Levy Restaurants UK, the UK’s leading sports, leisure and hospitality company, has secured a new catering partnership with ZSL Zoological Society of London Whipsnade Zoo. 

Run by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London), ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is located in Dunstable in Bedfordshire and welcomes more than half a million visitors each year. Home to more than 3,000 animals and spread across 600 acres, it is the UK’s largest zoo and home to lions, tigers, elephants, hippos, giraffes and many more species from around the world.  

The partnership will see the wildlife attraction’s catering offer redefined, to give an even greater choice for visitors and to maximise the food and drink options during peak visitor times; from elevenses to lunches, and healthy snacks to afternoon cakes.

The Zoo’s five cafes will also undergo investment and redesign. At the heart of the redevelopment plans is the introduction of River Cottage, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s acclaimed restaurant concept. This will draw on provenance, sustainability and seasonal British flavours and offer a casual dining experience in line with today’s eating trends.  

Reflecting seasonal demand, a new take-away picnic offering will be introduced to allow visitors to enjoy al fresco dining during the summer months. All concepts will be inspired by high street and food market trends and will feature a broad range of vegetarian and healthy menus. 

Jon Davies, Managing Director, Leisure at Levy Restaurants UK, says: “This is an exciting new partnership for Levy Restaurants UK and we look forward to reinventing the catering offer at the zoo. The whole operation will be underpinned by our ethos – sustainability through a focus on seasonal menus and ethically sourced British produce, an empowered, incentivised and engaged team. This alongside a service style that moves away from the ‘outdated canteen’ and towards multiple food and drink options reflecting the best of the high street.”

Kathryn England, Head of Commercial for ZSL, said: “ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is committed to providing our visitors with an exciting catering experience, and this new catering partnership with Levy will allow us to do just that, while ensuring that sustainability and quality are key priorities.

“This is an exciting change for ZSL, using food to engage and educate our visitors on sustainability and responsible eating.

“Alongside the amazing animals and exhibits to be explored at the Zoo, we are sure visitors will go wild for the launch of an award-winning eatery in River Cottage, as well as a transformed Wild Bite restaurant. Whipsnade’s reinvented catering selections will provide the ideal grazing spots and thirst-quenching watering holes for visitors to refuel at during a fun-filled day at the Zoo.” 

Levy Restaurants UK has grown a strong portfolio of leisure destinations from the historic to the iconic, with partner clients including Leeds Castle, Somerset House, Bristol Zoo, Edinburgh Zoo and Twycross Zoo.