In every industry, customers and clients are demanding products and services which go beyond the norm.

Retail catering options on the high street are developing at an astronomical pace, driven by seemingly ever-changing customer needs. Today business will not survive unless they instantly connect with the consumer and can convince customers to part with their hard-earned cash.

Contract caterers must also work much harder in today’s landscape – whether a delegate attending a conference or a customer purchasing food at an exhibition or visitor attraction, there is a growing expectation for F&B to mirror the choice and flexibility offered by the high street.

Amadeus understands that it must not only offer quality and choice through its products and dishes, but it must tell a story which connects with the customer. In this way it looks to partner with suppliers that hold a passion and vision to improve the customer experience, often working with small, up and coming businesses, in order to achieve this aim.                        

In recent years and in-line with our customer desires, we have invested time and effort in bringing innovative products from suppliers to our customers.
Marc Frankl, Food and Beverage Director

Whilst some may pay lip service to embracing innovation, Amadeus works with a wide range of SMEs and start-ups businesses who boast fantastic products. Amadeus takes many of these businesses on a journey of growth, opening their product up to a wide range of markets through the venues they operate in.

Food and Beverage Director Marc Frankl, together with his small but effective procurement team, work hard to support growing companies at entrepreneurial and SME level. Today, 50% of all suppliers to Amadeus can be classified as SMEs, with nearly 20% of the procurement spend allocated to these companies over the last 12 months. These growing businesses benefit hugely from the support a company like Amadeus can provide and in return, the contract catering giant can offer customers authentic and cutting-edge products at the point of purchase.

One of the entrepreneurial companies that Amadeus have supported is Street Kitchen Brothers, a small-scale family run business serving up a delicious selection of Greek and Lebanese cuisine. With the popularity of street food on the rise, vendors are now increasingly being bought inside venues to offer customers the same hassle-free, quick service street food offers, without having to compromise on flavours. With Amadeus looking to expand the range of street food inspired options within its venues the potential of a win-win partnership with Street Kitchen Brothers was clear. Today, customers can find Street Kitchen Brothers serving up fantastic, home-cooked rustic dishes out of specially designed mobile units at high footfall exhibition and events at the NEC. The mobile nature of the units is key when working with start-ups – particularly for small scale suppliers who may struggle to run a permanent outlet at the NEC – as it allows for flexibility and gives their brand exposure without the costs associated with a permanent outlet. 

Amadeus also work closely with a range of local suppliers, of all shapes and sizes, and take these local businesses on a special journey. By focusing on the talent on the doorstep, Amadeus are uncovering gems which enhance the customer experience.

For example, when visitors attend events or concerts at Arena Birmingham or Resorts World Arena, they can enjoy beverages from Sadler’s Ales, hand crafted beers that have been brewed since 1900 in the heart of England. Sadler’s beers include ‘Peaky Blinder’ – a black IPA – and the root of the company itself. It can be traced back to the time of the Peaky Blinders where the gangs back in 1900 regularly visited the Sadler’s pubs in Birmingham.

Supporting local suppliers on their journeys is an integral part of the Amadeus offer – going beyond just stocking products on the shelf Amadeus have also invested in Sadler’s Ales as a business by creating a unique 1920’s themed speakeasy bar at Arena Birmingham which exclusively stocks Sadler’s products. Tapping into this great historic storyline – bought into the public consciousness recently with a popular TV show – helps to connect with customers and provides them with added value when attending events.

Marc Frankl, Food and Beverage Director, describes the relationships - “Both Sadler’s Ales and Street Kitchen Brothers boast a rich heritage built on core family values. In recent years and in-line with our customer desires, we have invested time and effort in bringing products from suppliers such as these to our customers. Introducing both brands to our venues has resulted in fantastic customer feedback and an increase in sales – for example, our speakeasy bar at Arena Birmingham provides a great area for customers to dwell, leading to a higher spend per head. The bar also opens post-shows to allow people to grab a drink and avoid the queues on exit which has opened up another revenue stream for us.”

Regularly inviting up and coming F&B suppliers in to present their products to Amadeus is another way the procurement team keep the product offering fresh and innovative. In recent months, Pleesecakes – founded by painter-decorator turned cheesecake connoisseur Joe Moruzzi – have pitched to the procurement team and following this, these one of a kind, delicious products will be on offer to delegates at the ICC and Vox, Amadeus’ conference venues.

In this way creating strong relationships with innovators is one of the core backbones to the Amadeus operation, allowing the leading foodservice caterer to always stay relevant to customers.