Sponsored by Bunzl Catering & Hospitality Division
Increasing sustainability, local sourcing, strong supplier relationships and entrepreneurialism are central to the company's successful approach. The team's strategies mean buying goals are reached at good value, and the supply chain is ensured as safe and ethical, as well as adhering to all food, safety and welfare standards.
Integral to this is Elior's corporate social responsibility plan, which extends principally to its purchasing strategy and suppliers, the latter of which must all stand up to scrutiny under a supplier code of conduct. Local suppliers and farming communities are favoured in particular.
Meat and fish are both sourced according to high ethical standards, and Elior works with organisations such as the Marine Conservation Society to ensure no produce is classified as at risk or endangered. Elior was also one of the first caterers to join the Red Tractor Assurance scheme in 2009. The company's Switch and Save, Value Standard Premium framework also means that sites can identify which cuts are the best value and most sustainable.
The 15-strong team itself is a shining example of Elior working together across regions and challenges, based as it is in Staines and Macclesfield, including everyone from buyers to chefs, to financial analysts. Each team member reports to head of purchasing Jane Bates, who commended the team for its ability to work together.
This collaboration also means that the team can work fast in the event of problems. One example of this was the horsemeat scandal of 2013, during which Elior could trace all of its supply chains, allowing it to be confident that no contamination existed in its products.
New menu innovation also comes under the procurement team's remit, with each site receiving regular planning and marketing updates on ongoing high-street trends.
The company also has a strong culture of charity work, having held dinners supported by top chefs such as Jason Atherton and the Galvin brothers to help raise money for its chosen charity, Starlight Children's Foundation.
Overall, the team at Elior is committed to sustainable, quality produce, working with suppliers big and small. It is this ability to go consistently further than its job description that makes this team a worthy winner.
What the judges said
"Elior demonstrated a highly professional approach to procurement and, despite being a large organisation, has actually encouraged small suppliers to pitch their products through half-day 'entrepreneur forums'. As a result, it has sourced a number of new, innovative products."
Chris Durant, Litmus Partnership
"Elior had some good pure purchasing initiatives in establishing excellent traceability and robust practices in the supply chain, ensuring it was not subject to compromise on quality of products."
Diana Spellman, Partners in Purchasing
"I was impressed with the ways Elior engaged with the supply chain and the effort made to bring SMEs into play. It was also apparent that good corporate citizenship is practiced across the business and manifested in sustainability and working with industry benchmarks."
Peter Ducker, Institute of Hospitality
Gather & Gather
2014 Compass Group