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

October 2017 • Issue 06 • £5.00 • epmagazine.co.uk













Visual stories of the last decade

The hospitality industry is an exciting, vibrant and visual story that is engaging

customers every day. Over the last ten years EP has been privileged to

photograph many of the great leaders and businesses in action. Hospitality

Illustrated will be a photographic book with over 400 photos that really tell the

story of the last decade.


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Sharing knowledge is essential


The thoughts and views of leading consultants


Editor: Ben Butler


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© 2017 EP magazine is owned by Chess Executive Ltd.

Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of

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Cover shot: Ponsuwan, 123rf.com

When EP created Insights & Action, the vision was to create a platform for

thought leadership and knowledge share. We believe this is now being achieved

due to the fascinating contributions from a wide range of consultants and

respected operators. There is much to discuss on the market and the industry,

this magazine should be the platform for it.

It has therefore been natural in many ways to decide to hold a day of discussion which

enables original thinking and breaks down some of the traditional barriers which currently

exist between operators, consultants and clients. We are therefore delighted to announce

that on 14th November 2017 we will bring the industry together for an open and informal

all-day conference which really aims to explain the dynamics at play. The ultimate purpose

is to enable business growth and industry improvements. Join us for a day of meaningful

debate and networking opportunities.

EP has always stood for creating positive change and many articles within this issue

question and explain the current standing of the industry. The workplace revolution is causing

change for catering and Chris Stern, MD at Stern Consultancy argues that the industry must

be prepared. Nutritionist Kate Taylor argues a similar point that it is now essential to fuel for

optimum performance both at work and at home.

Elsewhere in this issue Kevin Watson, MD of Amadeus explains why they aim to halve

the amount of sugar in their operations and we introduce Stephen Waterman, MD of Food

& Hospitality at ISS who brings vast experience from the world of fitness, sport, health

and wellbeing. New dimensions to the traditional offer are needed. Architect/Director

Aleksandrina Rizova explores how pushing the boundaries of design and engagement can

attract the customer and Simon Carey, Director at Blink Cafes asks if collaboration can

lead to the best delivery.

It is a captivating time in the industry and there is much need to come together and discuss.

There are questions and concerns on leadership development, a lack of talent and skills.

However there is a huge opportunity for success and for the bigger picture – growth, added

value and future proofing. Solutions are there for those who seek it.


Why not get involved online?

Check out a wealth of articles from

EP magazine on our website:


Ben Butler



Find out more about EP’s Entrepreneurs Club



View other EP magazines www.epmagazine.co.uk

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Chris Sheppardson

Sara Stewart Nick Sheppardson Lauran Bush Heather Gibson

Natalia Latorre

epmagazine.co.uk | 3



October 2017 • Issue 06 • epmagazine.co.uk




8 Tax policies: A new approach is needed

New tax policies could be introduced post-Brexit which

would benefit hospitality.

25 Noise nuisance

How to keep the neighbours happy.

34 The changing face of procurement

The e-procurement arena today offers exciting new

opportunities, but are we taking advantage?

42 How much is your data worth?

Will Burton explains why hospitality needs to be prepared.


14 The man behind the story

Surinder Arora is a name well known but arguably few

know much about the man.


19 Fighting together

How do a research charity, a contract caterer and a food tech

company lead by example in the fight against food waste?


16 Making Movement

Bringing a new dimension to the catering traditional offer.

22 Game Changer

The Concerto Group have partnered with Apex Hotels.

26 The diversity and inclusion agenda

Why there is a need to live and breathe an embracing and

inclusive culture.

32 Caterers with a conscience

Amadeus on halving the amount of sugar in its operation.


6 Facilities managers will always need


Will smaller players continue to enter the market?

12 The leadership debate shouldn’t be

about leadership but about mentorship

Two-way generational mentorship can solve the leadership

problems of today.

13 Is sustainability going mainstream?

We may be asking the wrong question on sustainability.

4 | Insights & Action | October 2017



The thoughts and views of leading consultants



20 The 21st century manager

Martin-Christian Kent at People 1st explores how the changing

role of managers can help to create quality jobs.

21 Should we listen to Vanilla Ice for

management advice?

Companies who try to provide all services should instead

collaborate for best delivery.

24 Unleash the potential of the front-line

Time investment can bring positive outcomes.

28 Catering and the workplace revolution

Chris Stern argues agile workspace is well and truly here.

30 Is zero waste really possible?

Is it feasible to achieve “zero waste” in a staff restaurant.

35 Procurement: Is it time to break

the mould?

Both public and private sector are going through changes,

but are they for the better?

36 Going global

Is there a catering operations benefit from a common

catering policy?

38 Has outsourcing had its shelf life?

We may have reached that point.

40 What makes pop-up ventures truly exciting?

Pushing the boundaries of traditional design and engagement.

43 An impossible dream?

Peter Pitham asks how young people can enter this world today.

44 Are you starving your workplace diners of


The changing world of work is impacting catering.

46 Does the model need to change?

What will be the future differentiator between foodservice


48 Personalising the intangible and tangible

Brand persona and its reflection on your business.

50 Fit for purpose

Today’s changing environment requires a specialist approach.


10 Fuelling for optimum performance

Insight into the importance of fuelling.

epmagazine.co.uk | 5

Facilities managers will

always need alternatives

Tracey Fairclough at Turpin Smale Catering Consultants explains the

debate over whether smaller players will continue to enter the market.

How they will get noticed and utilized?

When I first joined the wonderful

world of contract catering

around ten years ago, there

were just a few large players

and many smaller ones; almost a completely

different scenario to today.

I even remember buying the only book I

could find mentioned ‘Contract Catering’ on

Amazon for valuable insight into the brave

new world I was stepping into; from the heady

heights of marketing and advertising. My

reading collateral referred to the “BIG 4”

caterers who dominated the contract catering

sector – Elior, Compass, Aramark and Sodexo.

Within a year of joining one of the “BIG 4”,

a fifth player emerged; cue the meteoric rise of

Baxter Storey, the new kid on the block, and

soon referred to as one of the “BIG 5”.

Today I’m a catering consultant at Turpin

Smale and it’s my job to know who’s who out

there, what they’re doing, how well they’re

doing it and what they cost. Knowing the

benefits of both large and small caterer

is important.

I can categorically say the food service

sector is almost unrecognisable to the one I

joined ten years ago. The market has changed

and is constantly evolving; that’s life. Why?

Well the smaller guys are there to offer what

the bigger guys seemingly can’t; a classic case

of David Meets Goliath. Here are my pros

and cons of both.

Smaller Caterers


Quick to change – They can change

tactics quicker than larger caterers, even

take a product to market quicker. A larger

caterer has procedures involving many

people, departments and processes, giving

the smaller caterer the time advantage.

You can also adapt your product around

customer feedback and whilst they’re gaining

approvals, can sell the street food concept

they saw today… tomorrow.

A family feel – Feeling part of a family is an

advantage; employees perceive themselves to

be treated more like family, and in many cases

The smaller guys are there to offer

what the bigger guys seemingly can’t;

a classic case of David Meets Goliath.

they’re truly both a family member and part

of the family business. This feeling creates

tremendous energy during projects and

through tough times. The “We Are Family”

with a charismatic leader can lead a small

catering business to great success.

Close to the customer – Being close to

customers is key to success. A large caterer has

many layers, departments and procedures that

can prevent close customer contact. A small

caterer is much closer to the customer, better

able to meet customers more frequently,

develop more personal relationships, make

more bespoke products and address customer

complaints quicker and more personally,

which makes long-term customer relations

easier and more profitable.


Lack of progression – Some small caterers

manage to stay afloat and be successful

without any further growth; for these players,

it’s a case of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” The

clients who stay with these, whilst content

with ‘a family feel’ might get left behind and

find it hard to move forward.

Capital investment – Again, this depends

on the company. Some may have significantly

less in the pot, so are unable to afford to

invest as much as the larger caterers. That

being said, some smaller businesses have

fewer costs and overheads, so they can splash

out on bigger salaries which delivers a better

quality of service provider, although they

might not necessarily be able to refurbish to

deliver a more upbeat, contemporary facility

designed to drive sales.

6 | Insights & Action | October 2017


Nowhere to hide – With the larger caterers,

if you mess up or if you aren’t pulling your

weight, it’s usually pretty easy to get away

with it. In a smaller company, all eyes are on

you – whether you’re the catering manager,

account manager or managing director.

Everyone’s attitude and contributions can have

a knock-on effect on the whole team. While

some people may find this daunting, others are

spurred on by this. It makes them work harder

and harder and can mean better results. This

can be great because you’re in a small business,

so you’ll get the recognition you deserve.

Large Caterers


A name that speaks for itself –Usually

industry-renowned brands which alone can

benefit a particular industry-renowned client

company; they have a proven track record,

their goods and services often sell themselves

and having a big player in your supply chain

can be impressive.

More bundled packages – Generally

speaking, the bigger the business, the more

money they have to spend and invest and this

is where they can offer clients more “bang for

the buck”, such as add-on services including

vending, event catering, cleaning and or

reception services as well as catering and


Multiple locations and sectors – Some

of the bigger caterers operate across several

sectors (i.e. visitor attractions, high street

retail brands, education, healthcare, stadia,

events) and this is where you, as a client

company, benefit from the breadth of

foodservice experience and knowledge.


Red tape and bureaucracy – The layered

multi-sector structures can be a drawback,

decisions made slower, getting passed from

pillar to post. The bigger caterers tend to

be bound by more restrictions and rules,

causing frustration for you – as a client –

who just want things done a certain way

(i.e. promoting that artisan producer in the

nearby farm). Things are more rigid.

Just a number – Client companies served

by the larger caterers sometimes see such a

transformation in their supplier relationship

that what was once a valued, devoted, family

feel caterer has morphed into a sea of faces

and a caterer that doesn’t seem to deliver

quality engagement. Unfortunately, this is

the by-product of the caterer’s success, as it’s

transitioned from small to big and it’s become

all about the numbers and you – as the client

company – have become just a number.

More formal relationships – Smaller

caterers do not tend to rely on e-mail as a

way of communicating with members of

the project team and tend to be perhaps

more generally informal and rely on verbal

communication – with clients, customers

and stakeholders – as well.

Summary table of pros and cons of small caterer versus large caterer



Small caterer Quick to change Lack of progression

A family feel

Capital Investment

Close to the customer

Nowhere to hide

Large caterer A name that speaks for itself Red tape and bureaucracy

More bundled packages

Just a number

Multiple locations and sectors More formal relationships

In conclusion it’s pretty clear that there are plenty of good reasons for smaller players

to continue to enter the market and stay there. In fact, suffice to say, the market relies

on them doing so. It will be these smaller players who’ll get noticed – as they are doing

right now – and utilised because they do it differently to the larger caterers and, above

all, clients will need them to provide alternatives.

epmagazine.co.uk | 7

Tax policies:

A new approach is needed

New tax policies could be introduced post-Brexit which

would benefit UK tourism and hospitality. The industry should be

considering them now, say Bob Cotton and Miles Quest.

Whether the industry recognizes it or not, UK tourism and hospitality is currently on a roll.


ake one main indicator. The

declining value of the pound is

having a highly beneficial impact

on UK tourism which is currently

second only to Spain in Europe for tourism

growth. Revenue from inbound tourism

jumped by five per cent in May and by 14 per

cent in the year to date.

True, more UK residents people are

travelling overseas but at a much lower rate –

only two per cent more than the same period

last year – and up only one per cent on last

year. UK staycations are holding their own.

In the hotel sector, investment throughout

the country, not just London, is extraordinarily

strong. In spite of this increase in capacity,

occupancy in the capital remains high while

occupancy in the provinces, though much

lower, is healthy for well-run establishments.

At the same time, the restaurant industry

remains vibrant. Notable failures there

are, but these are invariably due to poor

management. Good quality outlets continue

to prosper and new concepts are being

successfully developed throughout the UK.

So the industry shouldn’t worry about

Brexit? Well, yes, it should – on a number

of fronts. And it should take advantage of

some opportunities.

The supply of migrant workers, critical

to the future success of the industry, is now

thankfully recognized by government but

it’s certain that hospitality will not be able to

recruit as many overseas workers as it thinks

it needs. So how will it recruit and train more

UK-based youngsters and – just as important

– how can it raise productivity levels so that

fewer workers are needed in the first place?

That’s the industry’s most pressing challenge.

There seems very little government

appetite for a reduced level of VAT on

accommodation services, still less on other

items like restaurant meals. What incentive

is there to reduce a tax in boom conditions,

particularly in London? And will any

reduction in VAT lead to lower prices? As

the Chancellor needs all the revenue he can

What incentive is there

to reduce a tax in boom

conditions, particularly

in London? And will any

reduction in VAT lead to

lower prices?

8 | Insights & Action | October 2017


escape them. We need a business rates

system that encompasses the Gig economy.

Thought also needs to be given to the

National Living Wage (NLW). Governments

have traditionally set their face against regional

levels of NLW (though that did not deter the

old Wages Councils) but, at present, the rate

for London is probably too low but possibly

too high for parts of the outer regions. The onesize-fits-all

NLW is skewing the labour market

– though employers must recognise that wags

rates will rise once there is a reduction in the

availability of migrant workers following Brexit.

So the industry

shouldn’t worry about

Brexit? Well, yes, it

should – on a number

of fronts. And it should

take advantage of some


grasp, the campaign to unilaterally reduce

VAT on accommodation services to EU

levels seems doomed to failure.

But, in the longer term, freedom from

the EU may enable the government to look

more closely at taxing a wider range of goods

and services at different rates and, more

pertinently, in different nations or regions

of the UK, rather than retaining the current

national system of VAT. Pressure from

Northern Ireland and Scotland (and possibly

Wales) could realistically lead to variations

in their overall tax regimes – and what

happens there might well prove appropriate

for different regions of England.

Another bugbear for hospitality businesses

is the current calculation of business rates,

especially for those located, like hotels,

cafes and restaurants, in busy urban areas

where the rates are typically highest. They

represent yet another tax but raised on the

basis of rateable value, rather than turnover.

Business rates are particularly unfair when

huge international companies can largely


And is there not an argument to use

National Insurance contributions to promote

skills and good employment practices, rather

than being just a flat rate tax? It could be

argued that employers who recruit, retain

and train UK-based staff should be credited

under NI while employers who do not should

be made to pay.

Post-Brexit, the UK will have more flexibility

in its approach to its tax affairs, with the

possibility of variations in national taxes and

the introduction of more appropriate regional

taxes. Developments in Northern Ireland will

be key. Any tax system needs to raise revenue

but it should also be flexible and fair according

to the needs of all nations and regions of the

UK, as well as the country’s very different

industry sectors. The present national system,

dominated by the London economy, is not

necessarily right for other parts of the UK.

The hospitality industry could, to

advantage, begin to consider now how it

could make the most of any new-found,

post-Brexit tax freedoms.

epmagazine.co.uk | 9

Fuelling for



Nutritionist Kate Taylor provides insight into the

importance of fuelling for optimum performance

both at work and at home.

