From sandwiches to success: Kerri’s culinary climb

Author: Joanna Flood
Date: May 28, 2024
Category: News

Kerri Barrett celebrates 25 years

Kerri Barrett, our very own success story, started with us as a sandwich maker at Thompson Holidays. Fast forward 25 years, and she’s making waves as an accounts director.

We caught up with her to talk about her journey and how the foodservice sector has evolved.

Do you remember your first day?
A friend called me to ask if I wanted to join a company called Houston & Church (who was bought by Wilson Storey Halliday, that then became BaxterStorey!) and I thought “what have I got to lose?!” I spent my first day working front of house at an advertising agency called APL, chatting to customers and cleaning counters. I was new to London; I’d moved from Grimsby so it was all very exciting! Thankfully, I impressed, and was offered the job. My first role was a sandwich maker at Thompson Holidays, in the same building ASOS is now. Within two weeks, I’d been promoted to sandwich supervisor – I make a mean sarnie and fast!

Tell us about your journey from sandwich maker to accounts director?
Within my first six months, I was offered the opportunity to be a trainee manager and within a year, was running my own small location in Waterloo. From there I moved to a supervisor role in a large location and was promoted to deputy manager. I was told it was important to get a variety of contracts under my belt, like media, law, mining, so I set out to do this! These were wise words and helped me move up the ladder.

Whilst in my general manager role at L’Oreal, I was offered a place on the first Advanced Management Programme – an amazing opportunity that taught me so much. I also met some great people working across the regions. I then moved to a similar role at Simmons & Simmons, and in 2017 was offered the opportunity to move to operations manager as a 50/50 role with the support of my client. After six months, I moved into the role full time. This involved leading a UK contract through a remobilisation and gaining several more contracts such as M&C Saatchi, Mindshare and NBC Universal.

How has the world of foodservice changed over the years?
It’s so much more than foodservice now. Our clients are looking for experiences and look to us to guide them through all aspects of food, ESG and wellness. The world of corporate companies is slowly diminishing too, allowing us to bring the street food vibe into the workplace. Back in the day there used to be a no-tattoo policy, imagine this now!

Tell us about SHINE and why it’s important to you that we create an inclusive workplace.
I joined SHINE, our LGBTQIA+ network group in 2023. Being gay myself, I wanted to ensure I was part of this journey and be a role model for this group and help to break down barriers.

I’m also currently working with head of ED&I, Lyndsey and the team on how we can support and train our teams around the menopause. During National Inclusion Month, I shared my personal experience with the menopause on BaxterStorey’s FYI podcast and the response was unbelievable!

What’s your favourite part of your job?
People, food, and service. It’s as simple as that.

What has been your biggest achievement?
In 2020, I lost my nephew to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), so the following year I ran an Ultra Marathon (100k over 2 days) for the Duchenne Family Support Group. Out of complete madness, I have also signed up to complete this all over again in July, but this time in one day… help!