Members’ News

February 2023

Sodexo hits £2 million milestone for apprenticeship levy gifting #

Sodexo has now gifted £2 million of its apprenticeship levy to support a number of small companies and not-for-profit organisations across the UK. 

Sodexo took the decision in 2019 to ‘gift with purpose’ a portion of the apprenticeship levy it pays. In August 2021, the food services and facilities management business announced it had gifted more than £1 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for apprenticeship training. This has included trainee paramedics for the London Ambulance Service as well as health and support staff for local community organisations and sports clubs in Salford, Worcester and Bath. 

Over the last eighteen months since hitting the £1 million milestone, Sodexo has doubled that figure and committed apprentice levy gifting funds to several other organisations, including almost 60 sports coaching staff for Aspire Training Solutions (UK) Ltd, enabling them to continue to provide a valuable resource to schools, local community organisations and sports clubs. Another beneficiary is McGinley – the levy gifting funding from Sodexo has enabled the infrastructure expert to take on 18 trainee rail operatives. 

The £2 million milestone includes Sodexo pledging £100,000 to eligible businesses through the Government’s apprentice levy portal. 

Sue Davison, Head of Apprenticeships at Sodexo, said:  

Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for people to learn new skills, launch their careers, or reskill if they are seeking a fresh challenge. We encourage other organisations to follow suit and use their apprenticeship levy gifting to help maintain a sustainable talent pipeline that will allow businesses and communities to grow and thrive.” 

This week, National Apprenticeship Week, Sodexo and its teams across the country are celebrating and recognising their 900 apprentices, reflecting on how apprenticeships are helping individuals develop valuable skills and knowledge to create a successful and rewarding career and the contribution they offer companies such as Sodexo which relies on its people to deliver excellence, every day.

Sean Haley, CEO of Sodexo UK and Ireland, added: “We are in business to make a positive impact on the economic and social development of the communities where we live, work and serve. As such, we know there is a significant role we can play in helping more organisations develop the people and the skills they will need in the future. This is why apprenticeship levy gifting is such a crucial component of our social impact pledge.” 

Large businesses, such as Sodexo, that pay the apprenticeship levy can choose to transfer up to 25% of their levy funds each year to other organisations to pay for their apprenticeship training and assessment. Sodexo’s approach when selecting an organisation is to ‘gift with purpose’ to employers that share the company’s ethos when it comes to health and safety and ensuring their workforce is diverse and inclusive.

Second cohort of culinary apprentices embark on Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Forward with Marcus Wareing programme #

The second cohort of up-and-coming Compass Group UK & Ireland chefs have started their journey on the ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ programme, building on the success of the first group who have focused on subjects including sustainability, commerciality, people, and skills.
‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ is an enhanced programme, which runs alongside a Level 4 Senior Culinary Chef or Level 5 Operations Departmental Manager apprenticeship standard - delivered in partnership with national hospitality training provider, HIT Training. The best-in-class apprenticeship equips chefs with exceptional culinary skills and is brought to life through extracurricular enrichment activities, delivering practical experiences to the group.
Originally launching in August 2021, the first cohort celebrated their learnings to date late last year at the luxurious 5-star hotel, The Grove in Hertfordshire. The 14-strong team created a 7-course menu, with sustainability at its core, taking learnings from the course to wow guests and demonstrate their enhanced skills and cooking techniques. Inspiration came from foraging, preserving, plant-based influences and nose-to-tail cooking - to ensure minimal food waste and support sustainable practices.
The evolution and progression of the programme means the first cohort of graduates will go on to mentor the new group of chefs by offering support and advice to enhance their learning. In addition, Compass has gathered feedback from the original group, HIT, Marcus and external climate advisors to develop specific training modules, that further align with Compass’ 2030 Climate Net Zero goal and Roadmap.
Marcus Wareing said: “It is clear to see this programme is rich in learnings and experiences. It is a unique approach, that takes candidates to another level in their career - with a focus on being forward thinking and developing for the long term with sustainability at its heart. It has been an absolute pleasure to see our first cohort grow in terms of knowledge, skills, confidence and personally - I am looking forward to working closely with the second cohort, as we further enhance and tailor the course.”
Jonathon Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers, Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “Our culinary teams will be central to the success of delivering Climate Net Zero by 2030 - with 80% of our carbon footprint attributable to food - so the further development of our talent in this area is crucial. Therefore, we have continued to develop the programme and the sustainability work in particular.
‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ has exceeded all our expectations and the launch of our second cohort demonstrates the continued support and commitment by Compass to deliver this cutting-edge culinary training. I am very proud of what we have achieved and look forward to seeing the new group progress too
Fern Mansfield, Head Chef for Levy UK+I and a cohort two candidate commented: “I am excited to be part of such a sought-after programme and am looking forward to working with some of the top chefs in our business. I always strive to expand my knowledge of food and to constantly improve as both a chef and mentor, so this is a perfect opportunity for me.”

Portico hires David Bevens to drive forward its Learning & Development Academy #

Portico, the specialist provider of high quality, tailored guest services, is delighted to announce the appointment of David Bevens as Head of Learning and Development.

Starting in January, Bevens’s role is to build on the work already being carried out through Portico’s Learning & Development Academy. In the early stages, he will be meeting as many Portico people as possible and analysing the business’s learning needs – this will underpin the design and delivery of future learning activity to ensure it is enjoyable, interactive and relatable, as well as in line with the company’s values.

In addition to providing crucial developmental support to Portico colleagues, Bevens will also be responsible for establishing an external commercial learning and development product that can be taken to the wider hospitality and security market.

