The Wimbledon Championships returns on 23 June, bringing London two glorious weeks of elite tennis and top class hospitality.

As the tennis world mourns former British No.1 Elena Baltacha, Wimbledon – the place of Baltacha’s career best, where she reached the third round – is preparing for its annual two-week Championships tournament.

Andy Murray, who paid tribute to Baltacha at the Madrid Open, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are all expected to return for the tournament, which runs 23 June through 6 July.

While the tennis elite battle it out on the courts for the title and £1.76million prize money, VIP guests and visitors will be treated to some of the best food and drink on offer. Keith Prowse is the official hospitality supplier for the tournament and will be on hand at The Centre Court Skyview Suites, The Gatsby Club and The Experience Club.

“Tennis at Wimbledon signifies the summer,” Megan Collins, Keith Prowse’s marketing manager, told Access. The company has partnered with The Championships for more than 30 years and last year served approximately 10,000 guests over the 13-day tournament.

With such a long-standing partnership comes the ability to plan for the direction of the tournament. Wimbledon aims for a ‘tennis in an English garden’ feel, a quintessentially English atmosphere that must be present in Keith Prowse’s hospitality.

That, of course, starts with the menu, which is planned out six months prior. This year’s, designed exclusively for The Gatsby Club by Albert Roux OBE, draws on seasonal produce. Guests can expect seared scallops, Cumbria lamb, spiced sausage, baked aubergine and Black Forest gateau, among much more (note for readers – this is best read on a full stomach).

“It is a 365-day-a-year job,” Collins said. “Planning for the event starts as soon as the tournament finishes, ensuring that we have the necessary logistics, ordering and supplies in place.”

Staff training takes place two days before the tournament begins; one day before play starts, the hospitality areas are finished and the team begins dry runs of the service. Up to 120 staff are on hand depending on the day, making sure things run smoothly. Collins said that about 60 are responsible for food service, while 20 are hosts and hostesses who act as first point of call for guests. In the kitchen, Roux oversees 14 chefs as they whip up tasty morsels.

Each area must have its own staff and service suited to the type of experience expected by its guests, Collins said. The Gatsby Club is a purpose-built structure run by Roux; The Centre Court Skyview Suites offer a luxury experience for corporate groups; and The Wimbledon Experience Club is suited for overseas guests to relax, eat, drink and mingle while they watch matches.

With prices in each of these areas ranging from £325 to £1315 per person, ensuring top quality is an understandable priority for Keith Prowse.

“Service requirements vary, from an exclusive hire of The Gatsby Club for 600 guests, to more intimate tables for a wide range of companies, individuals and media,” Collins said. “We measure service levels, quality of food and drink and overall enjoyment of the day. Each of these benchmarks measure over 90%.”

It’s easy to take Keith Prowse’s presence at Wimbledon for granted, as they’ve been there for so long. But Collins assured Access that they do not take their official supplier contract as an opportunity to rest complacently. The team is constantly refreshing its service, innovating the offering each year in terms of food, menus, styling and overall experience.

“Wimbledon transcends sport and is in the rare position of being attended by an even split of male and female fans,” Collins said. “It’s one of the most sought after events for corporates to engage with their clients, colleagues and potential customers.”

It is by recognising this hospitality potential that Keith Prowse has held onto the 30-year-plus contract at the tournament. This year’s Wimbledon Championships is sure to be a roaring success – for both the players and anyone lucky enough to get their forks into Keith Prowse’s cuisine.


This was first published in the June issue of Access All Areas. Any comments? Email Emma Hudson