The River & Rowing Museum in Henley has selected Lindley Heritage – the heritage, arts and leisure venue division of The Lindley Group – as its partner in a seven year catering deal expected to generate a turnover in excess of £3 million over the term of the hospitality and foodservice contract.
Lindley Heritage has been brought on board to enhance the visitor experience at the River & Rowing Museum’s Terrace Café and conference and banqueting facilities. The appointment is Lindley Heritage’s second museum contract win, with the caterer having staved off competition from 19 potential contenders to be awarded a seven-year, £5 million-plus catering contract by The RAF Museum in Colindale, North London this summer.
Located in a stunning glass-walled, timber clad building designed by leading architect Sir David Chipperfield, and which overlooks the River Thames, the independently funded River & Rowing Museum in Henley is one of the UK’s leading museums. It attracts around 117,000 visitors a year; has a dedicated education centre which welcomes 20,000 education visitors annually; and provides hospitality services for events, weddings, and corporate and private functions held at the site.
Lindley Heritage will be responsible for developing the food offering and catering services at the Terrace Café which is open to the general public as well as museum visitors, and for providing the catering for all functions held at the venue which offers a choice of flexible event facilities including: the 120-cover glass-fronted Thames Room which has a terrace overlooking the river and is a popular choice for weddings; The Henley Room – a boardroom format which has a capacity for 10 people, and is also used as a break-out room for the Thames Room; and The Schwarzenbach International Gallery – which accommodates up to 180 guests under a high vaulted ceiling.
Lindley Heritage has undertaken a full review of the Museum’s Terrace Café and is changing the service offering from pre-cooked, canteen style counter food to menus which offer hot food freshly prepared to order and which focus on using locally sourced and seasonal produce from suppliers such as Lawlor’s Bakery and Brakspear Beers. Lindley is also aiming to raise the standard to achieve the Soil Association’s Silver Food for Life Catering Mark accreditation for the Terrace Café. The Lindley Group has already assisted the Scene Bistro at the Malvern Theatres, the Vaults Restaurant and 1805 function rooms at the Theatre Royal Bath, and at Bristol City FC’s hospitality and event menus at the Ashton Gate Stadium in receiving Silver Food for Life Catering Mark accreditations – with Malvern Theatres and Bristol City FC’s Ashton Gate being the first UK theatre, and the first English sports stadium, respectively, to be awarded a Food for Life Catering Marks.
All catering and service staff at the River & Rowing Museum will also be re-trained by The Lindley Group.
Paul Mainds, Chief Executive at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley, says: “We approached Lindley Heritage as we wanted a catering partner who would bring fresh thinking and new ideas to revitalise our catering offering – both in terms of the quality of the food and levels of customer service.
“We have been impressed with the Lindley team’s attention to detail and how they are attuned to local touches which make each venue different and special, and then tailor the offering accordingly. The step changes they are making will significantly enhance the experience of everyone who visits the museum.”
Nigel Hutson, The Lindley Group’s Operations Director - Heritage, says: “Working with the River & Rowing Museum gives us a great opportunity to showcase the excellent local suppliers and regional produce available in and around Henley and Oxford, and provide catering services which enable the museum’s events team to maximise the potential of their venue.
“We’re delighted to welcome the River & Rowing Museum in Henley as the second museum to become part of the Lindley Heritage client portfolio. The venue is an architectural icon offering outstanding facilities in a stunning setting, and our aim is to ensure that we deliver food and service which reflect the status of this establishment.”
Since being established as a separate division of The Lindley Group in 2011, Lindley Heritage has won a number of contracts at prestigious arts venues and visitor attractions around the country including: The Theatre Royal Bath, Derby Theatre, the RAF Museum in Hendon, Sage Gateshead, Twycross Zoo and the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, which opened to the public last year. Lindley has also been the catering partner at the Malvern Theatres Arts Centre since 2005.
The Lindley Group became a Centerplate Hospitality Partner when it was acquired by the US-based global provider of hospitality services in April this year.