Members’ News

March 2022

Urban-Air Port unveils major brand partnerships to unlock new-age travel retail experience as flying taxis become a reality #

Urban-Air Port, the UK-based developer of ground infrastructure for air taxis and autonomous delivery drones, today announces multiple new partnerships with leading retail and Food & Beverage (F&B) brands to deliver a “world-class” customer experience at the world’s first hub for flying taxis and delivery drones – Air-One – due to open in Coventry this April.
The site – backed by the UK government, Supernal (Hyundai’s advanced air mobility division) and Coventry City Council – will form a blueprint for over 200 similar sites planned by Urban-Air Port across the world in the next five years as air taxis and autonomous delivery drones become a reality.
The partners – including Anatomie, Bottega S.p.A, Eurest (part of Compass Group), LG Business Solutions, Mother 
Ricky Sandhu, Founder and Executive Chairman of Urban-Air Port, said: “Once complete, Air-One – the world’s first fully operational hub for flying taxis and delivery drones – will spark into life an entirely new world of affordable, zero-emission and congestion-free travel. However, this is not just about getting from A to B, it’s about the journey itself. Air-One is so much more than a landing pad for flying taxis and delivery drones. It will deliver a world-class interactive customer experience – one that can be replicated right across the world as we build our network of over 200 sites globally. The partnerships announced today with some of the biggest brands in retail and F&B – and the investment made by them to participate in the launch of Air-One – represent a huge vote of confidence in our future vision and the opportunities it will bring for consumers and brands alike.”
The urban air mobility market is forecasted to grow by 9% annually, reaching US$1 trillion in the next 20 years. Commercial flights are expected to begin this decade, including Supernal’s flying taxi which enters commercial operations in 2028. According to McKinsey, some flight operators could see passenger numbers reach 70,000 per day as early as 2030, while Urban-Air Port predicts its global passenger numbers could reach up to 28million a year in the next five years, creating an enormous new market for retail and F&B, that will be worth millions of dollars (US) for brands and partners as the network of Urban-Air Ports expands. UAP’s vertiports will provide the essential ground infrastructure to support this new market, transforming the way goods and people are transported around urban areas and hosting a never-before-seen retail experience.
Urban-Air Port has amassed a group of like-minded brands to deliver this future-facing customer experience. These include:
Anatomie – Hybrid fashion brand and pioneer of Luxury Athleisure which is carried in over 400 stores globally including resorts, spas and airports. Its performance sportswear, engineered for comfort, focuses on reducing the carbon footprint of travellers and will be showcased at Air-One.

Bottega S.p.A – Produces and sells award-winning Italian food and beverage products in more than 140 countries and in some of the world’s most recognised duty-free shops and airlines. It will be showcasing its products at Air-One.

Eurest, part of Compass Group – The largest contract foodservice company in the world, employing over 500,000 people globally. Eurest will be Urban-Air Port’s operating partner for the on-site café, applying the company’s expertise to help develop the menu.

LG Business Solutions – Providing on-site technology in public spaces such as interactive screens that will host brand campaigns and bring products to life for consumers in new and highly interactive ways.

Mother – A UK-based leader in ‘smart vending’ technology, providing a best-in-class unmanned retail experience. Mother’s equipment will be used to provide products on demand and even act as ‘click & collect’ collection points at future unmanned drone hubs.

Paul & Shark – a sustainability-focused luxury Italian clothing brand with over 28 stores worldwide. At Air-One, it will be showcasing its fashion lines and sustainability projects as well as displaying furniture made from recycled textiles. 

Morag Freathy, Managing Director, Eurest – B&I division of Compass Group UK & Ireland: “We’re really excited to be collaborating with Urban-Air Port on the revolutionary Air One project. As a business, we’re all about breaking boundaries and leading the way on what the future of hospitality can look like, with sustainability at the heart of all that we do. We can’t wait to get started working with such a forward-thinking company.”

Urban-Air Port has a clear vision to unlock a future ‘lifestyle retail experience’ that integrates retail effortlessly into travellers’ physical journey from A to B via a unifying smartphone app. This single app will enable travellers to plan their journey, engage with brands associated with Urban-Air Choice and seamlessly integrate with other forms of transport. For example, someone could rent an e-scooter, travel to an Urban-Air Port, take an air taxi across a city, order a coffee on route and have it waiting at an Urban-Air Café at their destination, all controlled from the palm of their hand. 

Each Urban-Air Port passenger lounge will be an entirely new type of space. A fraction of the size of a traditional airport terminal, it will create a unique retail experience by exposing consumers to brands in novel and engaging ways, such as interactive screens and virtual/augmented reality technology, rather than permanent bricks and mortar shops. The approach enables brands to remain agile, hosting interactive campaign-specific content at opportune times, rather than expensive long-term shop fronts. This enables them to engage the right audiences, with the right messages, in the right place at the right time. 

All brands and products will also be accessible through Urban-Air Port’s app, meaning the retail experience extends further than just the customers’ visit to the physical site. Consumers then have the option to order products directly to their homes or even have them delivered via drone to their local Urban-Air Port or CityBox drone delivery hub [image here], or ready to be ‘vended’ by Mother’s smart vending machines using a collection code. 

This vision is being spearheaded by two leaders in the travel retail and F&B industry. Keith Hunter, Chief Retail Officer, has both led and consulted on retail operations for major transport hubs and leisure brands including Alpha Airports Group, Warner Leisure Hotels, and Qatar Airways. Nicholas Goddard-Palmer, Chief Hospitality Officer, is a fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and brings over 25 years of experience including as CEO of Delhi Duty-Free and Vice President of F&B at QDF for Qatar Airways. 

