ISS wins FSM Innovation Award for Feeding Excellence Every Day

ISS has been awarded this year’s Innovation Award at the FSM Awards for its primary schools’ service excellence programme, Feeding Excellence Every Day (FEED).

The annual FSM Awards recognises those outstanding individuals who have made a huge contribution to the contract catering industry. Dawn Harvey, Regional Operations Director within ISS’ Food Services – Schools sector, collected the award for her involvement in developing and implementing the FEED concept.

FEED focuses on pupils and the emotions they experience when they think about lunch or go to the lunch hall and looks at how ISS, as caterers, can engineer its customers’ journey to provide consistently great experiences – from ordering and collecting meals to clearing and leaving the dining room –  which support child health, happiness and positive educational outcomes.

The programme is an adaptation of an ISS-wide initiative, Touchpoints@ISS, which was originally created with adults in mind and focuses on understanding customers’ needs in different environments at each point of their journey. If every aspect of the journey is great, except for one interaction, it could make all the difference to that person’s overall perception of the service and could be the reason why they do or do not return. By identifying each moment a customer interacts with ISS’ service, the catering teams can carefully manage each ‘service moment’, creating an all-encompassing, excellent customer experience.

Recognising that school pupils are very different to adults and subsequently have very different needs when going for lunch, ISS asked 12 pupils from Reception to Year Six to record their lunchtime experience using headcam technology. This allowed them to see a ‘child’s eye view’ of the service, and evaluate the customer journey more accurately. Using these findings, ISS identified five key points in the service which were important to their young customers and which they could focus on improving to make the overall experience really excellent every school day.

Myles Bremner, former Director of the School Food Plan, said: “The innovative FEED initiative from ISS sets a new benchmark for the school food sector. ISS have taken the School Food Plan’s phrase  of ‘looking through the eyes of the child’ to a new level, ensuring that ISS understands and responds to the needs of our children, schools, parents and teachers”.

Dawn Harvey commented: “I am very proud to be recognised for the work we have done to transform the school meals experience. Providing children with the best possible environment to eat, relax and enjoy time with their friends is so important for their development and happiness. School lunches are a critical part of every child’s school day, and the way we interact with them can really make a positive difference.”

To help its local catering teams to understand FEED, ISS created a set of FEED Principles which span every touchpoint. Each FEED Principle includes a set of minimum standards, or FEED Promises. For example, one of the Principles is: ‘A setting that encourages better behaviour from everyone’, which is all about encouraging excellent lunch time attitudes and helping develop every child’s social skills and table manners. Our Promises associated with this are that we offer healthy snacks while queuing to improve behaviour and alleviate impatience and we use age-appropriate cutlery to help fine-tune motor skills and encourage good table manners. Each principle and promise is supported by a toolkit and a series of hints and tips so each kitchen team can bring FEED to life at their school, choosing equipment and engagement techniques which meet the needs of their school community.

ISS is in the process of sharing FEED with all of its primary school customers and employees, with the aim to transform the way thousands of pupils experience lunchtimes. An exciting and engaging lunch service every day has the potential to really set children up for the rest of their school day, resulting in positive classrooms and ultimately happy, healthy children who live and learn better.