Supplier Accelerator Program, BIPOC Farmer Pilot & Podcast Series Launch in 2021
From celebrating culture through food to partnering with women and minority-owned businesses, Compass Group USA is helping build a more equitable and sustainable world while harnessing its scale to positively impact the industry. Diversity is a key to innovation and provides new business insights that create opportunities for better serving the market.
Acting as an advocate in the foodservice industry, Compass Group’s procurement division, Foodbuy, is increasing the number of diverse suppliers that provide customers with products, ingredients and services. To fulfill this commitment, sourcing teams help Minority & Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) suppliers understand business requirements and ensure business owners are treated fairly in the qualification, proposal and contracting process. In 2021, the new Diverse Supplier Accelerator Program took off. This comprehensive 12-month program provides selected suppliers one-on-one coaching and training through formal mentor-mentee relationships, and the opportunity to collaborate on plans that mutually grow business.
“Our commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion starts with our supplier partnerships, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to succeed, regardless of size or background,” said Foodbuy CEO Dennis Hogan.
“We have aspirations to be not just a national but a global company and the things we’ve learned throughout the Accelerator program has positioned the company to help us achieve our dreams,” said Anna Hammond, CEO and Founder of Matriark Foods, and part of the Diverse Supplier Accelerator Program.
To support Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers, Compass Group and Foodbuy developed a pilot program with produce supplier, FreshPoint, where chefs integrated produce grown by North Carolina BIPOC farmers into menus this past spring and summer.
“It is absolutely imperative that we do everything we can to support local farmers on every level. We are in a position of responsibility to share our strengths in promoting the livelihood of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the farming industry, which in itself is a very challenging endeavor. This collaboration is wonderful,” says Eurest Executive Chef Philip Lloyd.
In supporting diverse businesses, Compass also supports the communities they reach, meeting the needs of emerging and shifting consumer priorities. With a suite of education and awareness initiatives, all locations receive information and support regarding availability of this growing network of qualified suppliers.
A new podcast series, Diversity Matters, gives the entire Compass community an opportunity to connect through conversation with the incredible women and minority business owners who create many of the products used and served every day. The intention is to invite chefs, managers, clients and customers to actively support the growth and success of diverse suppliers, like the premiere episode’s guest BLK & Bold, the first black-owned nationally distributed coffee and tea company, and one of the fastest growing diverse suppliers in Compass Group’s portfolio
“I am excited that we have a partner that believes in us so much so that it gives us the opportunity to be introduced to new partners, new industries and new entities that we otherwise wouldn’t have access to,” said Rod Johnson, BLK & Bold co-founder.
Tracking and transparency are also critical to success. Every month, Foodbuy updates its MWBE Data Spend dashboard, provides access to all managers to drill down to the unit level and encourages operators to share reports with their clients, inviting them to be part of the journey.
Listen and subscribe to the Diversity Matters podcast series here. The next guest scheduled is Anna Hammond, CEO and Founder of Matriark Foods, a company tackling food waste by upcycling farm surplus and fresh-cut remnants into delicious, healthy products for large-scale meal programs.