The ArgusClub say goodbye to match caterers (From The Argus)

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Club say goodbye to match caterers

The Seagulls have dumped the award-winning caterers at the American Express Community Stadium after complaints from fans.

Brighton and Hove Albion ppointed Stoke-based company The Lindley Group as emergency caterers for the home game against Bolton Wanderers yesterday and on Tuesday evening against Bristol City.

The group will also look after corporate events including Christmas parties at the stadium in Falmer in the absence of Azure Catering, who is currently in talks with its lawyers over the possibility of taking legal action against the club.

Azure, which this month won the Best Match Day Catering award at the Football Business Awards, beating Chelsea and Aston Villa, was appointed to the £93million 20,000-seater stadium in January 2011.

The team was led by Elliott Moore, from Newhaven, who trained at City College Brighton & Hove.

But Paul Barber, chief execu tive at the football club, said the catering team has not met their expectations.

He said: “As with any venue, catering represents a very important element of the experience we provide and we have made it a high priority both for our matches and for all other events at the stadium.

“Listening to our customers, we work wherever it is possible and viable to do so with locally produced products and local suppliers, while striving for the highest possible levels of service, quality, and value for money for our fans and customers at all times.

“Since the stadium’s opening, we have attempted to meet these very important aims by working closely with a catering partner, Azure.

“Despite our best efforts, many customers do not feel that these aims have been met.

“With this in mind, we have decided to engage new caterers.”

Mr Barber added the club will be working hard to minimise any inconvenience to supporters until a new long term catering contract is in place.

A spokesman for Azure Catering said: “We are disappointed our contract to supply catering services to Brighton & Hove Albion FC has come to an end, particularly as we have only recently won independent awards and recognition for the quality of our catering work at the club.

“The matter is currently in the hands of our legal advisers and therefore it is not appropriate for us to add anything more at this juncture, other than we would like to wish the team and its supporters all the best for the remainder of the season.”

Comments (33)

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5:11pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Gee Jay says...

Perhaps not the best of moves in the middle of a season.
Maybe someone knows why they pulled the plug at this time.
Perhaps not the best of moves in the middle of a season. Maybe someone knows why they pulled the plug at this time. Gee Jay
  • Score: 0

6:01pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Hove Actually says...

with the team failing to perform they had too make changes, this is the best Poyet could think of........
with the team failing to perform they had too make changes, this is the best Poyet could think of........ Hove Actually
  • Score: 0

6:03pm Sun 25 Nov 12

menowhere says...

must have been really bad to do this so suddenly especially to an award winning company.
must have been really bad to do this so suddenly especially to an award winning company. menowhere
  • Score: 0

6:09pm Sun 25 Nov 12

On_the_Level says...

Bring on a sub, i.e. Subway!
Bring on a sub, i.e. Subway! On_the_Level
  • Score: 0

6:28pm Sun 25 Nov 12

GRUMPAH says...

Azure were obviously too good for this down market mob. They wouldn't recognise class if it hit them between the eyes!!
Azure were obviously too good for this down market mob. They wouldn't recognise class if it hit them between the eyes!! GRUMPAH
  • Score: 0

6:33pm Sun 25 Nov 12

brighton1966 says...

Well not surprised my experience with just getting a pint of beer was standing in a line for at least 10 mins whilst the minimum wage staff play on phones-talk about x factor..can whoever takes over get those 12 pints at a time pullers like music festivals and make it easier for the staff to add up (remember this the calculator generation) so £4 pint and £3 a pie forget 95p's
Well not surprised my experience with just getting a pint of beer was standing in a line for at least 10 mins whilst the minimum wage staff play on phones-talk about x factor..can whoever takes over get those 12 pints at a time pullers like music festivals and make it easier for the staff to add up (remember this the calculator generation) so £4 pint and £3 a pie forget 95p's brighton1966
  • Score: 0

6:37pm Sun 25 Nov 12

richardavery says...

