NFL stadiums hold concessions to protect fans, leaving few employees

Hot dogs and beer vendors will be a rare sight in NFL stadium corridors this season as officials undertake overhaul concession operations for fans during the coronary virus epidemic and create a safe environment for fans.

Only a handful of the NFL’s 32 teams will have fans in attendance when the season kicks off this weekend. With the mandate to be socially distant, many NFL stadiums have eliminated food and beverage hawkers in favor of being completely contactless and, in many cases, cashless models have meant limiting potential exposure and giving fans their favorites gameday is set up as safely as possible with snacks.

Closures, attendance limits and necessary security measures have had a major impact on the stadium’s staff, many of whom will not work at all in the early weeks of the season. Even in NFL stadiums, which are hosting fans, the concession staff is expected to be limited for the foreseeable future.

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“Vander, a man who is drinking beer, if they are there, they are definitely going to be impressed,” Mike Plutino, CEO and advisor of the firm’s service concessionaire, founder of the stadium’s concessions, told Fox Business. “We don’t anticipate long lines for a lot right now.”

Pre-packaged food display at Hard Rock Stadium. (Centerplate / Hard Rock Stadium)

Currently, four teams – Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins – have announced specific attendance plans. The Dolphins are allowing a maximum of 13,000 fans or 20 percent of seating capacity at Hard Rock Stadium in their first home game. The majors and Jaguars are limited to about 16,000 fans at their home stadiums, while the Colts will host just 2,500 in their first home game.

NFL teams typically generate about $ 1 million to $ 2 million in sales of concessions on game day, according to Plutino. Revenue attendance will be significantly reduced at the level of expected attendance, even if those fans who spend more than they normally do make up for the lack of tailgating options.

Plutino said, “I think the food service people have gone full steam ahead to consolidate and redefine and remodel the business and make sure it’s safe for fans and for the internal workforce, “Plutino said.

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Under normal circumstances, most football stadiums provide non-profit groups with the ability to work in concessions to raise money for their cause, such as a fundraising push for high school bands. In-stadium hawkers – workers who walk up and down with hot dogs, beer, and other snacks – typically make the most of their income from sales commissions and tips, while peer workers typically receive an hourly rate. Is obtained. Hawkers are often hired through third-party firms.

Concession workers at Hard Rock Stadium will have access to automatic glove dispensers. (Centerplate / Hard Rock Stadium)

The epidemic has forced a wholesale shift in the way sports stadiums do business, a move toward the technology-enhanced fan service that was already running in many facilities.

Centerplate Inc., the food and beverage partner for the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium and Lucas Oil Stadium, has been developing service plans for its NFL customers for months. Security measures in both teams’ games include cashless transactions, mobiles ordering single-serve food items in closed containers, and Pelexiglass Shield at the concession stand.

CenterPlate CEO Steve Pangburn said, “We don’t want fans to feel this is a lesser experience.” “We want them to have a very unique experience because they are coming back after a very difficult time and we want them to say, ‘wow’ and remember this experience.”

Pre-packaged food display at Hard Rock Stadium. (Centerplate / Hard Rock Stadium.)

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There will be no food or beverage hawkers at the Hard Rock Stadium at the Dolphin Games to follow social distancing rules. The centerplate is also limiting the amount of workers at food prep stations and streamlining menus to include fan-favorite items so fans don’t have to bend in the lines.

Pangburn acknowledged that the centerplate would have fewer employees than a typical NFL Sunday, but added that the staff-to-fan ratio would actually be higher than normal and that the level of reduction would be nowhere near the limit on fan attendance. Workers will earn their normal hourly rate. The elimination of tailgating for safety reasons means that the stadiums would normally open sooner, allowing more hours for working staff.

“It’s going to be about the fan experience. We are not reducing the number of sales points to that level, ”Pangburn said. “We’re really trying to make it feel and look like normal time.”

Jaguar and their food service partner Delaware North Sports Service have adopted similar measures at the TIAA Bank Stadium. Food and beverage hawkers will not be on-site and spice stands will be closed for the future.

In addition to cashless payment options, stadium officials will serve all food in closed containers, install plexiglass barriers and allow fans to bring their reusable water bottles to the facility.

“We are working to determine our level of concessions and staffing, with no change in hourly pay rates for our employees,” the Delaware North Sports Service said in a statement.

The chiefs have been moved to a cashless model at all concession stands and retail locations within Arrowhead Stadium through a partnership with payment services firm Tapit. Additionally, the team has increased the ratio of fans’ point-of-sale locations to allow them to spread out and order without fear of violation of social distinction rules.

The chiefs expanded their stadium policy, saying “Grab n ‘Go,” a variety of limited contact and contactless concession experiences, including self checkout, order pickup, and kiosk ordering, will be available. ”

Aramark, the head, food service partner, did not respond to a request for comment.

NFL fans are required to wear masks at all times to participate in sports this season. While only a few teams will be crowded for the first time, league officials have left open the possibility of adjusting attendance policies as the season progresses.

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More fans will need a larger staff of stadium staff, although it is unclear when the situation will give the hawkers and other traditional elements of the live event a return experience.

“The amount of livelihood that is tied up in the game, just in the food service line, is just extraordinary,” said Plutino, the stadium’s consultant consultant. “The amount of hands that feed the game, I don’t know if anyone did the math, but it’s an extraordinary amount of rip-down effect.”

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