Outlining his vision for Portico’s learning and development function, Bevens said: “I want to build a culture of excitement around learning in the organisation. I want our offering to make a proud declaration about our commitment to understanding and respecting that we all learn differently and the importance of diversity, equality, equity, inclusion and belonging at Portico.

“I also want to provide opportunities for those who may be interested in a career in learning and development to get involved in our activities so we have a pipeline of talent who can support our portfolio moving forwards

Bevens joins Portico from ISS Facility Services UK where he spent more than a decade, serving most recently as Behavioural Change Manager. He has also recently completed a Doctorate at the Institute of Work-Based Learning at Middlesex University.

Paul Jackson, Managing Director at Portico added: “Learning and development is at the heart of our culture. David’s passion for helping people to shine, along with his experience already gained in this industry made him the perfect person for this hugely important role.

Hospitality has and always will be a sector that is defined by its people. With David on board, I am confident that our Learning & Development Academy can continue to support our colleagues and inspire them to reach new heights with the company.”

It’s good to say #ThankYou! Bestway Wholesale says THANK YOU to its customers and suppliers… #

Bestway Wholesale is delighted to have started the year strong with two very special ‘Thank You’ events to recognise and reward its customer loyalty and supplier partnerships.

Thanking customers for their continued support and loyalty, the Bestway’ team held a ‘Thank You’ events in depots for all retail customers, running over a two-week period which was hugely successful.

With all the pzazz and glamour of a Hollywood’ opening night, customers were welcomed through a ‘Thank You’ archway before taking to a red-carpet walkway that led to an exciting shopping experience that delivered phenomenal value deals.
The event was supported by 16 big brand suppliers and headlined by Coca-Cola Euro-Pacific Partners, which celebrates a milestone partnership with Bestway – a relationship that continues to go from strength to strength.

Not only did customers get to enjoy the special theatre in depot, but they also experienced fantastic further savings and the opportunity to purchase top-selling brands at showstopping prices.

Managing Director, Dawood Pervez paid tribute to Bestway’s customers saying:
We know it’s been a tough time for all with immense turbulence in retail. 

“This was a great opportunity for us to express our gratitude to our customers for their loyalty and patronage over the past year and we saw the event as a celebration of the partnerships we have built - which we value and appreciate. 

“We recognise that our customers have been affected by economic volatility and our aim was to provide the best value savings and deliver relevant support to help them have the best possible start to 2023

Suppliers recognised for outstanding excellence….
And, in recognition of the outstanding contribution that suppliers have made over the past year working in partnership with Bestway’s trading teams, the company held a second major event to thank its key supplier partners. 

The special Thank You Lunch was hosted by directors of the business at Bestway’s Head Office in Park Royal on the 25th January, and included the launch of the ‘Thank You Supplier Awards’ to recognise the best talent and rising stars in the industry.  These key individuals were recognised for having gone above and beyond the call of duty to excel in their roles and in the creation of new and exciting ways of working with Bestway over the past year.

It presented the perfect opportunity for both Dawood Pervez, and Kenton Burchell, Group Trading Director to share their appreciation with key suppliers for their continued support, whilst giving them a glimpse at the latest insight on Bestway’s vision and strategy. 

The winners in each award category for the Bestway Thank You Supplier Awards, were announced as follows:

Key Account Manager of the Year:   Stuart Griggs (CCEP)
Special Achievers Award: Crispin Newborough (KP Snacks)
Marketing Professional of the Year - JOINT WINNERS: Amy Hall (Diageo)/Kate Frenzel (Diageo)
Newcomer of the Year: Joe Liquorish (Nestle Grocery)
Data & Insight Star of the Year:  Keir O’Sullivan, (Heineken)
Digital Innovator of the Year: Kevin Rhodes (Pepsico) 
Speaking of the immense contribution that suppliers have made to the business over the past year, Kenton Burchell says:

Our special supplier ‘Thank You’ Lunch incorporating our ‘Thank You Supplier Awards’ has been a brilliant way to start the year, and it gave me great pleasure to pay tribute to individuals who have exceeded our expectations with their contribution to Bestway.

“The event was an opportunity to call out the ‘rising stars’ and show our appreciation by recognising their determination to work collaboratively with Bestway to enjoy a successful outcome.  It was a great pleasure to celebrate their success and contribution to our business. 

Successful businesses are built with great talent, and this makes working together much more rewarding and enjoyable for everyone – and importantly helps us deliver real value to our customers and to the end consumer

Levy UK+I Awarded Long-Term Extension at ExCeL London #

Levy UK + Ireland, the sports and entertainment arm of Compass Group UK & Ireland continues its long-standing partnership with the home of world-leading events, ExCeL. Shared sustainability, technology and service ambitions were key to the retention.      

Levy UK+I has been the catering partner at ExCeL since 2000 and is responsible for putting food and drink at the heart of events, delivering catering for conferences, events, hospitality, and retail sales. The continued relationship is testament to the clear food and beverage strategies which have been developed together and delivered by a dedicated team. 

Both businesses are committed to being environmental leaders within their field and are steadfast in their desire to make a difference to the planet. In July 2022, ExCeL was the first UK venue of its kind to be awarded certification to PAS 2060, the only internationally recognised standard for carbon neutrality. Perfectly paired with Levy’s impressive 2027 Climate Net Zero intentions which include: non-air-freight fruit and vegetables, a focus on seasonally sourced menus, consumer facing carbon labelling, sustainably focused suppliers, and a host of waste management tools.      

