This month marks a new chapter for the MAC, Belfast leading cultural venue, as it officially opens its all-new café/bar to be operated independently, as part of its current four-step corporate strategy. This latest development has also enabled the creation of 19 additional hospitality roles within the business.
Previously managed by third-party contractors, this is the first time since the MAC’s inception in 2012 that the café/bar area will provide a direct revenue stream for the organisation and will be managed by its newly appointed hospitality team, including Head Chef, Terry Quinn and Owen Ferguson as Café/Bar and Hospitality Manager.
Bringing years of culinary experience to the MAC, Head Chef Terry will be launching a completely new menu to refresh the café bar offer. From the introduction of breakfast serving from 8.30am, to a new children’s menu and pre-theatre sharing platters, there will be something for the broad range of visitors that the MAC attracts. Plus, the MAC has launched a new wine list supplied by Direct Wine Shipments and launched a new smartphone interval drinks order system so that theatre goers can place their interval order with the greatest of ease, avoiding the usual queue.
The new café/bar also complements the MAC’s other commercial activities, such as the roll out of its innovative Luminaire Club, that transforms the theatre space into an intimate jazz-club experience complete with table service. This new experience gives the MAC the added flexibility to create event-specific promotions such as a Mother’s Day Brunch on the 31st March. Owen is confident that the he can build upon the visitor experience by further moving the MAC’s hospitality offering beyond the traditional theatre-style service.
Anne McReynolds, MAC Chief Executive said: “Taking our café bar in-house is a big move for us, not least in doubling the size of our current staff team, but it presents a huge opportunity for the organisation. From a customer care point of view, we want to get closer to our customers – offering them eating and drinking experiences that better complement their whole MAC experience – whilst also making sure that the first person you meet in the MAC is a welcoming and informed member of our team, which is very important to us.
“Some people might ask, why now? Not many people may know that the MAC is a charity and just like every other charity, we must work hard to raise the money needed to survive and grow in the long term. This is a very positive and significant step for the MAC, as we are acutely aware that we need to keep making strides towards a sustainable model that not only involves public funding but continues to maximise the ways in which we can increase self-generated income.”
The MAC’s café/bar is open daily from 8.30am until late. Breakfast is served from 8:30am – 12 noon, and last orders for lunch are at 4pm. The bar is open late on show nights and from 30 March, the MAC will also be serving its new pre-theatre sharing plates to enjoy before the show.