Sponsored by Franke Coffee Systems
It might have grown to become a catering giant, but BaxterStorey has retained an agility and focus on people and provenance that is admired throughout the industry.
As the UK’s largest independent foodservice provider, it employs more than 8,500 people at more than 700 locations, with a turnover that has increased steadily to £363m. Its portfolio includes more than 400 clients across a variety of business and industry sectors, including education, retail and banking.
Though its business stretches across the UK and beyond, BaxterStorey maintains a strong people ethos, built on its culinary expertise and training and development. Having introduced chef, barista and most recently service academies, it provides focused training to frontline teams, helping them to give great service and to build their careers.
The business is no stranger to awards, either. Rik Razza, who heads up the chef academy, won the 2017 Foodservice Cateys Training Award for his work on the initiative. The academy has been running for 12 years, with chefs signing up to 12-15 months of structured development, and in that time more than 500 chefs have graduated. Another 350 have received development from the academy.
The initiative has led to fantastic retention and attraction levels. Chef retention currently sits at 72% for those who have attended the academy in the past five years, while promotion prospects sit at 70%. BaxterStorey was the first foodservice provider to deliver commis chef standard (level two) and will be one of the first to deliver chef de partie standard (level three).
This year it launched a dedicated training centre in London for its barista academy. The new space includes eight functioning stations, a range of espresso machines, brewing equipment and a reverse osmosis water-filtration
system. Led by its own team of Speciality Coffee Association-qualified trainers, the programme trains around 300 baristas a year in the history of coffee, the coffee bean journey, the importance of quality milk, machine maintenance, recipe management and customer service.
This dedication to training has had a demonstrable impact on coffee sales, with some sites reporting increases of between 11% and 22%. It also all feeds into client retention and new business, with 59 new clients last year and an annual turnover of almost £50m.
In the past 12 months, the business has developed its Healthy Me food and nutrition initiative. Having observed a significant rise in customers following vegetarian/vegan diets, BaxterStorey launched 20 solely plant-based recipes. It has also developed a branded food and nutrition app, which provides customers with all the information they need to make informed choices.
But above all, it was what the business gives back to the wider industry that really impressed the judges. BaxterStorey’s chairman Alastair Storey is also chairman of the trustees of the Gold Service Scholarship and Patron of the Edge Hotel School, while BaxterStorey-trained high achievers can be found throughout the industry.
What the judges said
“The growth and success of BaxterStorey is remarkable, but in doing so it has lost none of the passion for food and people on the journey.”
Chris Durant, commercial partner, Litmus Partnership
“As an owner of a B&I caterer, I look up to BaxterStorey. Great training of its people and great suppliers.”
Chris Mitchell, managing director, Genuine Dining Co
2017 Genuine Dining Co
2015 Charlton House
2014 Restaurant Associates
2013 Lexington Catering