36 Retail Outlets will be Open at Stadium on Game Day Special Food and Beverage Items and Services Added for Largest-Ever Pro Hockey Crowd
BUFFALO, N.Y. (Dec. 21, 2007) – On Dec. 27, Sportservice will open a retail outlet outside the stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills, to offer a wide selection of official Winter Classic merchandise, including jerseys, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hooded sweatshirts, hats, gloves, scarves and novelty collectibles. The retail outlet will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 27 through New Year’s Eve and will be located near the One Bills Drive stadium entrance just off of Abbott Road.
Some Winter Classic merchandise will also be available at the stadium at the Bills Store on Dec. 24 and Dec. 26 through game day.
For game day on Jan. 1, Sportservice will operate 36 retail outlets at the stadium, double the 18 retail outlets that the Bills operate. Eight of those outlets will be located at gates and in lots outside the stadium. Lots will open at 8 a.m.; gates at 11 a.m.
Delaware North Companies Sportservice is also busy preparing to feed the more than 73,000 fans who are expected to attend the AMP Energy/NHL Winter Classic.
"There is no doubt this will be the most food ever eaten at a hockey game," Sportservice President Rick Abramson said. "Using the outstanding facilities at Ralph Wilson Stadium, we will be offering a tremendous selection of foods and beverages for the concessions, clubs and suites. This will be a spectacular feast."
Sportservice is preparing for fans to devour an estimated 12,000 slices of pizza, 10,000 hot dogs, 6,000 pretzels, 5,000 hamburgers, 5,000 cups of soup, 3,000 bags of peanuts, 2,500 pounds of nachos, 1,900 beef on kimmelweck sandwiches, 1,400 pounds of Buffalo chicken wings, 1,300 pounds of chicken tenders, and 800 pounds of popcorn. They’ll wash that down with an estimated 31,000 cups of coffee and hot chocolate, 12,000 bottles of soda pop, and 5,400 bottles of water.
A subsidiary of global hospitality provider Delaware North Companies, Sportservice provides food service, retail or both at 20 major professional sports venues and more than 20 other sports venues across North America. In addition, Delaware North provides food service and retail at the new Wembley and Emirates stadiums in London and several venues in Australia.
In Buffalo, where Delaware North pioneered the sports concession business in 1915, Sportservice is the exclusive food and beverage provider for both the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium and the Sabres at HSBC Arena.
Sportservice’s preparation for the Jan. 1 Winter Classic has been underway for months, including recruiting experienced people to work as concession stand attendants, retail cashiers, food and program vendors, bartenders, porters and servers, said Beth Backus, Sportservice’s general manager at the stadium. As with Bills games, there are opportunities for groups of volunteers to raise money for their non-profit organizations by manning concession and retail stands, she said.
"The folks who work Bills and Sabres home games are not obligated to work this game, although we are looking forward to many of them returning to do so," Backus said.
When stadium lots open at 8 a.m. on Jan. 1 for the 1 p.m. game, Sportservice will cater a tented pregame tailgate party that will be created outside the scoreboard end of the stadium.
Sportservice will serve the Pepsi AMP Energy drink, coffee, hot chocolate, soda, water, beer, hot soup, hot dogs and hamburgers. Sportservice is also partnering with Famous Dave’s Barbeque, a national restaurant chain with a location in Cheektowaga near Buffalo, to provide BBQ specialties.
In a first at Ralph Wilson Stadium, hot chocolate will be available to fans in their seats to purchase from roaming vendors. Fifty vendors, twice as many as usually work a Bills game, will serve fans in the stands at the Winter Classic.
In addition to regular concession items such as pizza and hot dogs, a hot soup ? in this case, loaded baked potato soup ? will be offered for the first time. Backus noted that just as with late-season Bills games, soda pop will only be available in bottles because tap lines could freeze.
"We know it could be a very cold day, so hot chocolate and soup were a priority in our planning," said Backus. "An event in winter weather presents a number of unique challenges."
Fans in the Paul Maguire, Van Miller and Jim Kelly clubs ? which feature outdoor, heated seating from which snacks and drinks can be ordered, plus indoor tables with the game on dozens of television monitors ? fans can enjoy everything from hot dogs to carved turkey and roast beef to a pesto/blackened chicken sandwich to chilled citrus shrimp.
Also available: soup, chili, a game day wrap, various burgers, smoked BBQ pork, chicken Caesar salad, and Buffalo pizza. Fans will have to save room for desert, including chocolate lava hockey pucks, Sabres and Penguins cupcakes, strawberries and cream, and peanut butter tarts.
In the M&T and One Communications all-indoor clubs, a special pre-game buffet beginning at 11 a.m. will feature Monster Chili, BBQ brisket, carved turkey, a frittata action station, and a number of salads and entrees, including a lemon pepper salad and blackened salmon. A Pittsburgh favorite, kielbasa (Polish sausage) with caraway sauerkraut, will also be served.
"Our chefs, led by Sportservice Corporate Chef Rolf Baumann and Ralph Wilson Stadium Executive Chef Christian Hipzer, developed menus that include a number of special Buffalo and Pittsburgh themed dishes for the clubs and suites," Backus said.
During the first intermission, fans in the indoor clubs will enjoy North Shore nachos, Blueline wings, vegetable crudités, Buffalo favorite beef on kimmelweck sandwiches, and Sin Bin Subs stacked with turkey, salami, and ham. Deserts will be served during the second intermission.
A variety of spirits and wines will be available in clubs and suites, and several special beverages will be featured: the AMP Up and other AMP cocktails, Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and the Great White Buffalo (hot chocolate or coffee, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and topped with whipped cream and chocolate swirls).
Sportservice provided a number of extensive suite menu packages for pre-ordering by Dec. 26.
The NHL Ultimate Package features an artisan cheese board, lemon-poached shrimp, beef tenderloin, roast turkey breast, seasonal fresh vegetables, and garlic mashed potatoes. A number of different deserts are offered with each package.
The Best of Both Cities Package includes a number of Buffalo and Pittsburgh dishes such as beef on weck, Buffalo-style and Quaker State chicken wings, and kielbasa. The Pond Hockey Brunch menu offers a baby field greens salad, smoked salmon hash browns, and sausage and egg burritos.
In addition, a limited menu of ala carte items such as sushi, veggie and meat lasagnas, and Winter Classic soup (beef vegetable) will be available on game day. Many of the items featured in the clubs will also be available in the suites.
Fans in the suites will be able to sample some of the delicious recipes featured in Sportservice’s new cookbook, "Home Plate: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine." The book includes recipes from Ralph Wilson Stadium and HSBC Arena such as baby spinach salad, Queen City pot roast, traditional beef on kimmelweck and Buffalo-style chicken wings.
Recently profiled in Sports Illustrated, the cookbook is the first to provide sports fans the opportunity to create and savor authentic stadium, arena and ballpark dishes from across the United States and Canada in their own homes.
"We take great pride in our chefs and their culinary talents, and they’re always trying to incorporate an area’s local favorites and flavors into our menus," Abramson said.
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