Actually, It is an entirely correct decision. The service this season in the part of the ground I use has been appalling - I am one of the supporters who has complained and eventually received a less than satisfactory response from Azure.
Actually, It is an entirely correct decision. The service this season in the part of the ground I use has been appalling - I am one of the supporters who has complained and eventually received a less than satisfactory response from Azure. richardavery
  • Score: 0

7:33pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Martha Gunn says...

The new contractors come with a penalty taker and regular goal scorer.
The new contractors come with a penalty taker and regular goal scorer. Martha Gunn
  • Score: 0

7:36pm Sun 25 Nov 12

rolivan says...

Not surprised, they couldn't even be bothered to answer emails.
Not surprised, they couldn't even be bothered to answer emails. rolivan
  • Score: 0

8:34pm Sun 25 Nov 12

pwlr1966 says...

Best result of the season. Appalling customer care & leadership, staff running around like headless chickens. Should be Brighton suing them!!!
Best result of the season. Appalling customer care & leadership, staff running around like headless chickens. Should be Brighton suing them!!! pwlr1966
  • Score: 0

8:48pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Neillo says...

All their food tasted of plastic...good riddance
All their food tasted of plastic...good riddance Neillo
  • Score: 0

9:09pm Sun 25 Nov 12

19frenchie87 says...

Great news west stand lower has been a joke all season all food gone by half time and any that was left I wouldn't have given to a dog !!!!!
Great news west stand lower has been a joke all season all food gone by half time and any that was left I wouldn't have given to a dog !!!!! 19frenchie87
  • Score: 0

9:10pm Sun 25 Nov 12

Ringmer Rich says...

Not surprised really, service was really slow,
Not surprised really, service was really slow, Ringmer Rich
  • Score: 0

11:11pm Sun 25 Nov 12

mictrix says...

i always got the s**ts after eating their food glad they've gone good riddance
i always got the s**ts after eating their food glad they've gone good riddance mictrix
  • Score: 0

12:47am Mon 26 Nov 12

Fight_Back says...

“We are disappointed our contract to supply catering services to Brighton & Hove Albion FC has come to an end, particularly as we have only recently won independent awards and recognition for the quality of our catering work at the club."

Yes, OK -how do they explain the long waits, for service management and the fact that their key manager, Elliot, resigned in disgust ?

There are also stories of staff not actually getting paid for what they had worked.

Thank god they were kicked out !
“We are disappointed our contract to supply catering services to Brighton & Hove Albion FC has come to an end, particularly as we have only recently won independent awards and recognition for the quality of our catering work at the club." Yes, OK -how do they explain the long waits, for service management and the fact that their key manager, Elliot, resigned in disgust ? There are also stories of staff not actually getting paid for what they had worked. Thank god they were kicked out ! Fight_Back
  • Score: 0

8:29am Mon 26 Nov 12

Old Ale Man says...

Been to functions held there on several occasoins never a problem with food or service absolutly superb.
However on the footy side with 20 odd thou supporters turning up for a pie n a pint you'd expect there to be a few whingers moaning coz there're having to queue five or six back for a pint and a pie. The new firm will not be better so expect another firm next season or may be humble pie from Mr Barber inviting the Azures catering Co back.
A hasty decision by Paul Barber who I bet never experiensed the service on offer to Joe public. Mark my words this will back fire on the club you'll see.
Been to functions held there on several occasoins never a problem with food or service absolutly superb. However on the footy side with 20 odd thou supporters turning up for a pie n a pint you'd expect there to be a few whingers moaning coz there're having to queue five or six back for a pint and a pie. The new firm will not be better so expect another firm next season or may be humble pie from Mr Barber inviting the Azures catering Co back. A hasty decision by Paul Barber who I bet never experiensed the service on offer to Joe public. Mark my words this will back fire on the club you'll see. Old Ale Man
  • Score: 0

8:50am Mon 26 Nov 12

puddinghead says...

There have been long running problems with Azure and they have steadily got worse. High prices with declining quality. I've not heard a good thing about them from 1901 club members to fans under the stands.

Functions with a few hundred people are one thing - if they can't manage those they shouldn't be in catering - but matches with 20 thousand plus are quite another.

Perhaps they agreed a deal at a price that hit their profit margins too much and have been cutting the cloth accordingly ever since.

