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The Montana Difference

Real cooking, contemporary great taste and putting value and quality at the centre of delivery are the key focusses for Montana Food and Events, H3’s food and beverage partner.

Priding itself on “The Montana Difference”, the locally owned firm has worked alongside H3 for more than a decade, supporting world-class events out of Hamilton’s venues. It’s a relationship Montana’s General Manager Pat Mellsop says is built on the common goals of going beyond what customers expect, and demonstrating diverse ability and capacity.

Pat says there’s a strong emphasis places on transparency and regular communication with both H3 and clients, with Montana’s highly motivated and engaged people working in a business well-resourced for the diverse range of H3 clients it caters for.

“By staying true to these principles, we aim to exceed the expectations of our customers and partners,” Pat says. “We also have the expertise and experience to deliver a broad range of catering options, event logistics and delivery.”

And with H3 delivering and managing venues and event spaces for everything from international sports, festivals and concerts, to conferences, meetings and family celebrations, Montana serves up a vast array of culinary options – from a full banquet and high-end a la carte restaurant quality meals for 1000 patrons, to snacks and bites for a 10-person meeting.

Montana regularly produces menus and food for 300–600 person events and has a range of serving styles on offer, only limited by the client’s imagination and one or two practical elements. New menus were launched in April 2021, led by chefs often recruited out of some of the region’s best restaurants.

Within the H3 venues, Montana has the facilities and capacity to deliver world-class catering and staff across the full spectrum of food and beverage offer, with the expertise and experience to meet the challenges and surpass competitors. Customers have extensive options from Montana’s Menu Book, which present the choices in easy-to-access way.

“Partnership, ability and capacity are key to meeting the challenges in the competitive environment,” says Pat.  “Our partners, H3, operate fantastic facilities that are unique, scalable and offer a wide variety of function and conference spaces”.

 "As a key partner of H3 we look to meet the needs of all customers within their facilities - we always fill the needs in H3’s world,” Pat says.

Pat says tastes and preferences are changing, with customers looking to innovate and follow international trends, and accommodate flexibility.

“Where the three-course plated was the staple for many years, there is now an evolution to food stations, shared table service as well as different food styles – often more casual, with more networking built into the dining experience.  We love the challenge of staying relevant and meeting the needs and dreams of our partners, clients and the public.”

Melissa Williams, H3’s Business Development and Sales Manager, says the partnership with Montana is crucial for H3, and her team ensures food and beverage aspects are front-of-mind in the ongoing liaison with clients.

“Early in the booking and planning stages of an event, it’s imperative Montana Food & Events truly understand our clients’ vision and desired outcome,” she says.

Locally sourced products are a key feature of the Montana approach – something Mel says is also prominent in the planning and event philosophies of clients. Montana uses a range of local suppliers, including McGills Meats, Over the Moon Cheese, Volare Bakery, Good George beverage, Raglan Coconut Yoghurt and Haru Sushi.

Some of those suppliers contributed to the menu for the hugely successful Hospice Waikato and Montana Food and Events Bucket List Banquet, which attracted more than 1000 guests to Claudelands for what has become one of the most popular and anticipated food events on the Waikato calendar. Montana catered to more than 100 dietary requirements for the event – a reflection of the diversity needed in food offer.

“People are very emotional about food and very willing to share their experience, thoughts and feedback – we receive incredibly positive feedback from our clients who are extremely impressed,” Mel says.

Mel says Pat and the Montana team are nimble, accommodating, agile, and understanding –  and appreciate each and every one of H3’s clients is unique.

“The H3 team can rely on Montana to deliver what our clients want, and that’s absolutely vital to us. Montana appreciates the ever-changing preferences, requirements and expectations of our clients. Business event organisers want strong and lasting memories to come from that food experience, particularly since people are now far more aware of how food is sourced and prepared – they want to see variety, flexibility, nutrition and sustainability.

“Ultimately we are one big team and we all are focused on and impressing clients with the food for guests or delegates.”

And that is the recipe for success.