Date: July 20, 2005
In a nod to the increasing popularity of organic foods, Sportservice debuted its first -ever all -organic food cart at the July 12 MLB (Major League Baseball) All-Star Game, with a selection of organic burgers, Polish sausages, buns, ketchup and mustard. In addition to the usual ballpark fare at Detroit's Comerica Park, patrons were offered a chance to check out an alternative in section 134 and the trial run went very well, according to Sportservice operations manager Jeff Roth.
The burgers and sausages each sold about 150-200 pieces, which Roth said was promising. “Delaware North [Sportservice parent company] has been looking at organic food for some time now and this event being in the national spotlight was an opportunity to give people who don't normally come to Comerica a chance to try this product,” Roth said. “The items we were selling are traditional to baseball games, but alot of people out there don't know what organic is. There's this sense that it's completely different and doesn't taste the same as what they're use to, when in fact it tastes just like a regular hamburger.
Part of the stigma out there is people viewing it as a tofu burger or something vegetarian, so it was nice that the Dakota people could come out here and educate our staff as well.” Chicago's Dakota Beef supplied the hamburgers ($5) and Polish sausage ($4.50) for the cart, which did “very well,” according to Seldon Moreland, the company 's vice president of Marketing. “It was Delaware North's idea, but we're already doing it at Ameritech Park [Texas Rangers] and in Cleveland with the Indians [at Jacobs Field], where we're doing hot dogs.” Moreland said the cart had a few solid rushes, but didn't have lines as long as the standard hot dog carts.
“People were coming back for more and pointing it out to other people,” he said. “We didn't have a set number of expectations, but we're working with Delaware North to see if this program will work. It's all in the beginning stages.” Dakotais looking forward to promoting the product the rest of the season at Comerica and possibly rolling out the carts at a few more parks this season. “We thought the All Star Game would be a good place to roll it out because it's a larger mix of people from all over the U.S. who would have the opportunity to experience organic beef,” Moreland said.The organic buns were supplied locally by Rudi 's Organic Bakery, and the organic condiments were from United Foods.
The cart had a staff of three. Roth said no sales goals were set, and Delaware North will continue monitoring sales throughout the rest of the season at Comerica, but for now the cart will be a regular presence at games.The organic cart was a drop in the bucket compared to the heaping serving of traditional ballpark victuals served up by Sportservice to the more than 120,000 All-Star fans in town over the course of the events in the weekend prior and the game. In total, they chowed down on an estimated 40,000 hot dogs, 8,500 nachos, 10,000 bags of peanuts and 5,000 burgers. New this year at the stadium as well are Little Caesars Pizza and a Big Boy Express service with double burgers, chili fries and milkshakes and the signature Coney Dog featuring Detroit-style chili, French's Mustard and fresh onions.
Diners at the suite and club level were served up non-organic dishes, which included Jamaican crab cakes, butter poached prawns, Hawaiian beef tenderloin, pumpkin seed coated lamb racks, sushi, seared chicken tenderloin, salads and fruit dishes and All -Starcakes.
Interviewed for this story: Seldon Moreland, (888) 701-2333; Jeff Roth, (313) 471-2600