Austerity is good for caterers, says new Compass boss

16 June 2010
Austerity is good for caterers, says new Compass boss

Contractor caterers are set to benefit from an age of public-sector austerity, as the new Government embraces outsourcing in a bid to save money.

That's the view of newly-installed Compass boss Ian Sarson, who took over the role of managing director of the catering giant two months ago, after Ian El-Mokadem stepped down.

In his first interview since taking up the post, Sarson told *Catere*r: "We're in for a fairly significant period of austerity, with which there are some significant opportunities for Compass.

"I don't believe the new Government has come into this situation with a fully worked-up battle plan, so there is an opportunity for the industries to shape their own future. The public sector will engage more both out of necessity and the removal of political dogma opposition to outsourcing."

Though he expected economic conditions to remain tough for the next 18 months, Sarson claimed that Compass would see some growth in the second half of 2010.

He added that he was the right man for the job of taking Compass through the next phase of its development, following period of several years which saw El-Mokadem build an infrastructure to take the business forward.

"We're now in the deployment phase and I think it's absolutely right to have someone who understands service and the culture of the industry and is passionate about that," said Sarson.

"Elmo's skills have been really valuable during that period of reconstruction but I'm absolutely confident that I'm the right person to be taking us forward."

There has been around 170 job losses since Sarson took over the top job on 1 April, which he said mainly affected those responsible for the building the new tools and systems as part of Elmo's construction phase.

"It doesn't matter how good or how much you like your builders. When they've finished your house you don't have them sitting in your lounge for the next three years," he explained.

Number of employees in UK contract catering market >>

Structure of the UK contract catering market >>

Compass Group reports stable profits despite fall in revenue >>

By Janie Stamford

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