Crown Group's National Football Museum restaurant to close

01 August 2013 by
Crown Group's National Football Museum restaurant to close

Crown Group's Kaleido restaurant at the National Football Museum in Manchester is to close after just one year.

Head chef Paul Riley will be made redundant as part of the move, as Crown Group's Kudos catering arm turns the space on the top of the Urbis building to "dedicated events" instead.

The restaurant, on the fifth and sixth floors, offered views across the city of Manchester had gained mixed reviews and there had been some reports that it was quieter than might be expected.

But Charles Beer, managing partner of Crown Group, denied that the closure was as a result of poor trading in the restaurant but because the business had decided to refocus on events. He told Caterer and Hotelkeeper: "We also run the events at the National Football Museum, and market it as an events space. But what the museum doesn't have, and we have had a lot of demand for in our first year, is a daytime space. So we have taken a decision with the museum that we are actually going to operate the museum as a full events space, 365 days of the year.

"The restaurant was trading OK, and had got some very good reviews, and we were happy with what they were doing there but because of the demand we were having on the space itself, we took the decision to go with that demand and use it as an events space."

Aside from Riley's redundancy, several other staff are expected to be made redundant, although Crown Group denied the figure would be as high as 12, as has been reported in the Manchester Evening News. Instead, a number of staff are expected to be re-employed as part of the conversion to an events space, which will still have catering requirements for functions, private parties and functions.

In a prepared statement, a spokesman for the museum said: "Following the success of events at Kaleido, the Crown Group are preparing to turn the current restaurant on the top floor of the Urbis building in to a dedicated event space.

"The Kaleido restaurant which opened in 2012 following the refurbishment of the Urbis building and formed part of the contract with Kudos to manage the cafe at the National Football Museum (NFM) as well as manage the event space the NFM.

"The restaurant has enjoyed a healthy share of the local and regional social market as well as the corporate market. However, in recent months the restaurant has received more demand as an event space, which has resulted in a shift of strategy for the venue.

"The senior management at Kudos have taken positive steps to showcase the venue with local and regional event professionals to ensure the venue continues the success it is currently enjoying."

And they added: "The National Football Museum has had a fantastic first year. We've exceeded all expectations in terms of visitor numbers having welcomed over 450,000 guests in 12 months.

"We believe our visitors deserve only the very best choice in facilities and are able to enjoy this fantastic building in its full. We are committed to working with our partners including Manchester Council to ensure any change of use is in keeping with enhancing our overall visitor experience."

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