How being a social enterprise is leaving a good taste in Bournemouth
When you are away from home, what you are going to eat can be a big part of whether you feel you have had a good trip or not. Will there be something there I can eat? Will there be enough? Will it be nutritional and healthy? Will it cater for my diet and so on.
For organisers, this is on top of making sure the programme is engaging, the speakers and sponsors are looked after, the exhibitors are happy, security and tech is in place, and the CSR and branding is on point.
Formerly serviced by contract caterers, but now an in-house team with social enterprise at its core, Bournemouth International Centre has spent the past ten years developing its hospitality offer to take some of those event pressures away and give something back to the local community too.
Cheryl Garner, senior hospitality and events coordinator, Bournemouth International Centre, said: “Dorset has a fantastic network of local suppliers and we have an incredibly talented and imaginative crew of chefs. We have brought these forces together to create event food which celebrates regional produce and packs a punch in flavour and appearance.”
“We try to incorporate a sense of theatre, surprise, energy and excitement too because we believe thought provoking and on brand food can be a talking point that puts a smile on people’s faces and creates an uplifting vibe in the room.
“And that goes as much for our sandwiches and cakes, as it does for fine dining and street food. What matters to us, is that delegates have an enjoyable experience that looks great, tastes great, meets their needs and makes them feel great.”
For organisers, this means hosting their event in Bournemouth is helping achieve some of their important CSR goals too.
Stewart Parker, group executive head chef, Bournemouth International Centre, added: “We are seeing more events go completely meat and gluten free which gives us a great opportunity to be really creative. Using locally sourced ingredients to create menus which have sustainability, provenance, flavour and texture at their core, we are finding more and more clients requesting meat free options when they see our offer. We are also prioritizing our commitment to gluten free dining by converting a majority of menus to gluten free without compromising the availability of each dish. And because we are a social enterprise too, every penny of surplus we make goes back into supporting local community activities.
“There’s so much pressure on event organisers to get it right. Their reputation depends on it. So, if we in our small way, can make a difference through the ingredients we buy, the food we serve up and what we do with our profits then that helps them and makes us feel pretty great too.”