With around four million visitors passing through London’s largest events venue every year, Levy UK+I will provide technology innovations designed to improve the visitor experience and speed up service times. Further announcements will be made in the spring.    

The contract extension will also see the development of four Levy UK+I apprentices at ExCeL. Both businesses share a mutual appreciation of apprenticeship programmes which gives employees a clear career path and opportunity to shine at the UK’s leading exhibition centre.

Jon Davies, MD, Levy UK + Ireland said: “Levy UK + Ireland is delighted to continue this journey with ExCeL, one of our longest standing clients. We have achieved a huge amount over the past 22 years, but there is more work to do and as a business we thrive on keeping pace with the continually changing environmental landscape.

In ExCeL we have found a strong partner who shares our ambitious sustainability goals and targets. We are looking forward to pushing the boundaries and showcasing what can be done through a united approach to net zero aspirations and technological advancements.”  

Simon Mills, ExCeL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Food is an essential part of any event experience, and often the element guests will remember the most. We have seen a notable shift in consumer trends with visitors now expecting a diverse range of exciting, tasty, high-quality, contemporary, and sustainably sourced food and beverage offerings and through our partnership with Levy UK + Ireland that’s exactly what they get when visiting ExCeL.”


Impact-driven PR agency Speed is celebrating a commercially strong start to 2023 having secured seven new clients. Spanning a range of sectors - travel, education, health, finance and hospitality - the new wins include Ravensbourne University and Sanctuary Care.
Significant growth early in the year has seen Speed to further invest in its existing talent pool with a series of internal promotions alongside external recruitment to further strengthen the team.
Kelly Pepworth, Managing Director at Speed commented: “We had busy but fruitful end of year with a range of brilliant opportunities which were really well suited to the experience of the team. This has seen us start the year with some great brands on board and ambitious but exciting campaigns to deliver.”
Work has begun onboarding the new client base, and the team are already celebrating successful results for of the new clients. For Ravensbourne University, Speed announced a series of honorary doctorates, including actor and director Idris Elba and designer Tinker Hatfield, which received national coverage in Mail Online. The launch of Sanctuary Care’s ‘enriching lives’ campaign achieved 147 pieces of coverage for the not-for-profit care home provider.
I was lucky enough to be part of a number of the pitches and the knowledge, creativity and passion of the pitch teams shone through,” added Kelly Pepworth. “These exciting new business wins add to our strength across Business and Consumer PR and reflects the increased appetite in the current environment for expert PR support which is agile, cost effective and impactful.”

Sodexo team’s fundraising enables life-saving operations for Palestinian children #

Sodexo’s team at Nuffield Health Leicester Hospital raised £6,000 to fund a life-saving mission organised by Leicester charity Healing Little Hearts. This funded a team of medical professionals travel to the An-Najah University Hospital in Nablus to perform free heart surgery on five seriously ill children. 

Over the course of 2022 Sodexo’s team, led by catering manager Belinda Smith, organised a series of fundraising activities for the Healing Little Hearts charity.  Founded by Dr Sanjiv Nichani OBE, a consultant paediatrician at Leicester Children’s Hospital for 26 years, the charity began its work in India and has expanded its reach year on year and is now the busiest children’s heart charity in the UK. 

On 10 December Dr Nichani and a team including surgeon Professor Massimo Caputo from Bristol Royal Hospital for Children travelled to An-Najah University Hospital in Nablus to carry out life-saving heart surgery on five Palestinian children aged between 19 months and 10 years over five days. Three of the operations had never been performed in the region before. The local surgical and medical team were able to support the operations proving them with valuable training and experience. 

Dr Nichani said: “There are an estimated one million babies and children dying every year from untreated heart disease – more than double the number dying from malaria. It is completely treatable, and it is simply the lack of training and facilities available. By comparison, in the UK there are 6,000 babies and children who require heart surgery every year, and all successfully have surgery, with a survival rate of 98 to 99%.” 

“It costs around £700 per child to fund a life-saving heart procedure,” continues Dr Nichani. “For some people that is a weekend away in London. Yet this amount can give a child a new lease of life. We rely solely on public awareness, donations and fundraising. Support from organisations like Sodexo and passionate individuals like Belinda is so important, and we’re incredibly grateful for this.

Sodexo’s catering manager, Belinda Smith, who organised the fundraising events commented: “It is hard not to be overwhelmed by the level of determination of Dr Nichani and his team, and the impact the charity has had. It is wonderful to know we are making a contribution. I want to help be a voice for Healing Little Hearts and raise awareness. It’s something I love to do.” 

At Sodexo its purpose is to create a better everyday for everyone to build a better life for all. Sodexo encourages its people to volunteer and fundraise for causes aligned to the company’s own charity, Stop Hunger Foundation as well as those that are close to the hearts of individual employees.

Double HIT Hero win for Compass during National Apprenticeship Week #

Compass Group UK & Ireland is celebrating as Senior Sous Chef, Jodie Plummer, wins ‘Chef Apprentice of the Year’ and Compass is crowned ‘Large Employer of the Year’ for the second year in a row, in the HIT Heroes Awards.

The awards, announced during National Apprenticeship Week, recognise apprentices and employers in the hospitality sector who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to training. HIT Training, one of the UK’s leading hospitality training providers, holds the HIT Awards every year to unmask talent in the hospitality industry and celebrate success in the workplace. The awards for employers applaud those who have gone the extra mile in driving training and staff development forward in the sector. 

