Restaurant VMF scores sustainability first

26th January 2015

Glowing recognition is on the menu for Aston Villa’s Restaurant VMF this week – becoming the first football club eatery to earn a top food rating.  Our community training restaurant has just been rated as ‘excellent’ by the Sustainable Restaurant Association [SRA] and awarded Two Stars for its all-round efforts to offer a dining experience that doesn’t cost the earth, making it the first football club restaurant to win such an accolade.

Guests at Restaurant VMF get to enjoy a three-course dining experience in the Directors Suite on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (with the exception of matchdays), prepared and served by students on a two-year apprenticeship. The vast majority of the fresh fruit and vegetables served in the restaurant are grown at the club’s own nearby allotment which is run by partner community organisation Roots and Renewal. Honey from hives on the allotment also helps provide a buzz about the place.

Alison Plant, Head of Sponsorship and Hospitality at Aston Villa, said “We are delighted to have achieved our two star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.  As a club we are passionate about sustainability and our commitment to working with young people in our community.  Restaurant VMF is a fine example of this work and one which we are immensely proud of”.

The SRA’s rating assesses restaurants like VMF across all aspects of the business considering their social and environmental impact as well as the provenance of the food they serve. The SRA’s assessors were impressed that Villa’s Executive Chef, Peter Reed takes the restaurant’s apprentices on regular visits to meet suppliers and producers, the majority of which are located within the five counties surrounding the West Midlands.  Also impressive is the rain water harvesting from the Holte End and used on the allotment to water the crops.

Mark Linehan, Managing Director of the SRA, said: “All too often Premier League football clubs get publicity for the wrong reasons. Here is an example of a restaurant serving up quality food as well as much need training and employment opportunities to the local community. Congratulations to Restaurant VMF for setting a great example for other clubs to follow.”

Restaurant VMF joins the diverse list of venues rated by the SRA, which now includes theatres, trains, planes and university canteens, as well as fine dining restaurants like SRA President Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and fish and chip shops. Diners in Birmingham can choose from Opus, The Plough at Harborne and Boston Tea Party among others.

To make a reservation in Restaurant VMF please visit www.avhe.co.uk or call 0121 326 1570.

The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is a national, not-for-profit membership organisation providing foodservice businesses with expert sustainability advice through a team of specialist account managers. The SRA helps its Members source food more sustainably, manage resources more efficiently and work more closely with their community.  Members enjoy the economic benefits of greater sustainability and the SRA promotes their activities to consumers.

How restaurants are rated:

The SRA Sustainability Rating involves restaurants completing a rigorous survey, providing answers and evidence to questions across 14 areas of sustainability under three main pillars; Sourcing, Environment and Society. The SRA then assesses the results and rates the restaurants accordingly.

Three-Star Sustainability Champions – These restaurants have demonstrated exceptional all round sustainability, scoring consistently well across every category totalling at least 70%.

Two-Star Sustainability Champions – These restaurants have demonstrated excellent all round sustainability, scoring at least 60%.

One-Star Sustainability Champions – These restaurants have demonstrated good all round sustainability, scoring at least 50%.