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Fine food and football: two essential ingredients of a balanced, fulfilled existence. Both were available in abundance to guests of Delaware North Companies at their suite at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night, although at very different levels of quality. The Moodie Report was fortunate enough to be among guests of the ambitious F&B operator to see the English national football team play Montenegro on October 12, at the stadium commonly regarded as the home of the sport. Rarely can it have witnessed a greater disparity between the quality of the hospitality and that of the football. In thanking Delaware for the former, we won’t hold them responsible for the latter.
As readers of the Moodie Blog may recall from my colleague Dermot Davitt’s entry in August, Delaware North runs the entire catering and hospitality operation at Wembley Stadium, from hot dogs and chicken tikka pies to caviar and foie gras. The company has extensive operations at sports and travel locations throughout North America and Australasia, and recently signed key concession deals with airport operator BAA at London Heathrow and Edinburgh airports, and with Global Infrastructure Partners at London Gatwick. In addition to Wembley, Delaware North also runs catering at Derby’s Pride Park and at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal FC and scene of the home team’s recent humbling at the hands of Champions’ League hopefuls West Bromwich Albion.
Certainly the quality of the hospitality at Wembley suggests that Delaware North is a more than credible contender for a greater slice of the F&B pie at airports. If their bread and butter pudding can divert attention from England’s pitiful lack of creativity, it ought to make the average traveller’s experience a happier one too.
The Moodie Report’s last encounter with Delaware North Business Development & Marketing Director Mia Manson-Bishop at Wembley saw Mia manage to catch up with the fastest man on Earth, Usain Bolt. How the England team could have done with some of his speed. But regardless of the elements outside their control, Mia, Delaware North Companies chairman Dennis Szefel and UK Managing Director Simon Dobson were the perfect hosts, and we look forward to tracking the company’s development in the months and years ahead.
In the meantime, any chance of sending some of that bread and butter pudding to The Hawthorns? It would make a change from the usual stodge (on and off the field).
Finally, as this photo illustrates, the trip to Wembley also gave The Moodie Report Online Content Editor Matt Willey an opportunity to indulge in some misty-eyed nostalgia over his beloved Sheffield Wednesday’s last Cup Final, back in 1993. Them were the days, as they say in Yorkshire.