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From the front: At your service

In the first of our new series which celebrates the contribution made by FMs working at the service front, we hear from Michiel Hageman of Bartlett Mitchell who runs foodservice, hospitality and events for central London based law firm Hogan Lovells
I always wanted to work in hospitality. Making a difference to someone’s day — no matter how big or small—is something that drives me. I studied in The Hotel School in The Hague, Netherlands, and frequently visited London as a student, quickly falling in love with the variety of culture and food that the city offers.

After dreaming about a career here, I moved in 2013 where I got a job in contract catering. I never imagined enjoying this aspect of the hospitality industry, but building relationships with clients and customers while motivating a large team is really fulfilling my ambition.

I’m the General Manager based at Hogan Lovells, an international law firm in Central London for Bartlett Mitchell, where I’m responsible for all foodservice, hospitality and event operations (restaurant, coffee bar, hospitality meeting & events across various floors & buildings).

A vital component to running a successful operation is having a team that works well together and “bring their whole self to work”, regardless of their role. We all need each other to deliver the best service possible, so in my eyes, a kitchen porter is as valuable as a manager. By having this ethos and using one of our company values; open and honest, I’ve created a team that will not only go the extra mile for clients but also for each other.

An extremely talented group of chefs make up my team, with a mix of Michelin star and extensive contract catering experience. The creativity and drive to be on top of food trends means that we constantly strive for innovation and aim to deliver fresh, trendy, tasty food that customers love. Vegetarian and vegan options, in particular, have become more popular in recent years. Through delicious food and great service, we have built a sustainable long-term relationship with my client and our customers.


Since the first lockdown, I have focused on keeping in touch with my team via weekly meetings and calls. Even during periods with no news, we continue to interact through virtual game nights — something that will ensure a smooth transition when we return to a new normal.

One of our biggest challenges was to keep in touch with clients while out of office. To keep engagement up, we launched a ‘make at home’ newsletter with my team, which is now sent company-wide. With excellent chefs in the team, it was easy to put great recipes together. We have now sent over 40 newsletters with a variety of recipes including main courses, healthy snacks, and desserts. We also include tips for using up leftover ingredients and have launched cooking competitions to win prizes.

While most of London remained empty, I was lucky enough to return to the office with a small team in July. We launched a click & collect service from our restaurant and coffee bar via an app service, as well as a bento box lunch menu in hospitality. With half of the team on-site and the other half at home, it was a challenge, but we continued the weekly meetings and phone calls to ensure nobody slipped under the radar.

Unfortunately, across BM’s London sites, we’ve seen less than one-fifth of the population make a return back to client office sites after the first lockdown. Our client agreed the use of part of the on-site kitchen as a hub for some Bartlett Mitchell activity. We could offer food to some sites that were not yet operational and managed to launch new concepts including virtual client events and cooking classes. This has put us in a strong position to maintain client relationships and develop our business during a very difficult time.


Before the second lockdown was announced, news that millions of Londoners were going hungry opened up a conversation with my client, which is committed to responsible business. Looking at the facilities and resources we had available, we saw how we could potentially make a difference and support Londoners in need. We began researching food charities to see if we could support from our kitchen, or by signing up as volunteers. The response was fantastic, and we are delighted to be supporting two charities going forward. One of them, Food for All, is located just around the corner from our office, and is an entirely volunteer-run food relief charity that provides up to 5,000 vegan meals per day to community groups and local authorities. The other, The Felix Project, is a food distribution charity in London that tackles food waste and hunger. In the last year, they have distributed over 14 million meals to more than 450 charities across London.

When the second lockdown was announced at the beginning of November, we had everything in place to launch the charity support. So far, we have cooked and donated over 15,000 portions of soup to The Felix Project, with support from Hogan Lovells volunteers and have volunteered over 2,600 hours at both charities with a team of 28 catering staff. By cooking soup on-site and supporting both charities, we are now contributing to a full circle, from soup production to the delivery at schools and community centres.

Until everyone returns to the office, we will continue our charity support. Besides the feel-good factor it provides, it has provided the whole team with a sense of purpose in a time where so many people are suffering. It is fantastic that our client enables us to support charities like these, and I can’t praise my team enough for all the incredible work they are doing to tackle hunger in London.

Looking back at the last 10 months, it’s been a rollercoaster. But being uncertain about the future has only made us stronger and able to better adapt to change. The building occupancy may never be quite the same again, but I am confident that with delicious food and inspirational service, our great team will bring the wow factor back into the office.

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