Amadeus, the NEC Group's catering business, has revealed ambitious plans to revamp 21 of its retail outlets under a new brand, "the Oak Kitchen".
The caterer, which ran the food service contract at Olympic Park North during the 2012 Games, will roll out its rebranding programme over the next three years at a cost expected to be in excess of £1m.
Outlets at the company's home venues, including the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and the International Convention Centre (ICC) Birmingham will be included in the rebranding exercise.
Kevin Watson, managing director of Amadeus, said the new plans are part of the company's goal to grow its retail business with the introduction of a recognisable and consistent customer-facing brand.
"We have recognised that the retail catering side of our business presents us with great opportunities for growth. Up until now the majority of our retail trade has been delivered via our home venues under the NEC Group, and has grown organically thanks to the high quality of our food and service delivery," he said.
"Winning and delivering the catering contract for Olympic Park North at London 2012, as well as providing the catering at a number of other high profile events such as the Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) Hampton Court, has really helped establish the Amadeus brand and our position within the industry.
"Building on this, we now want to establish ‘the Oak Kitchen' as our customer-facing brand and develop a commercially viable retail model we can take to market."
The new design comprises natural materials and warm neutral tones to create the look and feel of a traditional domestic kitchen, and will champion hearty, British food.
Emma Thorn, Amadeus marketing and communications manager, explained process behind creating the new brand.
"Our research showed that as a result of the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics, ‘Best of British', ‘retro' and ‘provenance' are current key trends not only in foods but across the board, which has already manifested itself on the TV with the surge in shows like Great British Bake Off and the Great British Food Revival.
"It also showed in times of austerity, the familiarity of home-cooked foods provides a feeling of comfort.
"After our own experience providing the catering for Olympic Park North at London 2012, we were keen to carry on our Olympic legacy and support our British suppliers."
The ICC is the first venue to have a rebranded restaurant, which serves dishes such as sausage and mash and hot pulled beef cooked in ale on a warm sour dough roll.
Work on renovating the remaining 20 restaurants will be phased over the next three years with the second Oak Kitchen opening this month at the NEC.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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