SHOWCASE Harrison Catering Services

Fresh food, cooked well – what more could anyone need from a contract caterer? H

arrison Catering Services is an award-winning, independent, family-owned company providing catering to schools and businesses across the UK. Established by founder Geoffrey Harrison in 1994, the company prides itself on creating quality, fresh food prepared on-site and served by people who love what they do. Harrison has always been forward-thinking.

In 2014 the organisation increased its commitment to sustainability and reduced its environmental impact by introducing a new range of compostable, branded packaging. The packaging is plastic-free and made using renewable, sustainably sourced, recycled and natural materials (trees, corn and sugar cane) and it emits significantly less CO2 during manufacture than conventional packaging. It is certified compostable in under 12 weeks.

Case study

Debbie Sheppard, manager, client services, Harrison Catering Services Debbie is responsible for the successful operation of

38 sites within the organisation’s school catering sector. It’s a dynamic and interesting role. After leaving catering college with

a BTEC National Diploma, Debbie worked as a manager in a variety of establishments and gained a good grounding in hospitality. What attracted her to Harrison was its comprehensive training programmes and its approach to fresh food.

Debbie joined Harrison as a chef manager in 1995 and her potential was spotted early on. The organisation encourages further training and Debbie was put on a development programme with full support. She has been with the company for more than 20 years and has never looked back – testament to the ethos and culture of the organisation.

A typical working day for Debbie “Each new day brings variety, but my main focus is to support our team so they can ensure client needs are met. There’s lots of interaction, not just with my team, but with clients and suppliers too. This provides me with


great insight and helps me to make adjustments and improvements to ensure the offer continually evolves and is exceptional. “I spend a lot of time strategically planning with my sector head, everything from training and development to menu planning. I have to be innovative and create bespoke marketing initiatives that really add value to the customer experience. All Harrison menus are bespoke to each client, so creating menus that are suitable for a diverse demographic is very important. Menu planning and developing exciting and on-trend food is key. “The food offer is interesting and Harrison has always championed

creating fresh food on-site using good-quality ingredients. If the seasons determine an influx of a certain fruit or vegetable, recipes are adapted at short notice. This enables Harrison to come up with some innovative recipes. “In this role you need to be

driven and have a passion for high standards. Being a team player and having excellent people skills is also very important. Numerical literacy and financial analysis are key, as is having sound business acumen. “I thoroughly recommend

Harrison Catering Services. They believed in me from the beginning, helped me to believe in myself, and progressed my career.”

Harrison’s innovative approach ensures that the

business continues to grow, creating opportunities for career progression – a win-win situation that benefits employees, clients and customers. All Harrison employees are focused on ensuring

the very best experience for customers. They are trained on how to prepare and serve healthier food through the company’s bespoke Eat Well Live Well©

training programme and they also complete

accredited Smile customer service training. Employees at all levels are also supported to develop professionally and the company provides many opportunities to achieve formal qualifications. As a family-run business, Harrison’s flat

management structure enables long-term decisions to be made swiftly, rather than short-term financial goals, and employees are

valued and treated as extended members of the Harrison family. This approach contributes to the organisation’s high employee retention rate – an outstanding achievement within the industry. Geoffrey Harrison, Harrison Catering Services chairman, says: “We are proud to have a reputation for being a fresh food company, using good-quality ingredients to create delicious dishes for our customers, whatever their age. This ethos has helped to attract and retain the best, most innovative people in the industry, with a real passion for cooking. The catering industry nowadays has so much to offer.”

Contact If you would like to find out more, call 01844 216777 or visit

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