David Barker, Director of Sales for Aramark Northern Europe, tell us his secrets to success

The World of Hospitality recently sat down with David Barker, the Director of Sales for Aramark Northern Europe – a company that offers award-winning food services, award-winning facilities management, and award-winning property management, to find out how and why Aramark Northern Europe is the best in class across so many sectors1. Every successful company has a USP a key unique selling point that separates them from the rest of the field, what would you say the real USP for Aramark is and what makes them thrive above other competitors?

Aramark Northern Europe is increasingly becoming a one-stop-shop for businesses. Unlike so many of our competitors, we can offer services in most areas of the business like food services, facilities management and property management – it really makes running a business, company or a building a lot less stressful if you can turn to the same company, like Aramark, to take care of everything.

2. Like it or not Technology has had a big part to play in the modern world and companies have had to adapt their businesses to keep up with the constant change. Do you feel that technology has helped the Aramark or have you found it difficult to adapt?

The benefits of technology for any business far outweigh the negatives, if you use it the right way. No matter the size of your enterprise, technology has both tangible and intangible benefits that will help you become more efficient, make decisions faster and be more engaged with your employees and customers.

3. Does the company keep the same traditional values as it did back in the 60’s or do they take more of a modern approach with the business?

Ambition, delivering excellence, diversity and dignity are the guiding principles that dictate our behaviour in Aramark. While the business has progressed in so many different ways over the past few year, its core values have remained the same.

4. In regards to the food itself which obviously has to be one of the key elements to the success of the business, how do you go about sourcing the right produce and how do you keep on track with the constant change in trends and expectations?

When we are looking at new products to add to our supply chain, we are looking for products that disrupt a market, whether it’s by being different, being better or being new. We are always on the lookout for products that mirror Aramark’s commitment to excellence and any product that delivers great taste and a high standard is a great place to start. Aramark recently hosted its 2nd consecutive Producer Showcase at Catex 2017 at Dublin’s RDS – a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style event where applicants were hand-picked to pitch to an expert panel comprised of chefs, dieticians, buyers and food connoisseurs.  The showcase took place over 3 days and saw over a dozen producers and innovators present an eclectic mix of food, services and technology.  

Three finalists, two Irish and one UK-based, were chosen to join the Aramark Northern Europe supply chain, which has over 450 sites across Ireland and the UK and produces over 1 million meals daily. It was a great opportunity for us to find new high-quality products and a great opportunity for companies to join our international supply chain.

5. Sales is one of the most important aspects of any business so what would you say are your key tips to driving sales and not only maintaining your current client base but also looking to develop and move the company forward.

Surround yourself with amazing talent and give them the autonomy to excel. Learn from your mistakes and always be honest with yourself.

The most important part of a pitch or communication with any customer or client is listening. Oftentimes people listen with the intent to respond with an answer that makes them sound impressive. If you listen, really listen, with the intent to understand what the client wants, you get more out of the relationship because you can deliver what they require.

No matter what job you have or at what level, it’s important to treat people with respect and acknowledge good work with praise and positive feedback.

David Barker, Director of Sales, Aramark Northern Europe.