In 40 years we’ve reached more than a few famous milestones. As the caterer for the NEC Group, as well as prestigious events up and down the country, here are just a few of our proudest achievements.
NEC construction start
NEC Group Catering
The ICC and NIA
NEC Group Catering
Olympic and Paralympic Games
Vox Conference Centre
Meet Kevin Watson
Under Kevin’s expert guidance Amadeus has become one of the UK’s fastest growing venue and event caterers. Since becoming Managing Director in 2012 profits have doubled, portfolios have expanded and countless awards for quality and innovation have resulted in new trophy cabinets being installed.
As the driving force behind the business Kevin was also integral in successfully delivering Amadeus’ greatest challenge to date – delivering the biggest peacetime catering operation in history at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London 2012.
Before joining Amadeus, Kevin had over 20 years’ experience in retail catering, including high street retail, contract catering and brand building with businesses including The Natural Retail Company, AEG and Compass Group PLC.
"Our business revolves around the key levers – food and people."
Meet Chris Reynolds
For over 30 years Chris has been at the forefront of the catering industry, helping clients big and small drive growth and boost business. His resourceful nature and infectious enthusiasm has been invaluable since joining the Amadeus team back in 2012, helping the business greatly expand its catering portfolio to over 20 UK venues.
In his role as Sales Director, Chris is responsible for developing and delivering the company sales strategy, pipeline development and keeping existing clients happy. He also plays a key role in securing new business and was integral in securing Cadbury World as an Amadeus client just months after joining the team.
"Amadeus’ approach is to become one team with clients, developing real partnerships which enable us to create unique catering experiences in each venue."
Meet Marc Frankl
Inspired by his mum’s love of cooking and baking, Marc has worked within the food industry for over 15 years. Following ten successful years within the buying sector, Marc made the move to Amadeus in 2012 where his expertise quickly benefitted colleagues and clients alike.
Responsible for procurement and sourcing across the business, Marc’s passion for unearthing fresh, healthy products with local provenance has attracted applause and awards in equal measure. As a conscientious caterer Marc has also recently launched a scheme to reduce the amount of sugar in Amadeus’ food chain by 50% by 2020. This amounts to a whopping 30 million calories.
"I wanted to work at a company where I felt I would be given the opportunity to make a real difference. When I met Kevin, it was clear to me that I would have a role that I could make my own."
Meet Paul Bate
A commercially minded leader with years of senior-level venue experience, Paul has recently been promoted to oversee our home venues. Forever pushing for innovation and bespoke catering solutions, Paul played an integral role in the £5.5m refurbishment of the NEC’s existing food halls and introduced The Edge concept bringing together four unique food offerings within a single restaurant.
Paul’s numbers speak for themselves. The Edge is currently delivering growth of £0.5m profit per annum and will be rolled out across all exhibition halls by 2020. Not one to rest on his laurels, Paul has also recently developed a range of mobile catering units to handle massive spikes in exhibition attendance. These include grab and go favourites, Mexican inspired burritos and the finest choice of grilled cheese sandwiches this side of the Atlantic.
"As we continue to improve the experience I see the NEC Group home venues constantly developing in numbers and style of events. It’s an exciting time and I can only see positive growth in the live events sector."
Meet Peter Watson
Peter joined the Amadeus team in early 2018 to take up the newly created post of Operations Director External Venues. He bought with him a wealth of industry experience, having clocked up over 30 years in the hospitality business.
A triplet who grew up in the Midlands, Peter has worked for a number of the largest catering operators in the UK, including spending 12 years managing catering operations within the motorway services industry. The role will see Peter manage a varied portfolio of venues for Amadeus. Alongside this, he will oversee Amadeus’ events arm of the business which sees the team deliver hundreds of private and corporate events each year including a number of high profile, internationally renowned sporting tournaments.
"I was attracted to the role due to the breadth and depth of Amadeus’ varied portfolio. I am responsible for delivering catering operations across our wide range of external contracts including fantastic visitor attractions like Cadbury World and Dudley Zoo."
Meet Alison Kirk
For over 20 years Alison has put her strong strategic capabilities to use on tourist heavyweights including Alton Towers, Warwick Castle and London’s Science Museum. In the case of the latter she was directly responsible for implementing a strategy to deliver 2.5 million visitors each year.