With productivity being a buzz word in almost every

corporate environment, is our lack of focus on fuel letting

us down when it comes to being at our best.


It’s common theme now that many of us

work more than we should. Forget how

many hours we are contractually obliged

to do, that went out the window a long

time ago, yet in this age of working longer

and actually being less productive what

are we doing about fuelling for optimum

performance? Add to that the ever increasing

number of us suffering with stress and the

picture is bleak.

We have the ability to fuel ourselves in

two ways, one through physical energy,

calories, food and drink. The other through

mental ability, strength and determination.

Couple the two and you have the makings of

a winning team, sport is perhaps the perfect

example. However when we look at the

workplace, where many have the mental

capabilities, they are let down by failing to

fuel themselves in line with the day ahead.

How many of us think about what’s ahead

of us and how our food for that day, week or

month, needs to sit within it? How many of

us feel we have the time do so? And yet with

the constant demands for more output this

should be our number one priority.

Education must underpin the above, there

is a responsibility of every employer to ensure

their teams are being provided with the right

information and the right sustenance, but

there is an onus on the individual themselves

to take the action. After all, we can be provided

with all the information available, but it’s up to

us what we do with it.

How many of us think

about what’s ahead of

us and how our food for

that day, week or month,

needs to sit within it?

How many of us feel we

have the time do so?

All of what I’ve mentioned above was

brought to the forefront of my mind whilst

running a recent weekend escape with the

premise of getting people to make positive

changes and build healthier habits which

will support them in achieving their goals.

The consistent theme from all was around

stress and how to fit the simplest of things

into their already busy schedule. These are

things like, walking, thinking about food,

controlling boredom and funnily enough

putting themselves first. The standout for me

10 | Insights & Action | October 2017


You feel amazing after a

weekend away drinking

green juice, attending

endless yoga classes

and “detoxing” only to

realise when you get

back to reality that’s not

really possible.

Here’s a few questions worth thinking about:

n How much movement have I done today, or am likely to do?

n Am I hungry?

n Is this what I really want to eat?

n How will I feel after I eat this?

If we know how we are going to feel from eating something, and its not good, then why

are we doing it?

You see it all matters, the less we’ve moved the less energy we need to consume. That

doesn’t mean cutting a meal or maybe just having soup for lunch and nothing else for

the day. That means spreading out your food intake throughout the day.

Hunger isn’t really used anymore to dictate the need for food, however it should be

now more than ever.

was the lack of focus on food intake when it

really should be number one on the to do list

and this is common for many people.

Collaborating with founder of The Well

Plus Group, Ria Ingleby, we knew there was

a need to create something that provided

people with the platform to learn new skills

that were achievable to use in their daily

life. Conquer was born with the principle of

building healthier habits in all aspects of life.

Too often “retreats” are promoted and run

by wellness bloggers and health fashionistas

with a very structured plan and unrealistic

goals which for most people simply won’t

work at home. You feel amazing after a

weekend away drinking green juice, attending

endless yoga classes and “detoxing” only to

realise when you get back to reality that’s not

really possible. Those who attended Conquer,

situated right in the heart of nature, found

themselves setting achievable goals which

included everything from walking 10,000

steps a day consistently for the next month to

prepping one back up dinner every Sunday

for those evenings when you walk in the front

door to two kids screaming and three days

worth of washing to do.

So as employers we need to give our

people the tools to do this. We need to coach

them, guide them because they will be so

focussed on giving their all to get the job done,

the likelihood is they aren’t looking after

themselves. Through education workshops,

real life hacks and realistic changes that work

this can happen. These sessions are now being

built into senior leadership programs and I’m

pretty confident it won’t be too long until we

see full time nutritionists and coaches built

into every successful business.

epmagazine.co.uk | 11


Not leadership

but mentorship

Olubunmi Okolosi, founder of Kajola explains

why two-way generational mentorship can

solve the leadership problems of today.

“Leaders share the harvest of their success to help build

momentum for those around them.” – Glenn Llopis

In the first episode of season two of one of

my favourite shows, Game of Thrones,

Jeor Mormont the 997th Lord commander

of the Nights Watch says to Jon Snow “You

want to lead one day? Then learn how to

follow”. As blunt as it may seem that quote

is as black and white as you can get when it

comes to leadership and a typical example

of old school thinking. I use this as a starting

point in my argument because Jon Snow

gives a brisk two finger salute to Joer and

does his own thing. What I’m about to argue

is that the future leaders of our industry

aren’t ready to lead in the way people in

business once were taught how to lead. This

is because the current leaders are stuck

within a way of thinking that is behind our

times and they themselves need mentoring to

aid the development of the future leaders.

There is a way to ‘learn’ how to be a leader

and I believe mentorship is the answer.

When it comes down to it leadership should

always start and be built around the notion

of ‘mentorship’.

Within Hospitality everyone is saying

that there is a lack of future leaders! Why?

People pin point the old workforce vs current

vs future or the baby boomers vs GenX vs

Millennial vs GenZ and the incompatibility

within the workforce and how we learn. Simon

Sinek is a person the corporate world often

refers to when it comes to ‘modern’ thinking

and he truly is brilliant and when I watched

his video on millennials in the workforce last

year I thought – I know this already, my point

isn’t to highlight what he said, my point is to

highlight it took the corporate world nine

months to start talking about it. This to me

highlights why we may have an issue in the

future, our current leaders are slow to adapt.

The baby boomers and GenX say there is a

leadership problem and for me it starts with

them and the best way to bridge that gap is for

them to go and be mentored by a Millennial

or GenZ to understand them. This will aid the

development of today’s current leaders and

nurture those for the future. By mentoring I’m

not just talking about someone from the same

industry but outside the world of hospitality.

Why can’t a Millennial

mentor a baby boomer on

why they think like they do ?

Mentoring is defined as a personal

developmental relationship in which a

more experienced or more knowledgeable

person helps to guide a less experienced

or less knowledgeable person. Now who

better to teach the less experienced or less

knowledgeable baby boomer or GenXer

what we think now and in the future than

the millennial and the GenZer? Why can’t

a Millennial mentor a baby boomer on why


they think like they do and how that impacts

on how they can nurture leadership ability?

Why is it so often the other way around?

Mentoring can often aide a person’s

development at a quicker pace than learning

on-the-job. It can provide enlightenment both

in business and in one’s personal life. At the

same time, I find that mentoring someone

isn’t way most people think it is. If you truly

open yourself up to your mentee you can also

use their experience or be inspired by their

input into your mentorship of them.

If the leaders of today spent more time

focusing on understanding and learning from

the leaders of tomorrow instead of focusing

on company profits and maintaining the

current model we wouldn’t be having this

type of argument – instead we would be

talking and walking together to combat other

challenges that are more difficult to fathom

than better human interaction.

12 | Insights & Action | October 2017


Is sustainability going


Mark Linehan argues we may be asking the wrong question on sustainability.

Sustainability has been discussed for years, awareness has been

raised and there’s no excuse for not having it on the agenda now.

For a while now, people have been asking

when sustainability will go mainstream,

when it will become a core component

in the food service sector, when it will

no longer be an “add on”. But I think they’re

asking the wrong question. Sustainability isn’t

something that can be neatly packaged up into

a discrete bundle, a convenient “nice to have”

that operators can adopt or ignore depending

on how they feel – it cuts across everything

we do and is part and parcel of how you run a

business, at every conceivable level.

We’ve been talking about sustainability for

years, awareness has been raised and there’s

no excuse for not having it on the agenda. But

sustainability isn’t a “thing”, it’s the way in

which you do things. Every business employs

staff, sources ingredients, uses energy and

creates waste – the way in which they do all

of those things is the mark of how much they

care for the environment, their employees and

the wider community. If businesses are still

saying “we’d love to do it but we can’t afford it/

it’s quite complicated/we’ve got other things

to focus on” (delete as appropriate), then they

really need to think again. And dealing with

it through an annual CSR report that will sit

on the shelf and gather dust doesn’t cut it any

more either.

Not taking steps towards greater

sustainability no longer represents the

status quo. Ten or more years ago perhaps.

Back then, few businesses knew about their

environmental and social impacts, and the

starting point was to focus on doing business

and then have a look at this new agenda at

some point. But things have moved on quickly

and the pressure, should you need it, to be as

responsible as you possibly can, is coming from

a number of sources.

People actually care – just look at the furore

around companies avoiding their tax liabilities,

exploiting zero hour contracts, falsifying car

emissions data and so on. You’re only ever a

couple of steps away from a PR disaster. And

it’s not just public pressure – despite popular

reports of government’s reluctance to legislate

or regulate, there’s plenty of evidence to

indicate that it actually will.

Take food waste, or the wasting of

food surplus, probably the highest profile

sustainability issue in the food service sector

over recent years. When we first started

talking about it, there wasn’t a chef, restaurant

or caterer who admitted they threw food

away – “we don’t have a food waste problem,

it must be everyone else”, we heard over and

over again. Thanks to the work of WRAP and

others, we’ve known for several years that we

do have a food waste problem, all of us, and it’s

a big one. So a lack of awareness is no longer

an excuse and, given the range of solutions

to reduce and then ensure responsible

redistribution or recycling of surplus and

waste, there’s no longer an excuse for inaction.

And, if businesses, don’t start taking the

issue seriously, there will be legislation. Well,

in fact, there already is. Food waste to landfill

was banned some time ago in Scotland and the

water companies will start to act to prevent

the disposal of food waste into the ground

water system (which is already prohibited in

Scotland and Northern Ireland) or start to

enforce the permits that countless businesses

are ignoring as they continue to use “waste to

water” systems.

In their report published in April this year –

“Food Waste in England” – the Environment,

Food and Rural Affairs Committee of

the House of Commons pointed out that

legislation already exists to require businesses

to follow the established food waste hierarchy:

“the waste hierarchy has been incorporated

into UK law through the Waste (England

and Wales) Regulations 2011, the Waste

Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011, and the

Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012”.

Speaking at a recent meeting at the House

of Lords the committee Chair, Neil Parish MP,

reiterated one of the recommendations of the

report in urging the Environment Agency to

enforce the food waste hierarchy and ensure

there is compliance.

Continuing to treat sustainability as an

“optional extra” might seem like a good idea,

for some, but there might be some surprises

ahead. Except they shouldn’t really come as

a surprise…

epmagazine.co.uk | 13

The man


the story

Surinder Arora is a name well known across the hospitality industry but arguably

few know much about the man. Beyond the industry, few will know much about

his business empire and yet his story is one that could well have come straight

out of a film script. He has built a successful billion pound business almost from

scratch which is impressive enough but what makes Surinder stand apart is that,

in a cynical age, he believes and stands for something beyond.

Surinder Arora’s story has almost

became folklore in recent years –

how he arrived in London when he

was just thirteen years old, unable

to speak a word of English. He was met at the

airport by a couple he thought were his aunt

and uncle. However, the truth was that they

were his parents. The couple that he believed

had been his mother and father had actually

been his aunt and uncle. His parents had

lost everything in the creation of the modern

Pakistan and in the turmoil, they had fled

for Britain. His parents were now settled in

London and wanted to bring him to Britain to

give him a better life.

“Life is a journey of waves, ups and downs.

Most believe that success is when one is at the

top of the curve but success is when you are

the bottom and striving to go back up. One

has to accept the good and bad of life as we all

experience it and it is how we handle what is

thrown at us,” reflected Surinder. “I recall the

tough days of 2009 and 2010 and we learnt so

much from that time. As my Mother used to

say “Don’t worry about the mistakes you make.

Just learn from them and make new ones”

Maybe Surinder’s ability to manage the

good and bad was a trait that he inherited from

his parents as their family had been respected

and well positioned in his homeland but

they had had to leave it all behind during the

repatriation between India and Pakistan and

start again. One can only imagine how difficult

14 | Insights & Action | October 2017


it must have been to leave everything and start

again in a new country. It must be hard enough

to leave one’s homeland and a good life but

imagine starting again and having to work

three jobs just to rebuild as Surinder’s mother

had the courage to do. To do so requires a

mental resolve that few possess.

In some ways it is a throwback to the

past as there many great stories of human

endeavour and adapting as the world evolved

from the 1940’s through to the 1980s but it

is becoming rarer to hear of today. It is one

of the reasons that makes Surinder’s story

so important to tell – he has overcome any

obstacle and barrier and shown that one can

achieve success if one works hard enough and

is prepared to learn.

There are many great entrepreneurs that

can show such traits but what also makes

Surinder’s story stand apart is that he is a

man of many passions beyond work too. He

has a love for Cricket and is an Honorary Life

President of Surrey CCC. He has a passion

for golf and was a part owner of Surrey’s

Wentworth Club. He also loves football and

was for many years a referee.

“I wasn’t a natural at any of the sports but

I loved them,” noted Surinder. “It is one of

the reasons that I became a referee and this

was a great learning for me. So many referees

give up because of the abuse they are given. I

was almost one of them until an experienced

referee showed me that technically I was

doing a good job but that success lay in how

one managed the players. One had to show

them respect and care and then they would

often behave far better. It was about trust

between referee and player. This would then

allow for a far better, free flowing game”.

“It is the same in business. I have learnt

to listen to my team. I can think of a number

of occasions when we have disagreed on an

employee or a decision and they have been

right and I have changed my thoughts after

reflecting. Often our passions outside work

can be invaluable in how they teach us to be

better in work”

Every fact tells you that there must be an

inner strength and belief as no one is estimated

to be worth over £800m from scratch without

it, but there is so much more to the story.

“I never look for a fight but I will not shirk

it if I need to. I believe in trust between people

and organisations but if it broken, then we

need to act accordingly. Over the years, I have

seen some behave in a way that we believe is

not correct and we have to act as otherwise we

let ourselves down. We have a responsibility

to our customer and our people. We all make

mistakes but it is how we respond to mistakes

that matters.”

So how did Surinder come to start Arora

Hotels from his humble beginning in London?

After leaving school, Surinder joined

British Airways and spent 11 years working as

a customer service officer. During this time

he took private flying lessons, which he paid

for by working as a waiter in a hotel he was

later to own. In 1982 Arora became a financial

advisor for the Abbey Life insurance company,

becoming the youngest branch manager and

achieving a rating as the company’s secondbest

financial advisor in 1988. In 1993 Arora

As my Mother used

to say “Don’t worry about

the mistakes you make.

Just learn from them and

make new ones”

left Abbey Life to develop a bed and breakfast

to serve airline staff at Heathrow Airport. The

hotel that replaced the B&B won a contract

from British Airways in 1999 and gave him the

foundation stone for Arora Hotels.

In 2004 Arora won the franchise for

the Accor Sofitel brand and bought the

500-bedroom Le Meridien London Gatwick

hotel to rebrand as the Sofitel London

Gatwick. Sofitel London Heathrow, a £180m

600-bedroom sister hotel was announced

the same year. Today Arora owns hotels

that provide a total of over 5500 bedrooms

including franchises from InterContinental

and Novotel.

