Barbara Collins hears from Director, Pauline Cox, on how Covid forced the company to pivot
Gather & Gather has been awarded a catering contract at University College Dublin. The new service will include the main restaurant and a new barista service coffee bar in the Gerard Manly Hopkins building at UCD in Belfield.
The third level education space is a new frontier for Gather & Gather who have recently expanded the offering of the business by launching new services such as Delivered by G&G, the on-demand workplace delivery service, and plans for consumer-facing outlets in the pipeline.
“Historically, we were known for workplace catering,” says Pauline Cox, Director of Gather & Gather, “but like so many businesses, Covid has forced us to diversify.
“We were able to hold onto a few clients in lockdown such as GlaxoSmithKline, BMS , Eir and AIB, but we had gone down to a skeleton staff.
“When the tender came for the UCD opportunity we decided to bid for it and were awarded it in August. Slowly things have started to come good, this has helped enormously.”
The company’s proposal was based on research around where students were eating, what and how often. Grazing is common, so there would need to be plenty of choice across the day. Hand-held street food is also extremely popular. “They have a burrito in one hand and a phone in the other,” says Pauline.
One of the most innovative developments is The Residencies Project for the main restaurant at UCD. “We want to make sure that what we offer stays fresh,” says Pauline.
“There are 27,000 students in UCD plus staff and we know that there is a lot of competition for their business. This is about not allowing the offer to become predictable at any stage. This idea is about giving local chefs, café owners and restaurateurs the opportunity to partake in a brief residency within the main restaurant to showcase signature dishes.”
The idea will work like a pop-up. Pauline says it will give chefs free rein to be creative as well as keeping things interesting and exciting for customers.
Gather & Gather also plans to open a new concept called ‘Toastas’ which is described as “a posh toastie” offering. This toasted sandwich offer will use locally baked sourdough bread and house made fillings for their super tasty toasties.
You’ll find Gather & Gather in the Main Restaurant on the 1 st Floor of the Gerard Manley Hopkins Building at UCD Belfield. The opening hours: 8 am to 5 pm each day, Monday to Friday.