The National Trust’s revenue from catering has grown by more than £5m in the space of a year, it can be revealed.
Catering is now the second largest income generator, behind membership fees, for the charity, which runs more than 300 historic venues around the UK.
A summary of the organisation’s finances, published ahead of its AGM next month and seen by FEJ, shows the National Trust made £76.2m from foodservice in 2017/18, up from £70.9m the year before.
Catering now accounts for 13% of its overall turnover as a result of the growth.
The National Trust recently announced plans for an ambitious programme of improvements to facilities, including its cafes and catering operations, in response to record-breaking visitor numbers.
Around £20m will be spent on average each year, over the next five years, on expanding, improving and upgrading facilities as well as tackling a backlog of repairs to farm buildings, homes and modernising holiday cottages.
Visitor numbers have grown from just 270,000 in the 1970s to an historic high of 26.6 million last year. And the number of members joining the Trust has rocketed by over one million in just five years, to hit a record 5.2 million.
In May this year, more than 300 staff from the National Trust’s F&B teams gathered in Derbyshire for the organisation’s first ever Food and Beverage Festival.
A series of talks, workshops and cookery demos took place over the two-day event, while kitchen staff were encouraged to share practice.
A central theme of the event was the importance of sustainable food, grown with care. Those in attendance had the chance to learn about working with kitchen gardens, reducing wastage and the relationship between the food served to millions of visitors.