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Harbour & Jones tops fastest growing UK foodservice firms list

22 October 2014 by
Harbour & Jones tops fastest growing UK foodservice firms list

Harbour & Jones (H&J) has topped a list of the top 20 fastest growing foodservice operators in the UK, according to research compiled by Zolfo Cooper.

The caterer moved up from third place in last year's study to take top spot in the 2014 Zolfo Cooper Foodservice Growth report, published in collaboration with EP, after achieving 46.5% compound annual growth.

The Crown Group and Dine Contract Catering, both new entries to the list, were snapping at H&J's heels with growth rates of 43.3% and 42.7% respectively.

The research looked at the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over three years of independent UK operators with annual turnover of at least £8m and profit of £250,000. Last year's report required profit to be at least £500,000. Companies that grew through acquisition also qualified for inclusion.

Commenting on the findings, Graeme Smith, a corporate finance partner and head of the hospitality sector at Zolfo Cooper, said: "The foodservice sector is showing greater confidence particularly among the independent companies.

"The trend towards outsourcing continues, companies are spending more on discretionary events and also food is being used more and more as a point of differentiation by venue owners and companies. Independent operators have been quick to take advantage of these trends and major on their ability to be very responsive to their clients' needs."

Top 20 fastest growing foodservice companies in the UK, from the Foodservice Growth Report

Rank 2014Rank 2013CompanyTurnoverProfitThree-year profit CAGR
13Harbour & Jones£33m£2.4m46.5%
2newThe Crown Group£33.1m£5.1m43.3%
3newDine Contract Catering£23.3m£1.5m42.7%
42Vacherin£11.5m£0.7m37.5%
5newThe Brookwoord Partnership£32.7m£2.4m28.2%
611The Good Eating Company£9.6m£0.8m27.8%
7newWaterfall Services£50.3m£3.5m22.1%
810Wilson Vale Catering£18.0m£1.6m20.9%
918Westbury Street Holdings (WSH)£534.8m£41.1m18.4%
101Concerto Group£34.6m£1.3m18.2%
118Thomas Franks£15.9m£0.8m17.6%
12newBartlett Mitchell£19.2m£0.6m16.8%
1314Alliance in Partnership£13.2m£2.1m14.9%
1416Lexington Catering£33.2m£2.2m14.4%
156Rhubarb£29.6m£2.9m14.1%
16newOlive Catering£18.2m£1.2m8.2%
17newBlue Apple£8.7m£0.5m7.1%
18newConnect Catering£10.9m£0.3m6.9%
19newServest Catering£61.4m£3.8m5.9%
2017Harrison Catering Services£57.3m£3.5m4.6%
Other findings of the report included: Location Almost three quarters (14) of the top 20 companies are based in London (eight) and the South (six), two (Dine Contract Catering and Waterfall Services) are based in Warrington, while the remaining businesses (four) are based in the Midlands. Turnover The majority of the top 20 fastest growing foodservice companies have turnover of between £10m and £50m, with 14 companies (70%) in this bracket. Four companies have turnover in excess of £50m with Westbury Street Holdings standing out with turnover in excess of £500m recorded in its latest accounts. Index movement This year's report list includes 11 companies that also featured in last year's index as well as nine new entries. Of the 11 which qualified for a second time, six have moved up while the other five have moved down. Service proposition The vast majority (75%) of index constituents serve B&I clients as part of their client mix. But the range of clients and services is expanding. Schools are the next most commonly serviced client base (45%), followed by events and venue catering, with 30% of companies mentioning these as part of their portfolio.
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