Compass Group unit Chartwells Higher Education has announced its acquisition of FM Top 50 firm Fresh Ideas Food Service Management, a move it says will allow it to expand into more regional college and university markets while Fresh Ideas continues to build upon its strong client partner relationships and will continue to operate under the same brand, culture and leadership. One of the more tech-forward independent contract firms in the country, Fresh Ideas has been actively deploying such cutting-edge initiatives as the use of robot delivery, app-based check-in/check-out, automated pickup pods and selfie-based POS, especially over the pandemic period.

“As an organization focused on creating strong collaborative relationships with their clients, the Fresh Ideas team is a perfect match for our Chartwells culture,” says Andrea Johnson, President of Operations and Growth for Chartwells, in a statement accompanying the acquisition announcement.

“We look forward to the partnership and the learnings both companies will bring as we continue to create one of kind dining experiences on the campuses we serve,” added Chartwells Higher Education CEO, Lisa McEuen.

Regional foodservice firm Fresh Ideas serves a client base located mostly in the Midwest, South and Southeast and will continue to operate under the Fresh Ideas name. About 80% of its business is in the higher education market according to its most recent Top 50 submission, with the rest in K-12, B&I and senior living facilities. Its commitment to sustainability and plant-forward dining was recently recognized by the Humane Society with an “A” grade on its most recent Food Service Industry Protein Sustainability Scorecard.

“At Fresh Ideas, we are passionate about serving great food and cultivating a culture of caring,” says President/CEO Matt Clervi. “We are thrilled to join Chartwells and work together to provide exceptional dining programs for students across the country.”