MCEC cooks up new business model

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has continued its business transformation in response to the pandemic, utilising its commercial kitchen and award-winning chefs to partner with Victorian food distributor Flinders + Co. on a new Home Chef Series range of products.

As a wholesale food project, the Home Chef Series was able to continue throughout Melbourne’s recent snap lockdown as an essential service, with its products now on the shelves at 35 Coles supermarkets across Victoria and NSW.

MCEC executive chef Peter Haycroft says the partnership is “just the start for our kitchen and The Home Chef Series”.

“Our core business is about creating culinary experiences in an event context but working with Flinders + Co. made it clear we could offer restaurant quality food at home,” he said.

“This fills a gap we identified in the retail segment, creating a genuine additional revenue stream, and helping kick start the local economy.

“Both businesses are very excited about what we have created together and are already planning the evolution of the brand.”

Flinders + Co. managing director James Madden says Covid has thrown “immense challenges” to both businesses.

“Both Flinders + Co and MCEC have been heavily impacted,” said Madden.

“The Home Chef Series is a great example of how an open and collaborative brainstorming of ideas can lead to innovations that we never would have thought possible prior to the pandemic.

“The idea of bringing restaurant quality product into a supermarket is not new – but COVID has been a catalyst that has spurred our two separate organizations on to innovate, and to turn the idea into a reality.”