Prestige Scotland, the dedicated Scottish division of global catering company Sodexo Alliance, signed up to receive 1-2-1 business support under Scottish Enterprise’s Experiencing Scotland food and drink project.
The company is actively engaging with a number of local suppliers, and menus therefore focus on freshly prepared food made with seasonal ingredients.
A dedicated programme of ‘Meet the Buyer’ events in recent years has also led to the establishment of a number of new trading relationships with small, local companies.
Much of the produce being used is accredited, e.g. Farm Assured, Marine Stewardship Council, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance.
In line with its strong environmental ethos, the company is also heavily involved in a range of community initiatives and has links with local schools and with Springboard, encouraging work placements to promote careers in hospitality.
Allied to this the senior management team has a strong commitment to staff retention, development and training, with a diverse staff training programme in place to develop home-grown chef and service skills.
Local food that tells a story
Diagnostics of Sodexo’s food and beverage operations at Hampden Park Stadium, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Stirling Management Centre were undertaken by Sandra Reid, Experiencing Scotland’s catering consultant.
Sandra Reid says:
“Despite the great work which is already being carried out, Prestige could be doing more to shout about their strong approach to provenance and to capitalise on this by charging a ‘provenance premium’ for local fare and ‘specials’, particularly where regional produce is used or a food story can be told.
“I have suggested that the team looks at maximising the unique features of each venue and then links these to the food offer by developing a range of ‘food stories’.
"At Hampden, for example, the Museum café food offer could easily be developed to reflect a football theme, perhaps by ‘day parting’ the menu along the lines of warm up and half time. Other options would be to name dishes after famous Scottish football personalities and to tell the story of the famous Hampden pie.
“At the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh there is already good use of QR codes to guide customers to further information on the Edible Gardening Project, which supplies the restaurant with seasonal leaves, brassicas and herbs, however the gardens theme could be extended quite simply by naming salads after chefs or Gardens staff, or creating dishes such as a ‘Botanics Caesar’.
"This would not only add interest for customers but would help drive sales of specific product that could then be sold with a provenance premium applied.
“At all of the venues there is an opportunity to make the chef more of a ‘star’. At Blair Castle and Hampden this might be the pastry chefs, however other chefs could also be named, particularly where they have supplied or developed menus for specific sites.
“Developing a food trail across the portfolio of Prestige sites would also maximise potential for loyalty-building and cross-selling. Similarly, loyalty could be built by linking QR codes and web-based promotions to date-specific offers, and by developing ‘key facts’ point of sale postcards for customers, linked to recipes, food events and features.
"Depending on the site, these could have souvenir or educational value, but both would provide a prime opportunity to get key sales messages directly into the hands of interested and committed customers”.
Stephen Frost, Executive Chef at Prestige Scotland says:
“As a company that has always taken pride in its commitment to working with local suppliers and using the best of Scottish produce, we’re delighted that Sandra has found much to praise in our approach.
"Her practical advice and ideas will, however, be extremely useful in helping us to ‘fine tune’ our operation by making sure that this commitment is demonstrated at every stage of the customer experience - from our marketing and promotional materials right through to menus, product range and service”.
Businesses can find out more about the one-to-one support available through Experiencing Scotland by telephoning 0845 607 8787 or emailing email@example.com