Wembley play-off final losers Watford Football Club has signed a catering deal worth £18m with Lindley Venue Catering.
The specialist sports stadia catering division of The Lindley Group is extending its original five-year contract at Vicarage Road to a new 10-year agreement which will see Lindley providing catering, hospitality, sales, marketing and event management services through to 2023-24.
At the heart of the long-term commitment is the development of the south west corner facilities at the stadium. A £1m development will see the creation and completion of two flexible hospitality areas at Vicarage Road by the middle of next season. Lindley Venue Catering will be responsible for overseeing the design and installation of new kitchens and two floors of hospitality facilities.
The hospitality suite has been designed so that on non-match days it can be converted into an exhibition or conference space, or, alternatively, it can provide a 150-cover dining area for formal banquets, weddings and balls. It will also host a club awards night. Lindley also plans to develop a programme of events such as sportsman dinners and offer all-inclusive Christmas packages.
Scott Duxbury, Watford FC’s CEO, says: “We appointed Lindley Venue Catering at the start of the season to bring a professional approach to developing all aspects of the catering, hospitality and events business at Vicarage Road. They have worked with us to step change the way the club manages its catering and event business and, after just the first season, Lindley has demonstrated the positive impact partnering with a specialist caterer can have on enhancing our fans’ match day experience, and their vast experience in the UK sports stadia environment has enabled them to identify further revenue-generating opportunities for the club.”
Jonathan Davies, The Lindley Group’s Sales and Marketing Director, adds: “While Vicarage Road has some good public concourse facilities, we felt that the hospitality areas needed to be developed if they are to realise their full potential and match the standard offered at other Premiership and Championship grounds.
“We could see a number of opportunities for the club to create a unique offering and with the financial backing and support of our new American owners, Centerplate, we were prepared to invest in the infrastructure of the stadium as part of a long-term partnership. We also strongly believe the type of mid-market casual dining experience we are proposing for the top floor of the new hospitality facilities will be the future of sports hospitality; a view which has been reinforced by seeing the results of similar concepts developed by Centerplate in other stadia around the globe, most notably in the US and Canada.”
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