Centerplate UK has signed a new long-term contract extension with Premier League football team Sunderland AFC.
The new deal is to provide match day catering at the club's Stadium of Light (SoL), which it has done since 1997 when the company first won the contract as Lindley Catering.
Centerplate declined to reveal the length and value of the extended business; however, industry insiders estimate it to be a multi-million pound contract that will take the partnership to the end of the decade.
As part of the new signing, the caterer will establish the venue as a Centre of Excellence. This will see the venue become a centre for innovation in sports stadia catering, including staff training, new food and drink concept development and beta-testing new equipment and technologies.
Centerplate has already made significant upgrades to its service offerings at the stadium over the past three years. In 2012, it completely revitalised the lower concourse experience with a series of branded retail kiosks, which resulted in record sales and a year-on-year spend per head increase greater than 10%. Each of the successive two seasons also delivered new year-on-year sales records.
Centerplate also recently set a sales record for concerts at the venue at North East Live, where the company's menus and service locations customised to the family-friendly event, delivered a spend-per-head increase of more than 30% over average concert sales.
And this season Centerplate introduced a number of new food locally-inspired food concepts, such as Northumbrian sausage stotties with caramelised onions, torn beef stotties and "The Big Mackem" burger.
Gary Hutchinson, commercial director at Sunderland AFC, commented: "Over the past decade we have improved our catering and hospitality offering and this is thanks to the fantastic relationship we have forged with Centerplate.
"As a club we are always looking at new innovative ways of improving the experience of every fan or visitor that comes to the Stadium of Light and through this partnership we will look to further develop our public catering offering and look forward to the future and continuing working with Centerplate."
Adrian Dishington, chief operating officer of Centerplate's UK Division, added: "The commercial team at Sunderland AFC has always been innovative in their approach to the business, and their desire to excel in all areas is second to none. They are equally committed to personal development, improving catering industry standards and supporting the local community. All of these attributes make them the perfect partner for trialling new ideas and concepts - the environment is fitting for establishing the SoL as a Centre of Excellence."
Centerplate recently launched a new division called the Hospitality Solutions Group. It was set up in response to the company's expansion in recent years in taking on larger capital projects in collaboration with its clients with projects ranging from major renovations to new building openings.
The aim of the Hospitality Solutions Group is to integrate the business's strategic consulting, capital planning, architecture and interior design, equipment procurement, and construction disciplines into a single, comprehensive division to provide a seamless, end-to-end experience solution, and it will lead planning for the new Centre of Excellence designation.