Around The Bases: Super Bowl Concessions Edition

Posted on February 2, 2014 | in Basketball, Defects, Football, Lean Wastes, Quality, Respect For People, Safety, Sports, Standardized Work | by
kitchen sink sausage sportservice

The Kitchen Sink Sausage from Sportservice will be available at the Super Bowl. (New York Jets)

The concessions available at the Super Bowl will be fantastic, and the outsourced food service provider Delaware North is preparing for the onslaught of concessions demand.

The Buffalo, N.Y., company has hired more than 3,000 food workers and 200 chefs to ensure that football’s biggest day of the year goes off without a hitch.

One thing that really bothers me about concessions stands and vendors preparing for big events is how much of that “food preparation” is done well in advance.

Having over 21,000 hot dogs and 75,000 chicken tenders readily available for fans throughout a 3-4 hour game will be a challenge…a challenge that many teams attack by cooking food early and keeping in large chest warmers to maintain temperature instead of having standardized processes of cooking food as quickly but properly as possible when it is ordered. This means you could be eating a hot dog prepared a couple hours earlier.

That’s fine (kind of) if the hot dog has maintained the proper internal temperature for that duration, as specified by the health inspector. But once food falls below that threshold (if that heated chest warmer door is constantly opened and closed, letting all the hot air out) it is actually a violation to serve it.

This is Delaware North’s first Super Bowl and they may have some rough data on food demand, but I would be more judgmental of their ability to readily prepare food on demand instead of cooking in advance and storing it all.

Not all teams do this – I know of a minor league team who is very good about preparing a lot of the food to order instead of relying on the chest warmers – and Delaware North is staffed by chefs, while most teams don’t employ trained foodservice operators in their concession stands. I’m not at the Super Bowl so I don’t know how Delaware North will provide foodservice to the fans tonight.

There will be more about foodservice in the coming months, in preparation for the baseball season. But for now, enjoy the Super Bowl.

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What really helps the Super Bowl with concessions sales is the fact that there is no tailgating this year at the Super Bowl, meaning hordes of hungry fans will be rolling into the stadium to splurge on those heavily-marked-up food items.

“You will be allowed to have food in your car and have drink in your car,” (Super Bowl committee CEO Al) Kelly said. “And provided you’re in the boundaries of a single parking space, you’ll be able to eat or drink right next to your car. However, you’re not going to be able to take out a lounge chair, you’re not going to be able to take out a grill, and you’re not going to be able to take up more than one parking space. And it’ll all be watched very carefully.”

And the security to go to the game will be the biggest at a sporting event post-9/11. A 10-mile no-fly zone? And simply getting inside the gates to the game is logistically crazy.

There will be only three ways for the expected 80,000 ticket holders to get to the game. The committee will charter buses called the Fan Express, which will cost $51 and pick up and drop off passengers at nine locations around the region. Fans can also take N.J. Transit to the MetLife Stadium stop or be dropped off by vehicles that must have parking passes.

-snip-

Fans who had considered parking farther from the stadium and getting there on foot will not be allowed to enter.

“You cannot walk to the Super Bowl,” Kelly said. “You can get your hotel to drop you off at one of the New Jersey Transit locations or get the shuttle to take you to a Fan Express location, but you cannot walk.”

Ugh. Here’s the scene at a Super Bowl train stop a few hours before game time (definitely check out the Twitter pictures – below from @bjacobus14). Reports of people passing out at a Secaucus station as well.

super bowl secaucus train station

Please don’t have the Super Bowl in New York again, NFL. Yikes.

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Elvis Dumervil ESPN Graphic 2

ESPN television graphics from the Elvis Dumervil fax contract snafu last March

Remember the Elvis Dumervil fax mishap over the last offseason? Here is a quick analysis of the repercussions from the incident that could have led to the Broncos making it to the Super Bowl.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says that the players in last week’s Pro Bowl showed more spirit and effort than in previous years.

“It was real football,” Goodell said. “It was something that I give a lot of credit to the players.”

The game also came down to a last-second field goal attempt by Justin Tucker, which fell short.

The last-second drama of a close game and additional twist of letting two NFL Hall of Fame players “draft” the teams like in fantasy football led to additional attention and decent TV ratings (lower than last year, though). It’s also probably going to point to the NFL bringing it back again next year.

However, the problem of injury risk in a pointless game still remains and the NFL won’t solve that problem as long as it looks at the ratings. It needs to go if the NFL is adamant about taking safety seriously.

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As a follow-up to last week’s commentary on the Raiderettes cheerleaders and their lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders, here is a Deadspin article where a former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader reveals a lot about the cheerleading profession in the NFL.

I’m really torn about the claims in the article, not about the truthfulness on behalf of the ex-cheerleader but more about what can truly be considered fair treatment of participants. It’s good that there are expectations of performance and attendance, and in this case how a cheerleader looks is part of that expectation of performance (however superficial that may be).

However, those expectations should be applied properly, evenly, and objectively. Yes, violations have punitive repercussions but the team should help the violators out in correcting their mistakes and everyone should be held to the same expectations.

And yes, it is a significant privilege to be a participant in these highly-competitive programs, but that doesn’t mean the team should make participants go broke doing it. The teams are the beneficiaries of their cheerleaders looking the part – fit, toned, good hair, sharp appearance – so they should make the investment in taking care of their cheerleaders. Failing to do so is disrespectful. We all know the NFL can afford it.

This commentary is just the tip of the iceberg. Read the article. There is a lot more that could use analysis but I’m holding off.

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adam silver nba basketball

The new Adam Silver NBA basketball

Adam Silver became the new NBA commissioner yesterday, and on Day 1 of his reign the NBA was using official game balls with his signature during games.

NBA basketballs take time to break in. Using a brand new basketball in games across the league in the middle of a season might have disruptive consequences. The balls they use in games are already broken in.

So what did the NBA do to take care of this issue? They started producing the Adam Silver-signed balls for practice racks early in the season to get them ready for game play on February 1st. Teams would practice with the Adam Silver balls but played regular season games with the David Stern balls through January 31st. Broken-in Adam Silver balls were then made available for games starting February 1st. Good planning by Spalding and the NBA.

At least the NBA listened to the players’ concerns about changes in the game ball this time around.

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Northwestern University’s football players are attempting to unionize, with the intent of challenging the NCAA practice of amateurism by showing the extent to which players in college football and men’s basketball (for now) are actually university employees.

“It’s become clear that relying on NCAA policymakers won’t work, that they are never going to protect college athletes, and you can see that with their actions over the past decade,” (former UCLA football player Ramogi) Huma said. “Look at their position on concussions. They say they have no legal obligation to protect players.”

For now, the unionizing group – the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA) – is looking for medical protections beyond what the NCAA provides, guaranteed four-year scholarships for athletes (so they can’t be taken away due to injury or being cut from teams through non-renewal of scholarships), and funding for schooling beyond the four-year scholarship.

The initial wave of unionization is not with the intent of gaining payment for players, but that will probably come in subsequent waves.

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punxsutawney phil groundhog pennsylvania

Happy Groundhog Super Bowl Sunday Day!!

It’s also Groundhog Day – let this be a reminder that this is a silly example of using the wrong measurements or indicators to dictate action or performance.

Were you aware that Punxsutawney Phil was sued last year due to being wrong about winter going away (he did not see his shadow, therefore winter was over)?

(It was a fake indictment, but still.)

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