John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership have held bronze Food for Life Served Here awards for their staff restaurants at 171 Victoria Street and Partnership House since 2017. The award criteria fit perfectly with the Partnership’s ambition to become Britain’s Healthiest Workplace by 2025.

Daniel Blackburn, Partner and Head Chef at Victoria Head Office Campus, worked with the FFLSH framework to develop the John Lewis Partnership’s food offer in the head office staff restaurants food offer. Dan was supported by senior management teams, including the health and wellbeing lead. 

Key Facts

  • 1500 freshly prepared meals served daily
  • 400,000 meals served annually
  • 2500 staff
  • Catered in-house, with a salad bar, hot food, featuring grab and go meals
  • Award level achieved: Bronze (July 2017)

Tell us about your role?
I am the head chef, but lucky enough to have a sous chef in each kitchen who can handle everything operationally. This leaves me to lead on new projects, such as Food for Life Served Here and develop new ideas and direction. We have taken part in the Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey to allow us to benchmark against where we are now. 

How did your team find the change to cooking?
It helped release their passion for cooking; the innovative chefs within. Our thought process in recipe construction has completely changed, we now think about fresh ingredients, home-made meals and traceability as standard. By having this focus, our relationships with our suppliers have become tighter. We work with suppliers who have really supported us in achieving the standards. For example, we work with a specialist butcher who developed a free-range pork stuffing for us to put on the menu over the Christmas period. We had such good feedback from our customers we tweaked the recipe to have it  on the menu more regularly as meat balls. 

Have you used the Food for Life Served here training and support packages? 
The Served Here team came and ran training with the team, supervisors and managers. This was incredibly useful and allowed us to spread the Food for Life message across the whole of the team. We have regular refresher training, which fits with our staff training. 

How did you find the process of gaining the award?

As a partnership we spent a lot of time communicating the new menus across both sites with at least 90% of the staff welcoming the change. The support from the FFLSH team was brilliant. We were able to visit other Food for Life Served Here award holders, including schools, a university and a restaurant. We felt so inspired by what we saw. It was a great learning experience and gave us lots of ideas.

What steps did you take to ensure you were ‘inspection ready’?
I had concerns about providing the correct evidence on inspection day, but having taken a support package with our application, one of the Served Here team came and reviewed our evidence and completely put my mind at ease. We didn’t need to change any of our suppliers. We got our existing suppliers on board and they supported us in achieving the award by providing the required evidence.

What impact has achieving a Food for Life Served Here award had? 
Our restaurant pages have the highest number of hits on the staff intranet every day! People really care about their lunch and want to know what’s available. We include lots of information on the staff intranet with ingredient provenance as well as information on the FFLSH award. 
In some areas we have been able to make healthier and cheaper dishes that are more environmentally friendly. By substituting half meat for lentils, we have reduced the environmental footprint, reduced our cost and made a healthier choice that’s just as tasty and popular with our customers. We have even got involved with a project to add carbon footprint information to recipes in addition to the nutritional information.

"The award criteria fit perfectly with the Partnership’s ambition to become Britain’s Healthiest Workplace by 2025."Daniel Blackburn (Head Chef, John Lewis)