Bespoke Dining

With a real passion for quality standards, Graysons delivers fresh and delicious food and a fabulous service to its growing customer base

Established in 2008 by industry leader Sir Francis Mackay, Graysons has developed over the last eight years under the founding principles of the business: to use the freshest, most local ingredients it can, to inspire its chefs and managers to create delicious food and fabulous service and to tailor make its services to the environment it is operating in. These principles have proven fruitful for Graysons as its reputation as a specialist in bespoke catering services has grown throughout the UK and resulted in lasting partnerships with clients.

“We were launched by Sir Francis Mackay, a leading figure in the foodservice industry for over three decades. Graysons is led by Tim O’Neill, our Managing Director, with Francis as our Chairman. Graysons is a group of businesses with a common ethos and senior management team; Graysons Restaurants operate staff restaurants and hospitality services in the business and industry sector, while Graysons Venues manage commercial conference and events centres on behalf of our clients. We also have a small high street restaurant business and a sister company, By Word of Mouth, who specialise in highend party and events,” begins Simona Oproiu, Business Development Director.

While the fact Graysons serves great British food and combines this with exceptional front of house service may seem standard procedure for those in the catering industry today, the company differentiates itself through delivering an innovative approach and, ultimately, a bespoke solution to each and every customer. The highly adaptable company also allows its chefs to find their own suppliers that are local to their site; these products and ingredients are then tested by a Commercial Director and purchasing team to ensure they are of the best possible quality. Not only are chefs given the freedom to seek out their own supplies, Graysons also embraces a culture of inspiration to enthuse and motivate chefs into continually creating superior solutions for customers. “It is really about going the extra mile to inspire them,” says Simona. “For example, we may send them to River Cottage for workshops or send them to eat in various restaurants and cafés in London or Manchester, or host sessions at farms.”

Esteemed clients
Discussing the strengths that led to Graysons winning a £4 million per year contract for catering services at the British Library from October 2016, Simona comments: “Our experience in conference and events, as well as corporate dining, and our experience with public catering has given us a unique selling point in the market and has led to us becoming the catering partner for some esteemed venues – we cater for employees, visitors, and the general public, for us it’s all about creating amazing food that people want to eat. For example, at the British Library we have a public restaurant and cafes catering for over £1m visitors per year as well as providing all of the hospitality for this major conference centre, but we also cater for the 900 staff on-site in St Pancras as well as a further 600 in Boston Spa.

Customer culture
“The fact that we are flexible and go out of our way to understand the culture and ethos of our customers contributed massively to us winning this major contract. Our unique selling point is that we don’t have an off-the-shelf offer and instead we look to understand the exact requirements from a client, customer, and organisational point of view so that we can tailor make a specific food and beverage offer for each site.”

Running for the next five years, this major contract will see Graysons work in partnership with the library to manage the public restaurant and cafes; the company will also undertake event catering and hospitality services for the British Library Conference Centre, assist the library in developing its food and drink services and manage staff catering facilities. Additionally, the company will refurbish all the public catering areas in the library in the first quarter of 2017.

This contract follows Graysons securing a £6 million catering contract at the Francis Crick Institute in July 2015, which will involve the company managing the 300 cover staff restaurant and staff café for the 1500 people operating on site. In addition Graysons will also be responsible for managing the public café and delivering hospitality services for meeting rooms and events.

“Alongside these projects we also cater to the entire BMW Group in the UK, including its brand new headquarters in Farnborough, and Rolls Royce Motor Cars in Goodwood.”

She continues: “Other major clients include Vertu, the high end mobile phone company, and we have also recently secured a contract with Milton Keynes based ID Medical.”

By combining experience, expertise and flexibility, Graysons has become the catering partner of choice for a number of esteemed venues, a trend that Simona anticipates will continue over the coming years. “Our goal is to grow organically, particularly in London where we have two fantastic new contracts in the amazing St Pancras area to compliment our existing client base. To do this we will continue to develop our people so we can offer more opportunities for managers and chefs, which in turn develops more opportunities for business growth,” she concludes.