Without a good team in place, we cannot be successful

Andy Chappell, The Managing Director of ISS’s Food Service business unit, spoke to EP about their belief that success will be based on the strength and belief of their team spread across the country.

ISS’s food service business unit is one of the catering industry’s best kept secrets. Best kept as their turnover sits at an impressive £80m and possesses an innovative culture that is winning over many admirers as the company grow. At the heart of their success lies a philosophy that is built off proactive engagement with employees across the breadth of the country.

Andy Chappell talked to EP about his passion for ensuring that success is achieved through his people.


“How we manage our teams will determine how successful we are in delivering a great service level to our clients. It is straight forward; we have operations across the UK and we need a team that can deliver great service in varied locations without head office control. This can only take place if the employees feel proud of working for us and if they feel they have a say.

Of course, I appreciate many will say this but I do believe that ISS really does support this philosophy. We are often seen as a secret because we have a culture that does not over promise, or over sell itself. We often shy away from publicity but, on the other side of the coin; we really do the extra mile to engage with our teams.

The world has changed much over the last few years and so have management approaches and techniques. How we manage our teams will determine if we are successful.

Each year we conduct a global survey with our staff. The catering team had the highest participation rate (88%) and the results were good. What was most important is that people believe that they can give an opinion and be heard. Even if we are not getting things right, at least our employees can tell us as often they are the ones that can see problems that the senior directors don’t. There is an old adage in restaurants, that if you want to know which menu items do not work, one should go and talk to the kitchen as they are the ones that see the waste. It is no different in every discipline. Our people will tell us what works and what does not. As a leadership team, we will only ever see the complete picture if we make time to listen.

From the survey, we openly publish the results. We want to be open and transparent. We host forums with our teams and we create action plans to improve the picture. We have a couple of well-known initiatives internally – “Time for Tea” and “Eat and Share” – when the senior team will sit down and talk and listen.

ISS has a caring and modest approach as do the leaders. I am simply empowered to make decisions and lead this business unit. On this basis, good leadership is about gaining as much information from many different sources so that informed decisions can be made.

This year we are working towards the IIP Health and Wellbeing Award which is focused on both engagement plus teamwork. It is about delivering genuine work life balance and measures how the team are performing and responding. If gained, we will be the 1st contract caterer to receive it.

We can all talk as much as we want but the truth of our business in Hospitality is that we have multi skilled teams that have to deliver our promises and this will only happen if we work with our people. The judge of our success will be our growth and performance.

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