After several months of thorough planning, it’s game time tonight at SunTrust Park, the new state-of-the-art home of the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves welcome the San Diego Padres, with first pitch slated for 7:35 p.m. — by which time fans will have already had their first taste of the Delaware North Sportservice- operated food and beverage program. For Shawn Mattox, Delaware North’s general manager at the ballpark, it’s a feeling of equal parts sigh-of-relief and excitement.
“When you spend this much time planning, you want to be sure that you’ve crossed every T and dotted every I,” Mattox said. “But when the gates open, it’s about taking a deep breath and reminding ourselves that we’ve been a part of special moments before and to do our part to make the experience that much more enjoyable for our guests.
“Being a part of this opening is not without its high-pressure moments, but it’s definitely exciting — and I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved,” Mattox continued. The team onsite — including Executive Chef Pete Smithing, Operations Manager George Raub and Food and Beverage Manager Matthew Riznyk — also features support from throughout Delaware North Sportservice. A group of 80 culinarians and operational managers from locations around the United States has been working at the ballpark for several weeks. Meanwhile, Operations Project Manager Jami Kypta, who calls St. Louis home, has been in Atlanta for 19 months.
Aside from featuring year-round Delaware North-operated dining, the company also operates food and beverage services at the 4,000-seat concert and entertainment venue Coca-Cola Roxy Theater, which is part of The Battery Atlanta — the entertainment district around the ballpark. The venue held its first concert on April 8.
PHOTO CAPTION: In preparation for the home opener at SunTrust Park, Delaware North Sportservice associates discuss elements of GuestPath, the company’s customer experience platform, earlier this afternoon.