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Food Service Caterer of the Year

01 January 2000
Food Service Caterer of the Year

Modesty combined with an obvious dedication to the food service industry were among the attributes that made Tim West the judges' choice for Food Service Caterer of the Year.

There was no doubt, agreed all judges, that West fulfilled the criteria of contributing to business, industry and education within the food service sector.

"He does a lot for the industry but he doesn't shout about it. He gets on and grows his business," remarked one judge.

As managing director of High Table, which has 140 contracts across the country and almost 1,500 staff, West is an active member of the European Catering Association and the British Hospitality Association.

What also impressed the judges was West's willingness to pay for all his managers to get professional membership of the HCIMA.

And chefs within High Table have not been forgotten by him. Over the past few years he has pushed competitions among all his chefs, making these men and women, according to one judge, "the most important people next to the on-site manager."

Perhaps what makes all this praise more significant is that with the help of West, High Table was navigated through some turbulent management changes between 1992 and 1994, fulfilling another of the judges' criteria - the ability to combine innovation with sound financial performance.

During his 10-year career at High Table, West has gone from operations director to managing director in 1991. He has also increased turnover from £14m to almost £50m.

The year before West became managing director the company was bought by Bercy Management, a privately owned French catering company - High Table is now the sixth-largest contract caterer in the UK.

Throughout this time he has been involved in a number of enterprises. These include the development of TJ's - an in-house branded sandwich and deli concept which contributes £7m to the group turnover; gaining Investors In People recognition across High Table; and masterminding the acquisition of Drummond Thompson and Hallmark catering companies.

He has also taken High Table out of its fledgling home in the City of London and given it a strong presence in Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and the Home Counties.

Wheels are already in motion for further expansion into the Midlands.

In summing up, the judges all agreed that West was successful, training orientated, quality orientated, a first-class employer, and a solid supporter of professional qualifications and industry organisations.

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