Sponsored by Off to Work
DAVID BRIDGE AND THE FOOD DEVELOPMENT TEAM, ISS FOOD & HOSPITALITY
Creating new opportunities, pushing up standards, developing new partnerships and fostering passion: these are all talents that this year's winner has in spades.
As a strong advocate for the catering industry, Bridge and his team have created a new partnership between Leeds College and ISS, promoting high training standards to all students and providing them with a clear career path once their course is finished. Not only does this pass on the passion for catering that Bridge embodies, but also adds value to the company's overall relationships and client deals, helping both employees and customers.
Food standards are also high, thanks to Bridge's team. Its constant innovation means that in-house caterers can bring strong concepts to clients, providing a taste of the high street and new experiences. Ultimately, this translates to significant boosts in sales, with ISS seeing an average national increase of 10%, and at one site a 31% rise in sales due to the Love Soup concept alone.
Success stories like this help drive the team forward, as a culture of willingness and excellence becomes the norm. Staff have thus been pushed to continually drive up standards, refine the offer, and audit a site's performance by giving scores and feedback, meaning that every client can measure their success. This in itself is given back to staff, with the top-performing sites recommended to receive an award at the company's conference.
Staff involvement and morale is also central to this approach, with a new email address set up to which all teams can write, suggesting ideas or recipes. The mailbox is consistently monitored, so that when a good idea comes through, it is properly researched and considered and, where appropriate, introduced into the company's overall business.
Innovation is not confined to email addresses, however; the company has also hosted retail walks to seek out new concepts, with groups of people invited to tour the UK's high streets, gathering inspiration for new ideas, plus forays into fish markets and coffee roasteries.
Bridge himself is at the heart of this openness of approach, taking the lead when it comes to training chefs and making sure staff members have the chance to meet and understand key suppliers such as food growers, whose work is central to the business's success.
Other innovations include a new training calendar, ensuring the training of over 625 people in two years, and food development trips for students to help ensure a supply of highly competent staff in the future. If this weren't enough, Bridge also runs his own cookery school, hosting demonstrations and mentoring schemes for young people.
Overall, Bridge's constant efforts in a difficult region, personable approach and genuine understanding of the needs of the business and community as a whole, reveal him to be as a strong and entirely deserving winner of this award.
What the judges said
"An outstanding entry, which demonstrates passion and enthusiasm for training and engaging young people. An excellent ambassador for the hospitality industry."
David Foskett, University of West London
"An accomplished trainer whose impact on his whole organisation, and indeed beyond, is clear. Passion, learning and results are obvious to see. Well done in a very strong category."
Simon Dobson, foodservice professional
David Bridge and the food development team, ISS Food & Hospitality
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