Meet your 100 Greats: People, part 3

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Catering Insight is celebrating its 100th issue with a run-down of 100 UK catering equipment industry greats, comprising people, projects, equipment and business developments.

Today we take an in-depth look at the third lot of people profiled: Phil Martin, John McEvoy, Ron Neville, Andrew Nisbet and Mike Nunn.


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Phil Martin

One of the industry’s larger than life characters, Phil Martin starting his career in the hotel sector and swapped into the catering equipment side of things in 1985.

His first company in the industry was WM Stills, which was followed by stints on both sides of the supplier and caterer fence at major companies including Hobart, the Compass Group and the Aga Group, before setting up his own business, called Catering Contacts.

For the past 6 years he has been buying consortium Cedabond’s executive director, and over that time he has completely transformed it, resulting in taking the volume of business it processes from £20m to £80m.

Always prepared to “tell it like it is”, Phil has been responsible for mentoring many of the industry’s key figures, and continues to ensure he helps the sector as a whole, reflecting the values of integrity, transparency and authenticity.

John McEvoy

John has been in the industry for over 40 years and is very well known and liked. Starting up distributor, Bournville Catering Equipment, from his spare bedroom over 15 years ago, he dedicates his life to building good relationships with suppliers and making sure his customers are left satisfied.

In the very early days he had a lot of doors shut on him from suppliers due to their support of larger, more well-known companies with a bigger history. He refused to give up and now runs a multi million pound company that a strong dealership in the Birmingham area, and holds a fantastic reputation throughout the industry.

Ron Neville

Ron Neville’s 40-plus years’ service to the catering equipment industry continues today even though he officially retired in 2015. He began his working life in the hospitality industry in 1971 selling slicing machines.

Over the years his career took in companies and brands such as Berry & Warmington, Bateman contract catering group and Masters & Andren, which at that time was the agent for Cidelcem.

However, Ron is best known for the 20-plus years he spent at the helm of his family business, CHR Food Service Equipment. Since 2019 he has been one of the judges of CEDA’s Grand Prix Awards.

Andrew Nisbet

It is unarguable that Andrew Nisbet changed the face of catering equipment purchasing in the UK. He established what is now the behemoth of Nisbets in 1983 after spotting an opportunity to provide catering college students with chefs’ uniforms and utensils at a time when there was no central place for them to purchase the required items.

Within 4 years he launched Nisbets’ first mail order catalogue, which quickly became the bedrock of the company and still remains an important route to market, even with the explosion of its website sales.

Andrew still chairs the Bristol-based outfit, which generates an eye-watering £398m annual revenue and is the largest catering equipment dealer in the UK.

Mike Nunn

Dentons MD Mike Nunn has been in the industry for almost 50 years, and he still continues to drive the London distributor forward in pursuit of better performance.

He has never been afraid to embrace new approaches and technologies. He gets just as excited now at the prospect of winning a quote to supply a fitted commercial kitchen as he did when he started all those years ago. Mike has helped to grow Dentons from humble beginnings, to a multi-million turnover company installing commercial kitchens all over the UK.

Mike’s commitment to the industry has been outstanding, and is further evidenced by his directorship at buying consortium Cedabond.

Tags : Catering InsightCatering Insight 100 Greats
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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