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Benugo founders Ben and Hugo Warner win £35m heritage contract

08 April 2010
Benugo founders Ben and Hugo Warner win £35m heritage contract

Brothers Ben and Hugo Warner have landed a £35m contract to provide hospitality services at Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and three other heritage sites, Caterer can reveal.

The seven-year deal, previously run by Elior's Digby Trout brand, sees the duo behind high street café and deli brand Benugo operate at five Historic Scotland sites with a further two locations expected to be added in November.

The bulk of the contract sees the Westbury Street Holdings Group caterer manage two operations at Edinburgh Castle, which welcomes about 1.3 million visitors a year: the 120-cover assisted-service Redcoat Café and the 50-cover Queen Anne Café, serving a classic British menu in both.

Ben Warner said: "Hugo and I are delighted to be coming north of the border. It's our first foray into Scotland and we will be doing our absolute best to shine a light on the fantastic local produce to reflect the glory of these historic monuments."

The new business in Scotland represents only the second time the Warner brothers have operated outside of London. Last year, the pair were awarded a multimillion-pound deal to provide hospitality services at the Ashmolean, the UK's oldest public museum situated in Oxford, which was also previously contracted to Digby Trout.

Elizabeth Strain, catering contract manager at Historic Scotland, said: "We're looking to lead the way in catering in our attractions and these guys can help us achieve that. They live and breathe food and they have a tireless enthusiasm for wanting to please visitors and customers."

All five sites will undergo full refurbishment in the quieter winter months. Meanwhile, the launch at Edinburgh Castle took place on 1 April following a swift handover period of just 12 hours.

"They worked through the night to turn it around. I'm absolutely delighted with the result," added Strain. "It was no mean feat to start the day before Easter weekend."

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By Janie Stamford

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