The caterer, operating under its stadia brand Azure, was ousted by the club’s bosses last week following complaints from fans. Lindley has been brought in at short notice to take over on Saturday, in time for Saturday’s home game against Bolton Wanders.
Lindley, which has been appointed as the temporary contract caterer until the end of the season, is also expected to assume responsibility for any corporate events at the stadium in Falmer, including Christmas parties.
Azure said it was in talks with its lawyers regarding the possibility of launching legal action against the football club.
Azure announced that it had won the £18m five-year contract in August 2010, while operation commenced the following summer after construction at the £93m 20,000 seat American Express Community Stadium was complete.
But despite winning the Best Match Day Catering award at the Football Business Awards last month, the football club’s chief executive Paul Barber said Azure had not met expectations.
In an email to members of the 1901 Club, the stadium’s hospitality service, Barber said: “As with any venue, catering represents a very important element of the experience we provide and we have made it a high priority both for our matches and for all other events at the stadium.
“Listening to our customers, we work wherever it is possible and viable to do so with locally produced products and local suppliers, while striving for the highest possible levels of service, quality, and value for money for our fans and customers at all times.
“Since the stadium’s opening, we have attempted to meet these very important aims by working closely with a catering partner Azure. Despite our best efforts, many customers do not feel that these aims have been met. With this in mind, we have decided to engage new caterers.”
A spokesman for Azure Catering said: “We are disappointed our contract to supply catering services to Brighton & Hove Albion FC has come to an end, particularly as we have only recently won independent awards and recognition for the quality of our catering work at the club.
“The matter is currently in the hands of our legal advisers and therefore it is not appropriate for us to add anything more at this juncture, other than we would like to wish the team and its supporters all the best for the remainder of the season.”
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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