ESS, part of Compass Group, has been awarded a five-year, £5.5m-a-year contract to supply catering, retail, leisure, cleaning and hotel services at RAF Leuchars near St Andrews in Fife.
The contract is part of the Ministry of Defence's Pay As You Dine (PAYD) trials, under which service personnel pay only for what they eat instead of having a set meal charge automatically deducted from their wages. The concept is under trial at a further eight sites in the UK.
ESS has replaced RAF Leuchars' old junior ranks' dining area with a 170-seat restaurant and entertainment complex featuring a bar, caf‚ and new restaurant to serve the 2,000 people living and working at the air base. If the trial is successful, the PAYD concept will be extended to the 28 operational RAF air bases.
Since they started in 2002, PAYD trials have been well received by soldiers, but private contractors have experienced financial losses.