The HIT Heroes ‘Chef Apprentice of the Year’ award went to Jodie Plummer, for her outstanding attitude to learning as an apprentice on the esteemed ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ programme. Judges were blown away by her willingness to never ‘shirk away from a challenge’ and her incredible commitment to learn.

The HIT Heroes ‘Large Employer of the Year’ was given to Compass Group UK&I for the game-changing launch of the ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ apprenticeship programme in partnership with HIT Training Chef Academy. The training programme was highly praised by judges for bringing chef leaders of the future together across a variety of sectors and businesses to provide apprentices with a unique experience.

Judges praised the programme as “an incredibly well organised, resourced and promoted programme that provides an innovative platform for development.” They added that “support for the apprentices was strong with a dedicated team and flexibility.”

In response to the double Compass win, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers, Compass Group UK & Ireland, Jonathan Foot, said:      

To win these awards is a credit to our team and all the apprentices we have within our organisation, especially Jodie who has thrived as part of the ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ programme. Growing and developing our people is at the heart of our approach to nurturing our colleagues, to ensure they can continue to progress. A big thank you to everyone involved in winning these awards.

Managing Director at HIT Training, Jill Whittaker, added: “We are thrilled to be celebrating an incredible year for our 2022 HIT Heroes winners. At HIT, we believe it is hugely important to celebrate the success of our apprentices and business leaders, not only to recognise and highlight future talent but also to encourage a motivated and driven workforce within the hospitality industry.

“We applaud Jodie’s amazing dedication to her apprenticeship and wish her every success in the future. We also congratulate Compass and look forward to working with them on future projects

HIT Heroes showcases a diverse range of apprenticeships in hospitality with categories ranging from Chef Apprentice of the Year, Leadership Apprentice of the Year and Extra Mile Apprentice of the Year. There are also separate awards for small, medium and large employers with an overall best apprentice and best employer announced too.

Sodexo appoints Ed Morrow as UK & Ireland MD for energy & resources #

Sodexo has announced the appointment of Ed Morrow as managing director of its energy & resources business in the UK and Ireland following the internal move of Cunera Vlaar, who has been appointed country lead for Sodexo Netherlands. 

Ed joined Sodexo in 2007 as finance director for energy & resources UK & Ireland. Since then, he has held a number of senior roles in the business, including CFO Europe & Israel, finance director for global offshore & marine, and global VP finance for onshore energy and offshore & marine. 

In his new role, Ed assumes responsibility for Sodexo’s energy and resources business which delivers catering, hospitality, welfare, facilities management services, property management and refurbishments services to over 40 onshore energy and offshore & marine client sites throughout the UK. 

Ed Morrow, MD Energy & Resources for Sodexo UK & Ireland commented: “Having worked in this business for more than 15 years, I’m delighted to be leading Sodexo's talented and dedicated energy & resources team. 

“Our focus is on our site teams and clients to ensure we continue to stay ahead of the curve through our commitment to safety and providing outstanding service and support. We deliver a ‘home from home’ service to many with integrated services that support the wellbeing, and meet the evolving needs, of employees working in often isolated and complex environments such as offshore platforms in the North Sea or onshore LNG (liquified natural gas) plants and refineries. 

“I’m looking forward to building on the strong client partnerships we hold and growing our portfolio of clients in this fascinating market

Sean Haley, CEO for Sodexo UK & Ireland added: “We're pleased to announce Ed's appointment as MD for energy & resources. Ed has extensive knowledge of this industry and a clear understanding of the impact the services our teams deliver every day has on the quality of life of everyone we serve. 

“We thank Cunera for her leadership over the past few years, which has seen our energy & resources business develop. With Ed at the helm, I look forward to seeing the business grow and innovate further

Bidfresh announces the top fresh food trends set to dominate hospitality in 2023 #

Chefs and hospitality businesses are responding to the challenges of the current trading environment by making the most of fresh produce and innovative dishes. The new Fresh Food Trends Report 2023 from Bidfresh spotlights ways the sector is using high quality produce to raise its menu game and persuade cash-strapped consumers to dine out.

After a challenging 2022 involving inflation, supply issues and new legislations, the Bidfresh Group with its three specialist fresh food businesses; Campbell Brothers (catering butchers), Direct Seafoods (nationwide fishmongers) and Oliver Kay (fresh ingredient suppliers) has today released its latest Fresh Food Trends Report set to inspire the industry for 2023.

Bidfresh’s research shows that even in a downturn, consumers still have high expectations when eating out. Demand for a broad and diverse choice which has that kick of quality, justifying the spending of consumers’ hard-earned cash is at the forefront.   

High quality fresh produce, prepared and supplied by experts, remains at the heart of menu planning and having the best ingredients to keep consumers engaged and interested is essential.

Combining the insight of experienced greengrocers, fishmongers and butchers in each business, the report sets out to demonstrate the many ways in which hospitality is responding to the challenges of the current trading environment, as well as how to stay ahead of the curve . 

Across the three businesses, the key trends identified are:

Nose to tail: Particularly relevant for fresh meat, across all sectors of the hospitality industry, chefs are working harder than ever to use every part possible of the produce they buy, reducing food waste and supporting sustainability, as well as making the most of budgets.

Managing costs: We find ourselves in challenging times not only when trying to make margin on menus, but with labour shortages and spending pressures all continuing to put strain on the industry. To help manage these challenges, chefs are utilising their knowledge and skills, using meats that can be slow cooked and versatile smart swap ingredients.  
Sustainability: Despite the pressures on eating out budgets, consumers are still wanting sustainably sourced food, and chefs are committed to protecting food resources. Reducing waste to not only support sustainability but also help improve costs, and sourcing locally to reduce food miles  are amongst some of the measures both chefs and consumers are taking to remain green.

