Coombe Abbey Country Park near Coventry has seen its three catering outlets generated more than £490k in sales in 2020 compared to £400k in 2019, despite a two-and-a-half month closure as part of the national lockdown.
The results mean that the park’s catering operation has recorded its third consecutive year of growth since Coombe Abbey Park Ltd, the operators of Coombe Abbey Hotel, took over the operating of the park’s catering facilities in May 2018.
Coventry City Council, which owns the freehold of Coombe Country Park, appointed Coombe Abbey Park Ltd under an agreement to develop the commercial potential of the catering outlets within the 500-acre park, which at the time had one loss-making cafe.
Since then Coombe Abbey Park Limited has rejuvenated the park’s catering offer which has led to the park outlets turning over in excess of £1m in additional income so far - with around 40% of the park’s 350,000 annual visitors now using its catering facilities.
This has included opening two further permanent catering outlets in addition to the existing cafe at the main Visitor Centre, including ‘Kiosk in the Park’ at the opposite end of the park selling drinks and sandwiches, as well as a dedicated ice cream kiosk. The Council is confident that these facilities have attracted more visitors to the park.
Also, pop-up food and beverage offers are now a feature of the park with a pizza bike regularly seen serving freshly made pizzas to visitors. The company has also partnered with the City Council’s park team - to deliver live events including an outdoor cinema, music concerts, theatre; with a festive light trail called Luminate also planned for later this year.
Efforts have also been made to provide a warm welcome to all at the cafe at the main Visitor Centre - known as ‘Cafe in the Park’ - by allowing dogs inside, launching tailor-made canine ice cream (pictured), and flexing the centre’s opening hours in line with visitor habits and scheduled events.