This year’s Arena Face2Face Interview & Lunch kicked off with ITN’s Alastair Stewart OBE interviewing the CEO of ISS UK & Ireland, Matthew Brabin, at The Berkeley, London.
With a whole host of foodservice and hospitality operators, suppliers, wholesalers, and associations present, Brabin and Stewart discussed the key, critical issues impacting the UK hospitality and foodservice industry – from Brexit to customer service to inflation, and what this all means for the channel.
One of the key points of discussion centred on catering as a ‘visual’ product, as the sector has the stronger association with customer service compared to any other industry.
Brabin said: “Food is an important part of what we do. The state of business is good and we are delivering a fantastic product,” thus to maintain a level of excellent customer service, and to make sure you are giving customers what they want, Brabin stressed that it’s important for any business to recruit the best individuals possible.
For ISS, this meant recognising and addressing its shortcomings when it came to its employment pool.
Brabin said: “We need to capture the innovation and thought leadership of youngsters and millennials,” adding that it is this demographic that is more inclined to be on top of trends that can prove invaluable to a success of a business.
Moving onto the topic of Brexit, Brabin said that he doesn’t know what will exactly happen, but certainly when it comes to catering, costs will mostly likely go up as many buy their fresh produce from Europe. Costs, he said, were already up by 10% to 15% – on top of the fact that in May 2017 alone, foodservice price inflation climbed by 9%.
But to combat such concerns, Brabin said it is working with its customers to re-engineer menus to get better value and better rates.
ISS is a leading global provider of facility services, offering services on an international scale.