Following a full year organic revenue decline of 6.7% in fiscal 2021 over 2020, Compass North America rebounded strongly in fiscal 2022, not only increasing by 44% over the 2021 figure but posting an all-time revenue high by topping its 2019 total of $20.1 billion. The company, the largest division of London-based Compass Group PLC with 67% of its total fiscal 2022 business, saw net new business growth of 9%, “reflecting both strong new business wins and continued high retention at 97.1%,” per the company’s annual report. “Growth was broad based across all sectors, with strong wins from first-time outsourcing.” Among individual market segments, it noted that Business & Industry and Sports & Leisure both “benefited from continued volume recovery throughout the year, reflecting the return to the office and live events, together with higher per capita spend” and “[b]oth sectors delivered strong double-digit net new business growth.”
Meanwhile, Education, “despite lapping strong reopening numbers last year, continued to rebuild volumes during the year, and the resilient Healthcare & Senior Living business continued to perform strongly.”
Over the past year, Compass North America introduced a variety of front- and back-of-house initiatives that have included…
• RePlant Your Menu Trains Chefs and Managers on Sustainable Menuing: As the term “plant-forward” can mean different things to different people, this new self-paced online training program offers insights into the plant-forward movement to inspire menu innovation by using more diverse ingredients and making healthier and more sustainable dishes. It also highlights opportunities to introduce actions that will support Compass Group's overall sustainability commitments.
• Robotics, Automation & Delivery Solutions (RADs) Delivers Innovation: A portfolio of more than 50 RADs are now available to offer clients fast, innovative and safe alternatives to get fresh food to guests. New features include frozen treat solutions like Solato & F’Real, automated barista-like coffee solutions like Costa Express & KIOCAFE, customizable water dispensers like Drop Water, and Boomerang, a true closed-loop, plastic-free bottled water solution.
• Retail Incubator Program Spotlights Diverse Suppliers: Compass’ Retail Incubator program connects innovative products and emerging suppliers that are diverse, local, healthy and sustainable. New products and brands are introduced monthly through the program, from women- and minority-owned businesses to environmentally-friendly companies and hyper-local brands. The goal of the program is not only to introduce new products to customers but also to share the stories of the people behind the brands.
• MARKETs Transition to Frictionless Experience: With a continued retail trend of contactless and autonomous shopping, Compass currently has more than 200 Markets transitioning to Frictionless across multiple sectors, which gives its teams the opportunity to leverage the latest technology to deliver the world's most advanced, convenient and seamless shopping experience. Market NXT's frictionless technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves. Customers can simply scan their phone at the door, shop for what they need, and just walk out.
• The New Teal Food Allergy Awareness Designation is Now Available: The Teal Designation was created to further optimize food allergen management and transparency. Compass says it sits above the FARECheck Silver Certification and FARECheck Trained as the pinnacle of achievement for those wanting to display their account’s commitment to food allergy awareness.
The company also forged a series of partnerships in 2022 that included…
• Compass Group Becomes First Foodservice Company to Partner with Do Good Foods: In September
2022, Compass Group announced it is bringing Do Good Foods’ first U.S. chicken brand in support of its sustainability commitments and Net Zero goals to corporate cafes, healthcare systems and event venues across the country. What makes Do Good Chicken unique is that it takes surplus healthy food from grocery stores—after food bank donations—and upcycles it into nutritious feed for chickens. As a result according to the company, each Do Good Chicken stops approximately four pounds of surplus groceries from being thrown away, therefore reducing nearly three pounds of greenhouse gasses.
• Compass Group is Proud to be Change Please’s Exclusive US Partner: The Change Please partnership combines social entrepreneurship with impeccable coffee expertise with every cup purchased going towards helping to eradicate homelessness in the communities where they serve—currently only in Charlotte, N.C. but expanding to other geographies as operations are able to scale across the country.
