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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Game day meals, feeding thousands

    When people attend a Mississippi State University football game, many enjoy ho dogs, pretzels or ice-cold sodas. However, few may be aware of the process that provides these food services at a game.
    Two major food services-concessions and catering-provide food and beverage for the stadium. Typically, Custom Food Group runs concessions services, and the Colonnade Group handles catering.
    An average of over 4,000 hot dogs, 3,000 bottles of water and 13,000 soft drinks sell at each football game, said Todd hunt, director of the Humphrey Coliseum and athletic concessions
    Custom Food Group employs two full-time site managers, 15 part-time workers and 300 volunteers to prepare all of these supplies for a game. The staff spends up to a week preparing for a game, Hunt said.
    Workers begin arriving about 10 hours before kickoff to set up on game day.
    In addition, while some stands receive concession supplies from one of the on-site commissaries inside the stadium, others prepare their own food.
    “The recent renovations of the food service areas and concession stands have helped with the food service operation at Davis Wade Stadium. Each season we try to tweak our operations to create a better,” Hunt said.
    The addition of the food court area beneath the new east stands and the tables and chairs on the sky deck level show the efforts being made to accommodate fans, Hunt said.
    Attendance, game time and weather affect the sale of food and drink. As a result, the number of leftovers at a typical game vary, Hunt said.
    “Our goal is no more than 1 percent waste-for example, 43 hot dogs left on our average of 4,300,” Hunt said. “Sometimes there is more, sometimes less.”
    In addition to concessions at the games, Colonnade Group provides catering services as well.
    Colonnade Group Inc., is a sports management company based in Birmingham, Ala. The company is in contract with the athletic department to manage the suites and club levels at the stadium.
    The company also establishes a contract with an exclusive caterer to provide all food services for the suites, club level, M-Club and west side boxes.
    The caterer for the past two seasons has been MMI Dining Systems based in Jackson, Miss., said Robyn Fulton, a Bulldog Suites Office employee who works with the Colonnade Group catering services.
    According to Fulton, the total catering service for MSU games involves approximately 30 people on a game day, including five management positions and 25 staff.
    Preparations for a game begin with placing the food orders two weeks in advance of a game, with the catering team arriving generally four days earlier on campus to begin work at the stadium.
    The catering staff typically works to serve about 4,000 meals on a typical game day to suite-holders and guests, club level members, media, athletic staff and M-Club members. Food is cooked in the M-Club kitchen and transported to the various serving locations by rolling carts and warming/cooling boxes.
    “Even though we know it’s impossible to make everyone happy, that’s always the goal, so it’s frustrating trying to please so many different tastes,” Fulton said.
    Catering leaves very few leftovers since all meals are pre-ordered.
    While food orders vary slightly, for the most part, the number of people being served is about the same for each game, Fulton said. However, suite-holders tend to order more food at night or “big” games, such as LSU or Mississippi.
    Finally, the amount earned for the provided services depends on the amount and the type of food ordered. Suite-holders are able to choose anything from hot dogs to prime rib at a game.
    “Catering sky boxes is a beast like none other. It doesn’t matter what credentials a catering company might have, catering 50 small parties simultaneously is extremely challenging-particularly given the spatial storage, and transportation limitations.”

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    Game day meals, feeding thousands