Café to restaurant operator Benugo has snaffled a museum contract worth up to £10m from rival Peyton & Byrne.
Peyton & Byrne has operated at the Wellcome Collection since it opened in June 2007.
The new five-year deal, which kicks off in 2014, will see Benugo take over the public catering operation at the Wellcome Collection, the London museum and exhibition venue of global charity the Wellcome Trust.
Benugo will take over the running of the Wellcome Collection Café, which will undergo a revamp, beginning with a streamline of the design to ensure customers can get through faster with fewer queues. There are current discussions about redeveloping the entire space at a later date.
A new second floor restaurant will also be introduced when Benugo takes over the contract. Managing director Guy Kellner explained the concept: “It’s fundamentally founded on food from the market. We’re going to go to the market, buy four cases of artichokes and cook them. And when they run out, we will serve something else.
“It’s going to be a relatively short menu but one that will be closer to the farmers and the food than a typical museum restaurant menu. We do the Ashmolean, we do the British Museum – we do those restaurants well. But here we aim to reflect the cool and cutting edge approach of the Wellcome Collection in our restaurant.”
Since the museum opened annual visitor numbers have grown from around 200,000 to 600,000 and Kellner said the aim is to increase this to one million.
“We really work and hard and really try,” he added. “We put our heart and soul into this and it’s so great to see the Wellcome Collection recognise this.”
Oliver Peyton told Caterer and Hotelkeeper: “We have very much enjoyed our time at the Wellcome and wish them and Benugo all the best in their new venture.”