Gauteng Business News

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FOOD: Food Services Group and Top Chef in Pioneering Partnership


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In a landmark transaction, South Africa’s largest food-services company has forged a partnership with South Africa’s foremost chef.

Monwabisi Kalawe, Country Managing Director of Compass Group Southern Africa (Compass Group SA), on Saturday signed an agreement with Reuben Riffel, arguably the country’s best-known chef, at his Franschhoek restaurant.

Kalawe characterised the partnership as one that would not only put South Africa’s palates to the ultimate test; in addition, it would lift the veil on the golden road to healthy and balanced eating.

Compass Group SA fills millions of South African bellies every day throughout the year.

Kalawe said that Compass Group SA’s decision to partner with Riffel had been prompted by a Compass strategy that continuously aimed to raise the level of eating to new levels.

“Reuben knows how to excite people’s appetites; it’s a talent that we expect to be emulated by the team of Compass Group SA chefs whose job it is to produce food that promotes satisfaction and wellness. Because the Compass Group worldwide promotes global best practice in food services, we are confident that the deal will prove beneficial to the company and the country.”

He said that the food services/chef partnership concept had been perfected by Compass Group SA’s British holding company.

Compass Group SA employs in excess of 6 500 people and operates in more than 450 sites, providing food and a range of support services to a large number of public sector organisations and to leading private sector corporations.

The sites it services range from mining villages, hospitals, staff restaurants, secondary and tertiary educational institutions, through to travel concessions.”The services we provide are inspired by our ongoing quest to satisfy our clients and expose them to evolving trends in the food industry,” said Kalawe.

Compass SA is 75% owned by Compass Group plc, which is currently generating annual revenues in excess of R143 billion. Compass Group plc is the world’s largest food services company. It is the 13th-largest employer on the Global 500 list.

The remaining 25% is owned by Thebe Investment Corporation, South Africa’s oldest BEE investment company.

In the UK, Compass Group plc has long-standing working relationships with world-renowned celebrity chefs such as Gary Rhodes, Jason Atherton, Albert Roux, Michel Roux Jnr and Gordon Ramsay.

Kalawe said that Reuben would bring several benefits to the partnership, among them:

  • state-of-the-art menus;
  • a new dimension to staff recruitment;
  • a new level of training and development; and
  • an ongoing celebrity presence.

New clients would also benefit from a transitional start-up phase.

Reuben considered the collaboration as also offering the potential to merge his scholar programme with Compass Group SA’s Chef’s Academy.

“At a time when jobs in South Africa are at a premium, we, side by side with Compass, keenly look forward to helping solve the unemployment problem by training our chefs to a point where they are sought after contributors to our country’s food chain.”

Kalawe personified the chefs at Compass Group SA’s Chef’s Academy as “tomorrow’s Reuben Riffels”.

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