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Scouts Catering Services Contract

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ESS, the defence, energy and government services business of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has been awarded a new catering services contract with Scouts Scotland at the Scout Adventures facility in the Scottish Highlands.

The residential centre at Lochgoilhead in Argyll offers high-quality outdoor learning in hill, forest and water environments, accommodating up to 150 guests at a time.

Under the three-year contract, ESS will deliver catering services at the site, serving around 70,000 meals a year to Scouts, visiting schools and staff. Customers will enjoy three freshly cooked meals a day while taking a break from a range of outdoor activities, including abseiling, kayaking, orienteering, bushcraft and archery.

After a successful tendering exercise, Scouts Scotland awarded the contract to ESS as the company was able to demonstrate strong evidence of its capability to work in a variety of remote locations, delivering appetising, nutritious meals suitable for young, active customers.

The dishes on offer will be varied, tasty and colourful to appeal to the children dining at the camp. A focus on seasonal produce, minimising food waste and elimination of single use plastics will support the sustainability objectives for the contract.


ESS already provides high-profile contracts in the region, including the full range of Soft FM services at HMNB Clyde and catering for the MOD National Training Estate.

Graeme Luke, Chief Executive – Scouts Scotland, comments: “I am delighted to be working with ESS at our Scout Adventures Centre at Lochgoilhead, Argyllshire. The centre has just reopened after a two-year closure due to the impact of the pandemic and we believe that outdoor learning opportunities should be available to every young person and work alongside education to develop skills for life.

“We were particularly impressed with the synergy between our two organisations and the focus on providing excellent customer service to young people and delivering healthy and nutritious food which is necessary after taking part in outdoor and adventurous activity.”

“Mark Webster, Managing Director – ESS Defence, Energy and Government Services, adds: “This is an exciting new partnership for us in ESS. The contract requirements align extremely well with what we do elsewhere in our business – from feeding in remote locations to meeting the dietary requirements of young, active individuals – and we’re delighted that Scouts Scotland recognised this during the tender process.

“We’re looking forward to developing and delivering a bespoke food offer for the Scout Adventures Centre which will appeal to the residents on site, as well as providing them with healthy, filling meals to prepare them for a busy day of activities.”

Core to this partnership is a four-month internship for a Compass Scotland apprentice who will work alongside, and learning from, McLaughlin in the kitchen at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie in Gleneagles, Perthshire. McLaughlin will also work with the wider network of Compass Scotland culinary apprentices through a series of workshops.

McLaughlin is one of Scotland’s most respected chefs. He worked with Andrew Fairlie for 26 years, initially at One Devonshire Gardens and he then joined Restaurant Andrew Fairlie as a sous chef in 2001 when it first opened, before being made head chef in 2006.

Compass Scotland managing director, David Hay, says: “We’re incredibly proud and excited to welcome Stevie on board as our culinary ambassador. The ethos at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie perfectly complements that at Compass Scotland, with a menu influenced by the very best of seasonal Scottish ingredients. We’re thrilled that Stevie has agreed to work with us on our apprenticeship programme and we know he’ll be an inspiration to all involved.”

McLaughlin adds: “The involvement in the Compass Scotland apprenticeship programme is something I feel passionate about, having started my own career by securing a placement at One Devonshire Gardens. I was fortunate enough to work alongside my mentor Andrew Fairlie, and progressed through the ranks – so I truly understand how inspirational this kind of opportunity can be.

“There’s something very special about learning and refining your skills in a working kitchen environment, as you learn something new every day. I’m looking forward to working with Compass Scotland and getting to know the apprentices who will become the next generation of Scottish hospitality talent.”

Jonathan Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers at Compass Group UK & Ireland, says: “We offer many excellent opportunities through our apprenticeship programme, supporting the skills development of existing employees as well as attracting new talent. This partnership and four-month placement offers a once in a lifetime opportunity that we’re honoured to be able to facilitate, to support our commitment to providing learning and development opportunities for our people.”

Restaurant Andrew Fairlie was awarded a Michelin star in 2002 within a year of its opening and received a second star in 2006. In 2017, it became the first Scottish restaurant establishment to be included in Les Grandes Tables du Monde, a guide to 170 of the most distinguished restaurants in the world.

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Staff Reporter covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.

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