The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community


1 December 2023

Welcome to this week’s Grapevine, the place to get your bitesize FM updates in one place, in a handy five-minute read.

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Elior UK launches Microsoft HoloLens 2 Mixed Reality Technology 

Elior UK, leading contract caterer, is rolling out brand-new mixed reality (MR) headsets to enhance training for its teams serving healthcare and retirement living sectors. HoloLens 2, Microsoft’s MR technology, entails wearable glasses with multiple sensors, advanced optics, and holographic processing that meld seamlessly with its environment. The holograms can be used to display information, blend with the real world, or even simulate a virtual world.

As the first contract caterer to embrace this technology in the UK, Elior UK will be using the MR headsets to facilitate training programmes around texture-modified foods in healthcare and retirement living. HoloLens 2 technology will provide trainers with more flexibility by ensuring training can be held anywhere at any time, saving the business valuable downtime, and reducing travel time, expenses costs and carbon footprint for trainers and trainees.  

HoloLens 2 glasses are fully wireless and respond to hand gestures, meaning there is no restriction of movement and no need for hand-held controllers, making the technology perfect for a kitchen environment. Multiple people can connect to a training session while still being able to interact with one another. 

The technology can also be used as an integrated business tool. HoloLens 2 can be used to conduct scoping visits at client sites with only one person needed to travel to the location. The technology’s integration with Microsoft operating ensures multiple people can join the platform via Teams and witness the scope in real time. 

Since its pilot sessions, HoloLens 2 has been a huge success for Elior, with high levels of engagement from team members and positive feedback. Elior is embarking on a companywide rollout of HoloLens 2 across all six catering brands during 2024. 

Laura Tighe, managing director health, care & retirement living, Elior UK, said: “The integration of cutting-edge HoloLens 2 technology is transformative in the way we train our catering professionals. It allows us to be laser focused in our delivery, and provide training to our teams from anywhere, at short notice.

“There is no room for error when it comes to texture-modified foods. HoloLens lets us be even more specific and ensures our catering professionals have clarity of textures and consistencies through the lens so our residents can be well nourished and enjoy their meals.” 

Compass Announces Launch of Regional Community Skills and Learning Hubs for Training and Excellence

Compass Group UK & Ireland has announced the launch of Xcelerate – its new regional community skills and learning hubs for training and excellence. These first in class training facilities will be provided in partnership with its clients, with the view to train thousands of people every year.

Xcelerate regional community skills and learning hubs will be equipped with cutting-edge technology allowing people to train with the latest innovations to provide customers and clients with great food and great service. Xcelerate provides training for every aspect of hospitality including culinary, facilities management, baristas, receptionists, event managers, hosts and bartenders.

The first centre and flagship site due to launch is at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham, in early 2024 – called “Xcelerate with Edgbaston”. The state-of-the-art facilities are going to be able to provide both front of house, back of house, facilities management and IT digital solutions training, providing essential skills for those looking to build careers in hospitality; as well as providing job opportunities at the stadium itself, working across Edgbaston’s range of customer and corporate hospitality spaces. In addition, Xcelerate with Edgbaston will also work with social impact partner organisations, providing local people with access to training, as well as offering cookery classes to budding home chefs.

These new regional community skills and learning hubs for training and excellence are being created following conversations with its own colleagues as well as external feedback, which concluded that moving to a regional model for training would have a greater impact than a single site. The sites not only enable Compass to support its people nearer to where they live and work, but also provides more opportunities in relation to outreach, where each site will support local community groups.

There are ongoing discussions, with clients across the UK, with the view to launching Xcelerate at new locations in the future. The training options will be scaled up and down dependent on the facilities created at each site.

Commenting on the launch of Xcelerate – Robin Mills, Chief Executive Officer, Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “We are delighted to be launching our new regional community centres for training and excellence. We believe the food and support services sector is a barrierless industry and are committed to providing opportunities for all. Access to training is critical to help people develop the skills they need to build fulfilling careers. By setting up centres in partnership with our clients around the country, we are going to be able to support many people both in our business, as well as the communities in which we work.”

Jonathan Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers, Compass Group UK & Ireland followed up by saying: “It’s great to be launching Xcelerate. Our regional community skills and learning hubs will not only be providing training and development, but also promoting the opportunities that exist within the hospitality sector. I am really looking forward to our first site, Xcelerate with Edgbaston, going live in early 2024. The site is poised to make a significant impact in the local community, and we are really looking forward to sharing the details in the coming weeks.” 

The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) is here for you – Can you return the favour?

EIDA is here to help your organisation become confident to support your employees affected by domestic abuse. They provide up to date and easy to use resources to help you take practical and effective action to protect and support your employees.

EIDA has grown since its launch in 2018 to a network of over 1,400 employers across the UK who are able to access our resources and events.

Please consider helping this small charity to continue its vital work and keep membership free for those that need it.

Find out more about EIDA here and donate here:

24 November

Fiveways Raise Vital Funds for Alzheimer's Society

Municipal vehicle hire specialist, Fiveways, has raised an incredible £57,200 through donating the proceeds of hiring their Alzheimer’s Society branded commercial waste vehicle over the last year.

Emma Cheesman, Head of Development, said: “I am delighted that we’ve raised such a significant amount of money for Alzheimer’s Charity and as a result are going to play a small but meaningful part in improving the lives of those living with dementia and their families.  This charity was chosen above many other worthy causes as several of our employees have family members or friends recently diagnosed with dementia – it’s a cause close to home.

We would also like to thank and recognise Biffa, London Borough of Southwark and Hackney Council for hiring the vehicle over the last year. Without them none of this would have been possible.”

