City sign six-figure deal for revamp of Gate food facilities
BRISTOL City has signed a deal worth hundreds of thousands of pounds which will see all of the main bars and food kiosks at Ashton Gate refurbished.
The club says the investment is being made because it will be at least three years before they can move to their proposed new 30,000-seater stadium at Ashton Vale.
The main hospitality area, the Dolman suite, is in line for a major revamp along with 16 other kiosks dotted around the ground.
The revamp is part of a three- year deal that the club has signed with Lindley Venue Catering – a firm which specialises in offering catering at sports stadium.
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The firm, which has similar deals in place with Premiership clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City, will fund the improvements as part of the deal.
The Robins have been working hard to attract supporters to the ground following a disappointing season for the club on the pitch.
Despite the struggle to avoid relegation last season the Championship side have still sold 9,000 season tickets for next year and expect to equal last season's sales figures.
The club is delighted with the figures as most league sides across the UK are expecting to drop by around 16 per cent as a result of the tough economic times.
Kevin Smith, City's commercial director, said: "I think there is acceptance that the offering for supporters is not what it could be. This is not about anything apart from providing the best service for our supporters.
"There is an acceptance that because we have been concentrating on the new stadium for the last four or five years so the focus has been on that to the detriment of Ashton Gate.
"It will be at least three years before we can move to Ashton Vale so we are planning for the short term. What we want to do is provide a quality environment and a quality offering for our supporters to enjoy."
The improvements will see branded kiosks replace the current stalls. The new outlets include Flaming Good Burger, Frank's Original New York Streetdogs and The Pie Factory.
Chief executive Guy Price said: "As part of a renewed catering deal, we wanted Lindley Catering to look at ways of improving the catering facilities for our supporters. I want to make sure that we work continuously to improve the facilities and the value that we offer to supporters, staring with this coming season. I am delighted, looking at Lindley's plans, that they've gone above and beyond what was asked of them.
"Not only will this new deal deliver great value back to fans, but we have worked hard with Lindley to reduce prices around the ground too.
"At a time when money is tight for everyone, improvements to facilities and a reduction in prices will deliver even better value for supporters from next season onwards. Ashton Gate is already a leading venue in the South West. These improvements will make for an even better supporter experience, offering, the best possible value for money ahead of our new campaign."
Lindley Group chief executive Adam Elliott said: "Stadium public catering has long been Lindley's core business and, with our substantial experience in this marketplace, we believe that we are in the best position to lead the field when it comes to enhancing the food experience of sports fans around the country.
"The quality and innovation that we have seen in branded retail food outlets on the high street, in mainstream visitor attractions and within other leisure venues hasn't, until now, been evident in sports stadia.
"The aim of our new food service retail brands is to raise the bar in terms of quality and customer service."