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Phil Roker
Phil Roker

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Click here for the the full article from our April edition.

Click below for the thoughts of our other correspondents:

Andrew Porter  

Chris Kenneally 

James Bradley 

Ashley Kirk 

Julian Fris 

Mike Boxall 

Paul Skelton 

Phil Roker  

Stephen Gathergood

1 April 2019 Phil Roker 

Outsourced facilities management is continuing to defend itself in the glare of a national spotlight. For this month's Think Tank poll we asked if you think the market is changing to favour smaller providers?

Here is Phil Roker's opinion on what he thinks is happening. 

There certainly has been a shift towards the bundling of services in recent years, however, we’ve found that central London B&I clients have shown that they often want a specialist to deliver services such as catering, hospitality and reception where there is a huge impact on the workplace well-being of staff and the impression they give to their clients.

As an independent contract caterer in central London, we’re considerably smaller than our global competitors, whose operations span every sector and provide numerous services, of which catering is one. 

But being a smaller player in London’s scene puts us in the fortunate position of having full autonomy over what we offer and the way we do business. Our size makes us agile and free from the constraints of having a parent company in the background. Instead, we can wholly focus on tailoring our services to meet our clients’ ever-changing needs. 

This independence means we have no procurement restrictions, so we can choose to buy what we want, when we want, and base those decisions on our research or pledges to various initiatives. 

Employees of much larger support services companies often complain that the bureaucracy inherent in larger organisations restricts them. That’s simply not the case in our business. Every single one of our colleagues is a member of the Vacherin family. Knowing each other inside out makes it easy to collaborate on ideas and serve customers in the best possible way, including what we can learn from our success across a whole range of sites. Moreover, Vacherin’s three owners – me included – are all involved in our customer relationships and work hard with the senior management team to cultivate each one. As managing director, I remain first port of call for many of our clients. 

Less bureaucracy for us to wade through puts us at a huge advantage in our sector.

The creativity of every employee can flourish, from the chefs in our kitchens and baristas behind our coffee bars to the front-of-house teams, marketing department, HR team, and even the finance director. 

There are, of course, certain clients who allow procurement to drive the outsourcing process, which can lead to price-based decisions. We operate in the same way the bigger companies do and we refuse to take part in the ‘race to the bottom’ that this encourages. Instead, we create solutions tailored specifically to each individual client.

We feel fortunate to be able to say that our business is driven by the longevity of our relationships, with colleagues, customers and suppliers alike, and less about the share price at the end of the year. Our business focus and goals differ to those of larger corporations and we’re able to remain entirely client-centric in our approach to everything.

Phil Roker is owner/managing director at Vacherin