’s comfort zone.

epmagazine.co.uk | 5

The industry has failed to meet

the challenge for 50 years,

but now is the time to act

The biggest danger facing Britain’s hospitality industry, post Brexit,

is the potential clamp-down on migrant labour to this country.

But Brexit should not be feared, say Bob Cotton and Miles Quest.

Recruiting Britain’s youngest has been difficult, nevertheless low productivity is the industry’s Achilles’ Heel.

Brexit, looming on the horizon, is

catching the UK hospitality industry

on a decade-long roll. Cheap money

had led to a remarkable upsurge in

the construction of new hotels and other

hospitality establishments. At the same time,

a prolific supply of EU migrant labour has

enabled the industry to experience more

than a decade of unadulterated growth.

Migrant workers, willing to accept the

national minimum wage, have kept wage

ratios firmly in check. And now, the weak

pound – Brexit’s very own beneficial wind of

good fortune – is encouraging more overseas

visitors to the UK than ever before. UK

hospitality could hardly be in a better place.

But is this favourable scenario lulling the

industry into a sense of false security? Cheap

money and cheap labour have encouraged

too many businesses to give too little thought

to a future in which there will be fewer – and

far more expensive – workers.

Undeniably, wage costs are already on

the increase as the National Living Wage

rises to £9 an hour by 2020; new pension

arrangements are an additional expense.

Energy, rates and food costs are all rising.

A decline in domestic consumer spending is

being forecast.

On top of these increases and developments

will come a reduction in the availability of

6 | Insights & Action | July 2017


migrant labour once Brexit comes into effect

in 2020. Here’s the rub. Any reduction in that

supply will be serious and far-reaching.

Government thoughts are clearly (and

rightly) turning to the introduction of annual

work permits. The British Hospitality

Association claims that hospitality will need

100,000 work permits a year post-Brexit

– a not unrealistic figure. But even a vague

admission by present government ministers

that work permits might be a way forward has

yet to be tested in terms of numbers and key

decisions have still to be taken about the skill

levels of workers allowed in. There is little

evidence to suggest that the government would

agree to the large number that hospitality

is claiming when there are competing, and

maybe bigger, claims from the care industry

and NHS, retail and agriculture in particular.

Post Brexit, far fewer migrant workers

are likely to push average wage rates even

beyond the present government’s proposed

increase in the National Living Wage to £9

an hour by 2020. As so many hospitality

workers (how many – 20 per cent? 30 per

cent? More?) are at or below the current

NLW wage level, the industry will inevitably

find payroll costs under severe pressure.

In many ways, the ready availability of

migrant labour and low rates of pay has

discouraged employers from sharpening

up their act in the past. Only if productivity

can be raised – if fewer people do more

work at, yes, better rates of pay – can service

standards be protected, staff be recruited and

retained and wage costs contained.

Low productivity remains the industry’s

Achilles’ Heel.

Even so, while Brexit poses a great

danger in this respect, the larger picture for

hospitality is more encouraging.

Providing sterling stays at realistic levels

and prices remain competitive (difficult

with rising costs), Britain will continue as

one of the world’s most attractive tourism

destinations. Brexit won’t change that.

Britain’s standards of food and hospitality

are now high and rising; this will not change.

When largely unhampered by EU oversight,

the UK government will hopefully be able

to implement desired changes in labour

and food regulations, competitive tendering

and other key issues that increase business

costs. Comparison with EU VAT rates will

continue to rankle though they are still

unlikely to change.

Britain will

continue as one of the

world’s most attractive

tourism destinations.

Brexit won’t change that.


Nevertheless, post-Brexit, businesses

will have to organise their more expensive

workforce more smartly, ensuring that

they take full advantage of technology and

automation (not easy in a service industry).

Placing greater emphasis on training and

developing staff – apprentices, in particular

– is as important as making a career in

hospitality more attractive for Britishborn

youngsters in terms of total working

conditions – not just pay; unforgivably, this is

a challenge the industry has signally failed to

meet for the last 50 years which is one reason

why it is still finding recruitment of British

youngsters so difficult.

In a post-Brexit world – only two years

away – those businesses that plan for a highly

trained, lean staff, high-wage hospitality

economy will surely be the wisest and the

most successful. It’s not too late to plan for

this now.

epmagazine.co.uk | 7

Time to get a grip

Chris Stern, Managing Director at Stern Consultancy

argues the dominance of red tape in the

procurement process is causing mass frustration.

Solutions are now needed for an essential division in many companies.

We live in a world where there

seems to be a need to justify

any corporate decision that is

made (especially in the public

sector) and where it is critical not only to be

fair but to be seen to be fair.

This all makes perfect sense and there

are not many who would argue with it. To

address this, procurement professionals have

developed processes to ensure thoroughness

and transparency, culminating in the

European standard “OJEU” process, to

which most public bodies subscribe.

These doubtless work well when a costbased

product or service is being procured.

However, with catering contracts, the process

often struggles to cope with the concept of

revenue and the probability that services will

change and develop over the contract period.

It also seems to struggle with the complexity

of our industry, where, like it or not, there is

an element of subjectivity when measuring

quality and where there are numerous

moving parts. At its most extreme we have

seen clients refusing to go on what we would

regard are essential reference visits because

they are “too subjective”.

There’s also a “light touch” version of

the formal OJEU process for small sites.

However, experience so far has been that

procurement professionals are wary of it and

tend to revert to “best practice” following the

full OJEU nightmare just to cover themselves.

The result of this is often self-defeating, with

potential bidders being put off going through

the pain of responding to what often at first

glance appear to be huge and unintelligible

documents with lists of requirements before

getting anywhere near the reality of how

they might operate the services. Even the big,

supposedly well-resourced contractors are

hesitating and considering whether it is worth

the time and effort.

On the receiving end of bids prepared via

a lengthy and complex process, we often find

that innovation and flair struggles to shine

through and that we spend an inordinate

amount of time looking at areas which are

frankly not germane to an operator’s ability

to run a great foodservice operation. We’re

also having to take longer running a process

thereby costing clients more in fees.

I’m obviously not the first person to identify

the challenges associated with the rules

and regulations that are in place. There are

several organisations who have put together

“framework” agreements which supposedly

streamline the process by having already

addressed a lot of the boring administration

needed to qualify bidders. Yet again though,

these very often appear just to cause more,

not less red tape in the eyes of potential

bidders, so some don’t bother getting on the

approved lists (in fact, it’s a bit of a mystery

as to how they are supposed to know about

8 | Insights & Action | July 2017


So, what to do?

The answer is in the hands of the everexpanding

procurement industry. All this

red tape has meant that procurement

professionals have become an essential

division of any reasonably sized organisation.

The problem is that the industry seems to

have grown so fast that there is often a lack

of understanding of how best to procure

catering services. They suffer from the same

challenge we identified in the OJEU process

in that catering is probably the only product/

service they have to procure that operates

as a living business and where sometimes

higher costs can result in better value. This

is anathema to anyone who has only ever

procured cost-based products and services.

“The problem is that

the industry seems

to have grown so fast

that there is often a

lack of understanding

of how best to procure

catering services.”

all the frameworks that are in place). This

can mean that clients seeking to tender their

catering align themselves to a process with

a list of contractors who at worst may be

inappropriate for their very specific needs

or at the very least may not include the very

best players in the market. The basis on

which they are listed is likely to be less about

being able to provide great catering at a

competitive cost and more about how strong

their insurance policies are and whether they

have correctly filed accounts. On one website,

the following claim is made: “Suppliers listed

on the framework were assessed during

the procurement process for their financial

stability, track record, experience and

technical & professional ability, before being

awarded a place on the framework”. Quite

how they can all be qualified for any catering

contract using this framework is questionable

to say the least. This is indicative of the lack of

understanding of our sector we are seeing.


The Chartered Institute of Purchasing

and Supply (CIPS) could, and in my opinion

should, seek to develop a separate, specific

process for procuring catering that is

custom-built to get the best results for this

very specific service. Inevitably there will

have to be some red tape (and contractors

have to take some of the blame for this,

when they seek to challenge decisions

made after a process, maybe looking for

faults in it so forcing clients to be wary), but

surely, it’s possible to develop a streamlined

procurement vehicle that won’t scare off the

smaller, more interesting suppliers.

CIPS could engage with consultants

and contractors, who would probably be

happy to help if we can arrive at a relevant,

fair, but less onerous process that can then be

communicated to their members as

“best practice”.

epmagazine.co.uk | 9

Why is productivity

such a puzzle

for policymakers?

British firms appear to have a severe blind spot

about creating value for customers.

Chris Humphrey and Malcolm Ross argue

why creating real value for customers can

improve productivity and add as much as

£130 billion to the economy.

Brexit, Donald Trump’s election, the

rising price of PG Tips…many things

have been described as calamitous

and dismal recently, including

Britain’s productivity performance, which has

been the worst in 150 years. Andy Haldane,

the Bank of England’s chief economist said

that, “rectifying this disaster is the UK’s

most important policy challenge, far more

so than Brexit”. Productivity dominates

the government’s recent Green Paper on

industrial strategy, which single-mindedly

aims “to improve living standards and

economic growth by increasing productivity

and driving growth across the whole country”.

Britain has become a high-employment,

low productivity economy. Chancellor of

the Exchequer Philip Hammond said “it is

shocking” that “in the real world it takes a

German worker four days to produce what

we make in five”. Productivity improvements

could add as much as £130 billion or 7.5% a

year to the economy, dwarfing the £52 billion

annual shortfall in the public finances. Twothirds

of British workers are in the ‘long tail’ of

underperforming businesses with productivity

below the industry average, and The Secretary

of State for Business Innovation and Skills said

that if Britain matched America, GDP would

increase by a staggering 31%.

The cause of Britain’s “productivity puzzle”

is clear, except to many policymakers and

influencers. There is much talk about better

infrastructure, including the Northern

Powerhouse, investing in technology,

and improving skills, human capital, and

leadership. The skills shortage is a consistent

theme; the UK ranks 16th out of 20 in the

‘Organisation for Economic Co-operation

and Development’ (OECD) countries for the

proportion of people with technical skills, and

nearly three-quarters of organisations report

a deficit of management and leadership.

Pinpointing mediocre management Hamid

Mughal, director of global manufacturing at

Rolls Royce said, “UK managers need to be

more ambitious for their companies. Too few

are interested in becoming best in their field.”

The answer to the productivity puzzle

was provided in 1974 by Peter Drucker,

management guru, who said that the only

valid goal for a business is to “create and keep

a customer” so it is astounding how rarely, 40

years on, policymakers talk about customers.

Andy Haldane’s recent speech focuses entirely

on how efficiently labour and capital inputs

are used, but at no point mentions customers.

Efficiency is important, but the government’s

industrial strategy is particularly revealing

because it refers to productivity 88 times in

132 pages, but never analyses the effectiveness

of firms at creating value for their customers.

Britain has world leading sectors, including

aerospace, automotive, the life sciences, the

creative industries, digital, financial services

and professional and business services, but

world beating firms on average are much

less likely to develop in the UK. According to

the OECD, the UK ranks third for start-ups,

but 13th for the number of businesses that

successfully scale-up, so British managers

appear to be much less effective than their

Technology is multiplying the interactions that define the

brand experience, making customers ever more demanding

and requiring companies to become increasingly complex.

10 | Insights & Action | July 2017


international peers at nurturing businesses

that customers truly value.

The Walt Disney Company stands out

because it has a highly intentional framework

for operationalising customer value across

a complex organisation. We spent more

than 30 years at Disney, and now other

organisations can learn how to achieve

consistent and sustained growth by using

proven principles for building customer

value into the entire business ecosystem.

This includes a rigorous methodology for

understanding customer expectations at a

functional, social and emotional level.

Technology is multiplying the interactions

that define the brand experience, making

customers ever more demanding and requiring

companies to become increasingly complex. In

a fragmented multi-channel world commercial

success never comes from cross-functional

improvisation, so businesses must be crystal

clear what their customer’s value, and crucially

avoid any tendency for inefficient and

demoralising micromanagement. A framework

acts like a magnetic field, pointing everyone

consistently in the same direction and human

resources is then deployed strategically to

sustain it throughout the entire business.

© UDRA | 123RF.COM

The framework includes observable,

coachable and, importantly, prioritised

standards and behaviours that help boost

productivity by connecting all employees to

what customers really value, and creating the

operational precision that many organisations

lack. Disney for example has four standards

– safety, courtesy, show and efficiency – that

are internalised by each and every employee

irrespective of job title or seniority, and

prioritised into a non-negotiable hierarchy.

They act as a tiebreaker when decisions

conflict, so at Disney, safety trumps courtesy,

and both are prioritised over efficiency.

All productivity decisions must be taken

through the filter of the customer value

framework, avoid negatively impacting

the employee experience, and be properly

integrated and resourced through the annual

planning process of individual business

units. Intentionally planning to improve

productivity by say 3% every year helps

instill a habit of continuous improvement by

encouraging everyone to lookout constantly

for both marginal gains and game changers.

It also alleviates the morale-sapping

fondness of cost preoccupied management

for turning to productivity only for a shortterm,

knee-jerk reaction to the slightest

business downturn. Improvements should

target a customer value driver directly,

or indirectly by removing hassle from the

employee experience. Process improvements

that, for example, make it quicker for staff

to collect costumes at Disney or clock-on at

a national sports stadium, leaves them less

frustrated at the start of the working day, so

much more likely to be courteous to both

colleagues and customers.

Policymakers and commentators in the

UK unwittingly appear to have a severe blind

spot when it comes to productivity. Profits

are the sum of revenues minus costs, where

revenue is the numerator and costs the

denominator, but whenever they talk about

productivity it’s all about the denominator;

they are obsessed with cutting costs. Costs

are important and need to be managed, but

the growth of the numerator is even more

important, and is achieved by creating

sustainable customer value.

