Heritage Portfolio, the Edinburgh-based bespoke event caterers, have won the race to a prestigious ten-year contract at popular Scottish destination Perth Racecourse.
Effective from February 2019, the announcement follows an extremely competitive tender process after which Perth committed to introduce a more niche and tailored catering provision for its race days and busy events programme.
The UK’s northernmost racecourse, situated on the stunning Scone Palace grounds, Perth selected Heritage Portfolio after a lengthy review of customer catering experience, driven by the arrival of Hazel Peplinski as new Chief Executive three years ago. The new arrangement launches ahead of Perth’s 2019 season, which includes 15 race meetings running from April to September as well as a wider and burgeoning events, conference and wedding business, all supported by the adjoining Lodge at Perth Racecourse hotel.
Heritage Portfolio recently became part of the Sodexo group following Sodexo’s acquisition last year. Sodexo has been the catering provider at Perth since 2005 and shall now make way for their own recently acquired subsidiary ensuring an easy transition to Heritage Portfolio prior to Perth’s upcoming racing season.
Hazel Peplinski, Perth Racecourse Chief Executive, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the Heritage Portfolio team to Perth as our catering partners in time for the 2019 season. The tender process was extremely hard fought and was handled sensitively following Sodexo’s purchase of Heritage Portfolio during the negotiation.
“What remains clear however is that this is a strategic and opportunist choice by Perth; we’re confident it is a winning move for our on-site customer experience which has remained our priority throughout. The Heritage Portfolio team shone throughout the whole process, the energy and flair being introduced during the mobilisation phase is so refreshing. I believe the Racecourse is now very well placed to take the quantum leap forward it deserves in an increasingly discerning marketplace.
“Heritage Portfolio has demonstrated a natural focus to align with our brand and adopt our culture, while their partnerships with other local and Scottish producers sits perfectly with our own ethos. The aim of the partnership is clear – Heritage Portfolio will provide an enhanced customer experience to match enhanced expectations, creating an exponential lift in quality and service throughout the racecourse.”
Operated by co-founder Mark Miller, Heritage Portfolio has built an enviable reputation for laser-like customer focus, creating bespoke experiences specific to each venue. The company has established a reputation for catering excellence at Musselburgh Racecourse, nearby Scone Palace and the new V&A Museum in Dundee. While there will be some synergies and learnings from the catering provided at Musselburgh, Perth will benefit from an individual formula tailored for its own needs.
Heritage Portfolio’s Mark Miller said: “We are delighted to be the new catering partner with Perth Racecourse. We pride ourselves in working with the UK’s most prestigious venues and we’re chomping at the bit to launch the new season with Perth Racecourse.
“The customer experience is something that we take very seriously, so whether a visitor is enjoying a day at the races or even their wedding we will ensure that the catering and hospitality element of their day is one which they will never forget. Hazel Peplinski and the team are clearly very passionate about the Racecourse and we can see why; it’s a spectacular venue within beautiful surroundings that deserves the care and attention of team members who are proud to share it with the racing and events community – this is why we are so excited to be a part of the Racecourse’s journey.”
The Racecourse’s conference and events business has seen a welcome boost in trade since the opening of The Lodge at Perth Racecourse hotel and Heritage Portfolio is looking to boost this diversification still further. In partnership with Perth, Heritage Portfolio has committed to invest in the quality of service, create a more niche and bespoke experience and to improve bar waiting times on racedays. Racegoers are in for a treat this season as they will notice the enhancements to the food offering. Alongside the hospitality offering and trackside bars will be a gastro restaurant, a speciality lighter bite restaurant, Champagne Bar and café serving fresh, seasonal and delicious food to fuel a fantastic day at the races.
Hazel added: “It is essential that racegoers are given an affordable, quality choice throughout our enclosures and that the service standard is prompt and courteous. The bespoke qualities of Heritage Portfolio – their scale, nimbleness and passion to create the right fit – means they understand the raison d’etre of each of their venues. In recent weeks Heritage Portfolio has already got under the skin of what makes Perth Racecourse tick and provided a welcome boost of energy, virtuosity and aptitude to our operation.
“Advance sales are well ahead for this time of year and we also have a crazy busy book of conference and events this spring. Heritage Portfolio is landing at Perth at the full gallop, their mobilisation process is well under way and the early signs suggest this new partnership will make for a very exciting year. Perth Racecourse has tremendous potential and I believe in Heritage Portfolio we have found a partner that can help us to achieve our goals – it’s all to play for.”
For more information on upcoming events at Perth Racecourse visit www.perth-races.co.uk.