Over 240 guests, including senior management, suppliers and finalists, gathered to celebrate Elior’s finest employees at the company’s annual awards ceremony held at the spectacular setting of Gorton Monastery, Manchester.


Hosted by the BBC’s Fiona Bruce the awards, which are in their 8th year, recognise the achievements of individuals from across all divisions and regions of Elior UK, rewarding everyone from chefs, hospitality assistants and reception staff to managers.


Nine winners were named as top employees, including Polly Van Hagen who beat 11 other employees to win the Innovation Award. Polly, the general manager at B&Q, Portswood was recognised for increasing sales by 67% and growing margin and EBIT (earnings before interest and tax). She achieved this by engaging her team, customers and clients with a number of innovative activities which included, daily sales promotions she created in partnership with suppliers, marketing materials promoting local sourcing and green issues, and running farmers markets with nominated suppliers.


Gill Heath, catering manager at law firm DLA Piper in Leeds, was announced the winner of the Customer Service Award after judges were struck by her passion and energy and impressed by her excellent sales figures. Gill was recognised for creating a service culture that’s helped the business to retain customers and remain ahead of its retail competitors.

“My congratulations go to all of the winners and finalists. We feel extremely proud of the outstanding contributions these individuals have made to the business. In the current climate and competitive environment in which Elior operates, it’s vital that we show our appreciation for all the hard work they’ve invested. It’s important for us to nurture the kind of talent which has been showcased this evening if Elior is to maintain its competitive advantage,” commented Justin Johnson, head of HR services, Elior UK.


Employees were able to nominate their colleagues for the awards, resulting in a total of 290 entries across the nine categories. Each nomination then went through a rigorous judging process that involved evaluation by divisional directors followed by a face-to-face meeting with the senior management team judges, for the short-listed nominees.


“Fiona Bruce along with Elior’s interim HR director, Martin Archer and Justin Johnson led the prize giving, each of the winners were awarded with a trophy marking their achievement and a seven-night cruise to the Norwegian Fjords onboard Cunard’s famous Queen Elizabeth.


Award winners:

Customer Service – Gill Heath – Catering Manager, B&I East

Innovation – Polly Van Hagen – General Manager, B&I South

Professionalism – Carolyn Charlesworth, Management Accounts Team Leader, Finance

Responsibility - Nicky Ensell, Operations Support, B&I North, West, Central & Scotland

Rising Star - Marie Preece, Hospitality Manager – EIS

Chef Award - Jim Williams, Head Chef, B&I North, West, Central & Scotland

Culinary Competition – Jav Aziz, Executive Head Chef, Azure

Star site - Grace Academy, Solihull, Education