The Group has moved beyond. The

Arora Tower in Greenwich is a 24 storey

building with 140 apartments, while a similar

residential development in Crawley aims to

deliver 308 across three buildings. In a new

milestone development, and leveraging their

already strong presence at the airport, the

Arora Group is developing a fourth World

Business Centre at London Heathrow,

which will be offering 85,000sq ft. of

environmentally friendly office space

when completed.

In a world where business has become

far less personal and more transactional,

Surinder has built a reputation for valuing

long-term business relationships. He stresses

that he has consistently used the same lawyers

and the same lenders throughout his career.

When Surinder hosts guests at an event,

he is the generous host. He will take the time

to talk to everyone, making sure they feel

accepted, at home and relaxed. He has long

worked out that trust and strong relationships

allow business to be better. There is no doubt

that he really cares about people and sees his

employees and his close business confidante’s

as being part of his family.

The vast majority of self-made

entrepreneurs are often the polar opposite

to Surinder. This is not a critique of anyone;

more an observation that those that are selfmade

are often passionately family orientated

as the family has been their building block

but are often extremely self-orientated. This

is where Surinder’s story is different as is

generous to others, and believes in others.

So what is the hidden story? Arguably it is

the character traits that he has displayed over

the years. He has accepted life’s challenges

without anger and overcome the barriers set

up. He has not been caught up in his success

but has continued to build his family. He has

shown a level of strength and inner discipline

that very few could manage but maybe most of

all, he has built a legacy for others.

Surinder may not wish for many to know

him but his is a story that is a role model

for others to follow – most especially in the

modern era where even the most simple of

setbacks becomes a drama. Leadership is

based off managing in adversity and this he

has shown but what makes the man stand

apart is how he rises above the petty and

believes in something more – whether family,

legacy or the importance of people.

epmagazine.co.uk | 15

Making movement

The client and the customer have changing desires and so more is

being asked of the caterer. It can be challenging to find the balance with

the offer but ISS is throwing down the gauntlet with the appointment

of Stephen Waterman as Managing Director of Food & Hospitality.

With vast experience in the world of fitness, sport, health and wellbeing,

Stephen is bringing a new dimension to the traditional offer.

New to the sector, Stephen brings a fresh perspective and crafted experience in a strong move by ISS.

When one meets Stephen he is

an engaging man just three

months into his new position.

He has clearly embraced ISS

and the industry despite not having worked

in the traditional hospitality and catering


Stephen’s background includes working

in both the leisure management contract

business and the private fitness and

wellbeing sector – including a number of

years with the Virgin group; where he won

awards and plaudits for transforming their

food and nutrition proposition. Latterly, he

was responsible for strategy, leadership and

performance for brand, products, food and

beverage, membership, sales and retention in

contract management with local authorities,

national bodies and corporate clients,

whereby it is clear one of his strengths lies

in delivering shared outcomes for clients

and customers through cementing true


Whilst new to the sector, Stephen has

already witnessed much and can see where

the opportunities lie. “Gone are the days of

a straightforward contract. A caterer must

work with the client to support them with

their overall needs – much more outcome

and partnership focused than traditional

input based contract management. Health

and wellbeing are clearly also essential to the

overall offer from a caterer and ISS wants to

play more than a keen role here and be at the

forefront.” Stephen also adds “Hospitality

has a massive part to play – it is essential we

support our clients by looking after their

people in general, supporting beyond just

their normal working hours.”

ISS is showing their true colours with the

appointment of Stephen. Shortly before

his move, he was conducting research and

implementing strategies in the fitness, health

and wellbeing and leisure world which

itself has been going through a huge change

recently. He explains, “Fitness has changed

dramatically again in the last few years in

very different ways. We witnessed a change

from the number of treadmills you could fit

into a space, to ‘how much functional space

can we make and where can we add fun and

innovation’. Alongside this has been the entry

of new competition, bringing different ways,

operating models and propositions to the

market and there has been the explosion of

technology in the form of fitness, health and

wellbeing apps, wearable monitors, watches

and trackers. In the contract management

this also saw a seismic shift to being a

true partner with clients in helping them

achieve their wider outcomes. I believe the

hospitality and foodservice sector is seeing

a similar set of movements with changing

demands, market disrupters, customer

expectations, technology, innovation and the

need to support and work with our clients as

a true partner across a wider remit than just

being a contract caterer

Why has the market changed?

“Millennials are playing a role in the

changing scene. Our skill at ISS is

understanding the changes and providing a

service which suits various demographics.

We will always provide an excellent food

offer and now go beyond that too. One of

the biggest changes is the expectation from

the workforce of today in being looked after

by their company in different ways to the

traditional breakfast and lunchtime feeding.

This is demonstrated by the recent growth

of the grazing food trend, sharing boards,

increased snacking options and street food

stalls, which are all signs of an increasing

There is a need to support and work with

our clients as a true partner across a wider remit

than just being a contract caterer.

16 | Insights & Action | October 2017


need for going beyond the traditional set

meals of the day. We need to continue to

adapt by matching and exceeding trends

and be ahead of the game. Talk has already

turned to the expectation of ‘centennials’

who are now entering the workplace”

“ISS want to be leaders in truly engaging

with companies and their workforces. We

are a global company with amazing research

taking place across the world in workplace

trends. We are using these insights and

learnings so we can be different and truly

anticipate the future. We are also including

our colleagues from all aspects of the

business – from restaurant designers through

to corporate responsibility – we must all

work together.”

ISS want to be

leaders in truly

engaging with companies

and their workforces.

We are a global

company with amazing

research taking place

across the world in

workplace trends.

Stephen will explore many aspects of

the overall offer and is constantly asking

questions on how they can get people

collaborating, engaging, mixing and generally

being more agile in their workplaces. He

will also be working closely with other parts

of the business, including with Stephanie

Hamilton who has recently moved to the role

of Director of People and Culture UK.

Internally Stephen is keen to look after the

wellbeing of his teams working at ISS. “It’s

important we practice what we preach and so

look after own people’s health and wellbeing

to support their lifestyles too. I’ve been

impressed by the number of our team I’ve

met who are actively engaged and aware of

this for themselves and their teams. Meeting >

epmagazine.co.uk | 17


chefs and teams who take part in – and even

teach – yoga and exercise classes has been

fantastic to find.”

Caterers must provide healthy choices

but Stephen is also aware they cannot

solely focus on this; it still must be about

choice for the consumer and the client’s

needs. He states it doesn’t have to be a

difficult balance to achieve. “We look at the

high street example because that has both

options. Employees in the workplace – are

the very same people who use these and have

these same desires – we can learn from this

and bespoke our offer by using research,

relationships and technology. Going forward

and as we embrace technology and close

integrated management tools, we can

know the exact numbers of people on a

site during a day and can tailor our offer

to suit – amongst many benefits this also

sees us saving on waste and able to support

businesses in their corporate responsibility

around this. Social media and other forms of

feedback technology provide us with instant

feedback now and we use this to plan, as

well as react and respond. There is more

information available than ever before in

The wellbeing of

people is essential for a

successful company and

this applies for both the

clients who are looked

after and the teams

providing the offer.

regards to trends, consumer choice, opinions

and what’s working; we are using with all of

this – along with traditional data – to deliver

the proposition, offerings and service that is

now wanted.”

Stephen comes across as someone who has

been in the job for longer than a few months.

Assured and calm, he has already visited

a vast majority of the clients and sites ISS

work with. It’s clearly important for him to

meet the team and see the locations where

the company operates – something he places

strong personal value on. He may have the

large brand behind him but Stephen knows

the importance of the personal approach and

strong relationships.

When asked about the sector he has come

into Stephen stresses he has been made to

feel very welcome and has met with many

competitors, consultants and suppliers

already. “In regards to other businesses, yes

we are competing but we all face the same

challenges and my personal belief is that the

industry needs to continue to work together

as a strong unified voice in areas such as

Brexit, government support and lobbying,

rising costs, the evolving workforce and the

importance of the sector.”

As customers ask more than from their

companies, this in-turn puts pressure on

the caterer to think differently and be able

to support their clients. Stephen and ISS

understand this and are clearly prepared to go

to the lengths needed to exceed expectations.

The wellbeing of people is essential for a

successful company and this applies for both

the clients who are looked after and the teams

providing the offer. With a background of

people support and a very clear sense of the

future, ISS will feel confident with Stephen

guiding the next few years.

18 | Insights & Action | October 2017


Fighting together

How do a research charity, a contract caterer and a food tech

company lead by example in the fight against food waste?

Together there is the potential to change the culture in the kitchen.

The Wellcome Trust is the second

largest charitable foundation in

the world dedicated to supporting

medical research and new drug

discoveries. Besides improving health by

helping great projects to thrive, they are

also contributing to enhance the wellbeing

of our planet. The organisation gives high

importance to addressing sustainability

issues, and is committed to taking action

against one of the world’s most urgent

problems: food waste.

The Wellcome Trust has worked together

with its catering partner Restaurant

Associates (part of Compass Group UK &

Ireland), at their central London head office

to dramatically reduce food waste. The

technology of innovative technology startup

Winnow is now being used to measure,

monitor and cut food waste.

Winnow tracks waste with a digital scale

placed under a bin. Chefs identify items using

a touchscreen tablet which is connected to

the cloud, allowing the teams to record what

is being thrown away. A detailed report is

then sent to the teams including the weight,

value, time and reason why the waste was

generated. This gives chefs the information

necessary to drive improvements in their

production processes to cut food waste.

Restaurant Associates installed Winnow’s

digital scale and smart meter in October

2014 at Wellcome Trust. The team were

able to quickly identify where waste was

happening within their operations and

make adjustments to production to reduce

waste. Today food waste has been reduced

by more than 70% from the starting point.

It is the equivalent of preventing 4.4 tonnes

of food from being wasted, avoiding 11.000

meals ending up in the bin. They have been

very pleased with the results and the kitchen

has now become a blueprint for others to

learn from.

“Winnow has made my job easier as a

chef because it gives me more control over

my kitchen and helps the team understand

and identify food waste. Together we have

significantly cut food waste which helps us

act more sustainably while still delivering

a high level of service for our client.” – says

Chris Arkadieff, Executive Chef at the

Wellcome Trust.

The relationship between these three

players – The Wellcome Trust, Restaurant

Associates and Winnow – is a great example

of big organisations partnering with smaller,

innovative technology companies to disrupt

traditional processes to have a positive

impact on the environment.

Marc Zornes, co-founder of Winnow

commented: “Our partnership with Compass

Group UK & Ireland has helped shape the

technology and therefore its impact on food

waste. In the case of Wellcome Trust, the

outstanding results provide tangible evidence

for what can be achieved within restaurant


Together, they have the potential to change

the culture in kitchens and transform the way

we make food.

epmagazine.co.uk | 19


The 21st century manager

Martin-Christian Kent, Executive Director at People 1st explores

how the changing role of managers can help to create quality jobs.

How a fresh approach can help businesses attract and retain talent.

The recent publication of the Taylor

Review, examining the future

world of work, highlighted some of

the critical challenges facing UK

businesses. Whilst its authors praised the

UK economy’s job creation, it was clear that

there is also a need to create ‘quality jobs’ if

standards of living and productivity are to rise.

The hospitality industry doesn’t fair well

historically against the six measures used to

assess quality jobs, but our new research –

The Performance and Talent Management

Revolution – shows that this is changing.

In the face of rising costs, recruitment

difficulties and changing employee attitudes,

businesses are rethinking their people

strategies and there is a renewed (and

overdue) emphasis on staff retention and

engagement. Managers are a critical part of

the solution, but having strong management

base isn’t without its challenges.

16% (7,535) of hospitality businesses report

that their managers lack the required skills to

meet their needs. They are faced with two key

management challenges: how to develop and

support current managers to get the most out

of the existing workforce and how to identify,

develop and nurture tomorrow’s managers.

Supporting today’s managers

The role of a manager has changed

tremendously in the past decade, but this

isn’t apparent in some hospitality businesses.

The industry has traditionally had a strict

hierarchy where ‘what the manager says

goes’, and, as our forthcoming report on the

chef shortage shows, this is still seen in many

kitchens. It’s an important factor undermining

chef retention, and it needs to change.

Managers need to be able to engage,

motivate and inspire their teams in ways we

haven’t seen before. They need high-level

people management skills, as well as a broad

skills base from finance to marketing.

Most businesses have an annual

engagement survey, but we are increasingly

working with clients to support a deep-seated

change in the way managers engage with their

staff, giving their team a real voice and stake in

how their business or unit performs. It means

that the external brand values of a business

are consistent with the internal ones, and that

managers are embodying them.

Businesses are increasingly developing

these essential management skills, whilst

others are bringing new managers with

this skillset in from other sectors. They are

also looking at how managers are measured

and incentivised, so key people metrics,

such as staff retention and engagement, stand

side-by-side with financial ones.

One of the key tools in any manager’s

armoury is performance reviews – taking time

out with each team member to give them an

opportunity to feedback and to understand

their thoughts and ambitions. The trend

for regular, informal chats works well in

hospitality, but managers need to have the

right skills to get the most of these encounters

and, critically, follow up and respond.

Tomorrow’s managers

Individuals who show ability as waiting or

bar staff, chefs or room attendants are often

promoted to management roles without the

required development or support. Identifying

future management talent early on is key and,

again, regular performance reviews are a

vital tool.

More businesses are talent-spotting

through performance reviews and developing

staff before they become managers. Many

are turning towards the new apprenticeships

as a means to develop and promote staff.

Our recent survey with levy-paying employers

showed that nearly a third were using

apprenticeships for management progression,

opening up new opportunities to work with

universities and third-party providers to

enhance their management training.

Falling unemployment and Brexit means

that if businesses want to attract and retain

talent they need a fresh approach to their people

strategies. Many businesses are on that journey

and managers are key to its success. This has

the potential to revolutionise the hospitality

workplace – and demonstrate that our sector

not only creates jobs, but quality jobs.

20 | Insights & Action | October 2017


Should we listen to

Vanilla Ice for

management advice?

Simon Carey, Director at Blink Cafes explores whether companies who try

to provide all services should instead collaborate for the best delivery.

“Stop, collaborate and listen.”

Did musician Vanilla Ice have it right

as a management philosophy?

Well perhaps if we put the words

in a slightly different order, then he

did. Maybe stop, listen and collaborate might

be a better order of events. Are companies at

risk of trying to be the “Jack of all trades” to

secure a contract? Is collaboration a better

approach to deliver the best customer and

client experience?

So let’s stop for a minute and take stock

of what it is we are trying to achieve in a

typical catering contract. A typical contract

normally covers a wide range of different

offers and services. This would usually

include a mix of coffee bars, fine dining,

hospitality, retail, grab and go, micro markets

and lots of different food counters. Is it

possible to be the best provider in all of these

different offers? Does this not just lead to

mediocrity in some of them?

We then need to listen to what clients and

customers are looking for. I often hear them

asking for “best in class”, specialists or an

offer that is as “good as the high street”. The

question is; can one company deliver the best

solution for all of the offers required?

This leads us to collaboration. Would

it not be better for caterers to collaborate

with specialists for some of the services? I

appreciate there would be a loss of turnover

and income for the caterer, but the client

and customers would be delighted with the

offer. This should then lead to a longer-term

contract. It should be completely fine to

argue that there is someone who is better at

operating coffee bars and that a partnership

can be formed for that particular service.

I am strong believer that the best results

are achieved when several parties work

together and specialists deliver what they

are best at. If you look to the wider world for

inspiration, we could look at the food halls

that have sprung up around the globe, pulling

together the best food providers under one

roof. Great examples include Time Out in

Lisbon, Hudson Eats in NYC and even Street

Feast in London.

It is also important to note that some of

the leading brands in the world are looking

If you look to the wider world for inspiration,

we could look at the food halls that have sprung up

around the globe, pulling together the best food

providers under one roof.

to collaborate with SMEs in order to bring

in new ideas and specialists into their

companies. John Lewis, IAG and BUPA

have all started incubators to collaborate

with new partners. They have admitted they

need support in certain areas. They fully

understand that by improving one area it will

develop their overall service. All they have

said is “Come and show us what you can do

and if it’s successful, come and work with us.”

I think we should encourage collaboration

and appreciate the benefits it can bring,

rather than be fearful of it. Back to Vanilla

Ice for the reason behind this: “anything less

than the best is a felony”.

epmagazine.co.uk | 21

Game changer

Apex Hotels have recently announced the appointment of Create

(a division of The Concerto Group) as the Food & Beverage partner for

their London Hotels. If successful, Create will become Apex’s partner

across their entire Hotel Portfolio. Angela Vickers, CEO of Apex, and

Adam Elliott, CEO of Concerto, spoke of their shared ambitions.

What does this new partnership bring?

The outsourcing of F&B operations

to contract and restaurant groups

has led to mixed results over the

years. It has often struggled with

the difference in culture although there are a

number of key success stories over the years.

Apex Hotels has been one of the great

success stories for British Hotels in the last

decade. They have often been admired as

being a well-run and forward thinking hotel

group. The group has averaged impressive

98% occupancy levels and they would be

the first to admit that they have focused

on rooms over their F&B provision. The

partnership with Create and The Concerto

Group is a bold move. They are partnering

with an expert that adds a distinctive and

engaging F&B offer within the hotels and the

view of really progressing the overall offer.

The CEO of The Concerto Group, Adam

Elliott, was previously the COO of The ONE

Group in the UK. The flagship operation

was the STK restaurant and Radio Bar at

the ME Hotel in Aldwych which has been a

success for both parties. Adam has been an

expert in outsource management, previously

having been the CEO with Lindley Group/

Centerplate UK and a Managing Director

within Elior.

“I am very excited by the partnership

that we are entering into with Apex Hotels,”

commented Adam Elliott. “They have

been very supportive and open to ideas and

innovation. We have really strived to

change the approach that existed previously

and develop offers that will engage the

local customer audiences and build revenues.

I do think what is most impressive about

the partnership is that Apex have been

open and have worked with us to create

tailored exciting concepts to work for their

customer base.”

One is working with

someone else’s property

and has to take due care

for the privilege that we

are being extended.

Angela Vickers agreed, “It was an

interesting process as we met a number of

possible partners and options but I think

the difference with Adam is that he really

understood our challenges and has worked

hard to build an offer that works for both of

us. We were not experts in F&B and we did

need someone that really felt a passion for

Apex Hotels to make sure that we could take

the jump and agree the partnership. It is hard

for two cultures to come together and work

as one but the foundation has been we have

had a shared vision. That is how it should be

– two experts with a shared dream for what

we are both striving to achieve.”

“We are very conscious that we have

developed a very strongly performing

hotel offer but we wanted to go to the extra

level and build restaurant operations that

would engage our guests and also the local

community. Apex has always been founded

in strong values and as community hotels.

Our belief is that the restaurants will enable

us to play more active roles within the local

business communities.”

It is clear as one talks to both that they

clearly get along well and share common

values as well as vision.

“I am passionate about great restaurants

that engage and excite customers,”

noted Adam. “I believe that there is real

opportunity for great F&B operators to

work with hotel operators successfully. Of

course it is not easy. One is working with

someone else’s property and has to take

due care for the privilege that we are being

extended. It is for this reason that a good

partnership can really only be developed

if there is a meeting of minds, culture and

vision as both sides have to work so closely

together. There will be many hoteliers who

will not wish to outsource their restaurant

and bar operations but the counter argument

is that it is very hard to be an expert in

every discipline – rooms, restaurants, bars,

reception, conferencing and spas. It is quite

22 | Insights & Action | October 2017


natural to bring in an expert but only if the

operator shares a passion for the hotel and

it’s potential.

“The customer today is very demanding

and has high expectations. There are some

exceptional operations across the London

restaurant scene and we need to compete

against them.

“The first operation that we are going

to be opening is at Seething Lane and we

will be going into bat against both the new

Four Seasons Hotel, Hilton Doubletree,

The Grange and Citizen M. This will be a

challenge but we have a great team ready and

mobilised to develop an exciting new offer.”

Create has traditionally been one of

London’s events companies but Adam’s

vision together with Create’s new Managing

Director, Barry Vera, is to make Create far

broader, more adaptable and challenging.

They worked together at The ONE Group

and are experienced in challenging clients

with innovation and new food ideas.

Barry is one of the exciting emerging

talents within the Industry. During his career,

Barry has worked for Conran Restaurants

as well as Marco Pierre White. He also has

invaluable experience from working across

the world including Australia, Asia, France,

Canada and South Africa. Barry is a modern

culinary thinker who loves to be innovative

and is customer-focused. He has also worked

on talkRADIO with Penny Smith and on TV

too. Barry has every opportunity to be lead

change and development in this area over the

next ten years.

“Barry is another of the reasons that we felt

so comfortable and confident with Create,”

commented Angela. “Firstly it is clear that

Barry and Adam are a dynamic force and lead a

strong team. They get along well and work well

in tandem. Barry also is naturally innovative

and wants to take on the responsibility and lead

role which gave us the confidence to let go. I

do think this team will make a big difference

for us as a group and that is exciting.”

“Modern restaurants need to be more

than just more of the same – they need to

enable customers to relax, feel comfortable

with the design and have trust in the food.

I think this is where many may have failed

in the past – hotel restaurants try to find a

balance between their guests, the hotel team

and external customers but have struggled

to achieve this. The difference is that our

ideology is based in food and our passion is to

see customers excited by what we are striving

to achieve. If we can excite and interest

customers then we stand a fair chance to be

successful. The same with our service level –

the team love pleasing guests so if we excite

and engage, then they too will be happy in

their work.”

It is not hard to see that this partnership

is full of promise and could be very exciting.

It will be fascinating to watch how it

develops and grows but with the passion

and commitment shown by all three, one

suspects that they will be very successful.

epmagazine.co.uk | 23


Unleash the potential

of the front line

Michèle Moore, Director at engagemoore explains how

time investment in the front line can bring positive outcomes

in other parts of the business.

Middle managers are stuck and this is causing businesses to become less effective.

The competition is like never

before, costs are going up due

to government actions and the

exchange rate effect. But does

all this mean companies can’t afford to

invest more in people? In times of tightened

resources can they really afford not to? Does

investment mean increasing the training

line on the profit and loss statement? Not

necessarily. One of the most powerful

investments we can make in people is giving

them time.

As we stand at the moment:

n In the drive for competitiveness, companies

have removed layers of management.

n The middle managers that remain don’t

have enough time in the day to do everything

that needs doing.

n There’s a cost to business performance

and relationship-building as a result.

If we were to involve the front line

workers in discussing how a job should be

done and how it could be improved, we

would potentially:

n Motivate and empower our front line teams.

n Give the middle managers more time to

focus on relationship-building and the future.

n Improve the outcome for our customers

and clients.

So we could simultaneously achieve

‘investment’ in the front line, in our middle

managers, and in the outcome for our

customers and clients.

But how can you do this in a low-cost way?

Here are some thoughts:


n Create a structured time for your different

front line teams to regularly meet and discuss.

Maybe over tea and cake to make it informal,

more conversational, more fun. Do it at

their place of work so it’s easy to arrange but

also not seen as “training” and something

theoretical. It doesn’t have to be long – twenty

minutes can be long enough for a focused,

productive discussion on a specific topic.

Create a structured

time for your different

front line teams to

regularly meet and discuss.

Maybe over tea and cake

to make it informal.

n Don’t use professional trainers or

facilitators – that starts to add cost and but

more importantly, sends the message that

it’s something separate and different from

everyday life, when we’re trying to create

the habit of owning and resolving issues as

they arise. To keep things lean and efficient,

find front-line people who are interested

and train them to take the lead and facilitate

discussions in those structured times. It’s

developmental for the new facilitator and it

emphasises that it’s a peer discussion and not

a “top down tell”.

n Help those front-line people get started by

giving them some topics and a structure for

discussion. There are many different ways

you could do this, but the cost doesn’t need

to be big.

So outside of the cost of creating some

support material and training the facilitators,

the biggest investment is the time you

are giving people to think and learn from

each other.

And now the important thing: make it part

of the ‘as normal’ way you run your business.

Make it a reflex for your front line teams to

discuss improvement and deal with issues

between themselves. Help your middle

managers rejoice in the fact that the front

line teams are engaged and empowered and

not feel threatened by a loss of control or

authority. To make it ‘as normal’ needs a

commitment from the organisation, and it’s

that, as much as the money spent, that is the

vital thing.

24 | Insights & Action | October 2017


Noise nuisance

An Indian summer with mild temperatures can be a mixed blessing

for restaurateurs but Niall McCann, Partner at Joelson explains why

additional noise and disturbed neighbours can make life difficult.

Whilst the ability to use outside areas into the autumn can significantly increase the

number of covers, the additional noise that patrons dining outside, coupled with noise

escape from open windows and doors can lead to problems.

There are two key ways in which

disturbed neighbours can make

life difficult for restaurateurs.

Firstly, if public nuisance is being

caused they can apply to review the premises

licence. To be on the receiving end of a

review application can be very bad news

for an operator. The process is relatively

simple. A local resident needs to complete

and send a review application form to the

local council. Provided that the review

application is deemed relevant and not

vexatious, frivolous or repetitious it is then

advertised by way of a notice on the premises

for 28 days. During this consultation period

other residents or statutory authorities such

as the Environmental Health or police may

make representations. Then a licensing

sub-committee hearing is convened. At

this hearing, the committee can decide to

warn the operator, remove the Designated

Premises Supervisor, add conditions, remove

licensable activities, cut back the hours,

suspend the licence or even revoke

it altogether.

Given the severity of the possible actions

it is imperative that a review application

– even one that looks innocuous is treated

seriously. Evidence should be served well in

advance of the hearing and it is enormously

helpful if contemporaneous notes are kept

of any relevant meetings or conversations.

Furthermore, unless relations have totally

broken down, it usually pays to meet with the

relevant local residents to explore whether

their concerns can be dealt with outside of a

committee room. Fortunately, unfavourable

review decisions can be appealed to the

Magistrates’ Court although this can be

expensive – especially as cost awards can be

made. This means if you are unsuccessful

you would have to pay not only your own

legal costs but also potentially those of the

council as well!

Secondly, there is the risk of a Noise

Abatement Notice. The local council serves

these if they consider that a statutory

nuisance is happening, has happened or will

happen in the future. Whilst the wording

of the Noise Abatement Notice is key they

present three choices: to ignore and risk

a prosecution being brought, compliance

and appeal. Clearly the latter two options

are preferable and, even if compliance is a

possibility, it is usually wise to appeal the

notice (which must be done within 21 days).

Given the severity

of the possible actions

it is imperative that a

review application – even

one that looks innocuous

is treated seriously.

Grounds for an appeal include that the legal

tests have not been met to show that the issue

is a statutory notice, that it was served on the

wrong person, that the notice is defective

or that you have used the best practicable

means to stop or reduce the nuisance. If the

notice is not successfully appealed and the

nuisance continues the council can prosecute

without giving any further notice and the

fines can be steep.

Finally, as with most contentious legal

issues it pays to take advice early as it could

save a great deal of money and stress!

epmagazine.co.uk | 25

The diversity

and inclusion agenda

Marlies Hoogeboom, Client Relationship Director at Sodexo explains

why there is a need to live and breathe an embracing and inclusive culture.

In a very diverse work environment, an embracing culture isn’t just a branding tool.

With the new Gender Pay Gap

Reporting looming on the

horizon for organisations

with 250 or more employees,

many companies are already gearing up for

next April when they are expected to have

completed a gender pay audit and will be

asked to publish their results.

Naturally this new legislation has

increased the desire for UK businesses to

ensure that their diversity and inclusion

strategy is robust, as there will be increased

scrutiny on their gender strategies.

Having grown up in the Netherlands

where I tend to find attitudes to be more

open-minded, I have been a supporter of

promoting diversity and inclusion from a

young age. I first moved to the UK to study

at university and my passion for promoting

inclusion and equality has continued in

my working life. Over the last few years the

appetite for UK businesses to embrace it has

increased too.

The new legislation is a daunting task

for many and, as a large employer, we take

this very seriously. At Sodexo we started the

process of auditing the gender pay gap some

time ago, and reported our initial results

last November. By doing this we have put

ourselves at the forefront, not to attract

attention but it is part of Sodexo’s global, longterm

commitment to driving gender balance.

The importance it plays to the

organisation is reflected in our own gender

balance business case research, which

demonstrated a positive correlation between

gender balance management teams and

positive business outcomes.

The subject of diverse boards is something

that has gained momentum over recent

years. There have been reports published

on Women on Boards (Lord Davies Review

2011) and ethnic diversity of Boards (Parker

Review 2016) as well as research into the

business benefits balanced boards can bring

to an organisation. McKinsey, Catalyst and

Credit Suisse have all published research,

which clearly demonstrates the positive

impact of gender balance.

Our internal gender balance research

gathered data from 52,000 managers (from

on-the-ground site managers to senior

managers) working in 90 entities across our

global footprint, comparing the performance

of those that were gender-balanced (i.e. with

40% to 60% women in management) versus

those that weren’t.

The results clearly showed the business

benefits. Over three years, the genderbalanced

entities were 13% more likely

to record consistent organic growth and

23% more likely to show an increase in

gross profit. They also performed better

for employee engagement, brand image,

consumer satisfaction and client retention.

This does not mean that ‘unbalanced’ teams

do not perform, but the study found they did

not perform as well.

The research has provided valuable insight

and has helped drive the gender strategy

across the world. Since joining in 2012, I

have experienced first-hand the efforts the

organisation has made to gender balance

within the company. My first involvement

was when I was asked to represent the

education business on the UK & Ireland

Over three years, the gender-balanced entities were

13% more likely to record consistent organic growth and

23% more likely to show an increase in gross profit.

D&I Council. Having whetted my appetite

12 months ago, I was given the opportunity to

become the gender work stream lead for the

UK & Ireland region.

In this role I have been able to take an

active part in driving the company’s efforts

to promote not only our own gender strategy,

but the business benefits it can bring. I have

participated in internal and external events,

so have been able to demonstrate to clients

and other organisations the benefits we as

an organisation have experienced, sharing

our views and help businesses to look at their

own approaches to gender.

