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Zafferano the caterers for corporate events and brand experiences

24th Apr 17 3:54 pm

This is what they said to us

Three reasons you should be watching them

  1. Creative chefs and Innovative Event Designers
  2. Talented People
  3. Re-defining hospitality



  • Company:  Zafferano Catering Limited
  • What it does, in a sentence:  Zafferano caters for corporate events, brand experiences, conferences and private parties
  • Founded: 2003
  • Founder/s:  Julian Saipe and Vivienne Gonley
  • Size of team: 15 full-time, 25 part-time
  • Your name and role: Julian Saipe, Managing Director


What problem are you trying to solve?

We provide a one-stop event catering solution which includes venue sourcing, creative menu design, staffing, event production and entertainment for a large range of companies, brands and private individuals who all challenge us to deliver an impactful experience.

How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?

We operate within several huge markets including hospitality in landmark and heritage venues, exhibitions, brand experiences, conferences, weddings, and awards. We only need a small slice of the cake to be kept very busy indeed.

How do you make money?

We are very transparent about our costs. We charge for food per head, drinks on consumption, staffing by the hour, and the equipment, production and logistical support we require to deliver the event. We aim to make 35% on the job.

Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this? 

Our business is led by two inspiring forces, Operations Director Simon Denton and Creative Director Joanna Moody, both passionate about food, creativity and excellence.

Who’s bankrolling you?

We are self-funding.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?

We have grown our business organically and re-invested our profits in the best people, sales promotion and brand design. We have won bigger and better contracts as a result.

What do you believe the key to growing this business is? 

Great leadership, a strong sales team, unsurpassable customer service, a fresh and ever-evolving product, and an original marketing programme.

What metrics do you look at every day?

Are we on target?! This includes our sales figures and the profitability of every single event. Generally we want to be able to spend generously on our marketing and communications

What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far? 

To hand over the running of your business to a management team. A lifestyle business with an owner driver is a limited construct.

What’s been your biggest mistake so far? 

We could have grown our business more aggressively but the fact that we have sensibly considered every step has meant that we have built a solid structure with great processes and a fantastic brand.

What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead? 

Digital media, experiential marketing and the young generation will continue to lead the way in the events industry conversation.

Which London start-up/s are you watching, and why?

Ravinder Bhogal’s Marylebone fusion restaurant ‘Jikoni’, ‘HeadBox’ the new airbnb for booking a Venue, and our own new wedding brand Zafferano Weddings!

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