Mark Philpott is the managing director of independent contract caterer Vacherin, which this month celebrates its eighth anniversary. He spoke to Kerstin Kühn about how things have changed since the company's inception.
Caterer Congratulations on your eighth anniversary. In a nutshell, how would you describe Vacherin's ethos?
Mark Philpott To provide an excellent level of service at controlled cost. We're a privately owned high-end London caterer and provide a personal service to our clients in the right business form that works for them. It's really about a culture of innovation and creativity in a cost-controlled environment.
Caterer How has the marketplace developed since Vacherin's inception in 2002, and how have you had to adapt your offerings?
MP It has been a real rollercoaster with many high points and latterly a lot of low points in the economic climate. We're increasingly trying to provide value for money and deliver the same or better service for less.
Caterer How do you achieve this?
MP We employ some great characters who are passionate about the industry and interested in what they do, which translates into the service we provide. We also look at every step and analyse how we can improve things.
Caterer Who are your main clients?
MP We have 21 clients across 25 sites which represent a real cross-section of businesses, from media to banking and law firms. What they all have in common is an interest in food and delivering a focused service to their workforce.
Caterer What have been your most recent contract wins?
MP We have just signed a three-year contract with the Royal Society of Chemistry, which is based in Burlington House in London's West End, where we will provide catering at events in five refurbished spaces.
Caterer You have limited yourself to contracts in London. Are you likely branch out of the capital in the future?
MP No, we're not planning on changing this. We believe that the clients we can serve best are in central London, and the market there is huge. By keeping our clients tight geographically we are able to respond quickly to their needs, and we know exactly what's happening.
Caterer Where do you see Vacherin in eight years' time?
MP We still have the same philosophy as we did when we first started and we have no plans to change the way we run the business. Looking ahead, we have this vision that we'll be a desirable club that people will want to join. The Olympic motto is "swifter, higher, stronger"; our company slogan is "tastier, brighter, stronger".