2011-9-30 18:26:14 Lucy
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.
第八题，前面说一时冲动她买下了这个外卖餐馆（takeaway），事实上那个时候她对餐饮业一无所知。空格后面说的是这段时间很困难，但是对获得所需要的经验却是很有必要的。所以第八题的空格部分应该填入跟学习、积累经验有关的内容。D选型最吻合，It was a dramatic learning curve，这里的learning是关键词，很明显的答案信号。还有very small amounts of money were earned at first，at first也是关键词。
第九题，空格前面说large numbers of office workers wanting takeaway food for their lunches，大量的办公室员工需要外卖食品做午饭，这里的wanting是个很关键的词。空格后面话锋一转，说曾经一度5公里内有26家食品商店，但是经济转变了，一条街都空了（blocks started to become vacant）。从上下文来分析，第九空的内容应该和办公室员工的外卖需求有关，同时带有转折意思。C选项完全符合这一条件：但是这种需求是短暂的，不久，逐渐增长的竞争使得赢得利润变得更加困难。
1、buffet: a meal at which people serve themselves from a table and then stand or sit somewhere else to eat 自助餐
a、a restaurant that cooks and sells food that you take away and eat somewhere else 外卖餐馆
b、a meal that you buy at this type of restaurant 外卖的饭菜；外卖食物
3、in retrospect: thinking about a past event or situation, often with a different opinion of it from the one you had at the time 回顾
4、under-capitalised: (about a business) not having enough money (capital) to be able to operate normally, pay debts and grow 资金不足。
5、Instead, she studied accountancy after leaving university, and a steady if unspectacular professional path seemed set.
这个句子里if的用法比较少见，参见朗文的解释：used when adding one criticism of a person or thing that you generally like
e.g: Lunch was a grand if rather noisy affair.