Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) have developed a strategic five-year road map to enhance its award-winning food and beverage offering in response to conference trends, greater event diversity and an increased need for retail offerings.
MCEC’s food and beverage generates a significant 40 per cent of the venue’s revenue and the new strategy focuses on the customer to offer them even more flexibility around catering and retail options.
MCEC Director of Food and Beverage Marc van der Meer said: “We want MCEC’s food offering to reflect Melbourne’s reputation as one of the greatest culinary cities in the world and importantly meet the growing needs of our customers and the industry.
“In developing our five year strategy we’ve looked closely at food and beverage trends as a whole, and within business events specifically, including consumer behaviours, budgets, lifestyle and more.”
Recent market research undertaken by MCEC showed a number of key industry findings including:
- A growing trend in either reducing or cutting out pre-packaged international conference catering.
- Consumers driving the need for locally sourced produce, supporting local suppliers and reducing carbon footprint.
- Reduced budgets yet there is an increase in demand for more interactive, interesting food experiences.
- An increase in dietary requirements and lifestyle choices putting extra demand on menu creation and food production.
- ‘Fashionable’ food culture has become an important part of the customer experience.
- Catering revenues are decreasing while retail revenues are experiencing growth.
“In response to these findings MCEC has embarked on a ‘retail revolution’ which includes the creation of a Retail Catering Guide explaining MCEC’s diverse retail offering including the venue’s cafés, fixed kiosks and 10 pop-up outlets,” van der Meer added.
“It also includes the planned refurbishment of MCEC’s two on-site cafes to align with Melbourne’s popular café scene.”
In addition MCEC has launched a revised Menu Planning Guide with more than 20 per cent of its catering menu items newly developed or recreated based on current food trends and lifestyle preferences, including a new High Tea concept and MCEC’s live cooking station menus.
“We’re known for our award-winning catering, so we want to ensure our food brand Made represents our entire food offering across catering and retail. These guides help continue to tell our story of sourcing fresh, seasonal produce locally and creating food in-house, thanks to our skilled team of chefs,” van der Meer said.
Both new retail catering and catering offerings are being showcased during the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) with Globe Restaurant Two featuring Made retail pop-up outlets ‘Burgers and Bites’, ‘From the Streets’ and ‘Provincial Kitchen’.
MCEC are offering a complimentary taste of items from their new Menu Planning Guide at the Melbourne stand (E702) on the show floor.