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August 11, 2008
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ExCeL and Leith’s hit high note with their biggest hospitality project




The UK capital’s biggest venue, ExCeL London has hosted a number of sizeable events in its time, but none that required the level of hospitality of The Community Gathers for Celebration conference, which took place on 2-6 July.

The events 30,000 guests occupied the full capacity of the 90,000 square metre of the venue.

"This was an enormous undertaking by everyone involved, and one that needed to be meticulously planned and implemented," commented Vanessa Cotton, managing director, ExCeL London Conference and Events. "Everything from the authenticity of the food to the decor was thought through in fine detail. Our excellent relationships with our on campus partners such as transport and local hotels meant every visitor was looked after in style, even on the biggest day when 30,000 visitors were on site."

The one-off event was attended by visitors from across the world, as well as the local community, which played a vital role in supplying 1,000 volunteer helpers to the event. Every visitor was catered for with recipes developed, through in-house catering partner Leith's, with local experts, as well as the organisers. In an outstandingly co-operative effort between the event organiser, ExCeL London, and Leith's, the project team undertook the production of 100,000 covers over the five days – the venue’s biggest ever catering exercise.

The venue itself was transformed into a celebratory environment with striking decor, dramatic audio visual effects and high standards of technical production, as well as a consistently used event 'brand'. The diversity of the event also made for a spectacular occasion, with everyone catered for, from community elders to more than 600 children in a specially constructed crèche.

Catering by numbers

What it took to serve The Community Gathers for Celebration’s 30,000 guests:
• 85,000 visitors in 5 days; 30,000 on the main Saturday (5 July
2008)
• Over 100,000 meals prepared over the course of the event
• 300,000 500ml water bottles distributed; contained in container-sized
fridges to ensure water was served chilled
• 43,000 cups of tea on the largest day alone
• Served from twenty 40 gallon water boilers by a master brewer
• 40,000 apples
• 6 full-sized kitchens prepared all meals
• 180 service points positioned throughout the venue to ensure all food
was served on time


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