Event and venue caterer, Amadeus, has appointed Kane Bridgman as the new catering General Manager for the National Exhibition Centre (NEC).
Bridgman brings with him over 40 years’ experience within the foodservice industry, having previously worked in the contract catering, corporate hospitality and education catering sectors among others. A specialist in retail catering, he has acted as a catering consultant to a wide range of household brands including Merlin Entertainments, Premier League football clubs and Sainsbury’s. Bridgman joins Amadeus from Crystal Palace Football Club where he was the Head of Catering for two years overseeing retail and corporate hospitality.
In his new role, Bridgman will be responsible for delivering catering operations at the NEC which currently hosts over 500 events every year and welcomes 2.4million visitors annually. He will also continue the roll out of ‘The Edge’, Amadeus’ in-hall catering offer, to the NEC’s 20 exhibition halls by 2020. To date, £5.5 million has been invested in rolling out the concept– a move which is delivering £0.5 million profit per annum for Amadeus.
In addition to providing retail catering at exhibitions, he will be responsible for Amadeus’ live events portfolio at the NEC. This is a key area of interest for Amadeus with demand for live events at the NEC having doubled in the last 12 months as the venue continues to attract a more diverse client base.
Speaking about his new role and the unique challenges of the exhibition and events market, Bridgman said: “As with any retail catering environment, the main challenge for exhibition venues is how do we continue to deliver great value, quality and consistency to our customers. As caterers, we can’t afford to be complacent but must always react to market trends, creating new concepts and innovative products that work for our particular audiences and demographics.
“Over the last few years the Amadeus team have taken Amadeus’ catering offer to new heights at the NEC – I hope to develop this further by enhancing the venue’s artisan food offer, including its street food offer.”
Following five years of business growth under Managing Director Kevin Watson’s leadership, Amadeus has evolved from a £25–£47 million business with a 239 per cent growth in profit.