Keith Hunter, Chief Retail Officer at Urban-Air Port said: “Urban-Air Port’s vertiports are unlocking an entirely new sector within the travel industry – zero-emission electric air mobility. With that comes the opportunity to develop an entirely novel consumer experience, an experience that allows people to interact with brands and services like never before and – through our app – continue that experience beyond the terminal. This gives our customers absolute flexibility and control over every aspect of their journey and any services they require, perfectly complementing their lifestyle needs. It’s a phenomenal opportunity for consumers and brands alike.” 

Nicholas Goddard-Palmer, Chief Hospitality Officer at Urban-Air Port, said: “Coventry is just the start. With the support of our new brand partners, it gives us the platform to showcase what can be delivered in this new forum and opens the door for a whole new world of retail and F&B by creating unique experiences across the Urban-Air Choice suite of services, which is key to the delivery of our non-aeronautical strategy.” 

Urban-Air Port continues to receive huge interest in its retail and F&B offering and looks forward to adding new partners. 

From April 28th to 15th May 2022, Air One will be open to the public, with tours provided by the Urban-Air Port team. Updates can be found on UAP’s LinkedIn channel and

FEA warns of continuing price increases and equipment delays #

Foodservice equipment prices will continue to rise for the foreseeable future, and the new equipment will take longer to arrive.  Those are the stark warnings of FEA (Foodservice Equipment Association) in the face of what it is calling a ‘perfect storm of challenges.’ 

“Recent media coverage of the dramatic rise in the price for nickel have underlined the problems,” says Keith warren, chief executive of FEA.  “Stainless steel prices had already risen by between 17 and 33% recently.  The price is going to rise further with the dramatic increases in the cost of the alloys used in stainless steel for foodservice appliances, such as nickel and molybdenum.  The cost of nickel rose from $25,000 a tonne to $100,000 a tonne in just two days!  Meanwhile energy and employment costs are increasing, along with inflation.  And while the availability of components is more stable and is improving, they are still on extended order times. 

“Sadly, these are global issues – there is nowhere else to go to get equipment.” 

Alongside price pressures and component delays, manufacturers and importers are having to deal with staff shortages and the complications of Brexit. 

FEA advises against purchasing equipment that’s not up to spec simply because it’s available.  “It won’t meet the need and, in a short time, it’ll need replacing,” says Warren.  “Worst case scenario, an under-specced appliance could compromise safety of staff and customers.” 

So what’s the answer?  FEA says it’s more imperative than ever that new equipment orders are placed as quickly as possible and that they look after the equipment they already have, in order to maximise its service life and ensure it is running as efficiently as possible.  The two elements to that are staff training, so that appliances are maintained day-to-day, and regular servicing by qualified engineers. 

Most suppliers and manufacturers will offer staff training, and many have online resources, such as ‘how to’ videos, that staff can easily access to learn about specific maintenance and cleaning tasks.  To find a reliable service company FEA says it’s important to use a certified organisation, such as a member of the FEA Accredited Service Provider Scheme. 
The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing nearly 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes.  For more information on FEA visit 


Compass celebrates International Women’s Day with Nicola Adams OBE to help #breakthebias #

Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s leading foodservice provider, held a celebratory International Women’s Day event in London, earlier this week (Tuesday 8th March).

The event brought together around 200 people including clients, suppliers, industry leaders and frontline colleagues including chefs, cleaners and baristas – with the aim of showcasing initiatives to support female talent and demonstrating how everyone can do something to #breakthebias.

The event featured a question-and-answer session with British former Olympic boxer, Nicola Adams OBE. Nicola became the first female boxer to become an Olympic champion, after winning gold at London 2012 – she then went onto win a second gold medal during the Rio Olympic games in 2016. During the event, Nicola discussed how she overcame adversity in her own life to pursue her ambitions.
Nicola Adams said: “Supporting people to realise their ambitions and dreams is so important. We need to create role models that break the bias and challenge people to reach their full potential. It was great to be able to tell my story at Compass’ International Women’s Day event and I hope it’s supported someone out there to stretch themselves that little bit more and achieve something that’s important to them.

Donna Catley, Chief People Officer at Compass Group UK & Ireland; Allegra McEvedy MBE, Chef, Women in Food Board member, LEON co-founder and Patron of the Fairtrade Foundation; Taks Ndewere, who co-chairs Compass’ diversity network, Within; and Rosie Ginday MBE, CEO and Founder of Miss Macaroon; also took part in a panel discussion with a focus on how breaking the bias is still relevant in today’s world. Jodi Goldman, Personal Impact Coach, also gave a talk on “Imposter Syndrome” and the event was supported by an all-female supplier showcase including English wine makers.   
Compass is dedicated to providing opportunities for all and creating an environment where people can succeed. Over the past year Compass has expanded its Women in Food network significantly – going beyond its initial culinary focus to now represent all Compass’ female talent. The network of ambassadors has over 200 members from all genders, including those that work on the frontline to senior leadership positions. It is led by Noelle Jones, Managing Director, Chartwells Independent - who Sponsors the network; alongside Chair of the group Gemma Evans-Hurley, Culinary Lead, Projects for Compass’ Levy Sports and Leisure sector, B&I and Restaurant Associates; and Co -Chair, Leanne Turk, Lead Development Chef for Compass Group UK & Ireland. The group have a clear strategy, which continues to work towards attracting diversity, supporting development at all levels and creating a safe and supportive environment where everyone can thrive.

Amanda Scott, Director of Talent, Learning & D&I at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said: “International Women’s Day is a great day to celebrate our brilliant female role models – from frontline to leadership. Our work to encourage diversity takes place all year round and that’s why we’re so delighted to see our Women in Food Network expand and help women develop and achieve their ambitions.”

