Compass Group has sold 90,000 cheese toasties since the start of the year after introducing a ‘Classic Toastie’ range across its business.
The UK’s largest caterer rolled out the line after polling 2,000 consumers on what they wanted to see more of as part of their food offer in the workplace.
Findings showed that alongside healthier choices, such as salad bars and soup, toasties were also one of the most requested options.
This newfound popularity inspired Compass to run its inaugural Toast Off competition, which culminated with a live cooking final at its Innovation Centre in Chertsey (main image).
The competition was launched company-wide to encourage employees to ‘get creative in the kitchen’ and come up with a brand new toastie recipe that could be included on the company’s Autumn menus.
Each chef was tasked to include seasonal ingredients accompanied by an inspirational story behind their recipe.
Five finalists competed on the day, with Jim White, Eurest head chef at Thermo Fisher, part of the Eurest estate, creating the winning dish which was aptly named ‘Autumn Crackle’ and inspired by the vivid colours, sounds and smells of the season. It includes crispy bacon, smashed apple chutney, smoked cheddar and fresh spinach and tomato.
Liz Forte, marketing director business and industry, HEFE, at Compass, said: “We’ve spent a lot of time getting to know what consumers want in the Workplace, developing an insight-led menu solution. We’ve analysed huge amounts of data which has enabled us to create the flexible, relevant offers across our menus that customers have asked us for.
“The Toast Off event brought this to life and captured everyone’s imagination, we’ve seen some real creativity in the recipes and it’s great to see first-hand the amazingly talented chefs that we have right across our business.”
Competition was so stiff that it was decided that the four finalists’ creations would also make an appearance on menus as guest sandwiches for limited periods during the season.
These recipes included Mexican Meatball Meltdown, Hunter’s Chicken, New Yorker and Italian Stallion.