ISS Announce a New Intent to Become a Leader in Food Service

ISS have announced their new strategic vision is to be one of true premier leading players in the Food Service Sector. By combining all current catering operations to create a new operating platform named ISS Food Services – with an annual turnover of £250m – ISS suddenly become the major force in catering that they have always threatened to be.

EP speaks to Chief Operating Officer Philip Leigh to understand this deliberate move.

2018 marks ISS’s 50th anniversary operating in the UK. The company has often just got on with its work and been low profile but it is one of the true leaders in support services and with a track record and understanding that very few others can rival.

It is therefore natural that ISS does bring together its food service businesses together and create a real force that will be one of the genuine market leaders in the sector.

Heading an experienced team, ISS’ COO – Philip Leigh will lead this strategy having spent ten years in the UK business and at various times heading up all the individual elements of the catering offer. The team itself is proven within ISS and passionate about leading the charge for ISS to become the top players in food service.

The food service sector has long been dominated by a small number of companies – Compass, Sodexo, WSH Group, Elior and Aramark. ISS today does sit naturally alongside that group and wants to challenge the status quo; by bringing together the food service streams within ISS, suddenly they can achieve this in a more focused way than before.

This is an exciting development for both ISS and the sector. A competitive sector with powerful players is always good for service levels and for the industry itself. Food service is changing and becoming increasingly important in every sector and walk of life.  Whether in B&I, Healthcare or education, food today is becoming increasingly influential and important. By placing such an experienced team at the fore, ISS today signal their intent for how food service is positioned for growth. The new platform will see the delivery of Food Services forming a key part of ISS and once all combined will represent over £250m of turnover.

“This is 20% of our UK turnover,” notes Philip. “We have now strategically moved all parts of the business into one unit to establish the business as an identifiable name in the market. Now we are combining our current catering operations under ISS Food Services built on a strong platform of people and food experiences.” We are driven and understand our business, which is a rare combination in today’s market and that will add further value to both our single service excellence and to our key accounts”

“In many ways we are consolidating our identity to strengthen our brand and this takes courage to complete. We are bringing our food offers along a journey that will ensure the customer and client is receiving the best offer for their requirements. With our knowledge, ideas and customer insights and therefore investment in food development, we will deliver optimum opportunities for our customers and teams.”

Philip is confident that with the current leaders within the business there are strong degrees of personal conviction combined with the experience and skills to make this a success.

“We have a great team that is coming together – a team that understands ISS and understands food service from a range of different perspectives. This creates a powerful base of knowledge, expertise and support tapping into the Power of the Human Touch and thereby providing real value to clients. We are now bringing thinking together from across all parts of the business around food, because that is core to the offer.

We firmly believe in transparency and it is important we are open to our teams and customers. The latter will see no impact as business continuity is paramount. Our aim is only to add more value. This move is already resonating positively with our employees who understand we want to grow revenue and create more career opportunities. From a platform of steady growth this move will bring innovative customer solutions which will drive turnover. We are also conscious that we are always learning and using our global power to develop a depth of understanding that has never been done before. On a global platform ISS is now the 4th largest catering provider.”

Philip explains that development isn’t just about new trends. “I get energised by people who exceed and delight customers. I’m obsessive about getting great people to share best practice and concepts which we can use across the wider business. We are already working on back of house processes and systems to ensure that we are at our most efficient in conjunction with developing the latest food offers. We understand that food can play the most important of roles in increasing productivity and our ‘better together’ synergy will deliver optimum opportunities. How these people are fed in their working environment is critical. People talk about environment and building design and those are big priorities but as a leader we must be flexible enough to provide a food offering which actually impacts people performance. It can only add value to all concerned.”

As well as making a positive impact on the organisations they work with, ISS Food Services is committed to being recognised as the market leader in Food Service and building on the impact of the recent Magenta brand survey where ISS was recognised as the number one caterer in the UK. Now this will be used as the differentiator.

“We are clear about our vision to become the World’s Greatest Service Organisation and this move focuses our perspective – we want to be the first food service company on any client’s list. Our repurposing is designed to ensure we are on the tip of the tongue and to be the caterer of choice.
We have an exciting programme of development which will roll out throughout 2018 and with passionate people joining us on this journey and with an exciting service culture combined with attractive and important food offers, we will succeed.”

This is a new chapter for ISS and the start of a new major player in the sector.