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 2014||Rank 2013||Company||Turnover||Profit||Three-year profit CAGR|
|1||3||Harbour & Jones||£33m||£2.4m||46.5%|
|2||new||The Crown Group||£33.1m||£5.1m||43.3%|
|3||new||Dine Contract Catering||£23.3m||£1.5m||42.7%|
|5||new||The Brookwoord Partnership||£32.7m||£2.4m||28.2%|
|6||11||The Good Eating Company||£9.6m||£0.8m||27.8%|
|8||10||Wilson Vale Catering||£18.0m||£1.6m||20.9%|
|9||18||Westbury Street Holdings (WSH)||£534.8m||£41.1m||18.4%|
|13||14||Alliance in Partnership||£13.2m||£2.1m||14.9%|
|20||17||Harrison Catering Services||£57.3m||£3.5m||4.6%|