人邮版第二辑真题TEST 1 READING PART 2
Lucy Robertson started working at a takeaway food business to supplement her income during her student days at Edinburgh University, Several years later she had bought the business and now, 17 years on, she owns Grapevine Caterers, probably Scotland's leading independent caterers, with a turnover of almost ￡6m.
She had never planned to own a business, and had certainly never considered a career in catering. (0)... ... . However, her unplanned career began in 1985, when she returned to Edinburgh and discovered that the takeaway she had worked in was up for sale. On impulse, she bought it, but admits that at the time she knew nothing about catering. (8).........It was a difficult time, but essential in terms of gaining the experience she needed. The late 1980s boom was good for business, with large numbers of office workers wanting takeaway food for their lunches. (9)........'At one point there were 26 food outlets within a 5-kilometre radius,' Robertson recalls. As the economy changed and the once packed office blocks started to become vacant, it became clear that Robertson would need to diversify.(10)........It changed the direction of the company for good.
As Robertson began to win catering contracts, she decided that the company would have to move to larger premises. In 1994, the move was made when she bought another catering business that already had a number of profitable contracts for boardroom lunches.
Meanwhile, Robertson's main competitor, the oldest catering company in Edinburgh, was causing her some anxiety. 'Customer loyalty is not to be underestimated,' she warns. But Robertson is not someone who is easily put off.(11)........Partly as a result of this, turnover doubled, and having outgrown another site, Robertson bought a city-centre location for the group's headquarters.
By now, Grapevine's main competitor was a new catering company called Towngates. Although Robertson tried to raise enough money to buy Towngates, she did not succeed. Then luck intervened and Towngates went bankrupt. (12)........Many accepted and the company's turnover went from ￡700,000 to ￡l .5 million almost overnight.
However, the company's growth was not as smooth as it sounds in retrospect. Robertson admits, 'We were close to the edge during the growth period. Like many under-capitalised companies trying to grow, it might easily have collapsed.' But that, she feels, is the challenge of developing your own business.
A But there are plenty of similar contracts to be won in the east of Scotland before Robertson turns her attention elsewhere.
B Her way round this particular problem was to recruit the catering manager of the rival company.
C But this demand was short-lived, and before long, increasing competition made it harder to make a profit.
D 'It was a dramatic learning curve and very small amounts of money were earned at first,’says Robertson.
E She decided that the solution, since many companies required working lunches for meetings with clients, was to prepare and deliver meals to business premises.
F On hearing this, Robertson immediately contacted all of their clients and offered the services of Grapevine Caterers.
G Instead, she studied accountancy after leaving university, and a steady if unspectacular professional path seemed set.