Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, which has enjoyed a fantastic 18 year partnership with the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) giants, recently promoted Kenny Garden to General Manager and he has quickly set about building a new experienced team that will be looking to develop the venue’s thriving conference and events arm.
The leading catering and hospitality firm is the chosen partner at several of Scotland’s most exclusive venues, including Perth Racecourse, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the national football stadium, Hampden Park.
Aberdeen Football Club’s (AFC) Pittodrie Stadium, is one of the most iconic venues in the North-East of Scotland with a proud tradition of nurturing home grown talent on and off the pitch and Sodexo Prestige is keen to partner in that strategy with Kenny’s internal appointment.
The life-long Aberdonian started working in the pie stands as a 16 year old and has climbed the ladder to the top job after delivering great results over a 15 year period.
Now, Kenny has worked with the Sodexo Prestige recruitment team to bring in top industry talent to grow the conference and events side of the businesses, which is enjoying a strong year so far, buoyed by the fantastic season the club are having at the top of the SPFL table.
John Richardson, who has a host of experience with other top Scottish football clubs, including Dundee United and Celtic, has been appointed as Deputy General Manager to manage specific catering, hospitality and sales services.
Having gained over 10 years of experience working with hospitality giants, such as Hilton Worldwide and Dakota, newly appointed Sales Manager, Debra Lorimer, will be bringing her expertise and local knowledge of Aberdeen to the table, helping to exceed customer expectations during the entire end to end experience.
Fiona Bell, who has joined from five star golf resort, Trump Turnberry, as Sales and Events Coordinator, will be working closely with Debra to push the stadium to the forefront of the North-East events market through unique offerings, which demonstrate the versatility of the venue and draw in old and new clientele.
David Trotter, Catering Services Director for Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, said: “We’re delighted to have attracted such talented and experienced people into the team at AFC and it’s been great to see them settling in so quickly.
“We have hired people who we feel will not only be a good fit for our company, but who all have unique and specialist experience in their role, so we are confident that they will lead AFC to conference & event success.
“It seems that the new team will be off to a very busy start with the football team’s strong performance so far, the added opportunities this brings through aspects like European football and non-football related events that will be bolstered by 2015 being Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink.
“A key aim for the new team is not only to drive sales at the venue, but is also to build on two key aspects, the development of stadium’s conference and events business and the overall experience had by clients and match goers.”
Currently revising the packages on offer, the new team are keen to encourage the likes of sporting events at the venue, recognising their close links given the Club’s position as a leading sporting venue in Scotland’s North-East.
Kenny said of the new team: “The new team here have got off to a great start with the success the football team is having on the pitch and there is a brilliant atmosphere about the club.
“Certainly, we all want to boost sales through various conferences and events held at the venue, but we also want to ensure that the fans who come to the club to support the team and soak up the atmosphere keep coming back, so it is key for us to ensure that we are keeping our customer experience at the top of its game.
“We hope to mirror the club’s success in sales and continuous development in all aspects of catering and hospitality offered at the Club.”
Furthermore, the team intend to keep up the high standards of food produced on match days, with everything from hospitality packages to pies, falling under their remit.
Debra Lorimer, Sales Manager, said: “I am thrilled to be working at a venue that is at the heart of Aberdeen. This is my hometown so I know how important the football club is to the city and the community.
“The new team has been great to work alongside and we all have the same vision as to what we want to develop and improve at the venue. It’s looking like a busy year ahead, but one that we are all really looking forward to.”