Contract caterers Bartlett Mitchell and the Lindley Group have become the first operators to sign up to the Sustainable Restaurant Association's (SRA) new model membership scheme.
Multi-site operators can be rated for the sustainability of the business as a whole following assessments of their individual operations, due to recognition by the SRA of the unique challenges faced by contract caterers.
Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, said: "A huge number of people dine in outlets run by contract caterers, giving these operators great influence over what we eat and the way we think about food, where it comes from and how it is produced and served.
"We are very excited to have developed this new model of working with these two caterers and look forward to forming closer ties with them and other contract caterers."
Bartlett Mitchell and Lindley worked with the SRA to develop the company-wide option in an effort to reinforce their commitment to further improve their sustainability across all areas of the business.
Several Bartlett Mitchell sites already have SRA membership, with one site having been formally assessed and achieving a star rating.
Lindley, which has 50 sites across sports stadia, arts, heritage and visitor attraction sectors, recently appointed Anna Standen as corporate & social responsibility manager with a remit to develop a holistic approach to environmental, community, health and wellbeing policies across all aspects of the business.
Jonathan Davies, Lindley's sales & marketing director, said its work with the SRA will help fast-track a lot of the initiatives the company already has underway, while at the same time opening up new avenues to explore.
Ian Mitchell, chairman of Bartlett Mitchell, agreed. "The work already undertaken through the SRA membership process for a few sites has been very good for us and enabled us to look at our systems ‘under the microscope'.
"As a result, we've brought in various new initiatives, for example, introducing herb gardens in the grounds of client premises, measuring the percentage of British products bought and ensuring menus reflect the seasonal changes. Client buy-in has been incredible."
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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