This month the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) has launched a new catering concept in three of its exhibition halls. Building on the successful launch of St(EAT) Kitchen at the NEC earlier this year, in-house caterers Amadeus has created The Yard, three uniquely styled, engaging eating environments, serving locally sourced, fresh, garden-inspired sustainable food.
The creation of The Potting Yard, The Grilling Yard and The Box Yard is part of a multi-million redevelopment of the restaurants inside the NEC exhibition halls. The Yard concept provides a beautifully presented range of healthy, contemporary British food, in three often interconnected exhibition halls, under a common theme but each with a unique offer, to give customers a greater variety during a show. The Yard environments have also been skilfully crafted with recycled and natural materials, with distinctive touches including trailing plants and copper pots adorning the walls, beautifully married with each ‘Yard’ dining concept.
Kane Bridgman, General Manager for Amadeus (NEC), said: “Everything the Amadeus catering team has learnt to date from exhibition catering has been channelled into The Yard. We know that there’s a rise in popularity for social breakfast options so you’ll find breakfast in a pot in the Potting Yard; 15% of our consumers are eating noticeably less meat, so you’ll find half the menu is a meat-free menu in the Grilling Yard. Traditional British becomes contemporary British in the Box Yard, where we’ve got quirky twists pies and burgers.
“We also wanted to translate some of our St(EAT) Kitchen feel into the development of the new Yard concept as we planned the refurbishment of these halls and we’ve done this through combining a garden-fresh look with garden fresh food! We’ve also encouraged free-flowing footfall with more till points on offer so there’s much less time wasted queuing. We’ve also seen an increasing demand from event organisers and their visitors for plant-based, meat-free dishes and food packaging to be minimal and recyclable. All of these trends have been incorporated into The Yard to create something that we hope will surpass expectations of an exhibition food and beverage offer. By keeping ahead of the curve on emerging trends and anticipating where the markets are going, we’ve created an environment, food and ambience that will definitely be worth sharing on any social media platform!”
In line with consumer dietary and lifestyle preferences meat-free options major heavily on the menus of each of the Yard units:
The Potting Yard (hall 8) – has dishes served in fully recyclable pots, featuring epic mac and cheese, including Vegan Mac with BBQ jackfruit and crispy courgette and Classic Mac with a spring onion crumble.
The Grilling Yard (hall 7) – has a fresh from the grill theme with herbed halloumi or tender harissa spiced salmon grilled skewers on offer, all served with healthy salads using locally sauced produce.
The Box Yard (hall 6) – is the boxed up treat restaurant, with pies and fully packed burgers, including ‘The world’s first plant-based burger’ that looks, cooks and satisfies like beef from supplier Beyond Meat™ – innovators in the plant-based product market.
The Yard menus have been created by Yard Head Chef, Lee Romilie and NEC Executive Chef, Paul Connelly to be fresh, tasty and easy to eat on the go. The offers are also flexible and there will be a library of menu options that will adapt to suit the wide range of events on offer in the NEC halls. Each hall also has a MADE – Amadeus’ longstanding grab and go café offer, serving freshly prepared deli sandwiches, salads and freshly ground coffee alongside a selection of cakes all baked on-site every day.
Amadeus has transformed the food and beverage offer at the NEC in recent years. The launch of Str(EAT) Kitchen and now The Yard forms part of wider development plans to provide exhibition visitors with unrivalled catering experience. Visitors to the NEC will now find a mix of high-end franchises and in-house concepts – both within the exhibition halls and on the public concourses – with more choice and flexibility than ever before.