Contract caterer Aramark has won the prestigious catering deal at the BBC in London, thought to be worth about £15m a year in turnover, Caterer has learnt.
Facilities management company Johnson Controls, which won the £180m-a-year facilities deal at the Corporation in April 2006, has selected Aramark to replace Compass Group's Eurest.
The move follows reported unrest from the notoriously vocal BBC staff over the level of service provided by Eurest, as revealed in Caterer last July.
One food service consultant said the deal was a "huge win" for Aramark but warned that it was traditionally an extremely challenging contract to run, owing to a long-term lack of capital investment in equipment and on-site facilities.
Another commentator added: "It's always been a tricky contract because, as a consequence of the BBC's size, there's a heck of a lot of tastes to cater for, from technicians to presenters and executives."
The deal, which began on 1 July, covers the entire BBC London estate, including White City, Television Centre, Maida Vale and Broadcasting House, catering for 18,000 staff and 13,000 visitors per week.
Aramark last week launched an Innovation Centre in the City at its London Underwriting Centre with the help of consultant executive chef Gordon Ramsay. The project, which is funded from a £2m R&D budget, showcases the range of the company's services and brands in an attempt to better inform clients.
Aramark UK chief executive Andrew Main said the move was in recognition of a need to change from a purchasing-led organisation to a customer-led one in order to remain competitive. "A facility like this will give us an opportunity to improve quality of service and allow our chefs to come up with new ideas, as well as getting our clients involved," he said.
By Chris Druce