Jamie Oliver's Fabulous Feasts' has joined forces with Lord's event caterer Mecco, hot on the heels of its contract win at the "home of cricket".
The move follows months of talks between Nigel Harris, managing director and co-owner of Fabulous Feasts, and Mecco directors Mark Ellis and Jeremy Wood. Following the acquisition of Mecco for an undisclosed sum, Ellis and Wood joined the board of Jamie Oliver's Fabulous Feasts as minority shareholders with a financial interest in the combined business.
Commenting on how the new partnership will work, Wood told Caterer and Hotelkeeper: "Mecco and Fabulous Feasts will remain as brand names because its business as usual this year with the clients who know and trust both parties.
"We weren't looking to be bought at all and we've been reasonably successful on our own but the combined resource that comes with teaming up with Fabulous Feasts gives us stability and financial strength for the future. That's really the reason I did it. In this day and age, going to banks and trying to source finance is really quite difficult."
The combined business will turnover about £15m this year, said Wood, while Mecco's annual turnover was around £4m. "We were tiny minnows but we do big things. We were at the Olympics last year at the Horseguards Parade in Greenwich Park working with Prestige, for example," he added.
Mecco has operated at Queen's Club, the BBC Proms in the Park, Farnborough Air Show, Wimbledon with Mike Burton Group, and the Ryder Cup. It also works with a company called Planet Events at a site on the Embankment, which hosts charity and Christmas parties.
The two businesses worked together at Lord's last weekend during the first test match between England and New Zealand. They delivered a new food concept involving chef-prepared retail offers in a new, purpose-built food village, hospitality catering in the Nursery Pavilion and over 1,000 picnic hampers.
Jon Robinson of Marylebone Cricket Club, said: "At Lord's, we have an aspiration to provide the very best catering service to all our visitors. In Jamie Oliver's Fabulous Feasts and Mecco, I know that we have a partner that thinks in exactly the same way and that, for us, is the most important and exciting aspect of this season and the years to come. We've really enjoyed the ride so far and look forward to the journey ahead."
Jamie Oliver added: "I've had a massive passion for great-quality event catering since I was a young chef, so I've been really proud of our team at Fabulous Feasts and our journey in really defining our own event-catering style.
"This partnership with Mecco is perfect, timely and exciting. They're a brilliant catering company with great expertise, brilliant staff and years of experience, and our combined team will simply allow us to deliver a wider set of solutions to our clients. We're all very excited."
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