With a focus on championing fresh seasonal ingredients from local Sussex producers and an eclectic collection of homemade traditional and contemporary dishes, Centerplate – Hasting Pier’s newly-appointed, award-winning catering and hospitality partner – aims to make the food offering a major attraction at the historic leisure facility which will be officially opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 21 after being virtually destroyed by fire in 2010.
‘Great food with a touch of imagination’ will be at the heart of all of the Centerplate menus created for the members of the public, conference delegates and private event guests who will be visiting the unique bar/restaurant, café, roof terrace and function areas being established on the iconic Sussex landmark which originally opened in 1872.
The broad range of food on offer has been developed to cater for all tastes from the ‘Bucket & Spade Club’ children’s menu and line caught cod and chips for visitors looking for traditional seaside fayre, to dishes such as cider cured sea trout, Earl Grey tea smoked Channel mackerel and Weald mushroom ragout aimed at making Hastings Pier a destination venue for those seeking exciting new culinary experiences. Grazing-themed menus will also be available offering tapas-style dining aimed at the younger generation of consumers. Local suppliers include Sussex Ice Cream; Harveys Brewery – which has worked with Centerplate to create a new beer 1872 which will be exclusively available at Hastings Pier – and Nyetimber Vineyard.
Recognising the important contribution catering makes towards the visitor experience at the venue, Hastings Pier Charity has chosen to collaborate with Centerplate in a long-term partnership to develop and manage the pier’s catering and hospitality services. Centerplate’s Hospitality Solutions Group (HSG) division is also providing strategic expertise and has worked with the Hastings Pier team on the design concepts and branding of each of the dining areas.
As well as providing the retail catering services for day visitors and scheduled events such as outdoor cinema screenings and live music concerts, night sky watching, circuses and art installations to be held at the venue, Centerplate will also be responsible for developing and building conference and events business for Hastings Pier
Centerplate – which is already establishing a presence in Sussex through its appointment as the catering partner at British Airways i360 in Brighton due to open this summer – will also be playing a leading role in forging strong links with the local community and local college and training establishments, including Sussex Coast College at Hastings. A dedicated apprenticeship scheme will offer young people the opportunity to develop a career in the catering industry, and Centerplate will also provide training and work experience opportunities under the tutelage of its operations team at Hastings Pier.
Centerplate is recruiting a team of full-time staff including a general manager, head chef and event sales manager to run the catering operations at Hastings Pier, and Centerplate will also train a team of regular temporary staff to provide additional support for conferences and events.
“We’re delighted Centerplate have taken up the F&B opportunity at the new pier. They have a world-class reputation and have really understood the specific needs of Hastings Pier, not simply for visitors to the town but for the locals as well. The pier will become a year round attraction as well as a great venue for private parties, official functions, business meetings and local celebrations. Centerplate has embraced the opportunity and has the expertise and skills to help make the pier the financial success the town needs it to be,” said Hastings Pier Charity CEO, Simon Opie.
Matthew Nicholson, Centerplate’s Operations Director – South, adds: “The very essence of visitor catering is enhancing the customer experience and we want food to be one of the focal points for those visiting Hastings Pier – whether they are enjoying a family day out, attending a conference or celebrating a special occasion.
“The facilities and fabulous calendar of events Hastings Pier will be playing host to will undoubtedly attract a huge range of visitors and guests; our challenge is to ensure that we really do cater for all tastes. Our aim is to make food an exciting and integral part of the Hastings Pier experience from hearty breakfasts, a welcoming morning coffee, tempting lunches and afternoon teas through to taste-bud tantalising dinners which will attract diners seeking out new flavour combinations and experiences. We also want the food at Hastings Pier to showcase and celebrate the excellent produce that Sussex has to offer.
“We believe it’s also important to acknowledge and reflect the deep historic roots of the pier and the central role it plays in the town by engaging with the community and encouraging them to make full use of this fantastic venue and all that it has to offer.”