London 2012 will be the largest peacetime catering operation the world has ever seen, which is no mean feat for the UK's caterers.
Olympic organiser Locog revealed the ten caterers contracted to work in the Olympic Park in July 2011. One of the largest went to Amadeus, the NEC Group's catering arm.
Amadeus will feed around 100,000 people per day when it caters on the north side of the park, which is home to venues like the Velodrome and Basketball Arena. Sodexo Prestige will cater at the Olympic Park South, where the hospitality venues are based.
Smart Event Catering will cater for guests at the Olympic Hospitality Centre, a temporary venue providing hospitality for sponsors and their guests. Baxter Story will feed in the Media Centre and American caterer Aramark will serve athletes in the Athletes Village. Other caterers working at the park include Arena, Compass and Global Infusion.
Locog was the first ever Olympic organiser to release a document outlining its food ideals for the Games. It stated in its 2009 Food Vision document that it wanted catering at the Games to "leave a positive mark" on the event industry but also to improve the UK's provision of affordable and sustainable food.
Many caterers have separated out their Olympic projects from their regular business in an effort not to damage relationships with long-standing clients.
Catering opportunities extend far beyond the official venues. Many prestigious Olympic Houses, where National Olympic Committees from different countries are based for the Games, have also awarded contracts to local caterers. Absolute Taste has teamed up with ISS to cater at Westfield Stratford City, where Team GB is based.
There was outrage online after Locog announced that no-one other than Olympic sponsor McDonalds could serve chips in the Olympic Park (except for a loophole which allowed them to be served with fish.)
The strength of the reaction was such that the ban has now been overturned and other caterers are permitted to serve fried potatoes in any form they wish.
Meanwhile, the London Legacy Development Corporation, which will run the Olympic Park after the Games, is looking for caterers to operate a café and an events space at the park once the Games are over.
During the Games
A staggering 14 million meals will be served across 40 official Olympic locations, and millions more will be dished up elsewhere for events related to the Games, like hospitality and NOC Houses.
The menus released for the park show that British staples like Cornish Pasties and Yorkshire pudding will be served, as well as international food like sushi and salt beef.
Eyes will be on the Olympic sponsors dubbed 'junk food giants' - McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Cadbury – to see how their financial input into the Games will affect the food offering.
McDonald's has built its largest ever restaurant in the park, a pop-up building which will serve 1,200 people an hour at its busiest times.
After the Games
The catering operation could leave a huge legacy on the industry, and Locog's focus on sustainability has already boosted the UK's focus on locally sourced and eco-friendly produce.
Additional staff taken on by caterers could boost growth, but could equally become surplus to requirements if Olympic operations are not managed carefully. Relationships with a new and international client base could be set up.
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