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Minute on the Clock – Neil Lodge

28 August 2012 by

Fosters Event Catering recently picked up a £5m contract at Cheltenham Town Hall. Chief executive Neil Lodge speaks to Janie Manzoori-Stamford

How did you see off competition from the big players to scoop the Cheltenham Town Hall contract?
The Cheltenham contract involves a range of different venues and looking after all the famous Cheltenham arts and science festivals, so it was vital to come up with a different catering offer for each proposition. This is the hallmark of the Fosters approach.

How has business fared over the last few years?
We have managed to deliver a strong financial performance in the last four years through restructuring the business and focusing on contracts where we can deliver excellent catering for clients. This has enabled us to invest about £1m into the business, doubling the size of our central production unit, investing in key personnel - including our first business development manager - and buying Hype, a corporate Christmas party business in the south of England.

How has Fosters overcome the challenges of the economy?
By taking difficult but decisive action early involving contracts and costs, we've been able to reinvest so that we're in a position to compete with leading national players. There's also a passion which runs through the whole business which is crucial to our success.

What do you think the next 12 months will look like in terms of trade?
Undoubtedly business will remain tough, but investment and a "can do" attitude will unquestionably help secure business in the long term.

What is your strategy for growth?
Our approach is to secure long-term commercial contracts that enable Fosters to continue to invest in new skill sets and broaden our offer to customers. We'll be looking at managing bookings at venues and more cash catering opportunities so we can provide a complete service for our clients.

By Janie Manzoori-Stamford

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

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