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9. Compass Group

Employees: 428,000*
Revenue per employee: $53,000
Profit per employee: $2,500

Compass Group is the world’s largest contract food service company, with operations in more than 50 countries. It serves 4 billion meals a year.

The company was founded in the U.K. in 1941 as Factory Canteens by Jack Bateman, and went on to grow through mergers to become the Compass Group in 1987. The caterer expects sales for its fiscal year 2011 to grow by 9 percent, despite rising food costs and weakness in its European markets.

The group added nearly 18,000 employees from 2005 to 2010. U.K. and Ireland account for only 20 percent of its workforce, while more than 40 percent of its employees are in North America. In recent years, the company has also improved labor productivity. Its revenue per employee has gone up nearly $14,500 from 2005 and its profit per worker is now almost five times what it was five years ago.

Compass' growth is being driven by its operations in emerging markets and North America, along with contract wins and acquisitions. In April, the group acquired two Indian companies, Vipul Facility Management and Ultimate Hospitality Services, to broaden its reach to 44 cities in India. Earlier this month, Compass also took over leading Turkish business food services provider Obasan.

*Includes part-time employees

Photo: Compass Group