Compass Group education division Scolarest has won two local authority school meals contracts, despite fears the market had become unviable for private contractors.
The wins, in Reading and Sheffield, follow a period of uncertainty that saw a dire response when the Sheffield deal went out to tender earlier this year.
In May, only Scolarest tabled a formal bid after Initial Catering and Sodexho pulled out, citing concerns about profitability.
The five-year Sheffield deal, which was previously run by Serviceteam, will turn over £6m a year and serve 137 schools. The four-year Reading contract will turn over £1.2m a year. It was previously run by Initial Catering.
Scolarest is also the preferred bidder for the West Sussex local authority contract, which is worth £2.2m in annual turnover. An official announcement is expected in the next two weeks.
But the caterer refused to confirm reports that it had won the local authority contract in Kent, which had suffered much the same poor response as Sheffield. In Kent a total of 335 contracts were up for grabs after 70 deals were cherry-picked from a total of 405 in April.
Negotiations continue in Bracknell Forest, which received no bids for its school meals contract. The council is reportedly thrashing out the terms of a deal with incumbent caterer, Initial.
By Tom Bill