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How do we stand out from the high street? Contract Catering Magazine interview Divisional Director, Sean Ritson

Our Divisional Director, Sean Ritson, features in Contract Catering Magazine‘s latest foodservice forum to explain how we maintain a competitive edge against high street retailers. 

Read the full interview below:

“When Lexington Catering began, our aim was to match the quality of food available on the high street. After 20 years, we know we can surpass it. Anyone can get the same sandwich from a high street retailer every day. At Lexington, we have the autonomy to change our menus regularly, if not daily, creating a diverse offering.

London has every possible cuisine available for its audience, so we need to be creative in our offerings in order to match these expectations. Across our kitchens at client sites, we offer a plethora of cuisine styles, hot food, grab-and-go options and hospitality. Every customer has unique requirements, so there is no uniform approach to how we manage sites. Teams are empowered to do what feels right for the client, the environment they are in and the demographic they are serving.

To ensure we always exceed the high street, we partner with several social enterprises to give our offering more impact. Examples include our partnership with Change Please, a social enterprise that uses its profits to train people experiencing homelessness to be baristas, and provide help with accommodation and employment after their training is complete. Elior UK and Lexington have committed to funding the training of five new baristas and we serve Change Please coffee at most of our client locations.

We also work with Fat Macy’s, a social enterprise that supports people to move on from temporary to permanent accommodation through 200-hour culinary and hospitality training and grants, and access to a rental deposit. We are introducing Fat Macy’s trainees to our client sites via their own pop-up kitchens, with trained chefs managing them, offering high-quality food options for our clients.

As well as our commitment to social value, we partner with smaller businesses to bring their food to more consumers. Through our partnership with Sessions, we can introduce new and exciting independent brands into the corporate space. We are the exclusive contract caterer for Sessions, giving us and our clients access to innovative new catering options while also supporting growing independent brands.

Giving our clients the opportunity to support the communities they operate in, and buy and eat from local, ethical suppliers, is an attractive benefit that is often not an option when considering the high street fast food outlets that we compete with.

For many corporate businesses, food has been a vehicle to get people back into the office. Our clients have empowered us to create new and innovative ways to make our food offerings enticing, including an emphasis on important food trends such as health- and wellbeing-focused options.

Our partnership with The Gut Stuff has led to the introduction of the ‘Gut-loving Kitchen’, creating menus that are designed to offer meals that are high in fibre and other important nutrients that are good for gut health. The Gut-loving Kitchen will be available across all our client sites. The highly health-tailored nature of this new kitchen is an example of how we are responding to customers’ needs, and have the agility to adapt our menus to create more diverse food options that go above and beyond what many high street retailers are offering.  

It is through these avenues that we can offer our clients a level of competitive advantage that successfully rivals or exceeds what is on offer on the high street.”