Restaurant chain Benugo in running to take over Parliament Hill Cafe

A petition has been launched to keep Alberto D'Auria running the Parliament Hill Cafe

A petition has been launched to keep Alberto D'Auria running the Parliament Hill Cafe - Credit: Nigel Sutton

The catering chain Benugo which runs cafes, restaurants and kiosks in Regents Park has put in a bid to take over the Parliament Hill cafe on Hampstead Heath.

The City of London Corporation, which runs Hampstead Heath, has tendered out the three-year lease for the cafe, along with four others including Highgate Wood, Parliament Hill Lido and Golders Hill Park.

As members of the Hampstead Heath committee were meeting behind closed doors this morning to decide who will win the contract, the Ham&High has learned that Benugo is in the running to take over facilities on Hampstead Heath.

The move to award Benugo the contract would see the family who have run the Parliament Hill Cafe for the last 33 years pushed out.

The report to the committee refuses to name the company recommended to take over the lease for “commercial reasons”.

But staff at Benugo have confirmed that the company has submitted a bid.

Benugo won a five-year contract, said to be worth £20million to run the cafes in Regents Park for five years.

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The firm also runs catering facilities in Lincolns Inn Fields, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum.

During the committee this morning, before the public were excluded for “commercial reasons” , member Rev Dr Martin Dudley expressed concern that by choosing “the most economically advantageous” tender, site specific factors and regular users were not being taken into consideration.

He said that since the Regents Park cafes had changed hands “some people say they will never go there again”.

He said: “Perhaps the people in our procurement team don’t walk on the Heath or go there regularly.”

Another committee member however said: “People on the Heath do need to accept that there is a need for the City to balance its books. Financial concerns do come into it.”

A decision will be made later today with winning bids being confirmed tomorrow.