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Wimbledon set to serve 28,000kg of strawberries in a fortnight

01 July 2016 by
Wimbledon set to serve 28,000kg of strawberries in a fortnight

Wimbledon is the largest single annual sporting catering operation in Europe with around 28,000kg of Kent strawberries expected to be consumed during the fortnight.

The world famous tennis tournament, which started on Monday (27 June) and runs until 10 July, has revealed just how much food and drink it takes to cater for the annual event.

Despite the dubious weather, thousands of spectators will flock to south west London for the Championships to see the likes of Andy Murray and Roger Federer in action.

Facilities Management Catering (FMC), which is owned by Compass Group, is the official caterer of the Championships and will employ a catering team of 2,200 staff during the tournament, compared to the usual 40-50 members who work the rest of the year.

The 28,000kg of strawberries will equate to roughly 140,000 servings along with 10,000 litres of dairy cream. Around 25,000 scones will be consumed, 86,000 ice creams, 10,000 portions of frozen yoghurt and 5,000kg of bananas.

For those wanting something more substantial, there will be around 234,000 meals, 30,000 pizzas, 16,000 portions of fish and chips and 76,000 sandwiches.

Visitors will also enjoy 320,000 glasses of Pimm's, 29,000 bottles of champagne, 110,000 pints of draught beer and lager, 330,000 cups of tea and coffee and 230,000 bottles of water.

To produce such quantities Wimbledon has 49 on-site kitchens, 27 restaurants and 29 grab and go public catering outlets. For this year 3,000 afternoon tea picnics have been ordered.

Executive chef Gary Parson has been working at the Championships for more than five years. His role includes writing menus and creating dishes, working with a team of 338 chefs.

The catering operation has become so substantial in recent years that in February 2015 the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) appointed Anthony Davies as head of catering.

Davies was previously Food & Beverage Director at De Vere Group and prior to that was director of operations at Harbour & Jones. He has also worked as director of operations and then commercial director for Restaurant Associates.

He said: "I remember day one of the tournament on the first Monday last year and looking at the thousands of people walking around and seeing just how special it is. It's an amazing feat for the team to deliver such a big operation to help create an enhanced experience for guests.

"The Championships themselves have grown over the years and so too has the catering operation. We aim to deliver great value through fantastic ingredients, championing British produce from the length and breadth of the country."

He added: "We start ramping up the recruitment from around Christmas to get to the 2,200 needed staff. For anyone who is interested in hospitality, it's great for them to have Wimbledon on their CV.There's a real sense of camaraderie and fun, even when it rains."

Davies explained that the 50 weeks following the Championships will be spent reviewing detailed feedback and performing dry runs.

"Planning for next year has already started," he said. "We constantly look to see what we can do better."

Since the Championships began in 1922 only seven years have been recorded without rain interruptions: 1931, 1976, 1977, 1993, 1995, 2009 and 2010.

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