Business

Amadeus is music to Waterfront's ears as it cooks up £16m catering contract

How the Irish News revealed in February that Amadeus was in the frame for the Waterfront Hall catering contract
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BIRMINGHAM-based Amadeus will be cooking for an expected one million concert and conference visitors and black-tie dinner guests at Belfast's Waterfront Hall between now and the end of next year.

The firm has already established itself as a leading caterer for major sporting venues such as golf’s Scottish Open and Women’s British Open, as well as international tennis events like Eastbourne.

As first revealed in the Irish News in February, it was formally announced yesterday that Amadeus has beaten off a clutch of rivals - including incumbent Mount Charles in Belfast - to secure the five-year deal worth more than £16 million.

As well as exclusively supplying catering services for all conferences and events at Belfast Waterfront, which opens its £29.5m extension next month, the Amadeus contract also takes in the Ulster Hall.

The Mount Charles Group, which employs 1,300 staff in the north, had catered at the Waterfront Hall for the last 14 years.

It is understood to have been devastated at being ousted from the Waterfront kitchens, especially given Stormont’s pledge to support indigenous firms in this high-profile year of food and drink in Northern Ireland.

But Ellvena Graham, who chairs the newly-convened board which operates both Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall, said she is impressed with the vision presented by Amadeus - and insisted its commitment to local suppliers and staff was "critical" in the selection process.

"We are very pleased with the initial arrangements Amadeus have put in place to buy local," she said.

"In addition, Amadeus’ technological approach, including in-seat and pre-ordering services, fits well with our own focus on technology within the venues.”

Chris Reynolds, sales director for Amadeus, said: “We are in the middle of a recruitment process for Northern Irish talent that will expand and strengthen our existing team, and we will be bringing in some of our experienced management team from other venues to help support the growth programme in Belfast."

The new venue opens for business on May 4 with a gala dinner for the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce.

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