Sponsored by Admiral Recruitment
Within two years of winning the contract to cater for 9,000 customers at Vodafone UK, the front of house team at Gather & Gather has transformed the food culture of the business by putting employee wellbeing at its heart.
In a short space of time, the foodservice operation, led by the team at Vodafone's head office in Newbury, Berkshire, switched from a bland, soulless and disengaging experience founded on convenience and speed into something exceptional and pioneering, with the wellness of staff at its core.
To kick things off, Gather & Gather engaged with customers to determine exactly what it was they wanted. The caterer devised new menus as a result, providing fresh, simple, healthy, seasonal food. It also rethought the way food was served, introducing a mix of high-level informal tables, bench seating and low coffee tables, designed to suit meetings, informal chats and relaxing breaks.
The high street-branded coffee offer was replaced with a locally sourced artisan blend, resulting in a 7.3% increase in sales, including a 50% rise in hot drinks.
In a joined-up approach, the front of house team worked with Vodafone's wellbeing team and healthcare provider Nuffield Health on a holistic programme designed to encourage a healthier lifestyle and diet choices.
The team also played a significant role in winning the award of world-class facilities management accreditation from Hospitality Assured (HA). Its score of 78.6% is thought to be the highest ever achieved in the facilities management sector worldwide. HA assessors described the Gather & Gather operation as showing "a genuine passion for food, service and flair" as well as "fun".
As well as putting in long hours and showing tireless attention to detail and enthusiast for driving significant change, team members have been involved in a number of one-off and charitable initiatives. When Vodafone was recognised as the number one network provider, the Gather & Gather team held a pop-up fish and chips event with less than two weeks' notice. Charitable initiatives have included supporting a Vodafone employee in a year-long stint of Iron Man challenges to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society, and backing Vodafone graduates in their annual challenge to raise £1m for charity.
Gather & Gather's collaboration with Vodafone to improve the health and wellbeing of staff has had notable impact. Sales of healthier crisps and snacks have risen by 14% to 33.5%, while Live Well Under 500kcal meals now account for 35% of all main meals across Vodafone sites. Changing dietary habits have contributed to a drop in the average body mass index for employees from 27kg to 24kg/m2 over the course of 12 months.
What the judges said
"A well put together application. I loved the wellbeing programme, wellbeing roadshows and customer app with comments on how
great the on-site team are."
Bill Toner, CH&Co Group
"Really enjoyed reading what the team did. It showed passion and commitment to ensure great customer service and working with
the client to ensure success."
Annie Monnox, Amadeus
"A terrific application. Lots of great examples of service excellence. An equal recognition of some new and thought leadership ideas to give credibility to today's caterers."
Matthew Thomas, Searcys
Portico and Benugo at UBS
Gather & Gather at Vodafone
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Vacherin Entrée Reception Services
This award was split into two categories in 2016 to reflect the advance of private and public sites
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