University of Northampton appoints CH&Co as new catering partner

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CH&Co Group has been awarded the catering and hospitality contract for the University of Northampton, strengthening the independent catering and hospitality group’s position in the higher education sector.

The three-year contract is worth over £12million in turnover over the duration of the contract.

The University of Northampton, which has approximately 13,000 students, was the first UK university to be given Changemaker Campus status in 2013 in recognition of its work to help people and/or the environment.  As a leader in social innovation, it is opening a vibrant new campus, Waterside, in August 2018. CH&Co will partner the university to help bring its vision to life through a bespoke approach to catering and a sustainability focus.

CH&Co is providing catering and hospitality services at the food and drink outlets on the original campuses, extending to the new facilities on Waterside Campus from August.  The catering portfolio features nine outlets, including restaurants, cafés, hospitality services, vending and all soft services at a 32-bed hotel, which provides a live training venue for hospitality and tourism students. CH&Co will also refurbish Newton Café on Avenue Campus to bring it up to the high standards of the new facilities.

In a competitive tender, CH&Co stood out for its tailored offer that aligns with the university’s social impact initiatives and reflects its objective to engage with students and enhance their overall university experience through every touchpoint.  CH&Co’s extensive expertise and proven adaptability in large-scale retail catering, appealing menus that encourage healthy and sustainable choices, on-trend food concepts, and innovative sustainability initiatives shone through and secured the partnership.

The partnership has established a three-year sustainability plan that includes: initiatives to significantly reduce single-use plastics, such as removing plastic straws and giving every student a reusable cup; maximising all possible recycling opportunities, such as food waste, coffee grounds, disposable cups and effective waste sorting; using electric vehicles on campus; responsible sourcing that supports local suppliers and producers; and proactively promoting healthy and sustainable meal choices.

Charles Willoughby, Business Development Director for CH&Co Group, said: “We’re very excited to be working with the University of Northampton. The new partnership strengthens our position in the higher education market, and we certainly mean business! The university is a dynamic, inclusive and forward-thinking establishment that really resonates with our own culture.  Quite rightly, we’ve created a bespoke catering and hospitality offer that reflects its innovative vision and sustainability focus and will enhance the students’ university experiences.  Every university is different, both physically and culturally.  There really isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach for this market and as we continue to grow our footprint in the higher education sector, we will do so with relevant individual offers and strong partnerships.” 

Robert Griggs, the University of Northampton’s Project Director, said: “The University of Northampton is looking to maximise the opportunities that will arise from our new campus development and we’re very pleased that CH&Co is on board. The team understands our vision and plans and its strong retail experience will be very helpful in ensuring that our model works and that our students receive a positive and thoughtful experience at every catering and hospitality touchpoint.

“The partnership so far has been very positive. The team has integrated seamlessly and the TUPE process is excellent. The incumbent staff have received training, even before the contract began, and everyone has access to CH&Co’s great learning and development programmes to progress their careers.  We look forward to working in close partnership with CH&Co in making our catering and hospitality services very successful.”

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