Overall ranking: 66 (95 in 2012)
Foodservice ranking: 9 (15 in 2012)
Wendy Bartlett is executive chairman of independent caterer Bartlett Mitchell, which she launched in 2000 with chairman Ian Mitchell. The firm, alongside sister brand Inn or Out Events, which it acquired in 2014, delivers workplace catering, executive dining, hospitality and event catering as well as reception and concierge services throughout London and south-east England.
Bartlett has worked in the foodservice industry since she started as a trainee manager with Sutcliffe Catering in 1980. She became Compass's account director for British Airways in 1995 and then its operations director for London. It was while at Compass that she and her colleague Mitchell forged plans to set up their own catering company. The pair won their first contract on Christmas Eve 2001.
What we think
The accolades have been racking up since, including the 2015 Foodservice Caterer of the Year Catey for Bartlett herself. And with good reason. Under her no-nonsense leadership, the caterer remains firmly focused on its core principles of respect for clients, team development and ethical operation, with a passion for quality food. In doing so, it turns down business that doesn't stand by these principles and has even, according to Bartlett, terminated contracts that are "depressing and not viable because the team needs a great product it can be proud of".
Crucially, Bartlett knows how to surround herself with talent. Francois Gautreaux was promoted to managing director in 2014, shortly after Acorn Scholar and former Acorn award winner Simon Houston came on board from BaxterStorey as sales director in 2013. In the summer of 2016, Bartlett Mitchell announced the appointment of Ian Thomas as its new CEO. More recently, Angus Brydon returned to the business as operations director in 2017 following three years at Elior.
Bartlett Mitchell has long been able to pick up business from clients put off by the idea of a 'big corporate' operator, but the ongoing consolidation of the UK foodservice market will likely open even more doors. Bartlett's strong leadership team and commitment to core values ensure the company is well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities ahead.
Bartlett sits on the board of the British Hospitality Association, is one of the Women 1st Top 100 Women in Hospitality and in 2015 received an MBE for services to the hospitality industry in the New Year's Honours list.
Today the company employs more than 800 people across 90 sites. It reported revenues of £35.1m for the 12 months to 31 October 2016 - a 9.7% increase on 2015's £32m and an impressive 64.8% advance on 2014's £21.3m. Pre-tax profit in 2016 was £619,000 (2015: £405,000; 2014: 300,000). New business wins in 2017 with Fidelity International and Rabobank were worth £7m in total.
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