British independent caterer CH&CO has signed a strategic partnership to merge its Scottish business with Inspire Catering.

The company has made this decision in a move to strengthen its presence in the Scottish food and hospitality industry as well as make further investments in the country.

Established in 2008, Inspire Catering currently offers catering services to 14,000 customers a day in workplace and education sectors. It is based in Stirling and has 250 employees working across its operations in Scotland.

Following the merger, Inspire Catering founders David Pease and Lorna McFarlane will continue in their current roles. They will also focus on CH&CO’s existing contracts in Scotland.

CH&CO CEO Bill Toner said: “For some time now we’ve had a strong desire to grow our market share and invest in Scotland.

“Inspire Catering is the ideal partner for us to achieve this and the merging of our Scottish businesses now makes us a significant and dynamic player in the Scottish market.

“For some time now we’ve had a strong desire to grow our market share and invest in Scotland.”

“Lorna and David have built a very strong company and culturally, we share many of the same values and ambitions. This has proven to be the right time to come together and take our combined business to new levels in the coming years.”

In addition, Inspire Catering will benefit from the merger through investments from CH&CO in new systems and IT infrastructure, teams of experts, and additional career development opportunities for its employees.

Pease and McFarlane said in a joint statement: “We are both really delighted to announce this exciting news. It further strengthens our market position and means we now have a collective ability to drive forward with a fresh impetus to the benefit of our clients, customers and our employees. It’s very much business as usual for us all.

“Inspire Catering will continue to flourish, and we will continue in our existing roles running the business.

“We are very much looking forward to combining our systems and ideas to build an even stronger business going forward.”