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Graysons Ltd – The Knowledge

24 April 2008 by

Graysons founder Francis Mackay

On backing a new caterer

I only wanted to get involved if it was fun. As a team we have known each other for a long time and we were all agreed we would only deal in top-quality produce.

On today's contract catering industry

It's more professional than 20 years back. The industry is naturally cyclical, with constant consolidation leading to individuals striking out on their own and building businesses that are bought up later. The difference this time around is the growing focus on food quality.

On Compass

Having brought in so many individuals from outside the industry, the fact that food is more important than number crunching could get lost.

What is it?

Graysons Ltd is a contract caterer backed by ex-Compass chairman Francis Mackay and headed, as chairman, by Philip Nash, the former head of Compass fine-dining division Restaurant Associates. The company uses a discount-free purchasing model, operating via a mix of management fees and commercial contracts in the business and industry and leisure sectors, using responsibly and ethically sourced products from local suppliers.

Main rivals

Restaurant Associates and Sodexo's Directors Table are rivals, as are the fine-dining operations of BaxterStorey, Elior and Aramark.

Future plans

Graysons is in the process of setting up a sport and leisure division (see above). From 1 May Rowena Edwards joins as chief executive of the already established Graysons Restaurants, which specialises in corporate dining and business and industry contracts.

Executive team

  • Ian Summers director with responsibility for sales
  • Chris Pearce director with responsibility for operations
  • Nick Thomas commercial

Director

  • Simon Silvester executive chef

Vital statistics

Based in Weybridge, Surrey. First contract signed last month to provide staff feeding, vending and hospitality at LGC, a provider of chemical and forensic analysis, DNA testing and consultancy services.

By Chris Druce

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