The Caterer
Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Foodservice Cateys 2017: Healthcare Caterer of the Year winner, Gracewell Healthcare

20 October 2017 by

Sponsored by Pelican Procurement

Packed with experience, enthusiasm and ideas, the Gracewell Healthcare team look to maintain quality, seek opportunities and innovate.

For the 1,050 residents that live across Gracewell's 21 sites, their efforts have paid off. The company's catering services are overseen by Christopher Dean as director of dining, former restaurateur and registered nurse Sophie Murray as nutritionist, and executive chef Giles Conroy, whose background includes stints at Michelin-starred restaurants. At local level, each site has a head chef who also acts as a front of house manager to ensure restaurant-level customer service is delivered.

The panel was especially impressed by Gracewell's objective to spend every penny of its per resident per day budget, which at more than £5 is at the upper end of the scale for the industry. Dean has the job of spending the whole of the £1.8m annual food budget as part of his yearly objectives.

The financial achievements Gracewell seeks come through procurement. It ensures it is buying as effectively as possible without compromising on quality and freshness. When savings are achieved through tenders, benchmarking and contract management, the spare budget goes to additional dining projects and higher standards rather than the bottom line.

Innovation is central to the evolution of the caterer's food offer. In recent years it has introduced Nemi milk, which is naturally enriched with selenium to support immune systems, and new nutrition and hydration protocols.

Nutritional champion roles were introduced to ensure that care and catering work hand in hand at sites, reducing malnutrition rates and the conflict that can occur when disciplines don't fully understand each other's role.

The position of super chef was introduced to provide local support for chefs while also helping to develop skills and confidence.

Indeed, the company's food focus, good working conditions and working hours attract talented chefs. And staff retention is excellent thanks to in-house development programmes and the encouragement of staff input into new menu options and participation in company-wide and industry chef competitions.

This year saw the first Gracewell chef reach the National Association of Care Catering's (NACC) Care Cook of the Year finals. Gracewell has also worked with a specialist speech and language therapist to trial proposed texture descriptors as part of the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative.

Bought by Sunrise Senior Living in 2014, Gracewell consistently operates at 90%, with some sites even boasting waiting lists. Meanwhile an ongoing building programme means the group is set to grow.

What the judges said
"Christopher heads up a team of passionate, dedicated healthcare professionals who are committed to service excellence in a tough and competitive sector."
Tim Sturk, BaxterStorey

"This is a terrific story that is utterly customer-focused. Gracewell is striving to achieve excellence at every opportunity."
Roger Kellow, Hobart

Robin Comerford, Elior UK

Shortlisted
Gracewell Healthcare
Serco

Past winners
2016 St Andrew's Healthcare
2015 Sunrise Senior Living
2014 ISS Healthcare
2013 Elior UK

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

close

Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking