Lifting the curtain on new Winter menu and Café offer
When we opened in 2012 the management of the internal Café Bar was subcontracted, a situation which was maintained until last November. Now, as part of the move towards making the MAC more financially self-sustaining the operation of the outlet has been taken in-house and has led to the establishment of a new set of relationships with local suppliers who adhere to our commitments of producing authentic, quality products. New suppliers to work with us include Draynes Farm, Man Made, Barra Bakehouse and Bailies Coffee, and the we're also on the lookout for new suppliers.
Áine McVerry, Commercial Director explained the rationale behind taking the Café Bar in-house:
“The MAC has been open for over 7 years now. In the early days, it was perhaps natural that we would concentrate on the delivery of contemporary arts and outsource our catering service, and that was quite successful. We now have a full understanding of what our customers want to eat or drink when they come to the MAC either for a show or purely for the catering and I think that we are best placed to meet and even grow that demand.
Not many people realise that the MAC is a charity and our Café Bar is an essential source of income so every penny spent in our Café Bar by our customers helps us to keep connecting people with art.
We are at the heart of the Cathedral Quarter which continues to lead the renaissance of Belfast and it is important that we meet the demands of our customers, old and new.
So we have now brought in a new team, launched our new Christmas menu, taken onboard new suppliers and we are determined to make our Café Bar work better for the MAC and our customer base.”
Áine confirmed that taking the catering in house is part of the MAC’s commercial strategy.
“Like other vital services, the arts sector has felt the financial strains of austerity and the tightening of the public purse. We will always make as strong a case as we can that the arts are a service just like infrastructure, education and health, and deserving of public funding and public support. A city that values its cultural offering is one that is outward-looking, progressive and ambitious – and that’s exactly the sort of society that we all want to live in. That mission is central to the MAC’s ethos. At the same time though we are keenly financially aware and are making strides towards a model of sustainability that involves not only public funding but increasing our own means of income through corporate relationships, commercial activity and thinking entrepreneurially about how we run our organisation and the services we provide.
We regard taking the Café Bar in-house as a huge opportunity for us, both in commercial terms and in the interests of better aligning the MAC’s warm and welcoming brand with all areas of the business.”
Why not book a table in the café bar or review our Winter menu here.