BaxterStorey has banked a £100m catering contract with people's bank RBS after Compass Group's Restaurant Associates (RA) lost the business.
The five-year deal, estimated by industry sources to be worth in excess of £20m a year, is widely regarded as one of the most lucrative contracts ever to be awarded to an independent operator, with many caterers vying for the chance to take it on.
Sodexo and RA are understood to have been shortlisted in the tender, with the incumbent operator being dealt a double blow: Compass, which has operated at RBS for the past 15 years, also lost the contract to provide front-of-house and reception services at RBS to facilities management firm Mitie Client Services.
RBS, which is 84% owned by the taxpayer following the Government bail-out at the height of the financial crisis, said in a statement that the objective of the retender exercise was to "continue to reduce the cost of delivery, whilst at the same time improving and enhancing the service proposition for the group".
Rebecca Stevenson from RBS property services explained the challenges of moving away from a single-supplier model: "Splitting the contract was a big decision and it has allowed us to consider specialists in their own field.
"Retendering the contract was already a big task as it required a detailed definition of the current services on an unprecedented scale."
The tender process took around nine months to complete and included supplier site visits to more than 30 RBS locations in a single week, while the RBS evaluation team made visits to a further 20 supplier operations in London and the regions to test the propositions.
Operating across the entire UK estate of around 40 RBS sites, BaxterStorey will provide all hospitality, fine dining, restaurants and cafés for in excess of 50,000 employees of the bank when the contract goes live later this year.
It is also understood that BaxterStorey's sister business, Benugo, which operates high-street, visitor attraction and in-house cafés and restaurants, may also play a part at some of the RBS locations.
Around 800 members of staff will transfer to BaxterStorey through catering and other services under TUPE.
Noel Mahony, BaxterStorey's chief executive, said: "We put a lot of hard work and energy into securing such a substantial opportunity so we are absolutely delighted to be selected.
"We have recently invested in significant additional resources at all levels in order to be prepared for a win of this scale. Our mobilisation teams are on standby and we're looking forward to providing an unrivalled food offering in the workplace using locally sourced ingredients and delicious home-made fresh food."
Alastair Storey, WSH chief executive and BaxterStorey chairman, added: "This is fantastic news for BaxterStorey as we enter our next phase of growth and will strengthen our reputation as the UK's leading independent contract caterer."
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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