The event was supported by female chefs from across Compass, who served food that was predominantly plant forward in line with Compass’ Net Zero commitments. Dishes included Chef Consultant for Compass, Dipna Anand’s, chicken makhani with pilau rice, coriander and red onion, alongside samosa chaat, served with spiced yoghurt, as well as Levy’s 50/50 burger.

Compass Cymru marked International Women’s Day with a breakfast event at Principality Stadium, hosted in partnership with the WRU. Compass Ireland hosted an event in Dublin and Compass Scotland celebrated its female talent as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week.

Food Waste Action week 2022 Sodexo releases Appetite for Action report to help tackle food waste #

Sodexo’s report forms part of its Appetite for Action campaign to support the reduction of food waste and carbon emissions in food services

Monday 7 March marks the start of Food Waste Action Week, a highlight of WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign, which aims to create lasting change that helps to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving global food waste by 2030. As an organisation that produces millions of meals every year, Sodexo – a sponsor of Food Waste Action Week – sees the prevention of food waste as an area ripe for tackling, and one which presents multiple opportunities to innovate. 

Sodexo’s Appetite for Action report was compiled following an industry roundtable it hosted with policymakers, industry stakeholders, chefs, academics and customers. These included representatives from WRAP, WWF, Defra, the Food APPG and CBI among others.    

The report provides recommendations for both organisations and government on how food waste can be measured and reduced, so its impact on carbon emissions is minimised. 

Recommendations for organisations included:

Committing to a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030, at the latest
Deploying technology to track and monitor food waste, which will support new mandatory reporting
Supporting consumers in making the right environmental decision through positioning plant-based options first on the menu, carbon labelling on produce, and deliberate, obvious communication on where food has been sourced 

Recommendations for the UK government included:

Commission a dedicated strategy for tackling food waste, building on recommendations within the National Food Strategy
PPN 06/21 should be extended to require public sector suppliers to report on their food waste; the private sector should be encouraged to adopt this approach as well
Ensure the public understands the impact of food waste through nationwide awareness campaigns about food (waste) and its connection with climate change 

Claire Atkins Morris, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said:   

“As a leading food services provider, we have a responsibility to help combat food waste across our operations, as well as assist others in their goal to reduce carbon emissions. Our report shows how food waste reduction must be embraced across the food system if the UK is to meet its climate change commitments. 

“Food Waste Action Week is an excellent opportunity to help make the connection between the food that goes to waste and the effect this has on the environment, and we hope this report highlights how the government, organisations and individuals can all play a significant role in reducing food waste. We hope to see actions taken and greater progress made by the time the world convenes again this year for COP27.” 

Sodexo has long been committed to food waste reduction as part of its Better Tomorrow 2025 global strategy. In 2019, the organisation unveiled an ambition to cut food waste and loss by 50% by 2025. A commitment that was reaffirmed in its Social Impact Pledge 2021. 

To read the full Appetite for Action report, click here.

Chartwells Independent celebrates culinary excellence with Craft Skills event #

Chartwells Independent, the independent school catering division of Chartwells, celebrated the culinary talent across its team with a Craft Skills for Chefs engagement day held at Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham.
The day, which was organised by its Executive Chef, Rob Kennedy, saw over 120 chefs from across the country attend the event, alongside a host of suppliers, colleagues, and key industry stakeholders for a day of culinary workshop sessions, competition, and engagement.

Throughout the day, a series of expert culinary workshops were delivered from leading industry chefs, including Adam Lestrelle, from Coworth Park; Karl Pendlebury from AHDB; Frank Pontais, from Koppet Cress; and Mohit Malhotra, from Rational, amongst others.
Attendees could also engage with key industry suppliers and associations throughout the day in the exhibition hall, with leading food and drink producers, technology companies, nutrition experts, industry associations, and internal diversity networks all in attendance.

The focal point for the day was a culinary competition with over 20 participants. The competition included three rounds: two static judging rounds, including a bread category and a bakery category, followed by a live cook off signature dish category.
The entrants were judged by a panel of experts, including: Graham Crump, British Culinary Foundation; Steve Scuffle, Craft Guild of Chefs; and Nick Tessyman, Christ’s Hospital; alongside several senior Compass UK & Ireland chefs, all chaired under the watchful guidance of Nick Vadis, Compass’ UK Executive Chef. 
The judges were particularly impressed by the calibre of entries throughout the day, which all demonstrated high levels of culinary skills and creativity. The hotly contested event saw Krzystof Mikulski from Redmaids take home first price in the bread display category; while Georgi Georgiev, from Christ’s Hospital received a special award for the quality of their standalone loaf; Sarah Van der Walt from Rugby School won the bakery category, with an incredibly detailed tree cake; while Amy Joyce, from Whitgift School, took home the signature dish, with a Caribbean rum cake.

Amy Joyce, Senior Sous Chef at Whitgift School, said: “It was amazing to get together with likeminded chefs from across Chartwells Independent for the first time since the pandemic started. We’re a tight knit community that’s passionate about serving quality food to our pupils, but we rarely get the opportunity to showcase the full range of our skills in front of our peers and a panel of industry judges, which made it extra special.

“Truth be told, I was incredibly surprised when I was announced as the winner. I’d been perfecting my dish of Caribbean rum cake for several weeks now, but as can be the case with live events, I’d had a few issues when starting the round.  It’s a dish that takes inspiration from my roots and a lot of thought and emotion went into developing the recipe, so receiving the top accolade really means a lot.

