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It's a massive achievement to sustain this upward trajectory over such a long period. Turnover was £1.2m in 1994, when the caterer won a prestigious contract with technology giant Sony. Parent company CH&Co's annual turnover in 2014, when the Sony contract was impressively renewed once again, had swelled to £111m, up 18% year on year. Of that, £33m was generated by the Charlton House brand.
Last year saw B&I contract wins involving operations in 22 locations, including a flagship appointment as the primary foodservice provider for all 16 Centrica and British Gas sites across the UK, serving 15,000 employees and visitors daily. It's not just about new wins, though. Some 30% of Charlton House's new contracts consist of extensions to existing business.
It was abundantly clear to our judges that this growth has been achieved through a high level of innovation across the business and its passion for food and people - the cornerstones of any successful foodservice business.
Charlton House has blazed a trail in the health and wellbeing arena, with countless initiatives, some driven by public health schemes such as Change4Life, Five A Day and Salt Awareness Week, but many instigated and developed within the business itself.
Thanks to CH&Co's nutrition training programme - developed with nutritionist Amanda Ursell - Charlton House chefs have managed to remove 78 million calories, 3,000kg of fat and almost 400kg of salt from workplace meals.
This has been achieved through calorie-counted meal options, switching all milk to 1% fat from semi-skimmed, five-a-day schemes that increased vegetable portion sizes to 80g and offered multi-purchase discounts, replacing all mayonnaise with low-fat alternatives, substituting all tinned fruit in syrup for tinned fruit in juice, and using a rapeseed-based cooking oil.
The company's core values of corporate social responsibility, food and people interlock to create a strong, sustainable and innovative business. The healthy eating initiatives help drive chef and food development, which in turn drives staff loyalty, better-trained and more-motivated teams, and ultimately loyal clients and customers.
What the judges said
"It was another great year for Charlton House, with some excellent wins and strong retentions. The reasons for this are clear from the initiatives embedded within the organisation. All boxes are ticked in terms of innovation and support to deliver it at the point of sale, which is where it is often missed. That this award is being judged just as Charlton House enters a period of cultural change [following CH&Co's merger with HCM] further supports the reasoning behind its win."
Chris Stern, Stern Consultancy
"Charlton House has achieved consistent growth year on year as well as in the last 12 months. It is highly respected and a leader in the sector. It takes innovation, development, CSR and giving back seriously, and has a longstanding and loyal workforce, which speaks volumes."
Hannah Horler, Cartwheel Recruitment
Gather & Gather
2014 Restaurant Associates
2013 Lexington Catering