Leading event and venue caterer, Amadeus, has appointed a new catering General Manager for the National Exhibition Centre (NEC).
Kane Bridgman brings with him over 40 years’ experience within the foodservice industry, having previously worked in the contract catering, corporate hospitality and education catering sectors among others. A specialist in retail catering, Kane has acted as a catering consultant to a wide range of household brands including Merlin Entertainments, Premier League football clubs and Sainsbury’s. He joins Amadeus from Crystal Palace Football Club where he was the Head of Catering for two years overseeing retail and corporate hospitality.
He will be responsible for delivering catering operations at the NEC – with ever climbing visitor numbers, the venue currently hosts over 500 events every year and welcomes 2.4million visitors annually. In a bid to improve the customer experience at the venue, Kane will continue the roll out of ‘The Edge’, Amadeus’ in-hall catering offer, to the NEC’s 20 exhibition halls by 2020. To date, £5.5m has been invested in rolling out the concept– a move which is delivering £0.5m profit per annum for Amadeus.
In addition to providing retail catering at exhibitions, he will be responsible for Amadeus’ live events portfolio at the NEC. This is a key area of interest for Amadeus with demand for live events at the NEC having doubled in the last 12 months as the venue continues to attract a more diverse client base.
The exhibition and events market brings many unique challenges with it – challenges Kane plans to address head on. Kane said: “As with any retail catering environment, the main challenge for exhibition venues is how do we continue to deliver great value, quality and consistency to our customers. As caterers, we can’t afford to be complacent but must always react to market trends, creating new concepts and innovative products that work for our particular audiences and demographics.
“Over the last few years the Amadeus team have taken Amadeus’ catering offer to new heights at the NEC – I hope to develop this further by enhancing the venue’s artisan food offer, including its street food offer.”
Kevin Watson, Managing Director of Amadeus, said:
“Kane joins a diverse and committed team comprising some of the best talent in the industry. Over the last five years we have succeeding in raising the bar for exhibition catering – with Kane’s appointment we hope to take this even further, helping the NEC to stand out as a competitor for clients and customer alike due to its food and drink offering.”
The appointments have been made following five years of impressive business growth under Managing Director Kevin Watson’s leadership. Since 2012, the company has evolved from a £25m – £47m business with a 239% growth in profit.