Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers hire Aramark to run stadium concessions
TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hired a new vendor to manage food and beverage sales at Raymond James Stadium. Aramark, the Philadelphia-based hospitality giant, agreed to a long-term partnership with the team to handle concessions as well as club, suite and restaurant dining programs. Aramark will also handle Bucs retail merchandise, including a team store, stadium kiosks and online sales. The Bucs have sought to consolidate those areas, part of ongoing plans to update the fan experience. "The Buccaneers and Aramark will work together to create a distinctive dining and shopping experience – focused on quality, culinary and retail innovation, and unparalleled service – for both football fans and patrons of other stadium events," Bucs vice president of business administration Brian Ford said in a news release.Food service at the stadium had been managed by Chicago-based Levy Restaurants, retail operations by Connecticut-based Centerplate and online sales by Jacksonville's Fanatics Inc. Five-year deals with all three expired after the 2012 season. Bucs fans have reported issues with concession stands in the past. At an August 2011 preseason game, fans faced long lines only to find that many outlets had run out of food and water by halftime. Some customers complained food wasn't properly prepared. Voucher and credit cards could not be used. The Bucs offered half-price concessions for the next game, the September regular-season opener. However, stands ran out of ice and fans again waited – often up to an hour – to make purchases. Such problems appeared to be rectified for the 2012 season. Aramark boasts managing concessions for more than 400 college and professional sports venues, including 38 teams in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League. "Our goal is to deliver world-class service and offerings that further position Raymond James Stadium as a premier sports and entertainment venue," Marc Bruno, Aramark's president of Sports and Entertainment, said in the news release. Financial details of the agreement were not released by the team or Aramark.