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Delaware North Companies Sportservice Grabs Top Dog Spot

Milwaukee’s Miller Park food is No. 1; All eight Sportservice ballparks in top 20

BUFFALO, N.Y. (May 2, 2008) – The food served by Delaware North Companies Sportservice at the Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park, including the signature bratwurst slathered in Secret Stadium Sauce, has garnered the top ranking in a poll of fans at Major League ballparks.

In addition, ballparks featuring Sportservice’s concessions placed second (Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field) and sixth (Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field) in the fan poll. All eight of Sportservice’s national baseball food service operations ranked in the top 20.

Sportservice is part of Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality and food service that operates at dozens of sports and entertainment venues, national and state parks, resort hotels and airports.

The survey, conducted in March and released this week by Sports Illustrated magazine, asked fans of each Major League team to rate the quality of food at their ballpark.

Of fans polled about Miller Park food, 83 percent rated it above average or excellent and 90 percent said the price was average or better. At U.S. Cellular Field, 91 percent of fans polled considered the food above average or excellent and 85 percent rated the price average or better.

Rick Abramson, president of Sportservice, cited the company’s unwavering focus on delivering superior culinary products for fans throughout the ballpark, from the general seats to the luxury suites.

“At Sportservice, we’re very serious about staying current with culinary trends and continually connecting with our customers. Whether it’s testing a new hot dog or delivering healthy or vegetarian options in our fine dining, we are always on the look out for the latest and greatest in food and beverage offerings. I am certainly happy that the fans are noticing,” Abramson said.

“I believe our customers’ satisfaction is directly related to Delaware North’s commitment to culinary excellence. We’re working toward having all salaried chefs professionally certified by the end of the year. That’s an impressive challenge, but our chefs work extremely hard to provide fans with traditional favorites like hot roasted peanuts and bratwurst while expanding concession menus to feature dishes you wouldn’t expect at a ballpark,” he said.

Sportservice has continued to bring innovation to the ballpark over its more than 90-year history serving baseball’s fans. In fact, this year the company introduced hot roasted peanuts, rarely seen at ballparks since the 1980s, at all of its Major League sites. This season, Sportservice has introduced its own cookbook, Home Plate: From Hot Dog to Haute Cuisine, featuring recipes from many of the ballparks, stadiums and arenas at which it operates.

The food rankings of other Sportservice operations: Detroit Tigers (Comerica Park), 12th;  Cincinnati Reds (Great American Ball Park), 14th; St. Louis Cardinals (Busch Stadium), 17th; Texas Rangers (Rangers Ballpark in Arlington), 18th; and San Diego Padres (PETCO Park), 20th.

Abramson, a Milwaukee native, said he is especially proud that Miller Park topped the food ratings. He began working for Sportservice as a vendor at Milwaukee County Stadium more than 40 years ago and later developed Secret Stadium Sauce as an alternative to ketchup and mustard. Secret Stadium Sauce has become a traditional fan favorite at the ballpark. His mother, now in her 70s, continues to work at Miller Park as a vendor.

Looking ahead, Sportservice will become the food service provider for the Minnesota Twins in 2010 when their new ballpark is scheduled to open. “We look forward to working with the Twins over the next two years to bring culinary excellence to the fans at their new ballpark,” Abramson said.

The Sports Illustrated survey was part of an overall fan poll to determine the top ballparks based on several criteria, including food. Overall, Progressive Field, Miller Park, Comerica Park and Busch Stadium all placed in the top five.