2010 has been interesting in the world of staff catering. I think 2011 is going to push the boundaries for many operators. The established giants of our industry, Compass, Sodexo, Elior and Aramark are all working hard to re-establish themselves and to forge long term relationships with their Clients.
The “game changing” financial conditions of the past 2 years has put many of these relationships under pressure and “global partnerships” are going to be stronger and more important to all of these businesses.
So I wonder how long it will be before the other players in the market,the independents, look for these longer term, and further away partnerships? Companies like BaxterStorey have the size and the corporate connections. CH&Co have a strong corporate track record, but in my view, lack the scale at this time. The more specialist and niche players would make the move, for the right contract, I’m sure.
The march of the FM world, and the power of these players is having a big impact on the foodservice community. The B2C nature of the foodservice relationship sets caterers ahead of the other services provided under FM solutions.
Restaurant operators can work in multiple countries, so why can’t contract caterers? Sure, the big boys do, but it isn’t that challenging to operate across borders. As global companies segment their business into trading regions, they will expect the FM and foodservice communities to follow them.
It isn’t that much of a risk either. The offer of a multi site contract, across borders, with a strong partner is a very attractive proposition. Growth in the UK is getting harder and competition is definitely getting tougher! Every contract caterer is struggling to differentiate themselves from each other. If this can’t be easily achieved in a congested market, why not expand your market boundaries?
My money is on 2011 being the year that this happens. Let’s see who steps up to the plate first…..