The catering and services company Mount Charles is spending £1.6m on new headquarters in south Belfast.
It’s moving to the 10,000 sq ft Maxol House on Ormeau Road, formerly owned by the Botanic Inns pub group. The investment covers the purchase and refurbishment of the building.
“We are very excited about this move, which we view very much as a game changer for Mount Charles,” said managing director Cathal Geoghegan.
“The company has evolved so much in the recent past, with the addition of new divisions and services that have very quickly made a big impact on our market share.
“Purchasing this building is a big statement of intent from us that we remain extremely committed to doing business in Northern Ireland, whilst also growing our business outside of Northern Ireland.”
Mount Charles recently reported £7.3m of new contracts gained in the past 12 months, boosting turnover from £25.5m in 2014 to £28.1m in 2015. The company has also announced it will recruit more than 200 new employees in 2016. It currently employs almost 2,000 people.
Last year, it was named the UK’s fastest growing independent food service company and is confident of doubling its profits to more than £50m over the next five years, as well as growing its workforce to at least 3,000 in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Mount Charles was established by chairman Trevor Annon in 1988 as a contract catering company, but has successfully diversified into cleaning, vending, security and facilities management.
Apart from running scores of work canteens and cafes across Ireland, the company also has its own retail brands, including George’s restaurant at St George’s Market in Belfast and Cafe Laurent at Forestside.
And it’s keen to develop its Fed & Watered cafe chain through the UK. It currently has branches at Belfast International, City of Derry and Exeter airports, and at the base of the Obel Building in Belfast.