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ERS: Sustaining in tough environments

In over 20 years of servicing – and understanding – the mining industry, Tsebo Outsourcing Group’s Equality Reef Services (ERS) places great emphasis on ensuring that meals are designed to sustain some of the most hardworking people in the country.

“Intense physical labour means the body has to perform at peak for long periods of time, and this requires food that provides energy while building muscle and replenishing vital vitamins and minerals that may be depleted under strenuous physical conditions and heat,” says Andrew St Clair-Laing, MD of ERS. “In providing our services to our clients, our first priority is to determine the nutritional needs of their staff members.”

Besides a well-balanced meal that caters to the basic needs of all workers, ERS takes into account the energy expended by manual labour and accommodates with energy-giving carbohydrates and muscle-building proteins. For example, a key ERS offering in the mining sector is the Phambili Miner Diner, which supplies catering for mine hostels and focuses on a range of nutritious, filling meals.

“In conjunction with our Executive Chefs, Dieticians and Operations Managers, ERS has created menus that offer the customer a broad range of freshly prepared products which are individually priced to suit most budgets and customer preferences. Price – while an important ‘bread and butter’ issue to ERS – must be balanced with proper nutritional value.”

A key area of focus for ERS is meeting the nutritional needs of workers whose immune systems can be compromised by illnesses such as tuberculosis and HIV.

“In dealing with so many people in South Africa who are immuno-compromised, ERS re-engineered all its menus to proactively address nutritional intake, with particular attention to those who are HIV Positive,” St Clair-Laing says. “With the mines implementing programs to assist workers who are HIV positive, we felt that HIV wellness should not only encompass medication, but must incorporate a growing emphasis on good nutrition that complements and reinforces the effect of medicines.”

As a technology driven and innovative company – even in a market that is not highly sophisticated – ERS prides itself on its developments and innovations. These include the smart card, which offers benefits like efficient management and safety for employees, as they do not need to carry cash. The payment for meals is linked to a Point of Sale (POS) system that is supported by a smart card with a 1kb chip capable of storing customer information.

While Equality Reef Services’ core business is catering, this division of the Tsebo Outsourcing Group offers a variety of services that make the company a hospitality service specialist rather than purely a caterer. ERS is well qualified and experienced in entertainment, shops, hostel registration, residence management, purchasing and estate management.

“Often several of our services form a vital part of our clients’ operations, but we maintain a focus on healthy meals, healthy miners and a healthy bottom line for our clients,” St Clair-Laing concludes.