As for the award, it means nothing when your customers think you are failing.
There have been long running problems with Azure and they have steadily got worse. High prices with declining quality. I've not heard a good thing about them from 1901 club members to fans under the stands. Functions with a few hundred people are one thing - if they can't manage those they shouldn't be in catering - but matches with 20 thousand plus are quite another. Perhaps they agreed a deal at a price that hit their profit margins too much and have been cutting the cloth accordingly ever since. As for the award, it means nothing when your customers think you are failing. puddinghead
  • Score: 0

9:26am Mon 26 Nov 12

Ballroom Blitz says...

Usual reasons I expect. Pay the staff the minimum wage, and then wonder why they don't give a stuff about how they do their job. Football is awash with money. Make sure the catering staff get some of it if you want a decent service.
Usual reasons I expect. Pay the staff the minimum wage, and then wonder why they don't give a stuff about how they do their job. Football is awash with money. Make sure the catering staff get some of it if you want a decent service. Ballroom Blitz
  • Score: 0

9:50am Mon 26 Nov 12

Tis I says...

Does this mean the burger van at the station will be back? Hope so!
Does this mean the burger van at the station will be back? Hope so! Tis I
  • Score: 0

9:51am Mon 26 Nov 12

Crystal Ball says...

I see an opportunity for a Falmer branch of the "Golden Arches"...
I see an opportunity for a Falmer branch of the "Golden Arches"... Crystal Ball
  • Score: 0

10:17am Mon 26 Nov 12

Gardenboy says...

Not before time. In the lower west stand, there was only a 50% chance of getting a pie or a pint of Harveys after standing in the queue for 10 minutes! This was either before the game or at half time. I always feel sorry for the staff as its not their fault, just poor logistics.
However, the Argus have been very slow reporting this story, as the Seagulls emails all members on Friday about the change of caterers!! Good luck to the new company, good catering is the heartbeat of the Amex.
Not before time. In the lower west stand, there was only a 50% chance of getting a pie or a pint of Harveys after standing in the queue for 10 minutes! This was either before the game or at half time. I always feel sorry for the staff as its not their fault, just poor logistics. However, the Argus have been very slow reporting this story, as the Seagulls emails all members on Friday about the change of caterers!! Good luck to the new company, good catering is the heartbeat of the Amex. Gardenboy
  • Score: 0

11:28am Mon 26 Nov 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

A contractor or service provider is just a name which is only any good if the staff are any good.
Most companies, particulalry in the food industry, are having a tough time as the cost of food has rocketed therefore, the only way to squeeze a profit is to employ minimum wage staff.
It will be interesting to see if a new contractor raises prices or just wheels in another load of low paid/poorly trained staff.
A contractor or service provider is just a name which is only any good if the staff are any good. Most companies, particulalry in the food industry, are having a tough time as the cost of food has rocketed therefore, the only way to squeeze a profit is to employ minimum wage staff. It will be interesting to see if a new contractor raises prices or just wheels in another load of low paid/poorly trained staff. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Mon 26 Nov 12

All 9 of me says...

cheaper northern pies ... we eat the poor to feed the west.
cheaper northern pies ... we eat the poor to feed the west. All 9 of me
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Mon 26 Nov 12

bluemonday says...

welcome to football match catering,do you seriously think anybody else will do a better job,and it always amazes me how people can't go 3hrs without something to eat,maybe you should try eating before you leave the house
welcome to football match catering,do you seriously think anybody else will do a better job,and it always amazes me how people can't go 3hrs without something to eat,maybe you should try eating before you leave the house bluemonday
  • Score: 0

2:58pm Mon 26 Nov 12

martyt says...

Gee Jay wrote:
Perhaps not the best of moves in the middle of a season.
Maybe someone knows why they pulled the plug at this time.
because the food was rank and very over priced
[quote][p][bold]Gee Jay[/bold] wrote: Perhaps not the best of moves in the middle of a season. Maybe someone knows why they pulled the plug at this time.[/p][/quote]because the food was rank and very over priced martyt
  • Score: 0

3:01pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Brightonscouse2 says...

mictrix wrote:
i always got the s**ts after eating their food glad they've gone good riddance
But you kept eating their food. Why???
[quote][p][bold]mictrix[/bold] wrote: i always got the s**ts after eating their food glad they've gone good riddance[/p][/quote]But you kept eating their food. Why??? Brightonscouse2
  • Score: 0

3:02pm Mon 26 Nov 12

martyt says...

