Delaware North Companies
Peanuts and pretzels still big sellers nationwide
BUFFALO, NY (July 12, 2007) ? It sounds crazy, but the next time you're at Comerica Park in Detroit watching the Tigers play baseball, take a second to listen to the many vendors in the stadium.
"Get your peanuts here, roasted peanuts here."
"Popcorn, I got popcorn and pretzels."
For Delaware North Companies, these shouts are more than just pleasant noise for hungry baseball fans. Instead, for Sportservice, such sounds are actually the echoes of over 90 years of tradition as a leading sports stadiums concessionaire. One of the most innovative culinary companies in the business, Delaware North Sportservice doesn’t go a day without remembering their whole operation started from nothing more than peanuts.
“Everyday I’m talking to our chefs and pushing them to keep up with the newest and best culinary trends in the world,” stated Rick Abramson, president of Sportservice.
“However, in our business, I’ve also got to keep them rooted in the world of traditional ballpark fare. While our work enables fans to get anything from crab legs to fresh fruit salads at the game, we’ve got to remember many of our customers are just looking for the popcorn, pretzels and hotdogs they’ve grown to love.”
That’s the biggest reason Sportservice continues to keep the tradition of great ballpark fare alive with roasted peanuts, hand-rolled pretzels and some of the best hot dogs in baseball. In keeping with the traditions that have grown their business numerous Sportservice locations roast peanuts on-site on a daily basis.
“Other concession companies might have turned their back on some of the older ballpark favorites but we are dedicated to listening to our customers and we know they look forward to such items when they root for their favorite team,” said Rolf Baumann, corporate chef for Delaware North Companies Sportservice. “It really boils down to giving the customer what they want and we’ve been dedicated to doing that for 90 years.”
Baumann believes the pretzels Sportservice delivers truly make the company unique. While most concession companies and ballparks purchase them already prepared, Sportservice actually hand-rolls and makes their own.
“I think it says something about a company when it takes the time to prepare its own food and truly make sure quality isn’t sacrificed,” Baumann added. “It sounds crazy, but I know fans can taste the difference. The extra time we put in really pays off in the end.”
Another big time baseball tradition is the smell and taste of hot roasted peanuts. While it is a long, deliberate process that goes into creating enough roasted peanuts for an entire ballpark, it’s something Sportservice is dedicating to doing. The aroma of well-roasted peanuts is a smell which welcomes fans to the ballpark and makes them feel at home.
“There are sights and sounds that are just woven into the fabric of baseball in America and one of those is the aroma of roasted peanuts,” Abramson added. “There are people out there who wouldn’t go to the game if they couldn’t have their hot roasted peanuts. Some ballparks might not think the process is worth it but Sportservice does.”
Judging from early sales and projections, 2007 looks to be another banner year for Sportservice’s traditional favorites. Comerica Park is set to sell 137,500 pounds of peanuts and 189,750 hand-rolled pretzels Tigers fans are also on pace to purchase 1,000,000 hot dogs, the most famous ballpark food item, which is equivalent to 166,700 pounds of hot dogs a year.
Part of the reason Delaware North Sportservice is so committed to their traditional favorites has to do with the long history the company has with ballparks around the country. After picking up the Tigers contract in 1930 the team has bolstered its lineup to include such venues as PETCO Park in San Diego, Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Miller Park in Milwaukee and Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Such longstanding contracts are tributes to the dedication and level of excellence Sportservice delivers to those ballparks and their visitors.
And, it really did all start with peanuts. As the company recognized for founding modern day sports concessions, Sportservice has the unique ability to move forward while staying rooted in its traditions.
“One of the greatest things about walking through our ballparks is you get to pass the peanut vendors and the guys grilling high-end fish dishes at the same time,” said Abramson. “I can literally watch our chefs raising the bar and setting new goals for ballpark food and then turn around and see people enjoying the long-time traditional foods of the ballpark such as peanuts. Every ballpark we operate at is a representation of the fact we’re a culinary leader that doesn’t go a day without remembering how it all started.”
About Delaware North Companies Sportservice
Delaware North Companies Sportservice has been a global leader in food, beverage and retail management for nearly a century. The company provides concessions, gourmet catering and fine dining operations at more than 50 professional sporting venues for Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Hockey League, as well as at entertainment complexes and convention centers across the United States and Canada. From the Stanley Cup Championships and Major League Baseball's World Series to the Olympic Games and world-class entertainment, Sportservice continues to set the standard for innovation, creativity and customer service excellence. Throughout its impressive history, Sportservice has kept its focus on the fans and evolved its facilities, operations and food and retail offerings to meet the ever-changing industry trends and consumer demands. Whether it’s introducing healthier food selections and signature cuisine to fresh takes on traditional fare and new organic options, Sportservice is committed to taking the fan experience to a whole new level.
About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the world’s leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International, TD Banknorth Garden, and American Park ‘n Swap. Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues approaching $2 billion annually and 40,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit www.DelawareNorth.com.