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Vacherin, an independently-owned foodservice company, impressed the judges this year after showing a dramatic year-on-year growth since its launch in 2002, through the introduction of several campaigns and initiatives. The company focused on new food trends in London, incorporating them into its operations.
Recently, the three owners of the firm changed their roles to create new opportunities for the next generation. Mark Philpott became chairman; Phil Roker took over as managing director, and Clive Hetherington remained as executive finance director.
For the past three years, Vacherin has seen an increase in turnover of 38%. In 2015, its turnover broke the £15m barrier for the first time, and rose by 8.8%. During the year, it served almost three million customers, operated at 30 client sites around London, worked with over 60 suppliers and had around 340 employees.
In order to improve both the staff and customer experience, last year it rolled out a series of initiatives to increase sales. A notable innovation is the Yoyo Wallet, which allows customers to pay using their mobiles. The Yoyo Wallet can be programmed to reward regular users, offering personalised deals.
Another technology accessible through mobile phones gives diners the chance to review the nutrients in a meal before purchasing. The system cuts down on queues, and sends dietary information to mobiles using QR codes found on the Nutritious & Delicious (N&D) range. The N&D range has been designed for clients by nutritionist Gary Baverstock, and each dish fits into four categories - Food & Mood, Well Balanced, Energising and Superfoods - to help customers make the right choice for a healthier lifestyle.
For the staff, Sparkle is a review process that motivates teams to look at their operations with fresh eyes. It aims to review every contract once a year to ensure Vacherin is delivering on promises to its clients. Staff members are asked to give feedback on their roles, working environment and the London food scene.
Mark Philpott, chairman of Vacherin, said: "Vacherin believes a three-way commitment to the highest service standards, best in class societal and environmental impact, and commercial success, is a model that shows the way forward for our entire industry.
"While we have grown by serving an increasing number of elite London businesses, we have significantly improved the impact our business makes on society, with employees and on the planet."
What the judges said
"Vacherin has truly come of age over the last year. It is essential to consider the company in any business that sits within its profile. When awarded a contract, it consistently delivers the promise of a high-quality, innovative service."
Chris Stern, Stern Consultancy
"A consistent delivery of high-quality catering to a challenging niche market. Strong on people support, development and innovation."
Mike Sunley, Lexington Catering
- Bartlett Mitchell
- The Genuine Dining Company
- 2015 Charlton House
- 2014 Restaurant Associates
- 2013 Lexington Catering
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