How People-Centered Experiences in Food Service Benefit Clients and Associates Alike – a Conversation with Executive Vice President of Compass’ Strategic Alliance Group, Amy Knepp

June 26, 2022

If there’s one person who knows better than anyone what makes Compass Group’s clients tick, it’s Amy Knepp. As Executive Vice President of Compass’ Strategic Alliance Group and more than 25 years’ experience retaining Compass Group’s top 900 clients under her belt, Knepp has made it her business to understand each client’s unique culture and how the Compass Group and Thompson Hospitality partnership aligns with their unique and evolving needs. The partnership was just being forged when Knepp joined the Strategic Alliance Group, and she’s watched it grow from a great idea to a critical business relationship.

“We’re our clients’ advocates. We understand things change for them – we understand their expectations change over time, maybe their perspective evolves. With the genesis of the Thompson partnership, we were at the forefront of anticipating our clients’ changing needs, and all these years later, we’re still at it,” she says with a smile.

As clients’ needs change, they increasingly rely on providers whose experience is proven, particularly when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“The renewed focus on diversity and inclusion over the last two years has a lot of momentum behind it. And I’ve seen companies struggle with how to approach these issues thoughtfully, but it’s clear to me that our clients know fostering inclusive cultures is the right thing to do,” said Knepp. “And at Compass Group, we’re very clear on where we stand and how our values drive our culture.”

Knepp believes the reason the Compass Group and Thompson Hospitality partnership is so valuable to clients is that it is underpinned by credibility – two experienced service providers who each bring their own expertise to food and support service operations, a procurement process that concentrates its buying power among diverse suppliers, and a commitment to seeing each other succeed.

“It’s not about checking a box – it’s about reciprocity in all areas of the business, from procurement to food purchasing to Associate opportunity and advancement. Compass Group and Thompson Hospitality are invested in each other’s success,” Knepp said. She smiled again and added, “It does feel good to do the right thing and to be the company that walks the talk.”

In the end, the credit for the success of partnership and its benefit to clients goes to the Associates who show up every day with a passion for doing good work.

“We truly are a people organization. Our people are at the heartbeat of everything we do. They are our culture, and they embody our values. We’re not a food service and support services organization. We’re a people organization who happens to provide food and support services, and that’s inspiring in and of itself,” Knepp said. “Our mindset has always been to just get in, do a good job, do it really well. Do right by your clients, stand by your people, and you know what, everything will come in the end.”