The ongoing growth of the UK foodservice sector is triggering unprecedented expansion among multi-site operators — and with that comes significant investment in new kitchens.

But while we hear a lot about the extraordinary rate at which restaurant chains and multi-site operators are opening sites, very little recognition is given to the individuals and teams responsible for making sure that the kitchens and back-of-house environments are ready and fully optimised for business.

The FEJ Power List aims to alter that by shedding a light on those responsible for some of the excellent work that goes on behind the scenes. It isn’t only about new openings, of course. Many chain operators are refurbishing existing estates, replenishing older kitchen equipment with more efficient technology and exploring new foodservice concepts that require them to consider different types of catering equipment. None of this could be done without the presence of highly-committed experts leading the operations, procurement, food development and specification processes.

The sheer mixture of job titles referenced over the next 70-plus pages highlights the extent to which the decision-making process on the kitchen operation varies from company to company, but it also reflects the fact that it is rarely one individual that controls everything. Instead, it is often the combined input of numerous people and teams that contribute to the final outcome. As you would expect, this scenario typically has extra layers of complexity where groups that own multiple brands and concepts are concerned.

It would also be wrong to ignore the importance of robust leadership in the foodservice industry today, and on that basis we have picked out a series of ‘Business Leaders’ — typically those at chief executive or managing director level — who are inspiring their businesses to reach new heights.

So how did we select these companies and individuals? Well, ultimately we left it up to the industry to decide by inviting the market to submit nominations and seeking feedback from the supply chain. Additionally, we have taken into account the news stories and developments we have reported in FEJ and FoodserviceEquipmentJournal.com this year, paying attention to examples of innovation and growth.

We probably could have filled this publication a dozen times over, but in the companies that did make the list we have a group of businesses that truly reflects what makes this industry so diverse and dynamic right now.