Thomas Franks has launched a dedicated London business headed by Paul Hurren to service corporate contracts in the capital.
The former Lusso managing director and winner of the Foodservice Caterer Award at the 2017 Cateys has recruited chef-director Candice Webber from Vacherin and business development manager Michelle Jugessur from Bartlett Mitchell as part of the team to lead the new division.
Hurren (pictured) said that having initially joined Thomas Franks as an adviser to the board he soon recognised a desire in founder Frank Bothwell to crack the London market.
He added: "We'd been watching the continuation on M&A activity and all the niche, wonderfully formed caterers getting snapped up, and decided there would be a gap in the market for us."
Thomas Franks London launched this week. Based in offices in Borough, Hurren said that the new operation offered clients the agility of a smaller business with the financial clout of a larger one.
The wider Thomas Franks business, which operates in independent education as well as the corporate sector, turned over £35m in the year to 30 September 2020, having seen a 20% drop in revenue due to Covid closures.
The caterer currently operates four contracts in the capital, including investment management firm Barings. Hurren is targeting five more in the next 12 months to take the London business to a total turnover of £3m.
Jugessur said: "Clients are definitely looking for an alternative. From the moment we sent out invites to our launch, two or three opportunities landed. Right now, everything is such quick turnaround and clients are looking for something different – they are looking to food to entice people back into offices.
"We thought our target market would be smaller contracts, but the bigger ones have come in too. The fact that we can flex and be agile to suit what's happening in the current climate is an advantage."
Hurren added that the new brand would keep the name Thomas Franks but will have a distinct identity from the parent business.
"It's a different look and feel and a different website and language," he said. "We are working with real artisan, niche suppliers in the City, for example carbon-negative coffee company Kiss the Hippo, as well as some wonderful charcuterie and cheese makers.
"We are in the perfect position to offer our clients the benefits of an attentive and ethical London-centric boutique business with the clout of a large one."
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