People and Companies

The Biggest Company You’ve Never Heard Of

Sodexo: The Leader in Quality of Life Services

They improve the performance of many of the most familiar and iconic companies and organizations in Central Florida, yet to most their name isn’t familiar. Located in communities throughout the I-4 corridor and across the globe, Sodexo and its 428,000 employees offer clients exceptional “Quality of Life” services while contributing to economic, social and environmental development for every city in which they operate.

If you have visited a hospital, a university campus or a senior living facility in Florida, then it’s likely you have met and been served by one of Sodexo’s employees. And you are certainly not alone.

With locations in 80 countries, Sodexo employees serve 75 million consumers each day through a unique combination of energy, facilities and equipment management support, reception, safety, maintenance and cleaning, and food services. The company is the 18th largest employer worldwide, and after 45 years of experience delivering 100 different technical services, it is established as a leader in providing sustainable, integrated services to clients in every corner of the world. In 2006, Sodexo joined forces with Magic Johnson Enterprises to create SodexoMAGIC, leveraging the expertise and capabilities of both companies to improve their clients’ performance while also focusing on community development, promoting positive social change and empowering families across the country.


226_14808_BIOCLEANING 2Unmatched Range of Services

The I-4 corridor is dotted with locations where Sodexo’s workers are supporting schools, healthcare facilities, corporate offices and leisure and sports parks. Sodexo employs 710 people in Orlando across 19 different sites doing a variety of different jobs, some of them even lifesaving. When a patient diagnosed with the MERS virus was being treated in Orlando, Sodexo secured an innovative technical solution that uses a germ-killing robot to sterilize the hospital and ensure that no other patients or staff contracted the virus. Across Florida, the company has an even greater presence. More than 6,000 Florida residents are Sodexo employees and they work to assist many of Florida’s most well-known companies
and organizations.

“We are able to leverage our global footprint and perspective to bring innovative solutions to local businesses and communities like those we serve along the corridor between Orlando and the Space Coast,” explained Alejandro Fonseca, Sodexo VP of Operations. “Our capabilities help improve our clients’ performance and the well-being of their employees and customers.”

From serving nutritious meals to the nearly 70,000 cast members at Walt Disney World Resort, to implementing sustainable energy solutions and designing then building, state of the art operating rooms, Sodexo and SodexoMAGIC provide an unmatched range of comprehensive services.


sodexoGlobal Presence, Locally Focused

Despite being a global company, the secret to Sodexo’s success is how effectively it maintains its local footprint. The common thread through each of the company’s locations is that its employees strive to become contributing members of the community. Sodexo’s presence in Central Florida is an excellent example of that business model.

The strong presence of Sodexo employees working and living along the I-4 corridor drives economic growth and allows for the creation of new job opportunities in the region. This alone would be an important contribution to the local economy, but the real strength of the company’s footprint is how its supportive culture influences the social and environmental health of the community.

Sodexo has developed a diverse workforce and become a benchmark company for diversity and inclusion. As the only organization to rank in the top two on DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in five consecutive years, Sodexo has been able to share its best practices with many clients and help them enhance their own diversity efforts.

In 2013, Sodexo was ranked number one in its sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which is based on a thorough analysis of corporate economic, environmental and social performance.  FORTUNE Magazine has named Sodexo one of the World’s Most Admired Companies, and the Ethisphere Institute has named it one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.


Making A Difference

But Sodexo does not measure itself based on awards and accolades. The true test of the company’s commitment to communities is in the local residents it serves through giving.

Feeding Our Future is a program started by Sodexo and funded by Sodexo Foundation where the company partners with community hunger relief organizations to provide meals to children in need who are out of school for the summer.

In Orlando, Sodexo joined forces with the “City Beautiful” to launch a Feeding Our Future summer meal program that provides 12,250 meals to support children under age 18 who would otherwise be at risk of hunger in the community.  “We look forward to a long partnership with Sodexo, and want to keep this going from year to year, because the need is great in our community and they have reached out and touched us,” explained Robert Stuart, Commissioner District 3, Orlando. This summer, Feeding Our Future served its four millionth meal.



Workplace Trends

Sodexo is focused on employee development and is intent on maintaining the respect of employees around the world and the global business community, and they are working hard to stay ahead of the changing labor force. Starting three years ago, the company developed and released an annual Workplace Trends Report to identify the areas where companies and workers need support to be happier, healthier and more productive. The 2014 report found an emerging trend that today’s workforce is looking for more meaningful, relevant work, which makes sense given that the average employed person spends 54 percent of their waking hours at work.

Sodexo’s intention in providing employers with these insights is to allow businesses and organizations to create environments that are more conducive to productivity and job satisfaction. This is especially relevant considering that of the approximately 100 million people in America who are employed full-time, only 30 percent of them are engaged and inspired at work.

The idea that founded Sodexo in 1966, that quality of life is a key driver of performance, has never been truer than it is today. With growing expectations on employees’ time, increasingly hectic schedules and competing priorities, workers owe it to themselves and their families to work somewhere they can feel relaxed and appreciated.

This is the vision Sodexo pursues for all of its clients across the I-4 corridor and around the state. And to supplement its efforts to improve the everyday work experience for Florida residents, Sodexo is working aggressively through STEM initiatives and culinary mentorship programs to support the next generation and ensure that they have the necessary tools to become productive and successful adults.

“We have established strong partnerships with the businesses and with communities we serve in Orlando and across Florida and are proud of the positive economic and social impact we have made,” shared Fonseca. “We understand the challenges facing businesses from health systems and corporate offices to academic campuses and have the expertise to turn those challenges into opportunities.”

It’s a pleasant irony that the biggest company you’ve never heard of may also be the company that is dramatically improving your quality of life each and every day.


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About the author

i4 Business

i4 Business magazine has become one of the most trusted voices for and about the Central Florida business community. Each month through our print and digital platforms, we provide access to meet, to learn from and to learn about some of the incredible entrepreneurs and business leaders who are shaping our region.

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