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Compass Scotland: Combining Innovation and Sustainable Grass Roots

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Compass Scotland: Combining Innovation and Sustainable Grass Roots

Compass Scotland: Combining Innovation and Sustainable Grass Roots
January 13
13:03 2021

Last year was a year like no other and the hospitality industry in Scotland has, as we all know, been deeply impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the launch of Compass Scotland had been some considerable time in the planning and management felt that now is indeed the right time to launch it as a distinct business. In supporting Scottish suppliers and talent, the newly formed operator seeks to play its part in rebuilding the sector as operators begin to re-open.

David Hay outlines the company’s recent achievements, accomplishments and aims for 2021 and beyond…

David Hay

Launched on St Andrew’s Day 2020, Compass Scotland builds on our work with prestigious clients and suppliers over the last 70 years. Seeking to grow the business from within Scotland, we’ve found that clients want to work with a more distinctly Scottish operation and by bringing our shared HR, finance, culinary, sales, technology, marketing support and best practice under one roof, we are creating a hub of expertise operating from Scotland, for Scotland.

In these strange times the launch itself was, of course, virtual. As part of this we held a join-in cook-along event which offered invited guests the chance to cook some seasonal Scottish produce alongside Tom Kitchin – Compass Scotland’s new culinary ambassador – while learning more about the new company’s aims and objectives.

The link with Tom (pictured top, above left) came in response to the need for more training and development in our industry, and brings with it new inspiration and the opportunity to further develop our people.

Looking ahead, we’ll be launching our new apprenticeship scheme which aims to deliver an industry-leading aspirational training programme alongside our Scottish clients, colleges and learning providers. It’s an exciting and much-needed development during a difficult time for hospitality.

Chefs of the future: Apprenticeships play a vital role in the future of the hospitality sector in Scotland, and the launch of Compass Scotland’s apprenticeship scheme is leading the way

Meanwhile, Tom Kitchin’s role within the business will continue to focus on mentoring apprentices while bringing his unique style and understanding of Scottish culinary excellence through much of our operation. We work across all sectors including schools, offshore, workplaces and offices and, of course, the sports and leisure sector.  Bringing some of Tom’s experience alongside that of our own culinary experts will solidify our position as the leading foodservice provider in Scotland.

As someone who started with Compass at the age of 19 and worked my way up through the business, I know the importance of learning and progression. My own personal goal will be to develop our team to help them drive the business forward and make both the industry and our talent stronger than ever.

In what was otherwise an incredibly difficult 12 months for all sectors, 2020 did have some upsides and successes. Notable among these was Izabela Ginter of ESS Offshore, who in November brought home the title of Compass Young Chef of the Year

Izabela Ginter, Compass Young Chef of the Year 2021

During the pandemic itself, we focused on innovation and used the time to build a more sustainable business for the future, including a number of exciting innovations, including our Time to Eat app, which enables remote ordering and click-and-collect and Feedr, which allows people to order from their desks when in the office. Partnering with several innovative food-focused start-ups such as street food company KERB in order to widen our food offerings, we also worked with a wide number of local suppliers to send out our eclectic range of hospitality hampers aimed at livening up our virtual corporate events.

Meanwhile, the team also created a range of webinars, virtual events and online resources, the most prevalent of which is the Super Yummy Kitchen YouTube channel. Established by our education division, Chartwells, these home cook-alongs offer education and recipes for families to try at home.

The Super Yummy Kitchen: Compass’s YouTube Channel

Elsewhere in the business, it’s been great to see small-scale, socially distanced weddings and events taking place at some of our venues once again, in spite of the ongoing disruption caused by the pandemic. Providing the catering for some stunning weddings at Edinburgh Zoo over the last few months – and more recently festive catering for visitors to the Christmas Nights events – we’ve realised how good is has been to be back up and running in a Covid-secure environment.

Looking ahead, sustainability continues to be a priority for us and we’re developing a reputation for changing the way catering is delivered. I’m particularly excited that COP26, the global climate change summit, will be taking place in Scotland later this year and I hope that this will inspire action on climate change and leave a lasting legacy for the country. Our own sustainability focus will range from helping people make better nutritional choices and supporting their mental health, to a range of measures including reducing food waste and single-use plastics, sourcing responsibly and enriching local communities.

With all that in mind we are facing 2021 feeling optimistic about the future and working hard to deliver on our exciting plans. I look forward to meeting new and existing suppliers, increasing the opportunities for our apprenticeships and securing a strong future for Compass Scotland and the Scottish hospitality industry as a whole.

David Hay is Managing Director of Compass Scotland.

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Catering Scotland

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