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The knowledge: Elior UK

31 July 2008 by

Lynn McClelland, managing director of contracts

McClelland joined Elior in October 2007 from industrial giant General Electric, where she was managing director of equipment financing. She has previously worked for British Airways and as a political lobbyist.

On contract catering

"Joining Elior has allowed me to work with a great product at a company that is nimble, with a flat structure that keeps me closer to the client. The industry is also welcoming in more non-caterers who can supply other areas of expertise."

On the economic slowdown

"I think food is a good place to be. It's all relative, as I was at British Airways when 9/11 happened, and we got through that. Ultimately, people will continue to consume our product, and having such a diverse business is useful. I certainly wouldn't want to have only banking clients at the moment."

Elior UK, which had a major restructuring last year, got 2008 off to a flyer with a deal at EDF Energy and will shortly be providing services at London's Royal Institution - but it had a recent falling out with Cornwall County Council over a school dinners contract.

What is Elior UK?

It is one of the UK's largest contract and concession caterers. It also provides facilities management services. Known as Avenance UK until 2005, it is owned by Groupe Elior of France.

How is it structured?

The shake-up in May 2007 saw the introduction of three operating prongs, including a facilities management division, Elior Integrated Services, which includes the company's defence catering business.

Elior UK's other divisions are Contracts, which consists of the Avenance business and industry, education and healthcare operations and Concessions, which includes public caterer Digby Trout Restaurants, stadia and sports caterer Azure and Venue Elior.

Key personnel

  • Chief executive Mike Audis
  • Managing director, Contracts Lynn McClelland
  • Managing director, Concessions Catherine Roe
  • Main rivals BaxterStorey, Compass Group, Sodexo, Aramark and Charlton House, as well as regional and London independents

Vital statistics

  • Forecast turnover, 2008 £280m
  • Contracts about 1,000
  • Staff 12,000-plus
  • Turnover by division Contracts £140m, Concessions £85m, facilities management £40m-£50m

What's next?

The Royal Institution of Great Britain, in Mayfair, reopens this summer after a £22m renovation, and Elior's Digby Trout Restaurants will be running the public restaurant Time & Space as well as providing event catering at the museum and visitor attraction's Faraday Theatre.

By Chris Druce

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