When news broke in April that Nisbets had taken a controlling stake in the Gloucester-based Space Catering group, it made the catering equipment industry sit up and take notice.

The move pushes the supply giant into the design and installation sphere for the first time – a measure that prompted questions as to what Nisbets’ future plans are in this sector.

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Therefore Catering Insight went down to the business’s head office in Bristol to get the inside track directly from MD, Paul McMahon.

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“We started tentative conversations with Space last summer and things escalated from there,” he recalled.

“Previously, Space’s founder, Mike Mellor, set up a vendor initiated management buyout (VIMBO), selling an interest in the business to the company’s management, so it was always a natural, logical conclusion that he might sell the business at some point in the future.”

McMahon was full of praise for Space’s accomplishments: “Space is expert at design and installation – I would say it is one of the top three companies in the country within this sector.

“It does a fantastic job of outfitting kitchens and front of house. The amount of effort that goes into carrying out an installation is unbelievable, so the company has never had capacity to sell light equipment like we do.

“Up until now we haven’t done design and installation, so it is an obvious link-up.”