Chefs at the Heart of Procurement
An industry roundtable on the questions that matter, proudly hosted by
On Thursday 2nd of October, Compass Group UK & Ireland and EP hosted their second forum from the series of events looking at supplier-buyer relations. This time, the discussion focused on how Compass has placed chefs at the heart of the procurement process.
Oliver Cock, Commercial Managing Director for Compass Group UK & Ireland set the scene on how the relationship between the culinary department and the procurement team has evolved within Compass.“We are a food service business and we needed our culinary team working closely with us. A couple of years ago, we started a journey which placed our chef’s at the very heart of procurement.”
Oliver was joined by Nick Vadis, UK Culinary Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland and Ed Wright, Head of Foodservice at Chartwells.
The roundtable brought together chefs and development directors from different food service companies across the sector who listened to the changes that had occurred within Compass. By beginning the discussion on how the company had changed their structure to promote greater communication and efficiency between procurement and culinary, the Compass panel sparked debate around the table from other attendees about similar issues they had faced.
Topics such as the changing relationship between procurement and the culinary department, consumer’s demands for local and sustainable ingredients and managing supplier-buyer relationships were discussed openly by competitors in the room, marking a far more open and transparent approach and illustrating how procurement is changing and evolving.
Having been appointed UK Executive Chef in 2007 and now Culinary Director, Nick reflected on how he’d welcomed Oliver’s enthusiasm for bringing chefs into the procurement process and how together they’d re-looked at how the Commercial team interacted with the culinary department. Nick explained,
“One of the first areas we focused on was bringing together a team of chefs that represented the different sectors of our business and our Commercial colleagues to create a review process of all our products. “
“All products within the business were blind tested; the look, feel and packaging were all considered so that in the end an optimised list of ingredients and an improved method of procurement was determined for the business. This not only improved the relationship between our commercial and chef teams, it also meant our sectors worked more closely together and it helped the procurement team better understand chef’s needs. The result was a superior end product for the consumer.”
Other topics that sparked a lively discussion included: the impact of increasingly food savvy clients and customers, managing competition from the high street, and what the future might hold for food service.
The forum highlighted the importance of trust, partnership and constant engagement both internally and externally within an organisation. Compass is leading the way and demonstrating the maturity of the industry by bringing together industry peers to discuss common challenges openly and honestly. It is an encouraging initiative that should be continued by the industry.
For more information on EP and the different campaigns we are running, please contact Nicole Thompson