Company of Cooks scores £100m catering contract hat trick

13 August 2013 by
Company of Cooks scores £100m catering contract hat trick

Company of Cooks has scored a hat trick of contract wins with three new deals worth in excess of £100m.

The news comes hot on the heels of a sought after deal with the National Portrait Gallery, which was won from long-term incumbent operator Searcys, and at the same time as an internal decision not to retender for two existing contracts and the loss of a third.

The caterer, which specialises in the visitor attraction market, has extended its current contract with the South Bank Centre for a further 10 years. Company of Cooks has operated four fixed sites at the multi-purpose arts venue since 2007 and the new deal will take its partnership to 2023.

The success of this relationship has led to an additional deal with the South Bank Centre, this time a 10-year contract to cater at the Topolski Gallery. Company of Cooks will deliver a 5,000 sq ft day café and night café bar, scheduled to open in October.

The food and drink offer will sit alongside a cultural programme of music, spoken word and art exhibits curated by fashion designer Wayne Hemingway.

The third new contract win is a three-year deal with the Royal Academy at 6 Burlington Gardens, with an undisclosed value. Company of Cooks is in the process of developing a new concept for the venue, while working with the Royal Academy and architect David Chipperfield on the design.

Company of Cooks has also revealed its decision not to retender for its existing business at Greenwich Park and Regents Park, which it said was down to its desire to remain independent and to work with like-minded partners.

"We own all our equity, not subject to venture capital investors or corporate owners like our immediate competitors, and we intend to continue to do so. We must be stringent in our selection of what partnerships to pursue," commented Mike Lucy, founder of Company of Cooks.

"Value for the customer and a real interest in the food and drink part of the experience on the part of the leadership team of our partners is crucial to us.

"I asked our partners if they would support our recent tenders before submitting, as I think we all should do. They did and I made a commitment that we had a strategy to reshape incrementally not grow at all costs. These withdrawals are consistent with that. We are interested in quality not quantity."

Finally, Company of Cooks' partnership with the Imperial War Museum, London SE1 has come to a close following the recent tender process.

Lucy said: "We've had a great five years with the Imperial War Museum, delivered all our previous tender promises, enjoyed great relationships with our partner there and sponsored its Ministry of Food exhibition in 2010.

"However we were concerned about this tender process and have registered that with them. It was very convoluted and not something we wanted to be part of in the end which is very sad. We loved the place."

A new operator has yet to be confirmed but industry insiders have tipped Peyton & Byrne as the likely winner.

Company of Cooks scoops £20m National Portrait Gallery deal from Searcys >>

Company of Cooks launches Herbfest at six sites >>

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