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Nigel Johnson – My worst job

21 May 2010

Nigel Johnson is the joint managing director of contract caterer Catermasters.

What was your worst job?

When Richard Moody and I formed Catermasters way back in 1989 we relied on topping up our income by doing other jobs.

One of our clients was having a problem with its cleaner and asked whether we could help. Given our position at the time as the only employees of Catermasters, Richard and I agreed and promptly donned our rubber gloves ready for action.

What was so bad about it?

One of my first tasks was to polish the floor in our client's showroom with a buffing machine. I'd never used one of these before, but I plugged it into the wall and crossed my fingers. I now know that there is a certain knack to getting a buffer to "glide" over the floor. I just wish someone had told me at the time.

As soon as I pulled the trigger to get the buffer moving it unexpectedly shot off to the right and smashed into one of the client's display stands that contained some heavy building products. The crash was pretty loud and I had quite a bit of explaining to do afterwards.

What did you learn from that job?

Apart from remembering to keep well away from buffing machines, Richard and I learnt that we should stick to what we know: catering. From that moment on, one of our core principles at Catermasters was to only do things that you're good at - and that's something that we still adhere to today.

What do you enjoy most about your current job?

The most satisfying thing today is being able to work with such a fantastic group of people at all levels in the business. They are full of new ideas and have great skills that are instrumental in helping to create opportunities.

What's next?

We acquired In House Catering 18 months ago and are busy making sure that's fully integrated into the business. Once that's done and the economy is a little stronger we'd like to look at the possibility of another acquisition to help make Catermasters even stronger, but that's obviously dependent on the right opportunity coming our way.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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