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Aramark to fly into Heathrow as annual HQ costs top £1m?

02 November 2006

Contract caterer Aramark UK is thought to be planning to move out of its Millbank head office in central London.

Several industry sources said chief executive Andrew Main is keen to move to premises where the rent is lower, parking is easier and there is no congestion zone charge.

One senior source told Caterer that current combined rent and running costs were "well in excess of £1m per year". Another source close to Aramark said the US-owned caterer was seeking a site near Heathrow where it could combine its Millbank and Berkshire operations.

An Aramark spokeswoman dismissed the claims. "It's simply not on the agenda at all," she said. "We are contracted at Millbank for the next few years, and we're not looking to move at all."

Aramark UK's financial year ended on 30 September, and the company has reportedly hit a turnover figure of about £350m. Meanwhile, the results of an internal efficiency drive called OpX have so far failed to deliver targeted cuts of £2m, according to another source.

Aramark would not comment on UK turnover but said full figures would be revealed by the US group in its 2006 end-of-year report later this year.

It has also been suggested that Aramark is poised to take over the London Goldman Sachs contract from Compass Group fine-dining division Restaurant Associates. Goldman Sachs oversaw Aramark's recent £4.4b group buyout by chief executive Joseph Neubauer.

"This is a private matter between Aramark and a potential client," said the Aramark spokeswoman, while a Compass spokesman said the group had not been informed of any decision by the investment bank.

By Tom Bill

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