Benugo signs £20m, five-year deal at Regent's Park

11 September 2013
Benugo signs £20m, five-year deal at Regent's Park

Restaurant and catering group Benugo has won a five-year contract to deliver multiple food and drinks offers at Regent's Park in a deal worth around £20m.

The contract award comes a month after incumbent operator Company of Cooks told Caterer and Hotelkeeper of its decision to withdraw its retender for the business at Regent's Park, as well as in Greenwich Park.

WSH-owned Benugo will take over the operation of the restaurants, cafes and kiosks in November, with a planned refit of all the facilities across the 197-hectare space expected to complete by spring next year.

These include the Regent's Bar & Kitchen, formerly the Garden Café, which will be a family-friendly restaurant with a range of dishes including wood-fired pizzas and salads and takeaway options.

The refurbished venue will comprise new soft interior furnishings, including reclaimed timber and cracked enamel tiling, along with comfortable banquette seating in the alcoves.

A second park restaurant, currently the Honest Sausage, will feature a simple, fast-paced barbecue menu of ribs, buns and slaw, alongside vegetarian options, available to eat in or take away in biodegradable packaging. A smoothie and shake bar at The Hub sports facility will offer fresh juices, shakes and light bites.

The new concepts have been developed by the Benugo team, led by founder Ben Warner (pictured) and managing director Guy Kellner, who both live locally to the park.

Commenting on the win and how it compares to another London park contract, the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen, Warner said: "We think we can make a real difference, and the fact that the park is local to both mine and Guy's families and we visit it a lot means we understand the customer.

"It's different to Hyde Park, which is much more tourist-driven, whereas Regent's Park appeals to a lot more local people. We want to make sure we appeal to the repeat visitor, so it's crucial we do a great job."

Other outlets include an espresso bar in the current Chester Road Kiosk, a kiosk on Marylebone Green and a food truck on Primrose Hill, both serving hot dogs, sandwiches and ice cream, and additional kiosks positioned at Holme Green and Hanover Bridge.

Benugo is set to open a number of new contracts, including not-for-profit members' club the House of St Barnabas, as well as three new London stores in Hanover Square, Victoria and Wigmore Street, but Warner is confident that the company can handle it.

"We are [busy] but we're not out of control. We've got a great operations team and we only go for things that we really want to do. That means that maybe we do nothing new for four or five months and then we get two or three things opening at the same time," he explained.

"The high street business is really important because it keeps the brand alive and allows us to keep up to speed on all the latest trends and consumer habits. It's not good enough in a park environment just to open a restaurant; you've got to be able to compete with the big boys. I think that's part of our success. We can compete with anything you might find on the high street."

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