As one of the UK’s leading retailers, Marks & Spencer is renowned for its high quality own-brand products and going the extra mile for its customers. Great service relies on happy, devoted employees, which is why M&S is implementing a renewed strategy to invest in its people and their wellbeing. A big part of this investment comprises the redesign and modernisation of the catering areas in over 200 of the UK’s existing stores and all new openings, including the installation of a Zip HydroTap G4 Classic in every colleague rest room. With contemporary, relaxed styling the refurbished breakrooms have evolved into a space that helps employees to relax in an environment where fresh, healthy M&S food and refreshments are provided free of charge. Spearheaded by Mark Meadows, head of non-merchandise procurement, who looks after back of house requirements for M&S, the strategy is central to the continuing performance of the business. “We want to ensure that backstage areas, important to our store teams, run just as smoothly and efficiently as the customer facing areas, with the same dedication to service, cleanliness and professionalism,” says Mark. “That’s why we decided to move away from more traditional drinks machines which take longer to fill, clean and maintain.” M&S already had a number of HydroTaps in its head office, providing 4,000 staff with instant filtered boiling and chilled water, so it seemed the obvious choice for the rest of company. Mark explains: “We knew the HydroTap was easy to use, reliable and most importantly, capable of meeting the drinks demands of what is a very busy retail environment. Paired with Zip’s market-leading maintenance and warranty package, we were confident that the HydroTap was up to the task.” “It’s a big investment for M&S, but one we’re happy to make thanks to the great benefits our store teams will get from the HydroTap – with the added knock-on benefit to our customers,” says Mark. “Having one tap that does both boiling and chilled water is much more cost efficient than having multiple drinks machines. There’s no time wasted on refilling or cleaning – the HydroTap only requires a quick wipe down and the plumbed-in font means a more professional service offer. The time saving really adds up across the business, meaning that staff can spend more time on the shop floor, helping customers.” “And as an added bonus,” says Mark, “staff can now use M&S tea and coffee to make their drinks, rather than wholesale goods, so they can benefit from our premium products.” From a specifier’s point of view Mark was impressed with the smooth installation process. “The Zip engineers are highly skilled, inspecting and commissioning all of the new products. My team have worked closely with the Zip team, who were helpful and flexible at every stage of the journey.” The HydroTap is also a fantastic choice for the business when it comes to sustainability. M&S has for 10 years implemented a trailblazing corporate social responsibility strategy, ‘Plan A’, with one of its aims focused on reducing the company’s carbon footprint. The HydroTap’s world-leading energy efficient technology means no water or electricity is wasted. Continually driving improvement, M&S will be running a campaign to encourage staff to reuse cups and bottles with the new HydroTaps to help reduce plastic waste. With such highly filtered water available at the touch of a button, there’s no need for pre-packaged bottled water. “We want to make the working day as stress-free and enjoyable as possible for our people. If we can do this in a sustainable way, that’s fantastic. Happy colleagues equals happy customers, that’s a fact and so far, feedback from staff has been universally positive. M&S opens between 50 and 100 new stores every year, with 60 stores opening in 2017.
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