A silver lining is that productivity levels

are so low relative to Britain’s international

competitors that the potential for

improvement is huge, and the government at

last is building a strategy that should make

a difference. However, it is worrying that,

according to Kate Barker of the Industrial

Strategy Commission, “years of simply

exhorting businesses to buck-up has made no

difference”, but that current thinking does not

do enough to improve individual firms.

Government can and must set the scene,

but individual firms must take much more

responsibility for designing a delivery system

that focuses resolutely on creating value for

customers. Firms that blame the government,

or concentrate only on denominator

productivity, are not just missing a huge

opportunity, but are also risking the insidious

failure that Brexit will lay bare.

Creating customer value focuses the benefits

of improved productivity much more directly

into commercial and competitive advantage,

and is self-reinforcing. Employees are in a

connected loop, working more productively

in a cohesive team, taking satisfaction from

an organisation that is successful, because it

creates real value for its customers.

epmagazine.co.uk | 11

Auditions not interviews

With the Apprenticeship Levy recently coming in, Kevin Watson, Managing

Director at Amadeus explains how they look to recruit, train and retain the best.

“One of the greatest challenges I face as MD is people: recruiting the best, keeping the best and

getting the best from the team.”

Working in the catering industry

is both extremely rewarding

and extremely challenging. It

can offer a career for life – if

you’re happy to roll up your sleeves and ride

the rough with the smooth. It is an everchanging,

but indispensable industry.

It’s no secret that hospitality leaders have

struggled to recruit the talent the sector

needs in the past – that’s why figures indicate

over 900,000 workers need to be recruited

in the next five years to sustain the growing

industry. Amadeus – like all other large scale

caterers – is in constant need of new blood,

with the correct work-ready skills, in order to

help the company thrive.

Apprenticeships have long been seen

as one way of creating that future pipeline

of talent so urgently needed. That’s why

industry has widely welcomed news of

the government’s apprenticeship levy and

the new measures of support surrounding

the administration of apprenticeships. At

Amadeus, we see apprenticeships as a way

to nurture the hospitality stars of the future,

so anything that encourages people to

seriously consider catering as a career and

provides them with good quality training and

a qualification has got to be a good thing.

We have been attracting talent through our

apprenticeship scheme run in partnership

with Solihull College since 2013. Designed to

help aspiring chefs over the age of 18 develop

their culinary skills to move into a career in

hospitality, it is a challenging scheme that

requires dedication and commitment from

those taking part. Our apprentices learn

how to deliver outstanding retail, exhibition,

conference and event catering at the NEC

Group’s world class venues – the NEC, ICC,

Vox, Barclaycard and Genting Arenas, all

based in Birmingham. They spend one day a

week at College and then four days a week in

the kitchen where students are assessed in


a real environment.

The Amadeus Catering Apprenticeship

is a fantastic opportunity that doesn’t just

pay lip service to the idea of training –

12 | Insights & Action | July 2017


apprentices receive one on one guidance

from our world-class chefs and get exposed

to exciting and demanding high profile

events as part of the package. Our Executive

Chefs coach trainees the whole way through

the process and inspire them to aim for the

very highest standards.

For those who come through our

apprenticeship programme, we want them

to stay and build careers with us – rising

through the ranks of the company over the

next five, 10, 15 years and beyond. And here

in lies the second part of the problem – how

to ensure apprentices go on to succeed in

the hospitality industry and enjoy long,

rewarding careers. One of the greatest

challenges I face as an MD is people:

recruiting the best and keeping the best.

More than ever, businesses need to take

proactive steps to keep trainees within the

business after achieving their qualifications.

They need to outline clear progression

strategies for individuals in order to retain

talent and make them feel valued.

All our staff, of every position, are

extensively trained following recruitment

and encouraged to become immersed in

the Amadeus way of life. Every employee is

fully inducted into the business and we have

a robust performance management process

that captures all personal development

requirements. We provide development

opportunities both bottom up, so culinary

for our chefs, and top down such as coaching

and sales training to enable us to meet our

strategic goals.

All our staff, of every

position, are extensively

trained following

recruitment and

encouraged to become

immersed in the

Amadeus way of life.

For those looking to move up the ladder we

run our Amadeus masterclass series which

aims to enhance the skills of our workforce

with six key modules covering retail and

customer service, bars and hospitality and

conference and banqueting. Staff get paid

for this voluntary training which provides

them with one on one sessions with industry

experts – both in live environments and

in the ‘classroom’ – helping them to gain

in confidence and enhance progression

opportunities. We also nurture talent across

the business with a selection of rising stars

benefiting from the Amadeus Academy

each year – this teaches the art and skill of

foodservice at the highest level.

Finally, our ‘Service that Sells’ training

programme incentivises staff to live and

breathe the values of Amadeus with a

‘recognise and reward’ gift scheme in

place to acknowledge staff on the spot who

demonstrate our core values in their work.

We are looking for people that deliver passion

and creativity in all aspects of their work

and possess a real drive to succeed. As a

company, we are not afraid to fail or take risks

which is important as it allows us to keep on

innovating, and we encourage our staff to

adopt this same approach in their roles.

One should never underestimate the

importance of culture in an organisation

– ask anyone why they work for Amadeus

and the resounding answer is “the people”.

Anyone who works with us is instantly

struck by the team’s comradery and ability to

still have fun while working in a fast paced,

demanding environment. I pride myself as

being an approachable leader and take time

to get to know individuals, conducting ‘back

to the floor’ shifts in each venue and hosting

team building sessions.

Last year the team delivered the

company’s strongest trading results in its

40-year history – we drove exponential

growth in our external venues business over

the last year securing a record amount of new

contracts totalling over £30m, including the

East of England Arena and Event Centre,

Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust and

Compton Verney art gallery. We also took on

two major contracts in Northern Ireland to

provide catering and hospitality services for

Belfast Waterfront and sister venue Ulster

Hall and a further four visitor attractions

including Belfast Zoo, Belfast Castle, Malone

House and the Stables coffee shop in Sir

Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.

The secret? We love what we do – our

passion underpins everything we do, whether

winning new clients or inspiring apprentices

on their first steps on the catering ladder.

Getting young people excited about catering

and the fantastic opportunities it can bring

is surely the best way to ensure a future

pipeline of talent – a responsibility that lies

with the whole catering industry to make

a reality.

epmagazine.co.uk | 13


Lessons in consumption

Mike Day explores recent changes in foodservice consumption

and how technology can help support operators tackle these changes,

and influence customer behaviour.

The new ‘food savvy’ generation are progressively demanding and

knowledge and companies must act now to match their habits.

IndiCater has been thinking a great deal

about food and beverage consumption

recently. In March we hosted a fascinating

workshop entitled ‘The Changing Habits

of Food Consumption’; and more recently

we were in the audience for a magnificent

lecture delivered by Professor Charles

Spence entitled ‘Gastrophysics: The Science

of Dining from Restaurant Music to Sonic

Crisps’. Both events, one focused on eating

trends, the other on what influences what we

eat, were outstanding and informative – with

lots of ideas and actions to take away and

translate into useful practical actions for our

software clients.

The workshop raised a significant number

of new challenges – and opportunities –

for those looking to run a successful and

profitable foodservice business. One of the

overriding messages taken away from the

event was the challenge for chefs in creating

menus that meet ever changing dietary

demands such as dairy, sugar and gluten free;

and with the added pressure of providing

menus that include healthy eating options

(although, ironically, it seems that these

are not always selected by the customer

from the menu selection!). The workshop

also highlighted the need for foodservice

providers to demonstrate their commitment

within other areas such as food provenance,

authenticity, nutrition and sustainability,

thereby consistently demonstrating

to the customer how they work within

these increasingly important areas.

Simply put, the workshop highlighted that

foodservice providers are feeding a new

‘food savvy’ generation who are progressively

demanding and knowledgeable, bringing

about a continual shift in customer eating

habits which puts new pressures on

foodservice operators.

In his Gastrophysics lecture, Professor

Spence looked at consumption from a

different perspective, focusing on how food

on the plate can be served in different ways

to influence a customer’s buying behaviour

and enjoyment of a dish. Spence approaches

the subject of consumption from a

psychological, neuroscience and design

perspective: his findings contradict much of

the folklore and culinary lessons that chefs

might have been taught throughout their

careers. For example, research has showed

that serving food to vulnerable hospital

patients on high colour-contrast plates

improves their meal consumption; customers

would prefer the harmonious and balanced

presentation of a dish on the plate rather

than the recent trend towards asymmetrical

plating with food positioned on the side;

customers are not driven by the number

of elements that make up a dish, caring far

more about how much food is offered. His

work is driving the manner in which chefs

like Heston Blumenthal serve their food,

successfully influencing customers in their

consumption behaviour.

IndiCater have looked at the various

ways that, specifically, Menu and Recipe

Management software can support the

increasing and changing demands placed

on food operators; and how it can capitalise

on the behavioural findings of experts such

as Professor Spence. For example:

n Identify and track the provenance of

dish items

n Identify nutritional and allergen

information; track waste

n Define dish weights, measures and visual

presentation styles

n Communicate consistent construction

of recipes

Menu and Recipe Management software

offers just one technical solution: but what

is clear is that operators will need to engage

with tools that help them to keep pace with

their customers, as well as help them to

influence behaviour. Those that don’t will

get left behind.

14 | Insights & Action | July 2017


Towards a digital multisensory

dining experience

What role can architecture play in the balance between technologies

and dining asks Aleksandrina Rizova, Architect/Director at ALEKSA studio.

For an interactive relationship with the customer, the dining space of the

future may need to embrace visually dynamic forms of technology.

As an architect I am fascinated

with the way innovation and

technology is constantly changing

our perception of space. In

hospitality, restaurants are embracing new

types of digital dining experience and this is

having an impact on the environment and

the customer. For example, gone are the

days when customers complain in person

to the manager about the quality of service

or general dining experience. New forms of

communication have now allowed them to

send messages following a meal. Restaurants

have also integrated iPads into tables for

ordering food and drinks and others project

the menu directly onto the table. It does

seem we are getting close to a technology

driven service.

I’m intrigued by the changes taking place

but also puzzled by whether some of these

trends are actually of benefit and a good

thing. Can the personal interaction between

staff and customers be replaced fully by such

innovation? Surely, it is an economic way of

increasing customer numbers and profit and

reducing waste, but at what price?

Unarguably technology can bring great

multi-sensory experience to our dining.

Innovative restaurants in Shanghai, UK,

Spain and Australia are working towards

enhancing our five senses. In recent

years some of the new techniques we

have witnessed are 3D projections, light

effects and sound and scent diffusers.

Neurogastronomy is the novel science


in 2006 that

looks at how

external factors

can affect the

way the human

brain perceives

food and makes

people think that

something tastes

more delicious

than it is.

There is extensive research on new design

interfaces that allow the simulation of

unexplored sensory inputs (digital smell)

and interfaces that looks at the integration

of taste and smell into flavour. There are

also digital methods for simulating taste

sensations; immediate environment

humidity and even temperature. The

experimental results indicate that sourness

and saltiness are the main sensations that

could be evoked while the sweet and bitter

sensations are more difficult.

Matching music with food or drinks or

combining virtual reality with a specific

cuisine for instance are some of the ways to

enhance a dining experience. The question

is – how much is too much?

I believe architecture may play a more vital

role in creating a balance between these new

types of technology and simple old-fashioned

food. It is possible to conceal technology

with the architecture of a space and so the

integration takes place within the interior.

This is more effective than adding on some

forms of technology once the space has

been completed. By seamlessly combining

it should allow for a greater customer

experience and therefore add further value.

The role that architecture can play is

showcased in a recent project ALEKSA

studio completed at the Natural History

Museum, London in collaboration with

EP and Artisan Collective. We worked

closely with the Museum to create a new

vibrant dinosaur-themed restaurant

environment with playful graphics and

3D props. Due to the Grade I listing it

was important to be sensitive to the fabric

heritage of the building but also to bring in

new forms of technology to add value.

One’s first encounter in the restaurant is

with two animatronic dinosaurs followed

by being immersed into a narrative forestlike

environment created by an array of

large trees and dynamic mirror graphics.

This digital fabrication technique creates

an interaction between the audience and

space and the T-Rex dinosaurs appear to

be coming out of the walls. Alongside with

sound and abstract imagery it creates a

lively and dynamic spatial experience.

This is just one example of how

architecture can seamlessly enhance an

experience and embrace new technology

within its design. In the future many

restaurants will rely on multi-sensory

experiences to the point where it may

become common practice.

epmagazine.co.uk | 15

A sense of community

Stephanie Hamilton, Director of People and Culture UK and Ireland -

ISS UK explains how a strong workplace culture can make all the difference.

A diverse, exciting community is difficult to achieve in a virtual world.

These days of IT-led communicating,

shopping, interacting, sharing

memories and creating virtual

families all seem so impersonal

to me. I cannot grasp the idea that I live in a

‘virtual’ community, I like to chat things over

a coffee, not read or speak to it on my screen.

The trouble with this type of virtual reality

is it takes a few moments to even speak to

a ‘real person’. Take the voice activated

telephone management systems, so broadly

used now and I am sure for most, a very

efficient system. For those who don’t know

me, I have a Northern accent. Talking to an

automated system, in my experience, with

any type of accent is both annoying and also

hilarious, it is often the most ridiculous one

sided conversation to have!

I live in a Close, with the name Brook in

it – now, I pronounce ‘Brooooook’ rather

than ‘Brock’ and for the life of me, I don’t

understand how I can say Close any other

way than the way that I do, but, the computer

most definitely says NO! I often quickly get to

the point of being cut off on many automated

telephone calls – I am the disaffected

community, by the fact that I am actively

pushing back on the virtual community –

‘they’ don’t understand me, my northern

accent and I prefer the personal touch!

A strong sense of real community or

culture is a feature in the work place that

we should not overlook. I don’t feel that a

virtual community is something that people

can have a strong sense of belonging to, not

when we all have to have the same accent and

inflection of voice. In my opinion, a feeling of

belonging and sense of being oneself at work

is critical to success and an ability to really

achieve great things in our workspace. This is

a sense of true community.

