Virgin Trains, the UK long-distance rail operator, has awarded DHL Supply Chain a £30m three-year contract to manage its on-board catering services across the strategically important West Coast Mainline, stretching from Glasgow to Euston and serving in excess of 30m passengers per year.
The win marks both DHL's entry into the rail catering sector and a new phase in on-board catering, with the global logistics leader set to revolutionise the entire food and drink experience, reflecting emerging trends across the global travel market. Particular attention will also be given to customer service, both around the station and on-board.
DHL aims to create a wow factor aligned to Virgin's brand values and ethos of putting the customer at the heart of everything it does. Central to this will be a range of innovative menu options using locally sourced and healthy ingredients. Behind the scenes, DHL will implement a number of green initiatives to support Virgin's environmental agenda, while deploying its 'Focus' Warehouse Management System (WMS) to drive stock transparency.
"Our goal is to be the best and most innovative rail franchise operator in the UK," explains Martin Phillips, Head of Catering Logistics at Virgin Trains. "To do this we needed a strategic partner who shares our ambitions and DHL proved a great cultural fit. By focusing on our core competencies I'm confident that we can deliver something truly exceptional."
Paul Richardson, Managing Director of Specialist Services at DHL Supply Chain added: "I'm delighted that Virgin has awarded DHL its first rail catering contract. By applying our first hand knowledge of the airline, public sector and retail industries, we aim to redefine the customer experience, from top quality dining to applying the latest market trends in the food-to-go arena. A great deal of creative energy has gone into working with producers and manufacturers to produce something very different - I think customers will be genuinely surprised and delighted."
One of the first projects for the new partnership will be to jointly source and plan imaginative menus to mark two upcoming major events: The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and The World Cup in Rio, allowing passengers to enjoy these global events with a unique onboard experience.