2018 VenuesNow Excellence in Concessions Award Winners are highlighted in the VenuesNow October issue.
Best New Concept
Developed by Zach Hensley, CenturyLink Field’s VP of Venue Operations and Guest Experience, First & Goal Hospitality (FGH) in-house concessions group.
CenturyLink Field, home of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, launched a new food concept in 2017 titled “Stadium Street” in the main concourse area of the stadium. Stadium Street features a rotating selection of local chefs and cuisines, food-truck style. Stadium Street vendors change each game to offer fans a variety of local chefs and exposure to new offerings. This has been a great way to highlight new up-and-coming chefs as well as smaller restaurants that would not have the bandwidth to support full-time large-scale stadium operations. Many of the featured restaurants are from the surrounding stadium neighborhood including the historic Pioneer Square, and the International District, or operate solely as food trucks without brick and mortar locations.
Best New Technology
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
Developed by Danielle Lazor, VP, Design, Development & Retail, Sports & Entertainment, Aramark
Aramark’s expertise in the game-day food business, particularly hawking and in-seat delivery, informed them fans don’t want to miss any of the action on the field, court or ice, so they want food and beverage delivered to their seats directly or through a hawker. That being said, they don’t want to wait for a hawker to come to their section and they don’t want to download an additional app to utilize an in-seat delivery service. This has been a long-time challenge for concessionaires like Aramark. Brew2you allows fans to order food and beverage to their seat with a simple text message, no app download required. Imagine fans could pay for that food and beverage at the same time as placing their order. With the ease of a text message, Philadelphia Phillies fans were able to order beverages using their iPhone without missing a minute of on-field baseball action. The Phillies and Aramark launched this first-of-its-kind pilot on July 20th, 2018 in designated sections of Citizens Bank Park. The technology allows fans to use Apple Business Chat to place orders using their iPhone’s Messages app and then have the menu items delivered directly to their seats, putting a new spin on hawking and order delivery. Aramark is the first sports concessionaire to pilot this modern mobile ordering service using Apple Business Chat, which allows fans to utilize the speed, simplicity and convenience of text messaging to order and pay for menu items without downloading a special app.
Best New Menu Item
ASIAN STREET FOOD ($11 each)
PPL Center, Allentown, PA
Andrew Wissa, Executive Chef, Spectra Food Services & Hospitality at PPL Center
Ahead of the 2018 American Hockey League season, Spectra Food Services & Hospitality at PPL Center in Allentown, PA has created an innovative Asian street food concession concept to offer fans the hottest trends of the growing food truck scene, but inside the venue. The opening menu includes three different styles of Asian street food, which showcase fresh ingredients and diverse flavors from different cultures across the continent, including:
Brisket Tacos, Napa Cabbage Slaw and a Honey Sesame Dressing; Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Red Cabbage, Julienned Carrot, and a Ginger Dressing; and Pork Shoulder Bahn Mi with Pickled Carrot, Daikon, and Fresh Cucumber. Lehigh Valley Phantoms fans also have the opportunity to customize their own Asian Street Food creation by combining ingredients from the three above menu items, including vessels, proteins, and toppings. PPL Center’s new Asian street food offerings encompass the popularity of food truck fare, paired with the growing demand for ethnic flavors, while highlighting Spectra Food Services & Hospitality’s “Everything’s Fresh” philosophy. Fans can purchase these items for $11 each on the concourse of the arena at the new portable concept location.
Best Sustainability Initiative
Miller Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers
Seth VanderLaan, executive chef for Delaware North Cos.
The new, innovative “biodigestion” technology developed by BioHiTech Global (NASDAQ:BHTG), a green technology and solutions company converts food waste into environmentally friendly waste water. The system, installed earlier this year in partnership with Delaware North, the Brewers’ food, beverage and retail partner, is the first of its kind among MLB ballparks and has the ability to eliminate 30,000 pounds of food waste from entering landfills in a typical baseball season. April 23, 2018, Delaware North commissioned the installation of the biodigester in its kitchen, where organic food waste or food that is not suitable to be sold or donated is put through the aerobic digestion process to convert it into the more eco-friendly wastewater. The system also includes a data analytics platform to help the ballpark’s operations understand more about the waste stream to make them more efficient making it another important step in the ballpark’s efforts to eliminate waste and improve its environmental footprint. In its first month of operation, the biodigester processed 4,700 pounds of waste, which saved the equivalent of 63.8 cubic feet of landfill space. To date the biodigester processed 10.4 tons of food waste, which saved the equivalent of 281.2 cubic feet of landfill space and 7.4 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. The food digester is the latest sustainability initiative for Delaware North at Miller Park through its environmental stewardship platform, GreenPath®. Cost: Estimated $8,300 for equipment lease (one year), shipping and installation