26 | Insights & Action | October 2017


When I started as the gender workstream

lead, I was given the opportunity to

participate in a new pilot scheme for female

talent at Sodexo. This was developed by our

global gender network known as SWIFt

(Sodexo Women’s International forum for

talent) which is made up of 28 of the most

senior women and men in Sodexo globally

and aims to increase the number of women

within the Sodexo managerial population by

encouraging gender balance.

Having learned a great deal, upon

completion I put myself forward as a

mentor for the UK programme, which

currently supports ten women. The aim is

to support women in building their network

and encouraging collaboration within the

group. I am now also studying for a coaching

qualification, and have begun coaching three

women in the business.

This has been extremely rewarding to me,

both on a personal and professional level.

Recognising the importance of supporting

and developing individuals and teams is

crucial to the success of any organisation.

Through this scheme I can see the business

benefits for our clients when our people are

truly engaged and motivated.

Employee engagement

For Sodexo the engagement of our people is

vital to our success. It is our teams on client

sites’ that make the difference; as an engaged

workforce will deliver excellence in the

services they provide. This is critical in an

increasingly competitive marketplace.

The knock-on effect for our clients of

an engaged facilities team is an attractive

workplace, where our shared goals provide

an environment which enables users to be

more productive. In discussions with clients

I’m discovering they are looking at Sodexo’s

approach to diversity and inclusion as one

they want to learn more about for their own

organisations, to ensure they too attract and

retain talent.

Agile working practices

are becoming increasingly

popular, so our clients

need to create workspaces

which encourage more

collaboration and social

interaction opportunities,

for the UK’s diverse


We see this as a great endorsement.

It demonstrates we are seen to be more

than a FM or food services partner, but the

approach to our people is something clients

can tap into and use our experience to help

formulate their own strategies. We know

a workplace strategy needs to encompass

more than just the environment employers

provide, but has to consider the user

experience too.

Sharing experience

In conversations with clients the common

theme is that we are all focused on driving

business performance. Through my

involvement in the UK’s gender work stream,

I have been able to play a part and see

first-hand our efforts to leverage genderbalanced

management as a driving force in

recruiting, developing, and retaining talent

and, using that knowledge to help our client

organisations develop their workplace


It is important that organisations do not

look inwardly, and recognise that shared

experience and knowledge can benefit the

drive for gender balance in businesses today.

All organisations today face the challenge

of an increasingly diverse workforce which

affects individual’s expectations of the

workplace, both now and in the future.

By sharing our experience it allows a

different conversation and usually opens up

the opportunity to collaborate and work in

partnership with clients to deliver bespoke

workplaces services and become more

connected, inclusive communities for the

benefit of all.

Sodexo recognises that D&I should

be embedded at the heart of the business

strategy and driven throughout the

organisation, from the boardroom to our

employees, who are delivering services to

our customers every day. Having a strong

commitment in this area allows us to have

a voice.

Our corporate clients, irrespective of

size look for a partner organisation that can

offer bespoke solutions which mirror their

own vision, values and beliefs. Beyond the

delivery of food and FM services, integral to

many contracts is the partner organisation’s

approach to both Corporate Responsibility,

as well as a proven commitment to diversity

and inclusion.

There is no doubt that the corporate

market is evolving. Agile working practices

are becoming increasingly popular, so our

clients need to create workspaces which

encourage more collaboration and social

interaction opportunities, for the UK’s

diverse workforce.

Organisations today need to demonstrate

they have a truly inclusive approach to

ensure they continue to attract, retain and

develop the best talent. I believe the gender

pay gap legislation should be seen in a good

light, as it puts gender at the forefront, which,

for me, is a positive step forward.

epmagazine.co.uk | 27

Catering and the

workplace revolution

Chris Stern, Managing Director at Stern Consultancy argues that it’s been

creeping up on us for a while and “agile” workspace is well and truly here.

With an increasing number of people working outside of their formal offices,

is the casual way of working now here to stay?

So, when people are in the workplace,

it’s all about informal and formal meeting

spaces and quiet spots to sit down and focus

on catching up with the outcomes of all those

meetings. And what do these people also

expect? Food and drink.

We’ve all seen how the high street has

become dominated by catering outlets of

every type, often with identical brands within

metres of each other. It’s indicative of our

expectation of being able to get what we want

without moving more than a few metres from

where we may be working.

The easy wins are the inclusion of a free

hot beverage point close to key collaboration

areas. We’re seeing these increasingly

including free fruit or even free canned

drinks (though spare a thought for the

challenges associated with excessive sugar

intake with these), to encourage their use and

to burnish the wellbeing and environmental

credentials of the employer.

These can cause some tension with a staff

dining facility, where a more commercial

approach is now commonplace, meaning

that setting up free coffee points can

To some extent more people working

away from the office is an antidote

to those open plans rows of desks

which look pretty depressing

places to work. It also allows organisations

to limit their physical footprint and therefore

operate more profitably. There’s also a

whole wellbeing piece being recognised by

organisations, influencing the look, feel and

facilities in the workplace.

All this is facilitated by the Cloud,

meaning we need less access to physical,

static document. There’s also the prevalence

of working on laptops, allowing us to be

completely mobile.

Even when there’s high quality free

issue coffee available, we often see a

professionally-run barista served coffee offer,

charging near-commercial prices still working.

As organisations refurbish their workspaces

or move into new ones, they are often designing

them with this more casual way of working in

mind, with multiple environments conveniently

located across the space, always obviously

embracing the old concept of hot desking.

What has not always been thought through

is how important catering can be to support

these new spaces. To make them truly viable

and as appealing as the external environment,

it’s essential that catering is incorporated in

the design. The spaces must be somewhere

people want go rather than have to go.

cannibalise what can be the most profitable

element of the paid-for dining service. Oddly

however, even when there’s high quality

free issue coffee available, we often see a

professionally-run barista served coffee

offer, charging near-commercial prices still

working, albeit not with the volumes you

might see without that free competition.

It’s all actually starting even before

people get to the workplace, with catering

becoming a critical part of the higher/further

education offer. Here, it’s all about the

student experience, which is increasingly an

28 | Insights & Action | October 2017



important differentiator between universities

– and I thought it was all about the learning!

As universities and colleges develop their

campuses, we are seeing catering being

built in. Here, it’s essential that it’s flexible

to reflect the huge population swings

throughout the year. Pop ups are a necessity,

and handily reflect what we see in the evergrowing

street food markets. Boutique, local

brands with interesting and very international

food concepts are the way forward. The

days of it all being about nutrition and

balanced menus are disappearing fast, with

the commercial imperative and customer

satisfaction dominating. Luckily, it’s a

virtuous circle with the increased sales these

appealing food offers deliver, driving sales

and profitability and therefore creating

commercially viable facilities. Wellbeing is

now also being factored in not only in terms

of the food on offer, but also in relation to the

layout of dining environments.

Staff restaurants are

like the Titanic, whilst

what we really need are

multiple speedboats.

This trend is now morphing into the

workplace, probably in a more sophisticated

and sometimes slightly less commercial way,

as employers may have additional targets

to achieve through their catering offer, such

as increased collaboration or even good

old high levels of service to support their

hard working people. Indeed, there’s also

an argument that there may be some value

in sacrificing a little of the commercial

performance of catering outlets in return

for subsidised healthy foods, the value of

which can be reflected in a healthier, more

productive workforce.

The trend away from a tray with meat and

two veg, a hot pudding and a cold drink is

well and truly established. Hand-held food,

freshly prepared in front of the customer

(often a clever illusion) for them to grab

and go. Traditional meals are stretching and

opening times are reflecting this. Companies

are finding they can make use of what

may have been dead space outside of meal

times for informal meetings and even those

infamous “casual collisions”, as coined

by Google.

I loved a recent analogy which suggested

staff restaurants are like the Titanic, whilst

what we really need are multiple speedboats.

This may be a little extreme, as there is

probably always going to be room for the

traditional in some environments. What is

clear however is that catering should now

be considered as a core part of any working

environment and should ideally be designed

in from the outset.

epmagazine.co.uk | 29

Is zero waste really possible?

Paul Wright, Project Director at Tricon explores if it’s feasible to achieve “zero waste”

in a staff restaurant and to what extent this objective is influenced by client policy.

Around 50% of all food produced on the planet never gets eaten.

The waste hierarchy provides

an international recognised

framework for waste management.

Top priority is given to preventing

waste in the first place followed by re-use,

recycling, recovery and disposal. Thus “zero

waste”, which encompasses elimination or

re-use, is considered preferable to recycling

or recovery. A number of chefs are opening

restaurants pioneering the concept of “zero

waste” operations, utilising full nose to

tail menu planning. Notable examples are

Massimo Bottura, of Osteria Franscescana

in Modena, Italy and Dan Barber of Blue

Hill in New York City. This got us thinking;

is it feasible to achieve “zero waste” in a staff

restaurant and to what extent this objective is

influenced by client policy?

The three principle waste generating areas

are food, packaging and disposables. Firstly,

food waste. This can be split into “production

waste” resulting from food preparation and

cooking activities including left-over food,

and “plate waste”, essentially food served but

not fully consumed by the customer. Chefs,

such as Massimo Bottura, will butcher a

whole animal carcass on-site and use every

constituent part in a dish. This is clearly not

a realistic option for a staff restaurant as

not many employees would buy-in to eating

brains or eyeballs in the interests of achieving

zero waste. Therefore, the use of prepared

fresh ingredients, such as pre-portioned

meat and peeled vegetables is a better (and

commonly used) approach. However, zero

waste should not be restricted to the on-site

activities only but should extend down

through the supply chain. Consequently,

there is a requirement to ensure suppliers

are also delivering a zero waste commitment.

There’s a poultry processing plant where the

last thing you see are pairs of feet dangling

from an overhead tracking on their way to

China. Every part of the bird is used (but

maybe avoid the chicken nuggets!).

Production waste is also influenced

by menu range and choice. The broader

the menu range and the greater the daily

variety, the higher the potential for food

waste (and additional cost!). We often see

menus that offer different dishes every

day for an extended period. We’ve seen a

hospitality menu that included over 100

different ingredients (including 10 varieties

of bread) just for the working breakfast and

lunch menus. Compare this to a successful

commercial restaurant where a limited range

of dishes are produced using the optimum

30 | Insights & Action | October 2017


Disposables. Why do

we need them? If all

employees dined in the

restaurant then only

serviettes are required.


number of ingredients to a set and tested

standard that enable wastage (and therefore

cost) to be tightly controlled. A very

successful catering operation in a well known

company with 3,000+ employees only serves

two high quality, plated main dishes daily, but

this is still well received by its employees. To

further reduce wastage, any left-over food is

carefully chilled and offered at a discounted

tariff the following day.

Though how to reduce plate waste?

Providing good quality and tasty food is the

obvious answer. However, not everyone

has the same appetite and yet invariably

standard portion sizes are served. So why

not offer different portion sizes or encourage

customers to take less and return for more

(free of charge or for a nominal tariff ) if they

wish? This could also allow for lower tariffs

for smaller appetites.

Secondly, packaging waste, where again

due consideration needs to be given to levels

of waste in the supply chain. Most fresh

ingredients can potentially be delivered

in re-useable containers; an initiative best

supported through the use of local suppliers

and producers and the use of seasonal

produce. Unpacking apples from New

Zealand into a plastic box for delivery to a

site in London does not qualify. Elimination

of all packaging for dry goods may be more

difficult to achieve, but wherever possible

Why not offer different portion sizes or encourage

customers to take less and return for more (free of

charge or for a nominal tariff ) if they wish? This could

also allow for lower tariffs for smaller appetites.

ingredients should be delivered in bulk,

in reusable containers and decanted into

smaller dispensers on site, e.g. jams, sauces,

salt and pepper, sugar etc.

How about cold beverages? One answer

is to provide water only. Alternatively, soft

drinks can be made on-site and presented

in bell jars with dispense taps. Post-mix,

using re-usable canisters is an option but is it

necessary to limit this to unhealthy drinks?

Surely a similar system could be introduced

for naturally flavoured waters and juices?

Thirdly, disposables. Why do we need

them? If all employees dined in the

restaurant then only serviettes are required.

Such a policy would also promote social

interaction and encourage employees to

take a break from their workstations. The

use of disposables for “take-away” food

and drinks can be extremely costly as well

as significantly slowing down the speed

of service. Hot beverages can be served

in re-usable serviceware and if the same

serviceware is utilised in the restaurant

and in the tea points this simplifies washing

and re-stocking.

Whilst it may be difficult to achieve zero

waste, there are many feasible opportunities

to significantly reduce waste, some of

which can deliver additional benefits to

the organisation. Such opportunities are

influenced by client policies that underpin

the reasons for providing staff catering

but often these are policies are not totally

clear and can be unduly influenced by the

caterer’s own objectives. In our view, if a

client’s fundamental objectives are employee

welfare, encouraging social interaction and

promoting health and nutrition, while at the

same time reducing costs, then adopting a

zero waste approach to catering would be a

positive step forward.

epmagazine.co.uk | 31

Caterers with a conscience

Kevin Watson, Managing Director of Amadeus,

explains how the caterer aims to halve the amount

of sugar in its foodservice operation by 2020.

“Industry must go further and faster when it comes to sugar

reduction – foodservice caterers like ourselves must share the

responsibility of tackling the rising obesity crisis.”

Public Health England have recently

challenged businesses to cut sugar by

20% by 2020. This announcement

was made following a report from

the government body that found children are

consuming three times more sugar every day

than they should, leading to weight gain and

obesity. Currently, one in five children are

overweight or obese when they start primary

school and by the time they start secondary

school that rises to one in three.

It’s clear that not only manufacturers, high

street retailers and school meal providers,

but also commercial foodservice caterers

like ourselves, need to play a part in tackling

the growing health crisis – not only when it

comes to children, but consumers at large.

That’s why Amadeus has pledged to reduce

the amount of sugar in our foodservice

operation not by 20%, but by 50%, by 2020.

This will equate to removing seven tonnes of

sugar, or 30 million calories, from our food

chain in the next three years.

How will we do this? In a range of different

ways – from revising our procurement policies

to looking at our product offering across our

diverse catering portfolio which includes

catering for four million visitors a year as part

of the NEC Group, over 30 external venues

and at hundreds of events every year.

As of June this year, we began a process of

revising all of our menus across the different

venues we cater for, looking at ways in which

sugar could be reduced or substituted in

meals without compromising on flavour. So

for example, we will be using natural sugars

like honey and dried fruit instead of artificial

sugars, but also reducing natural sugars

where we can.

Moving forward, all new menus and

recipes will be devised by our chef teams

to strict sugar reduction guidelines. Some

of the recent catering concepts we’ve

launched such as our Pure brand, can not

only be considered low sugar, but focus

on ‘super foods’ that support the body’s

ability to function at its optimum capacity.

