UK’s number one contract caterer by profit growth revealed

Chelmsford-based workplace and high street caterer Graysons Hospitality can be revealed as the fastest growing contract caterer in the UK in terms of annual profit.

The company finished top of a report by EP Business in Hospitality and AlixPartners into the most profitable independent caterers.

Now in its sixth year, the Food Service Growth Report provides a league table of the 20 caterers that have grown their bottom line by the biggest margin.

Graysons Hospitality moved up 16 places from 2017 to claim the crown – with profit CAGR of 156% – closely followed by new entrant, Smart Group in second place and then Innovate, which moved down two places from the previous year and secured third place.

Another new entrant, The Proper Food and Drink Company, landed fourth place this year while Cucina moved down a place from last year to fifth.

The report noted that Graysons benefited from a recent strategic repositioning which delivered enhanced profitability across the B&I, venues, and events platform in the last 12 months. During 2018 it has secured contracts with IOP Publishing, Ricardo and the National Archives in Kew.

The business, led by ex-Compass chief executive and industry veteran Sir Francis MacKay and managing director Tim O’Neill, operates over 30 fixed sites across London and the South of England, via Graysons Restaurants (B&I staff restaurants, cafés, and corporate hospitality) and Graysons Venues (conference and event venue catering).

The report serves to demonstrate the strength of the market, its competitiveness, depth and breadth.

Profit growth is measured by compound annual growth over three years, based on statutory accounts. Qualifying companies have a turnover of at least £10m in their latest accounts and profit of at least £250,000.

Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality, said the caterers that made the top 20 had performed incredibly well given the market conditions.

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to plan ahead during times of uncertainty. Consumer demands continue to evolve and that puts additional pressure on food service players. Whether driven by diet, health or productivity, change is happening and brings with it more challenges, but the industry itself has many opportunities to grasp those challenges and respond appropriately.”

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