Coverpoint Catering Consultancy is celebrating 20 years in business this month.
The company has grown to become one of the leading catering and management consultancies over the past two decades, overseeing dozens of prestigious foodservice contracts and working with organisations such as Goldman Sachs, Sainsbury’s and Unilever.
Founder and managing director, Jonathan Doughty, started the business from a back bedroom with nothing but a telephone line and a fax line.
He remembers feeling the “ache in the pit of my stomach” as he questioned what he had done by leaving his previous employer, Peter Burholt, to set up his own consulting business.
Like any start-up, life was far from easy at the beginning. Writing on his blog, Doughty said: “Our personal bankers, NatWest, thought the idea of starting a catering consultancy was a bad one, in fact they couldn’t see the point at all, so declined to provide us with a business account. We ended up banking with Barclays, and we have been with them ever since. It was all quite low risk, but at the time didn’t feel it.”
The face of Coverpoint changed forever two years after its formation when it landed catering consultancy contracts for the Bluewater and Trafford Centre shopping centre developments within a short space of one another.
“In one stroke the business was set on a different trajectory,” admits Doughty, who is also Europe, Africa and Middle East president of the FCSI. “I guess it is testament to what we did for both these projects and colleagues, as we are still working with them both today and still advising on these sites.”
Growth in the UK was followed by projects in France, Germany, Ireland and the UAE, and today the Reading-based outfit has a significant overseas business.
“Our proximity to Heathrow has been a saving grace as we have extended further abroad,” said Doughty. “Last year, saw us clock up our 53rd country that we have worked in, on over 1,800 projects. I find it hard to believe sometimes.”
Doughty recently told Catering Insight that his aims for 2013 were to continuing building Coverpoint’s consultant team and offer young people a route into the consultancy field.
“It is a sad fact that many of the businesses out there in the consultancy sector believe that you cannot make a contribution in consultancy unless you are over 50! I think you can. We plan to grow further and one of our objectives is to broaden our sectors and coverage,” he said.