Rentokil school catering firm hires fast-food PRO

Initial Catering Service, one of the firms at the eye of the storm over the quality of school dinners, has drafted in former Burger King EMEA communications manager Dara Grogan.

Grogan was one of BK's most senior European PROs until it scrapped its UK corporate PR function earlier this year. On contract until December, she joined the Rentokil-owned firm's education division in August as marketing and PR project manager.

Grogan is spearheading Initial's bid to repair its reputation after the media questioned the quality of its school dinners in the wake of Jamie Oliver's high-profile campaign. She reports to  CEO Jim Walker and education MD Simon James.

Initial began trials of Oliver's 'Feed Me Better' menu in the London borough of Merton in September. This month it is rolling out the menu to five more local authorities. Initial said it was investing an extra 40p per meal in ingredients and staff.

'The Jamie Oliver campaign has increased public awareness of the school meals service and assisted us in engaging our clients to improve funding,' Grogan said.

'Trials will evaluate the popularity of this type of restaurant-style menu with children, and the willingness of stakeholders such as councils and parents to fund the increased costs of freshly cooked food.'

Initial serves around one million meals per week at 1,400 schools in 13 local authorities.

Grogan became BK's top EMEA APAC communicator in April after it scrapped the international comms director post vacated by Kai Boschmann. This followed a restructure of its US-based group comms function under senior V-P of global comms Edna Boone Johnson (PRWeek, 8 April).

Last month BK withdrew from a joint initiative between the industry and the Food Standards Agency to reduce salt and fat content (PRWeek, 13 October). 

The fast-food firm recently axed corporate agency Edelman, leaving consumer agency Cow PR as its only representative in the UK.

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