25/10/2005 - 22:00

Ogden IFC’s theatrical touch just the ticket

25/10/2005 - 22:00

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An ongoing commitment by Ogden International Facilities Corporation to quality service and venues with a penchant for the theatrical was rewarded recently at the Restaurant and Catering Australia Awards for Excellence.

Ogden IFC’s theatrical touch just the ticket

An ongoing commitment by Ogden International Facilities Corporation to quality service and venues with a penchant for the theatrical was rewarded recently at the Restaurant and Catering Australia Awards for Excellence.

At the awards, held in Melbourne, Ogden IFC’s Perth food and beverage division won two of the most coveted awards – the National Venue Caterer of the Year award and the prestigious Caterer of the Year award.

Ogden was recognised ahead of a top-quality field of finalists, including the new Gold Coast Convention Centre, Sydney Olympic Park, Zest Catering, and Melbourne’s Olympic Park.

Ogden IFC competed with 2,000 other establishments for the caterer of the year award, with the result the culmination of judging 238 finalists from seven states in 34 categories.

As the only structurally based national awards governed by national body, the Restaurant and Catering Awards represent top honours for restaurateurs and caterers in Australia.

“From an industry point of view, it is the one to win,” Ogden IFC food and beverage division general manager Michael Scott told Gusto.

The business of catering in Australia has intensified in recent years, as evidenced by shrinking profit margins and intense competition among new companies. And though it may only have catered to functions in WA for the past five years, Ogden IFC now controls some of the most sought-after locations in the state.

Undoubtedly the most visually impressive of these is the Perth Concert Hall. The 1,700-seat complex has been the stage for numerous memorable performances in its lifetime, but also serves as the most dramatic and atmospheric of catering backdrops.

“Of course we strive very hard to use the unique sides of our venues, their theatrical aspects,” Mr Scott says.

“Some of our corporate clients are bored of the boardrooms and we want to offer them something completely different.”

Undoubtedly one of these differences is the opportunity to enjoy a sit-down function on the stage of the Concert Hall itself. As Jeni Thomason, event sales manager of Ogden IFC explains, organising functions such as this has become a popular and unique part of entertaining at the venue.

It’s a similar situation at His Majesty’s Theatre – another Ogden-catered facility – where functions can be arranged on stage amid themed surroundings while guests look out over the auditorium.

But while it is well and truly a boom time for the catering industry, that doesn’t make it any easier to clear a profit.

Ogden IFC stages between 10 and 20 show-related small functions each week for anywhere from 10 to 150 people.

So time’s always at a premium when catering for the larger functions, for 700 people upwards, usually held between shows. The group does around 80 of these events each year with that number expected to grow.

But if feeding all of these people sounds like an impossible task that’s not how group executive chef Michael Fitzgerald sees it.

For most restaurant and catering chefs the phrase ‘satellite kitchen’ sounds like science fiction, but these off-site, temporary kitchen headquarters are the bread and butter of big number corporate catering.

Overseeing all of Ogden IFC’s food and beverage needs across its venues in Perth, Mr Fitzgerald believes the secret to quality catering is attracting and retaining dedicated chefs and staff.

And while he enjoys the challenge of individualising his food to the themed surroundings at the Concert Hall and His Majesty’s, Mr Fitzgerald’s favourite functions are those involving the three-tiered stages in the dramatic environments.

In Perth, Ogden IFC also caters for the Government House Boardroom, the Playhouse Theatre and the Subiaco Theatre Centre. Nationally the group controls more than $1.6 billion of assets under management, has a managed capital maintenance budget of $8 million and delivered economic impact estimated at over $300 million.

 “But the reason I think we excel is because we take a boutique approach to catering. We don’t aim to be so big, it’s about delivery,” Mr Fitzgerald says.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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