Behind The Kitchen: Arena Concessions
Proof of the Pudding, Infinite Energy Center’s official caterer and concessions provider
By: Katrina Sharpe, Marketing Communications Coordinator
Published: November 6, 2015
Like any artist who walks the back hallway of The Arena at Infinite Energy Center will tell you, their life isn’t all glitz and glamour. What many people don’t see is the behind-the-scenes daily grind of their work. All the public really sees is the show.
The same goes for our in-house catering and concessions partner Proof of the Pudding. During an event day, all we see is their food and beverage “show,” and not necessarily what goes on behind the kitchen. Fritz Smith, arena manager in charge of concessions with Proof of the Pudding and gives us a glimpse into the workings of arena concessions.
The Proof of the Pudding team spends 700+ hours preparing for a sold-out show, right up to the time that the doors open. Each day, they check ticket counts to make sure their concession counts match up. Other details they take into consideration are what the event expectations are for a particular show. For instance, does the show require that all beverages be poured into a cup? Is there an event sponsor that needs to be incorporated? And those are just a few examples out of many.
Proof of the Pudding utilizes the help of volunteers to run the concessions on event days. How many volunteers does it take to make a successful event day? That would be upwards of about 140 volunteers! Many volunteers are high schools students who help out to raise funds so that their band can perform on Friday nights. In exchange for the time the volunteers put in, Proof of the Pudding provides them with a donation to their organization.
Proof of the Pudding also offers training for their volunteers, which is a great opportunity to learn professional and service industry skills. They gain experience working as part of a team. It is that team effort that brings success and that sense of accomplishment.
Fritz explains, “There is a ripple effect to every action throughout a tight-knit organization [such as Proof of the Pudding]. Everyone is working towards the same goal...and one action can affect the whole group.”
The Event Day
A typical event day is filled with confirming details, crossing t’s and dotting i’s. Proof of the Pudding confirms door opening times to make sure their team is ready as soon as the first person walks through the doors.
Their staff can easily put in 1,200 hours of total combined effort during an event, but it doesn’t end there. Even days after the event, their team is still working on the event by calculating how much was made is concession sales.
Working during an event brings a lot of excitement with it. Fritz share that his favorite part about his job is, “walking around the corner in the later moments of a successful event to view satisfied customers and excited staff…also reading emails and texts of praise. That right there gives me an adrenaline rush.”
Next time you visit Infinite Energy Center, we’ll do the work we love and you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
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