Public and Event Food Services Contract

Public and Event Food Services Contract

The proposed food services will include an all-day Café, with indoor and potentially outdoor seating, spaces for meetings and events, both in The Palace Theatre and the National Civil War Centre.


Provision of Public and Event Food Services at National Civil War Centre and Newark Palace Theatre
Awarding body Newark and Sherwood District Council

EST. START DATE: 02/02/2015
EST. END DATE: 30/04/2015


Newark & Sherwood District Council is creating a centre of national significance, encompassing the new £5.4m National Civil War Centre, the only one of its kind in the UK, the much loved Palace Theatre, an architectural gem from the 1920’s and the relocation of the Tourist Information Centre (TIC). This hub will become a major part of the Council’s attract & disperse marketing strategy for both the town of Newark and the surrounding district.

The activities of the Palace Theatre and the National Civil War Centre will be complementary; the theatre’s busy times are during the evening whilst the National Civil War Centre will be open during the day.


A food service operation to support all three entities, the National Civil War Centre, Palace Theatre and the TIC, is a key part of the overall strategy. A Café will animate the venue, draw people in to use the facilities and provide a revenue stream to support the overheads of all three areas.

The proposed food services will include an all-day Café, with indoor and potentially outdoor seating, spaces for meetings and events, both in The Palace Theatre and the National Civil War Centre.

It is estimated that over 140,000 visitors will visit the facility in the first full trading year (2016/17), rising to over 170,000 in year 3 (2018/19).

The proposed facilities will include;

– Major investment in facilities
– 55/60 seat café bar
– Continental style courtyard area
– New bar facilities in the Palace Theatre
– Event and meeting space in the National Civil War Centre, including the unique Tudor Hall with potential to use the exhibition galleries
– The Palace Theatre available for hire, for conferences, meetings, product launches etc.
– New purpose built 1st floor kitchen

Newark & Sherwood District Council are seeking to initially engage with suitably qualified caterers, who will provide food services to meet the needs of the general public, visitors, guests and corporate clients, and sell the venues meeting and events spaces. The Council is embarking on a soft market testing exercise to better understand what the market could offer. This will be followed by a full tender exercise, commencing in the first quarter of next year, to select an appropriately experienced caterer.

The successful caterer will operate the following:

– Café Bar in the Newark Palace Theatre
– Exclusive food services for all events, meetings, dinners, etc. in both the Newark Palace Theatre and the National Civil War Centre
– Food and bar services in the Newark Palace Theatre, for all performances, for visitors to the National Civil War Centre and the Tourist Information Centre and visitors enjoying the attractions of Newark
– Market and sell the events and meeting spaces

The caterer will have full and exclusive use of the purpose built 1st floor kitchen and all ancillary storage and back of house areas.


Visitor numbers to the National Civil War Centre are projected to be 54,810 in 2016/17 (the first full trading year), rising to over 74,000 in 2018/19. It is expected that the TIC will attract some 20,000 visitors a year and audience projections for the Palace Theatre are forecast to be over 50,000 in Year 1, rising to over 55,000 in Year 3. We have also taken into account usage of the café by members of the general public; we have projected this to be in the region of 18,000-20,000 per annum.
Market research activities have been in two areas, public café and meetings & events. The research, review and recommendations for the provision of meetings, receptions and potentially social events at the National Civil War Centre and Newark Palace Theatre has been carried out by Onset Solutions. Onset Solutions are conference and events research specialists.


The town centre of Newark supports a large number of cafés and casual eating establishments, both major chains such as Costa and independently operated cafés; in addition there are a number of pubs and more formal dining alternatives. On market days there are a number of market stalls with food and beverage options.

Cafés include: Lily’s, Charles 1st Coffee House, Feeling Peckish, Gannets Health Food Café, Starbucks, The Old Bakery, Costa, Greggs, The Trivet, Secret Garden and Café Amore.

During the research, it was interesting to note that apart from Costa, which is open until 19:30, most cafés are closed after 17:30. The Café in the Palace Theatre will be open to serve the needs of theatre goers and should attract members of the public seeking a coffee; there may well be a demand to remain open into the evening even when the theatre is dark.

This plethora of cafés in the town centre demonstrates the local demand for casual eating places whilst setting down markers for new cafés (such as the Palace Theatre and National Civil War Centre) in terms of quality and ambience. The venues are close to two town centre car parks, Mount St School and Appleton Gate car park, whilst not large they are very close and a valuable resource for those visiting the venues by car given the ease of access. Car parking proximity, although a charge, assists café use, especially if the National Civil War Centre has a membership scheme that encourages repeat visits.

