The outstanding menu development work undertaken by Lindley Venue Catering to improve the quality of food available on sports stadia concourses has been acknowledged with a trio of awards being presented to the specialist sports stadia catering division of The Lindley Group.
Gary Bates, The Lindley Group’s Creative Director, and Lindley’s Development Chef team have been presented with The MIDAS (Menu Innovation Network’s Menu Innovation and Development)* 2012 Sports and Leisure Category Award; and two of Lindley’s new premium pie recipes have also achieved gold and silver award standard in the Football Pie Category of this year’s British Pie Awards organised by the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association.
The MIDAS Awards, which recognise and reward the creative talents of menu development managers and group executive chefs, acknowledged the Lindley team’s work and holistic approach in continually evolving and improving the foodservice offer across the business from fine dining menus right through to the packaging for ‘grab and go’ food.
In particular, MIDAS’s team of mystery diners and judges praised Lindley Venue Catering’s new portfolio of public concourse branded retail concepts which include Frank’s Original New York Streetdogs®, Flaming Good Burger® and Henry’s Chicken® kiosks all serving premium quality products developed by the team. The judging panel was also impressed with the development of new match-day products, such as hot pork torn sandwiches, home made hot pots and curries, and pizzas in the shape of a football pitch (rather than a slice); and with the caterer’s use of the latest retail packaging - fibre pulp trays made of 100% renewable resource, and which are compostable and cool to the touch when taken from a microwave or oven.
In a separate competition – the British Pie Awards, which attracted over 900 entries – the bespoke quality pies sold by The Pie Factory® (one of the other new trademarked retail concepts launched by Lindley) collected two awards. The Lindley Bombay Vegetable Pie, seasonal vegetables in a spicy curry sauce, picked up a gold award and the Lindley Chicken Balti Pie received a silver award in the Football Pie category.
Developed in partnership with an artisan baker, all of the pies sold by The Pie Factory® are free from artificial flavours and preservatives, and they have a leaner, higher-quality meat content.
As part of the MIDAS Award prize, Gary Bates will join the Menu Innovation Network’s five day insight tour to Chicago this month (May). The trip will include entry to the NRA Show – the world’s largest foodservice event; behind the scenes visits to leading Chicago restaurants; and a tour of the latest quick service/fast casual chains.
Gary Bates, The Lindley Group’s Creative Director, says: “We’re delighted that the menu development work we have been undertaking has been recognised with these prestigious industry awards, and it’s a great privilege to be given the opportunity to visit Chicago to see the latest trends in the US.
“Stadia public catering has long been Lindley’s core business and, with our substantial experience in this marketplace, we believe that we are in the best position to lead the field when it comes to enhancing the food experience of sports fans around the country.
“The quality and innovation that we have seen in branded retail food outlets on the high street, in mainstream visitor attractions and within other leisure venues hasn’t, until now, been evident in sports stadia, and the aim of our new foodservice retail brands is to raise the bar in terms of quality, customer service and, ultimately, spend per head in stadia market.”
The branded concepts were launched at Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane in the autumn and, as well as receiving very positive feedback from fans, have produced an 18% increase in total cash takings; a 28% increase in hot dog sales; and 19% increase in pie sales.
The branded retail concepts have subsequently been rolled out to Stoke City FC’s Britannia Stadium, Warrington Wolves RUFC’s Halliwell Jones and Manchester City FC’s Etihad stadia, and are being made available to all of Lindley Venue Catering’s 30-plus football and rugby stadia clients.