Foodservice Cateys 2017: Business and Industry Caterer of the Year winner, Genuine Dining Co

20 October 2017 by
Foodservice Cateys 2017: Business and Industry Caterer of the Year winner, Genuine Dining Co

Sponsored by Franke Coffee Systems

This year's Business & Industry Caterer of the Year was described by our judges as innovative, forward-thinking, passionate and mould-breaking. Given the stellar year that Genuine Dining Co has had, it's easy to see why.

In February it launched its Signature Dining division to cater for the care sector, headed up by former Caterplus managing director Paul Robottom. Two months later it snapped up London-based Japanese restaurant group Feng Sushi, with eight sites.

Since GDC was set up in 2011, it has added on average three contracts a year to its portfolio andtripled its annual turnover to £17m. In the past 12 months it has opened (or been in the process of opening) nine new contracts.

Its £4m growth represents 30.8% year on year. Formerly Yes Dining, GDC was set up when managing director Chris Mitchell led a management buyout from parent company Bright Futures. Entrepreneur Luke Johnson backed it and brought his vast high-street hospitality and retail experience to the table as chairman.

GDC's contract catering offer begins with coffee shops, juice/smoothie and deli bars, and runs right through to full-service staff restaurants, fine dining, hospitality and events. Each venue combines an artisan feel in its marketing with modern units and layouts.

developed by Mitchell - does more than just process transactions. It manages financial performance, tracks buying trends and runs the customer loyalty scheme.

On top of that, the iPads are used for things like staff training product specifications and ordering, so everything a GDC manager needs to operate effectively is at their fingertips. That means they can be customer-facing rather than stuck in the back office. Information gleaned from Nest allows the creation of bespoke marketing based on each site's particular demographic.

Revenue-generating campaigns that have proved particularly popular include flash sales and supplier pop-ups and roadshows.

The caterer's latest development is a London-based central production kitchen, called the Genuine Production Kitchen, which provides 60% of grab-and-go items for the business. It also lets GDC expand its client base to those with limited or no on-site kitchen space while maintaining its commitment to natural, seasonal and sustainable food.

GDC doesn't aim to be the biggest catering company, but the best catering company, with the best people serving the best food and having the most fun. It looks like it has succeeded.

What the judges said
"Genuine Dining has grown considerably over the past couple of years to become a credible competitor in the B&I sector. Its approach is different and innovative, and it is being well received in the changing foodservice market."
Hannah Horler, Cartwheel Recruitment

"Genuine Dining has been quietly building the business with a strong focus on people. It is now a very nimble player that the competition has woken up to."
James Boyle, Restaurant Associates

"It is great to find a company breaking the mould. GDC feels fresh and young, but this year it has really come of age. This is evident through its contract wins, which are mainstream and high quality. It also has some interesting and innovative collaborations, offering something quite different in the market."
Chris Stern, Stern Consultancy

Elior UK
Genuine Dining Co

Past winners
2016 Vacherin
2015 Charlton House
2014 Restaurant Associates
2013 Lexington Catering

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