• Virtual Teaching Kitchens Evolve with New Partnerships: With more than 350 active Teaching Kitchens company-wide, Compass Group expanded its virtual programming in 2022 with partnerships such as Pike Lane Gardens, Hello Fresh and Avocados from Mexico.
• ALIST Program Launches with Food-tech Marketplace: Compass Group’s Foodworks unit partnered with national food-tech marketplace HUNGRY, which connects businesses with top local chefs and restaurants, to kick off celebrity chef events. "The ALIST program is like a personal concierge to the country's best chefs,” explains Foodworks President John Coker. “We are excited to offer this new option and experience, which can be curated to meet the needs of any event and create truly memorable experiences, from unique catering at sporting events and large-scale events to workplaces looking for ways to engage employees back at the office.”
• GREEN Project Promotes Plant-forward Education and Availability: Foodworks also partnered with the Produce for Better Health Foundation on the GREEN Project, which highlights chefs across the country who create unique, exciting and flavorful experiences in dining that are both healthy and sustainable by bringing plant-forward menus to the forefront.
In addition, some of Compass Group’s signature sustainability programs initiatives were expanded over the past year, including…
• Carbon Foodprint: The company’s award-winning tool originally created to measure the carbon, water and waste of a café's operations at the unit level and create efficiencies by automatically syncing with purchasing data was enhanced in 2022 with emission factors updated to align with the World Resource Institute so that now Carbon Foodprint pulls in data from Waste Not 2.0 while more than 90 additional accounts were onboarded to the program.
• Waste Not 2.0 Expands and Tracks Food Scraps Across the Globe: Compass Group’s proprietary, tablet- based waste tracking system is now getting adopted in countries outside the US after accounts using Waste Not 2.0 saw an average reduction in waste by 31% YOY in FY22. Launched at the end of 2020, the program expanded in 2022 to Compass Group accounts in the UAE, Portugal, Italy and Australia in 2022. Canada is launching a pilot this year, with Germany and Poland in the pipeline.
• Continued Commitment to Stop Food Waste Day with new SFWD Cookbook: To mark the sixth annual Stop Food Waste Day, a new digital Stop Food Waste Day Cookbook was launched, featuring recipes from 45 Compass chefs representing more than 30 countries. It included a range of appetizers, main courses and desserts and makes it easy to create meals that give a second life to ingredients that most commonly go to waste in home kitchens, such as stale bread, bruised produce and discarded fruit and vegetable peels.
On the digital front, Compass Digital has been hard at work to help operations shift to a digital-first model that makes seamless transitions between digital and physical spaces. Some of its most recent accomplishments include developing and expanding its Digital Learning suite, which earned the team the Brandon Hall Group Technology Excellence Award for “Best Advance in Augmented and Virtual Reality,” and becoming recognized as an internationally accredited organization recognized by the IACET (International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training) so that Compass Group’s Digital Learning now offers CEU’s (continuing education units) to associates.
To advance its diversity and inclusion goals, Compass North America’s recent initiatives include..
• Expanding the Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Farmer Pilot Program: A little over a year ago, Compass Group and Foodbuy worked with produce distributor FreshPoint to launch BIPOC to support local minority farmers in its home state of North Carolina. With a goal of being more intentional with produce purchases and direct more spend towards the diverse farming community, Compass Group chefs honored local farmers of color by featuring their seasonal produce on menus during each peak season. Because of the pilot’s success, the program in North Carolina continues to grow, with new farms added and purchases increasing 68% from the prior year. In 2022, the program expanded to California in partnership with local produce distributor Vesta, with teams in the state purchasing more than 100,000 pounds of local produce from farmers of color from June to October,
• Navigate Program is Changing Lives: A unique, proprietary education program developed by former Compass Group associate, Title I teacher and industry advocate Chef Simone Byron Navigate focuses on underserved, high-potential high schoolers, with graduates of the program already having been hired into equitable and fair paying jobs they otherwise would not have access to and some having received academic scholarships. Now in its first year, 127 students have graduated from the Navigate program having participated in Compass Group/Navigate internships hosted at Fortune 500 companies, schools, and highly visible tourist attraction locations.