The internal Café space and the continental style courtyard should allow room for approximately 80 covers. It is unlikely the external space will be used in the winter months so seating capacity will be reduced to around 55 in the months of September to April.


The National Civil War Centre is scheduled to open in April 2015. This will entail the refurbishment of existing historical buildings and the creation of the Civil War and Newark Galleries. Within these buildings is the Tudor Hall and associated annex rooms. The report completed by Onset Solutions focuses on the potential use of the spaces, within both the National Civil War Centre and the Palace Theatre for external hire and income generation outside of the income generated from visitors to the Museum.


In consideration of the context and offer of the Museum, Tudor Hall, Galleries and Café Bar, and Newark as a location, the market sectors below present the greater opportunities and reflect the future target marketing for the offer. Within the full report and appendix these market sectors are expanded upon and consideration is given as to why these are presented. This information will be made available to caterers interested in this opportunity.


The Tudor Hall would be an ideal venue for small/medium wedding receptions. We do not foresee the appeal within the Asian marketing as the number of guests will be in excess of the capacity of the Tudor Hall. A section of the outside space and courtyard could be made available for photographs. Estimated financial projections illustrate the number of wedding opportunities to be 24 per year: 14 prime time Fridays/Saturdays during the summer, the remainder on shoulder days and during the off-peak season.


Special interest groups, art, architecture, heritage etc. together with pre-booked coach parties provide a reliable and regular income stream with a low cost and a good margin. A package with a catering element, lunch or afternoon tea, is required to develop this marketing proposition.


It may be possible to offer corporate day meetings in the Tudor Hall if the area can be made exclusive use. Drinks receptions and evening dinners/parties will have greater appeal as the offer could be extended to include a private tour of the museum or use of the galleries.


The Café Bar food and drink offer should be such that it enhances the reputation of the venue and is at least as good as that provided at similar venues of national standing such as Hepworth Wakefield, Burghley House and Nottingham Contemporary and the offers available locally.

It is envisaged that the Café operation will be self-service, offering an all-day menu: morning goods pastries and a range of take away items, at lunch times, hot dishes such as a daily soup choice, selection of hot pies and savoury tarts and a daily changing hot choice such as pasta, hotpots etc.

The Café Bar general opening times are yet to be agreed but likely to be 08:30 – 18:00 and when the Palace Theatre is open.

The menu should feature homemade items, tray bakes, cakes and home-baked scones, using wherever possible locally-sourced ingredients to take advantage of the region’s vibrant food scene.

Dependent upon the finally agreed contractual arrangements the council would be interested in any proposals the caterer may have regarding investment into the facilities.


2016/17 2017/18 2018/19

The National Civil War Centre 54,810 64,000 74,240

Palace Theatre 50,744 52,963 55,254

Tourist Information Centre 20,000 21,600 23,320

General Public 18,000 18,900 19,845

Total 143,554 157,463 172,659


The Council are seeking initial, outline responses from interested food service contractors. Your response should cover, but not be limited to, the following areas:

– A brief (max. 2-page A4) résumé of your organisation and your experience and details of any similar operations that you currently operate.
– Provide an overview of how you would operate the food services for the café bar, the Palace Theatre and for meetings and events. Provide details of any off-site production facilities you may have and how you would propose to use these.
– What skills and experience you have of marketing and selling event and meetings spaces. Please detail, your sales team structure.
– Please provide an overview of a proposed staffing structure to operate the Café Bar and how you would employ additional staff for meetings and events.
– Provide an outline revenue forecast for the Café and Palace Theatre Bars and your forecasts for meeting and events business. Please also provide your proposed commission % return to the Council. Please note, we are only seeking your initial views at this stage and we understand that any revenue and commission proposals will require further information and clarification.
– We would welcome your comments regarding the proposed operation of the food services and any suggestions or recommendations you may have.


Soft Market Testing

– Issue of invitation to soft market test
– Open day for all interested contractors to view the location and attend a briefing meeting: 3 November 2014.
– Responses to request for soft market testing returned by e mail to before 12.00 noon on 17 November 2014.

Following the soft market testing, a formal tender exercise will be conducted in early February 2015.


The new Café Bar and kitchen facilities are scheduled for completion in October/November 2015.
The successful caterer will have the opportunity to become involved in the final stages of design and fit-out. It is unlikely, however, that any major changes will be possible.

Additional information

Contract Type One off
Procurement Process Expressions of Interest
Category Catering,
CPV codes 55000000,
Suitable for SME YES


10 November 2014

about 1 month


17 November 2014

about 1 month


Newark & Sherwood District Council
Ian Doughty
Mobile: 07730-301250

This contract is being managed byNewark and Sherwood District Council . To request documentation