CH&Co has entered into a joint venture with four other specialist services providers to target the comprehensive on-site service contracts currently the preserve of larger operators.
The newly formed Mercury Alliance is made up of CH&Co, building maintenance firm EIC, cleaning specialist ICM, workplace management business Harrow Green and international security giant Securitas.
Tim Jones, chairman and co-founder of CH&Co said the move was a response to customer request for a broader service offering and quashed any suggestion that the independent caterer might be gearing up to go on the market.
"Joining the alliance is about two things. Principally, it's about generating more business and secondly it's in response to market sectors looking for a total facilities management service, which we want to be part of," he said.
"We're not interested in selling up."
Jones said joining the alliance allows CH&Co to focus on its core catering business while having a platform on which to participate competitively in facilities-led contract bids.
The concept, originated by Chris Brady, a former procurement director for Diageo, and Larch Consulting's Mike Cant, involves the implementation of co-operative working practices including a single ‘helpdesk' reporting structure and collaborative account management.
Brady said that it was CH&Co's strong track record in the sector, combined with a set of core values which align closely with those of Mercury Alliance and its partners that made it the obvious choice as the key catering partner.
Mercury Alliance hopes to achieve tailored solutions that will typically deliver cost savings for customers in excess of 10%s through the elimination of waste.
With a combined workforce of more than 16,000, the Alliance has a turnover in excess of £350m and a national delivery capability across 67 offices.
By Janie Stamford
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