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BaxterStorey Scotland: Best In Class At The School Of Fresh Ideas

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BaxterStorey Scotland: Best In Class At The School Of Fresh Ideas

October 21
20:07 2013
BaxterStorey landscape.jpg

Since BaxterStorey launched in 2004 following the merger of Wilson Storey Halliday and BaxterSmith, the company has become a compelling force in catering throughout the UK. With prestigious contracts in virtually all sectors of business and industry, including Deutsche Bank, Unilever, Virgin Atlantic and Aston Martin, its star has continued to rise at a rate that impresses existing clients, helps attract new business and consistently worries the competition. And, since the official launch of BaxterStorey Scotland in 2008, their Scottish arm too has witnessed unprecedented levels of growth as they’ve continued to pick up clients all over the country.

Since 2006, when the Reading-based foodservice operator’s turnover begun to soar towards the £200m mark, BaxterStorey’s management team has focused on targeting Scotland’s most prestigious B&I sites, with a view to adding them to their growing client portfolio. Fast forward five years, and the firm has accumulated over 80 contracts in Scotland alone, including BBC Glasgow, Sainsburys, Chivas, Scottish Water, and five Historic Scotland sites that include both Edinburgh and Stirling Castles. With turnover up by almost £11m in three years, BaxterStorey Scotland’s recent surge in popularity and commercial success is – according to the firm’s Regional Managing Director for Scotland and the North, Jeremy Wood – down to two principal factors: investment, and quality of product:

‘Back in 2007, we developed a new strategy specifically for Scotland, and took on board the fact that our clients want a central point of contact here,’ he explains. ‘They look for a team who are on hand to lend consistent operational support and who don’t just work remotely from laptops or conduct whistle stop tours of contracts. ‘We also deal with smaller independent suppliers who are able to deliver the freshest local produce to all our contracts.

‘As a company, BaxterStorey Scotland has established a firm grounding in this regard and that is a large part of our appeal.’ Indeed, Jeremy believes that this investment in establishing BaxsterStorey Scotland has already had positive consequences in terms of new business gains: ‘We spend a lot of time finding and recruiting Scottish people from the local areas to work in our contracts,’ he continues. ‘Because they are familiar with the companies in which they work – and they come from nearby – it helps to reinforce our commitment to sourcing local.’

And Chivas is one such client that was attracted to the BaxterStorey philosophy. The whisky giant has six sites spread throughout Scotland, and was looking for a new partner who would work in tandem with them ‘towards a hallmark of excellence’:

‘When the contract starts in July we’ll be serving around 2,000 meals a day, and a large part of their decision rested on the fact we were not prepared to compromise on the quality or freshness of our ingredients,’ continues Jeremy.

‘A key driver was our commitment to fresh food, local sourcing and sustainability. The client wanted to change what they’d done in the past, by re-skilling employees to increase sales, which inevitably drives down the bottom line subsidy.

‘However, they also liked the fact they will be dealing directly with a board member who can make a decision when it’s needed, and they won’t have reams of bureaucracy to bypass in order to achieve an immediate answer or result. ‘The Historic Scotland deal provides us – under the guise of Benugo – with the opportunity to demonstrate how we can work hand-in-hand with visitor attractions and their administrating bodies to serve the best fresh, local produce to visitors.

‘This modus operandi inevitably makes us more accessible as catering providers and, ultimately, more appealing in the long run.’

Another fan of their fresh food principles is their Operations Director, David Gibb. Returning recently from a three-year stint running his own restaurant in Murcia, Spain, he was looking to join a company with strong links to provenance and close working relationships with local suppliers: ‘The thought of fresh produce, grown locally, really appealed,’ he says, ‘and on returning to Scotland last year, that’s exactly what attracted me to the ops position with BaxterStorey.’ His first role was as project manager for the £35m, seven-year contract with Historic Scotland: ‘We mobilised seven locations within a 24-hour period, including Edinburgh, Fort George, Urquhart and Stirling Castles.

Just prior to David’s appointment, Benugo – a sister company of BaxterStorey – had secured the contract to provide hospitality services at the seven Historic Scotland sites. Founded in 1998 by brothers Ben and Hugo Warner, Benugo has since expanded into more than 25 high street, museum and gallery venues across the south-east of England and as far afield as Japan. Now, after a complete restoration and redesign of Edinburgh Castle’s Redcoat Café and its sister restaurant, the 50-cover Queen Anne Café, the visitor attraction’s 1.3 million annual visitors are now being offered a brand-new dining experience. Amongst their plentiful new business gains in the last 12 months, the contract to supply catering and hospitality services to the five Historic Scotland visitor attractions has been a further coup for BaxterStorey, but Jeremy is conscious of need to avoid complacency: ‘Our progress north of the Border has been phenomenal,’ he notes.

‘However, competition continues to be fierce, and we need to be developing our key USPs in order to continue innovating and to stand out as a fresh alternative to the multinational contract caterers. ‘However, as the largest independent contract caterer in Scotland, we’re well-placed to keep the current momentum going. At the end of the day, we want to be the best in class at what we do.’


BaxterStorey square.jpg talks to Jeremy Wood (third from left) about the rise of BaxterStorey Scotland…

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Catering Scotland

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