British food: We’ve had Brexit, Covid-19 and now pressures on supply due to the unrest in Ukraine and unprecedented weather conditions across Europe last year. So it’s no surprise that there is more focus than ever on the challenges and opportunities facing British food producers, and how consumers can look for opportunities to support British farmers and growers.

Wow factor: That something special. Consumers want meals that feature produce, flavours and styles that go beyond what they prepare at home and give them that sense of occasion and value for money.

Social media friendly: An important part of the wow factor is ensuring that dishes look fabulous enough to star on social media. The more buzz you receive on social media, the more opportunities to entice those customers who have noticed you whilst scrolling through their feeds!

Takeaway and delivery: This is a trend that jumped back into action during the pandemic, however in this new way of living consumers continue to embrace and enjoy that same level of flexibility, sometimes choosing to order restaurant-quality food to eat at home. Having a menu feature dishes adapted for takeaway and delivery options continues to be popular.

Jane Aukim, Head of Marketing at Bidfresh said:

It’s incredibly refreshing to see that although consumers are under much financial strain when dining out, they are still keeping sustainability as a priority in 2023, along with reducing their food waste and supporting local by choosing British produce. Our hard working British farmers and producers continue to be faced with unprecedented challenges, so I’m pleased to see they are at the forefront of consumers’ minds and that we as an industry are focussed on supporting them.

“Despite a universal tightening of the purse strings, the ‘wow factor’ trend will allow chefs to use their creativity when building their menus. Dining out has become a highly valued luxury for many, so it will be important for chefs to consider how they can evolve their dishes and adhere to the more mindful choices consumers are making, whilst adding a twists and sense of occasion to their menu options

The fresh food trends report has been created to help support chefs and operators in planning for the year ahead. It has been compiled using exclusive sales data from Bidfresh’s specialist businesses who supply thousands of chefs throughout Britain each day. The report features insights into the best sellers and rising star products within the fresh ingredients world. Including the latest product growth predictions across seafood, the changing demand and current costs and opportunities surrounding meat, and what’s selling well and when in the world of fresh fruit and vegetables. It also advises on key menu trends for 2023, supported by dish inspiration.

Readers can get a copy of The Fresh Food Trends Report 2023 by signing up to the mailing list on any of the fresh specialists websites,, or,  or by visiting Bidfresh’s website directly:

Uptick on Food Prices: +4.1% Inflation Recorded in Q4 2022 #

Lumina Intelligence's Menu Tracker latest quarterly data revealed a significant rise in food prices, with a total food menu inflation rate of +4.1% from Q3 to Q4 2022.

The report notes that coffee and sandwich shops had the highest inflation rate of +7.4%, while chain restaurants saw an inflation rate of +5.0%. Also, the price inflation of existing menu items was higher than that of new menu items, at 2.34%.
This hike in core dish prices can be attributed to the difficulties faced by food businesses, including supply chain issues and rising costs for ingredients, labour, and energy. As a result, consumers may encounter higher prices on their regular menu items.

Megan Thresher, Insight Manager at Lumina Intelligence, stated, "The food industry in the UK is facing major challenges, and this is reflected in the increasing prices for consumers. Operators are aware of the impact this has on their customers and are striving to minimize the effects as much as possible."

Total same-line drink inflation rose +0.6% from Q3 to Q4 2022, with the largest increase in Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) drink prices. Non-alcoholic drink prices saw the biggest increase in QSR channels, while restaurants saw the largest increases in alcoholic drink prices. Other channels kept drink price increases minimal to continue to attract consumers for out-of-home occasions and to spur consumer spending.

Shortlist Announced for Springboard Awards for Excellence 2023 #

The 48 shortlisted hospitality businesses competing to win a coveted Springboard Award for Excellence on 20 April has been announced. The charity were delighted to receive more than 200 entries and nominations this year, a record number for their prestigious annual awards. This made the judging process tougher than ever for the panels of hospitality professionals, compiled of external Springboard supporters and ambassadors.

The awards ceremony itself will take place aboard Oceandiva, Smart Group's impressive 600 capacity, 86 metre long vessel, a revolutionary, Co2 neutral event space, on the River Thames.

Broadcaster and journalist Gordon Smart, presenter on ITV's Good Morning Britain, will be the host for this year's awards. Gordon is predominantly known for having hosted afternoon shows on talkSPORT, BBC Radio Scotland, the evening show on Radio X and Weekend Breakfast on BBC Radio 5 Live.

The awards will recognise and celebrate the UK and Ireland’s hospitality superstars. This includes those who have inspired us over the last year with their resourcefulness, creativity, innovative ideas, those who have supported the growth of their organisation, developed their co-workers and been leaders within their communities.

Looking forward to the event, which takes place on 20 April, Springboard's CEO, Chris Gamm said:

"The Awards for Excellence is a great opportunity for the industry to come together and commend our top businesses, showcasing their successes and hugely talented workforce. Each year, the award ceremony grows and becomes more exquisite; This year is no different and we are excited to be holding the Awards for Excellence on this exclusive new venue on the River Thames."

