Overall ranking: 54
Food service ranking: 5
Robyn and Tim Jones - Snapshot
Chief executive/co-founder and chairman respectively, husband-and-wife team Robyn and Tim Jones have been busy, with CH&Co winning more than £24m of new business and contract retentions during the first half of 2010, including a deal at the Mansion House, the residence of the Lord Mayor of London, estimated to be worth up to £1.5m a year. The company employs 2,000 people and has a projected annual turnover approaching £80m for the financial year ending 31 March 2011. Clients include Oxford University, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, BMW, the Law Society, Ladbrokes and the Haymarket Media Group.
Robyn and Tim Jones - Career guide
Robyn Jones, who was born in 1961, started as a graduate trainee for GrandMet Catering (now Compass) in 1981, rising to chef-manager at a private school in Suffolk by 1983. She then spent two years with Gardner Merchant as catering manager for two big London clients before serving as catering advisory officer for the Potato Marketing Board from 1985 to 1987.
She spent the next year with High Table (now Avenance) as operations manager for 12 directors’ dining room contracts. From 1988 to 1990 Jones worked for Compass, first as operations manager, then senior operations manager.
Jones then took the role of business development manager at Gazeway Catering, a subsidiary of construction company Higgs & Hill. After being made redundant she set up Charlton House Catering Services in July 1991.
In 2007 the firm made its first acquisition, high-end caterer Chester Boyd.
In May 2010, now operating under the parent company name of CH&Co, the firm divided into five specialist divisions: the Charlton House brand will focus on staff catering and the business and industry sector; Lusso will provide fine-dining services in the City of London and beyond; Chester Boyd, which was set up by Charles Boyd and acquired by Charlton House in 2007, will continue to operate in London's livery halls and private venues; while Ampersand will look after the catering at iconic venues such as the Law Society, the Royal Institute of British Architects and London Zoo. The Agency, which was part of Chester Boyd, has been relaunched as a venue-finding service covering the entire business.
Tim Jones trained as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse and was financial controller of Marvel Comics between 1986 and 1990.
By the time CH&Co began he was financial director of RWS, one of Europe's largest technical translation companies, until relinquishing this role in 2000 to concentrate full-time on CH&Co.
Robyn and Tim Jones - What we think
Since hitting the big time with a breakthrough deal to cater at Sony’s headquarters in Weybridge, Surrey, the Jones duo have skilfully guided CH&Co through sometimes choppy waters and several recessions. Indeed, the company was born out of the recession in 1991, and the current economic gloom can be seen as providing as many opportunities as it does problems for caterers.
The business today is – excluding, perhaps, BaxterStorey - the only independent of a size that can mix it with the bigger boys that dominate the sector. For years there’s been the question of succession hanging over the caterer and the feeling that perhaps a sale would make perfect sense as an exit strategy for Robyn and Tim Jones. That might still happen, but the reorganisation of the group, the creation of Ampersand and the strong executive team - comprising Caroline Fry, Alison Tyler, Trevor Jones and Alison Gilbert - the business has in place suggests there’s no lack of ambition at the group.
Robyn and Tim Jones - Further information