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Chartwells to provide catering services for Sussex

The University of Sussex has announced today that Chartwells will become the new provider of its catering and conference services, following the detailed procurement process which began in May 2012. The new partner is expected to take up full operational responsibility on campus from 1 September 2013.

The University aims to bring about a significant improvement in catering, tackle a chronic deficit and allow catering to grow as student numbers increase. As catering services successfully grow in line with plans, jobs and employment opportunities will increase as well.

The agreement will see the University and Chartwells working together to deliver an improved food and dining experience for the whole of the University of Sussex community, with additional investment and benefits such as:

  • A greater variety of food and choices across cafés, which will have distinctive offerings, and a commitment to using produce from local suppliers as well as Fairtrade ingredients.
  • Substantial investment in campus cafes with Chartwells committing to a long-term capital investment programme.
  • Returning a financial surplus to Sussex as the new partner better meets the needs of growing numbers on campus, compared to the continued year-on-year deficit in current catering of £500-600k
  • Improved training and development opportunities for staff working in catering and conference services.
  • The creative input of local chef Ben McKellar from the renowned Gingerman Restaurant Group in Brighton. Ben will work as a consultant chef for campus hospitality and event dining.
  • Extensive experience, systems and processes that help to deliver a sustainable operation, supporting the University’s goals for carbon reduction and environmental sustainability.
  • Job opportunities on campus for Sussex students, plus work-placement opportunities for Sussex students in the company.
  • Systems improvements such as allowing debit/credit card payments (currently cafés accept only cash) and online ordering for events.

John Duffy, Registrar and Secretary, said: “After many months of detailed discussion,  we feel confident that we have found the right choice of partner for Sussex. Chartwells is an innovative, world-class organisation with extensive experience in higher education. They have demonstrated that they have the right approach, systems, processes, technology, training and management to make a real difference to the services at Sussex.

“We are now looking forward to getting services ready for the start of September so that our students, staff and visitors can enjoy the benefits of this new partnership.”

Robin Mills, Managing Director of Chartwells said:  “We are delighted to be working with such a prestigious university as Sussex and are excited to be part of such a great campus.   Throughout the tender process we have worked closely with the University to understand their ethos, vision and aspirations for their catering, hospitality and conference services. 

“We truly recognise what the University would like to achieve for its students, staff and visitors and we are confident we can enhance the experience for all through our fantastic offers, new facilities, innovation and creativity.  We shall deliver great services which benefit the whole of the University of Sussex community.”

Ben McKellar said: “I am hugely passionate about creating great food using fresh, local produce and this relationship with Sussex University and Chartwells is a brilliant opportunity to educate people about all the fantastic produce we have available in Sussex. It will also give the University a real taste for Brighton's local food scene, keeping it up-to-date with the highly-creative food movement that we enjoy here in the city.”

Founded in 1991, Chartwells is a part of Compass Group, one of the world’s leading food and support services companies. Compass Group is a UK FTSE 100 company and is a major UK employer with more than 50,000 permanent employees, supporting communities at over 7,000 sites across numerous sectors, from employee restaurants to coffee shops, government sites  to corporate hospitality, and school meals to executive dining.

Chartwells provides services at more than 25 universities, including UCL, Manchester and Cambridge, and have established relationships with clients that have lasted over 15 years. Chartwells works with clients’ individual requirements and expectations to create a tailored service provision.

Current catering and conference staff will transfer under TUPE (the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006) which provides protection to terms and conditions.

Rates of pay for transferring staff are not affected by this change. The University has already reached an agreement with local trades unions on pensions provision and provided assurances to staff in relation to core terms and conditions and access to campus services, such as sport, car parking and library. There are no redundancies involved  in the transfer.

The University announced in May 2012 that it was seeking to work with external partners for catering and for facilities management. The contract for catering is for 10 years. The “competitive dialogue” process for identifying a potential provider for facilities management continues.

Notes for editors

For all media enquiries please contact Rob Read: 07799 644 942 or Jacqui Bealing: 07540 673 625 or 01273 678888.

Email press@sussex.ac.uk


By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Monday, 1 July 2013

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