Outgoing firm in charge of £3m abbey café in Northampton failed on the 'local' brief...and charged too much

The trust in charge of Delapré Abbey parted ways with its café caterer because the national firm were not "really fulfilling the brief", a manager there has confirmed.

Friday, 6th October 2017, 11:09 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:23 am
The Conservatory Cafe has been the source of mixed reviews since opening in April

Earlier this week the Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust (DAPT) severed its £3 million contract with Amadeus, the Birmingham-based firm in charge of food and drink at venues such as the NEC and Cadbury World.

But the revamped café at the attraction, which opened to a fanfare in April, has not been the hit many would have hoped.

Reviews have been mixed and several customers have complained about the pricing.

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Tom Hewer.

But event manager at Delapre Abbey Amanda Nicols said the decision to end the contract was a "mutual agreement" between the trust and the company.

She said: "We wanted the produce to be local and more than that, we wanted everything to be local.

"We wanted the organisation to be local, the staff to be local. Bringing this back to Northampton is what the cafe' is all about.

"They (Amadeus) weren't really fulfilling that brief."

Tom Hewer.

The contract is set to be taken over by Northampton-based Tom Hewer Catering, the team behind the ‘Franks’ hamburger restaurants and Restaurant Hibiscus, which is the new fine dining venue at the Royal and Derngate.

The company use only local suppliers for food, beers, wines and spirits and also runs its own butchers and bakery.

The trust has confirmed it will be reviewing pricing at the venue following "feedback received."

Website Trip Advisor has seen the Conservatory Cafe' reviewed several times since April, with many people highlighting steep prices as a reason not to return.

One reviewer said: "To pay almost £10 for a bowl of soup and a sandwich is not on. This beats city prices. Lovely looking cafe but disappointed with costs."