Noelle Jones, Managing Director of Chartwells Independent said: “I’m immensely proud of how the day has gone and the quality of food that was on show; a true testament to the depth of talent we have across Chartwells Independent.
“Coming out of the pandemic, we challenged ourselves to go on a culinary journey, focusing around three core principles – quality, simple, delicious. Rob Kennedy has been a driving force behind this, having a significant impact on the consistency and standard of food we now offer across the business. The food stands up when it comes to quality of ingredients and skill of execution – today was very much a celebration of that.
“However, it’s no longer enough to just create quality, simple, delicious food, you also must stand up when it comes to innovation, nutrition and sustainability. To do this well, you need to form strong partnerships with your clients and suppliers, so that you can work collaboratively, sharing insight, guidance, and best practice. To see so many fantastic partners turn up and engage today, gives much cause for optimism as we look ahead to growing and expanding the business in a sustainable fashion

Sodexo announce new senior appointments for schools and universities #

Sodexo has appointed Philip Smith as CEO for its schools and universities business in the UK and Ireland and Steve Hawkins as its managing director for schools. 

Both Philip and Steve have worked for a number of years in various senior roles, Philip joined in 2008 and Steve in 2013 and are both committed to developing Sodexo’s services to deliver experiences that help children and young people achieve their potential. 

Philip Smith, CEO, schools and universities Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “This is an exciting new chapter. Recent investments in talent and new key initiatives will help take our offer in bold, exciting new directions – keeping pace with evolving tastes, embracing the latest food and technology trends, and putting sustainability high on the agenda. I’m excited to lead Sodexo’s talented and dedicated schools and universities team and looking forward to partnering more closely with our clients to help children and young people achieve their potential. ” 

As managing director of schools Steve will oversee Sodexo’s state and independent schools business which provides school meals to over 500 state schools and over 70 independent schools in the UK. 

Sodexo is committed to ensuring children, whatever their age, or wherever they go to school have access to tasty and nutritious schools meals. Sodexo and it’s subsidiary AiP know that aside from providing nutritionally valuable menus, it is also important to engage children and teachers in educational activities that broaden their knowledge and understanding. The benefits of this stretch far beyond the school gates. 

Sodexo’s universities business is overseen by managing director Simon Knight and includes the delivery of on-campus food and FM services at around 100 university locations across the UK and Ireland as well as Student Living by Sodexo, it’s student accommodation management business.

FEA Trees for Cities initiative wins two prestigious sustainability awards #

Having picked up the Best Sustainability Initiative in the Memcom Excellence Awards late in 2021, FEA has just won the Sustainability Initiative of the Year award at the Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards, at a ceremony in Central London in February 2022.   Both awards recognised the effectiveness of FEA’s Forest Initiative, which is linked with environmental charity Trees for Cities and is designed to provide foodservice equipment suppliers with the platform to offset their carbon footprint. 

Memcom is the community that connects trade associations, such as FEA, charities and other membership organisations.  The Trade Association Forum is the representative body for associations in the UK.  Its Best Practice Awards are supported by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

Commenting on FEA’s win, the Memcom judges said they “saw clear aims and targets which seem reasonable and clearly on track. Member engagement seems high with members, contributing to the target and they are on track for success!” 

Similarly, the Trade Association Forum judges were “impressed by how quickly the scheme had taken off, with clear support from members, and how it provided a hands-on process to enable members to contribute to the drive to net zero.

FEA marketing manager Adam Lawrence was delighted that the association had won two accolades for the Forest Initiative.  “Both of these are influential and prestigious awards and competition is intense,” he said.  “To be selected by two sets of judges underlines the success of the campaign, and we are very grateful to all the members who have supported it.  Trees for Cities is a fantastic charity that is greening our urban spaces – so it’s good for both the planet and people’s wellbeing.” 

FEA’s Forest Initiative with Trees for Cities is continuing in 2022.  This year also sees the introduction of FEA Planting Days where members can work together planting trees at various locations across the UK.  To find out more visit or contact the FEA secretariat. 

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing nearly 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment - from utensils to full kitchen schemes.  For more information on FEA visit 

UK foodservice delivery market to grow +5.3% in 2022, to a value of £13.3 billion. #

According to the new Lumina Intelligence UK Foodservice Delivery Market Report 2022, the UK foodservice delivery market is forecast to grow by +£0.7bn in 2022, to a value of £13.3bn.

This follows strong growth of +6.5% in 2021, bringing the total value of the market to £12.6bn currently. In total, the report forecasts total market growth between 2019-2022 to be +£5.7bn.

The foodservice delivery market is expected to hold a 12.2% share of the total UK eating out market in 2022, despite wider market recovery.
From an aggregator perspective, the top three delivery aggregators – Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo – hold a combined share of 69.9% of all foodservice delivery occasions. Just Eat has grown its share of foodservice delivery occasions to account for over 1 in 3 (36%) in 2022.

From a brand perspective, the top five foodservice delivery brands – Domino’s, McDonald’s, KFC, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut Delivery - comprise of just under one third (29%) of the delivery market in terms of share.  McDonald’s and KFC have doubled their shares of the delivery market from 2019-2022, to 8% and 4%, respectively.

Delivery has become habitual, with consumers becoming more price conscious

12% of UK adults order foodservice delivery at least once per week, with this peaking at 15% during the third lockdown period. Penetration has remained around 12% from June 2021 to January 2022, despite restrictions easing and dine in reopening. Delivery has been able to successfully maintain new customers brought into the channel throughout the pandemic.

Familiarity, as a reason for choosing a particular establishment to order foodservice deliver from, is key, accounting for 38% of occasions. However, whilst familiarity is the top need in foodservice delivery, its importance has declined by -4ppts year-on-year, as consumers show more willingness to try somewhere different. ‘It’s good value for money’ has risen by +2ppts to be only 3ppts behind familiarity as the pandemic and rise in cost of living puts a strain on consumer finances.

UK foodservice delivery market expected to total £14.6 billion in 2025

The UK foodservice delivery market is expected to total £14.6 billion in 2025, with robust growth of +3.2% per year from 2022-2025.

The branded traditional fast-food channel is expected to lead value growth in the market from 2022-2025, with leading players including McDonald’s and KFC focusing on leveraging delivery. The channel is expected to hold an 18% share of the market in 2025, up from 8% in 2019.

Blonnie Whist, Insight Director at Lumina Intelligence said, “"After two years of on-off restrictions across the UK eating and drinking out market, the use of foodservice delivery has become habitual to consumers, with no sign of demand waning over the coming years. As a result, it is no longer an either/or scenario for operators, but a necessity in order to recover from the effects of the pandemic swiftly. This is evident in our forecasts that suggest delivery's share of the total eating out market will grow each year over the next three years. However, consumers are becoming more demanding and adventurous. Healthier options, sustainable packaging and a wider coverage across day parts other than dinner are all areas that will be key to growth for operators."

Find out more about Lumina Intelligence’s UK Foodservice Delivery Market Report 2022 here.

Elior appoints new chief information officer Aman Goel #

Aman Goel is appointed as Elior’s chief information officer (CIO) to spearhead digital transformation and develop the best-in-class systems.

Goel brings a mix of digital strategy and transformation skills to Elior with seamless omni-channel customer experiences and expertise in integrating tech to modernise workplaces. With his customer centric focus, Goel will be a key member of the leadership team spearheading digital strategy and innovation across all Elior UK brands to reimagine the future of catering and hospitality via the use of technology.
Working with large, complex global businesses, Goel has a strong record in leading high performing teams and creating a conducive environment for trust, collaboration and innovation which gives Elior competitive advantage.
Prior to joining Elior, Goel held IT leadership roles at Gate Group, Arcadia Group, Vodafone, and British Telecom. As part of his recent role at Gate Group he successfully piloted a transformational digital marketplace for passengers in an extremely challenging in-flight environment, opening new revenue opportunities for airlines.
Goel has had a broad career across IT, encompassing digital, retail, core (buying & merchandising, logistics & supply chain), data analytics, enterprise (finance, HR, legal, workplace), networks and infrastructure functions. He has demonstrable experience in leading technology through multi-million-pound transformations, service introduction and stabilisation, operations, and lifecycle management.
Aman Goel, CIO at Elior said: “COVID-19 restrictions have accelerated the adoption of digital technology like never before. To succeed in the new normal, businesses need to offer products and services when, where and how their customers want them. These need to be fulfilled via connected and optimised operations that can predict changes in demand, whilst flexing and scaling proactively.  Digital transformation is the key to achieving these imperatives.
“This position at Elior comes at such a pivotal time. I’m looking forward to leading Elior’s digital journey to ensure we remain market-leading from a technology perspective

Chief Executive of Elior Catherine Roe added: “Aman’s credible experience, customer focused approach and proven track record implementing cutting-edge technology made him the perfect choice for Elior. We welcome Aman to the Elior Group as we ramp up our innovative technologies and enter a new era of catering that adds even more value for our customers and clients.

Chartwells Universities and Tortilla Mexican Grill plc announce strategic partnership #

Chartwells Universities, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, and Tortilla Mexican Grill plc (“Tortilla”), the UK’s leading fast-casual Mexican restaurant brand, have agreed a partnership that will see the roll out of at least 14 Tortilla restaurants across Chartwells’ estate over the next five years.
Tortilla’s highly customisable, affordable offer is already available at Middlesex University, Brunel University, Sussex University and Swansea University, with further openings planned this year.

Customers will be able to order to stay or takeaway and in some locations skip the queue by utilising Tortilla’s pre-order kiosks. They also have the option to order via Chartwells Universities’ market-leading ‘Uni Food Hub’ app for collection or delivery around campus. Tortilla and Chartwells Universities’ relationship with external delivery platforms means that in serviceable locations the offer will also be available for delivery within the local area via Deliveroo—Tortilla’s exclusive delivery partner.
The partnership demonstrates Chartwells Universities’ innovative approach to evolving its offer to meet the ever-changing demands of students, as well as Tortilla’s appetite for continuing the expansion of its business beyond the high-street. In recent months, Tortilla has launched new sites and formats, opening sites at Gatwick Airport and Leeds Skelton Lakes Services in partnership with SSP Group plc.
The agreement brings together two likeminded businesses, both of which are committed to finding greener, more sustainable ways of doing business; embracing progressive, multi-channel marketing strategies; and supplying fresh, customisable, value-for-money products that appeal to wide demographics.
Kerry Ford, Managing Director, Chartwells Universities said: “This agreement marks a milestone in the implementation of our market-leading new proposition for university catering and demonstrates our commitment to evolving our operating model and meeting the ever-changing demands of our students.
“The rising demand for Mexican food has been a stand-out trend during recent years, alongside a drive towards more sustainable consumption and greater emphasis on quality and provenance. In Tortilla, we have found a partner to help meet these demands and elevate our Mexican offer, utilising its strong brand equity and shared brand values to engage a young, fun student audience

Andy Naylor, Chief Financial Officer of Tortilla, said: “We are excited to partner with Chartwells Universities and launch new sites across the UK. In recent years, we have been successful in adapting the brand for new locations and formats, and this will be another opportunity for us to showcase our ability to bring Tortilla to customers across a breadth of locations. This is a significant agreement for us and will support our long-term UK growth ambitions, while driving consumer awareness within a key target demographic.”

Sodexo transforms its UK HQ to showcase its Vital Spaces proposition for the post-Covid workplace #

Sodexo has invested in its London headquarters using its Vital Spaces approach in order to prioritise employee experience and create a showcase for its eco-system of workplace services. 

