Nigel Kennedy.



What is your business called?

Appetite Events.

Where is it based?


What services does it offer?

Bespoke catering for a wide range of events including conferences, gala dinners, weddings, product launches and everything in between. We have also recently diversified to offer mobile bars, event planning and production services.

To whom does it sell?

A diverse range including corporate giants, private clients, third sector clients such as Edinburgh International Science Festival and arts organisations. We are the catering partner of the Edinburgh International Festival.

What is its turnover?

We all but doubled turnover last year and are on track to hit £1.5m in 2018/19.

How many employees?

We have 19 full timers and our own 60-strong pool of casual front of house staff who are mostly Uni students.

When was it formed?

Me and my long term buddy and collaborator Charley Dickins started the business in 2003 having worked for Canape Ltd, as front of house manager and head chef respectively. Canape ltd was ground-breaking in Scotland at the time, bringing London style to what felt then like a pretty uninspiring scene.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

We pretty much looked down the back of the sofa and shook out the piggy bank. We found a base at Rowland’s, an Edinburgh institution run by the eponymous Rowland Robinson who had been providing good food to residents of the city’s New Town for 20 years and were very lucky as he gave us the lease of his shop for £3,000, which was my life savings at that point.

What was your biggest break?

Our first big break was winning a place on the catering panel at the Signet Library in Edinburgh. Philly Nicholson, who is now Appetite Event’s Director of Events and Marketing, was actually the client we had to present to. Despite our inexperience and a wobbly pitch, she believed in us enough to give us the contract.

What was your worst moment?

Probably watching 20% of our turnover disappear during the first year of the global financial crisis after five years of growth.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

To be the best catering and events company in Scotland while aiming to work in the most ethical manner possible and to set a benchmark for corporate responsibility.

We take our green credentials seriously and also work with local schools and charities like Crisis. We help produce around 1,400 meals for those in need over Christmas, for example.

What single thing would most help?

Some leadership from our politicians. Currently I view Brexit as the single biggest threat to the success of not just my business but the UK economy as a whole. We are dependent on the success of our corporate clients’ businesses and the disposable incomes of our private clients.

To continue to grow we need a stable economy, stable exchange rates and access to an available workforce, all of which are currently at risk because our politicians seem more interested in political infighting than coming to a consensus on the way forward. For the record, I think Brexit is an extraordinary and avoidable exercise in self-harm on a national scale.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt?

Never to believe that you know it all or that you can’t improve or learn from other people.

How do you relax:

The closest thing to meditation for me is trip to the river for some fly fishing. I also like getting my nose stuck in a good book and keeping up with developments in Edinburgh’s restaurant scene (in the name of research of course).