Driving culture can come from key

points in the employee journey. At ISS we

call them Touchpoints, the key moments

in an employee’s day that really makes the

difference to them and their productivity as

well as providing a sense of belonging and

wellbeing. Just identifying and managing

these moments says a lot about our culture.

After all, if we spend time, money and

resources on making these Touchpoints

positive employee experiences, this in its self

lets people know how critical we see the team

and how they feel about working for us.

We have recently published a whitepaper

on the direct link between employee

engagement and positive service experiences,

the premise of which is that better engaged

employees provide better service – that

sounds easy when written in a sentence! The

implementation of employee engagement

strategies, on a workforce that spans cultures,

16 | Insights & Action | July 2017



industries and regional boundaries requires

strong leadership and development, but

it also requires community. A sense of

belonging, of a shared goal, something that

is private and meaningful to an individual,

an enabler that within this community you

are allowed to be yourself, that you will be

celebrated and supported, enabled to do your

job well and to achieve your aspiration.

A sense of community in these challenging

times, is crucial and it is something that we

are intentional about building at ISS. This

creates the foundation for a workforce that

is engaged and enabled, but also supported

and respected as individuals, nothing virtual

here, concrete solid foundations that lead the

business in our pursuit to become the world’s

greatest service organisation.

I speak about many things in induction, but

my main area of conversation is reminding

people on connecting their feelings to their

work. When I feel welcome at work, I become

a better employee, when I feel accepted by my

peers, co-workers, neighbours and colleagues,

I am better in all aspects of being me.

At ISS we call them

Touchpoints, the key

moments in an employee’s

day that really makes the

difference to them and

their productivity.

We encourage everyone to contribute to

the sense of community we create. If you are

looking for the positive role model, person

or situation, stop trying to find it and instead

live it – be it, that’s when the diverse, exciting

community starts.

The recent tragedy in Manchester

saw the very worst of times for all those

involved and the best of community spirit,

of people helping and supporting each

other, both emotionally and physically.

People who took to the streets with cups of

tea and water, of taxi drivers taking people

home, of strangers opening their home.

These people demonstrated a sense of

community spirit, when the hardest times

were upon them. My article this month is

dedicated to them, to say ‘thank you’ for

those moments of selfless behaviour and

for giving my daughter the role models,

found in that community at a time when

it would be so easy to retreat and view

the tragedy online, in a virtual capacity.

To the good people, that went out and

demonstrated the sense of what the

community stands for, to those people that

far outweigh anything else.

epmagazine.co.uk | 17

Research in the

health care profession

can answer questions

in hospitality

Behavioural techniques can benefit businesses argues

Giles Gordon-Smith, Founder and Consultant at Penshee.

US medical malpractice litigation provides surprising insight

into what drives guests to take their gripes online.

Love it, loathe it or simply live with

it; you know as well as I do that

TripAdvisor is here to stay. I would

imagine many of you even have a

strategy to use the platform to your advantage.

Today the question is how businesses avoid

those damning and damaging reviews which

inflict such heartache, anxiety and even anger.

The business impact can be considerable;

a ‘TrustYou’ study reveals that if the share

of 5-bubble reviews increases by 10%, the

number of bookings increases by 10.2% in

Europe and 7.8% in Asia-Pacific. A Cornell

study found that a one-point increase in

reputation (based on a five-point scale) can

result in a hotel’s ability to raise room rates

up to 11.2%.

The power is now firmly in the hands of the

consumer, and with more than 300 million

using TripAdvisor every month, unregulated

and often unwarranted reviews can damage

a brand. The internet is awash with hoteliers

directing anger, protestation, blame, and

even law suits towards TripAdvisor, who

show consideration of the problem via their

‘moderation and fraud detection’ unit. But

stone throwing is not what I’m here to do, as

prevention will eradicate the need to blame.

I’m here to promote the former.

18 | Insights & Action | July 2017


But can we really prevent negative

online reviews?

The answer to this bold question comes from

striking studies in the seemingly unrelated

health care profession.

Two great authors of our time; Malcolm

Gladwell and Daniel Goleman have both

drawn on the same research in their

influential books ‘Blink’ and ‘Working with

Emotional Intelligence’. To drastically

distill the expansive work of the world’s

foremost researcher on patient-physician

communication, Dr. Wendy Levinson –

doctors who communicate more effectively,

get sued dramatically less than their less

emotionally intelligent counterparts (and

often have never been sued at all).

Let’s transfer this observation to hospitality.

What makes hotel guests complain? Guests’

gripes are not with stuff – they are with

employees not caring about stuff. Slow Wi-Fi,

missing side orders and unavailable early

check ins don’t compel people to the poisoned

pen (okay, keyboard). Guests go online to

complain because they feel as though nobody

cares about the slow Wi-Fi, missing side order

and unavailable early check in, and nobody

adequately cares about the impact that this

might have on them. We’ve all been on the

receiving end of things that have gone wrong

in hotels or restaurants, but think – was it the

thing itself that got your blood boiling, or the

way it was handled?

Unfortunately over the years, I’ve had

dozens of instances of being made to feel

that my feedback was not important. There’s

no simpler example than an experience in a

hotel in the UAE last year. A porter escorted

me to my room on arrival and on opening the

door, the stench of stale cigarette smoke was

immediately apparent. The porter concurred

but when calling down to reception,

explained to his colleague; “I’m in room 24

and the guest says it smells.” I hope I don’t

need to elaborate on what’s wrong with his

chosen communication (beyond referring to

me as ‘the guest’ when my name was known

to him). It was the start of a highly frustrating

experience and, had I not been there on a

professional basis, I can assure you I would

have been more than tempted to vent online.

So let’s return to the research and see what

made the difference between those physicians

who were sued, and those that weren’t.

Levinson recorded hundreds of

conversations between a group of physicians

and their patients. Roughly half of the doctors

had never been sued. The other half had been

sued at least twice, and Levinson found that just

on the basis of those conversations, she could

find clear differences between the two groups.

What were the differentiators?

A. Listening – In the sued group, only 23%

of time was the patient given the opportunity

to complete their opening statement;

resulting in a significant loss of connection

and feeling of understanding between patient

and physician, as well as the inevitable

receiving of incomplete information. Those

few that allowed the patient to finish their

statement gained a far greater level of trust.

B. Time – The surgeons who had never

been sued spent on average three minutes

longer with each patient than those who had

been sued did.

Guests’ gripes are

not with stuff – they

are with employees not

caring about stuff.

C. Tone of voice – When reviewing tape

recordings of the interactions, psychologist

Nalini Ambady filtered them to remove highfrequency

sounds and leave a kind of garble

where only pitch, intonation and rhythm

remained. Using qualities such as warmth,

hostility, dominance and anxiousness, she

was able to predict which surgeons got sued

and which didn’t. Ambady was stunned by

the results.

“If the surgeon’s voice was judged to

sound dominant, the surgeon tended to be

in the sued group. If the voice sounded less

dominant and more concerned, the surgeon

tended to be in the non-sued group.”

D. Rapport – The level of training

and credentials of the physician bore no

correlation to the amount of litigation faced.

Many patients simply refused to pursue legal

action against practitioners that they liked:

E. Missing Clues – Physicians in the

sued camp frequently missed information

from patients, who offered verbal cues as

to their emotional state or social concerns.

These clues represented clear chances to

demonstrate empathy and understanding

and thus deepen the emotional alliance

between the two parties. These clues were

referred back to in only 38% of instances.

So how can your teams benefit from this

research in their handling of feedback?

1. Listen – When a guest wants to complain,

always allow them to finish what they are

saying. Not only will you receive complete

information, your guest will immediately feel

that someone is listening.

2. Time – I get it, you’re busy, but would

you be willing to go back in time and find just

three minutes of your time when faced with a

‘terrible’ rating on TripAdvisor?

3. Tone – Once you’ve listened to your

guest, think about your tone, and whether

it reflects the gravity of the situation.

Being warm, humble and empathetic can

often work.

4. Rapport – This doesn’t mean to strive

to become the guest’s best friend, but rather

to create an emotional connection. Handling

feedback in an understanding and positive

manner will make them recall the incident in

a different light.

5. Tune in– Look for additional clues and

show that you’ve understood them.

6. Accept negative feedback – looking

to justify issues or change a guest’s opinion

of one will only exacerbate the situation and

frustrate the guest. ‘Difficult’ guests so often

become so as a result of aversive employee


7. Be grateful – when a guest brings an

issue to you, be grateful to them and thank

your lucky stars that you have the chance

to put things right, before they log in to


Empower your teams with these steps and

look forward to the positive results.

epmagazine.co.uk | 19

Is there more to

nutrition than

just sustenance,

satiation and


Professor David Russell, Chairman of

The Russell Partnership Collection explains

the importance of health and nutrition.

What do nutritional developments mean for the food and

beverage sector?

Nutrition is defined as “the process

of providing or obtaining the food

necessary for health and growth”.

Google trends show us that internet

searches related to nutrition drop significantly

around Christmas, and reach peak popularity

in January – as you might expect, however

what is unprecedented, is the surge in health

and nutrition interest throughout the year

from a range of demographics within the

general public. In order of interest, the top 5

cities ‘googling’ their way through nutrition

related questions are Cardiff, Plymouth,

Guildford, Oxford and Thames Ditton.

The rise in health and nutrition is largely

driven by the transfer of knowledge enabled

by platforms such as social media, food blogs

and video sites such as YouTube. Millennials

are the key driving force behind this surge

in nutritional interest in a bid to live better,

for longer and optimise their minds and

bodies to look lean, feel energised and excel

in their professional lives. But, is there more

to nutrition that just sustenance, satiation

and longevity? Research is continually

showing that food is much more than just

fuel – food is information, food is instruction

and sometimes food is medicine. These

fascinating developments were well known

to our ancestors, and modem-day-man is

“playing catch-up” on this ancient wisdom,

because as Hippocrates once said, “let food be

thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.

So, what do these nutritional developments

mean for the food and beverage sector? How

can we utilise this information to catalyse

positive change in the industry? The first

step is to understand the power of balanced

food and beverage provisions that are

centered around vegetables, fruits, healthy

20 | Insights & Action | July 2017


“Research shows that

a well-balanced diet that

is rich in wholefoods

such as vegetables, fruits,

healthy fats, nuts, seeds,

fermented food, fatty

fish and lean meat can

mitigate or positively

support challenging

mental health outcomes.”


fats, nuts, seeds, fermented food, fatty fish

and lean meat. In the following paragraph

we will explore one instance of seemingly

disassociated phenomena in the human

body that demonstrates the power of food

provisions. The second step is to apply the

relevant nutrition research to the applicable

sectors and catalyse change based on the

desired positive outcome. This requires

continuous trend analysis, market research

and scientific literature reviews to ensure

cutting edge research is acquired and utilised

efficiently and effectively.

Research shows that a well-balanced diet

that is rich in wholefoods such as vegetables,

fruits, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, fermented

food, fatty fish and lean meat can mitigate

or positively support challenging mental

health outcomes such as anxiety, depression,

ADHD, schizophrenia and autism. This

is because a well-balanced diet delivers

numerous benefits such as micronutrient

optimisation, macronutrient balance,

prebiotic (fibre) provision and microbiome

support. The human microbiome is defined

as the collective genomes of the microbes

(composed of bacteria, bacteriophage, fungi,

protozoa and viruses) that live inside and on

the human body – we have about 10 times as

many microbial cells as human cells, and as

such must do all we can to live in harmony

with the microbiota we retain. Interestingly,

a well-balanced microbiome is perhaps

the single most fundamental physiological

element that delivers positive mental health

outcomes in children and adults alike.

This is a phenomena called the ‘braingut

connection’ or GAPS which stands for

‘gut and psychology syndrome’ – this has

been explained in detail by nutritionist and

neurology expert Dr. Natasha Campbell-

McBride. The phenomena theorises that

the state of our microbiome has a profound

effect on our mental health, which in the case

of an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut

this will induces a state called “dysbiosis”.

The gastrointestinal imbalance effects

individuals uniquely, however the guidelines

for revival remain the same for all – probiotic

rich fermented foods, fresh vegetables, ripe

fruit and lean proteins.

In sectors such as Higher Education, the

provision of a balanced offer is essential

given the importance of nutrition for mental

health optimisation. As many as 1 in 4

students in the UK have challenging mental

health outcomes – most notably anxiety and

depression. Whilst social and environmental

factors are crucially important factors that

influence mental health such as depression,

post-traumatic stress syndrome and anxiety

– there is profound value in delivering a

balanced, wholefoods diet that will deliver

energy and perhaps light relief, to those who

are seeking integrative treatment.

In practical terms, this means delivering

simple support solutions by the incorporation

of foods such as broccoli, kale, brussel

sprouts, blueberries, wild fish, organic meats,

wholegrains, sauerkraut, kefir and chia seeds.

Providing optimal nutritional potential to

customers has never been more important.

epmagazine.co.uk | 21

Intrapreneurs can

act like entrepreneurs

EP speaks to John Dixey about how he introduced an intrapreneur

approach whilst European Chief Executive of Sara Lee.

Now founder and MD of Zoot Foods Ltd, John has experience of both worlds.

John Dixey was the driving force

behind the regeneration at Playtex

and Wonderbra; brands under the

umbrella of American giant, Sara

Lee Corporation. The Wonderbra was an

amazing success across Europe and the

USA. It captured attention through clever

advertising campaigns with a sexy and

slightly cheeky tone. The iconic strapline

‘Hello Boys’ placed the lingerie on a near

legendary level. However, John explains that

this success didn’t mean it was all working

perfectly behind the scenes.

“I was with Sara Lee for 23 years working

in Australasia and in Europe eventually as

European Chief Executive. I had returned

from Australia to the UK to run the Playtex/

Wonderbra arm of the business and I was

aware of the problems ahead. There was a

‘fear and blame culture’ and clearly there was

a motivation problem. The business needed

transforming very quickly for it to survive.

