By Richard Groves –
Group Business Development Director
Smart Group was founded by restauranteur Greg Lawson in 2001 when he saw the opportunity to build a unique large temporary structure events venue in Battersea Park. Over the last 16 years, Battersea Evolution has become London’s leading venue for exhibitions, conferences and events.
Greg and the team propelled Smart into the spotlight after providing world-class corporate hospitality for the Olympic Hospitality Centre at London 2012, catering over 62,000 covers for the IOC and major sponsors. This is a feat Greg views as his proudest achievement due to its complexity, scale and how it developed a tight-knit, industry-leading team combining talented chefs led by Smart’s Creative Director, Angela Hartnett.
Jan Matthews, Head of Catering at London 2012, says of Greg, “The first thing about Greg is that he is genuine, one of a diminishing breed of his word being his bond. He leads the team at Smart with a passion and vigour to ensure every event is better than the one before. The quality of service and food that they provide again and again are second to none”.
The Smart Group has since developed into a collection of hospitality, catering and event management businesses which are innovative, ambitious and committed to quality.
There are currently around 80 full time staff and they work closely together with the attitude and ethos of a small, intimate company which determinedly has personal service at the core of everything they do. It is a dynamic, evolving Group in which to work, with a very broad spread of activity, delivering great catering and event management to over 250 events, from international sporting events, such as the Royal Ascot Village, The Clubhouse at Twickenham, Henley Royal Regatta & The Championships at Wimbledon, to corporate and charitable functions including the Sports Industry Awards, the installation of the new Governor of HM Tower of London and Wild Life Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum as well as Christmas parties for numerous City firms and conferences for Adobe and Google.
Smart Group comprises of:
– Smart Hospitality – London’s most experienced quality caterer for large events at Battersea Evolution and renowned, innovative caterer for sporting events.
– Smart Live – creative event specialists, producing unforgettable experiences for brands and corporations in the UK and globally.
– Smart Battersea Evolution – London’s most versatile and dynamic venue seating up to 2,200 guests with 24 hour, seven day access and the most amazing production potential to create truly memorable events.
– Smart Sport – world-class hospitality packages for private and corporate clients.
– Smart Christmas Parties – fabulous festive celebrations that excite and impress.
– Moving Venue – exceptional dining experiences in London’s most beautiful and iconic venues and private parties in marquees and stately homes.
Smart are working to a clear business model which is to build a carefully selected portfolio of venues where Smart controls the catering, whilst offering a fully integrated events solution for clients who need all the services that the Group can provide.
New venues that have recently come on line are:
Finsbury Square – a temporary events space for events in November & December. This highly designed and attractive venue decorated in a Masquerade style for the 2017 season
Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden – a wonderfully ornate 1920’s style art deco venue with extraordinary decoration and capacity for 1,400 guests.
Landing 42 – operated with event management company Xcite, is the 42nd floor of the ‘Cheesegrater’ in Fenchurch Street. The tallest event space in the City, it has amazing views and great catering from Moving Venue.
The Printworks – another joint venture with Xcite, is the old Daily Mail print works in Canada water. This is the perfect space for large numbers of guests but also suitable for 300.
And there will be more!
Having worked for another group of event management and catering companies in the past, I am delighted to say that Smart are learning all the right lessons and developing their portfolio of venues and brands steadily and selectively. It is a playroom full of the most amazing toys and we are all looking forward to a great future.
To find out more about Smart Group