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Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Wendy Bartlett, Bartlett Mitchell

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Wendy Bartlett, Bartlett Mitchell

Overall ranking: 95 (ranked 91 in 2010)

Contract catering ranking: 13 (ranked 11 in 2010)

Wendy Bartlett - Snapshot

Wendy Bartlett is chief executive of independent caterer Bartlett Mitchell, which celebrated its 10th birthday last year. It currently provides catering services throughout South-east England. It operates staff restaurants, executive dining services and hospitality services, plus café and delicatessen, conference, school and college catering services, as well as vending. Bartlett Mitchell has 480 staff and an annual turnover of £17.5m. Clients include information services firm McGraw-Hill and the Royal Thames Yacht Club. Bartlett Mitchell received a Top 500 European Growth Award at the Europe's 500 Annual Conference and Awards in Brussels in February.

Wendy Bartlett - Career guide

Wendy Bartlett has spent all her working life in contract catering after gaining her qualifications at Thames Valley University.

She may have started out as a pot-washer in a club restaurant but Bartlett had already set her sights high. She joined Sutcliffe as a trainee manager, and by the age of 21 she had been made manager.

As area manager she worked with Nick Howe (now with WSH-owned Holroyd Howe Independent) under William Baxter. One of her most challenging jobs was as account director for the British Airways contract, probably one of the single largest catering operations in the UK. Her responsibilities included overseeing the hospitality in British Airways VIP lounges and the Concorde departure lounge.

Other experiences included troubleshooting an employment agency that Sutcliffe had bought and acting as catering consultant during the expansion of the David Lloyd sports clubs.

In 1995 she moved across to Compass to work on prestigious City contracts. It was there that she forged plans with Ian Mitchell to set up their own catering company, a dream that came true in 2000 with the launch of Bartlett Mitchell. The firm won its first contract on Christmas Eve 2001.

Bartlett walked away as winner in the Entrepreneur category at the 2010 Shine Awards, which recognise women's achievements in hospitality. In April this year Bartlett was named in Women 1st's Top 100 Women in Hospitality and Leisure.

Wendy Bartlett - What we think

Bartlett - along with Ian Mitchell - is perhaps not given the credit she deserves for building a successful, strong, independent caterer in a sector dominated by large players and niche fine-dining City firms. It's probably the diligent, non-showy way that Bartlett goes about running her business that has counted against them in terms of column inches, but it in no way diminishes what she has achieved. Asked in an interview this spring what gave her the greatest satisfaction a decade on from founding the business she replied simply "the pride friends, family and colleagues take in it". That's very much Wendy Bartlett and Bartlett Mitchell all over.

Wendy Bartlett's ranking in the 2010 Caterersearch.com 100 >>

The Caterer Interview: Wendy Bartlett >>

Bartlett Mitchell introduces Adopt a Beehive scheme >>

Bartlett Mitchell gets worms to deal with waste >>

Women 1st's Top 100 Women in Hospitality and Leisure >>

Bartlett Mitchell website >>

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