Well-heeled fans in for top Kiwi fare

By Owen Hembry

Austin's will serve food for up to 3000 people at each of the 11 World Cup matches to be held at Eden Park. Photo / Dean Purcell
Austin's will serve food for up to 3000 people at each of the 11 World Cup matches to be held at Eden Park. Photo / Dean Purcell

An Auckland company has won the contract to provide four-course fine dining to well-heeled corporate fans at the hospitality flagship of the Rugby World Cup.

Austin's Food Design Events of Mt Eden has been appointed caterer for the Eden Park Pavilion. Construction of the pavilion is due to start at the end of this month and will cost about $7 million.

Austin's will serve food at the 11 Eden Park matches for up to 3000 hungry fans a match in six restaurants.

Co-owner and director Alex Weatherhead said the contract was one of the biggest for the company.

"I think we're probably about a week or two away from deciding on the exact dishes for every match," Weatherhead said.

"Cobus Klopper, our head chef, [aims] to showcase quality New Zealand ingredients, branded products and offer something a little bit special for the guests, especially around the big matches."

Rugby Travel & Hospitality head of operations Claire Martin said four companies had been short-listed.

Food prepared for guests at the pavilion would include about 650kg of Hawkes Bay lamb, more than 1.5 tonnes of New Zealand beef and 6 tonnes of boutique Kiwi cheeses.

The pavilion will have four kitchens and more than 300 waiting staff will be needed for the semifinals and the final.

Britain-based Rugby Travel & Hospitality has the exclusive global travel and hospitality rights and has formed a New Zealand company for the tournament.

More than 15,000 tickets have been sold for the pavilion, with 50,000 hospitality packages expected to be sold nationwide.

Hospitality packages were focused mainly on New Zealand and Australia and Rugby Travel & Hospitality had appointed a global network of 20 agents who had sold about 110,000 packages.

Since being released in February, more than 4500 lower priced hospitality packages, which include a stand-up meal, have been sold.

Operations director David White said the organisation found there were two distinct markets - one for corporates and another for individuals, rugby fans and small businesses.

"What we found is a lot of the rugby fans that have taken up this [lower priced] offer are the people that have missed out on the ballot," White said.

"I guess that opened our eyes and like any business we wanted to be flexible and move on our feet and we've adapted to the market."

SHOPPING LIST

What Austin's Food Design will need to cater for the Eden Park Pavilion:

* 650kg of Hawkes Bay lamb.

* 1.5 tonnes of New Zealand beef.

* 6 tonnes of boutique Kiwi cheeses.

* 300 waiting staff for semis and final.

* 70 kitchen and back-of-house staff.

- NZ Herald

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