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The Nationwide Caterers Association

The Story

Where the Nationwide Caterers Association has come from, through the eyes of its longest-serving employee, Bob Fox.

Meet Bob, wannabe Elvis impersonator, 3D film fanatic and lately a self-discovered dog lover. He’s the chairman here at the Nationwide Caterers Association now but that’s not quite the area he started his working life in…

Bob found himself testing the waters of the catering world back in 1990 when he was down on his luck and had a growing family to look after. Before then, he’d be running a profitable shop-fitting business which fell into liquidation after a customer failed to pay a rather large debt.

Hard times for Bob. Here’s what he says about it…

“I was in trouble! I’d used our house as equity for my old business so mortgage payments were high and with 3 kids in school I needed an income. And fast.  

“A friend had a mobile catering unit that he wasn't currently using and suggested I take it on. I jumped at his offer, blindly ignorant to what I was letting myself in for… I'd never cooked anything in my life. 

“And so there I was, just a few days after my old business went bust, running a new one on an Industrial Estate with my wife. I had no knowledge of or experience in catering – as you can imagine it was a pretty scary time!

“On our first day we took the grand sum of £20, but that wasn’t going to be the end of it. We got used to the early mornings, working weekdays at the roadside pitch and weekends at shows and events around the country with our three boys in tow to help. 

“Over the next ten years, we managed to build the business into a successful catering enterprise including two sandwich bars, a buffet business and other catering units. It was a lot of hard work but it provided for all of our needs and also gave us lots of happy memories. We implemented the lessons we’d learnt every day and eventually we sold our first catering business for a profit, then went on to do the same with other outlets. 

“And all the while, I was working for the Mobile and Outside Caterers Association (which later became NCASS). That, coupled with years of actual catering, has given me the knowledge that I’m able to share with NCASS members today. Helping caterers to avoid making the same mistakes that I made back in the day is something I relish and am truly thankful for.”

All these years later, through hard work, strength in numbers and a commitment to giving the industry an increasingly louder voice, NCASS is now able to support members in areas Bob would never have imagined back in the early nineties. 

As Bob always says, “We’re here to allow caterers to take advantage of all our knowledge, experience and expertise. We help them to avoid the classic mistakes we made in the past, and to achieve the successes that are a very tangible possibility for all traders. It’s a lovely, lovely job.” 

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"The endless website of information, training, guidance, links and legislation. Then there is the customer care and patience. It really is 5 star. Where can you obtain a fraction of this anywhere else at your price! It makes me proud when we have our Local Authority inspections and are given the thumbs up every time thanks to NCASS."

Penny Bailey, Mangorays. Mem No 7812

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