Bartlett Mitchell celebrates ‘consistent growth' in a ‘harder market'

25 May 2018 by
Bartlett Mitchell celebrates ‘consistent growth' in a ‘harder market'

Bartlett Mitchell is celebrating "consistent growth" in a "harder market" with turnover increasing by more than 10% for seven consecutive years.

Executive chairman Wendy Bartlett told The Caterer: "We've been consistent. It's consistent and steady growth rather than spurts and dips. That's to do with basing our growth on our values rather than a business need. It's all about getting the right business and making sure that it's progressing and we're adding value to our customers, clients and our team.

"The biggest thing for us has always been delivering our promise to the client, customers and team. If we were to grow very quickly and take on the wrong kind of business then we would have unhappy team members and then unhappy customers.

"We could win a lot more business if it was at a lower price, or if it wasn't in such a nice environment, or not the right client fit, but to ensure we can add value we consider ‘is this the right business for us and is it somewhere our teams will be happy'. If the team is not happy you might as well give up because you're never going to make your customers happy."

The year saw Bartlett Mitchell secure significant contracts across the UK, including major wins with Man Group and global law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. It also maintained a 98% contract retention rate.

In an industry dominated by a small number of large companies Bartlett said she feels that the company's size is a key component of its offering. She explained: "Because we're one of the niche companies we're able to offer a much more personal service. When people are buying something it's about added value in terms of being entrepreneurial, innovative and foodie, which are some of our core values."

The executive chairman, ranked 66 in The Caterer‘s Top 100 most powerful people in hospitality list, added that she would like to see more small contract caterers move into the market to drive forward innovation.

It's an area in which Bartlett Mitchell has by no means been standing still. The year saw it roll out new concepts including Food To Go and Health Kitchen as well as extending its vegan and vegetarian food offers. On top of this it launched its BM Inc programme, which offers opportunities to new entrepreneurs coming through the supply chain.

The business, which employs more than 750 team members across its operations, also launched a new leadership programme and retained one-star Best Companies to Work For status.

Bartlett is optimistic for the future saying that Brexit will present challenges but is also an opportunity for the industry to come together, under new industry body UKHospitality, and speak collectively about what it does and why others should take-up the career opportunities it offers.

She added: "We've had a very successful year and our team have gone over and beyond to deliver. I'm very impressed with what they've done. It's a much harder market, it's much more demanding people are looking for more for their money but I think they're also asking for a relationship and value from that. We build and sustain great relationships with our customers through innovation, great menus and lovely customer service."

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