By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
The Glens Falls Civic Center’s contract with Ovations food services expired yesterday, on September 30. As of today, October 1, the Civic Center is bringing its concessions in-house, director Jeff Mead says.
The Civic Center Coalition had talked of contracting with local restaurants, caterers or other food services to provide concessions at the Adirondack Thunder ECHL hockey games and other Civic Center events — and went so far as to seek proposals.
“We looked at it, and sharing revenue with a third party wasn’t going to help us,” Mr. Mead said.
“Our goal is to do as much as we can internally, so that the revenue goes to us and not a third party.”
He said Ovations received “a minimum of $100,000 a year, according to our contract.” It took six percent of gross receipts plus 10 percent of the net, he said.
“We just didn’t feel that we have enough events here currently to need an outside food and beverage management team. We want to control our own destiny.”
He said Sue Didio will manage concessions. “She worked for Ovations, and even before Ovations she was running the food I think for about 20 years, going back to the Red Wings. She will be my lead person.”
Mr. Mead said they expect to hire 30 part-time employees to prepare and serve food, on a per-event basis similar to Ovations staffing. “We have a lot of applications in, including a lot of people who used to work for Ovations.”
They’ll aim to provide catering for Heritage Hall events in-house as well.
“For events that we can handle internally, we would prefer to do that, and not have the revenue go to a third party. We have some chefs on board who can handle events, but who they are is not public yet.
“For those events we can’t handle, we will be looking to get bids for the jobs. Initially, that will be on a case-by-case basis. Eventually we will probably want to have someone in place. Our staff would still handle front-of-house.”
Last year, Heritage Hall hosted between 30 and 40 events. “That’s certainly an area where we need to grow,” Mr. Mead said.
Similar foods, vendors, brews
“We’re trying to put a great quality product out there for the public,” Mr. Mead says. Arena food will be “similar to what you’ve seen before,” he said — hot dogs, nachos, cotton candy. “The brands we buy may be a little different” he suggested. “There’s no magic menu for an arena to make the food program jump off the chart.”
He said “We will try to add a local spin where it makes since to have it here.” He said there’ve been complaints about the coffee, for example — so they are looking for a new vendor, possibly local.
Fitzgerald Brothers has the beverage concession again, featuring Pepsi products. Saratoga Eagle is beer provider, including Budweiser and Labatt products and craft brews, similar to last year’s taps.
Davidson Brothers will still serve its beers in Heritage Hall during hockey games. Pizza Hut will again have a stand in the same far corner of the arena, and Dippin’ Dots is on board as well.
Mr. Mead says “We truly believe there is a big upside to doing food and beverages internally. We know it’s a big undertaking, and we’re excited for the opportunity.”
Five Finger Death Punch, hockey
The Center’s first event under the new food and beverage system is the Friday, Oct. 9, hard-rock concert headlined by Five-Finger Death Punch and Papa Roach at 6:15 p.m. Tix: $37.75 to $43, with VIP packages including meet-and-greet opportunities and signed souvenirs at $175.
Also in October: The Garden Bros. Circus on Thursday, Oct. 15; New York State Fall Special Olympics on Friday, Oct. 16; and the Adirondack Thunder ECHL Hockey team’s home opener versus the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday, Oct. 24.
Box office: 1-855-432-2849 or on the Civic Center’s newly upgraded Website at www.glensfallscc.com.
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