Tables and tickets are now available to purchase to attend the event at   

Fiona Colley Trainee of the Year Award – supported by Braehead Foods
Safiyyah Fletcher
Jacqueline Haney
Jordan Harrison
Scott Heeps
Toby Markham
Best Training Programme
Brewhouse and Kitchen
Eden Hotel Collection
Elior UK
Umbel Restaurant Group
Best Apprenticeship Strategy Award - sponsored by HIT Training
Brewhouse and Kitchen
Compass Group UK & Ireland
Greene King
Mitchells & Butlers
Best Education & Industry Partnership
Aurora Foxes & Hilton
IHG Hotels & Resorts
Manchester Hotel Association
Millennium & Copthorne Hotel at Chelsea FC
Best Recruitment Initiative - sponsored by
Accor Hotel Services
Axiom Hospitality
BM Caterers
Brewhouse and Kitchen
Gails Bakery
Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Award - sponsored by CH&CO
Compass Group
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels at Chelsea FC
Rare Restaurants
The Crumbs Project
Disability Confidence Award - sponsored by Sodexo
Brewhouse and Kitchen
Hotel Brooklyn
The Crumbs Project
Best Talent Onboarding - sponsored by Mapal
Compass Group
Hand Picked Hotels
Rare Restaurants
Career Development Initiative - sponsored by Diageo
Dakota Hotels
Leonardo Hotels
Philema Hospitality Management
The Athenaeum Hotel
Z Hotels
Employee Health & Wellbeing sponsored by Blue Badge Access
Eden Hotel Collection
RBH Hospitality Management
The Hari
Valor Hospitality
Best Retention Initiative - sponsored by Hand Picked Hotels
Philema Hospitality Management
The Belfry Hotel & Resort
Business Innovation Award - sponsored by Harri
BM Caterers
Dorchester Collection
Marsham Court Hotel
Sustainable Business Award - sponsored by Franke Coffee Systems
Apex Hotels
Lamington Group
Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
Lexington Catering
Rare Restaurants
Community Engagement - sponsored by 5 Hertford Street and Oswald’s Clubs
Mum Recruitment
Rare Restaurants
RBH Management
Steel Hospitality
Best Employer- sponsored by American Express
Brewhouse and Kitchen
Eden Hotel Collection
Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
The Belfry Hotel & Resort
The Pineapple Club, Birmingham
 Springboard Ambassador of the Year
Geoff Baird, Henderson Group
Parris Beckford, Turtle Bay
Christopher Fox, Apex Hotels
Michael Taylor, Sodexo
Jill Whittaker, HIT Training

Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Social Value measured at over £590m #

Compass Group UK & Ireland has had its social impact measured by Social Value Portal, resulting in a staggering total social and local economic value of £591m. The majority of this figure is made up of the company’s local economic value (£587m), employing over 17k of its 45k people within 15 miles of their homes. Significantly, its work with apprenticeships, community support and social enterprises have also contributed towards its overall social value impact.

The social value measurement looks at the social, economic and environmental benefits of a business. Using the National TOMS Social Value Framework*, the report assessed how the company’s activities and initiatives have been carried out and generated value for local people, communities and society in which they work.
As one of the largest employers in the UK, Compass takes its responsibility as an employer very seriously and last year launched “Our Social Promise”. This is a commitment to support a million people with opportunities and change their lives through job creation, education, training, community and charitable engagement by 2030.
As a result of the social value measurement, Compass has produced a “People and Communities Impact Report”, that outlines the work it is doing to support its employees, clients and communities.

Key social value highlights include:
Over 8263 weeks of apprenticeship training delivered to support 301 apprentices; with a further 600 apprentices being supported now
£1.2m spent with social enterprises in 2021 and a further £5m spent in 2022
Over £230,000 invested in mental health support for employees
7260 hours of equality, diversity and inclusion training delivered

Commenting on Compass’ social value impact – Chris Chidley, Compass Group UK & Ireland Social Value Executive Team Sponsor said:

As a large employer, we recognise we have the ability to change people’s lives, as well as have a positive impact on the communities in which we work.
“It’s been really interesting to have our social value measured and we are delighted to see the positive impact we are making in communities and for our clients around the country. We see this initial measurement as a great baseline to build on. We know we already do some great work, but having this insight helps us to identify where any gaps may be and areas that may require further focus. We are looking forward to seeing how our social value has further grown as a result of the activity we have carried over the past 12 months. Supporting both our communities and our people is central to who we are as a business
Guy Battle, CEO, at Social Value Portal said:

It has been great to see Compass fully embrace delivering social value as part of their business DNA.  As a leading UK employer, the commitments being delivered through their Social Promise are phenomenal and demonstrate the significant positive impact organisations can have on local economies and society, which is especially important given the times we are living in.
“We are thrilled to play our part, with the National TOMs framework chosen to underpin the measurement and reporting of their social value, both at a business level and across their sectors, suppliers and individual contracts.

To access Compass Group UK & Ireland’s People and Communities report – click here

