Caterers have business really cooking
After 37 years running their catering company, Sam and Mary Orton have welcomed youngest son James into a key role — and together with the wider team they’ve rebranded from Orton Tailored Cuisine to, simply, Orton’s.
The new role and the new brand are two hugely positive steps for the Ortons, says Sam, and came “at the perfect time”, just as he and Mary had started discussing a succession plan.
James, 26, had been living in Auckland and working in logistics for Mainfreight. But like many from Hawke’s Bay, he’d take every opportunity to come home, see friends and family, and lend a hand in the family business. In 2017, he decided to join the exodus of young professionals from Auckland, and asked about a formal role in the business.
“It was midway through last year that James decided he’d really like to join us full-time,” Sam said. “That was a huge thrill for us — we loved the thought that the company would remain in the family if Mary and I ever stepped away.”
James, who holds a Bachelor of Marketing, has always enjoyed the hospitality trade, says his proud dad, and started out as functions manager during a busy summer of weddings, functions and large events, before moving up to business manager in April this year.
“He fits in well. Together with our general manager, Jade Barber, who possesses such indepth expertise in event management, and Adrian Hart, our hugely talented head chef, we have a dream team. Our plan now is to further cement our reputation as the best in the business when it comes to preparing and delivering good food, and build on our excellent, and growing, event capability.”
Sam and his team successfully took on the Kete Kai cafe´ at Hawke’s Bay airport in 2015 and won the contract to cater at Woodford House in 2017.
“It keeps us busy, but we love it, and it means we can now employ over 40 full-time staff here in Hawke’s Bay — we’re very proud of that.”
Orton’s team (from left), are head chef Adrian Hart, general manager Jade Barber, Sam Orton, Mary Orton, operations manager Niki Owen and James Orton.