Author: Dave Brooks
Date: March 21,2007

The National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament has been
reduced from 64 teams to 16 and concessions managers at this
year’s four regional venues are hoping basketball fans are as
hungry for hot dogs and nachos as they are for college
hoops.Aramark is hosting three of the four venues for this
year’s regionals March 22-25: the HP Pavilion in San Jose,
Calif. and the Alamodome in San Antonio, as well as the Continental
Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. which will host the Final
Four in 2008.“This event is very high profile and we just
went through several big games including the Alamo Bowl, the Texas
A&M versus Army game and the state high school
championship,” said Tom Caven, Aramark’s general
manager at the Alamodome. “The city works very hard at
hosting this event, and with next year’s Final Four,
we’re putting in a lot of attention to detail. Since
we’re working with a building that was opened in 1993 without
a full-time team, it takes a few extra steps to make this work
including installing some nice piping and drape curtains to create
the arena configuration.”The Alamodome operation will take
about 150 employees, including 3 separate chefs for the suites and
club operations, which are leased to season-ticket holders at the
Alamodome.“They’ll do real well, it will be a good
eating crowd,” Caven said. “We have about 45 minutes in
between the first two games. During that time, we’ll have
about 35,000 on the plaza, especially with the Texas A&M local
connection.”Tom Rossford, commissary director for
Sportservices’ Edward Jones Dome operation in St. Louis,
estimated a slightly higher figure for staffing at the facility,
especially to handle the company’s food carts.“This
year, we’re really pushing our Philly cheesesteak sandwiches
and carver stations; we expect those to be a big hit,” he
said.Hosting these games takes a lot of food and a lot of planning.
Below are breakdowns of how much food was ordered for each
tournament with per-item prices to match:EAST REGIONALS —
MARCH 23 AND 25Continental Airlines Arena — 40,000 projected
attendanceVanderbilt v. GeorgetownUSC v. North Carolina ITEMS
ORDERED — PRICE PER ITEM10,000 hot dogs — $46,000 soft
pretzels — $3.502,500 slices of pizza — $7.752,000
popcorn bags — $4.251,500 bags of peanuts — $4.251,000
orders of nachos (tortilla chips & cheese) — $5.5011,500
bottles of water — $44,250 gallons of soda — $5 per
souvenir cupMIDWEST REGIONALS MARCH 23 AND 25Edward Jones Dome
— 50,000 projected attendanceButler v. FloridaUNLV v.
Oregon25,000 hot dogs — $3.50 2,200 popcorn bags —
$2.507,000 pizza slices — $4.5015,000 pretzels —
$410,000 nachos — $5.7525,000 bottles of water —
$4.758,500 gallons of soda — $4 per souvenir cupWESTERN
REGIONALS — MARCH 22 AND 24 HP Pavilion — 36,000
projected attendanceSouthern Illinois v. KansasPittsburgh v.
UCLA8,000 hot dogs*5,200 personal pizzas4,500 soft pretzels2,000
bags of peanuts700 pounds of nachos (tortilla chips)50 gallons of
nacho cheese12,250 bottles of water12,000 gallons of soda*Prices
not available by press timeSOUTH REGIONALS — MARCH 22 AND
24Alamodome — 50,000 projected attendance Texas A&M v.
MemphisTennesee v. Ohio State7,500 hot dogs — $44,500 85-oz.
bags of popcorn — $4.503,500 bags of peanuts —
$3.252,500 personal pizzas — $5.502,900 soft pretzels —
$3.251,755 pounds of tortilla chips — $5.508,200 bottles of
water — $3.754,500 gallons of soda — $4.75 per souvenir
cup— Dave BrooksInterviewed for this story: Terry Caven,
(210) 704-6150; Tom Rossford, (314) 342-5373; Dave Freireich, (215)
238-4078; Pedro Valle, (201) 933-9006 x 14