Compass Group UK & Ireland has been awarded a five year contract to supply the catering at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (QEIICC) one of London’s leading events venues. The five year deal, worth in excess of £20 million, will see Leith’s, a Compass sport, leisure and hospitality brand, work in partnership with the centre to create a new delegate experience by introducing a new range of food concepts and creative menus.
Although the centre has worked with Compass for many years, the highly contested contract was awarded following a competitive tendering process involving a number of the major as well as bespoke catering companies.
Based on market research and current food trends, Leith’s bid comprised new concepts designed to appeal to the conference centre’s diverse customer base. In designing the bespoke menus for the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Compass will be working with Masterchef 2009 winner Steve Groves, now head chef at Roux at Parliament Square (which is operated by Compass’ executive dining business Restaurant Associates). Compass has also teamed up with Allegra McEvedy who will act as a mentor to the culinary team at the conference centre, ensuring an ongoing focus on healthy eating and the use of sustainable ingredients in the delegate menus.
Delegates will also enjoy a smart food menu, focusing on brain foods which will improve concentration and productivity throughout the day. Example dishes on the smart food menu include: ceviche of English coasted sea reared trout with avocado mousse; lemon verbena poached sprouting broccoli and cauliflower smoothie with toasted almonds; and soy and haricot bean salad with zucchini flowers.
Mark Taylor, chief executive, QEIICC explained Leith’s contract extension:
“This contract heralds a new era for catering at the QEII. We were looking for a caterer that we could work in close partnership with; a company that would work with us and our clients in a proactive collaborative and bespoke fashion. Leith’s/Compass have been selected again to work with the centre based upon a combination of their partnership approach, depth of delivery and flexibility, combined with exceptional service and innovation.”
Colin Bailey, managing director for Compass sport, leisure and hospitality, said:
“Our partnership with the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre spans over two decades and I’m thrilled that we have been given the opportunity to build on this longstanding relationship and excited about the plans we have in place. The conference and events market is extremely competitive; vital to the success of a venue is its ability to offer something different and I believe our new food concepts and chef partnerships coupled with the fantastic conference facilities at the QEIICC have enabled us to do this.”