The new-look HQ, based at One Southampton Row and known as OSR, will help the company attract and nurture talent within its workforce, becoming a workplace which encourages collaboration, accommodates mixed working patterns and styles, while optimising space and prioritising employee experience. 

Vital Spaces - the company’s approach to serve adults at work, wherever they work - comprises workplace strategy, workplace design, workplace management, work-life services and workplace tech and analytics. 

To begin the collaborative investment project, Wx, a fully-owned subsidiary of Sodexo, used human-centric methodology to analyse office usage, identifying satisfaction and friction points through an ethnographic study which focused on people in addition to space and technology. 

Sodexo worked with new UK partner, TSK, to design and build a modern, welcoming workspace which embraces new ways of working and smart building technology. A truly connected workspace using the internet of things is felt throughout, with sensors tracking air pollution, desk usage and energy management to continuously improve the office environment. 

Offering three distinct experiences – work, collaboration and showcase - OSR is an adaptable workspace that can accommodate a range of activities and events. For those looking to focus, the workspace area includes a number of desks, private rooms and meeting spaces. A more flexible collaborative area sits alongside this with sofas, booths, standing desks and coffee tables. 

The day-to-day kitchen area doubles as a stage for hospitality, providing event space for Sodexo to welcome clients and partner organisations, with bespoke food offers provided by its 2017 acquisition, the Good Eating Company. 

The new design responded to ideas of connection and communication for face-to-face meetings within the built environment, with additional integrated technology solutions to enable remote collaboration. The result provides formal meeting rooms that can be reconfigured into a larger meeting space, as well as a new experience room for a more relaxed, yet connected, setting. 

Other features include telephone boxes for private or confidential calls, smart lockers for receiving packages and a digital concierge service, Vpod, for guest booking, meeting room availability and suggesting catering and travel options for a truly immersive experience. 

Julie Ennis, CEO corporate services, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “The remodelling of our London head office is a blueprint of our Vital Spaces proposition. Our UK HQ had to be a place that was flexible and easily curatable to accommodate a diverse range of activities and events. 

“The new-look OSR includes solutions that empower people to transform the way they work and has been designed for shifting futures to get the best out of our spaces and our people. We are delighted to offer our colleagues this new workspace which enables a new flexible hybrid working model for all

Following the end of government work-from-home guidance, Sodexo is welcoming all colleagues back to its UK office locations, including OSR, and has begun to invite clients and partners to showcase events at the newly designed HQ.

jellybean wins Global Marketing Award #

Food and drink marketing specialist jellybean has been recognised in an elite worldwide awards programme for its Sarson’s ‘Proud to Serve Fish & Chip Shops of Great Britain’ campaign.
At the 35th Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) GLOBES, which spans 33 countries, the integrated agency was awarded a Bronze GLOBE in the ‘Best Business to Business or Trade Marketing Campaign’ category. Having previously scooped Best B2B Campaign & Freedom Award for Collaboration in the Wing Awards and a Silver in the B2B Marketing Awards Best SME Campaign category.
Sarson’s Proud to Serve Fish and Chips, was a fully integrated campaign that supported the UK’s 10,000 fish and chip shops through the worst of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
Speaking about the award, MD Susan Bolam said;
To be recognised amongst the very best in the world for our food marketing expertise and integrated capabilities means a great deal, especially on the back of the three UK awards the campaign had already achieved! Everyone
at jellybean worked incredibly hard under particularly challenging circumstances to create Sarson’s Proud to Serve. To now be a global award-winning agency is something we are enormously proud of and thankful to Sarson’s for believing in us and the campaign.

Based in Surrey, jellybean is an integrated agency that works with a wide range of foodservice, retail and consumer brands. Over the last few months, the Sarsons’ Proud to Serve campaign has earned jellybean recognition by The Alliance of Independent Agencies inaugural Wing Awards and the Oscars of the B2B world – the B2B Marketing Awards.
To find out more about jellybean’s four times award-winning campaign click here: 

Industry trends and new products in the spotlight as HRC prepares to return #

Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) is set to return to ExCeL London on 21-23 March with a showcase of the most important hospitality trends and exciting new products to emerge over the past two years.  
Since the last edition of HRC in March 2020 we’ve seen a huge amount of innovation and creativity in the world of hospitality and foodservice” comments Event Manager Ronda Annesley. “This year’s event will be a not-to-be-missed reunion for the industry and a chance to discover all the trends, opportunities and products to grow your business in the years to come.” 
The past two years have seen a huge rate of adoption of hospitality technology, both from business owners and customers. Both HRC’s Hospitality Tech section and the content on the show’s Tech X stage will reflect the evolution of this part of the industry.  
Suppliers at the event will be showcasing a wide range of innovative hospitality technologies, such as Kobas’ complete hospitality management system, Togo’s streamlined booking and marketing suite plus new products such Get Tasty’s mPoS handheld ordering with integrated payments, streaming TV from Atmosphere and Bella Bot from Hutech Robotics, the latest delivery robot designed by Pudu. 
On the Tech X stage, brands including Honest Burger, Popeyes, Wahaca, Yummy Pubs and more will be discussing how hospitality businesses can best harness technology to increase profits and improve customer experience.  
Staffing challenges are top of the agenda in the world of hospitality and HRC 2022 is addressing the issue directly on the Vision Stage, designed by Harp Design and curated by EXP101. A key session is ‘Tackling the industry’s staffing shortages’ on 21 March, where EXP101 Co-Founder Kieron Bailey will be joined by Chris Gamm, CEO of Springboard, Mark McCulloch, Founder of Hospitality Rising & Supersonic Marketing, Abi Dunn, Founder of Sixty Eight People and Kate Nicholls OBE, CEO of UKHospitality. HRC will also once again be partnering with Hospitality Jobs UK for a conference dedicated to the issue of recruitment and retention, entitled ‘Hospitality’s Talent Conundrum’.  
Suppliers are doing their part to tackle the industry’s staffing challenges, with exhibiting platforms like Stint offering a quick and easy way to integrate university students into front-of-house teams, Planday providing employers with flexible, collaborative staff rota software and new brand Moonworkers’ people platform helping hospitality businesses onboard, manage, pay and reward their team. 
New for 2022, HRC will be joining forces with The Pub Show to bring a whole new offering to bar owners and publicans attending the event. This year’s show will see the addition of popular feature The Taproom featuring breweries Anspach & Hobday, Big Smoke Brew Co, Brouwerij Haacht, Full Circle Bew Co, Old Street Brewery and Siren Craft Brew. 
The Pub Show at HRC will include suppliers focussed directly on the pub & bar sector, such as Flightcase Bars, who offer unique mobile draught systems built into rolling flightcases, draft beer quality consultants Avani Solutions and Digital Interlock Software, a company that has created innovative digital pump clips to remotely and digitally update a bar’s on-draft options. 
HRC 2022 will take place alongside IFE, International Food & Drink Event, IFE Manufacturing and The London Produce Show, creating the UK’s biggest gathering of food, drink and hospitality professionals. View the full seminar programme, and register to attend, at  

