Delighted kitchen and serving staff at Hampden won a hat trick of accolades during a prestigious ceremony recognising the cream of talent at the UK’s sporting stadia.
The food and drink related success story at the annual awards organised by Stadium Experience has all the ingredients of a dramatic football season – featuring a new look kit, man of the match awards and the rise of a talisman-like new star.
Craig Younger, General Manager at Hampden Park for Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, the stadium’s exclusive catering and hospitality partner, said the wins were a huge boost for Sodexo’s 600-strong team involved at the site.
He added: “Tens of thousands of people come through Hampden Park every year and they know just how good the experience is, so now it’s great to also have our hard work recognised by top industry experts.
“Our team is talented and knowledgeable when it comes to food and drink. They do everything from five-course feasts to the pies that are served during matches and thoroughly deserve this fantastic recognition.
“Quite simply the quality of our food, drink and service is the main reason for these awards. However, there are many factors which played a role. For instance our staff have been wearing a classy new black and gold kit and we’ve rolled out Brand Ambassador training, both of which have really helped to build team spirit.
“Meanwhile we’re giving recognition to our hard working staff on match days through ‘On the Spot’ and ‘Man of the Match’ awards. We’ve also seen some of our younger staff progress through the ranks to become supervisors
“The Man of the Match awards were actually introduced thanks to our very own rising maestro, Paul McGarry, so it was great to see him pick up a merit in the Star of the Future Award, giving us confidence that we are really building a team for years ahead.”
With 10 awards up for grabs at the Stadium Events & Hospitality Awards, Hampden Park collected Gold in the Conference Events Sales & Marketing category - the second time the stadium’s conference and events team has landed the title.
Hampden was also awarded Silver in the Matchday Hospitality Award – Large Stadium category, while the jubilant team collected Bronze in The Big One – Overall Matchday Hospitality section.
In addition, Paul McGarry, Hampden Park Retail Concourse Manager, was awarded a Merit in the Star of the Future award, for his success in delivering excellent catering services during the Commonwealth Games and for his inspirational leadership abilities.
Mr Younger said the team’s involvement in 2014’s massive Commonwealth Games extravaganza – which saw Hampden Park transformed as the main venue – meant they were unable to enter the coveted Matchday Hospitality award last year.
He added: “On returning to the award this year we knew we would be competing against the larger stadia throughout the UK – so to pick up Silver in this category is a fantastic achievement for Hampden.
“So far 2015 has been incredibly busy. Since January, we have catered for four semi-finals, two cup finals and two Scotland internationals. On top of that we have also catered for 23,500 people during 752 events including exhibitions, meetings, corporate events and conferences.
“At all of these events, we have invested a lot of time and effort into making sure we are providing a fantastic service for our customers; we are just thrilled that this has paid off and we have come back to the home of Scottish football with these trophies.”
More than 300 guests from football, rugby and sporting stadia across the country celebrated their successes at the awards, held at the King Power Stadium, home of Leicester City Football Club on June 4.
The awards were the 11th annual awards organised by Stadium Experience and aim to recognise the efforts and dedication shown by the catering, conference and events teams at every football and rugby stadium across the UK.
Sodexo Prestige partners with 17 top class venues in Scotland – and 50 across the UK – including Perth Racecourse, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, as well as Hampden Park.