One of the ironies evident on visiting the Olympic Park during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was that sponsorship restrictions helped create an environment largely devoid of branding. It was very refreshing to see such a brandless environment at a major sporting event, both inside the venues and around the food areas (e.g., World Square, Britannia Row, Orbit Circus).
The Locog catering operation, headed by Jan Matthews, was said to have been the largest attempted in the UK during peacetime. They succeeded in offering a dizzying range of dishes to competitors and visitors.
Outside the obvious sponsor outlets, all the food stores were labelled generically (and usually offered three simple menu choices). This “calling-a-spade-a-spade” catering had a certain charm.
Among the outlets were: Fish and Chips, Pies, Pasties, Cornish Pasties, Deli, Traditional Roast, British Bakery, Gourmet Sausage, Hog Roast, Jacket Potatoes, Fresh Salad Bar, Speciality Coffee, Bar, Ice Cream, and the Champagne and Seafood Pavilion.
World cuisine was represented, for example, by Asian, a French-style Brasserie, Indian, Italian, Mexican and much more besides.
The three Asian options, for example, were Thai curries, Singapore noodles and Vegetarian stir fry. Our Thai Curry was pretty good. Other things we sampled (e.g., bacon roll) were basic. Most of the food we ate was from the Deli outlets, where reasonably-priced sandwiches could be obtained with minimal queuing.
Some feared that it would be branded burgers and fizzy drinks, and little else, for sale on site. In reality, there was plenty of no-nonsense food and drink choices; even some healthy salads if you sought them out!
Finally, what a great atmosphere there was on the Olympic Park and I am sure everyone who visited will remember the experience for a long time to come.
An Olympic Diet: Part Two
An Olympic Diet: Part One