The menu features foods with slow release

energy, which are high in omega 3 and low in

cholesterol such as noodle soups, salad snack

pots and vegetable smoothies. Earlier this

year, the International Convention Centre

(ICC) became the first conference venue

to gain ‘Food for the Brain’ accreditation

due to a menu we developed specifically to

support mental wellbeing, concentration

and performance. Accreditation from

the educational charity is only given to

organisations that also support employee

training and communications to sustain a

culture of nutritional awareness.

Along with reducing sugar in products,

Public Health England also recommended

that businesses should focus on reducing the

portion size, and/or the number of calories in

single-serve products as part of their report.

So with this in mind, we’ve tasked our chef

teams to look at where this might be possible

across our portfolio.

Of course, creating great tasting meals that

achieve our sugar reduction targets starts with

Removing the visibility

of the higher sugar

products led more

people to purchase lower

sugar, and therefore

healthier, versions of

the same product.

32 | Insights & Action | October 2017


procurement and using suppliers that we are

proud to feature on our menus. When engaging

with manufacturers and suppliers we first want

to know what is their approach to reducing

sugar and we want to work with companies

that share our dedication to the issue.

Another – and arguably one of the most

integral recommendations to come out of the

Public Health England report – was for those

in the food industry to look at ways in which

they can shift consumer purchasing patterns

towards lower or no added sugar products.

We have approached this task by testing

promoting lower or no added sugar products

over those with a higher sugar content – in

this way, we are not dictating what customers

should consume, but we are employing

tactics that will help to enable customers to

make healthier decisions when it comes to

choosing what to eat and drink.

For example, we recently ran a trial

at one of the arena venues we provide

catering services for, the Genting Arena in

Birmingham, where we removed soft drinks

with high sugar content from view in our

fridges and on our tariff boards in favour of

lower or no added sugar options. The higher

sugar content versions of the products were

still available to customers who wanted

them, however, customers would have to

specifically request for the product from

Our main

contribution to help

tackle the issue is by

aiding individuals to

make positive food and

drink choices that

benefit their health.

staff as it would have been placed out of

view. During the trial, we did not experience

any complaints or negative feedback from

customers and there is no doubt that

removing the visibility of the higher sugar

products led more people to purchase lower

sugar, and therefore healthier, versions of the

same product. Due to the success of this trial,

we will be looking at rolling the approach out

across all our venues moving forward.

While foodservice caterers do have a

part to play in educating people about

healthy eating and nutrition, I would argue

that this responsibility rightly sits with

our educational intuitions. As large-scale

commercial caterers, I believe our main

contribution to help tackle the issue is by

aiding individuals to make positive food

and drink choices that benefit their health

through the catering offering we provide,

whether that be by reducing portion size,

including nutritional information on

products or working with conscientious

suppliers. Our pledge to tackle sugar

consumption head on underlines our

commitment to this. Right now, the industry

needs to go much further and much faster

when it comes to sugar reduction – only

when all sectors of our industry step up to the

plate and make changes will we start to see a

real difference.

epmagazine.co.uk | 33


The changing face

of procurement

Mike Day, Co-founder and CEO of IndiCater,

looks back at the development of e-procurement.

The e-procurement arena today offers exciting new choices

and opportunities, but are we taking full advantage?

Over three years ago, I wrote

an article for EP about

e-procurement, sharing my view

that its impact would quickly be

felt across all operational levels within the

food service sector. With so much current

discussion surrounding the changing role

of procurement and its professionals, I have

taken the opportunity to revisit my article

and see if my predictions were accurate.

A few years ago, larger food service

organisations began using e-procurement

as a platform for modern efficiency. In the

technology arena, my company, IndiCater,

has experienced first-hand the continual

shift away from paper-based procurement

solutions towards embedded software

systems. Applying e-procurement processes

across a business continues to ensure that

centrally negotiated prices are rigorously

applied, procurement teams lock down

product consistency, whilst guaranteeing

that invoices and delivery notes are received

and processed in a timely manner. As a

by-product, the suppliers’ role of manual

invoice processing, tele sales/faxed order

transmissions has taken a back seat, with

e-procurement driving the automation of

each step within the buying chain.

As predicted, e-procurement has not

been a flash in the pan, far from it. From

the suppliers’ perspective, customers now

have an increasing variety of e-procurement

choices available to them. Larger wholesalers

and suppliers are offering their own

e-procurement systems, presenting end

users with a platform from which to place

orders and process invoices. Wholesalers like

Brakes have taken this a step further, teaming

up with food service technology specialists to

provide a fully integrated range of services to

reach beyond the confines of the customer’s

shopping basket. Working hand-in-hand

with Brakes’ own e-procurement platform,

IndiCater’s online stock, recipe, menu,

nutrition and allergy management tools

can now be seamlessly linked together,

providing a one-stop-shop for supporting

Brakes’ customers during every step of the

procurement process.

From a customer’s perspective, the

evolution of changes that have taken place

in the e-procurement arena offer exciting

new choices. E-procurement was originally

seen as complex and expensive to set up,

unpopular with both suppliers and customers

who lacked the necessary technology.

Today the demands of an operational

landscape require together management

controls. Operators both large and small are

increasingly engaged with e-procurement,

replacing out-dated manual processes.

They are doing this using a variety of routes

– from setting up their own platforms,

engaging procurement consultants, or via

suppliers themselves. At IndiCater, 60%

of our software enquiries are focused on

e-procurement and its associated tools.

The software is simple to use; suppliers can

upload and update catalogues at a click,

whilst customers can accurately manage and

control stock. Over the last three years, we

have seen the number of suppliers working

with IndiCater treble to over 750. This has

been driven by an increasing number of

customers putting pressure on their suppliers,

remaining competitive and up to date, and a

realisation by suppliers and customers alike

that e-procurement is not, in fact, a ‘dark art’.

As technology has evolved, so has the

procurement specialist’s job role. Historically

they have negotiated with suppliers, captured

catalogue and pricing data, matched

chefs’ needs to products and pricing, and

communicated pricing information to the

finance team. Some elements of the role have

now been effectively replaced by software,

whilst others have been enhanced. Shifts in

the role have meant that there is more time

available to focus on product sourcing and

negotiating, alongside access to exceptionally

detailed buying data. Specialists have

also had to broaden their knowledge of

procurement technology.

Looking back, I was correct in my

assumption that e-procurement would

change the operating landscape for the

long term. However, where e-procurement

was until recently seen as a pioneering

but complex technology, it is now well

established, easy to set up and increasingly

used by suppliers and customers alike.

34 | Insights & Action | October 2017


Procurement: Is it time

to break the mould?

Wendy Sutherland, Managing Director at Ramsay Todd

asks if new approaches in procurement will really work.

Both public and private sector are going through changes, but are they for the better?

As Chair of the BIFM Procurement

Special Interest Group, I have an

active interest in how FM services

are procured and work with a team

of committed FM professionals from all

sectors to develop industry best practice.

Public sector procurement is heavily

regulated and process driven but the green

shoots of change are springing up in the

private sector, which is challenging the

perception of how services can be procured.

Innovative approaches are being used to

break the cycle of:




visits and




Short list


Instructions to

tenderers and


It’s a bit uncomfortable for those of us that

live and breathe the procurement supply

chain cycle but at the same time you can’t

help thinking, what if it works?

So what’s different? Pre-qualification is

gone, specifications are developed at a later

stage and the need for all bidders to complete

lengthy tender responses have disappeared.

It’s replaced by:

n Contractor presentations at the first stage

n The specification is issued to the selected


n The selected bidder produces the tender

response and finances

n The final price and contract is negotiated

and agreed

The private sector can afford to take the

risk with this approach and it wouldn’t work

for all organisations but, if cultural fit is the

key driver, then you can see why this format

is being adopted. I can hear the purists

amongst you saying ‘but where’s the financial

competition?’ That’s not easy to answer and

my initial thought was this is crazy but, isn’t

this exactly where a catering consultant

comes into their own? We know the market

and how contractors build their costs

therefore a good procurement professional

will be able to determine if the quote is fair

and reasonable to both parties.

What this procurement format does is:

n Enables SMEs to compete on an even

playing field

n Removes the investment issue

n Removes cost for Bidders with producing

expensive tender responses

n Challenges Bidders to demonstrate their

USPs in a focused, controlled way

n Reduces the evaluation period saving time

and money on resources

There would need to be checks and balances

in place at the end of the process but if we’re

honest, the gap between contractors has been

narrowing for some time. They all promote

the use of fresh, healthy food, local suppliers,

environmental credentials, and programmes

for staff training and development. How often

is the final decision made based on who the

client wants to work with?

Speed dating for catering service providers

has been in place for many years when

selecting which suppliers to invite to tender.

The thought of using this approach as the

basis of the tender is both thrilling and

terrifying at the same time.

The public sector is restrained by OJEU

requirements but the private sector can

be creative and enterprising with their

procurement methods. I will wait with

interest to see the results of the new

approaches and will be working with my

colleagues at CIPS and BIFM to evaluate

and share the outcomes. What is exciting

however is, that even within the procurement

world, the status quo is being challenged and

that can only be a good thing .

epmagazine.co.uk | 35

Going global

Chris Durant,

Senior Consultant at

The Litmus Partnership

explores the benefits

and challenges of global

catering contracts.

Can global catering operations

benefit from a common catering

policy and consistent approach

in spite of cultural and political


Effectively sourced, structured and

managed global contracts can

deliver a range of valuable benefits

to companies but while many global

organisations have talked about entering

into worldwide catering agreements,

relatively few have really progressed beyond

a vision. This is perhaps not surprising

given the challenges of cultural and political

differences (both external and internal),

differing regional and country laws and the

way in which employee and welfare benefits

are perceived.

Inevitably the more mature and

established European and US contract

catering markets, where outsourcing of

services is generally higher than many other

parts of the world, have moved away from

traditional staff catering models. Perhaps

the most significant feature in the UK is the

erosion of client subsidies and the growth (as

in the US) of nil subsidy contracts. This is in

striking contrast to many other countries.

In Europe, works councils representing

worker interests are common. They form

a strong part of German and French work

culture, requiring employers to consult on a

diverse range of workforce related matters,

including employee catering. The practical

implications for caterers are that planned

service changes may have to be agreed by

works councils first and delays can cost the

caterer or the client organisation money. In

Germany, for instance, the strength of works

councils makes the current high levels of

catering subsidy hard to reduce or remove.

Looking further afield, in Latin America,

employee catering is heavily subsidised.

In Brazil, it is estimated that over 10% of

workers receive vouchers to buy not only

meals at work but also everyday items like

childcare, fuel and supermarket products.

These vouchers are clearly seen as a major

welfare benefit and are 80% employer funded

or more, so nil-subsidy catering doesn’t even

register on the catering agenda. Despite this,

the South American foodservice market and

Brazil in particular is developing rapidly and

36 | Insights & Action | October 2017


some countries have elements of European

business culture although labour laws in most

are poor compared with Europe.

Economic giants like China and India

have shown strong growth and the potential

for further outsourcing is high. China has no

specific regulations relating to workplace

catering but blue collar catering tends to be

heavily subsidised. However, in big cities

employees pay a larger amount of the cost,

and food preferences are diverse. Longer

term, subsidies are likely to reduce as the

Chinese economy continues to expand

and people become better off. Elsewhere

in the region, in India, employers of over

250 people must have a staff restaurant by

law. This potentially provides a wealth of

opportunities for global caterers as fledgling

companies and the Indian economy grows.

In spite of the obvious challenges, in

theory at least, all global organisations can

benefit from a common catering policy and

a consistent approach to management and

reporting including improved, shorter lines

of communication, consistent budgeting,

planning and performance measurement

– all enabling easier identification and

benchmarking of costs and trends across

their estate. However, while a global supplier

agreement can deliver significant benefits, a

‘one-size fits all’ model for catering around

the world is highly unlikely to work. Instead,


companies need to focus on establishing a

common framework and set of guidelines,

which allow for a degree of local autonomy

to manage local needs. Additionally, global

contracts require the development of strong

supply partnerships, where relationships are

based on more than just price and embrace

the benefits of true collaboration.

Traditional contract deals are often based

on self-interest achieved at the expense of

others. To work effectively, both clients and

contractors need to move away from this

outdated thinking to achieving a contract

model based on true win/win principles,

where all parties have a vested interest in

making the relationship work. This can only

happen when all parties have established

objectives that are fully aligned. Clearly

these principles should be the basis for

all outsourced contracts but it takes on

even more importance when dealing with

operations, which may be thousands of

miles apart.

Looking ahead, change in global

outsourcing practice and contract

management will continue, initially in the

mature markets but longer term in other

parts of the world as countries play catch up

and even overtake more established markets

– cost pressures, environmental issues,

skill shortages and corporate downsizing

will be some of the bigger challenges. Very

importantly, FM companies will develop a

better understanding of catering services and

an appreciation that they are different from

other services and require a unique approach.

In conclusion, foodservice caterers have

generally been highly responsive to changing

markets and trends but will need to find

even more innovative solutions to meet the

needs of a shrinking world and ever more

demanding clients and customers. The right

solution today will not necessarily be the

right solution tomorrow.

Ultimately, global catering contracts can

provide the perfect foundation for sharing

best practice, fast tacking efficiencies learned

from more mature markets and engaging

with local management in ways that help

them play a part in developing the right

catering service for their employees.

epmagazine.co.uk | 37

Has outsourcing had

its shelf life?

Julian Fris, Director, Neller Davies argues we may have reached

a point where outsourcing in its current form has had its time.

If the golden age has passed, what now needs to change?

When you look at bids being

returned, margins are

unfeasibly low – lower than

2% in some cases.

That, coupled with the fact that, additional

payments are being made to secure

business by contractors means that they

are increasingly struggling to find viable

solutions which return healthy profits in the

medium to long term.

Is this fair and reasonable?

In effect outsourcing has just got a lot more

difficult. As the market squeezes more out

of contractors we are seeing more business

failures, near-misses and acquisitions. Many

will be familiar with the recent negative press

around Carillion, Mitie, Serco, G4S, Capita,

Interserve and so on.

We have also witnessed CBRE, JLL, Elior,

CH&Co, ISS, Servest and others snap up

smaller companies.

The UK market is becoming more

oligopolistic and choice is increasingly being

limited. New companies entering the market

find it difficult to break through the cost,

margin and risk barriers particularly with

‘premier league’ contracts with the big PLCs,

multinationals and public sector. According

to a recent study conducted by FM World

magazine, facilities management contributes

about 8% of GDP in the UK. Market

dominance is clearly an objective for the ‘big

boys’ and they are acting predatory.

Since the credit crunch, there has been a

feeling that 15–20% can be saved from the

building services function, however, this

can’t be a recurrent activity. We get cornercutting,

safety is compromised, slower

service, disengagement – there’s plenty about

that in the press at the moment on “valueengineered”


Initiatives to bring SMEs in to the

mainstream have been mixed. Specialist

sub-contractors go through rigorous vetting

and are tightly controlled but they know

their place. But that doesn’t work for all;

it’s fine for lifts and air conditioning, but

may be less so for a distinctive food offer.

