Wimbledon ‘behind the scenes’ FACTS!

Wimbledon ‘behind the scenes’ FACTS!

I was a manager of catering at Wimbledon for four years in a row-and during that time you get to see the ins and outs of a place really quickly. It is amazing how much you can find out within two weeks! 

WIMBLEDON-is a tennis tournament that takes place in London every year-it showcases the best tennis players in the world. Being probably the most prestigious tournament in the world means that it attracts millions of tourists/fans etc to watch. 

It is known for the following things:

  • Tennis-no matter the weather.
  • People camping for days to get tickets.
  • Moody tennis players.
  • Matches that last forever.

…and probably the most popular and famous: 

  • Strawberry’s and Cream

The tournament attracts hundreds of celebrities from your ‘american film stars that come over specially’ to your royals. They all sit in the Royal Box whilst the newspapers take millions of pictures of them either with their sunglasses on or off.

I think it is important that you know a few things about Wimbledon, behind the scenes:

  • First and foremost the majority of the people you will be served by are students who have been trained the day before (When I was given my staff I would have one day to train them in everything I knew. Realistically I knew that it would not be til the second week that they would actually know what to do without me watching/telling them!)
  • Unless you are in posh hospitality, you will only ever be allowed ten strawberry’s! (They are so key on this, you get told off if you use one to many!)
  • It takes half an hour for the roof to fully cover centre court, this is why the players have such a long break in play when it rains. 
  • Wimbledon has a pet hawk that circulates the courts for the whole two weeks to prevent pigeons etc. (Two years ago the hawk got abducted and was found in the back of a van two days later-still alive!). 
  • We have approximately 5-10 red alerts during the two weeks (this could be anything from suspicious packages to real bomb alerts).
  • When the queen arrives you are not allowed to walk in her way. They mark out specifically a path for her and you are not allowed to cross that path-no matter how urgent the matter is. 
  • The food is marked at three times the normal price-and is usually (especially in public areas) very cheap to make. If you buy a pizza you will pay 7 pounds for a tiny pizza that would normally retail at 3 pounds! 

So above are your facts surrounding Wimbledon as a whole.

Now I am going to tell you about MY interesting experiences surrounding the event:

My first year at the Championships, I was working in the Aorangi Cafe serving fish and chips-I managed to scold my hand so badly that three layers of skin came off! I then had to wear a bandage for the rest of the games.

My second year- I was managing Haagen Daas. The freezer had been left on by one of the on-site managers and the ice cream had become so frozen that it was impossible to break into. It took approximately 2 hours to melt to a sufficient point to serve-however we had a queue of 30 people from right at the beginning-so whilst all my staff refused to serve the ice-cream-I took one for the team. My fifth time at breaking through the frozen ice and I suddenly heard a crack-My wrist was so bent out of shape I had managed to fracture it on ice-cream! I then had to watch for the rest of the games whilst my wrist remained in a sling! 

I fired a girl at Haagan Daas..because I caught her in the corner with a large tub of icecream-eating it slowly with a small spoon. This is the ice-cream she was meant to be serving and the pot was about three times the size of a normal sand bucket! 

My third year I was managing HSBC (their corporate chalet). I had a team of five people that worked and one girl that used to sit in the corner and pretend to polish cutlery. She would help herself to three courses of lunch through out the day and not leave the chair once. 

I have served many tennis players but my richest customer was the head of MacDonalds. I had to set aside two chairs for him to sit on! Plus on a table that would normally sit 10 I could only sit 4 because he was so large! 

Wimbledon is a great experience for anyone: working/spectating! However there are a few key things to keep in mind:

ALWAYS bring a picnic-don’t buy anything from the public sectors!!!

ALWAYS bring an umbrella or mac!

ALWAYS leave at least half an hour before the end of last play-the queue for the train or bus is just not worth it!!

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