Aramark's hig-profile deal with chef Giorgio Locatelli and Crowne Plaza-The City to operate Italian restaurant Refettorio has been terminated just over a year after signing.
Aramark division Parallel had a three-year contract to run all food and beverage operations at the 200-bedroom hotel.
The deal included Refettori, which opened in February 2004, Bar 606, café and take-away Benugo, in-room dining and conference catering.
The contract was valued at £3m, but industry insiders speculated that the caterer decided to pull out in April because it wasn't making enough money.
Aramark UK managing director Simon Titchener said the decision to end the contract was mutual. "Fundamentally the contract wasn't working for either organisation. The food and beverage operation is an essential part of the hotel and it made sense for them to run it directly. We were happy to pass the control over to them. It was an amicable agreement."
Titchener denied the decision had anything to do with the departure of former Aramark UK boss Bill Toner earlier this year.
Both Aramark and InterContinental, owner of Crowne Plaza, declined to comment on the details of the contract or its disengagement.
Crowne Plaza now operates the restaurant in direct agreement with executive chef Locatelli, who owns the Refettorio brand. The hotel runs the other food and beverage operations.
Refettorio head chef Pasquale Amico is leaving the restaurant to head up Conran's Sartoria restaurant in Mayfair. The chef, who also worked at Locanda Locatelli and at Cecconi's, said it was time to strike out on his own.
His replacement is Mattia Camorani, who most recently worked as senior chef de partie at Locanda Locatelli and before that as head chef at Pomodoro Quadrato in Melbourne, Australia.