About Core Franchising


Core Catering Supplies was founded in 1998 in Cape Town with the intention to service the rapidly growing South African Hospitality Industry with local as well as imported product such as Glassware, Cutlery, Crockery, Kitchenware, Uniforms and alike. The business expanded rapidly in the coming years, importing the vast majority of goods directly from manufacturers across the globe and selling to the trade through a network of own stores. Large stock holdings, fast service through a large sales force and highly competitive pricing due to bulk purchasing, quickly led to Core Catering becoming an established brand and household name. Over the years, Core Catering managed to secure the exclusive distribution rights for the world’s largest glass manufacturer “Libbey Glass” from the USA as well as various other main line suppliers, further enhancing Core’s position as a leading supplier to the trade.



In 2008 Core Catering decided that it would enhance the business model to change from wholly owned stores to owner operated Franchises, thereby growing the business without the trappings of exceeding stockholding and ever increasing staff compliment, which ultimately would lead to a slow and less service orientated and productive enterprise. The Hospitality Industry is a continuously growing segment in the South African Industry and expectations after a successful hosting of the Soccer World Cup in 2010 is, that Tourism will continue to be a major drive in the fast expanding South African economy.



All in all, Core Catering has become synonymous with fast and well priced service and product variety to the industry, developing its own brand and a country wide following. Being represented countrywide has also lead to Core becoming a favourite supplier to other equally represented and franchised customers, wishing to establish uniform product throughout. The ever increasing buying power of the group continuously allows for better pricing to the end user as well as increased margins to the Franchisee, making it harder for the competition to keep up.



Mark Houlihan – Managing Director

Mark Houlihan started off in the Hospitality Industry in 1989 working as a bar manager at the Rotunda, owned by The Bay Hotel. He then joined the Kristensen Group in 1992 where he oversaw operations for the groups 6 restaurants including the popular Camps Bay beach bar, La Med. Mark then settled into the General Manager position at Quay 4, a landmark in the V&A Waterfront. He managed the day to day running of the upstairs restaurant as well as the downstairs tavern for 8 years.


In 1998 Mark was offered the opportunity to join Core Catering. Being a customer of Core Catering throughout his hospitality years he was happy to align himself with the values that Core stands for. In May 2008 Core Franchising was established, with Mark appointed as Managing Director. Since then Mark has been heading Core Franchising, opening 16 new stores in the past 6 years.


Asked about his plans for the future, Mark could only say: “Until we have a Core Catering Franchise in every major town and city in Southern Africa, my work here is far from done!”