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Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew appoints Ampersand as new catering partner

(Tuesday 4 October 2016) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has appointed Ampersand, CH&Co Group’s specialist venue and visitor attraction catering business, to drive forward its vision of creating the very best catering offer for visitors and customers at the world’s most famous botanic garden.

The five-year contract, which commences on 1 November, is worth approximately £28million in turnover over the duration of the contract. Ampersand will provide all catering services at venues across the stunning Kew Gardens estate including: the White Peaks café (a family food hall and ice-creamery); Victoria Plaza café (an artisan coffee shop and bakery); the beautiful Orangery restaurant (offering all-day seasonal dishes); and the Pavilion restaurant that provides alfresco dining in the warmer months. A new café restaurant to be called The Botanical is also scheduled to open later this year to add further diversity of food experiences for Kew’s 1.5million annual visitors. Ampersand was selected following a rigorous competitive tender process where its proposition was critically assessed against Kew Garden’s strict criteria that included: alignment with Kew’s mission and purpose; provision of high quality and differentiated food offers at each venue; match of food offers to Kew’s different visitor segments; support for Kew’s environmental sustainability objectives; and operational capabilities and commercial strength. Jill McLaughlin, director of corporate services at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew led the tender process and said: “Appointing a new catering partner is one of the most important changes we’re making this year and we’re delighted to be working with Ampersand. Providing excellent, inspirational, good value-for-money food, with friendly, superior service in attractive surroundings is essential for us to succeed as a world-class visitor destination. We’re very impressed with Ampersand’s professional and creative approach, and it’s clear that they understand our vision and needs and share our values.” Richard Barley, director of horticulture, learning and operations, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said: “At Kew, we have tremendous potential to use our catering to enhance the visitor experience by bringing interesting stories about plants and fungi to life. Everyone is interested in innovative food and drink and provenance, and we’re excited to be joining forces with Ampersand to make this a reality. We already work with Ampersand at Wakehurst, our country gardens in West Sussex, so we know what the team is capable of. We’re therefore very excited about establishing a close and collaborative working relationship for Kew that drives mutual success and growth.” Paul Jackson, Ampersand’s managing director, said the new contract is a great win for the company: “Kew Gardens is famous and respected worldwide and we’re delighted to have been chosen as the new catering partner to take forward its progressive catering vision. Our bespoke approach and expertise in catering for large numbers at unique visitor destinations has enabled us to create exciting and inspirational catering solutions for each of Kew’s café and restaurant facilities. Customers can look forward to fresh, delicious dishes, supported by distinct, impeccable service. Our menus will enhance the visitor experience, reflecting the celebrated plant life of the gardens and upholding a commitment to seasonality and local suppliers.”

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