The job of changing a company where the

people are risk-averse with un-cooperative

departments is not an easy one. John hoped

there would be some good people in place

but a prolonged historical managerial style

of instructions – implementation – reporting

had created an organisation of followers.

If the top person left the rest may as well go

home! How to find the hidden talent? How

to encourage them to express themselves

without the fear of ridicule that they had

previously experienced? Sometimes

opportunities just present themselves.

At this time, the company was approached

to provide £5000 for a group of 25 women

who would wear Wonderbras whilst walking

the New York Marathon to raise money for

Breast Cancer Research. With the fundraisers

dream of creating a charity, John saw

an opportunity to boost the confidence of his

teams and get everyone working together in

a fundraising capacity. He therefore allowed

the new charity, Walk the Walk, to operate

22 | Insights & Action | July 2017


from within Sara Lee and access the full

range of resources the company had to offer.

John kindly helped the charity set-up and

also got his teams involved in supporting the

creation. By using internal capabilities and reenergising

the workforce John saw attitudes

positively change within the company and

outside too. Many customers and suppliers

became involved in the project and they

formed a different and more positive view of

the company.

The charity, Walk the Walk, became

well known for their Playtex MoonWalk

Marathons with over 15,000 people taking

part in the fund raising activities each year.


My company mantra

was “if this was my

company and my own

money, is this the decision

I would make?”

Over £100 million has been raised since the

charity’s inception and The Prince of Wales

has been the Patron throughout.

The involvement and success of this project

demonstrated to the teams that things had

changed. They had been empowered and

could sometimes stray over boundaries,

initiate change, use lateral thinking and take

ownership of their decisions.

The Company management in particular

had been challenged to become involved in

areas in which they were not comfortable.

Many of them rose to this challenge,

becoming very innovative and creative.

Perhaps this was because there was no

fear, as it was not perceived as their regular

job? Importantly they adopted this can-do

attitude in their everyday management

thinking. John had also very quickly

discovered who in the team were the creative,

action-oriented individuals. Encouraging

them would prove to bring big rewards.

“Giving your own people an opportunity

to develop their potential by taking known

and calculated risks is a certain way of

drawing out the budding entrepreneurs

within the company. Why are they not

running their own businesses now if they

have the potential? For whatever reason is

it confidence or circumstances perhaps they

feel unable to strike out on their own – they

could still be intrapreneurs! Regardless all

your employees should be looking forward

to potential changes that could improve

their worklife, adding satisfaction and

excitement to their jobs. This cannot happen

if they are not encouraged to behave like

an entrepreneur and instead, live in fear

of making a mistake or being ridiculed for

making suggestions and recommendations.

With this increased freedom comes

increased responsibility and accountability

on the individual. However my company

mantra was “if this was my company and

my own money, is this the decision I would

make?” If the answer was yes then normally

it was the right decision!”

Not everyone can be an intrapreneur and

many do not want it. Some want a simpler

life doing their own job but hopefully a bit

of excitement and reward on the way.

Some though, have that entrepreneurial

streak and you need to find them and bring

out their potential. John admits that it may

make those people more difficult if they can

become possessive but managed correctly

and confidently these are the people who

can contribute massively to the success of

your business.

Having the opportunity to work together

with the support of a main business is a

strong approach for those with open minds.

By using the resources of the overarching

company, they can fast track into something

profitable with speed.

John encouraged his team to come to him

with new ideas that were not necessarily

associated with the company’s current

objectives. Several of them were company

funded and driven by the initiators into very

valuable business growth. The initiators were

always given the credit for that success!

John has taken many of these experiences

and learning and used them to support

his own business, Zootfoods Ltd, an

entrepreneurial company with 16 product

lines after only two years. “The focus is an

off-the-shelf snack, sold at a fair price without

the fear of buying something loaded with

fats, salt or sugar. Our main emphasis is on

No-Added Sugar snackfoods and we are now

involved with Brakes and Bidfoods plus we are

stocked in WHSmith, Enterprise Pharmacies

and many more. We’ve accelerated quickly

and have taken risks, but that is part of the

entrepreneurial approach we needed.”

He admits that being an entrepreneur is far

more stressful than being an intrapreneur as

he does not have the resources and support of

a large organisation but says that building his

own is a little easier with his knowledge and

experience behind him. He insists that as his

company grows it will always on the lookout

for potential intrapreneurs!

epmagazine.co.uk | 23

Innovation in people

Time to find the balance and reignite old skills.

The Digital Revolution should have led to greater knowledge

but arguably has led to less reflection and thought.

There is no doubt that the digital

revolution has changed the way

the world behaves. Everyone is

interconnected, with knowledge at

their fingertips, constantly accessible. It has

opened the doors to a greater transparency,

openness and sense of globalization.

However, it has also created changes in

behaviours – especially in work – that need

to be redressed and balanced.

In 1997, the average executive received 25

letters per day. Today, the average executive

receives over 150 emails. The human mind is

only “created” to take on the detail of around

35 per day which means that every day,

executives are pushing their limits. Hardly any

lunch or meeting is not disturbed by the mobile

phone – whether to check an email or text.

Almost everyone today is fully accessible

via the digital – whether email, text, LinkedIn,

Twitter or Facebook. Communication is free

and easy and yet it is arguably harder than ever

for leaders and business to communicate their

message as there is so much noise.

It is estimated that the average middle

manager is 25% less knowledgeable today

about political leaders and issues. Ask

a random group at work who the Home

Secretary is and see if they know the answer?

In the 70s and 80s, most of the cabinet were

household names.

It is true that there is more knowledge

shared today but not always relevant

knowledge. Knowledge today is diluted

through the waves of “random” data through

Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Is this important?

It is also estimated that average middle

manager knows 20% less today about their

competition and the market. In 1997, the

average middle executive could name an

average of 10 Industry leaders from their

sector. Today it is less than 4. Again why

not ask a random group if they can name

the CEOs of their competitor set.

It is also argued that there is less

problem solving taking place within the

business environment and that informal

communication has fallen.

Maybe more importantly:

It is estimated that 1:4 Executives

suffer from mental illness – whether that’s

stress, fatigue or worse. Executives are

understandably tired of reading the written

word – hence there is a dramatic fall in

newspaper circulation – and a desire for

visual content.

70% of emails are often dealing with

internal rather than external issues. Is it

therefore logical that many do not have

a greater understanding of the external

markets and competition? Many boards

ask why new talent is not breaking through.

Is it all interconnected?

A key question to ask at this point is

what do people want? We have spent a

considerable amount of time asking this

question to executives and the answers are

aligned to a world from a previous time:

n More personal interaction and trust

within business

n More time to just reflect

n A desire for more social informality and


n To see greater accessibility to leaders and

to understand the business vision

n To enjoy sessions where the mobile is

banned from use.

n To see people’s behaviours be more

focused on individuals

n To see increased investment in individuals

and knowledge share. It is believed that

investment in training has fallen quite


n To show leadership in the community.

Many believe that leaders are too focused

on shareholder value and not enough

on other core issues such as people, the

teams and the community in which the

companies operate.

24 | Insights & Action | July 2017


Ask a random group at work who

the Home Secretary is and see if

they know the answer? In the 70s

and 80s, most of the cabinet were

household names.


There is a greater social consciousness

beginning to arise but people do understand

there needs to be a balance. It is all about

balance and businesses are beginning to

work on frameworks that:

n Create social hubs for informal discussion

n Ensure that leaders are once again

accessible and developing an emotional

connection with their teams. (The British are

tribal and do desire personal leadership not

brand leadership)

n Develop a framework for greater reflection

n Look at techniques to manage the flow of

emails and communication

n Create a greater framework for knowledge

share and connecting

n Develop strong communications

n Invest in training – often on individual

development plans.

The change is less about any dramatic

investment in cost and more about

behaviours, values, communications and

knowledge share. This is where the work

does need to take place.

Companies will need to re-think HR. There

is genuine change happening – whether that

is coming from the exit from Europe, the rise

of the gig economy, changes in models or just

with the need to retain talent. Strategies do

need to think about their team’s development,

their welfare but also how they engage both

internally and externally.

It is a challenge but one with solutions that

do exist and have been proven in the past.

It is renewing many old methods combined

with the new.

epmagazine.co.uk | 25


Have we entered

the performance and

talent revolution?

Martin-Christian Kent, Executive Director at People 1st explains how their

research shows that many are having a rethink on how to maximise staff value.

It’s a challenging time to be dealing with HR issues in the hospitality industry, but with those

challenges come opportunities.

Research we’ve conducted with 40

leading hospitality companies shows

that many are rethinking the way

they maximise value from their staff.

Central to this are interventions to increase

retention and performance.

Many businesses describe themselves as

being “on a journey”, and that journey signals a

break from the ways things have been done in

the past. For many, the focus on staff retention

and performance is a logical response to

rising staff costs, recruitment difficulties and

changing employee attitudes. In essence, the

old ways are no longer working effectively.

Most hospitality businesses would argue that

they have always focused on retaining talent,

but our research clearly highlights that they are

now doing so on an unprecedented scale. While

businesses’ retention strategies differ, they are

increasingly broad and far-reaching, including

rethinking how to have a genuine, two-way

dialogue with staff and tailor contracts, hours

and benefits to suit different needs.

Businesses are harnessing technology to

facilitate this engagement, allowing staff

and employers to communicate with one

another in ways that were unimaginable a

decade ago. At the same time, businesses

continue to invest heavily in effective people

management skills to ensure staff are fully

engaged and motivated.

Businesses are also looking to make their

progression opportunities more transparent

by promoting both vertical and horizontal

opportunities. Through interactive maps, staff

can also access appropriate training and pay

increases are often linked to the successful

completion of appropriate training. This is

something we have seen our clients value

very strongly.

In addition, the apprenticeship levy and

reforms have led many large businesses

to rethink how they can maximise

apprenticeships. We’re seeing a clear shift to

higher-level apprenticeships that are used

to support retention and progression, rather

than simply being used as an entry route.

For many years, People 1st has highlighted

the strong link between high labour

turnover and skill gaps, and how they are

undermining productivity levels within the

industry. Businesses are now much more

likely to focus on staff retention, training and

development to increase performance than

they have been in the past, but some are also

looking taking a much wider view.

A number of businesses are looking afresh

at their HR strategies as part of a wider reengineering

of their customer journey and

experience. Technology is changing the way

a business interacts with its clients and, as

part of this, some are looking at ergonomics,

job design and their processes to increase

customer satisfaction, spend and return

business. Whilst doing so, they are also placing

more emphasis on increasing productivity.

As many employers acknowledge, this

rethinking of HR approaches is a journey.

Some are further along than others and it

may take a while before the industry reaches

its destination. However, not only will these

changes deliver real benefits to a business,

they should have a positive impact on the

industry overall.

Hospitality is likely to reduce its demand

for labour as a result of better retention, as

well as becoming a more attractive career

destination. Both will be critically important

as unemployment continues to fall and we

prepare to leave the EU, making the labour

market even more competitive.

This break from the past is likely to

continue to have positive repercussions for

the effectiveness of HR approaches in the

industry. There has probably never been a

more challenging time to work in hospitality

HR – and it has certainly has never been under

so much scrutiny and measurement – but,

equally, its impact on business effectiveness

has never been as fully appreciated as it is

today. In other cases, businesses are beginning

to ask questions about whether they need to

start thinking differently.

26 | Insights & Action | July 2017


The risk of

unregulated nutrition

Nutritionist Kate Taylor explains why the need for regulation of

professional in the world of nutrition has never been more important.

Who should we trust, where is the protection for consumers?

Nutrition has been on the agenda for

a while now, it’s not new. However

personally I’m still constantly

contacted by those who aren’t

sure who to gain advice from, which health

professional is the right one and who to

believe. As the importance of good nutrition

and therefore good advice is paramount

for performance I wanted to use this as an

opportunity to clear a few things up.

While at the Natural & Organic Food

Show last month, at seminar hosted by the

founder of a certain organic chocolate brand,

the importance of nutrition, really came

to light. Said host proceeded through their

presentation, which was interesting up until

the quote “we shouldn’t eat breakfast because

it interrupts the fast”. Now there is some

truth here, because that’s the point of having

breakfast, in fact that’s the meaning of the

word. So, in a room full of people, some of

which are health professionals who will take

the science view, as I did, some whom are the

general public who will be leaving thinking

about trying this, I was concerned. I raised my

hand and asked the question – what evidence

this was based on? This was answered,

however the studies referenced weren’t

quoted and therefore I was left unsatisfied and

slightly annoyed. This example quite clearly

highlights the importance of qualified advice.

But in case it’s not enough, here’s a few others:

n Australian Belle Gibson who faked her

cancer diagnosis and got an Instagram

following of 200,000 claiming she was

curing it consuming whole foods. Her lies

were exposed in 2015.

n A popular UK newspaper article last

month headlining “The very surprising foods

top nutritionists say they’d never touch” –

when in fact none of these were qualified or

had any evidence supporting them.

n Dr Robert Young, in the USA, claiming by

visiting his ranch and adopting the alkaline

diet you will be healed of disease. He’s

recently been arrested.

Food isn’t a medicine, they are two different

things. It can and will certainly have an impact

on our way of being, there is no denying that.

However medicine, the treatment of disease,

cannot be solely achieved by the diet we

consume from food and beverages.

So, what’s the difference between a dietitian,

a nutritionist and a nutritional therapist and

how are those who practice regulated?

Dietitians generally work in a clinical

setting and with individuals who have

diagnosed medical conditions, a lot of the

time in hospitals or clinical settings. Many

dietitians are also qualified registered

nutritionists too and in addition they may

work in education, media, research and

industry. A university degree is needed

to practice as a dietitian and the title is

protected by law. This is regulated by the

Health Care Professions Council (HCPP)

and the British Dietetic Association (BDA).

Nutritionists provide information based

on scientific research about how food

and nutrition impacts human health and

wellbeing. Nutritionist is not a protected

title by law however is voluntarily regulated

by the Association for Nutrition (AfN).

Nutritionists commonly work in industry,

education, community and also freelance

with clients but rarely work in clinical

settings. A university degree is needed for

both human and animal nutritionists.

Nutritional Therapists work more

holistically with their patients and will use

many different tools to assess one’s health.

They follow the Functional Medicine Model

and they are also not legally protected. They

are voluntarily regulated by the British

Association for Applied Nutrition and

Nutritional Therapy (BANT).

Currently, due to lack of lawful regulation,

anyone can set up and practice as a nutritionist,

meaning there is no real protection for

consumers. Parliament have responded to the

recent government petition to say it will be

debated once it reaches 100,000.

epmagazine.co.uk | 27

Insights are great but

then what do you do?

Sodexo’s recently-appointed food transformation director, Adrian

Evans, explains the importance of taking action following research.

Having discovered what customers feel about their workplace and the impact it has

on their productivity, what needs changing in the way workplace dining is delivered?

We all rely on insight to ensure

our offers are providing what

the customer wants, not just

what we think they want.

We invest heavily in gathering insights and

shouting about what we have learnt but what

happens next?

Using the results of our research amongst

knowledge workers we are looking at how we

can support our clients by delivering a bestin-class

foodservice offer which not only

positively impacts the productivity of their

employees but their overall wellbeing too.

One area which we cannot ignore is the

impact technology is having on how we work.

Longer working hours and larger amounts

of information being processed mean the

mental and physical health of employees and

creating social spaces for them to interact

has never been more important.

As we all know food is brain fuel and

without it we simply cannot function at our

best. With 10 out of 21 meals eaten at work,

foodservice providers have a key role and

responsibility in ensuring people have access

to healthy, nutritious meals which they want

to eat. With such a large proportion of meals

eaten at work, we do have an influence on the

food choices people make at home too.

It is not simply about ensuring we provide

healthy choices, we need to strive to create

the right food experience by providing the

healthiest choice as the best and favoured

choice. Today’s consumer wants more

than what is put on their plate – they are

looking for a whole experience. To satisfy

this need we need to look at the whole

customer journey, from ambience,

environment and choice through to

availability and frequency – work is

changing, so is the workplace and therefore

workplace dining has to change too.

We are working closely with our clients

to help ensure the foodservice offering is

aligned to the workplace strategy of their

organisation. Some are more advanced

than others but the common theme is

collaboration and understanding the

customer needs.

Our research revealed we are moving

away from just breakfast and lunch

service. The restaurant space can become

an expensive space if it is not utilised

throughout the day. We are all more

mobile, we work in a less structured way,

the restaurant offers the opportunity for

colleagues to collaborate more, restaurants

need to be designed to help encourage those

all-important casual collisions, enabling

teams to collaborate, which in turn helps the

organisation succeed as its people are more

engaged and productive.

For the last nine years, before joining

Sodexo, I led the operations for Google’s food

programme across its offices in Europe, the

Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific region.

Although it was a free issue programme I

truly believe we as foodservice providers

have to look at this model and make it work

in a commercial operation as it really is the

way forward for organisations which rely on

their people to make their business a success.

By making food important again,

restaurants and dining spaces can become

active social hubs that improve productivity

and communication. By opening restaurants

for longer hours, extending food offers,

28 | Insights & Action | July 2017


this reason we take their development very

seriously. We want to provide them with

the experience and knowledge to develop

their skills which in turn benefits us and

our clients.

At the end of last year we welcomed

critically-acclaimed chef, Adam Handling

as a consultant and in May he welcomed

a group of our chefs to his restaurant,

The Frog, in Spitalfields for a masterclass

session. Adam presented a range of dishes

from his current menu to our chefs with the

inspiration to develop the dishes for their

own menus, reinvigorating our offer in the

corporate services market, particularly

in London.

Craft development is of great importance

at Sodexo with David Mulcahy our food

development and innovation director

co-ordinating a wide range of experiences

for chefs from masterclasses such as this one

to food tours, supplier trips and competitive

cooking to name just a few.

It is an exciting time, the workplace and

how we all work is changing rapidly and

at Sodexo we are embracing this change.

We are using valuable insights combined

with the expertise from the likes of Adam

Handling and taking these to our clients to

work in partnership with them to maximise

their work space and create the right

environment for their employees to thrive

and their business to succeed.

considering the needs and patterns of

employees will not only improve wellbeing

but also have a positive commercial impact

for companies.

This is not new information and is a

regular topic of discussion. It was the theme

of the recent lunch we co-hosted with EP.

The lunch discussion centred around the

fact many organisations find it challenging

to improve their foodservice offer, yet with

change happening in society and the way

we work, companies do need to think about

how to improve the wellbeing of today’s

employees and those of tomorrow.

What about the food?

In an age where we are awash with fantastic

chefs innovating and creating different and

new dining experiences out on the high

street, we have to ensure that we are not

behind the times – to get people eating in

our restaurants we need to mirror what is

on offer on the high street and that ranges

from the grab and go options and cooked

meals through to the hospitality menus for

meetings and executive lunches.

We have a brigade of exceptionally

talented chefs, they are central to our success

in the delivery of our food services. It is for

epmagazine.co.uk | 29

Does a catering

tender work?

Problems are cropping up in the current catering tender

process and small organisations are potentially missing out.

MD & Principal Consultant of Catering Consultancy Bureau,

Peter Pitham, explores the current process.

When a client needs or wants

to review their catering

arrangements there are

normally a number of catering

organisations to assist in the process which

is often managed by a catering consultancy

organisation. They manage the client’s

required brief to those catering organisations

that meet the brief and the client’s

requirements. This often leads to some

disappointment with the organisations not

invited to tender but it saves time and money.

The tender process ensures a level playing

field for all caterers and asks for specific

information in order to evaluate their ideas

and approach. Investment is often not a

requirement at this stage and so it is not

included as clients are open to just what

will be proposed. It’s important to encourage

the caterer and client to speak with each

other to ensure that both parties have

a clear understanding of each other’s

expectations. This approach isn’t adopted

by all consultants but it ensures that any

emotional influences are highlighted at the

commencement of the project.

The tender progresses until it reaches a

short list of two or three catering organisations

and a series of presentations and site visits are

undertaken. A final shortlist is identified and

the final arrangements on the mechanics of

the catering contract are negotiated. This may

involve refurbishment, investment, or other

arrangements that need to be agreed prior to

the final contract being awarded.

This is often where the problems start.


30 | Insights & Action | July 2017


Clients are normally tasked each year to

make a financial saving on areas under their

control, and this could include catering.

Using an example, a client may have

two catering organisations in a tender – a

larger major player and a small company,

competing. They offer similar proposals,

presented designs and ideas for the catering

operation and have made offers of investment.

The tender has been structured and

controlled throughout the process, so it’s

unusual for there to be a great difference on

the financial side. The level playing field and

clarification questions all assist in this matter.

The smaller of the two companies offers a

loan to the client which is interest free over

the period of the contract, normally three

years, with it payable through the trading

account. This pleases the client, but may not

be as great as they think.

The larger company, whose finances are

very similar, propose a similar refurbishment

programme and investment. They offer a

greater amount of investment to cover all

aspects of the refurbishment, provide it

interest free over the life of the contract,

and also provide it as a gift with no payback


This leaves the client in a dilemma.

Often, smaller companies have the

approach – “I own the company and it

is me that you deal with”, together with,

“we can address any problems that you

have immediately as we don’t have the big

company red tape to deal with.” Larger

companies however have a slightly different

approach and bring their operations director

into the tender process. At the conclusion

of this process they announce, “this is your

operations director who you know”.

At this stage I suspect that clients

need a pretty good reason to go up their

management chain to say, “both caterers

are broadly offering the same but I am going

to appoint the smaller company to whom

we have to pay back the loan, as opposed to

the larger company who are giving us the

investment as a gift”. This can often run into

hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The result is often that the smaller

company finds it difficult to compete and so

the award goes to the larger company. During

these processes consultants are asked for

their advice. They provided a response based

on the tender submissions, infrastructure,

most appropriate fit and make no reference

to investment. However, despite this input,

the smaller company is normally still

disappointed and may have spent around

£10,000 on the project. Going back to square

one can be very difficult.

In a recent conversation with a smaller

organisation they raise the question that

this process could be one of the reasons why

there has been a downturn in new companies

entering the market? It is an interesting point

and for those who do enter, they often struggle

for a while and then present themselves as a

potential “buy” for a large player.

Several caterers have mentioned that

they normally decline a tender which

requires investment. It’s a shame and at

the same time, smaller caterers are now

actively looking for other markets outside of

Business and Industry. Thankfully the initial

requirement for a caterer to invest heavily in

a facility is declining and is often something

that is offered in an effort to secure a contract

without any prompting.

The catering tender still offers opportunity

but it can be a difficult process. I’m not sure if

it still work as effectively and it is something

more are beginning to raise. This is very

much the case of ‘watch this space’.


...clients need a pretty

good reason to go up

their management chain

to say, “both caterers

are broadly offering the

same but I am going

to appoint the smaller

company to whom we

have to pay back the loan.

epmagazine.co.uk | 31

Innovating in business

It’s no secret that businesses must innovate to grow.

It takes strength to admit that something that worked

in the past, no longer works today.

For those who are less agile, this is easier said than done,

so choosing the right process for innovation is key.

For many businesses it is difficult

to innovate from within either

because of the lack of time, process,

opportunity or simply because many

businesses are consumed with doing what

they do best, running their businesses. It

can take courage to find the latest ideas and

thinking and to source entrepreneurs who

are leading the generation of innovation.

There are some excellent young businesses

evolving and there is also no doubt that

innovation is becoming increasingly

important to have access to.

The best framework for a company

depends on its sector, size and needs.

Developing a process for a very specific

purpose is often quite hard to achieve so

being open to a range of innovation is worth

the pursuit. The process itself is not the best

place to start, it is easier to have a clear end

goal and the framework can be built around

this. An organisation may be seeking to

protect its existing market, moving into a new

one of create a new offering and all of these

can often include new labels and jargon.

Once a company has the willingness

to find new ideas and test these within

an experiment-style process, they must

look to where they can source innovation.

This is where EP is of value because of the

long supported Entrepreneurs Club. This

includes over 130 exciting entrepreneurs of

various sizes – from start-ups to the more

established and growing; from £0 turnover

to £25m turnover level. They operate across

all markets including digital technology,

original food and drink products, fashion

and clothing, hotel concepts, restaurants and

food service. They bring new and essential

innovation into the sector which can create

change, improve services and create value for

the customer journey.

It can be said that the future of the industry

is being shaped by those taking on the new

ideas, not those reacting to what is being

thrust upon them. EP will continue to harness

the potential of creativity by matching the new

innovating companies with larger players, so

value can be found on both sides.

A survey by the Confederation of British

Industry (CBI) has shown that UK firms are

concerned about lagging behind the global

business community following the Brexit vote.

The survey of 800 businesses found that

70% plan to increase or maintain their

spending levels on innovation following

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

It is true that new solutions can increase

productivity, the customer experience and

allow for more effective competition in the

market. Whether customer service or product

development, innovating may drive growth and

gain those vital edges over the competition.


32 | Insights & Action | July 2017



EP therefore creates bespoke innovation

centres on behalf of companies. These can

introduce between five and ten new cutting

edge ideas, concepts and technologies over

a year. In addition to adding to the offer and

potentially improving the customer journey,

there is the opportunity for businesses to

communicate their support of SME and

entrepreneurial businesses and create change

within the Hospitality industry through their

own and also EP’s communication channels.

By actively supporting entrepreneurial

businesses, companies can support and

enable real value and real change within their

practices and within the industry as a whole.

It is ideal for those who do not know where to

start with innovation.

Companies involved in this process receive

access to innovation and are also given

recognition for their interest in it. There

should be no limit as to where innovation

comes from, but it is hard to find, so those

who work with EP also receive access to:

n Monthly Innovation Forums and Dragon’s

Dens events which include priority access to

new businesses.

n Opportunities to trade with, invest in or

acquire relevant entrepreneurial companies.

n Introductory meetings of entrepreneurial

businesses which corporates have expressed


As the industry grows, more companies are

moving away from heavy, complex processes

because this slows innovation down. There

will always be an argument that ideas can

come from within a business but ideation

shouldn’t be mistaken as innovation. It

can be a long journey to create potential

value from an idea. Therefore accessing

innovation, from market sources, can solve

problems or create solutions in a much

quicker, easier format.

It is also important to note that putting

everything into an idea and never getting

actual innovation can be a troublesome road

to travel. Exploring all the possible routes

for innovation can improve the focus and

process at the same time.

Some organisations will look to lead the

market and adopt the latest ideas, others will

listen to the market and take on board the

companies as they begin to make an impact

and a few will get left behind. It doesn’t have

to be this way but since the 1960s innovation

has been monitored and many now know

it is needed for adding value. It is a wellknown

example but worth referencing again

– Airbnb doesn’t own a single hotel, but is

the world’s largest accommodation provider

– its business model is based on a platform

enabling people to share their own spaces.

Their identity isn’t as a supplier but a creator

of a specific service.

epmagazine.co.uk | 33

Innovation Hub


Amadeus and EP are proud to announce a new Innovation

Hub which is designed to recognise exceptional innovation

in hospitality.

The Hub is a platform for entrepreneurs and SMEs with exciting

companies and concepts they are keen to bring into the highly

competitive hospitality sector.

The Hub is designed to identify the best products, concepts

and solutions in the sector and all types of companies can apply.

This is the chance to present to Amadeus, a leading foodservice

company. They place innovation on the highest priority as they

believe it’s what keeps the industry moving forward.

Finalists will have the chance to present their proposal or

company to Amadeus with the potential to work with the

organisation and receive mentoring and an opportunity to

knowledge share with our senior operators. This a unique

opportunity and the experience gained will be of huge benefit.

