Uisneach Catering

uc team


Entrepreneur: Áine Gavigan

Business Location: Togherstown, Loughnavalley, Co. Westmeath

Established in: 2001

Famous for: Multi-award winning catering including Winner of The Irish Hospitality Awards Caterer of the Year in 2019 and 2018 as well as Wedding Caterer of the Year in 2020.


Tell us about Uisneach Catering and what you do….

Uisneach Catering is the market leading catering company in the midlands since 2001, with a reputation for good quality food and service.

We cater for a wide range of events for our private and corporate clients including weddings, Communions, Christenings, birthday parties, hen parties, after-funeral and memorial service hospitality, retirement parties, Christmas parties, business launches, corporate lunches, staff events and catering for sports teams and events.

We focus on superior customer service, from the initial menu planning through to event decor, while maximising the customer's value for money. We work with clients to develop their own unique menu. We use only the finest locally sourced ingredients where possible and always support shop local.


What can you tell us about the early days and how it all started?

At first, I got the love of food from my mother who came from a hotel background (Broder’s Hotel in Mullingar, now The Newbury Hotel). She always had a great interest in creative cooking and this is where I developed my great love for cooking. I would watch her cooking in the kitchen for hours on end and then I’d experiment by trying to create different dishes for family and friends.

I completed a commercial chef course, a pastry course and a Diploma in Culinary Arts in Athlone Institute of Technology.

When the Austin Friar Hotel, where I was working at the time, shut down I started to think about setting up on my own.

I completed a Start Your Own Business course with Westmeath Community Development. I mostly self-financed my start-up costs but did receive some government grants and supports too. The catering aspect of the industry was where I saw an opening.

In the early days, most of my business was through word of mouth. It took a lot of hard work and perseverance before I got my first customer. Soon after, people began to recommend me, and I was catering for a lot of private family gatherings. Then I expanded into corporate catering. Soon after that I hired my first employee.


What were the high points and low points when you were a start-up?

Purchasing our first catering van and getting our first corporate client were high points. Low points were poor cash flow in the first few years.


What was your big ‘break-through’ moment?

Being recognised as Caterer of the Year two years in a row in 2018 and 2019 and winning Wedding Caterer of the Year in 2020 – winning these brought our business to a new level.



Local Enterprise Office Westmeath has supported your business. Tell us about these supports and what impact they have had?

LEO has been a tremendous support to us since we started our business in 2001, from equipment and employment grants to online training and mentoring and assisting with development of our website. Over the last 15 months, they helped us with a Micro Finance loan, which allowed us to pivot our business and purchase our food truck. I also completed an Owner-Manager Development Programme with Blaise Brosnan during that time.


Has COVID affected your company?

Covid has affected our business as it has for many other local business’ in the area. We lost all of our private, corporate, school and wedding business.

We then pivoted our business and purchased a 30ft food truck allowing us to reopen the business safely. Our Gourmet Food Truck allows us to provide the finest foods to large and small groups indoors and outdoors with our usual quality and style. It is a fully equipped commercial kitchen, so it is essentially a mobile restaurant.

The food truck also allows us to continue operating in the current uncertain times with the covid-19 pandemic as it allows for adequate social distancing at outdoor venues.

We also had to make huge changes to our product packaging and delivery service since re-opening after lockdown.


What’s next on the business agenda for your company?

We hope to increase sales in our Gourmet Food Truck and we cannot believe the support we are getting from our local community.

We have the food truck in our local village, Loughnavalley, each Friday and Saturday evening and the support we are getting in Loughnavalley and the surrounding areas is phenomenal.

Our customer base is growing week by week and we are getting loads of repeat customers which is great, so definitely everyone in the area is looking for and supporting local.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about running a business?

I have just completed the Owner-Manager Development Programme and the course instructor, Blaise Brosnan, gave me the best advice – “You are the most important person in your business”


Tell us why consumers should back the #LookforLocal campaign across County Westmeath…

#LookforLocal supports local business’ and jobs and encourages job growth. Shopping locally is better for the environment and the consumer gets a better, more personal, customer service. It also adds character to your local area and builds local communities.