Minute on the clock: Dan Thennakoon

25 May 2022 by
Minute on the clock: Dan Thennakoon

The director of commercial at CH&Co has been busy in the lead up to the Platinum Jubilee. He talks about overseeing visitor cafés and restaurants at historic royal palaces

How many royal palaces does CH&Co work with? Can you tell us about the additional checks and balances that must be included to win contracts like these?

We are privileged to operate the visitor cafés and restaurants on behalf of Historic Royal Palaces, which manages Britain's royal palaces. Each palace is a magnificent, historic building and it's wonderful to say that that's where we get to work every day.

Even after seven years, we all feel excitement about our workplace. The palaces include Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Kensington Palace.

We love our British heritage in all the palaces

Quality, consistency and delighting customers are at the core of our offer. We work in partnership with our client with this shared value and regularly sit down and have conversations about the current offer and challenges, and what we can do differently or better. We are always looking at how we can enhance the customer experience.

It is also important to keep in mind that in the eyes of many visitors, what we do is representing our nation's royal heritage. It is with these very high standards in mind that we develop our teams, create our menus and communicate with our customers.

How do you deliver value for money for visitors?

We work with the best local suppliers around London to provide us with fresh food and we also use produce associated with the royal estate. For example, we serve strawberries from Kent and our ice-cream comes from milk from the Queen's royal herd.

What's the ethos when updating menus at these sites?

We love our British heritage in all the palaces. International travellers relish discovering the best traditional English dishes while being sat inside one of the oldest castles in the UK. There will always be scones and Victoria sponge available at our cafés! We are also introducing some global cuisine into our offer, with more Asian and South American influences, for example. Each of our chefs has the freedom to create their own menus with different inspiration.

Are you staff quite seasonal?

We do have seasonal activity, but the core team does not vary so much. We have a very loyal team and many students join us to work on weekends and holidays. It is wonderful to be able to develop and teach the younger generation about our passion for great food and service and share with them the fantastic career opportunities that the industry offers. Many of them decide to stay in the hospitality industry, which is great news.

How are you celebrating the Platinum Jubilee at the palaces?

This is an incredibly exciting year at the palaces. We've been busy planning and all visitors to our cafés and restaurants will enjoy special menus dedicated to this historic event, including a Platinum Jubilee afternoon tea. At the Tower of London, Superbloom will see the medieval moat flooded with vibrant flowers. We are looking forward to welcoming thousands of guests to see the magnificent sight. Our colleagues in Ultimate Experience have also launched the Glass Rooms for this special summer, which is a dining experience alongside the Superbloom floral display.

Continue reading

You need to create an account to read this article. It's free and only requires a few basic details.

Already subscribed?

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking