SBD/April 8, 2014/Facilities

Ballparks Get Creative With Concessions By Offering Local Specials, Healthier Options

Centerplate CEO Des Hague said his company's mission is to "create one-of-a-kind, locally relevant hospitality programs" at MLB ballparks, according to Jason Notte of Hague said, "The Top 10 items in our space represent 70% of the revenue. Our play is that we're going to make the core menu the best. The challenge for our teams five years ago was to create things we're going to be famous for. If you go to San Francisco, it's the crab sandwich and garlic fries. If you go to Seattle, it's the Ivar Dog or the Hamburg + Frites. If you go to Tampa, it's going to be the Everglades Barbecue. If you go to San Diego, it's going to be the Seaside Market salad or fish tacos." He added of new technology Centerplate is keeping an eye on, "We're enamored about the social media platforms ... But what we're really seeing is that the old technology is still driving purchase intent and awareness." Hague said of digital menu boards, "From 75 feet, they're seeing signs for what's in the area. At 50 feet, menu boards identify the products. From 25 feet, it's the price point and menu options. That drives double-digit growth and speeds up service, which is great when you have 40,000 to 75,000 people to serve. ... The drive is the social aspect and the dough is digital menu boards" (, 4/7). 

Poutine hot dogs outsold all other specialty hot dogs
combined at Comerica Park on Opening Day
: In Detroit, Tony Paul wrote Comerica Park's new poutine hot dog, which has gravy, cheese curd and french fries, has been "the biggest turnoff among Tigers fans." It is "not so bad," but it is "not for everybody." For $7, fans "can do much worse than the poutine dog at a ballpark." The poutine dog, available at the Big Cat Food Court, "outsold all Comerica Park's other new specialty dogs -- including a slaw dog and baked-beans dog -- combined on Opening Day" (, 4/5). Meanwhile, in Chicago, Phil Vettel noted in celebration of Wrigley Field's 100th birthday, "some of the park's hot dogs this year will have a radically different look." Wrigley Field Exec Chef David Burns said, "We're calling them Decade Dogs. What we're doing is featuring different hot dogs linked to specific decades." The Decade Dogs are available all season at a stand near Wrigley's main entrance (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/8).

FRESH IDEAS: In Boston, Joan Salge Blake noted Red Sox fans this season will be "treated to a healthier culinary lineup," which is set to "expand even further." Salge Blake provides a list of "all the healthier foods that will be available this season at Fenway Park" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/7).
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