The image of staff restaurants has been transformed in recent years. Instead of staff plonking dubious grub on chipped plates, new companies have come along to offer workers healthy and attractive food in well-designed environments. Just Deli, based in Berkshire, is an example. The company, founded in 1996 by John Duffield in the back room of his house with a £10,000 redundancy payment, offers bistro-style food to the canteens of ITN, Fujitsu and Marconi. In recent years the firm has entered into partnerships with Costa Coffee and Ben & Jerry’s to add upmarket coffee and ice-cream to its menus. Just Deli remodels many of the restaurants it works in. ‘People like to get away from work when they eat,’ says Duffield. ‘We try to create the illusion that they have done so.’ His formula must be working. Company sales have increased 113% a year from £334,000 in 1997 to £3.2m in 2000, when it employed 85 people.
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