FMFoodservice & CateringPerspectivesUnited Kingdomworkplaces

Recognising Colleagues in Unprecedented Times

Listen to this article

Robin Mills, managing director of Compass Group (UK & Ireland), acknowledges and discusses the extraordinary efforts of colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We all find ourselves in uncertain times as the coronavirus crisis evolves rapidly, and the service sector is right on the frontline. As the Managing Director of Compass Group UK & Ireland, my priority is to ensure our people and their families are safe and that we’re doing everything we can to support them. We rely on our brilliant people to deliver world-class food and service every day, and this crisis is no exception. That is why some of our first actions were to set up a nurse support helpline and an Employee Assistance Programme, plus award the majority of our colleagues supporting the NHS in roles like ward hosts, hospital porters or cleaners, with a bonus.

Like so many other businesses large and small, Compass has had to radically adapt its operation. A new specialist team is redeploying our people to where they are needed most; from care homes to retailers, and the new field hospitals and testing sites. I am very proud of our teams’ amazing levels of dedication and agility as they play an invaluable role in the country’s battle against coronavirus. Our people are working 24/7 in Medirest for the NHS, feeding children and the vulnerable in Chartwells schools, our ESS people are looking after key workers in defence and government, while Eurest colleagues are supporting essential services such as police, infrastructure, food manufacturing and distribution.

Foodbuy, our procurement business has been working around the clock to ensure these critical workers have access to the food and refreshments they need including over 10,000 free food boxes for collection by our frontline employees and thousands of hampers for school children. Our culinary and sustainability teams are providing expertise and advice for this new operating environment, and the business units that are currently closed are adjusting their meal plans and advice for when we return to work. We’re lucky to have insight from Compass Group globally on how other countries are managing their return strategy, so that we can get back to business safely.

We continue to donate and redistribute food to our communities and this surplus has never been so important for the vulnerable. We are working with FareShare to ensure our donation of £500k of food gives people what they need at the right time across their national network. We are also in close contact with local food banks and other charity and community providers.


I want to thank Compass colleagues for their commitment in such unprecedented circumstances and to recognise the collaboration across our industry to support the national effort. We all have a critical role to play keeping workplaces and essential services up and running, and should be proud of the strength and determination of our sector during this extraordinary period of time.

Robin Mills

Robin Mills became managing director of Compass Group in the UK and Ireland in November 2019, moving from his position as Group Chief People Officer for Compass Group PLC. He was formerly the managing director of Chartwells, Compass’ education business in the UK.

CAMFIL HVAC Filtration Solutions

We've noticed you are using an ad blocker

Advertising helps bring you fresh independent content. Please disable the adblock plugin or settings in your web browser to access the content you are trying to reach on