Working with partners and experts, sports and hospitality advocacy and advisory group Food Service Matters (FSM) has developed a COVID19 Hospitality Blueprint to help guide the industry in planning for a new fan experience when live events resume.
Founded in 2013, FSM has worked with iconic venues and clients including The Rose Bowl, New Orleans Saints, Vail Resorts, Miami Open, USC, NASCAR, University of Alabama, Golden State Warriors, Tennessee Titans, Memphis Grizzlies, Georgia World Congress Center, Fox Theatre and Madison Square Garden. FSM guides venues on how to make their food service programmes unique and profitable, while embracing the brand DNA of each team and its signature events. The team works with partners on creating vision blueprints for future business, operations, technology solutions, request for proposal development and management, financial modelling, marketing, strategic planning and data insight and analytics.
Founder and CEO Mike Plutino and his team are now focusing on the economic impact of the crisis in 2020 and beyond, as well as how technology, workforce changes and existing food service agreements will have to be modified to be most successful. “Our priority during the pandemic has been to provide ongoing support and guidance to our partners so they can restructure their operations and acclimate to the ever-changing environment,” said Plutino. “We are participating in several venue-specific task forces around the country at the moment and the main objective for each team is to generate a plan that will instil confidence in employees and fans upon return and providing an excellent and safe fan experience.”
FSM is also guiding client venues on managing the financial challenges of anticipated reduced stadium attendance. “Given the goals of building confidence of staff and fans, we anticipate the potential for new deal structures emerging as foodservice companies and sports teams work together in true partnership to establish fair and equitable agreements given the reduction in attendance for 2020.”
The main areas of focus discussed with the taskforce teams and outlined in the FSM COVID19 Blueprint include food service agreement reviews to mitigate short-term losses for all stakeholders; and sanitation and hygiene standards. It also encompasses the technology and infrastructure enhancements needed to support a more efficient and safer touch-free environment, as well as menu engineering strategies to account for reduced capacity, limited line queuing and more individualised products. Finally, it focuses on clear internal and external communication strategies to instil confidence.
FSM intends to focus on building a new model and driving fan engagement as it guides its partners through this turbulent time. “FSM’s goal for the next six months is to provide comprehensive, yet nimble, tools for owners and venue managers to use as they develop their plans and implement changes in anticipation of welcoming fans back to their facilities,” said Plutino.