Harrogate Convention Centre has announced a five-year deal with national hospitality company CH&CO which has taken over catering operations at the North Yorkshire venue.
The £10m deal represents a major in-road into the events and exhibition industry for CH&CO and the company said it will bring its trademark tailor-made catering model to the Centre and the 300,000 visitors it welcomes each year.
CH&CO holds a Royal Warrant for catering services to HM The Queen and has a strong track record on providing hospitality for large, prestigious events. It took over the Convention Centre contract on January 1 this year.
Convention Centre director Simon Kent said: “The team at CH&CO impressed us with its commitment to Harrogate and to developing our business alongside their own.
“They will be running of the full catering offer at the Convention Centre. It’s a major undertaking which encompasses everything from awards dinners and banquets to providing tea and coffee for delegates.
“CH&CO has a diverse portfolio and we are their biggest site in the convention and exhibition venue market. They have a hugely talented team and the company’s ethos is recognising that each client, event and location has different needs. Their ability to tailor catering to very different occasions will be a real strength considering the diverse calendar of events we hold here.”
Dean Lindsay, managing director for CH&CO, said: “We’re very excited to be working with Harrogate Convention Centre. The new partnership strengthens our position in the conference and exhibition venue market, with Harrogate Convention Centre becoming our flagship venue in this arena.
“The Convention Centre is a unique and inspiring site that combines modern, flexible event spaces with a wonderful history and it’s important that this is reflected in the catering and hospitality offer.”
Mr Lindsay said CH&CO would ‘celebrate the venue’s heritage and the town of Harrogate’ and that he looked forward to being part of the centre’s evolution.
He added: “The vast support that we will bring from within the CH&CO business – from culinary, nutritional and customer service training expertise to marketing, procurement and IT support – will ensure the food and drink offer continues to innovate, excite and deliver.”
In taking up the Convention Centre’s catering offer CH&CO will oversee and develop a diverse range of operations. This includes four branded grab-and-go style retail outlets used during major exhibitions, four bars throughout the venue’s theatres and a full calendar of award ceremony banquets and event dinners catering for thousands of delegates.
CH&CO has operations throughout the UK and Ireland in a number of sectors including heritage, events, visitor attractions, livery halls, workplaces, leisure outlets, state and independent schools and universities. The company employs more than 6,200 people and operates at more than 750 locations.