According to Small Business.co.uk, 40% of

small businesses die within five years – this is

staggering. The biggest problem is poor cash

flow and, if they work as a sub-contractor

to the ‘first-tier’ companies, they become

wholly reliant on sometimes poor payment

terms (30 days+) which can be catastrophic.

We have seen new so-called ‘second

tier’ caterers be presented with complex

contract documents with significant risk

transfer clauses and they are expected to

sign up to that even though they are paying

a concession. There seems to be a culture of

passing risk down to the lowest level.

We know that around 90% of catering is

outsourced in the business & industry sector,

FM is about half that. In the public sector this is

significantly lower. For instance in healthcare,

less than 50% of the estate is outsourced.

Is there now an emerging case for greater

use of self-delivery? You could argue that

38 | Insights & Action | October 2017



there is a lot of talent out there who might

relish the chance to in-source for a client,

they have the business acumen, the contacts

and so on. In some cases, in maintenance,

around half of the work has to be outsourced

to sub-contractors because of ‘closed

protocol’ or specialist systems like access

control, air-conditioning, lifts etc. In some

catering operations this is the case where

pre-prepared food is used – maybe less so

for cleaning or security. So if we are in this

hybrid world it does not always make sense

to double-handle.

So what of ‘in-house’? Detractors will say

that it is manifested by poor cost control,

protectionism, inefficiency, restrictive

practices and a return to the 70s. But maybe

the golden age of outsourcing has passed,

particularly in the public sector (look at the

service providers throwing back the keys),

how many operators has the East Coast

Mainline railway had in the last 10 years with

the current one struggling?

So transferring risk to the private sector

can be a bit of a boomerang action where

we’ll ultimately pick the tab up for failure.

The answer rests in good and prudent

management and is less about who the

service provider is. Overall, the decision

makers need to understand the facts

rather than chase down the cheapest price.

Customers are happy to pay if they receive

quality and perceive value. In some areas

modern catering trends prove this – do we

want a cup of instant coffee or a barista made

artisan americano?

It’s also about customer attitude and

expectation. An FM company selling the

dream is compelling for a cash-strapped

PLC or public sector organisation. If the

purchasers realised the pitfalls of shorttermism

then they might make a different

decision especially when the savings are lost

on unplanned monitoring and litigation.

Maybe a period of full or partial in-house

might reset the balance in the market.

Companies get to understand their needs

better and can selectively self-deliver and

buy-in services as appropriate. In the end,

it is about ownership and some service

companies do it well, some less so judging

by the amount of diagnostic reviews we are

increasingly undertaking.

One of the big-ticket items is – where do

you get the labour from, how do you train

them, how do you ensure they are productive

and keep them engaged?

Labour supply issues are an ongoing

challenge in the sector, Brexit aside. We

have to face up to it. Automation is not

the panacea in an essentially customer

facing industry whether self-delivered or


Dare I say if an employee had a choice for

working directly for an organisation rather

than an outsourcer, they would pick the

former. There’s always a strong affinity to

working for the brand – a sense of ownership,

pride and longevity. Work for a contractor

you are more likely to be TUPE-transferred

from one to another with all that entails.

That’s not to say that loyalty is not generated,

but I would argue it less applies to the people

on the ground and they are the ones who

matter in the end.

epmagazine.co.uk | 39

What makes

pop-up ventures

truly exciting?

Aleksandrina Rizova, Architect/ Director of

ALEKSA studio explores how pushing the boundaries

of traditional design and engagement can bring

the customer.

Alongside traditional methods, mobile flexible designs and new

techniques could create higher levels of engagement.


t’s summer in London and new pop-up

ventures are in full swing. Whether food or

retail, they are usually trendy, cool and one

can argue, affordable for both organisers

and the consumer. I love trying new places

that are here today and gone tomorrow. I’m

also always looking forward to stepping into

a disused industrial building or run-down

rooftop and taste new menus accompanied

by a DJ set and even visual effects. What

more can one ask for?

Pop-ups can certainly reach a diverse

audience but will rely on effective marketing

and PR activities. I recently came across

a story where mobile pop-up caterers in

Covent Garden stressed the importance of

early advertisement – with the anticipation

of the customers being crucial. They argued

that the offer may have disappeared before

many people were able to discover. It raises

the question of what ingredients are needed

to create a buzz for a new hot temporary

pop-up venue.

As an architect I believe design is vital for

a successful entrepreneurship. The choice

of interiors, furnishings, materials, colour,

pattern, signage, lighting and sound can turn

heads and make headlines. The location is

equally as important – bohemian rooftops and

warehouse buildings seem to be highly popular

at present. Taking over empty buildings can

be a sustainable way of rejuvenating decaying

architecture. Branding goes hand in hand

with the food – menu and uniforms design

and food presentation complete the winning

package. I wonder if a successful design can

even mask some not so good tasting food in

the hype of attending a pop-up?

40 | Insights & Action | October 2017


In my architecture and design practice

ALEKSA studio we are particularly

interested in the use of digital design

tools and fabrication techniques to create

affordable, reconfigurable designs that can

be fabricated quickly, delivered pre-installed

on site (saving cost and time for on-site

installation) and reconfigured for a different

venue or event later on. Recycled materials

can save costs and be quietly spectacular

whilst promoting corporate sustainability.

We have worked on a range of small

scale pop-up installations in the past for

exhibitions retailers but also private clients

who are keen to push their business forward

by investing in a mobile flexible design.

An example project is the temporary pop-up

window display we designed for make-up

brand Kiko Milano on Regent Street in 2016.

The window display was in place for three

weeks in September and corresponded to

the Kiko Milano latest limited edition. The

The installation

created a sense of

perspectival illusion

as one walked by –

allowing for dynamic

views into the shop.

new products were exhibited and celebrated

within a colourful and eye-catching

installation inspired by the play between

light and shadow, opaque and transparent,

clear and textured. The installation created

a sense of perspectival illusion as one walked

by – allowing for dynamic views into the

shop. The bright colour gradient and the

surface pattern created a three-dimensional

spatial experience within otherwise concise

window space. The sense of movement

was further accentuated by the ripple like

effect and feminine curves found within the

display elements geometry. The installation

consisted of vertical fins and product display

components fixed to a free-standing frame.

The colourful vertical fins were made of

CNC cut digitally printed acrylic where the

colour and pattern gradients were carefully

crafted digitally to achieve the desired visual

effect of dissolving solidity.

The appeal of pop-ups is certainly high

at the moment and many can see how

they can benefit the customer. This is also

witnessed in both the leisure and business

world. Reconfigurable designs can be a huge

advantage for those looking to make short

visual impressions and can easily be set-up

and moved around depending on customer’s

need. The world has increased in speed and

we must now do more to catch the eye and

make an impact.

epmagazine.co.uk | 41


How much is

your data worth?

Will Burton, Senior Associate at Anquan Limited explains why it is essential

the hospitality industry is prepared for significant data breaches.

“Security is not a dirty word Blackadder!”

Since 2015 there have been at least

16 known major cyber attacks in

the hospitality sector. Companies

such as Intercontinental, Marriott,

Hilton, Starwood and the Mandarin Oriental

have been affected and many more have

gone unreported.

The EU Government Data Protection

Regulation (GDPR) comes into force

in May 2018 allowing the Information

Commission’s Office (ICO) to fine UK

companies up to 4% of their global annual

turnover or £18m, whichever is the greater,

for every data breach that occurs.

Major incidents such as the WannaCry

and NotPetya ransomware attacks and

breaches at Target, Home Depot, Sony

and Tesco Bank forced the hidden world of

cybersecurity into the mainstream.

Data protection is a serious issue for the

hotel sector. Although incidents involving

large hotel groups are most likely to reach

the press, data breaches can happen in any

hotel, regardless of size. If management and

owners are not taking appropriate steps, a

data breach is likely to occur at some point.

A standard data set within a hotel database

typically contains names, addresses,

dates of birth and credit card details. Such

information can be used to carry out credit

card fraud making them agreeable targets

for hackers.

In a recent survey by cyber security

company CarbonBlack, 70% of respondents

said they would potentially stop using

a company following a data breach.

Consequently, the impact to a business is

likely to extend well beyond a fine.

In 2015 Synack, a cyber security company

set up by two former NSA engineers, set up

a ‘honeypot’ experiment which consisted of

a computer server connected to the internet

and nothing else. Within five minutes they

registered unauthorised login attempts and

over a 24 hour period there were more than

99,000 recorded attempts to breach the server.

So in the face of such adversity what can

be done? Clearly there should be robust IT

systems in place to prevent data breaches

and many of the larger hospitality companies

will use IT providers who should ensure

systems are properly maintained and

promptly updated. For those who don’t a fine

of £18m and the resulting bad press could

easily be the death knell.

Some might argue that a typical hacker

would be aiming to hit large organisations


given the greater chance for financial gain.

However viruses come in many shapes and

sizes and by their very nature are able to pass

across networks, infecting as many terminals

as possible, so in attacking one system there

may be significant collateral damage across

other organisations as a result.

Awareness is probably the greatest

hurdle to clear first. The government

was recently criticised for running ten

independent campaigns on cybersecurity

awareness. The task is significant and while

running these campaigns may not be the

answer it does at least indicate there is a

desire to build awareness of the threat by

central government.

It is no good reacting after an attack

happens. Organisations need to review

their data security policies and general IT

requirements now. Crisis response training

for senior management teams is a good way

to build a sensible plan in case of a major

cyber incident. This way communications

are planned and considered, which is

fundamental in such a situation. The more

that organisations can do to prove they have

been responsible will help them in the event

of an ICO investigation following a breach.

This is not a world that is removed from

normal business any more – companies

need to improve their working practices in

the context of cybersecurity. This could

help level a dangerous playing field that

seems to be weighted, at this stage, in favour

of the attacker.

42 | Insights & Action | October 2017


Young catering consultants

– a now impossible dream?

Peter Pitham at Catering Consultancy Bureau

explains his route into catering and consultancy and

asks how young people can enter this world today.

Can we create a structured apprenticeship programme

as a solution to the lack of talent?



feel very fortunate to have enjoyed the

catering career that I have had. During

the early stages, British Petroleum (BP)

sponsored me for a seven year catering

apprenticeship whilst attending day release

at Lewisham College. After gaining my City

& Guilds and also the Advanced Kitchen and

Larder (706/3) I worked my way through

the kitchen brigade before moving into the

management side of catering. BP again

sponsored me through a further three years

of management development, working at

all their main sites throughout England,

Scotland and Wales.

Following this I joined an event company

as Special Events Manager and then Area/

District Manager, with a spell in business

development. I was recruited by Gardner

Merchant and put through a further

personal development course over the next

three years. Having spent time with

several very good catering

organisations I decided

that catering consultancy

could offer me a

rewarding career, by now

possessing a good depth of knowledge with

the ability to help and support clients with

their own catering requirements and there

lies the problem; having spent a significant

number of years working in the catering

industry I felt that I then had sufficient

knowledge, so, would this determine the fact

that it may be an impossible dream to have

a younger breed of catering consultant –

perhaps not?

A number of catering organisations

have taken on young apprentices, together

with design and equipment companies.

For example Gareth Sefton from design

company SHW Design has created an

apprenticeship scheme to attract young

people into the industry. This just leaves

catering consultancy apprenticeships

outstanding. I am not aware of many catering

organisations who take on apprentices for

catering consultancy and whilst I may stand

to be corrected, there are not many catering

consultancy apprenticeships either and this

is a shame.

I suspect that most catering consultancies

are smaller organisations who would find it

difficult to support an apprentice and therein

lies an additional problem. I therefore ask

a question of the wider catering world here;

could a solution be to arrange and structure

a programme for apprentices which includes

spending the majority of their time with

the parent catering organisation who took

them on in the

first place and to

further arrange

periods of time

with design companies, such as Sefton

Horn Winch and the good old catering

consultancies, to allow a broader view into

the world of catering consultants?

I am sure that a working group could look

into this for the wider good of the industry

and provide a stable platform for apprentices

to enable them to decide upon which part

of the catering industry they would like to

enter. This could also be extended to the

practical side of the industry with apprentice

chefs spending time with kitchen and design

companies to give them an insight into the

various aspects of the industry and by doing

so, open up choices for them all.

I was extremely lucky to have been

sponsored by British Petroleum in the days

when they managed their own catering

arrangements and I certainly appreciated

being developed in the way that I was.

This is going to take a little organising but

it would at the very least give a good clear

insight into the various disciplines of the

catering world.

epmagazine.co.uk | 43

Are you starving workplace

diners of information?

Sally Davis, Director at Thread Consultancy explores how the changing

world of work is impacting catering and what solutions are available.

The need for a point of difference between caterers has never been more important.

According to the Telegraph, “we’re

working harder, feel more stressed

and have less security – but Brits

are happier at work than ever

before”. Employers are considering work

life balance learning and development,

family commitments outside of “the norm”

and health, wellbeing and nourishment in a

way that hasn’t been commonplace. Many

companies are focussed on getting staff dining

“right” in order to have a hugely positive

impact on the team and organisation, and

all very well in organisations and buildings

where employees must be in the office, or

on the site to do their job. But, while average

spend value in workplace catering is, in many

cases increasing, the simultaneous rise in the

number of client organisations encouraging

agile and flexible working to attract and

retain talent and altering working patterns

for greater productivity, is putting a squeeze

on many caterers with zero cost and fixed

price contracts.

In addition to the number of possible

diners in the workplace reducing, this

year-of-the-unexpected, has driven some

harsh statistics around consumer spending.

As a nation, we are saving less than ever,

there is a reported average consumer credit

debt of £7,370 which has increased since

April. With the pool of possible consumers

getting smaller, and the purses of those

potential customers being squeezed even

more, it is clear that any business involved in

retailing must evolve its approach to product,

merchandising and marketing.

Caterers in the workplace have so far

been able to address some of the changing

consumer demographics, expectations

and consumption patterns by introducing

technology – such as contactless payment

options – and by being more food and

wellbeing focussed to address the rising

demand for sustainably grown products,

minimal processing, natural ingredients, low

sugar and ethically sourced products. Thanks

to the allergen information legislation

introduced three years ago, it seems that

they’ve also been able to instil trust in a

previously sceptical consumer group. Recent

research by the FSA showed that nearly half

of food allergic and intolerant consumers are

more adventurous about eating out – whether

during the day or in their leisure time.

However, these responses simply aren’t

enough to drive sales that both caterers and

organisations need for a sustainable business

model. Two key areas that must be improved

are that of a more modern approach to

implementing culinary development plans

fully on the ground, along with effective

product marketing.

In order to respond to reducing

volumes on workplace catering sites,

head offices of national and international

catering companies are often tasked with

producing marketing material to roll out

for their operational team to use on site.

Where this was once driven by a desire to

create consistency of brand message and

professional looking collateral to promote

offers, now, the people on the ground

need practical support from marketing

specialists to continue to reach potential and

repeat consumers, and to create a point of

difference against the backdrop of even more

noise and competition than ever before. It is

As a nation, we are saving less than ever,

there is a reported average consumer credit debt

of £7,370 which has increased since April.

