Business news

Mount Charles shakes off Waterfront blues to reveal record-breaking year

Mount Charles Group managing director Cathal Geoghegan

CATERING and foodservice giant Mount Charles has shaken off the bitter disappointment of being ousted from the kitchens at the Waterfront Hall to serve up a record-breaking trading year.

The company confirmed that is has secured £7.3m in new contracts in the last year and boosted its employee numbers by 130, taking its total payroll to 1,850, and with another 200 people set to come on board

That came as its turnover rose by 10 per cent from £25.5m in 2014 to £28.1m last year.

Mount Charles - which as well as catering provides cleaning, security and vending services - revealed that one of its most significant new contract wins is a three-year deal worth £3.5m to supply professional contract cleaning to a government body, which will see the outsourcing giant employ a further 212 employees across Northern Ireland.

However, its results make no direct reference to the disappointment the company felt when it Birmingham-based Amadeus won the contract ahead of it to cater for concert and conference visitors and black-tie dinner guests at Belfast's Waterfront Hall over the next five years.

That deal, awarded by Belfast City Council, is worth more than £16 million, and as well as exclusively supplying catering services for all conferences and events at Belfast Waterfront, which last month opened a £29.5m extension, the Amadeus contract also takes in the Ulster Hall.

The Mount Charles Group had catered at the Waterfront Hall for the past 14 years and was understood to have been devastated at losing out on the Waterfront deal, especially given Stormont's pledge to support indigenous firms in this high-profile year of food and drink in the north.

According to its latest figures, Mount Charles said that in the past 12 months it signed contracts with a range of blue chip organisations across Ireland including Ladbrokes, Translink, South Eastern Regional College, the Western Health and Social Care Trust, Glanbia and Pramerica, as well as retaining its high-profile beverage contract with Ulster Rugby.

Group managing director Cathal Geoghegan said: “Our growth trajectory in the past few years has been significant, both in terms of revenue and employees. Indeed in 2015, we were named the fastest growing independent foodservice company in the UK by AlixPartners and EP Business in Hospitality.

“We now work with over 150 companies across Ireland. Good news travels fast, and our reputation for excellence along with our ability to be competitive has allowed us to win a substantial number of lucrative new contracts. This growth is not only positive for us, it has also provided a boost to the economy and the jobs market in the north and south of Ireland.

“The strategy now is to really push for growth in the Republic of Ireland, and to keep building our business by adding to our services with dynamic and cost effective solutions.

“Our offering is already much wider than people may realise; it’s not all contract catering and cleaning. You need manned guarding? We can do that. A remote switchboard? That’s no problem. An outside event that requires a bar? We can do that too.

“We make it our business to put the right people in the right place at the right time, supporting an organisation’s internal functions and allowing them to get on with what they do best.

“We serve thousands of people in workplaces, schools, healthcare facilities and universities every day; so the chances are you might come into contact with Mount Charles more often than you think,” added Mr Geoghegan.

In March Mount Charles (www.mountcharles.com) was named one of Ireland’s best managed companies by Deloitte for the sixth year running. The awards programme recognises indigenous Irish companies that operate at the highest levels of business performance.

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