Communal catering covers all the activities which involve feeding the users of the various public services offered by public bodies, such as: establishments for young children, public or private educational establishments, leisure and out-of-school activity centres, hospitals and social and socio-medical establishments, as well as other public and private bodies which host and feed local citizens.
Local authorities often wish to offer this social policy to as many people as possible and it is a particularly important source of support for educational establishments. They have to confront strong, and sometimes contradictory, constraints :
- an ever more exacting legal and regulatory frameworkin terms of quality of service (supply of food and its monitoring),
- the growing expectations of users(organic food, direct supply from producer to consumer, taste education, etc.),
- social service pricing which is sometimes lower than the actual cost price of the service (in accordance with the pricing structure approved by the local authority), which requires increased budgetary vigilance in order to avoid rampantly escalating grants.
Under these circumstances, local authorities must manage their services with particular care and seek a correct balance between :
- signing users up;
- counting the number of users;
- estimating as accurately as possible the number of meals to provide each day;
- invoicing for these meals;
- collecting unpaid sums.
The communal catering sector is highly competitive, with the presence of both national operators and more local businesses. One of the challenges for these operators, as well as for the local authorities who manage these service through state-owned companies, is to optimise the use of central kitchens, whether these are self-owned or owned by delegated operators.
The objective is to achieve optimal value for money for each meal, both for users and for public bodies, while ensuring compliance with hygiene standards and the preservation of the property assets of the local authority (kitchens and pantries).
In this sector, Espelia deploys its full operational expertise. More specifically, the firm supports local authorities in:
- analysing the functioning of existing services and facilities, in particular ascertaining and analysing the cost price of meals and their quality
- developing a programme of works to improve services or to create tools of production
- selecting the most appropriate mode of implementation or management according to the constraints and opportunities associated with each project
- efficiently implementing construction and management projects: contracting, creation of public or public/private operators, monitoring and optimisation of the running of facilities