Portico honours loyal employees with inaugural Service Awards Ceremony #

Portico, the specialist provider of high quality, tailored guest services, has held its first live event to celebrate the contributions of its longest serving employees.  
Hosted on February 7 at Searcys’ Barbican Brasserie in London, the reception celebrated 45 of the company’s most loyal employees in recognition of their contribution (five-plus years).  
Combined, the awarded group has collectively dedicated 275 years to Portico so far, and while the organisation has run a service recognition scheme for many years, this is the first time a ceremony-style event has been held.  
Moving forwards, all team members who reach five years’ service and above will be invited to Portico’s annual Service Awards Ceremony to celebrate the milestone.  
Paul Jackson, Managing Director at Portico, said: “It has been a tremendous privilege to be in the same room with all of our longest serving colleagues. Not only is this event an important way to recognise their achievements, but it also is testament to the fantastic retention rates we have at Portico – we work and progress together as a family, and there is no greater evidence of that than seeing so many happy faces at what will be the first of many service ceremonies.”  
Of the 45 awards this year, 37 celebrated five or more years with the company, with each receiving a card and an extra one day’s annual leave as a mark of thanks. Six employees marked 10-plus years of service and received a card, special engraved plaque and two days of leave. Two colleagues were recognised for serving 15 years and were additionally rewarded with an experience voucher for two people at an iconic destination of their choice as well as a card, special engraved plaque and two days of leave.  
A special surprise award was also given to Operations Director Hanna Barret, who has been with Portico for more than 16 years.  
Carol Dalby, who celebrated 15 years with Portico at the Service Awards Ceremony, commented: “Knowing that your work and commitment is valued means a lot to all of us here. This recognition and gesture from Portico are what make the company so special to work for, and I cannot wait to see what the next chapter looks like.”  
Portico’s service awards scheme ties into its mission to create a truly great place to work, ensuring that every team member loves their job and can do their best work by feeling invested in and valued. As a progressive company, Portico will continue to operate as a company with people at its heart.  

Lisa Jenkins announced as new chief executive of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts #

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts has announced that Lisa Jenkins, currently managing editor of The Caterer will soon commence a new role as the next chief executive officer of the association.

Jenkins will oversee all of the academy's initiatives including their annual apprenticeship programme working with the UK's finest catering colleges; the Annual Awards of Excellence, recognising the industry's most talented up and coming chefs, pastry chefs and waiters; The Master of Culinary Arts awards, a highly sought-after, four-yearly accolade for chefs and pastry chefs and the academy's registered charity Adopt A School, taking food skills into schools through its team of regional chefs to develop healthy eating habits.

She will work closely alongside the academy's trustees to forge a new future for the 43 year-old organisation. Chefs Brian Turner CBE and John Williams MBE who in their existing academy roles of president and trustee and chairman and trustee will work in partnership with her to reimagine the academy with a vision to make it more inclusive and forward-thinking in its support of an industry that is crying out for well-trained, talented staff.

Speaking of the appointment, Jenkins said: "It is a privilege to take up the role of chief executive for the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, it's an honour to have the opportunity to shape the future of the association but also to continue the exemplary work of Sara Jayne Stanes.

"I'm excited about what the academy and its members can share and develop alongside the industry. I want to create a more diverse and inclusive membership and look at how we can work more collaboratively with the hospitality sector on a wider scale

Williams, who has been closely involved with the academy for 35 years, commented:

“I am absolutely thrilled that Lisa will join the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts as CEO. It’s a great opportunity to evolve the work of the Academy, shaping its future whilst developing the next generation of the hospitality industry’s talented professionals.”

Jenkins joins the academy amidst further changes within the association. David Coubrough will step down as chair of the board of governors after a six-year term, but will continue as chair of the board of trustees of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and Adopt a School.

Bill Toner, CEO of the hospitality and catering business CH&CO, succeeds Coubrough as chair of the board of governors and joins the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts board of trustees.

The association's current managing director, Richard Larkin will leave the association at the end of February to take up a new role.  

Toner confirmed that the academy is looking forward to a bright future and added:

"As a long-standing supporter of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, I'm delighted to take up the mantle of chair of the board of governors. I look forward to working closely with Lisa to help shape the association's next chapter. She is a fantastic champion of hospitality, and her knowledge of the industry and its people is second to none. Under her leadership the academy and its work to attract, develop, reward and connect talent will go from strength to strength."

‘Choose Hospitality Pledge’ issues industry call to promote hospitality to secondary school children #

