Overall ranking: 91
Food service ranking: 11
Wendy Bartlett - Snapshot
Wendy Bartlett is chief executive of independent caterer Bartlett Mitchell, which has just celebrated its 10th birthday. It currently operates more than 68 contracts, providing catering services throughout the South-east of England. It operates staff restaurants, executive dining services and hospitality services, plus café and delicatessen, conference, school and college catering services, as well as vending. Bartlett Mitchell has 460 staff and an annual turnover of more than £12m. Clients include information services firm McGraw-Hill and the Royal Thames Yacht Club.
Wendy Bartlett - Career guide
Wendy Bartlett has spent all her working life in contract catering after gaining her qualifications at Thames Valley University.
She may have started out as a potwasher in a club restaurant but Bartlett had already set her sights high. She joined Sutcliffe as a trainee manager, and by the age of 21 she had been made manager.
As area manager she worked with Nick Howe (now with WSH-owned Holroyd Howe Independent) under William Baxter. One of her most challenging jobs was as account director for the British Airways contract, probably one of the single largest catering operations in the UK. Her responsibilities included overseeing the hospitality in British Airways VIP lounges and the Concorde departure lounge.
Other experiences included troubleshooting an employment agency that Sutcliffe had bought and acting as catering consultant during the expansion of the David Lloyd sports clubs.
In 1995 she moved across to Compass to work on prestigious City contracts. It was there that she forged plans with Ian Mitchell to set up their own catering company, a dream that came true in 2000 with the launch of Bartlett Mitchell. The firm won its first contract on Christmas Eve 2001.
Wendy Bartlett - What we think
Bartlett - along with Ian Mitchell - is perhaps not given the credit she deserves for building a successful, strong, independent caterer in a sector dominated by large players and smaller operators targeting City contracts. It’s probably the diligent, non-showy way that Bartlett goes about running her business that has counted against them in terms of column inches, but it in no way diminishes what she has achieved. Bartlett walked away as winner in the Entrepreneur category at the 2010 Shine Awards, which recognise women’s achievements in hospitality.
Wendy Bartlett - Further information