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In the analysis - Recreational Food Service Is Big Business - by Gary Horvath, President, Recreational Foodservice Division, Service America Corporation and Mickey Warner, Associate Professor School of Hospitality Management at Florida International University, Horvath and Warner initially state: “Recreational food service is very different from routine food service management. The authors review the market and the management planning and challenges that create that difference.”

Recreational food is loosely defined by the authors as food for special events. These can be one-time events, repeated events that are not on a fixed schedule [i.e. concerts], weekly events such as football-baseball-or basketball games, or other similar venues. Concessions are a large part of these fan based settings.

“An anticipated 101,000 fans at a per capita spending of $5-6 [were expected]. A typical concessions menu of hot dogs, popcorn, soda, beer, snacks, novelty foods, candy, and tobacco products comprises this market segment,” say Horvath and Warner in reference to the Super-Bowl XXI football championship game, held in Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California, on January 25, 1987. Some of the article is based upon that event.

These food service efforts focus on the individual fan, but do extend to the corporate-organizational level as well. Your authors will have you know that catering is definitely a part of this equation. The monies spent and earned are phenomenal.

“Special events of this type attract numerous corporate catering opportunities for companies entertaining VIP guest lists,” the authors inform. “Hospitality tents usually consist of a pregame cocktail party and buffet and a post-game celebration with musical entertainment held in lavishly decorated tents erected at the site. In this case a total of 5,000 covers, at a price of $200 each, for 12-15 separate parties were anticipated.”

Horvath and Warner also want you to know that novelties and souvenirs make up an essential part of this, the recreational food service market. “Novelties and souvenirs are a primary market and source of revenue for every stadium food service operator,” say Horvath and Warner.

The term, “per capita spending is the measurement used by the industry to evaluate sales potential per attendee at an event,” say the authors.

Of course, with the solid revenue figures involved as well as the number of people anticipated for such events, planning is crucial, say Horvath and Warner. Training of staff, purchasing and supply, money and banking, facility access, and equipment, are a few of the elements to be negotiated.

Through both graphs and text, Horvath and Warner do provide a fairly detailed outline of what a six-step event plan consists of.