Tis I wrote:
Does this mean the burger van at the station will be back? Hope so!
well at least there food was far better
[quote][p][bold]Tis I[/bold] wrote: Does this mean the burger van at the station will be back? Hope so![/p][/quote]well at least there food was far better martyt
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Mon 26 Nov 12

VegasSeagull says...

Speaking from my experiences here in the USA and comparing them to the service levels I received at the Amex last year, the club has done the right thing.

It is not unusual to be at a Naz-Car event here with 160,000 people attending or other sporting events with maybe 80 to a 100,000 in attendance and the service is way better than at the Amex. 50% of what gets sold at these events comes to you in your seat rather than you having to get in line, Brighton should consider this for the future.
Speaking from my experiences here in the USA and comparing them to the service levels I received at the Amex last year, the club has done the right thing. It is not unusual to be at a Naz-Car event here with 160,000 people attending or other sporting events with maybe 80 to a 100,000 in attendance and the service is way better than at the Amex. 50% of what gets sold at these events comes to you in your seat rather than you having to get in line, Brighton should consider this for the future. VegasSeagull
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Mon 26 Nov 12

JaseBHA says...

That Azure were award winners suggests either the paucity of quality of other caterers, or brilliant PR on the part of them and the club. Azure appeared to do nothing to shorten queuing times, failed entirely to respond to comments or complains from many of us, frequently gave customers food other than what they'd ordered and, worst of all, NONE of their staff were able to tell you what was actually in what they were selling. Any new caterer cannot, surely, do any worse.
That Azure were award winners suggests either the paucity of quality of other caterers, or brilliant PR on the part of them and the club. Azure appeared to do nothing to shorten queuing times, failed entirely to respond to comments or complains from many of us, frequently gave customers food other than what they'd ordered and, worst of all, NONE of their staff were able to tell you what was actually in what they were selling. Any new caterer cannot, surely, do any worse. JaseBHA
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Cheese Rolls says...

Why can't we have chips???
Why can't we have chips??? Cheese Rolls
  • Score: 0

6:11pm Mon 26 Nov 12

WoodingdeanDS says...

I've wondered about the lack of chips on offer. My conclusion is they just make a mess on the floor with the added hazard of slips.

Queues are a problem. From observation it's quicker to serve beer / cold drinks and food - both are lined up ready. The problem is hot drinks. The answer is to have dedicated queues, or at least two or three cold drink + food only queues per section.
I've wondered about the lack of chips on offer. My conclusion is they just make a mess on the floor with the added hazard of slips. Queues are a problem. From observation it's quicker to serve beer / cold drinks and food - both are lined up ready. The problem is hot drinks. The answer is to have dedicated queues, or at least two or three cold drink + food only queues per section. WoodingdeanDS
  • Score: 0

6:49pm Mon 26 Nov 12

jay316 says...

They should never appoint one firm to do all catering.. would make sense to have several companies, 1 for corporate, 1 for match days etc...

The food was reportedly very bad..
They should never appoint one firm to do all catering.. would make sense to have several companies, 1 for corporate, 1 for match days etc... The food was reportedly very bad.. jay316
  • Score: 0

10:26pm Mon 26 Nov 12

mutuality says...

http://www.azurecate
ring.co.uk/stadia-ve
nues/

I see that they are also contracted as catering providers at Nott'm Forest too so supporters may get the opportunity to sample their food again!

Does anyone know if they did vegan/vegetarian pies?
http://www.azurecate ring.co.uk/stadia-ve nues/ I see that they are also contracted as catering providers at Nott'm Forest too so supporters may get the opportunity to sample their food again! Does anyone know if they did vegan/vegetarian pies? mutuality
  • Score: 0

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