ESS Combines Catering, Retail and Leisure at RSME Brompton Barracks

25 February 2022

The Defence, Marine and Aerospace sector of ESS, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has introduced the first fully integrated catering, retail and leisure space on its Defence estate at RSME Brompton Barracks. The Gordon Mess Food Hall caters for a variety of dining and shopping needs, enhancing the range of products available and the convenience of accessing them.  

Designed to bring service personnel together, the facility incorporates a fully refurbished restaurant, retail store and café offer. The area is open plan and arranged into zones to ensure versatility and ease of use. Contemporary, light and bright décor provides a high street style experience for customers.

The restaurant offer has been developed based on market trends and customer feedback. As well as the core option, there are exciting global food concepts, lighter meals, a large salad bar with protein options, toasted sandwiches and an omelette bar.   

The retail area is located at the entrance to the facility. Customers can purchase hot and cold food, made in house under the Deli Delicious brand, including breakfast baps, pastries, sandwiches, rotisserie chicken and salads. A drinks station provides hot and cold drinks. Ambient and chilled food products and carefully selected non-food items complete the range.

Self-service tills and ESS hosts mean customers can now access hot and cold food from 06:30 to 21:00. Click and collect lockers located outside the outlet enable customers to order in advance using the ESS App.

To align with the contract’s sustainability priorities, a hydroponics unit grows micro greens and cresses without pesticides and using 95% less water. Plant-forward dishes are integrated across the menu to support MOD and Compass’ Net Zero targets.

ESS worked closely with the site, Babcock and the DIO to deliver the project.

Bev Avenell, Business Support Manager – Holdfast Training Services Ltd, commented:

“This refurbishment has modernised the existing facility and delivered a look and feel more akin to what people expect from a high street retailer. It has elevated the traditional military cookhouse to mirror a commercial restaurant, which also has retail space to sell shop items. The refurbishment has greatly enhanced the lived experience for the soldiers. It has provided the opportunity to offer extended opening hours that suit the way soldiers want to manage their own lives with the added ability to order food in advance or choose the click & collect facility”.

Bob Gray, Managing Director – ESS Defence, Marine & Aerospace, commented:

“The Gordon Mess Food Hall is the first integrated facility of its kind on the ESS estate. Combining our catering and retail operations into a single footprint enables customers to eat and drink with us throughout the day or simply pop in to pick up food and non-food items to take away. We’ve designed the outlet as a flexible space that can be used for dining, informal meetings, or a quick coffee with a friend, with the overarching objective of improving the lived experience for service personnel.”