Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Tim Hammond, Elior UK

06 December 2012 by
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Tim Hammond, Elior UK

Overall Ranking 38 (NEW ENTRY)
Contract caterer ranking: 6 (NEW ENTRY)

Tim Hammond - Snapshot

Tim Hammond is chief executive at contract caterer Elior UK. It employs 10,000 people across more than 650 restaurants and cafes in business and industry, defence, education, healthcare, retail, heritage and venues.

In the year since he has joined, the caterer has seen off stiff competition to retain several contracts, such as the £3m a year hospitality contract at the Lloyd's building in London for another five years. Elior will also continue to operate One Under Lime, the wine bar that was previously operated by Corney and Barrow until early 2010. At the time of opening, it was anticipated that One Under Lime would turn over around £1m a year.

It has also seen some significant wins, with Elior knocking Compass Group out of the Premier League contract at West Ham FC, in a two-year deal worth nearly £10m. Other wins since Hammond joined Elior UK include the £5m deal at Port Vale FC, a £13m deal with Salford City Stadium, a £35m deal to cater at all sites for Everything Everywhere and the launch of the caterer's first hotel concession business at Aloft London ExCel.

As Caterer went to Press, Elior was between the closing of accounts. However, annual turnover stands at about £235m in the UK and contract retention rate is 97% with net new business growth of 5%.

Elior UK is part of the wider Elior Group which has revenues of Euro4.2b (2011) and employs 98,000 employees across 14 countries.

Tim Hammond - Career Guide

Hammond joined Elior UK as chief executive in January 2011, replacing Michael Audis. It was his first foray into contract catering. His career began in earnest in 1982 as brand manager at Lever Brothers and went on to become group product manager at Wall's (both now Unilever). He rose up the ladder to become senior vice-president at Unilever in 1999.

In 2001, he moved to Whitbread as corporate development director and after three years became managing director of TGI Friday's. In 2006, he slipped into the position of managing director at Barchester Healthcare and between 2008 and 2010 he was vice-chair of the English Community Care Association.

Since 2009, he has also held non-executive roles, including Chair of Age UK Trading Board, and member of Nomination, Remuneration and Strategic Finance Committees. He is a member of the Malnutrition Task Force sponsored by the Dignity in Care partnership.

Hammond has an MA in maths from Oxford University.

Tim Hammond - What we think

Hammond has been a breath of fresh air. When he joined the world of contract catering at the helm of Elior UK in 2011, the industry watched with interest to see how his healthcare and high street experience would boost the ailing business. One year on, he has been using his marketing background to grow the company, focusing mainly on the top line of the business.

On his own admission, the first eight months were hard, but Hammond has brought many fresh ideas with him from both the high street and care sectors. His plan has been to renew the focus on customer service and drive contract retention.

This has led to some bold decisions. In September 2011, for instance, he announced that he would ditch brand names such as Digby Trout and Avenance in favour of the Elior name. At the time he said: "If you're trying to get a message across to the market - and our message is our emphasis on customer service - then obviously you're better off associating that with one name rather than four or five names."

He has certainly hit the ground running, immediately outlining plans to train or retrain the 10,000 employees and to introduce a methodology to measure and monitor customer (as opposed to client) satisfaction. In the first eight months, he helped the company to retain or extend £80m of its turnover.

Under Hammond's direction, the company is chasing a growth opportunity in the stadia market, having identified an absence of some big, well-known names and the fact several others seem to be less interested than they were a few years ago in terms of investment.

He is also pushing the company to become more active in the hospital market and is seeing a big opportunity in care homes, which he sees as another less competitive specialised area. Needless to say, his experience at Barchester Healthcare is potentially a big selling point for care home clients as he understands the business.

Hammond has made positive use of the fact that he has come from outside the industry. He accepts that price is important in winning tenders, but he isn't hung up on it. He works on the basis that if you create a company that the client wants to work with, they will be prepared to negotiate - and that seems to be paying off.

The Caterer Interview: Tim Hammond >>

Hammond made chief executive of Elior UK >>

Elior rebranding >>

Elior UK website >>

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