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The variegated nature of contract catering results in an industry that is extremely difficult to define.

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HND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY INTRODUCTION The variegated nature of contract catering results in an industry that is extremely difficult to define. Coates (1971) described contract catering as: "An individual company, who in recognition of financial reward, will undertake to administer, control, and direct a specified catering operation within the guidelines stipulated by the [client] company." It is widely recognised now however that this definition has become somewhat inaccurate. Contract catering companies have diversified into hotel services and facilities management (including cleaning, security, and maintenance), which has proved both lucrative and profitable. Contract catering (and the other aforementioned contractible services on offer) is essentially employed to provide practical and cost effective solutions for the management of non-core activities of the [client] company. For example employers providing a staff canteen and instead of managing the facility themselves, they contract professionals to do it for them. In recent years, contract catering has been one of the most thriving sectors of both the UK national and international hospitality & catering industry. At 2000, the entire value of the UK contract catering industry was estimated at being �3.27bn (Keynote, 2001) with marked growth in each of its subsidiary sectors, which include: o Business & Industry o Education o Health Care o Public Catering o Other Contract Catering (www.caterer.com, 2002) Relatively speaking the contract catering division is the smallest sector within the entire hospitality and catering industry in terms of both frequency of outlets and employment. ...read more.


Compass then set about disposing of the hotel portfolio that Granada had accumulated, so as to concentrate on facilities management and food service. Sodexho's UK roots stretch back as far as the aforementioned Peter Merchant and John Gardner. The French company acquired Gardner Merchant in 1995, with 2000 seeing the company renamed as part of the Sodexho Alliance. With a worldwide employment of 286, 000 and sales of �7.4b it is a major competitor. Aramark LTD, a subsidiary of the US based Aramark Corporation, is the third largest contract caterer in the UK, and though a new joint venture with Campbell Bewley, is now the largest operator in the Republic of Ireland. Based in Philadelphia USA, it is a leading supplier of various contracted services including food and supplies, uniforms and work wear, childcare, facilities management etc. to the business, education, healthcare, and prison sectors. Around 66% of the companies UK sales however are generated from catering contracts. With a European turnover of �720m expected to double within the next year as a result of major acquisition plans (Keynote, 2001). Avenance is the UK division of (lior, the largest contract caterer in France and the third largest in Europe. (lior introduced the name Avenance to the UK in 2000, and its subsidiary companies Brian Smith, High Table and Catering & Allied, which had retained their original names following acquisition, now operate under this brand (www.caterer.com, 2001). ...read more.


An issue that has troubled the hospitality and catering industry as a whole for many years has been that of skills gaps and shortages. A HtF survey of contract catering employers revealed that 39% of respondents had experienced hard to fill vacancies in the 12 months prior to the survey, the highest proportion in the industry. The survey revealed that the greatest problems appeared to be in filling casual/seasonal vacancies. 28% had also experienced problems with some full time and part time permanent positions. In 2000, a survey of contract catering outlets in Northern Ireland (by M. Wilson et al) indicated 15 competencies essential for contract catering employees and management. The competencies came from a range of managerial and operative activities from human resource management to food hygiene control. The report concluded that serious skill shortages existed in the contract catering industry with much emphasis on food hygiene management, leading to the neglect of many other organisational and team skills. It concluded that the only answer is to recruit employees that were keen to participate in an in house training programme that was tailored to the outlet, rather than simply not hiring as a result of lack of qualifications. The aforementioned HtF survey identified the main reasons for hard to fill vacancies were a general lack of applicants, a lack of required qualifications, or a lack of applicants with an interest in the work. ?? (footnote continued) 2 9 ...read more.

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