Foodservice Cateys 2015: Education Caterer of the Year

23 October 2015
Foodservice Cateys 2015: Education Caterer of the Year

Sponsored by Restaurant Design Associates


Since 1997, Holroyd Howe has been committed to providing fresh food, served by well-trained people who really care. It caters for 113 independent schools across the UK for pupils aged three to 18, serving more than 12 million school meals per year.

It has 1,528 employees across pre-prep, prep, senior schools and sixth form colleges and prides itself on using the best British ingredients with nothing processed and nothing added. All seasonal fruit and vegetables come from within a 90-mile radius of any given school. Meat is high welfare and 98% of it is British; 100% of eggs are free range and 100% of fish is sustainably sourced. The firm has total transparency in its supply chain and has a personal relationship with its suppliers.

The company describes itself as a fun, creative brand with culinary innovation at its heart. It has shown significant growth year-on-year, particularly in taking on previously self-operated schools, which amounts to 56% of its new contract wins since 2013. It has re-invented its brand with a vibrant look by launching a new website and increasing its social media presence. In four years the company has doubled in size, growing revenues from £22.5m to £44m between 2011 and 2014.

Holroyd Howe not only provides the core pupil dining but also the food and beverage services for parents, governors and visitors, managing all aspects of hospitality. They also support schools in developing their commercial enterprises during non-term times, such as weddings, conferences and sporting events.

Much of the company's growth can be attributed to its client retention rate, which stands at an impressive 98.5%. Princess Helena College, originally awarded in 1999, has recently renewed its contract for another five years.

So far in 2015, Holroyd Howe has won more than £8m of new business and continues to develop a strong client portfolio which includes major independent schools such as St Paul's, Shrewsbury and Bromsgrove.

Holroyd Howe has an innovative approach to menus inspired by high street trends, global cuisine and restaurant-quality chefs. Most recently the company launched the ‘Uprooted Kitchen' concept, offering pupils street food from around the world. The interactive food stand allows pupils to taste the food and learn how to make it. Theatre kitchens, food demonstrations and regular themed events further exemplify Holroyd Howe's approach to engaging pupils.

Holroyd Howe not only takes the responsibility to feed its pupils nutritious, fresh food, but also to educate them about it. It encourages pupils to understand where food comes from, its health benefits and to enjoy growing and cooking food for themselves.

What the judges said

"A great example of a passion for food and a flair for creativity makes Holroyd Howe a strong winner. Creative flair shone through the entry submission."

Stephanie Hamilton, ISS Facility Services UK

"Their client testimonials and length of contract retention speak volumes for the high regard in which they are held. A worthy winner in a strong category."

Beverley Baker, Surrey County Council

"Client retention at 98% says that Holroyd Howe is doing an excellent job. Growth is impressive, ratios are healthy financially. Uprooted Kitchen is a very innovative approach to take."

Lin Dickens, Bartlett Mitchell


  • Chartwells

  • Holroyd Howe

  • Pabulum

Past winners

  • 2014 ISS Facility Services Education

  • 2013 Elior UK

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