Restaurant Associates celebrates 3-year extension with Edinburgh Zoo

Restaurant Associates, premium food and guest services company, has added a three-year contract extension to its tenth anniversary celebrations, as it marks a decade as catering and hospitality partner with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo.

Restaurant Associates complements the wildlife conservation charity’s drive to deliver memorable experiences for guests, by providing catering and hospitality services for weddings, conferences, meetings, team building and charity events, as well as the Grasslands Restaurant and two cafes for visitors.

The new three-year contract will continue to see the partnership align with the core ethos of the Zoo, with exciting, innovative, and sustainable hospitality options for guests to enjoy. Central to this offering is a giraffe-themed food and drink menu, which celebrates the arrival of five new giraffes at Edinburgh Zoo.

Fun, forward-thinking additions include the launch of ‘girafternoon tea’, featuring sandwiches, scones and giraffe shortbread and cupcakes; smoothies; and the stunning Giraffe Cafe close to the giraffe enclosure, bringing a new food and drink stop. The theme is further supported by the introduction of hydroponics in the Grasslands restaurant, which will grow cress for sandwiches and wheatgrass for smoothies, promoting sustainability and nutrition while taking inspiration from the diet of the giraffes themselves.

Steve Chandler, Managing Director of Restaurant Associates Venues, said, “We have loved every minute of working with Edinburgh Zoo over the last decade. Our partnership began in 2011 with the arrival of the Giant Pandas, so it seems fitting that we mark our tenth anniversary and contract extension with another much-anticipated new arrival! The giraffes have generated a lot of excitement, and it has been a pleasure to adapt and support the Zoo to come up with a new sustainable catering concept to match.

“Conservation is the core message at Edinburgh Zoo, and their ethos of sustainability and high quality matches our own values. The Restaurant Associates team in Scotland has developed bespoke packages and delicious menu items to support this philosophy, even down to the introduction of the hydroponics which reflects our sustainability and healthy eating ethos. We are thrilled to strengthen this partnership, and we cannot wait to see how visitors react.”

Ben Supple, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Director of Engagement and Business Development, said, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Restaurant Associates at Edinburgh Zoo. This is a partnership in the truest sense of the word, with the Restaurant Associates team very much part of the RZSS family and our journey to connect people with nature and protect threatened species.

“As a wildlife conservation charity, sustainability is incredibly important and will be integral to how we develop our food offer. Restaurant Associates also share our commitment to delivering a premium product, the finest service and unique experiences for our visitors and guests, with our new girafternoon teas a great example.”

Restaurant Associates is part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK's largest food and support services firm. Compass Scotland launched as a distinct business in November 2020 and will support this contract.