575 days ago
The American Express (AMEX) Community Stadium, nestled in the South Downs, is home to Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, who recently made it into the Premier League.
Sodexo has provided catering and hospitality services at the stadium for the last four years and our team has shared the journey with them every step of the way. We caught up with general manager Tony Crosbie to talk about all things football and what the promotion means for the club and the catering team moving forward.
What has the journey been like to secure promotion?
An emotional rollercoaster to say the least! We came so close to promotion last year and finished 3rd in the Championship with just two goals in it so we all felt a bit sorry for ourselves at the end of that season. But by late October this season you could really feel that promotion could be possible. We just kept getting better and better with some of the matches being sell outs and revenue being at an all-time high. We knew we could be onto something big!
How has your journey to promotion affected day-to-day operations?
We’ve always thought and operated like a Premier League club so we’ve not really seen a huge difference. Obviously in the run up to promotion we saw much bigger crowds and guests making the most of our hospitality so that was challenging to make sure we had enough to cater for everybody. We have a very close working relationship with the club and we also have four years’ worth of intelligence to make sure we forecast and stock up accordingly. At the Wigan game we saw some of our highest figures yet with 25,000 pints being sold, as well as 6,500 pies.
What does being promoted to the Premier League mean for you all?
It’s a big operation here at the AMEX. We have a team of 37 and on match day we can have over 500 staff. We all feel extremely proud of the promotion and privileged to have been part of it. This is something we’ve all wanted for such a long time, so to finally achieve it means a lot to us all.
What can we expect to see next season?
A totally new concept in terms of hospitality, with the development of a steak house grill which will be open just in time for the start of the season on the 6 August. Even though there will be fewer games for us to play in the Premier League (19 in fact) we’ll undoubtedly be under the microscope so it’s really important that our menus reflect our status in the Premier League and consistently deliver on quality. We can also expect our match day experiences to be running at 100% capacity so will be looking at the menus in more detail too. We also hope to win a few more awards at the Stadium Experience Awards next month. We’ve been shortlisted in six categories!
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