Athens 2004 gearing up for biggest Greek catering project

Athens 2004, the organizers of the Olympic Games, will select in the next six months the 25-30 firms or consortiums which will prepare more than 11.5 million meals during the Olympics, and the subsequent Paralympics; the value of the contracts is estimated to total about 60 million euros. The sum is budgeted to cover the catering requirements of the entire Olympic family – including spectators, workers and volunteers – in all sports and non-sports facilities, except the Olympic Village. Makis Fokas, Athens 2004 catering services director, says the selection process will involve 10 to 12 tenders; this procedure was preferred to speed up things. Each firm or group may bid to cater for up to two Olympic facilities among the four or five for which tenders will be issued at a time. The winning bidders will have four different categories of clients in any facility: workers-volunteers-spectators, media people, the members of the International Olympic Committee and the sponsors. The reason why this «horizontal» scheme was preferred was practical; a vertical scheme would have implied dozens of tenders and hundreds of catering workers from different firms shuttling in and out of Olympic installations, with all that this would have meant for security. According to Athens 2004’s timetable, first to be issued will be the tenders for the facilities that will host the test events before the Games proper. The second group of tenders will include the big installations, such as the Olympic Stadium, where one tender will be issued for the whole complex, the seven media villages and the International Broadcasting Center. The smaller stadiums or grounds will fall into a third group, for which smaller firms will be able to bid. The last group will contain the installations in the other Olympic cities (Thessaloniki, Volos, Patras and Iraklion), which will host the qualifying rounds for the soccer tournament. Fokas says the aim is to select local firms. It should be noted that the whole scheme is somewhat delayed; according to the original plan, the process should now be in its final phase. Olympic Village The tender for the catering requirements of the Olympic (and Paralympic) Village, which concerns 24,000 athletes, escorts and workers (about 17,000 Olympic and 7,000 Paralympic), was completed some weeks ago. It was contested by three large consortiums, of which the winner was that of US-based Aramark and the Daskalantonakis hotel group. The total budget for this tender had been set at 34 million euros, of which 9 million will be spent on the procurement of supplies and 25 million on equipment, services and the operator’s remuneration. The Olympic Village will have three restaurants (the biggest with a capacity of 6,500 people), with 250 chefs, as many assistants, and about 2,000 other staff. Fokas estimates that in all Olympic installations, over 25,000 catering workers of all specialties will be employed. The Olympic Village will offer 50,000 meals daily, or 100 tons of food; waste is estimated at 54 tons daily.