CH & Co
Telephone:0118 9466 300
CH& Co is one of the UK’s largest contract caterers, operating in the B&I and commercial sectors under six distinct brands. It also owns a London-based coffee chain called Apostrophe.
The group was co-founded as Charlton House Catering Services in 1991 by husband and wife team Robyn and Tim Jones. Robyn started the company during the recession in the back room of her home with the help of her £2,500 redundancy package, a £50-a week Government Enterprise Allowance and husband Tim (who was financial director at RWS at the time and came on-board full-time in 2000).
Charlton House won its first full contract six months later at Guide Dogs for the Blind (which it held into the 2010s) and hit its first major milestone in 1994 when it clinched the contract for Sony UK’s head office. Its biggest contract to date, it also became one of its longest running - the latest extension takes it into 2015.
The group moved into the commercial catering sector in 2003 when it took over the management of the Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Leaping Hare restaurant at Wyken Hall in Suffolk and bought an 80% stake in the White Hart country house hotel in Nettlebed, Oxfordshire.
By 2006, Charlton House was the UK’s largest contract caterer to have grown purely through organic growth, having increased turnover by an average of 40% each year since 1994.
This changed in 2007 when the group made it first acquisition, snapping up upmarket London and livery hall caterer Chester Boyd for an estimated £5m-£7m. As a sign of changes to come, the group launched a new division during the year – Charlton House Restaurants – to target public catering at art galleries and other cultural, historical and heritage sites.
In 2010, the group was renamed CH&Co to reflect its growth into a variety of market sectors and the business was restructured under five brand names – Charlton House (B&I, workplace catering), Lusso (City and fine dining), Ampersand (public catering at iconic venues), Chester Boyd (City of London livery hall and venue catering) and It’s The Agency (now ITA*) for City venues and events bookings. The sixth brand –Via 360 – joined the stable the following year to cover front of house service.
The same year, CH&Co formed joint venture, Mercury Alliance with four specialist service providers to target the comprehensive on-site service contracts dominated by larger operators.
In 2012, CH&Co acquired a 50% stake in coffee chain Apostrophe (which had 18 sites in London, Heathrow and Gatwick) along with the master franchise allowing it to use the brand in its client sites. It bought the remaining 50% in 2014.
CH&Co has a head office in Reading and a London office at 13 Devonshire Square housing City-based brands Chester Boyd, Lusso, Ampersand, and ITA*.
Co-founder and chairman Tim Jones
Co-founder and director Robyn Jones
Group chief executive Stuart Lawson
Chief executive, B&I Caroline Fry
Chief executive, commercial Alison Tyler
Commercial director Trevor Jones
HR director Alison Gilbert
Director of operations Graham Douglas?
Marketing director Michael Holland
Sales director Diana Rollinson
Managing director, Lusso/Via 360 Paul Hurren
Managing director, Ampersand Paul Jackson
Managing director, Apostrophe Richard Franks
More links on The Caterer
Caterer 100 (2012) – Robyn and Tim Jones
Words from the Wise – Alison Tyler
Keeping it light at Le Manoir
Caterer 100 (2011) – Robyn and Tim Jones
The Caterer Interview – Robyn and Tim Jones
How to run a nil-subsidy contract (Caroline Fry)
Paul Jackson - A Minute on the Clock
Caterer 100 (2010) – Robyn and Tim Jones
How to refresh a catering contract at low cost
Mark Blacker - My Worst Job
Charles Boyd - A Minute on the Clock
Fear can give you an edge
Robyn Jones - My life in hospitality
Producing Michelin standard food without the stars (David Cavalier)
Profile: Robyn Jones celebrates 15 years in business
Caterer 100 (2006) – Robyn Jones
Catey Food Service Caterer of the Year 2006 – Robyn Jones
Caterer 100 (2005) – Robyn Jones
Commercial art (the Leaping Hare Vineyard restaurant)
The Partnership – the marrieds
The 10 toughest tenders (Charlton House-the weirdest)
What a relief
The spying game
A matter of taste
Desktop dining (Shearman & Sterling contract)
Special feeds (catering for autistic children)
Fortune favours the brave
Time for reflection and expansion
Robyn Jones tells all
Robyn Jones Diary
Let's bring back the no-nonsense kitchen
Software sorrows, seminars, and having the plug pulled
We're on the fast track with the Ninja Turtles
CH&Co has six brands operating in the B&I and Commercial sectors, plus a high-street café chain
Charlton House - Workplace catering, B&I
Lusso - City and fine dining
Ampersand - Public catering at iconic venues
Via 360 – Front of house service
Chester Boyd – City of London livery hall and venue catering
ITA* (It's The Agency) – City of London venues/events booking
Apostrophe – High street café group 23 London Heathrow and Gatwick
In 2011 the group had 140 contracts and almost 2000 staff
Year to 31 March 2014
Group Turnover £111m+ (2013: £96.8m)
+ excludes turnover from Apostrophe
Kiln Road, Dunsden