Entries have until 30th September 2017 to apply for the award.

Those entering must summit:

l Description of their company – 500 words max

l Their business plan

l How they deliver their concept or product – 500 words max

l Reasons why they would work well in Amadeus –

1000 words max

l What makes them unique – 500 words max

An independent panel will select the shortlist who will then

be invited to ‘pitch’ their concept or company to a select

group of judges. Pitches will take place in late October with

the results announced in early November. This is an incredible

opportunity to put a new concept or company in front of an

experience innovative leading company. It is a great way to

connect with Amadeus and share ideas and challenges within

the hospitality industry.



The tipping point

In an increasing fast paced world, the risk of

workplace behavioural health issues intensifies.

Are we now realising the impact mental health plays on workplace performance, health and safety?

Many now know that one in four

adults will suffer from a mental

health issue at some point in their

life. Professionals in all positions

may struggle with stress, dependency and

various other issues in the workplace. As the

world quickens and automation begins to

take away some positions, there is a realisation

that human traits are essential for business.

People are simply the greatest assist of any

company and for long-term growth and

success, investing in them is a necessity

to ensure their wellbeing.

In the industry, chefs are often mentioned

as one of the roles where health is being

‘punished’ by long hours. The concern is

an accident may occur because of fatigue

and depression is widely accepted as being

caused by overworking. Some are calling

for the end of the ‘work till you drop’ culture

which exists in many busy kitchens. There

is a fear in the hospitality sector that talent

will either not enter the industry or leave,

due to the working conditions. Changing

the situation and profiling the industry as a

positive place to work will help change this

attitude and opinion.

Research by the Centre of Economic

and Business Research commissioned by

workplace absence management specialist,

FirstCare, says workplace absence costs UK

businesses £18bn a year. This lost productivity

is an increasing trend with a number of

absences related to stress and anxiety.

A fascinating part of this research also

demonstrates that workplace absence

has increased year-on-year since 2011 –

having previously been on a downward

trend since 1993. It seems right to question

what has happened since 2011 to have

caused this increase.

The research shows that mental health

issues hit 30–40 year olds the hardest which

may be as a result of increased financial

pressures and a difficulty of balancing the

demands of work and family. It also argued

that an ageing workforce has had a significant

impact with musculoskeletal issues

continuing to affect mostly 50–60 year

olds, and time off to recover from surgery

resulting in a rise of 0.63 to 0.84 days lost

per employee – the equivalent of over two

years of lost productivity for an organisation

employing 1000 people.


absence has increased

year-on-year since 2011 –

having previously been

on a downward trend

since 1993.”

However younger generations are also

adding to the rise of absence. The Millenial

age group values independence and

flexibility sometimes over and above salary

and job security. As a result of all of these

factors, the research predicts that the cost of

absence will increase to £21bn in 2020, and

increase to £26bn in 2030.

There are some corners arguing for

technology to tackle workplace mental

health issues. Companies could monitor

employee absence patterns and feedback

from return to work interviews to produce

detailed reports and analysis which show the

true picture of health and mental wellbeing

of their workforce.

These insights would provide an accurate

picture of the current situation and allow

companies to ensure their critical wellness

spending is not wasted. It may also help

HR departments proactively identify

employees with possible mental health

challenges at an earlier stage and enable

better workplace support.

Some companies are also looking to

change the perception of mental health

and recovery in the workplace and are

introducing workplace behavioural

health sessions. The training is to provide

their workers with the steps to take and

participates receive a certificate.

Is there a need for a tailored approach?

Based on what role a person has, what

tasks they complete and what struggles

they may have. Appropriate treatment for

an employee’s situation could range from

intervention, detox, one-to-one coaching –

all aimed to support the individual towards

healthy living and successful sobriety.

Greater openness is now being seen across

the industry and the hope is that those who

are suffering do not feel isolated, stigmatized

or scared they will lose their responsibilities

or job. A culture which tries to prevent

mental health issues is the best way forward

and many must now look to encourage this.

Admitting a problem is often the first step

and companies must have the structure

available to support those who go through

this. Looking after the workforce is a key

priority, without them this industry simply

wouldn’t exist.

epmagazine.co.uk | 35


The move of sustainability to

become an increasing core issue

Wendy Sutherland, Managing Director at Ramsay Todd argues it’s been

a long time in the making but the conversation has now truly started.

Whilst the definition is debated, organisations have no

choice but to demonstrate their credentials and compliance.

We think of sustainability as

being relatively new but it was

on the agenda of the Stockholm

Conference in 1972. It has

however taken over 45 years to become

something that is being actively addressed

by both individuals and the corporate world.

The definition of sustainability has been

debated for decades but, we are now in an era

where discussing what it means and why it’s

important has moved to actually changing

behaviours. We have learnt to consider how

our actions impact on the environment and

others but the biggest step change has been

the infrastructure provided to enable us to

contribute to the sustainability agenda.

So what’s changed? In 1987 the

Brundtland Report defined sustainability

using the concept of three pillars.

Initially the focus was on social aspects

with priority being given to how we could

support poor communities. Charities were

adopted by organisations to demonstrate

to shareholders in their annual reports that

CSR was on their agenda along with CSR

Polices and employing CSR specialists.

Although social and economic aspects are

important, the critical element is now seen as

the environment, which directly impacts on

the other two pillars.

The Brundtland sustainability model was

seen as flawed by many because the pillars

indicated separate and equal entities, which

didn’t acknowledge the interdependencies.

John Elkington’s concept of Triple Bottom

Line Focus then appeared in 1994 outlining a

different perspective;

1. The Financial Result,

2. Care for People (broader society)

3. The Planet – the environment.

The value society now places on

sustainability is moving it towards being a

core issue. Academics and scientists have

done their work by getting governments to

take notice. Public awareness has never been

higher, which drives the behavioural changes

needed to provide a sustainable lifestyle.

Whether we like it or not, we are all part of

the problem as well as part of the solution

hence the reason for local Councils enforcing

recycling to reduce waste going to landfill.

The introduction of legislation and

the growth of global and government

frameworks to address sustainable issues is

ensuring that this subject is not going to go

away. How many of the following are you

aware of ?

n The UN Global Compact

n The Earth Charter

n BS 8900

n The Kyoto Protocol

n ISO 14001

n EMAS (European Eco-Management

and Audit Scheme)

n BSI PAS (Publicly Available

Specification) 2050

Sustainability is now linked to; environment,

development, education, procurement, fashion

(apparently there is a sustainable style!), to

name just a few. Qualifications are available

at degree and masters levels for sustainable

development and in 2016/7 the Corporate

Ethics Mark awarded by CIPS (Chartered

Institute for Procurement and Supply)

included a section on sustainability.

Sustainability is now part of everyday

life and consumer expectations are such

that organisations have no choice but

to demonstrate their credentials and

compliance. This will hopefully deliver further

improvements and developments to support

the objective of preserving resources for future

generations and making a better world for

everyone. There’s a long way to go and it’s a big

task but the conversation is at least underway.

36 | Insights & Action | July 2017


Doing best what

matters most

Nigel Forbes, Managing Partner at The Litmus Partnership explains how

consumer insight allows companies to focus on the most important areas.

Understanding the needs of key stakeholders provides a clear indication of where to focus an

organisations efforts.


n today’s complex world of ever-changing

trends and consumer needs, and nowhere

is this more evident than in the world

of foodservice and hospitality, it’s really

important to track the opinions of key

stakeholders and ensure that efforts are

focused on the areas that are most important

to both the organisation and the people who

work in it.

Consumer research is clearly very

important but too much data can also be

mind-boggling. Even a short questionnaire

can leave you baffled about where to focus

your efforts to improve the services:

n Do you need to extend the range of healthy


n Should you introduce a pre-order system

to alleviate queuing?

n Do you need to increase the number of

plant based menu items?

You will not necessarily find the answers

by concentrating on the areas where

satisfaction is lowest. Measuring satisfaction

alone is one dimensional.

In order to make sure that you are ‘Doing

Best What Matters Most’ you should analyse

the gap between importance and satisfaction

or ‘the satisfaction gap’. This gives you

quantifiable data highlighting areas of your

service that are the furthest away from

meeting consumer expectation.

It is therefore essential to use a research

system that identifies not only customer

satisfaction levels but also the importance

levels of different elements of the service. This

allows completion of a gap analysis exercise.

By using a gap analysis approach you will

be able to:

n Identify the priorities for improvement

– those areas where developments in

performance will produce the greatest gain

in consumer satisfaction

n Set goals for service improvement and

monitor progress against a consumer

satisfaction index

n Improve financial performance through

improved consumer loyalty and retention

By implementing an action plan that

concentrates on the top four or five satisfaction

gaps (the priorities for improvement) you will

automatically increase customer satisfaction

levels. This can be demonstrated by running a

follow up survey a year after the initial one.

A detailed Consumer Insight programme

should includes fully customisable surveys,

onsite support, focus group forums, and

detailed reporting and analysis, leading to the

completion of a prioritised action plan.

Consumer Insights can deliver much

more than an ordinary survey. A tried and

tested methodology will provide an accurate

and robust measure of how satisfied your

customers feel and a clear indication of

where you need to focus your efforts to

improve satisfaction.

Organisations should now be looking

to close the gap between importance and

satisfaction by ‘doing best what matters most’

and therefore increasing the customer’s

satisfaction levels.

epmagazine.co.uk | 37

Leading the

war on waste

with the

big players


EP explores the successful partnership between Compass Group, the UK’s

largest food and support services firm and award winning start-up Winnow.

Saving customers $8m every year in reduced food waste.

In an industry where customers drive demand

and buy-in is required from one’s clients, many

companies struggle to undertake serious

commitments to rethink their business

culture and how it reflects in the market.

However, with customers paying more

attention to the social agenda of businesses,

there is a need to break down barriers and

undertake real actions to drive positive

change. This change can happen within the

company but it often needs the support of

innovation that comes from the outside in

order to meet their targets.

Earlier this year Compass Group UK &

Ireland published its Corporate Responsibility

report, outlining future commitments to

tackle food waste and set itself a target to

reduce waste by 10% against its 2016 level by

2020. This may seem a bold stretch target,

but for those businesses that have signed up

to Courtauld 2025 the case for action clearly

highlights the need for such ambitious targets:

n Meeting global food demand for 2050,

using today’s methods, could increase

global temperatures by 2 degrees, changing

weather patterns

n Eight of the top 10 countries we import

food from are drought prone

n For every three tonnes we eat in the UK,

another tonne goes to waste. We currently

waste around £17 billion of food per year.

Waste is naturally produced in kitchens –

research by WRAP found that 18% of all food

purchased is wasted. In order to meet their

10% target, Compass Group partnered with

Winnow to help them optimise the whole

supply chain and produce more with less.

Using Winnow’s digital scale and smart

meter the team were able to quickly identify

38 | Insights & Action | July 2017



where waste was occurring within their

operations and make adjustments to reduce

waste while still delivering a high quality

service to the customer. The daily reporting

which details where food waste had occurred,

gives the Senior Chefs and Managers the

insight needed to make better production

decisions, produce the correct amount of

food, and reduce waste. The system provides

an estimated cost of the waste too.

Compass originally installed Winnow at

The Wellcome Trust – a global charitable

foundation supporting scientists and

researchers – in October 2014 to help the

team measure, understand and reduce food

waste. The latter appointed Restaurant

Associates (part of Compass Group UK

& Ireland) as its caterer for their central

London head office in an effort to help the

team reduce food waste and Winnow became

a central part of that process.

Since its introduction at The Wellcome

Trust, food waste by value has been reduced

by 70%. Service quality has remained at

high standards but with a lower level of

food wastage – 4.4 tonnes to be precise.

The kitchen is also saving an estimated

19 tonnes of CO 2

emissions every year, not

taking into account the energy saving in

cooking less food nor the reduction in water

usage in growing, transporting and preparing

the food. For the two businesses working

together this has resulted in a much lower

impact on the environment.

Over the next year, Compass will

be introducing this technology into an

additional 500 staff restaurants, universities,

schools and defence sites across the UK.

The caterer is also applying the technology

internationally across Europe and Asia

where results have also been encouraging.

Today the Winnow system is saving its

customers $8m every year in reduced food waste

costs and is live or contracted in over 1,000

sites. Kitchens find on average the Winnow

system helps reduce food costs by 3%–8%.

It might sound obvious but one of the

key indicators of success lies upon the fact

that for the first time large scale operations

could be measured. Better information

collected in a more efficient way enables

Since its introduction at the Wellcome Trust,

food waste by value has been reduced by 70%. Service

quality has remained at high standards but with a

lower level of food wastage – 4.4 tonnes to be precise.

kitchen and facilities teams to meet waste

reduction goals, recording waste in a fraction

of the time with assurance that all sources

of waste are captured daily. The heightened

employee awareness of food waste means

that everyone gets involved in identifying

opportunities for waste reduction and can

deliver quick results, with teams able to

focus efforts on production and service of a

high quality dining experience. To achieve

this there needs to be constant engagement

and communication, educating businesses

on sustainable impacts, managers on the

commercial benefits of embedding such

practices in the culture and day to day work

of teams. Perhaps more important is the need

for Head/Senior chefs to become advocates

for the system, educating their wider teams

and ensuring all are aware of the role they

play in achieving sustainability targets and

the operational efficiency this in turn creates.

Chefs across the industry are incredibly

busy and one of the key challenges that the

foodservice and hospitality sector face is

accurately recording the real value of what

is being thrown away. Recording waste has

previously also been a time consuming

process but by utilizing technology in this

way teams are able to cut this to just 10

minutes per day. Giving chefs more time

while helping cut food waste significantly.

Yet, this does not mean it is an easy

challenge. As much as caterers would like

to undertake serious steps and tackle food

waste, they are often challenged by fierce

competition. This is why change should

not be just about the process but rather

about culture and the openness to welcome

new innovative ideas that can change

the market.