With a keen interest in visitor experience and tourism, Alison’s wealth of B2B and consumer marketing know-how means she understands the unique demands and commercial needs of every venue covered by Amadeus. This ensures marketing is delivered with consistency, clarity and endless creativity in a way that’s uniquely appropriate to each venue.
"It’s a really exciting time to work for Amadeus. We’ve won a number of awards over the last year and it feels fantastic to be recognised by our industry peers."
Meet Emma Cope
Rather unsurprisingly, Emma is our resident people ambassador and has an uncanny eye for spotting culinary and business talent. In her role at Amadeus Emma’s responsible for developing and delivering a commercially focused HR strategy that allows every team member to enthusiastically pursue their goals with both creative freedom and absolute clarity of purpose.
Always animated, forever focused, Emma thrives on building strong business relationships. Previous to joining Amadeus, Emma worked with a wide range of businesses including Tesco, Deutsche Bank and our very own NEC Group.
"For me, it’s about partnering with all the right stakeholders ensuring we have the right people in the right place at the right time."
Meet Miles Jones
An accomplished leader, Miles’ enviable level of strategic thinking led to him joining the Amadeus Board as Head of Finance in 2011 after previously being Head of Finance for both the ICC and the CCD in Dublin.
Alongside his highly experienced team, Miles is instrumental in strategically driving the direction of the business and making sure our creative vision remains profitable by overseeing all budgets and resources. As you’d expect, he’s also responsible for ensuring Amadeus’ financial performance is accurately reported at all times.
"Investments in new technology to improve the customer service across our venues and extensive staff training and development has played a key role in the company’s growing success."
General Manager, NEC
Meet Kane Bridgman
Kane Bridgman has recently joined the Amadeus team – he 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.
"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."
General Manager, ICC
Meet Craig Hancox
Since becoming General Manager over five years ago, Craig has spearheaded several changes for Amadeus at the ICC in the last financial year. Forever open to change, Craig’s business acumen and entrepreneurial mind has resulted in a number of new initiatives at the ICC, each designed to reflect the ever-changing tastes of diners.
For starters, old-fashioned white china has been abandoned in favour of contemporary tableware befitting the modern dishes coming out the kitchen. However, Craig’s proudest achievement has been achieving the Food for the Brain accreditation, which promotes the importance of nutrition in mental health and well-being. The ICC is the first conference centre in the UK to achieve this award.
"My personal view for the future is a large focus on healthy eating and maximizing energy levels and mental ability through eating the correct foods."
General Manager, Genting Arena
Meet Annie Monnox
From event planning and reporting, to rolling out ‘beer bugs’ and new payment methods, Annie interrogates every event to ensure no opportunity to enhance the customer experience is missed. And with up to 15,700 visitors at a single event, keeping revellers smiling all night is no small feat.
Fortunately for us, Annie’s level-headed approach and endless energy ensures every new initiative improves the show, while always delivering concrete results for Amadeus too. For example, the introduction of 16 beer bugs at the arena saw profits increase by £200,000 with only minimal staff costs, while the launch of a new contactless bar resulted in double the amount of drinks being poured. The result? Happier punters and healthier profits.
"Amadeus has grown in confidence and belief. We are now competing with larger catering companies and winning contracts. We have the right people in place to ensure we can drive the business forward."
General Manager, Arena Birmingham
Meet Nick Cole
When Nick joined Amadeus as General Manager he bought with him an in-depth knowledge of consumer behaviours and food trends. In his role of heading up one of the world’s busiest and largest indoor sporting and entertainment venues, Nick is responsible for delivering brilliantly inventive catering options for anywhere up to 15,800 visitors a night.
Key to Nick’s success has always been a willingness to invest in insight, a trait that recently led to a complete redevelopment of Arena Birmingham’s food offering. So when you’re next tucking into some delicious Middle-Eastern street food, wolfing down a pepperoni pizza or enjoying a cheeky intermission gourmet burger, you’ll know who to thank.
"We’re focused and great at thinking outside the box – always looking at clever ways of increasing revenue, while ensuring cost savings."