An industry alliance spearheaded by Nestlé Professional today asked hospitality ambassadors to step forward to promote the industry to young people. The ‘Choose Hospitality Pledge’ includes Choose Hospitality, CareerScope, Springboard, and a growing number of hospitality and industry leaders. Partners were brought together by Nestlé Professional following its research revealing that young people have negative perceptions of the sector. To address this, the alliance is mobilising a team of hospitality ambassadors, tasked with visiting secondary schools across the UK to give young people an inspiring and comprehensive picture of the hospitality sector.
More than 40% of hospitality businesses now face skilled worker shortages. Over the next 5 years, the situation is expected to get worse, with experts forecasting a 13-14 million talent gap for positions suitable for hospitality graduates. To understand why the hospitality sector is finding it particularly hard to recruit talent, Nestlé Professional commissioned MMR Research to speak to young jobseekers, young hospitality professionals and industry influencers from across the UK.
The research revealed that, although some young job seekers are interested in the industry, many view it as a ‘back-up career’, with long hours and hard work. These negative perceptions are fuelled by insufficient information and a lack of ambassadors they can relate to. When it comes to advice, more than 1 in 4 young people ask people already working in the industry, valuing their advice over that of their teacher or careers advisers. Fortunately, 62% of the young people working in hospitality say they love their role, indicating an untapped pool of potential ambassadors. 
To address this, Nestlé Professional has convened the ‘Choose Hospitality Pledge’, encouraging hospitality businesses and rising industry stars to put themselves forward as industry ambassadors. Hospitality leaders including Whitbread, Compass, Sodexo, Elior and PACE have already pledged support, plus industry organisations such as Bridging the Skills Gap and the Institute of Hospitality. These will be promoting the scheme and providing ambassadors to send out to schools in each region. Ambassadors will be given specially developed materials, speaking aids and opportunities at their local schools to help them engage youngsters and promote a career in the industry.
Katya Simmons, managing director Nestlé Professional UK&I says: 
Hospitality businesses are more than twice as likely as other industries to experience challenges filling vacancies[3]. We were keen to understand why, so we could highlight ways in which our industry could come together to deal with these issues.”
“We learned that a lack of clear information and advice from key influencers has led to a serious image problem for the industry. Yet at the same time we have an untapped resource of bright, young individuals who could be inspiring and educating young people on hospitality careers.
“Given the severity of current recruitment challenges, it’s important that we act now. The Choose Hospitality Pledge is all about galvanising up-and-coming hospitality superstars. Helping us to get young people excited about our industry again, and showcasing hospitality as a stimulating, flexible and incredibly rewarding career
Amanda McDade, CareerScope says:
Forging industry and education links is one of the most effective ways to highlight the vibrant and diverse job roles in hospitality. There are plenty of inspiring industry ambassadors out there who are passionate about their job and the industry and keen to showcase these.
“Springboard’s Ambassador programme is already doing an amazing job, connecting industry ambassadors with young people. We’re looking forward to sending even more ambassadors out into schools through the Choose Hospitality Pledge. Because only through giving schoolchildren a solid understanding of hospitality at an early age can we start to nurture and inspire future industry talent
Claire Bosi, Choose Hospitality says:
The UK’s hospitality sector is incredibly diverse and varied, making it one of the most exciting sectors to work in world-wide. Despite this, there’s still very low awareness around the roles available to young people, and the potential for them to progress fast. Our hard-hitting team of ambassadors at Choose Hospitality do a fantastic job, inspiring young jobseekers to consider a career in the sector. We’re looking forward to working with others in the alliance, taking inspiring ambassador out to schools, so they can start working their magic even earlier! 
Gemma Raby, Whitbread says:
Young people have joined Whitbread, and no doubt countless other hospitality businesses, with no academic qualifications, and have gone on to have fantastic, fulfilling careers at a senior level. It’s a well-kept secret, but it shouldn’t be. 
“Hospitality isn’t about entry level, no skill or experience required roles, it's a place where young people can start in these roles and quickly progress to senior level, be that running their own business, developing menus and food offerings or in finance, digital and tech or learning and development roles.
“At Whitbread, we’re committed to being a Force for Good in the communities in which we operate. We were already taking action, promoting hospitality to local secondary schools before we heard about the Choose Hospitality Pledge. It is important that we share our stories to highlight to young people the amazing variety of careers that are available and just how accessible they are to all
To sign up as an ambassador, businesses and individuals should go to

Sodexo secures new £16.5 million 5-year contract at TriRx Pharmaceutical Services #

Sodexo has secured a new £3.3 million a year, five year extension to its catering and FM services contract with TriRx Pharmaceuticals Services in Speke, Liverpool. 

Sodexo has been the catering and FM partner at the Speke site since 2012, the facility was acquired by TriRx Pharmaceuticals in February 2022. 

Sodexo demonstrated its expertise and capability to support TriRx in the provision of a workplace which supports the productivity and wellbeing of its 350 plus colleagues and contractors based at the facility which manufactures animal and human health products. 

The new contract, which starts on 1 January 2023, will see Sodexo’s 50 plus colleagues deliver an ecosystem of services to optimise the workspace for TriRx colleagues. Services include catering, security, cleaning, laundry, workwear, stationery, mail, grounds maintenance, waste as well as general GMP cleaning of production and laboratory facilities. 

To elevate TriRx’s employee experience and wellbeing, a newly remodelled restaurant is being introduced, including space to facilitate meeting and social connections. In addition, Sodexo’s Everyday digital app has recently been introduced, enabling TriRx colleagues to order in advance at the touch of a button for grab ‘n’ go options or to eat-in at the facilities staff restaurant. 

Julie Ennis, CEO Corporate Services, Sodexo UK & Ireland said: “The Sodexo team at TriRx has gone over and above to understand what is important to the new owners of the Speke facility. We are delighted to have been awarded this new contract and to modernising the food offer. We know how important workplace food is to attracting talent to organisations and having a high quality, flexible food offer will enable TriRx colleagues to feel valued and collaborate more which ultimately helps sustain productivity.” 

Sodexo’s corporate services business delivers workplace services, facilities management and food services to some of the world’s most recognisable brands. Its teams have expertise operating across a range of different environments in the corporate sector, including headquarters, regional offices, data centres, manufacturing centres and research and development hubs, in sectors as diverse as professional services, financial services, pharmaceuticals, media and technology.

Menus On the Rise: UK Food and Drink Industry Shows Resilience with Pubs & Bars leading a +2.7% Increase in Q4 2022 #

The UK food and drink industry is powering through, adhering to creativity to propel sales as menu counts are on the rise in all channels: pubs & bars, chain restaurants, QSRs and Coffee & Sandwich shops. A new report from Lumina Intelligence's Menu Tracker reveals that the average number of food and drink items on menus in the fourth quarter of 2022 reached a record high of 151, a 2.7% increase from the previous quarter.

Pubs and bars saw the largest increase in menu counts, with an additional 10 items added to their menus. All channels saw growth in main course dishes, reflecting the creativity and innovation of the UK's food and drink industry.

Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) were the only channel not to increase its total drink count, but the average number of food items on QSR menus remained stable. QSR operators continued to offer a wider range of options to attract customers, especially during the festive period. Restaurants and other channels also expanded their drink ranges, with seasonal options such as Christmas cocktails and hot drinks becoming increasingly popular.

This new data sheds light on the importance of menu innovation and variety for businesses looking to stay competitive and attract customers. The UK food and drink industry continues to demonstrate resilience and growth, making it an exciting time for the sector.