Garden Gourmet new insight highlights opportunities for plant-based offering #

New social media insight* released by GARDEN GOURMET reveals that while Veganuary 2022 participants expressed an appetite for plant-based menu options beyond January, there are key areas operators could address, to reassure and attract more plant-based diners all year round.
Consumers took to online platforms to talk about their Veganuary experience, generating more than 20,000 conversations across the UK. The chattiest cities, with the most Veganuary conversations, were London, Manchester and Bristol. Of these, Bristolians were most onboard, with 83.5% of their posts positive or neutral, with Londoners close behind at 82%. Mancunians were a little less sure, however; almost a quarter (23%) of their posts were negative.
Overall, consumers were impressed by the vegan dishes on offer from food operators, expressing a desire for these to be available beyond the month. Spurred on by the experience, they also spoke about the need to make lasting behavioural changes beyond Veganuary. And many argued that having wider plant-based selections when dining out will actually influence more people to reduce their meat intake.
Discussing reasons for going vegan, animal welfare came top at 38.7%, closely followed by health (33.5%) and sustainability (27.8%). Meat alternatives continue to be hugely popular, with most mentioned vegan products being bacon (35.6%), burgers (33.4%) and sausages (15.2%).
Alongside posts about enjoying these alternatives to meat dishes, consumers were curious about the nutritional value and sustainability of plant-based proteins. This gives food operators food for thought when it comes to communicating the proteins in their plant-based dishes.
Rohini Alam, Global Brand Manager for Plant Based at Nestlé Professional says: “Now the plant-based market is maturing, it seems that consumers are becoming more concerned with provenance of plant-based products. There is a raft of meat alternatives now available, so it’s hardly surprising there’s more interest in what’s in them. To reassure consumers about what’s in their meat alternatives, food operators might consider sourcing and communicating them in the same way they would with traditional proteins like meat or fish.
“Our menu development chefs worked with Whitbread last year to roll out our Cumberland Sausage and Sensational Burger across menus in 1,200 of its pub, restaurant and hotel sites across the UK. Whitbread chose GARDEN GOURMET® based on the nutritional value and versatility of our products. To improve consumer awareness about the provenance of the meat alternatives, they’ve highlighted our brand across its menus.
“The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive. To the point that someone sent their sausage back, thinking they’d mistakenly been served meat!

With 30 years of expertise in plant-based, the Nestlé Professional meat alternative brand, GARDEN GOURMET, draws on the world’s largest R&D network to create a product range that is high in protein and provides a source of fibre.  
GARDEN GOURMET now offers a diverse range that includes ‘Sensational’ burgers, mince, meat-style balls, fillet pieces and the recently launched nuggets and breaded fillets. Versatile enough for use in a diverse range of dishes, they’re ideal for veganising traditional meat dishes, boosting options for vegans, flexitarians and curious diners. The cook-from-frozen format means minimal food waste for food operators and, for those aspiring to reduce their carbon footprint, GARDEN GOURMET has pledged to be carbon neutral by the end of 2022.
For details on their range, available via OOH through wholesalers, go to
* Social media insight based on 22,000 British consumers and local businesses’ comments and publications about Veganuary during the month of January

Sodexo Chef of the Year 2022 finalists announced #

Sodexo has revealed the eight successful chefs who will battle it out at the Chef of the Year 2022 grand finale. 

The 90-minute live cook-off will take place at the Hotel, Restaurant and Catering (HRC) Show on 21 March 2022 at London’s ExCeL exhibition centre. 

With a strong emphasis on plant-based and Future 50 foods, as well as sustainably sourced Norwegian seafood, competitors will have to produce three exciting dishes, including the ultimate street desert using Fairtrade chocolate. 

Expert judges will scrutinise not only the dishes the chefs produce but also how much food waste they don’t create, tasking all the finalists to use as much of their ingredients as possible and even repurpose anything left over. 

The eight finalists represent various segments of Sodexo’s business and demonstrate the diverse range of industries in which the company operates: 

Adam Collison - Corporate Services
Adam Harty - Corporate Services
Kyle Bowman - Sodexo Live!
Ross Hamilton – Government 
Malcolm Givan - Corporate Services, Ireland
Keith Pigott - Corporate Services, Ireland
Adam Smith - Schools & Universities
Matthew Shipley - Sodexo Live! 

