Linda Halliday wins CATEY award
There were several strong contenders for this year's Food Service Caterer of the Year award, but one person's inexhaustible contribution to the industry singled her out.
Linda Halliday was hailed by the judges as the "energy behind Springboard", a "very good" chairwoman of the British Hospitality Association and a "tireless fundraiser" for charities such as Kids Out and Hospitality Action.
One judge - and a business rival - said: "Since I have known Linda, she has had a track record of giving back to the industry. She's always calling me up to move certain issues forward."
Another pointed out Halliday's exemplary commitment to young people though her support of training initiatives: "To me, Springboard is a huge charity to raise money for. It needs £1.5m a year and she plays a key part - it requires all of us to participate."
Everybody, it seems, knows Halliday. When she's not tapping companies for money to raise awareness of the industry as a good career, she's attending an Arena lunch, chairing the food and service management forum of the BHA or organising a charity ball. "Her name is always popping up," commented another judge.
If all her hard work for charities and industry boards were not enough to commend Halliday for this award, she is also a founder member of one of the fastest-growing food service companies in the UK.
In 2000 she took the big step of merging her company, Halliday Catering Services, with Wilson Storey, owned by Alastair Storey and Keith Wilson. The Wilson Storey Halliday partnership was a shrewd move, enabling Halliday to grow her business - which at the time had a turnover of £23m - further. In the past 18 months, the new company has expanded to 152 contracts, and now turns over £45m a year and employs about 1,500 staff.
Within the company, Halliday has taken up the role of human resources director. It's a position she is well suited to. In an interview earlier this year (Caterer, 20 February, page 46) she said: "I think it was a subconscious decision to take the HR route because I wanted to influence people's perceptions of workers in the service industry. I personally wouldn't treat a kitchen porter any differently to a top client."
One quality Halliday has in spadefuls is strength and determination. That was never demonstrated more than in 1995, when her husband George died. Many thought that she would sell the business, but they clearly didn't know Halliday.
Not only is she determined to push the contract catering industry on, turning the economic gloom to advantage by promoting it as a career choice in universities and colleges, Halliday also has a knack of generating business success, said the judges.
Article taken from Caterer & Hotelkeeper
3 - 9 July 2003