• Diverse Supplier Icons Emphasize Focus: To make it easy for chefs and managers to identify ingredients and products offered by diverse suppliers, a colorful icon highlights these items as part of the weekly order process. This builds on the Diverse Supplier Accelerator Program launched in 2021 as part of an effort to invest time and resources to assist the growth of diverse suppliers, providing them with mentors, education sessions, and industry connection opportunities.
• Be the Difference Conference Brings Together More than 2,000 Associates: Now a signature annual initiative, the Compass Group North America DEI team hosted its second annual Be the Difference conference that brought more than 2,000 associates, business partners and community partners together virtually on a single day to promote DEI.
• New Health is Wealth Series Enhances Employee Experience: Compass Group’s diversity, equity and inclusion team kicked off its inaugural Health is Wealth Series last May with a four-part series featuring guest speakers, live panel discussions, training and toolkits focused on mental, physical, financial and nutritional health. More than a thousand attended the Mental Health Awareness panel to hear from health practitioners and well-being counselors, and associates continue to access and review the panel discussion along with the Mental Health training developed by the Compass Group NA DEI and T&D team. More recently, hundreds participated in a free virtual yoga session, a Financial Health Savings webinar and the Nutritional Health segment launched in February 2023.
Recent initiatives from the various Compass North America operating companies included…
• Chartwells Higher Education/Climate Labeling and How Good partnership: An exclusive partnership between Chartwells Higher Education and HowGood, an independent research company with the world’s largest ingredient and product sustainability database, lets guests make more informed sustainable dining decisions and helps Chartwells partner campuses achieve their net-zero goals by integrating HowGood’s impact data into its dining menus nationwide. Chartwells recipes will be rated based on the impact metrics chosen while labels are prominently displayed on dining hall menus and digital signage at partner campuses.
• Bon Appetit’s Food Standards Dashboard: Bon Appétit Management Co. launched the second generation of its proprietary Food Standards Dashboard sustainability and wellness reporting tool in early 2022, with the newest version offering teams a comprehensive view of their café from greenhouse gas emissions related to purchases to the breakdown of animal versus plant protein, and clearly illuminating actions they can take to make their operations and menus more sustainable and healthier for guests. To offer a snapshot of a café’s performance, the Dashboard has dedicated tabs for purchasing, climate change, plant-forward menuing and wellness that pulls information from purchasing, finance and menu-management systems to compare a complex set of data against a long list of business rules.
• Restaurant Associates’ and The Difference A Week Can Make (No Beef Week): Since reducing food waste and its carbon footprint has always been a priority, Restaurant Associates introduced #NoBeefWeek, an initiative that encourages chefs and operators to eliminate beef from their menus for one week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since June 2022, for example, Chef Fraino and his team at one of the largest financial centers in New York City have reduced purchasing of red meat by 95% without a single complaint from guests and even as café transactions continued to increase.
• Morrison Healthcare Offering the Hospital Café of the Future: The café at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle with the support of partner Morrison Healthcare recently underwent a major renovation that completely transformed it from a conventional cafeteria into a “virtual kitchen” that provides a completely technology- driven dining solution with kiosks and mobile ordering, allowing for all shopping, ordering, and paying to take place outside the four walls of the café. This futuristic, time-saving approach has reduced wait times by 50%, enabling caregivers to use more of their mealtime to relax, recharge and actually enjoy their food rather than waiting in lines.
• Chartwells K12 Launches “Global Eats” and “Veg Out”: Highlighting the unique ingredients and authentic flavors from cuisines around the world, Chartwells K12 launched a new program in 2022 called Global Eats, which invites K-12 students on a food exploration that celebrates various cultural heritages, starting with China, India, Italy and Mexico. In addition, Chartwells K12 introduced new Veg Out plant-forward lunch menus and food stations this past fall to ensure that kids who are vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, or plant-centric can always find what they're looking for in the cafeteria.