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Host Contract Management acquires Couture Catering

Host Contract Management acquires Couture Catering

Host Contract Management has bought concession caterer Couture for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is the first for Host since it was founded in 2004 by Jerry Brand, who stepped back from the business last year when Bill Toner took over as chief executive, and takes the caterer into a new market.

Host currently operates 86 contracts across business & industry (B&I), healthcare and independent education, while privately-owned Couture has a foothold in the heritage sector.

Couture has eight retail contracts including two museum concessions in Manchester, two film studios and a B&I site in London's Canary Wharf (see below).

Toner described the move as a "fantastic acquisition" for Host, taking the business into a "new and relatively untapped segment", adding: "When the rest of the market is stagnant we are proud that our plans for growth are on track. We hope to follow this with further acquisitions."

Couture, which has an annual turnover of £5m, will retain its brand name as a division of Host and take the total annualised turnover to £22m.

"It was always our intention to grow Host and our aim is to get to £30m annualised by the end of the year. This acquisition will help give us the strength and credibility to compete further in the market and give us a good foundation from which to grow even further," said Toner.

"Couture operates strong contracts, in interesting areas, but we feel Host can bring additional value with our focus on food quality, chef training and strong operational support. Our national sales team will also be concentrating on growing both brands by adding further contracts to the mix."

Couture was originally founded in 2006 by Marc Warde but he left the business in February to take up the role of business development director with contract caterer Graysons, where he was tasked with setting up a new division dedicated to venues and cultural and visitor attractions.

Meanwhile Duncan Ackery, formerly chief executive at upmarket caterer Searcys, took over the running of Couture.

Commenting on Ackery's future with Couture following the company's acquisition, a Host spokesperson told Caterer and Hotelkeeper: "Duncan Ackery will continue to provide consultancy support to the business during the transitional period."

  • Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire
  • Ogilvy & Mather, Canary Wharf, London
  • Manchester Museum, Manchester
  • Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham
  • Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire
  • Institut Français, London
  • People's History Museum, Manchester
  • Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool

By Janie Manzoori-Stamford

E-mail your comments to Janie Manzoori-Stamford here.

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