Caterers queue up to feature in the Albert Hall

29 April 2010 by
Caterers queue up to feature in the Albert Hall

Harbour & Jones,Benugo and Rhubarb are among 20 companies chasing a multimillion-pound food and beverage contract at London's iconic Royal Albert Hall.

The contract, concession and events caterers respectively have all confirmed that an expression of interest has been registered for the contract, which is currently at pre-qualification stage.

It is thought the deal, estimated to be worth in the region of £15m annually in revenue, will interest all the top contract caterers as well as the boutique brands.

Held by Compass Group since 1995 under its Leith's brand, the contract is scheduled to end in December. Chris Barber, managing director of consultancy Leiths Food Solutions, has been appointed to assist the tender process.

He told Caterer that the Royal Albert Hall hoped to replicate the success of restaurants such as those at Tate Modern, the National Portrait Gallery and the Natural History Museum by opening a culinary destination outside of scheduled events.

There are 13 bars, 142 boxes and three restaurant offers: the contemporary brasserie-style Café Consort; a mid-range restaurant called Elgar; and a fine-dining experience at Coda. Currently only Café Consort is open daily to the public, but the Albert Hall's management would like to see Coda do the same.

Barber, who spent more than a decade as personal chef to Prince Charles, said: "It's quite a drawing of breath for the Albert Hall. Entering the world of restaurants could go either way in terms of success.

"Leith's has done a fantastic job to date and is still a very strong contender, but it's a very exciting project, which everyone should know about."

There have been rumours that Gordon Ramsay Holdings has shown interest in the prestigious operation however a representative for the firm has denied this to be the case.

Who would you like to see in the Albert Hall? Join the debate on Table Talk.

Harbour & Jones wins a hat trick of London contracts >>

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Gallery Mess is art minus the artistry, says critic >>

By Janie Stamford

E-mail your comments to Janie Stamford here.

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