44 | Insights & Action | October 2017


unlikely that the operational and marketing

specialists can achieve this entirely on their

own. The solution is for both parties to

work closely together – to develop creative

concepts and promote to the workforce

by understanding their behaviours and

working patterns.

The catering and hospitality sector can

look once again to the retail sector for

guidance to access markets and buyers

effectively. First because they have embraced

a move to “bricks and clicks” mentality, and

adapted the way they operate to utilise digital

platforms and technology to their advantage.

and enable them to better manage their

production and staffing levels.

Second, in today’s marketplace, caterers

are under increased price pressures. Now,

when inflation has been at 2.9% since May,

(and 2.6% in July) – the highest in nearly four

years, and the cost of quality raw products

is rising (through increased transport,

production costs and fluctuating value of £),

we’re seeing a situation that is intensifying the

squeeze on household budgets and caterers’

ability to deliver at multiple levels.

It’s clear that operators can only offer

competitive pricing to a certain level before

disposable income, caterers must take care

to offer choice, budget options and treats –

as too many overpriced impulse buys is likely

to lead to an increase in packed lunches

from home, delivering a lack of footfall to the

workplace dining room.

Two key areas that

must be improved are

that of a more modern

approach to implementing

culinary development

plans fully on the ground,

along with effective

product marketing.

There are numerous ways catering operators

can benefit from things such as online

ordering to support them not only in engaging

with their customers and gaining insights into

when they think about their food and what

appeals to them through website analytics,

but also in contending with customer queues

at peak service times. It can provide a whole

new sales channel for operators through

targeted marketing campaigns, allowing

them to increase their capacity and sales

without extending their footprint or resource,

there is an impact on quality. Sophisticated

menu engineering techniques should be

applied to ensure menus are inviting and

cost effective. Caterers must be able to

demonstrate value to the customer, and

where new innovative and freshly prepared

concepts are visible, then the whole dining

experience is valued and the possibility of

repeat visits to the canteen far more likely.

Competitively priced premium branded

products are proven to grow average

spends, but with the impending squeeze on


Ultimately, in workplace catering as in

retail, the responses from caterers must

provide consumers with interactive and

convenient experiences through storytelling

and merchandising, and potentially using

digital technology to allow them to browse,

consider and buy whenever and wherever.

By then targeting and personalising the

food products and services to the customer’s

specific wants and needs (where customers

for example place more value on goods and

services aligned with their individual values

such as preferences for responsibly-sourced

merchandise or local supply), operators

can make employees feel connected to their

workplace and its local community which in

turn stimulates loyalty and habit.

This cannot be achieved by caterers on

the ground alone without specialist

marketing support from research and

segmentation through to integrated

campaigns. It cannot be achieved by dated

head office mass marketing designed to catch

all – promoting all the options a customer

could possibly want and forcing them to

either wade through it or simply ignore it.

After all, if we’re working harder, and feel

more stressed than ever, the last thing any

of us want is to work for our lunch and break

times too.

epmagazine.co.uk | 45

Does the foodservice

model need to change?

Sean Valentine, founder of Valentine Hospitality looks at

how the marketplace has evolved for foodservice companies

and explores how the model can change to suit.

What will be the future differentiator between foodservice operators?

Foodservice consultants believe:

“Traditional structures and models

are being challenged daily. Those

considering starting in this market

need to be geared up to tackle the traditional

high street too. Gone are the days where

foodservice companies played only in their

own space. There is a necessity of having

a clear idea of what the product or service

is, as well as the importance of creating a

marketplace where everybody can compete

for contracts”.

Sector focus and location is undoubtedly

important; however, the structure an

organisation takes from the outset could

be the key differentiator for a business, and

ultimately, the difference between success and

failure. Evidence suggests that partnerships

are important. Whether it’s William Baxter

and Alastair Storey, Wendy Bartlett and Ian

Mitchell, or Bill Toner at the CH&Co Group;

there are many examples of partnerships that

have created significant growth.

Bartlett says: “Depending on the type

of person you are, you need somebody to

compliment your skills. If you are great

at selling, you need that strong financial

influence to have that balance. A partner

can be very important when setting up

a business.”

In the current climate, great partnerships

alone cannot guarantee success. Choosing

the correct financial model to launch is

crucial. Tim Jones, chairman at CH&Co

Group, says: “Robyn and I took the low-cost

The structure an

organisation takes from

the outset could be the

key differentiator for a

business, and ultimately,

the difference between

success and failure.

option when we set up Charlton House 25

years ago. The other route is the high-cost

one, and that involves borrowing money

or investing far higher sums of your own or

family money. This would be to either set

up the team and systems from the outset,

or even buy your way into the sector by

acquiring an existing company.”

However, the industry has changed

considerably since then and legislation

means there are now other factors to

consider. You would need much more

investment today because costs are higher,

there is far more red tape, and you would

need to employ more people from the outset

or out-source specialist tasks. A new startup

would need to set up policies and procedures,

health and safety systems, finance systems,

a payroll service, IT, marketing capability

and much more. This all comes at a cost

and a huge amount of work. Of course, you

also need to be able to support yourself

financially until you start making money.

With all the investment in place, and

the company structure agreed, the real

challenge often comes with winning that

first contract. A lack of reference points, and

no accounts history, it can be a real task to

convince clients to procure the services of

a startup business. The all-important first

contract can often be the most challenging.

Convincing a client to hand over an emotive

part of their business to an untried and

inexperienced foodservice startup can be the

biggest challenge. There are, of course, other

options which lead to the development of

new businesses. Some companies buy others

to get into the space. It’s highly competitive

but not impossible, if people truly believe in

their product and have a lucky break. More

often than not it will involve the foodservice

consultants sticking their neck out for that

next great concept and team.


46 | Insights & Action | October 2017


The birth of the delivered in market

will create a new level of competition for

the foodservice operators, that allows

the traditional labour structure at a fixed

site to be challenged. At a recent industry

breakfast, much discussion was had around

the key differentiators between foodservice

operators. When a client goes out to tender

and receives many tenders back for their

catering operation, what makes a client

choose an operator. It could be argued

that the team are the most important

differentiator, however TUPE applies and

the new operator takes on the existing staff

and management. There is little room in

the numbers and most of the operators have

a marginal amount between them as their

profits are being squeezed to a point where

it is becoming non-profitable. The new

delivered in model allows for much more

flexibility around staff and product, the two

most expensive elements of the service. At

the moment, the delivered in phenomenon

is centred around the consumer market with

companies such as Just Eat and Deliveroo,

but the business community is already

looking at this model to help reduce costs

and improve choice.

The model is already adapting to suit

the changing environment but more will

and needs to happen. Traditional routes

to success are no longer as accessible and

without investment in place smaller players

are less likely to progress compared to how

it used to be. As caterers look to differentiate

from the competition, we are likely to other

changes to the model as we are currently

witnessing with the rise of the delivered

in market.

epmagazine.co.uk | 47

Personalising the

intangible and tangible

Phil Dean, Managing Director of Certain argues that branding has

evolved to such an extent in hospitality that organisations must now

put personalisation at the forefront.

If the brand has a persona, does this reflect the emotions of the leaders in the business?

The consumer has never had more choice. They can choose

to buy a product anywhere, at any time and the lowest

price. And it’s in this world that branding has never been

more important.

Recent statistics from the US show that Apple’s retail stores are the

most successful on the high street, with seventeen times more sales per

square feet than the average retailer. The data, which excludes online

sales, reveals that Apple achieves more than double the amount of sales

per square feet in the US than the runner-up, Tiffany & Co, who ranks

second on the list.

It isn’t a coincidence that Apple also tops Forbes’ annual study of the

most valuable brands in the world for the seventh straight year, worth

$170 billion. Its brand value is up 10% over last year and represents 21%

of the company’s recent market value of $806 billion.

The ultimate goal is to create a

simple, potent brand idea that can

be executed with confidence and

creativity in everything you do, right

across your business.

It can be hard to relate to a behemoth like Apple, but the fundamentals

remain the same — a good brand informs everything you do. And it’s not

just your logo; I think it is far more useful to use the word reputation

instead of brand. It will help connect with your customers and how they

relate to your products and service.

It all starts with a simple question: what do people think of your

brand? The answer to this will give you a point A on the journey and the

point B will come from understanding what and how you want to sell.

48 | Insights & Action | October 2017



The ultimate goal is to create a simple,

potent brand idea that can be executed with

confidence and creativity in everything

you do, right across your business. Great

brands understand their customer better

than anyone else and solve a problem that

they have and this is best achieved when a

simple, compelling idea sits at the heart of the

business — an idea that can be brought to life

at every opportunity.

At its core, a brand is a promise to its

customers. Not just tangible products and

services, but emotions and feelings. And it’s

customers that inform the strategy because

brands are built by consumers, not companies

and the way a brand is perceived defines it.

We encourage businesses to develop a brand

persona. Think of your brand as a person and

how does it interact its customers? The brand

persona from appearance to personality is

what customers will judge you on.

And remember, a brand is made up of

intangible and tangible. It goes beyond just the

logo, messaging, social media and advertising.

The consistent communication of the brand

will shape perceptions but if just one element

is out the whole brand will suffer.

How do great brands behave?

Great brands are simple. They understand the

consumer and how their brand is perceived

and jumps at every chance to bring it to life at

every touch point.

Based on the brand promise, expectations

are set, and people assume expectations will be

met. If your brand doesn’t meet expectations

at every interaction, people will be confused or

disappointed. This understanding should drive

investment in training and systems to deliver

impeccable service every time.

Branding in hospitality continues to

evolve in line with the changing consumer

experience and higher expectations across

the board. Alignment of both the technological

and physical experiences is critical and

consumers take their lead from other

sectors and expect high levels of service at

every stage.

I believe personalisation will be a key driver

of branding over the next five years. Online,

customers expect a personalised experience

based on their shopping habits. How can you

bring an element of that into a hospitality

space? Can you capture their data and send

them something personalised? Can you take

the idea of loyalty and make it personal to

their experience?

Nowadays, digital is the main focus for

many brands but don’t forget the important

physical touch points of your brand – pay

particular attention to your signage, windows,

messaging and make sure it’s all aligned. It’s

all part of the experience so don’t get carried

away with social media and website and make

sure everything works well together.

The businesses that thrive in a constantly

evolving market will invest in brand and

recognise they need a laser focus on their


epmagazine.co.uk | 49


Fit for purpose

Mark Arnold, Director at MAALT Consultants

explains why today’s changing environment

requires a specialist approach.

Great emphasis must be placed on core objectives.

We have arguably seen

unprecedented levels of

change with the Foodservice

and FM sectors in the last

few years with ever-greater demand on

client organisations to achieve greater space

productivity, financial savings, and efficiencies

of scale and so on. This has created a boom

in the IFM and TFM market for operators

to provide a huge range of bundled services

either through self-delivery or combination of

self-delivery and sub-contracting to specialist

firms. In many cases these are large multi-site,

multi-country deals that require significant

investment upfront by the supplier/s and a

demand for aggressive savings glide paths

which are often not agreed without full and

proper knowledge of all the relevant facts

and figures. This can easily result in complex

contracts being awarded based on un-sound

decisions and commitments, which ultimately

creates challenges to successful delivery and a

culture of distrust.

So, what does this have to do with the

Foodservice sector and the role of an

independent consultant?

In our experience the IFM, TFM and the

caterer will respond to the questions asked

during an RFI/RFP process on a limited

timescale that may not allow for the time to

really understand the objectives of the client

organisation and how they can best meet

them. Where there is a shortage of strategy,

dialogue, financial and technical data (all key

to the creation of a robust, well thought out

propositions) then how can we know if they

will stand the test of time and truly deliver?

Following a 25-year career spanning

hotel, and business & industry catering in

client and supplier roles on a global basis I

recently made a very conscious decision to

enter into the world of consultancy. I believe

there is a need for fresh perspective on some

of the key issues. This includes the lack of

understanding and clarity around supplier

income from assorted discounts, the desire

from clients to have investment from their

catering supplier and the habitual approach

to contract terms. I believe that it is the role

of the consultant to question, challenge,

debate and advise a client on these topics

whilst simultaneously engaging the supply

chain in the same meaningful debate.

We have this multi layered involvement in

the outsourcing of catering services and we

often don’t truly know who the real client is

and whether they have had direct involvement

in the development of the RFI/RFP or has

this been led by the Procurement team, who

may have different drivers and objectives.

This is where the role of an independent

consultant really comes to the fore, when

engaged at the outset or at least the very early

stages of the process to decide to tender the

catering services we are able to work with the

client team to really understand the culture

of the organisation, how it views it employees

and the services it provides to them and how

they in turn impact on the employee and their

ability to demonstrate the right behaviours

and values that underpin the organisations

culture, values and market objectives.

Early engagement in this way allows

the consultant to offer un-biased industry

wide views and perspectives and assist

the client team in building a strategy and

process that can be easily articulated,

managed and delivered. We can open the

debate on some of the possibly long held

views and perspectives on the methods of

delivering financial success in a catering

contract, i.e. nil-subsidy is the way to go. We

can articulate to our clients the power of

catering services to impact on many areas of

the business, including the health and wellbeing

of their employees, space utilisation,

collaborative working, employee recruitment

and retention.

So, in answer to the question posed

earlier this complex layer of stakeholders,

objectives, challenges and agendas means

that there is a need for a fresh focus on

catering services as part of bundled FM

deals. Catering is the only service in a

building where very often the employer asks

the employee to contribute; out of their own

pocket. With the explosion of the “eating

out market”, environmental challenges and

focus on “healthy eating”, today’s consumer

reaches all the way through to the C-Suite

and has an opinion which they rightly feel

should be heard. In order to truly create

outsourced solutions that are fit for purpose

and sustainable we need to place greater

emphasis on the organisational objectives

as well as the voice of the consumer. By

engaging an independent specialist at

the outset this level of direct engagement

can be achieved and will positively affect

the outcome of a tender process and the

successful delivery of a catering contract.

50 | Insights & Action | October 2017

17 –18 OCTOBER 2017














epmagazine.co.uk | 51


The thoughts and views of leading consultants


Thanks to our contributors and sponsors

Bob Cotton

Non-executive Director

Tracey Fairclough

Turpin Smale

Catering Consultants

Chris Stern

Managing director

Stern Consultancy

Kate Taylor


Chris Durant

Senior Consultant

The Litmus Partnership

Aleksandrina Rizova


ALEKSA studio

Mike Day



Julian Fris


Neller Davies

Sally Davis


Thread Consultancy

Sean Valentine


Valentine Hospitality

Simon Carey


Blink Cafes

Peter Pitham

MD/Principal Consultant

Catering Consultancy


Olubunmi Okolosi



Wendy Sutherland

Managing Director

Ramsay Todd

Niall McCann



Mark Linehan


Mark Arnold


MAALT Consultants

Paul Wright

Project Director


Martin-Christian Kent

Executive Director

People 1st

Michèle Moore



Phil Dean

Managing Director


Miles Quest

Managing Director

Wordsmith and


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