SBS Video

Leisure Pods Ltd

Leisure Pods Ltd



    Tom Barton


    6th December 2014


    Lydney, Gloucestershire





Winning #SBS was a real thrill, I had never seen so many tweets in all my life! Since our win we have trebled our twitter followers and they still keep coming! It's a great way to get yourself out there in the world.


Caterpods was born when two office workers got together and decided to try something entirely new which was to go into business selling a fast food product called Chipstix. My business partner James & myself both worked at Airbus, a blue chip manufacturing company in Bristol for 10 years before deciding to try something different by starting off in a business of which we absolutely nothing about. We bought into the Chipstix franchise selling Chipstix equipment to mobile traders, shops & restaurants. The main core of the equipment being traded was the Chipstix machines which were used to make the spiral potato snack however we were also selling mobile trading solutions in the way of small hot dog carts from which street vendors could trade. The trouble with these units was that they were very heavy and the user needed to have a transit size van to be able to transport them. Not only that but they were useless in the rain. They have a canopy but it leaks like a sieve so they were really more suited to hotter countries with less rain! We set about looking for a more user friendly mobile catering unit and stumbled across a really unusual shaped Catering trailer which we thought would make a fantastic Chipstix trailer. This business idea quickly developed after discovering that these ‘pod’ looking trailers would make a fantastic catering trailer in general and could be used for all different types of catering businesses. Thus the name ‘Caterpods’ was born! After visiting several companies in China to find a suitable trailer manufacturer we imported our first 7 trailers and excitedly awaited their arrival into the UK. When the container was prized open at our premises in Alvington our excitement turned to horror as one by one the trailers were pulled out of the container, each one looking like it had more than a rough ride at sea. We then had a fast and very steep learning curve and had to swap ours pens and paper for power tools in order to rebuild the trailers to a decent standard which could then be sold on and used in the UK. After months of hard work and thousands of pounds later 6 of the 7 trailers were sold on and the last trailer was held back for an autopsy. Having quickly decided that importing was clearly not the way forward, although still in love with the concept of the trailer we unpicked the 7th trailer and redesigned the pods to a completely new version and a much higher standard. The framework and chassis are now manufactured by an ISO9001 engineering firm and the assembly takes place at Caterpods premises in the Forest of Dean. Now, 2 years on since the launch of Caterpods we have manufactured and sold over 50 UK built Caterpods, helped establish over 30 new UK small businesses and have embarked upon a mission to gain our European Type Approval where we will be able to open up our business to the European markets, which we are hoping will be in hand by the end of quarter 2 this year. It has been an amazing rollercoaster ride for us and it always gives us great pleasure helping people bring their Catering dreams to life. Neither of us ever thought we would be able to contribute to society in such a positive and effective way so it’s the ultimate job satisfaction for us!


My business tip for a new start would be don't spend all of your time reading and studying before 'having a go' because you can find that things will get in the way and you may never start it. Once you are on the journey you are commited and you will enevitably make mistakes. This is ultimately however where you will grow by learning from those mistakes and becoming a wiser person!

RT @BurritoTim: Ze solar pod she has arrived https://t.co/YRLKsDCcBf
RT @ChurchfieldsIC: It was all about #icecream for the girls @bbccountryfilelive today. They had a great day and in our @caterpods!... http…
Its always #PimmsOClock #Pimms #GreatBritain https://t.co/D0Tle2vfQH
Try your own #crepes and #handcrafted #icecream from @crepesel!! Look out #Ilkeston https://t.co/Dy2DAIpC6c


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