Somerset Larder and WSH
Westbury Street Holdings (WSH), the company behind several food service brands operating in the UK and Europe, has acquired west country caterer Somerset Larder. Founded in 2018, Somerset Larder is an independent company based in Bridgwater which operates a ‘field to fork’ ethos. Originally formed by local producers partnered to cater for Hinkley Point C, it has seen rapid growth and is now operating four restaurants and four coffee shops within the 400 acre site, feeding more than 6,000 workers and led by a 300 strong team.
Somerset Larder was encouraged and supported by New Nuclear Build (NNB), Somerset Chamber of Commerce and Sedgemoor District Council to develop the business in order to ensure that a legacy of jobs, skills, opportunities and commerce would thrive beyond the Hinkley Point C project. WSH has committed to maintaining contracts with local producers and continuing the strong community ethos on which it was founded.
Managing Director Steve Braithwaite, Financial Director Nick Hancock and their wider senior team will continue to lead the business. Steve Braithwaite said: “Somerset Larder and WSH bring together market leading people development, talented teams and a strong focus on sustainability. As we look to grow our team and expand into wider UK markets, we will benefit from the support of WSH established infrastructure for large scale catering, as well as greater career opportunities and increased financial security due to the company’s presence in multiple sectors and growing presence across Europe.
“As a business we recognise that success depends on team work. We are immensely proud of each of our employees, all of whom live within a 20 mile radius of Bridgwater. Our success is built on their entrepreneurial energy and determination to improve the prospects for the communities in which they live and work.
“This acquisition means we will continue to benefit the socio economic opportunities for the region, keeping the local supply chain and our community at front and centre. We will continue business as usual with Hinkley Point C, but we now have an increased capacity to grow into the south west and beyond.”
Noel Mahony, WSH Executive Director, added: “I am delighted to welcome Steve and the Somerset Larder family to our business. Our industry has faced its toughest challenge to date and our combined expertise will enable us to accelerate innovation and create a compelling food hospitality offer. As we come out of an extremely challenging time for the sector, we are looking towards the future together with a renewed sense of energy and resolve to compete for larger scale infrastructure projects”.
Given future UK opportunities for large scale infrastructure projects, bringing the expertise of the two companies together will enable them to create a sustainable proposition and make the business a key player in the market. WSH’s diverse portfolio of businesses means Somerset Larder can add value to other sectors, as well as offer its teams opportunities to work across other industries.
Key facts about Somerset Larder:
- Contributes around £20m per year into the local economy.
- Procures products from more than 75 local and regional suppliers.
- Provides meaningful training and development for apprentices.
- Employs 300 team members.
- Wins awards for its business ethics, performance and environmental best practices.
- Provides regional produce from a state of the art central production kitchen in Bridgwater.
- Has the climate emergency at the core of all it does – ‘planet’ is one of its core values.
- Has expertise in mobilising and managing projects involving complex logistics in a highly demanding environment.
- Served its five millionth meal at Hinkley Point in October 2021.
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Background information for editors:
WSH is the parent company for leading brands operating in the food services and hospitality sectors in the UK including Caterlink, Benugo, Searcy’s and Portico. The company, through its subsidiaries, offers catering and hospitality services by operating premium cafes and restaurants as well as other front of house facilities.
Given future UK opportunities for large scale infrastructure projects, bringing the expertise of the WSh and SL together will enable them to create a sustainable proposition and make them a key player in the market.
This new partnership combines experience and resources from Somerset Larder’s established central production kitchen in Bridgwater and ability to manage complex logistics in a highly demanding environment, alongside WSH back office infrastructure support for large scale catering – creating a compelling food hospitality offer which invests in the future and the wider industry.
The deal covers the complete ownership of Somerset Larder by WSH. The Somerset Larder business however will remain unchanged, continuing to service clients through its own independent structures. There will be no change in management in either business.
As per all brands within WSH, it will review each opportunity on an individual basis to see which company will be the best fit. The decision will be based on a wide range of criteria including geography, size, people, sector etc. It is important to note there will be absolutely no change to existing contracts.
Will Somerset Larder’s business model change?
It will very much be business as usual. Somerset Larder will continue to operate under its own independent operational structure. This new partnership combines experience and resources from Somerset Larder’s established central production kitchen in Bridgwater and ability to manage complex logistics in a highly demanding environment to WSH back office infrastructure support for large scale catering, creating a compelling food hospitality offer which invests in the future and the wider industry.
The businesses will remain unchanged, continuing to service clients through its own independent structures. Somerset Larder’s teams will benefit from enhanced learning and development opportunities, through WSH’s award winning training programmes, as well as increased back office support. Somerset Larder will continue to operate under its own independent operational structure, creating a resilient hospitality partnership with a large sector reach, strong portfolio and industry leading training and development for the team.
Will there be job losses?
There will be no direct job losses from the acquisition of Somerset Larder.
Why has WSH acquired a competitor?
Both businesses will benefit from this new partnership, complimenting each other in different areas of expertise. As we come out of an extremely challenging time for the sector, it is looking to the future with a renewed sense of energy and resolve to compete for larger scale infrastructure projects.
- Teams can benefit from the development and training opportunities offered as part of the wider WSH family.
- Given future UK opportunities for large scale infrastructure projects, bringing the expertise of the two companies together will enable it to create a sustainable proposition and make it a key player in the wider UK market.
Why has SL decided to sell now?
By bringing the two businesses together, it will be able to build a proposition that will be fit, sustainable and make a real competitor in the wider UK market. This move will give team members the opportunity to explore wider opportunities that the WSH portfolio of businesses can offer – not just in terms of jobs, but also training and development.