Somewhere around nine million people are expected to descend on London in the course of the 2012 Olympic Games, and while we don’t know much about who they are, we do know one thing: They’ve gotta eat.
The impact of such high traffic on London restaurateurs is mixed, but that hasn’t stopped other food suppliers from pulling out all the stops when it comes to satisfying the appetite of the Olympics-going masses.
By now, you may have heard about Olympic sponsor McDonald’s and the “World’s Largest McDonald’s” restaurant the company opened in London a day after the Games’ Opening Ceremonies. The 500-employee, two-story restaurant is a sprawling 32,000 square feet capable of serving 1,500 customers. The menu offers the usual variety of burgers and fries, but also includes very British breakfast options like porridge.
The Olympic Park mega-eatery won’t keep its “world’s largest” title for long, though. It’s scheduled to be disassembled about six weeks after the Games conclude.
But the Golden Arches make up just one small part of a much larger culinary blueprint crafted by the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). Three years ago, the committee launched its London 2012 Food Vision. The vision is a pledge to serve “the best of British” food during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It’s also intended as an inspiration for caterers at surrounding events and venues, in London and throughout the UK.
Included in the vision is the requirement that all beef, lamb and poultry, as well as dairy products, must be British. In addition, bananas, tea, coffee and sugar will be Fairtrade and traditional British cheese such as cheddar must be British-produced. The plan also dictates that free drinking water be provided at all venues.
“We want to ensure everyone at the Games has a fantastic experience, and key to that is the food and drink that’s available,” said London 2012 Chief Executive Paul Deighton. “We want it to be affordable, sustainable and celebrating the fantastic diversity and quality of what Britain has to offer.”
It’s a lofty goal, to be sure, and one we can only hope other Olympic hosts will also embrace.
MARKETING LESSON: Food plays a key role in the overall experience at any event. Take time to understand your brand’s contribution to that experience and how you can make it even better.