Catering at London's Victoria & Albert Museum is to undergo a radical overhaul under new incumbent Benugo - a caf‚-deli company that operates on the high street and in businesses.
Benugo took over the 12-year, £3m-a-year contract last week. It had been held by Compass subsidiary Milburns for 12 years. It is the first public venue win for Benugo - 40 staff have transferred from Milburns.
Benugo was created six years ago to challenge Pret A Manger. It has four high-street sandwich/espresso bars in London and entered contract catering in 2000, after an approach from investment bank Lehman Brothers. It now has 10 UK clients.
Benugo's tenure coincides with a £25m revamp of the V&A, which attracted more than 2.7 million visitors last year. Changes include relocating the restaurant.
The new restaurant, expected to open in spring 2006, will combine a 100-seat waiter-service restaurant with self-service counters served by another 250 seats.
Benugo has refreshed what it described as the "archaic operation, dated food offer and poor coffee" in the current, temporary restaurant. The new menu includes freshly made hot beef sandwiches, stews, pies and mash, Portland crab, and Dartmouth smoked salmon.
The group expects to turn over about £11m this year in the UK.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 26 August 2004