Contract caterer Gather & Gather, a division of CH&CO, has opened its first retail shop as a Co-op franchisee at Oxford Brookes University.
The Headington Campus Co-op of Oxford Brookes University will be one of the largest Co-op’s stores at a UK university, providing 21 new job opportunities for hospitality workers that have been laid-off by Covid-19, as well as for students attending the university.
Gather & Gather secured the 10-year contract, worth £8.1m, to provide catering services within Oxford Brookes University’s three Oxford campuses in 2019, with operations starting earlier this year.
The contract was its first with a university, bolstering its presence in the higher education sector, and provided a route to market for the Co-op, bringing a brand new convenience store to the location.
The store, which is managed and run by Gather & Gather, will deliver Co-op quality products and good prices conveniently, supporting the Co-op’s strategy to get closer to communities and to where what its customers want, need and, care about.
Rob Fredrickson, managing director of Gather & Gather, said: “We’re delighted to be the first caterer at a University that the Co-op has awarded a franchise to. The new venture is perfect for Oxford Brookes University, enhancing the vibrant campus life and supporting the values and sustainability goals of everyone.
“It’s been a very challenging time for the hospitality industry with many colleagues displaced as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our diversification into this retail franchise project has enabled us to offer our colleagues alternative opportunities, which is a welcome positive in difficult times.”
The store, which opened last month, offers a range of fresh, healthy foods, extended vegan and free-from products, Fairtrade produce, food-to-go, in-store bakery and essentials, to better serve the campus.
Phillipa Fletcher, head of commercial services at Oxford Brookes University, said: “Oxford Brookes is committed to providing high-quality, sustainable and value-for-money catering across each of its campuses. We look forward to working with Gather & Gather on a range of exciting new food options for our students, staff and visitors to the university.”