Out with the old and in with the new. This applies to both the name of our annual awards for excellence in concessions — formerly the Silver Spoon Awards and now the VenuesNow Excellence In Concessions Awards — and the 2018 winners.
New technology was at the core of two of our winners: Brew2You, a text-based beverage delivery system in use at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and innovative biodigestion technology that is converting food waste into environmentally friendly wastewater, a winner for Miller Park in Milwaukee.
A new concept at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, called Stadium Street was also a clear winner with its local chefs and cuisines presented food-truck style, with the vendors changing each game.
Our final winner, new menu item Asian Street Food, will be sold inside PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., and was an instant hit with our judges.
What all four winners have in common are venues and concessionaires not settling for the same old stale concession staples and ways of doing business. Instead, they have listened to the fans and are giving them something new, something different, something fabulous.
The panel convened to pick the honorees had a tough time. Among the nominees, which were submitted to VenuesNow by readers, there were many great and inventive food and beverage stories to choose from.
Panel participants — VenuesNow staff members joined by Russ Simons of Venue Solutions Group; Iowa State University’s Tammy Koolbeck; Cheryl Swanson of the Columbia (S.C.) Metropolitan Convention Center; Gila River Arena’s Dale Adams; Durham (N.C.) Performing Arts Center's Bob Kaus; Portland5's Robyn Williams; and GF Strategies' Greg Flakus — all mentioned that picking winners in each category was a challenge this year because so many of the contenders were worthy of the award.
The range of ideas was broad and the execution expert. The imagination of venues and concessionaires in this industry is inspiring. Never a group to just wait for the next big thing to show up, the venue industry creates, leads and paves the way for innovative and mouth-watering food and beverage creations and industry-moving ideas that make their way around the world.
We can't wait to see — and taste — what's next.
Best New Concept: Stadium Street
Best New Menu Item: Asian Street Food
Best New Technology: Brew2You
Best Sustainability Initiative : Biodigester