For instance, changing how the food

is displayed on any given day is a way to

present an attractive choice to customers

while also keeping waste to a minimum.

The identification of specific areas of waste

can enable presentation to be tailored

accordingly and waste reduced.

What this demonstrates is that large

companies with the help of the smaller

innovators have the power to promote

positive change and drive a sustainable

agenda not only in business but also in

society. It is important to engage customers

and educate them on the impact they can

have through the choices they make and the

reason behind certain menu choices. If it’s

If it’s perfectly acceptable to re-use our leftovers

at home, is it time that ‘Re-worked’ becomes a word

associated with a quality sustainable menu choice.

perfectly acceptable to re-use our leftovers

at home, is it time that ‘Re-worked’ becomes

a word associated with a quality sustainable

menu choice, rather than with a perceived

inferior quality?

Small and disruptive businesses can play a

leading role in changing the culture of large

and established businesses. It is only a matter

of driving the agenda forward and the two

working in collaboration.

epmagazine.co.uk | 39

Which hat should

procurement really wear?

Julian Fris, Director at Neller Davies explores the

very varied world of the procurement process.

More for less – sound familiar?


ecent market changes have

contributed to smaller margins

and, in turn, more pressure on

the profitability of outsourcing

contracts. In the past ten years catering

and FM margins have roughly halved;

many we see are now less than 5%.

Where do companies turn to? There

are few people who can argue that

procurement is the ‘go to’ place when

looking at ‘smarter’ operations, and the

more efficient purchase of goods and

services from suppliers.

Most progressive organisations will see

procurement as one of their core strategic

functions, however, the process itself

wears many hats and the approach varies,

particularly when it comes down to the old

private vs public debate.

Whilst there are variants, the public

sector essentially operates four models

for FM and catering; restricted, negotiated,

dialogue and ‘light-touch’. If we take

restricted and dialogue models (light-touch

only concentrates on contracts up to

the value of 186k euros and where there

are significant levels of income), we can see

some real advantages and some significant


The restricted model basically involves

a client putting a contract notice on OJEU

(Official Journal of the European Union)

or some other channels, identifying what

type of service it requires. Suppliers can then

apply directly.

“Whilst there are variants, the public sector

essentially operates four models for FM and catering;

restricted, negotiated, dialogue and ‘light-touch’.”


40 | Insights & Action | July 2017



Restricted – best and final

The tender they initially submitted is their

best and final offer and that its. Bids are

assessed on a ‘price and quality’ basis and

the company which scores highest wins

the contract.

This sounds pretty straightforward and

fair, if you know exactly what you want.

However, what if, during the tender

process, you identify some gaps or changes

you’d like to make in the brief ? You are not

able to change without starting the process

again. Furthermore, what if you realise that,

during the tender process, the company

which scored the highest isn’t the right

cultural fit for the organisation it is about to

work with?

As we know, engagement and relationship

are the backbone of a successful servicebased


The dialogue based approach is quite

different. A so-called descriptive document

is distributed through OJEU, organisations

will go through a period of discussion and

engagement with all stakeholders. This is

likely to result in a brief that all parties are

engaged with, however, it could take up to

around 18 months to finalise – about double

that if restricted.


Restricted is great if you know exactly what

you want and have all the back-up data and

policies. Dialogue is best for developing

strategy but there is a danger that it can be

open-ended. The negotiated procedure does

give an opportunity for a best and final offer

and works quite well with catering subsidies

but you have to ensure that the process is

fair and transparent.

On many public contracts, smaller

businesses are at a disadvantage at the

pre-qualification stage because they have

insufficient collateral. This means the

bigger players will win every time. SMEs

are then relegated to second-tier suppliers.

This can’t be good for the market.

The benefits, however, are clear –

avoidance of fraud or corruption and

strict procedures means that everything

is transparent.

The public sector is

strong on process,

discipline, governance,

and compliance – it

has to be. The public

demands to know how

its money is being spent

and rightly so.

Cultural fit

In the private sector, the major difference

here is that organisations can invite

companies they already know of and ask

them to bid. The first impression is to say

that they immediately rule out competition,

but the onus is really on suppliers to engage

with companies whose cultures match

their own.

In a private sector tender process,

suppliers or contractors go through a similar

pre-qualification phase and we will shortlist

those who get through to the next round. The

difference here is that we can all be flexible.

This can also mean that SMEs are able to

be in with a shout of competing as the client

may be less risk averse.

More importantly, the companies

shortlisted will also be measured on cultural

fit throughout the process.

Brand perception

Any cleaning, reception, catering,

grounds maintenance business can offer

the right algorithm on paper but, as

ambassadors for the end client, they will

need to share similar values and blend

into their environment. The wrong service

provider can alienate customers and

this naturally has a real impact on the

bottom line.

The public sector is strong on process,

discipline, governance, and compliance –

it has to be. The public demands to know

how its money is being spent and rightly so.

Many like to buy into the phrase that

the ‘private sector is service driven and the

public sector is process and cost driven’

– neither are bad and both can improve

procurement processes.

So if the question is ‘which’ is better?

The answer probably lies somewhere in the

middle, or, it really depends on the appetite

of the client. The private sector can learn a

lot from the discipline of the public sector,

however, the public sector can do more

to ensure that it opens itself up to more

opportunity for competition.

epmagazine.co.uk | 41

What can we do to help

tackle the obesity crisis?

Should consultants put pressure on caterers for the sake of the next generation

asks Andrew Etherington, Director at Andrew Etherington Associates.

With rising obesity levels, how should the industry react and is it partly to blame?


t is a sad, but well-known fact that rates

of obesity in the UK are continuing to

rise. At a school meals conference last

week we were told that 1 in 10 children

starting infants school are overweight or

obese, and this rises to a staggering 1 in 4

when they move to secondary schools some 6

years later. It was also noted that 70 per cent

of the adults in the UK are predicted to be

overweight or obese by 2034.

Yet it is rare these days to find a school

meals catering contractor who does not

proudly boast that “we are a fresh food

company”. Something must be going wrong,

somewhere. To be fair to these caterers,

eating at school accounts for only 190 out of

the 1,100 meals children consume each year.

So they can’t really take the blame, and the

government’s School Food Plan does mean

that caterers are strictly limited to what they

can serve.

So is it on the high street that the blame

lies? We all know of well-known bakery

chains that sell bags of doughnuts to children

on the way to school, and stop at any

motorway service station and you will see the

longest queues at the likes of McDonalds and

KFC. Supermarket shelves are overflowing

with ready meals containing excessive

amounts of fat and salt, let alone BOGOFs,

supersized multi-packs and massive bottles

of sugary fizzy drinks.

I was amazed this weekend to see a newly

opened kiosk in my local shopping centre

that will “blend” soft ice cream with any kind

of chocolate bar you wish. As this was in

affluent Royal Tunbridge Wells, you might

think that it’s to be expected that I should be

“disgusted”, but we know that rates of obesity

are directly linked to levels of deprivation.

As I travel around the country with my work

I see that in much poorer areas such as the

Midlands and Northern England, it is the

norm to see a multitude of takeaways selling

cheap fast food. It seems that it is cheaper to

live off that kind of diet rather than buying

fresh food and cooking it at home.

Surely we must be on safer and healthier

ground in our hospitals? As a patient on

the wards you almost certainly are fed a

balanced and healthy diet, but take a look

at the heavily commercialised visitor areas

and you will definitely find the complete

opposite. How can it be, that when the NHS

is burdened with a £16 billion annual bill

for addressing the results of obesity such as

treating diabetes and heart disease (more

than the £13.6 billion the cost of the police

and fire service combined), NHS managers

are seeking to maximise their income from

well-known high street franchisees who sell a

vast range of profitable yet unhealthy sweets,

sandwiches, snacks and fizzy drinks.

As consultants who presumably have

a key role in influencing the eating habits

of the customer, do we have a moral duty

to espouse a healthy lifestyle and improve

the well-being of our nation? Are we really

thought leaders, or do we simply shrug and

reflect what we see happening around us?

How can it be, that when the NHS is burdened with a

£16 billion annual bill for addressing the results

of obesity, NHS managers are seeking to maximise their

income from well-known high street franchisees who

sell a vast range of profitable yet unhealthy sweets.


42 | Insights & Action | July 2017



Despite this seemingly disastrous

prospect, I am pleased to say that we are

now seeing some good signs that things are

actually changing.

Schools are increasingly growing herbs,

vegetables and fruit on site. Cookery lessons

are being included on the curriculum

and children are once again starting

to understand the link between fresh

ingredients and a healthy diet.

It was recently reported that younger

people are drinking significantly less than

older generations – especially the over 60s

like me! New students arriving at University

are being offered free courses in “Ten key

dishes you can cook yourself from scratch”

and college and university caterers report

that the healthier options are becoming

much more popular at their sites.

New students

arriving at university

are being offered free

courses in “Ten key

dishes you can cook

yourself from scratch”

Whilst the government is, for some

reason, reluctant to impose seemingly

common sense measures such a sugar tax,

limits on pack sizes and multi-buys or a ban

on fast food advertising on the television,

manufacturers are at last bowing to pressure.

Products clearly showing reduced levels of

fat, salt and sugar are selling well, and the

ever-popular meal deals now all include

healthy options such as cut fruit and

flavoured waters in place of a bag of crisps

and unhealthy soft drinks.

As caterers we are all witnessing the

massive increase in home deliveries.

Hopefully this must mean that customers are

eating the same freshly prepared dishes at

home as they would eat in a restaurant. We

are also seeing the acceptance of mis-shapen

or knobbly fruit and vegetables, and all chefs

should be buying these, rather than insisting

on supermarket “quality” ingredients.

If manufacturers are altering the recipes

of many of their products to reduce fat, sugar

and salt content, for the sake of the next

generation should we, as consultants, also

put pressure on caterers to do the same?

epmagazine.co.uk | 43


Sweating your assets

Running a café, restaurant or bar is an expensive business.

Niall McCann, Partner at Joelson explains why not using the regulatory

regime to its full extent can be wasteful in the extreme.

Rent reviews can bite, rates have recently risen and salaries are on the up.

All premises which sell alcohol by

retail on a permanent basis will

have a premises licence.

It is important to regularly

conduct a ‘health check’ to ensure that

the hours and conditions on the premises

licence are fit for purpose. For example, do

the permitted hours reflect those of rival

premises? If not, seeking to extend permitted

hours is not necessarily a daunting task,

especially if the premises enjoys support

from local residents, has a good relationship

with statutory authorities (such as the

police and environmental health) and the

hours sought comply with the local council’s

licensing policy.

Conditions should also not be ignored.

Many premises simply live with onerous

conditions which are completely unnecessary

to uphold the four licensing objectives,

namely: the prevention of crime and disorder,

public safety, the prevention of public

nuisance and the protection of children from

harm. Examples include requirements to

have door supervisors or noise limiters when

the style of operation should not require

them. You might even find that some councils

are happy for such changes to be made by way

of the minor variation process which attracts

a fee of only £89.

Many operators of licensed premises

simply forget that, in addition to the benefits

of a premises licence, they can still use a

full allowance of Temporary Event Notices

(“TEN”) which currently stands at 15 notices

a year over a total of 21 days. With a TEN

“It is all too easy

when faced with an

everyday ‘battle for

survival’ to overlook

the bigger picture.”

lasting up to 7 days clever use of them can

have a significant impact on the bottom line,

even if just utilised over the busy Christmas

period. Also, commanding a fee of only £21

they are particularly cost effective. One word

of warning though: if you have a pre-arranged

event be careful to apply in time (10 working

days in advance for a standard TEN and 5

working days for a late TEN). One should

also note that a TEN from 11.00 p.m. to

01.00 a.m. the following morning, whilst

only two hours, counts as two days so the

allowance of 21 days can quickly be ‘used up’

if care is not taken.

The potential to use outside areas is also

often overlooked by operators of cafes, bars

and restaurants. Even if there is no outside

area within a premises’ demise tables and

chairs could still potentially be placed on

the public pavement. Whilst a (potentially

costly) tables and chairs licence will be

required, provided that the pavement is wide

enough and free from obstructions, most

councils will grant permission. Even if the

weather is not favourable, the presence of

outside tables and chairs can prove a useful

visual clue to potential customers as the

existence of a food and drink operation.

The same could also be said of an awning

which, whilst requiring planning permission,

does not require an annual fee to be paid to

the local council.

It is all too easy when faced with an

everyday ‘battle for survival’ to overlook

the bigger picture. Sometimes some

relatively simple and cost effective changes

to the licensing and regulatory permissions

affecting a business can have just as big an

impact on driving revenue as increasing

staffing or significant capital expense.

44 | Insights & Action | July 2017


A journey of


Olubunmi Okolosi, founder of Kajola

explains the process that has led to the

launch of a new consultancy.

Building a company from a love of the industry.

If someone asked was it your aim or dream

to start your own business I would have

always answered NO. My ambition wasn’t

ever to own my own business, I just wanted

to be respected by my peers. It was about

eight years ago when the penny began to drop

and I began to understand my value and how

I felt undervalued.

There is nothing wrong with taking home

a salary and working what your contracted to

do, I however never worked in that way. Since

the age of fifteen when I knew I wanted to

be a chef I was always the kid that put in that

little bit more – I’d come in early, often just

for the thrill of it, I would stay an extra hour

no worries. As I made my way up the career

ladder, I put in more with the thirst to learn

and understand more about the key driving

forces of hospitality.

Hospitality is my love and as I began

as this skinny black kid down in rural

Hampshire my boundless energy and

enthusiasm drove that desire to grow. Along

my path to where I sit today (Amsterdam at

the desk with my daughter playing next to

me) I’ve had some incredible role models

– from Whitbread pub operators, Hilton

hotel restaurant managers, to leading Chefs

like Ashley Palmer-Watts, Virgilio Martinez

and Brad McDonald to energetic founders

of businesses like James Walters and Peter

Prescott and legendary college faculty heads

like Gerry Shurman.

