New caterers appointed at ICC to end Amadeus link

ICC Belfast chief executive Catherine Toolan announces the new catering contract alongside Trevor Annon (left) and Andrew Dougan
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A PERMANENT catering contractor has finally been ratified at Belfast's biggest conference venue - 18 months after the previous firm was removed from the role.

Hospitality Belfast, a joint venture between Yellow Door and Mount Charles, will manage and facilitate all catering requirements at ICC Belfast, the Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall for the next four years, with the possibility of a two-year extension.

They stepped in on a temporary basis in the middle of 2018 when British catering giant Amadeus had its £16 million contract with the venues suddenly terminated.

That led to a drawn-out legal process to extract the parties from what was meant to be a five-year contract by Amadeus, which is part of the NEC Group in Birmingham.

And yesterday BWUH Ltd, the company founded in 2016 to manage the iconic venues, confirmed that Hospitality Belfast - which is fronted by industry giants Trevor Annon and Andrew Dougan - will take on the service permanently with immediate effect.

They'll now be cooking for an expected one million concert and conference visitors and black-tie dinner guests every year until at least 2023 at venues which generate more than £20 million a year.

BWUH chief executive Catherine Toolan said: “Hospitality Belfast has proved throughout the tender process that it is the right catering partner to support our plans to win and deliver large-scale national and international conferences and events for the city of Belfast.

“A significant factor in their appointment is our shared desire to champion local produce and maximise our opportunity to profile local suppliers on a world stage.

“Catering is a critical factor in our ability to attract major conferences, and our clients increasingly tell us they want quality, sustainable, local produce as part of their catering requirements.

“The contract will represent a significant portion of our estimated £3 million a year local supply chain spend,” added Ms Toolan, whose venue is targeted with delivering 50,000 delegate days a year and £100m of economic impact to Belfast by March 2021.

Andrew Dougan from Hospitality Belfast said: “We're delighted to be able to build on our relationship with the team across these fantastic venues and are committed to supporting ICC Belfast in their bid to become one of the UK, Ireland and indeed Europe’s top performing international convention centres.

“With the contract now in place, we can recruit a range of full and part-time employees to support the wide-ranging catering offering required to facilitate this dynamic business. We'll also focus on local suppliers and champion their produce to both local and international customers.”

Trevor Annon added: “The award of this contract reflects not only the quality of service we can deliver but reinforces our vision for the future.

“Our commitment is also evidenced by the fact we are investing £600,000 in areas where the customer experience will be enhanced.”

He says the contract is expected to generate turnover in excess of £25 million over the term.

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