Heathcote notches a winner

29 November 2004 by
Heathcote notches a winner

Paul Heathcote's outside catering arm has scooped the contract for Chester racecourse, which was held by Compass's Letheby & Christopher for nearly 40 years.

Main course: From left, Paul Heathcote; managing director Gary Bates; Phil Dougherty, general manager of Heathcotes Outside, and Richard Thomas, chief executive of Chester racecourse

Heathcotes Outside will take over the racecourse next January for five years, worth £20m in turnover. Heathcote plans to boost takings across the 12 race days from May to September by getting customers into the stadium earlier.

"Visitors often spend a long period in the morning in the city, where they spend between £30 and £40," said Heathcote. "We want to see some of that."

Plans include pre-race entertainment, more seafood bars and themed marquees offering all-day brunch, and French and British fare.

Heathcote also believes his reputation will help to boost business on non-race days from a "derisory" £500,000 a year to £1m to £2m in year one.

Philip Dougherty, who was general manager at the Chester Grosvenor hotel for 13 years, will be general manager at the racecourse.

  • Heathcotes Outside will also take on the catering at Orrell rugby union club near Wigan from the current in-house team. The 10-year contract, which starts in December, is worth about £350,000 a year.
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