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Find out how we worked with the new V&A Museum of Design Dundee to explore catering options for the museum.

Dundee V and A

The V&A Museum of Design Dundee is the flagship of the Dundee waterfront regeneration. It will be an international centre of design for Scotland. The galleries will be a dedicated home to the story of Scotland's outstanding design heritage – past, present and future. 

The museum’s management team recently worked with us to explore options for catering within the museum. Following an open tender process, Edinburgh-based Heritage Portfolio has been appointed to provide catering. 

The catering offer will be a showcase for fresh, seasonal, local produce and will form an essential part of the visitor experience. The museum will have two public catering spaces, a café (on the ground floor at the main entrance to the museum) and a restaurant (on level one of the building) and will also offer catering for private events such as exhibition openings, meetings and receptions.

The catering within V&A Dundee will be an essential part of our visitor experience, and will reflect the vision and ambition of the new museum.

Tara Wainwright, marketing and audiences manager, V&A Dundee

An essential part of the visitor experience

Tara Wainwright, marketing and audiences manager, V&A Dundee said, "The catering within V&A Dundee will be an essential part of our visitor experience, and will reflect the vision and ambition of the new museum. It should excite and inspire visitors, wherever they come from and whatever their age - from design devotees stopping by for coffee, to families with young children getting together for lunch."  

Fresh and seasonal ingredients

The museum will offer a fresh and seasonal range of choices with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients. The café will offer casual 'grab and go' food and drink, with options such as:  

  • Barista-quality coffee
  • Hot chocolate and leaf teas
  • Cold drinks including fresh juices and smoothies
  • A range of boxed salads and sandwiches produced in the museum’s kitchen
  • A selection of sweet and savoury snacks, pastries and cakes

The first-floor restaurant will have stunning views over the River Tay with an outdoor terrace area, providing a total capacity of 80 covers. This offers potential for a more extensive food range than the café and can be showcased effectively with well-designed counter, providing items such as:

  • Deli-style sandwiches
  • Salads and soups
  • Traditional and contemporary hot dishes
  • Sweet and savoury snacks 
  • A selection of cakes, desserts and fresh fruit options

A showcase for local produce

Restaurant food will be freshly prepared on-site using seasonal produce sourced from Scotland wherever possible. With such a rich natural larder on the doorstep, the ambition is for V&A Dundee to become a showcase for local produce.

The heritage of Dundee offers an abundance of ‘food stories’. All of these stories can be included in developing the museum’s food strategy and menus to reflect the city’s heritage.

Sandra Reid, Scottish Enterprise’s catering consultant

Dundee heritage and engaging food stories

Sandra Reid, Scottish Enterprise’s catering consultant, says: “Dundee’s food and drink scene is undergoing a transformation that mirrors the changes at the waterfront area. The city has a number of new contemporary restaurants and innovative bistros, as well as independent coffee shops, craft beer bars and artisan food shops. Many of them are independent businesses with a distinct food ‘personality’.

“This presents a fairly competitive landscape in terms of food and drink and one that V&A Dundee and its catering operator will have to take into account. They will need to develop a menu that appeals to its varied audiences, while offering sufficient differentiation from other food offers in the city. To compete effectively with other outlets and to retain a good local clientele, innovation, good quality food and a well-presented display need to be at the heart of the offer. 

“The catering offer must develop a clear personality in terms of its ambience and interpretation of the museum and should be reflective of the restaurant’s location. Food sourcing should be an easy fix for the operator, as there is an abundant food and drink larder from Dundee city, as well surrounding Perthshire, Angus and Fife. 

“The heritage of Dundee also offers an abundance of ‘food stories’, the city being home to both marmalade and Dundee Cake. And, of course, the city is associated with ‘jute, jam and journalism’ – jam being one of Dundee’s most famous exports. All of these stories can be included in the museum’s food strategy and menus to reflect the city’s heritage, as well as its current development, by bringing in an elegant, contemporary twist.

“Effective presentation front-of-house is vital to drive sales. Food must be showcased to its best advantage, making good use of lighting and height in the display. By creating an open and fresh display, customers are invited to take part in the experience. The aim should be to create a visual and olfactory ‘feast’ with a clear element of ‘theatre’ to excite and inspire – a truly 21st century visitor experience.”

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