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Sodexo Prestige believed to be working with Mark Sargeant on Brighton i360 attraction

13 November 2012 by
Sodexo Prestige believed to be working with Mark Sargeant on Brighton i360 attraction

Sodexo Prestige is believed to be working with Mark Sargeant on a new contract with the Brighton i360, a new tourist attraction planned for the city's seafront.

The project, which is expected to generate annual revenues of around £2.5m a year for the caterer, has been designed by Marks Barfield Architects, who were also responsible for the London Eye.

The main operation will be a 400sq m beach front restaurant café bar at the foot of the tower that is set to be run by Sargeant, alongside a retail shop and kiosks. There is also expected to be a number of hospitality opportunities available in a large suite at ground level and also in the pod.

The restaurant will be Sargeant's second seaside operation after Rock Salt, which opened in Folkestone last year, his first solo venture after quitting Gordon Ramsay Holdings in 2009.

A tender to appoint a catering contractor originally began in 2008 but funding for the 175m tower hit a stumbling block as recession gripped the economy and the process was put on hold. It recommenced earlier this year after further investment was secured.

The i360, a four metre wide tower encompassed by an elevating observation pod capable of accommodating up to 200 people, will be sited on Regency Square near to the West Pier and is expected to be up and running by the summer of 2015.

Visitors will be able to enjoy 360º panoramic views of Brighton and South Downs National Park that will extend up to 25 miles on a clear day.

Prior to the contract being awarded Mark Hobbs, managing director at Kendrick Hobbs Catering Consultants, which managed the tender process, told Caterer and Hotelkeeper that the client was looking to appoint a management contract over 10 years as well as capital investment.

The type of operator being sought was one that would have broad appeal in the visitor attraction market and the capability to manage an all-day brasserie style offer including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Other operators believed to have expressed an interest in the contract include Benugo and Green & Fortune.

A spokesperson for Sodexo Prestige declined to confirm or deny the contract win and Mark Sargeant was unavailable for comment.

By Janie Manzoori-Stamford

E-mail your comments to Janie Manzoori-Stamford here.

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