All have taught me lessons along this

incredible journey but what I’ve realised now

is I’m tasked to take the next step and at first

I couldn’t figure out how. I’ve now come to a

stage where I’ve completed a very corporate

European group director role which made

me realise that to take the next steps I must

transform myself. The biggest answer I had

to find whilst pondering this was how do I

do that? This role made me move from UK

Since the age of fifteen

when I knew I wanted

to be a chef I was always

the kid that put in that

little bit more.

to mainland Europe at the time when the

UK started to ask the question of BREXIT.

Doing this role made me understand the

battle of mind-set – corporate governance

vs entrepreneurship, tradition vs innovation

and being a conformist vs a disruptor.

In the end, I set about ferociously reading

about philosophy’s, management styles,

leadership and entrepreneurship. I contacted

the CMI, IC and countless other institutes

to understand what I could learn and they’re

offering. I took in brilliant articles like

‘The Busier you are the more you need

quiet time’ by Justin Talbot-Zorn and Leigh

Marz, hbr.org and ‘Creating a Latticework

of Mental Models: An Introduction’ by

farnamstreetblog.com. The article that

really hit home was ‘The Talent Curse’ by

Jennifer Petriglieri and Gianpiero Petriglieri

published in The Harvard Business Review

– The Curse of being labelled a Star. After

that a reoccurring thing came back and

that was at the top you become more and

more isolated and so I set myself a target

to complete a personal development plan

with the aim of not being old school and

isolationist but new school and connecting.

I completed a personal analysis, outlined

some clear goals and added some personal

objectives. Muted goes the volume of an

operator and I increase the innovative to

bring balance to my perspective. I’m now

at the final stage of bringing together a

ten-point philosophy that I’ve already

spent five months chewing over and it’s

underpinned by all the experiences I’ve

had but is modernity personified, as that is

me. What I’ve realised on this journey to

transformation is that my thinking is not

a conformist but more disruptor. I’m part

of a new school of thinking and I’m about

to launch my international hospitality and

restaurant consultancy called Kajola.

epmagazine.co.uk | 45


What is the approach?

It is not an easy process to go through outside

one’s comfort zone

It can bring a focus and a sense of purpose


46 | Insights & Action | July 2017


Reinvention is about creating

change in one’s career and life –

engaging new social networks,

new challenges, and new skills,

seeing a different perspective. One could

argue that is about developing a bespoke

individualised marketing campaign but

this would be too simplistic.

One group of friends decided to create

change in their lives by doing new things and

meeting new people. They went to ballroom

dance classes, joined a jazz society, embraced

to new business networks and within

months, found new opportunities.

It may sound easy but two core points

need to be raised:

1. Many struggle to go outside their natural

comfort zones and need support to do so

2. At the heart, there needs to be a desire

to learn – new skills, new culture and new

knowledge. Without this, it is impossible

to change.

Many want to change their careers; change

their lives but struggle to think differently

about their careers and networks. Our

approach is about creating bespoke plans that

focus on change.

The pace of change

in the last decade

has been challenging

but has also opened

up the opportunities

for reinvention

There are many senior professionals that do

want to change as they feel stale and lacking

in motivation. They want to have interesting,

fulfilling work and face new challenges – just

different ones. For some, they no longer want

the frenetic pace of top corporate jobs, or

there are those that want to contribute more

to the wider community. For others, they feel

a lack of self-confidence/self-esteem and

want to find a new sense of purpose. Some

may have retired early – from sport, from

business – but still want to add value and have

a focus in their lives. Everyone has a different

base point but it is probably why so many are

lured towards consultancy work – there are a

reputed 500,000 business consultants in the

UK – and often with it the promise of flexible

hours, higher rates, location independence.

However, there are greater options as

business and charities are calling out for

talent to help them as well as whole range

of other crafts that one can learn and find a

renewed energy and purpose.

So how does one reinvent themselves?

In fairness it is not an easy process and

that is why it is important to work with

an independent source. It is can be partly

by gaining an objective perspective but

it is more about thinking differently –

creating new ideas and options, finding

new knowledge, seeing the external market

through different eyes and working with

someone to go outside your comfort zone.

Reinvention will mean that one has to

explore new territory and that can be difficult.

So what does a coach do?

n Create a bespoke plan that explores

new options

n Create a marketing and social plan for

the Individual

n Skill analysis and evaluation

n Support new learning

n Be social. This part can be both fun and

engaging – but it is hard to break into new

networks without help

n Create change at an organised pace.

It won’t just happen. It takes time, thought

and planning

n Support the change process. Leaving one

career to start another will raise its own issues

The process does require an investment but

will create a journey of change in knowledge,

perspective and challenge. It takes courage to

change but today this has become a constant

truth. The pace of change in the last decade

has been challenging but has also opened

up the opportunities for reinvention – this

process would have been far less likely and

possible without the changes brought about

by the social and business change created by

the digital revolution.

Could it be time for your own bespoke


epmagazine.co.uk | 47

How will we cater for the

rise of tall office towers?

Paul Greenwood, Business Development Manager at Tricon looks at the

potential effect on future catering service delivery.

With stringent constraints and space implications, how will contractors deliver innovation

solutions for the tower buildings?

The majority of the 455 tall

buildings (described as 20 storeys

or more) planned for London’s

skyline will be residential, though

despite Brexit fears, the requirement for new

office space also shows no slowing. The last

ten years has seen a boom in the construction

of tall buildings, fuelled by the demand for

modern office space and high house prices.

Planning permission granted for tall office

buildings, in some cases, continues to be

controversial and this has led to a number

of conditions that could affect directly any

future kitchens or restaurants within the

offices. One example of the conditions being

imposed by planners is restrictions on the

permitted weekly number of deliveries/

pickups and the size and type of vehicles that

will be used. If the building is to be multitenanted,

the typical number of deliveries for

the food and beverage operations alone will

far exceed the permitted allowance. These

factors, along with the ever increasing cost

of space within buildings, are challenging

the strategy and design for future catering

operations and require innovative solutions.

In the very early stages, one of the

developer’s key considerations is to maximise

the letting potential of their building. One

area where a foodservice consultant can

add real value is to identify what hospitality

facilities and services could or should be

provided within the tower and develop the

potential demand model. The design team

can then consider the impact on space,

If the building is to

be multi-tenanted,

the typical number of

deliveries for the food

and beverage operations

alone will far exceed the

permitted allowance.

distribution logistics and MEP provision at

base build stage, taking into consideration

the potential for tenants to provide their own

hospitality and catering facilities against the

landlord providing centralised amenities.

This strategy would consider the implications

of either a single operator providing all

services, a multi-operator model or a hybrid

solution with a master caterer ‘curating’ a

range of niche or specialist providers.

Traditionally a single firm of 1,000

employees might have to relinquish 500m 2

to support catering at a cost of circa £600k

per annum in rent, energy and operating

costs. In a tower, with the potential for

10,000+ employees across a single or

multiple tenants, this has significant bottom

line cost implications.

So how can the contractors deliver

innovative solutions for these towers?

With the stringent delivery constraints and

space/cost implications one solution is for

contractors to build and operate a central

production kitchen (CPK) outside of the

City. Such a facility could then operate as

an off-site commissary for a number of F&B

operations, receiving and decanting bulk

deliveries direct from suppliers prior to

consolidation and transportation to meet

individual client site requirements. Fresh

food (anything from salads and sandwiches

to full main meals) can be prepared in bulk,

providing economies of scale and meaning

that the onsite kitchens, at individual units,

will require only holding, service and, if


48 | Insights & Action | July 2017



“One solution is for contractors to build and

operate a central production kitchen outside of the

City. Such a facility could then operate as an off-site

commissary for a number of F&B operations.”

required, reheat facilities. The impact for the

individual client is reduced space, energy and

staffing costs.

This will of course have a significant

impact on the way catering contracts are

delivered in the future. A contractor investing

in a major CPK will have a significant off-site

capital and operational cost that will need

to be factored into future contract models.

Client property and FM teams will need to

understand the ‘real’ cost of their catering

operations which will include space, rent,

capital and utilities as well as standard

operating costs. This will facilitate a true

like for like comparison either when going

to market for potential operators or when

planning new facilities.

Sounds like a win-win situation. However,

contractors will be looking for guaranteed

business volumes over extended tenures to

recover their investment in a CPK. Clients,

meanwhile need to have confidence that

there is sufficient resilience and capacity

in a full off-site production model before

committing to not providing their own full

service kitchens on site.

This raises the question of the contractors’

appetites to make such an investment in what

historically has been considered a risk adverse

sector; who’s going to take the plunge?

epmagazine.co.uk | 49


Is this the

magic solution?

Greater empowerment ticks all the right boxes but isn’t

the default management style in many companies.

Michèle Moore, Director at engagemoore, argues that adopting this model can lead to success.

In my last article I explored how to return

time and space to middle managers

to focus on relationship building and

suggested the first step is to “Invest in,

educate and truly empower the front line”

It sounds expensive and potentially nerve

wracking but it doesn’t have to be a huge leap

into the dark. I see so many organisations

missing a simple step that requires relatively

little (or no) investment and offers big

returns in terms of employee engagement,

productivity and customer satisfaction.

What is this seemingly magic solution?

Involving the people who deal directly

with the (internal or external) customer in

discussing as a team how the job should get

done, how to meet or exceed expectations

and how to resolve issues.

Whilst it’s hardly a new idea – it was

one of the principles expounded by

Dr. W. Edwards Deming back in the 1950s

and is a cornerstone within customer centric

companies such as Waitrose – it is still

surprisingly rare to find it forming part of

a deliberate strategy or management style.

Deming is considered by many to be the

master of continual quality improvement.

He is held is high regarded for significantly

contributed to the dramatic turnaround of

post-war Japanese industry, and their rise to

a world economic power.

In his book, Drive, Dan Pink draws

together extensive research on what

motivates people at work and identifies three

key drivers: purpose, mastery and autonomy.

Involving people in problem solving goes a

very long way towards meeting all three and

providing employees with a fulfilling and

enriching role.

By regularly involving front line teams

in problem solving and continuous

improvement conversations:

n They gain confidence in their own

skills and abilities

n They develop essential problem

solving skills

n They share best practice and learn from

each other. (We know that learning through

discovery and peers is faster and more

effective than any top down effort to dictate

or persuade)

n They feel valued by their line manager

and the organisation

n They develop their sense of ownership

of the customer experience and their own


This in turn prepares individuals and

teams for greater empowerment as, in order

to feel empowered, people typically need

four things:

In his book, Drive, Dan Pink

draws together extensive research on

what motivates people at work and

identifies three key drivers: purpose,

mastery and autonomy.

n skills

n knowledge

n support

n and the right attitude (i.e. they have to

want to be empowered)

Great empowerment is a win-win-win:

better service for the customer, greater

employee engagement and more time for the

manager to focus on the future instead of the

day to day.

So why is this still not the default

management style in more companies?

It requires an understanding that the

power of the leader or manager doesn’t

reside in holding all the cards (information,

resources, decision making…). On the

contrary, true power comes from sharing

those cards with the team at every

opportunity whilst maintaining ultimate

accountability (hence the pay differential).

The “command and control” era is over

but middle managers or supervisors often

lack a clear model of what the alternative

looks like.

50 | Insights & Action | July 2017


The theory of

equality of respect

Aren’t you bored hearing that Hospitality is not a profession?

Over the last few weeks we have seen a new momentum to the old discussion piece that says that

the Industry is not viewed as a profession and as result loses out. This is an argument of the past.


number have approached us

arguing that they are frustrated

that the Industry is not viewed

as a profession as with other

disciplines. Over the last year we have

spent a lot of time with investors, corporate

finance, lawyers and accountants and there

is one truth we have learnt – they respect

hospitality greatly and really enjoy the

dynamics of the sector. The one group

that needs to understand that the industry

is respected is the industry itself. We are

fortunate enough to work in one of the most

exciting of industries where professionalism

is displayed by the great chefs, waiting staff

and managers across the country.

Moreover, we would argue that Hospitality

leaders are as honourable a group as one will

find. It really is time to put away this argument.

The whole debate does remind one of the

perspective put forward by Viscount Thurso

many years ago about the theory of equality

of respect which says that it is important

that people are judged by the quality of their

work, not the money that they earn – and

he is absolutely right. It is the bedrock of

Hospitality as there are many great employees

that can make the Industry excellent.

The Industry does not need to look over

and envy at any other sector. It just needs to

believe in itself and its people.

Industries are judged today by performance,

innovation, service and people and Hospitality

scores highly in all these areas.

There are other sectors that face greater

crisis but just don’t lack in self-confidence.

The irony is that Hospitality will often

be better.

The Industry is one of the leading employers

in this country. It contributes significantly to

both the economy and back to shareholders. It

has become central to daily life and to society.

“It is important that

people are judged by

the quality of their work,

not the money that

they earn.”


However we do need, it can be argued,

to earn the ear of government better but

Government wants to find solutions to

problems and the industry has always worked

to solve its own issues.

Our challenge is to ensure the ground is

laid for the next generations and we do really

support young talent. We also do need to tell

our story better. For whatever reason we have

struggled to sell our story but we do need to.

epmagazine.co.uk | 51


The thoughts and views of leading consultants


Thanks to our contributors and sponsors

Bob Cotton

Non-executive director

Nigel Forbes

Managing partner

The Litmus Partnership

Julian Fris


Neller Davies

Mike Day



Kate Taylor


Olubunmi Okolosi



Paul Greenwood

Business development



Michèle Moore



Chris Stern

Managing director

Stern Consultancy

David Russell


The Russell Partnership


Martin-Christian Kent

Executive director

People 1st

Wendy Sutherland

Managing director

Ramsay Todd

Chris Humphrey


Peter Pitham

MD/principal consultant

Catering Consultancy


Aleksandrina Rizova


ALEKSA studio

Malcolm Ross


Niall McCann



Miles Quest

Managing director

Wordsmith and


Andrew Etherington


Andrew Etherington


Giles Gordon-Smith



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