Last week, we brought you the first installment of our new feature “What’s the deal with…” where we address the most pressing topics and questions on the minds of our fans. The first interview our former head coach and current color analyst on Comcast SportsNet, Thomas Rongen. You can read our interview about his sharp bowtie here.
This week, we’ve heard some rumbling that concessions at RFK Stadium have not been up to par, so we sat down with our Executive Vice President Stephen Zack and asked him about it:
btb.com: “So... what’s the deal with concessions?”
“It’s necessary to provide a little background info here. During the last three years, RFK had a relationship with a concessionaire company called Aramark. When the Nationals left for their new stadium, the agreement with Aramark concluded as well.
Unfortunately, a new vendor was brought on board only a few weeks before our first game. After coming to an agreement with our new concessionaire, Ovations
, they had only a few weeks to move in to RFK, hire and train new staff and review and replace old equipment. We immediately became one of their biggest clients and we’ve experienced some growing pains during our first few home games. We saw the most issues for our April 26 game when we had 23,000-plus people in the building. Because it was the first game of the year of that size, our fans experienced some long lines and slower service.”
Btb.com: “What steps have you taken since the beginning of the season to improve the quality of service?”
Zack: “Well, from the very first game, we’ve been in continuous discussions with Ovations on how to improve service. We met with their top people again this week, along with the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and I can assure you we’re all on the same page about wanting to improve the experience at RFK. We believe they clearly understand our expectations and are taking steps to provide improved service for all future games. That being said, they’re still learning and as much as we try to plan for everything, there’s always something that pops up. We’ll do our best to meet these challenges head-on and provide improvements in the coming weeks.”
Btb.com: “Outside of those issues, what other differences or improvements have you seen with Ovations from previous years?”
Zack: To their credit, Ovations has listened to some of our suggestions and have been providing fans with expanded – and unique – menu options. Along with enhanced food selections, they immediately responded to beer and beverage location issues. Additionally, after our concerns following the April 26 match, they quickly identified additional locations that can be opened when we have larger crowds that require us to use the 400 level. Having said all of that, we believe we’re on the right track to provide top quality service to our fans and look forward to improvements in the upcoming weeks and months.
Do you have something on your mind - a question perhaps - that you'd like us to address? Feel free to put it in the comments below and we'll think about taking on your topic in the next editions of "What's the deal with..."