General Manager, Vox Conference Centre
Meet Emma Pattie
With a background working in events, Emma’s methodical approach and managerial skills have supported the Vox through two years of phenomenal growth. Working closely alongside Executive Head Chef Aaron Johnson, Emma’s role is to firmly position the Vox’s catering offering as the best of its kind in the UK. It’s a role she takes very seriously. Day in, day out, Emma ensures the best training and support is available to staff, while making sure every guest experiences dining at a level unexpected at a conference centre.
Top among Emma’s personal Vox achievements was successfully hosting the BBC Sports Personality of the Year pre-show red carpet event and post-show party in 2016. Following months of planning the event delivered at every stage, on every stage. A win-win all round.
"I love the fact that I work for a forward-thinking company with constant improvement plans and innovative ideas being raised and worked on."
General Manager, Regional Venues
Meet Cathy Schofield
Cathy is responsible for managing marketing and business development across our ever-expanding portfolio of venues. Highly experienced in generating sales, shaping business strategies and effectively leading others, Cathy’s proven track record has resulted in a number of high profile successes at venues across the country including Dudley Zoo and Compton Verney Art Gallery.
Cathy was also directly involved in the delivery of the ‘factory in the garden’ concept restaurant at Cadbury World, which along with several other chocolaty initiatives has seen food and beverage profits at the attraction increase by 33% since Amadeus won the contract.
"Clients are increasingly choosing Amadeus due to our bespoke approach, our sustainable sourcing policies and our ability to capture a venue’s personality through food and beverage."
General Manager, Events
Meet Sam Bates
Marquee weddings, foreign tradeshows, Olympic games. Sam’s overseen catering at them all during her time at Amadeus. Her pragmatism and positivity have been invaluable to the events side of the business since 2012, when she made the permanent switch to this challenging, exciting and ever-expanding part of the business.
Whether helping to set up catering facilities from scratch, organising secret one-off events or immersing herself in foreign food trends, Sam has consistently delivered outstanding events that jump out from the pack. More importantly her methods delivers results too, with revenue doubling in the last twelve months alone.
"Whether we’re catering for the general public at a live event or for a fine dining banquet for Heads of State, we ensure a tailored, quality solution is provided for each and every client."
General Manager, Belfast Venues
Meet Ben Campbell
Heading up the Northern Ireland arm of Amadeus, Ben is responsible for overseeing a number of Belfast’s most popular visitor attractions including Belfast Castle, Malone House, The Stables Coffee Shop and Belfast Zoo. A keen collaborator, Ben sets his multiple teams daily targets to ensure their approach remains as fresh and inventive as the menus they dream up.
Since joining Amadeus in 2016, Ben has drawn on his strategic knowledge and expertise in the world of catering to refine and restructure the management structure to increase efficiencies across each attraction. He was also integral to moving to a central production kitchen model based out of Belfast Castle, helping to greatly increase productivity and free up valuable resource.
"Belfast is currently growing in popularity for visitors meaning more and more people are coming Belfast’s attractions and are seeing what Amadeus can offer at those I manage."
Awards recognise the talent and facilities of our business. They set us apart from the rest and place us at the forefront of the live events industry. Here are some of our most recent awards.
The Cateys 2018
The biggest awards of their kind in the hospitality industry, the internationally renowned Cateys recognise the strongest performers, latest emerging brands and highest flyers in the sector, as determined by the industry itself. Amadeus was awarded the Health and Nutrition award at the Cateys 2018 for its innovative work with educational charity Food For The Brain.
Foodservice Cateys 2017
The Foodservice Cateys celebrate contract catering employees across the UK. They recognise and reward those individuals and teams that work tirelessly to make sure their business delivers an exceptional service day in, day out. The focus of this winning submission was leadership in development of The Edge restaurant.
SLC Awards 2017
The awards celebrate sports and leisure caterers taking food and beverage to new heights in this fast-paced and inventive industry. Amadeus won the Executive Chef of the Year title and overall Sport & Leisure Caterer of the Year following a record-breaking year for the company.
FSM awards 2017
The industry leading FSM Awards bring together over 400 of the contract catering elite to pay tribute to those outstanding individuals who have been shortlisted. The Senior Executive of the Year award went to Kevin Watson, Managing Director of Amadeus.