Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) is launching KILN, a new café and restaurant,as part of a wider, ongoing redevelopment capital project, Making MAC More, whichbegan in 2018.
KILN is supported by Arts Council England (ACE) and players of the People’s Postcode Lottery through the Postcode Culture Trust. The café and restaurant promises to offer visitors a relaxing dining space, focused on creativity, comfort and accessibility, after the challenges of last year.
During MAC’s closure, their former café has been refurbished, placing an emphasis on safety and functionality to improve visitors’ experiences. MAC has successfully worked with Birmingham-based company 2G Design and Build, to produce an ambitious café design that will ensure greater financial sustainability for the arts centre going forward.
The design has allowed for increased seating covers, a higher percentage of the menu to be created on-site, the generation of new jobs with specific skillsets, improved facilities for private hires and an evening service available from autumn 2021.
Nick Jones, Director of 2G Design & Build, commented: “We are delighted to have participated in the renovation of MAC’s café. As well as creating an artistic, ethically-conscious design, we have actively listened to MAC customers and considered their accessibility in every implemented feature.
From the height of the table tops, provided by Foresso, a local company specialising in sustainable surfaces, through to space for parents with buggies and lighting for visibility, we hope to have helped KILN welcome visitors into a comfortable and fresh ambience.”
KILN has taken onboard the recent demand from MAC’s customers for local and sustainable produce (68%)* by creating a new menu. The menu focuses on seasonal produce, prioritising environmentally-friendly products, with food prepared on-site, replacing the former ‘queue to order’ system with table service.
Following the impacts of COVID-19, KILN has also introduced a new online booking service, which will go live a week before MAC reopens in late May to prioritise safety and comfort of all staff and customers. Diners will be asked to make their reservations in advance where possible, and will also be able to order online at KILN once MAC reopens. These new measures will help to reduce queues and waiting time, enhancing accessibility and positive visitor experiences.
Deborah Kermode, CEO and Artistic Director of MAC, said: “Seeing how challenging the last year has been for the arts and hospitality sector, this crucial investment in MAC’s facilities will help our visitors to have a more enjoyable, delicious and creative dining experience, as well as ensuring MAC as a charity becomes more financially resilient in the future. Every bite at KILN directly contributes to the art and artists that we so passionately support.
Throughout the capital project, we have consulted with staff and visitors to ensure KILN reflects our values and is inclusive and affordable with a focus on sustainability. We look forward to welcoming everyone this May.”
The refurbishment of KILN is one of the final developments in the Making MAC More project. To date, Making MAC More has seen the creation of a new, accessible Artist Studio and Pocket Garden, development of MAC’s ceramics studios, catering refurbishment and an improvement to MAC’s digital infrastructure.
*Based on an in-house survey completed by 1254 MAC visitors in August 2020.