Top caterer Gourmet Invent, daughter of foodservices company Compass Group Belgium, reopens its central kitchen at the ICC in Ghent as an emergency kitchen for the health care sector.


Up to 1,000 meals a day; that will be the initial production capacity of Compass Group Belgium’s emergency kitchen in Ghent. A necessity, given the rapidly increasing demand from the sector.

“At this time, all of our Medirest kitchens are operating at full capacity,” says Bart Matthijs, Managing Director of Compass Group Belgium. “We currently have about 450 kitchen staff who go to work every day to provide meals to care staff and guests in hospitals and care homes all over the country. The restaurants themselves are of course closed, but we are providing takeaway meals and – for patients – distribution via regeneration trolleys. Meanwhile, we are even employing staff from other kitchens, from companies that have shut down momentarily.”

The new emergency kitchen meets the growing demand for takeaway meals in the health care sector.

“It is important that the care staff are looked after as well. That they have access to a sturdy, healthy meal during the few breaks they can get,” says Bart Vandendooren, GM of Gourmet Invent. “The event catering business has come to a complete standstill, and so has our kitchen. So this is really the best moment to step up and do more for the care sector, and to keep a number of our people out of economic unemployement as well. Besides, from a staff safety and food safety perspective, working from a central kitchen is the best choice. Especially since we asked an external control body to provide extra supervision and checks.”

Last weekend, a release was sent out to all the care instances and all the mayors and relevant authorities to announce this new offer in emergency care meals.

“The first orders have already come in,” Bart Matthijs explains. “We are currently putting the finishing touch on the logistics and will be able to launch kitchen operations on Wednesday. First deliveries will be made as from Friday.”

Those meals and their transportation will be subject to the strictest safety standards. The composition of menus is determined by Medirest dieticians. Delivery is handled with a refrigerated lorry, with 1 driver who will keep to all the rules of social distancing. After every delivery, the lorry will be completely disinfected.