To get into the final, each of the eight finalists were judged by Sodexo’s National Craft Forum after submitting three dishes which met a specific set of criteria. 

In preparation for the event, finalists recently attended a Mentor Day where they recreated their dishes for scrutiny and received one on one feedback by a team of expert industry chefs as well as a masterclass from The Craft Guild of Chefs UK National Chef of the Year winner, Nick Smith. 

David Mulcahy, Food Innovation & Sustainability Director at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said:  

Everyone at Sodexo is excited to see these chefs’ hard work and determination culminate in March’s final. The finalists going through to the live cook-off are simply Sodexo’s crème de la crème, and we hope they will pull on their imagination and flair to plate up three amazing dishes.

“The criteria for the final aligns with Sodexo’s own food strategy for great-tasting sustainable meal options and responsibly sourced food. We wish all finalists the best of luck


CH&CO challenges unconscious bias #

CH&CO is proactively challenging unconscious bias with the introduction of training for all team members across the diverse catering and hospitality business.

Launched on International Women’s Day (IWD), the training supports IWD’s global campaign #BreakTheBias that encourages action to call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping. As well as challenging gender bias, CH&CO’s training and communications programme encompasses all forms of unconscious bias.

The online training course, supported by a fact sheet, is designed to help people understand what unconscious bias is and its influences and impact, as well as explaining the different types of unconscious bias and providing strategies to reduce its effect.

An internal communications campaign is supporting the launch of the training programme and stimulating engagement and conversation amongst team members.

Allister Richards, COO, CH&CO, said: “We have a responsibility to increase and broaden our efforts in EDI and we are committed to leading the way towards a more diverse and inclusive CH&CO as we continue to rebuild the business. The launch of the unconscious bias training for all team members is a significant step forward.

We’ve created a framework that will help our people recognise and challenge bias within themselves and our teams. As uncomfortable as people may find it, we all have unconscious bias, even if we don’t realise it. I’ve completed the online course and there are some real ‘aha’ moments to be had. This important training and communications programme gives our people the tools and time to reflect, learn, challenge and ultimately create positive change.”

Freemans Event Partners celebrates IWD 2022 #

As part of International Women’s Day 2022, we are showcasing some of the incredible women who work with and for Freemans Event Partners. The process of pulling together the materials, speaking to our teams and recognising their many achievements has been a real source of pride.
Women have long been under-represented in the events market. There have been barriers to entry, for sure. There are many reasons for this – from historical bias through to working culture, unsociable hours, travel and a perceived lack of flexibility and opportunity for women in the market.  Hours can be long during peak season and require travel nationally or internationally. And for many this is challenging. We recognise this.
But times are changing.
At Freemans Event Partners, the proportion of women in our workforce is growing, not just in number but in an increasing diversity of roles, at all levels. In fact over 50 per cent of our current workforce are women. From HR to sales and marketing, accountancy to warehouse management, catering to compliance – we have women succeeding across the board (and on the Board!).
Our approach is centred around flexibility and opportunity. Showing our people what they CAN achieve, demonstrating the opportunity to grow and flourish, to move within and between disciplines across the business. It’s about fostering a culture where everyone has a voice and is able to pursue their ambitions.
If you’re looking to join our diverse team or know someone who does, we have open vacancies for a variety of positions throughout the business. Take a look at our website:!


Data from digital and data experts TWC has revealed that 11% of consumers are considering managing without a car due to the rising cost of running a vehicle. Other tactics include reducing car usage, shopping around for the cheapest fuel and not fully filling up their tank to manage spending. 

Prices on the forecourt have risen to over £1.55 for a litre of petrol*, due to global concerns over Russian supply and the war in Ukraine, with warnings of significant further price increases to come.

Twelve months’ ago, fuel prices were averaging £1.24* a litre, alongside the country in lockdown.  Since then, they have been steadily rising, with the Ukraine crisis driving prices up to a new high.

TWC Trends Autumn Edition 2021 data revealed that – even before the Ukraine crisis impacted on consumers – three-quarters of those asked were using their car less due to the rising cost of petrol/diesel.

Just over one in ten (11%) said they were considering not having a car at all, with younger consumers most likely to agree to this statement at 26% for those aged 18-24 vs. 8% amongst the 55+ age group. Whilst registrations of new cars have fallen significantly through the coronavirus pandemic, the total number of licensed cars in the UK stands at 33 million**, equating to an average of 1.2 per household.

Sarah Coleman, Communications Director at TWC comments:
Driving is very much embedded in UK culture, so the fact that a significant proportion of consumers are considering managing without a car illustrates the impact that increasing running costs are having on UK households. This is particularly true amongst younger consumers, who we also know from TWC Trends are more likely to be struggling financially.

Almost half of consumers said that they always try to find the cheapest prices for petrol/diesel when they need to fill up, with a further 39% doing this at least some of the time. Meanwhile two-thirds of consumers said they often don’t fully fill up their tank to manage their spending on fuel.
Coleman adds: “Similarly, whilst not fully filling up doesn’t save money, it does help consumers to manage their spending, which will be crucial as rising petrol prices coincide with significant increases in household energy bills and food inflation.”

“Shopping around for the best priced fuel is a well-established consumer behaviour and with prices at a record high we can expect even greater monitoring of pump prices. There is also the question of supply and demand. Consumers will remember only too well the supply crisis in September 2021 and concerns about availability of fuel due to the current crisis could drive panic buying once again.”

“Whilst our research shows that some consumers will opt to use their vehicles less, or even manage without a car, due to the soaring price of fuel, others may not have a choice if they rely on their vehicle to travel to work.

The TWC Trends Autumn Edition 2021 series is based on the views and sentiments of over 1,000 consumers across the UK. The research was conducted between 5-8 November 2021.