Nottingham City Council has enjoyed a taste of national success after launching a series of cafes as part of commercialising its catering services.
The council’s Commercial Catering Service was named winner of the Specialist Caterer/Catering Team of the Year 2016 at the national LACA (Lead Association for Catering in Education) Awards in Birmingham.
The accolade follows an increased focus on commercialisation within the council’s catering department over the past ten years and the implementation of a commercial development team to generate income through commercial services to support valuable (non-commercial) frontline services.
In 2014, Nottingham City Council launched Eat Culture as a staff restaurant at its Loxley House headquarters along with event and hospitality catering services and Bean Culture as a brand of cafés to open across the city.
Two years on and the success of the two brands has exceeded expectations. There are currently eight Bean Culture Cafes across Nottingham, at council venues such as leisure centres and joint service centres, with more sites planned to open in the coming months. Eat Culture has already provided first-class catering to some of Nottingham’s most high profile events such as the Lord Mayors Ball, Riverside Festival, Tour of Britain and Nottingham Pride .
The Centre of Excellence at Loxley House allows the service to offer training and development opportunities to staff, supporting Nottingham City Council’s apprentice scheme and attracting new talent into the service.
The awards announcement followed a two day conference where the commercial catering team delivered a presentation to demonstrate how local authorities can diversify into commercial markets and deliver positive change within local communities . Peter McGrath, LACA Chair commented that Nottingham City Council were ‘Pathfinders in the industry’.
Councillor Nicola Heaton, Portfolio Holder for Community Services said: “We are very proud of what we have achieved so far by rolling out the Eat Culture and Bean Culture services at various venues and events across the city and we are delighted to receive this recognition from LACA.
“The team has worked really hard and efficiently to launch the service, introduce our training and development programme and deliver consistent high quality. We are looking to build on this success and continue to improve leisure and retail facilities and ensuring they provide value for money without compromising on quality.”