Broadening Our Business

June 15, 2019

Entrenched in the vending, business & industry, and education sectors, Compass Group USA stepped into sports and entertainment in 2000 when it signed a strategic partnership with Levy Restaurants. The next year, the corporation took an even bigger step in buying Morrison Management Specialists to offer foodservice in healthcare and senior living.

Also in 2001, Compass Group USA purchased a company that often served the same clients as Morrison, Crothall Services Group, primarily a provider of facilities management and support services to hospitals. The acquisition of what is now known as Crothall Healthcare marked Compass Group USA’s expansion into support services. A year later, the company acquired Bon Appétit Management Company, a national leader in sustainable food and practices. That same year, Compass Group provided catering and concessions at the 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Salt Lake City.

Among other highlights, the company signed a partnership with Wolfgang Puck Catering in 2004, acquired SSC Service Solutions in 2010 and formed TouchPoint Support Services in 2011. TouchPoint serves the large St. Louis-based Ascension Health hospital system and other clients with foodservice and environmental services. In 2012, Compass Group USA signed a groundbreaking agreement with Texas A&M University System to provide both foodservice and support services at system sites in Brazos County, Texas.

With such sustained growth, Compass Group USA moved from the third largest foodservice and support services provider in the country in 2003, at $5.7 billion, to the largest in 2013, at $12.8 billion.

“The company still retains the IBM contract and has never lost a national account,” says Post, who came to work for Compass in 1997 as president of FLIK. He attributes the company’s high account retention rate to a “no complacency” culture and keeping communication strong with clients.

“With the help of our Strategic Alliance Group, we strive to keep things fresh and support the client, as opposed to taking shortcuts,” Post says. “We always look at ways to grow the business, not just ways to drive efficiencies. I think it’s a contagious and healthy way to look at the business.”

The emphasis on retaining accounts was a high priority when Compass Group came to the US. “The focus on retention was massive,” says controller Deborah Delano, who was one of Compass Group USA’s first hires in the U.S. and worked in tax for Canteen’s prior owner, Flagstar.

In 1994, Canteen was losing about twice as much business as it was gaining annually, whereas today Canteen gains $1 billion in sales a year and loses only a fraction of that, says CEO Green.