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Levy Restaurants at Leicester City FC
There is no doubting that Leicester City FC's success in winning the Premier League was an extraordinary feat. Unsurprisingly, that success has translated to a dramatic increase in catering business at the 32,000-seat King Power Stadium, with Levy Restaurants, a division of Compass Group UK & Ireland, under constant pressure throughout the 2015-16 season to respond to the rise in demand from growing numbers of spectators.
Levy Restaurants is responsible for all food and drink served at the stadium, in addition to corporate and private clients during the week. Also added into the mix has been the provision of catering for Leicester City's first concert, featuring Kasabian, at the stadium. The success of the event on the first evening's performance resulted in the catering team sourcing more than 44,000 extra bottles of beer for the second night.
The judges unanimously agreed that Levy Restaurants had more than risen to the challenge of catering for the extra spectators that have been coming through the turnstiles, rising from an average attendance of 22,990 in the 2013-14 season to 32,014 last year. As a result, conference and events sales have increased by 68%, while spend per head on hospitality drinks has grown by 55%. The core team of 14 permanent staff and 10 casual managers grows to 400 people on match days, when catering covers directors' dining for up to 140, 45 hospitality boxes, around 800 covers across five restaurants and 1,000 casual diners.
Leading from the top, general manager Richard Lymbery, who joined the catering team at Leicester City three years ago, has introduced a new staff system ensuring that each member of the team is given the same role for every match day, rather than changing their role from match to match as previously happened. The result is more knowledgeable staff being able to serve a greater number of customers in a shorter period of time.
Extensive work has been done on the redevelopment of the menu with the team, focusing on quality, taste and freshness alongside provenance and sustainability. The head chef has spent time with customers to discover exactly what it is they require from match-day catering. As a result, former four-course menus in boxes have moved to a more relaxed grazing offer. In ensuring the best possible diet is provided for the players, Lymbery and his team work with the club's nutritionists to create dishes that focus on fish, chicken, omelettes, pasta and salads.
To celebrate the Premier League win, the Levy team prepared a lunch for 900 people, followed by a VIP party after the last match of the season, for 400, all in a marquee in the stadium's car park, with just five days' notice. There was also a celebratory dinner within the stadium for 650, including the owners, managers, players and guests.
To further celebrate the team's success, Levy organised the delivery of 32,000 free beers, as a gift from the club's owner to thank the fans, at three home games.
What the judges said
"It's been an excellent year for Leicester City and it's great to have the front of house team win this award in recognition of the contribution it has made to the club's success."
Wendy Bartlett, Bartlett Mitchell
"The front of house team has stepped up to the plate, as it has overcome some serious challenges to cater for the team and the following incremental growth in demand."
Yishay Malkov, Ivy Collection
- Green & Fortune Kings Place
- Levy Restaurants at Leicester City Football Club
(This award was split into two categories this year to reflect advancement of private and public sites)
- 2015 BaxterStorey at Clyde & Co
- 2014 Rapport at Tower 42
- 2013 Rapport at KPMG
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