Lindley Venue Catering's joint partnership with Essex Cricket continues to flourish, with a new contract extension worth around £600,000 a year.
This marks the eighth consecutive year that the sports stadia caterer, part of Lindley Group, has worked at the Ford County Ground to develop the catering services and hospitality facilities.
The club and the contractor said that 2012 would see a number of new initiatives aimed at enhancing the match-day catering experience at the ground, including the refurbishment of the Spinners Bar.
Lindley will also introduce new seasonal menus featuring fresh soup, new hot food options and freshly made premium sandwiches as well as "express" serving areas for drinks.
The joint venture will see Lindley support Essex Cricket's marketing activity in a bid to promote the facilities and attract more conference, banqueting and corporate and private events business to the ground.
Adam Elliott, Lindley Group's chief executive officer, said that the company canvassed the club's members to get a sense of their requirements, ahead of embarking on this year's development programme.
"This provided us with valuable insight which has shaped our plans and encouraged us to broaden the range of food on offer and ensure it is aligned with cricket fans' preferences and requirements," he explained.
"Guests are usually at the ground all day, so it's important to offer plenty of variety to satisfy the different eating occasions, from breakfast, to mid-morning/afternoon snacks and lunch. This is what led us to develop new food outlets such as a deli offering, and to refresh and expand the bar menus.
Lindley has recently introduced a number of new branded food retail concepts at its football stadia contracts that saw sales increase by up to 20%. It now plans to take a similar approach at Essex Cricket.
"We believe that the changes being implemented at the Ford County Ground will also result in an increase to the catering revenue generated by the club, which currently stands at around £600,000 a year," Elliott added.
Danny Macklin, commercial manager at Essex Cricket, said he was confident that the new initiatives being introduced this year would not only enhance the match-day experience, but also create opportunities for the club to maximise the revenue potential of the facilities.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
E-mail your comments to Janie Manzoori-Stamford here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs