Gloucester catering company celebrates 25 years in business

Picture: Heather Long, Destiny Clapton, Marie Pope, Ian Banks, Aisling Byrne, Tony Byrne, Carole Kurylak, Debra Morgan, Jodie Caine, Kayleigh Mann, Michelle Hyett.
Laurens Catering

The boss of a Gloucester catering business is celebrating 25 years on business by revealing his ambition to reach £1 million turnover.

Tony Byrne, a former baker, founder and boss of the Lauren’s Catering, is already three quarters of the way towards the seven-figure target.

“I would love to make it a £1 million turnover,” he said.

“We’ve been going 25 years now and I still love it. Some of my customers used to come in here as kids on the way to school and now come in as adults,” he said, talking about his Bristol Road front counter.

“They say to me ‘you’re still doing it?’ Yes, I am. And if an order came in this afternoon for 1,000 sandwiches for tomorrow, I would be on it straight away. We’d have the radio on and we’d be working away for as long as it took to make sure it was delivered.”

Turnover this year is £750,000 – a leap of £35,000 on last year.

The business, which employs 15 members of staff, moved to new premises at Waterwells Business Park, made possible with the help of agents Ash & Co, and bought a fleet of new vehicles to deliver Lauren’s Catering’s produce – freshly made baps, sandwiches, wraps, baked sausage rolls, pasties, snacks and drinks.

Customers include firm across the county – from Clarkson Evans and Hartpury College, to Blades and Gardner Garages to schools.

“We are currently running six vehicles – jiffy vans – five are new. We will be adding more to the fleet as we move outside of Gloucestershire,” said Tony, who began his business career early and learned the hard way.

“I was a baker from when I was 16 and worked for three of the biggest bakeries in Gloucester, before taking one of them over. It was in the High Street in Tredworth. But it didn’t last the recession back then.

“I opened Lauren’s with £600 in my back pocket – my redundancy money. That was on Bristol Road, and we are still here,” he said. The company was named after his eldest daughter.

One of Tony’s secrets of success, he says, is knowing his customers.

“You have to be out the front, get to know people and learn what the customers want,” he said, adding that a spell also running a café at a city health club had been another valuable lesson in both business and what customers want.”