GAStronomy: satisfying employees’ appetite for success


The development plans for Great Annual Savings Group’s (GAS) new 80,000 square foot campus headquarters are now finalised and the exciting fit-out will begin next week.

The GAS leadership were posed the question of how to use all of this new space effectively and the answer was reached by considering how the Group helps its people live the lives they aspire to.

The Covid-enforced break from work has given people the opportunity to self-reflect and plan improvements in their life.  Many have honed new skills in their homes, taken up new hobbies or found new ways the enjoy spending time.

As an employer, GAS is committed to supporting its people to reach the goals they set and their new working environment will be a key component in doing so.

The project team were asked how the business could give staff more time in the day for the things they love.  Similarly, how could it allow them to use their time in the office to be more efficient, switched-on and productive?

The resulting strategy features a range of brand new staff benefits encapsulated in one of the finest office facilities outside of London, which will be revealed over coming weeks and months to build up to the big launch at the end of 2020.


Health and convenience

Research by business lunch delivery service EAT Club suggested that 60 per cent of employees would be happier if they were provided with lunch perks by their employer.  Half also felt that it would boost their productivity for the day.

Cornell University also says that sharing a regular meal with co-workers is one of the most powerful relationship-building exercises teams can perform and helps reinforce culture.  GAS is growing at such a pace that maintaining the family-feeling and culture of the business is of strategic importance.  Last year’s full-company staff conference, where the entire UK workforce came together for a seminar and a celebration of the year’s achievements, was entitled “The GAS Way” and focused on exactly that.

Considering this strategic business driver in the context of employees’ physical, emotional and financial health, the first step in the plan for the new building seemed a straightforward one.  GAS HQ would need a staff dining facility…


…But we’re not talking school meals.

Craig Shields, Head of Quality and Risk at GAS, has been one of the key people in the headquarters project. He explained what makes “GASTRO”, the Group’s new state-of-the-art, subsidised catering facility, one of the most exciting additions to the building plan.

He said: “We will be offering our employees high-quality meals, snacks and beverages with the addition of an Executive Chef and catering team.  There will be hot and cold options as well as a grab-and-go menu.  GASTRO will be open early for breakfast orders as well as lunchtimes and late afternoons.

“We are putting as much focus on the environment as the food, as we will be throughout the building.  It will be a comfortable and welcoming 7,500 square foot catering facility, the standard of which very few companies provide in the country.

“The physical and emotional wellbeing elements of the offer will see an extensive menu of hearty favourites and healthy options created by our Chef, which will help the Group exceed its current Gold Better Health At Work (BHAWA) Gold Award to reach the “Continuing Excellence” level.

“The financial wellbeing element means this food will be available at a tiny fraction of its usual price, with a Group commitment to covering costs to provide quality.

“The all-important coffee offering will be bean-to-cup, one-of-a-kind, artisan GAS coffee that you can only get at our HQ.

“We recognise everyone will want to eat in different ways, so there will be intimate booths; tables with panoramic views of the magnificent Seaham sea-view; and open-plan areas with comfort seating and larger tables.

“As an area we expect our people to instantly love, we will be installing a large-scale gathering zone with an interactive video wall for presentations and demonstrations.

“We’re really excited about the plans, which are now finalised for this area and I know our colleagues will be too.  This level of detail and quality is reflected throughout the blueprint for our new HQ and we’ll be revealing more in coming weeks.”



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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.