The Fiveways Dennis 6x2 narrow rear-steer vehicle came fitted with Terberg omnidel lifts and also featured Fiveways’ patented LED digital advertising screens designed to engage and convey marketing messages to a target audience in real-time. This creative and mobile advertising space was used by customers to promote initiatives and services, or generate additional revenue from the sale of screen time, will the vehicle was on hire.

In addition to the money raised from the vehicle hire Fiveways’ Vehicle Maintenance Engineer, Chris Ringrose, raised an incredible £2,600 by taking part in the 2022 London Marathon. 

Chris said: “I decided to take part in the London Marathon to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society. The charity provides help and hope for people living with dementia and their families which is so important.” 

Alzheimer's Society, Corporate Fundraiser Sian Meech welcomed Fiveways decision to raise money for the charity. She said:  

“It’s wonderful that Fiveways wrapped one of their commercial vehicles in Alzheimer’s Society’s branding and donated the proceeds of the hire of the vehicle to the charity. A third of us will develop dementia in our lifetimes, making it the biggest health and social care challenge we face. 

“Alzheimer’s Society is a vital source of support and a powerful force for change for everyone affected by dementia. We want everyone affected by dementia to know that whoever you are, whatever you’re going through, you can turn to them for expert support through practical advice, emotional support, and guidance for the best next step. 

“Almost 1 million people in the UK are living with dementia; set to rise to over 1.6 million people by 2040. Dementia kills more people in the UK each year than any other condition. But we simply can’t reach everyone without the continued support of our incredible corporate partners like Fiveways.”

To get support or to find out more about fundraising for Alzheimer’s Society visit 

Pareto Wins Great British Entrepreneurship Award

Leading facilities services provider, Pareto FM, has won the Scale-Up category at the Great British Entrepreneurship Awards (GBEA) 2023.

Considered the "Grammys" of the entrepreneurship world, the GBEA awards celebrate and champion the stories of Great British entrepreneurs.

The Scale-Up category recognises business who have successfully navigated the initial stages of business and are now focused on rapidly expanding their operations. These fast-growth, scaling businesses are committed to economic growth as they drive job creation and boost revenue.  Pareto FM has been on an inspirational journey since it was founded by Andrew Hulbert in 2014 which included investment from NVM Private Equity LLP in 2021. After experiencing phenomenal growth over the last nine years, today Pareto is on course for around £50m turnover with over five hundred team members delivering to some of the biggest brands in the world.

Andrew Hulbert, Pareto founder, commented "We continue to be absolutely blown away by the positivity and recognition for Pareto. I am just so proud of the growth we have achieved and the good we have done along the way. As Pareto has scaled with have added some of the best talent within the industry and we continue to lead in areas such as technical excellence, social agenda and environmental sustainability. I'd like to personally thank NVM for their continued support having been invested, in Pareto, for the last three years".

David Rolfe, Partner at NVM, commented "We knew from when we first met the Pareto team that they had the potential to achieve significant growth. Their unique culture, great brand and outstanding work ethic was the perfect basis to grow from. NVM was delighted to provide the investment to foster this growth and have enjoyed being part of the story so far. We know Pareto will continue to scale new heights and we are excited for the future growth journey. Congratulations again to the team". 

Sodexo Live!’s Regenerative Farm is Helping to Feed Brighton & Hove Albion Fans More Sustainably

With the new Premier League season well underway, Brighton & Hove Albion fans are being fed a lot more sustainably, as food waste from the American Express Stadium has started to be sent to a regenerative farm in West Sussex that the club’s venue partner, Sodexo Live! works with. The food waste is then used to help grow future crops and produce that are sent back and used in the club’s kitchens.

Sodexo Live! has had 1.5 acres of exclusive farmland at Full Circle Farms, in West Hoathly, for several years, which uses fully regenerative methods to grow crops and produce. Since working with the farm more than three tonnes of organic vegetables, the equivalent weight to more than 7,600 Premier League footballs, has been used across venues and events where Sodexo Live! operates.

Since August food waste from the American Express Stadium has joined this process and in turn is helping to feed the thousands of fans and guests that visit each week more sustainably.

Once received the food waste is composted on-site, in Full Circle Farm’s mobile composting systems, and once the compost has been at a temperature of 75 to 80 degrees for a minimum of two weeks, the machines are then emptied, and the compost is delivered to the farm to feed the soil to help grow the next set of crops. These will include cucumbers, kale, courgettes and onions.

In order to deliver fruit and vegetables to sites within hours of being picked, the produce is harvested in the early morning when the weather is at its coolest, loaded directly into crates, and driven to its destination, arriving at sites by about 8:00 am. The farm delivers the seasonal produce within a 1.5-hour radius, eliminating the need for a refrigerated van, which reduces energy use.

No fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides are used on the farm. Instead, Farmer Tom Morphew, CEO of Full Circle Farms, and his team, build soil fertility using organic compost and manures. This helps improve all ecosystem processes, such as the water cycle and mineral cycle availability. In a highly natural process, animals are also used to manage the land and help restore the soil. For example, a pig will support the turning of the soil and mixing-in of green renewers. This process feeds the nutrients back into the soil to help produce vegetables.

As well as helping to feed fans more sustainably, Sodexo Live!’s partnership with Full Circle Farms also helps to work towards its own CSR aims and objectives. Its target is to be carbon neutral for its own direct operations by 2025, and to reach Net Zero by 2040. Growing the regenerative farm offering will allow Sodexo Live! to achieve these aims and bolsters its Appetite for Action campaign to further reduce food waste.