A FORMER drug addict who is now a successful catering entrepreneur and had to ask his mother-in-law how to make steak pie has told how he got his first big break in business after being asked to run a church café.

Speaking on yesterday’s Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey, Ryan Longmuir discussed the highs and lows of his life, from a “misspent youth” taking drugs leading to his arrest in New Zealand for importing drugs to establishing Regis Banqueting.

Mr Longmuir, despite his many problems in his younger days, said he had always had a “wee entrepreneurial spark” – recalling how he had a paper round and even made a bootleg VHS copy of The Lion King to sell.

Getting caught importing drugs into New Zealand was the “catalyst for change and when I turned my life around”. He also found God, stating: “I decided I wanted to make my life count and make a success of it.”

Today, Regis Banqueting operates out of a 6,000 square feet central production unit in Cumbernauld and employs about 200 people (70 full-time equivalent). The business caters for everything from small business lunches to larger corporate events, and has contracts with the University of Glasgow and Dundee United FC.

“We are event-based catering company and do about 450 weddings a year,” said Mr Longmuir. “We catered at some Commonwealth Games venues in Glasgow in 2012 and at last year’s UCI Cycling World Championships. Our USP (unique selling point) is that we’re not the most or expensive or cheapest, but all our staff and in-house so there is a good culture there.”

Recalling how he was able to expand Regis Banqueting after securing a £5,000 loan from what was then known as the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT), Mr Longmuir said he had the opportunity to speak to then-Prince Charles at COP28 when his firm was catering for an event attending by Charles, Camilla, William and Kate.

Covid presented challenges and saw the company lose 85% of its business but Regis Banqueted pivoted, donated thousands of meals to homeless and vulnerable people during lockdown, and “seized opportunities” created by the crisis.