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Aramark launches high-end hospitality concept for entertainment venues

Aura seeks to deliver “an unmatched hospitality experience paired with exceptional culinary talent” to premium areas in entertainment venues.

Aramark Sports + Entertainment has announced the launch of Aura, a concept it describes as “an elevated approach to premium service that will deliver an unmatched hospitality experience paired with exceptional culinary talent.”

“Aura is a first-of-its-kind approach to premium hospitality programming that addresses every aspect of the guest experience, from exquisite culinary offerings to extraordinary service,” explains Aramark Sports + Entertainment President/CEO Alison Birdwell. “An ‘aura’ can be defined as a distinctive atmosphere, and this is precisely what we have set out to achieve with this approach to premium hospitality.”

The Aura experience is made up of four pillars… 

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The food display at the Agave Club in San Antonio

The Food: Aura’s menu programming leverages Aramark strategic partner Stephen Starr, the James Beard Award-winning creative force behind STARR Restaurants, to inform menu development and service standards. Aramark and Starr will meet quarterly to collaborate on new menu and concept development, evolving service standards, and market trends to ensure an innovative approach to Aura’s programming. In addition, Aura chefs will participate in trend research and culinary immersions to ensure menus are always evolving and adapting to every desired experience. For a look at some of the food options, see the photo gallery accompanying this story.

The Beverage: The Aura beverage program integrates the council of industry experts including Aramark’s in-house beverage director, mixology partners and sommelier collaborators to advise on brand partnerships and menu offerings, ensuring programs align with trends and preferences. Menus will feature a rotating and seasonal selection of specialty cocktails, robust beer and wine lists, and zero-proof beverage and coffee options.

The Service: As part of a longstanding collaboration with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Aramark has designed a bespoke training program that all Aura front-of-house staff must partake in to ensure they are abreast of the latest techniques and food and beverage trends. This program is designed to go beyond basic service training and aims to empower staff to deliver exceptional guest experiences in high-end settings and cultivate a culture of hospitality. All Aura culinarians must also receive CIA ProChef certification, which provides hands-on skill validation and measures a chef’s core culinary, managerial, and financial acumen.

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The patio area at the Agave Club in San Antonio

The Design: Every element in a space curated by Aura, from the layout to the food and beverage areas to the finishes, is meticulously crafted to evoke a sense of sophistication and exclusivity. The space design goal is to deliver a memorable experience rather than just a transaction. To allow for customization and flexibility, Aura offers a range of options, from approachable to top-tier luxury so that whether a client is looking for an upscale, social environment for the younger generation or an intimate, opulent atmosphere for corporate clientele, Aura can deliver.

The first curated space in the Aura portfolio—the Agave Club presented by SWBC—is opening this month at Frost Bank Center, home of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. Sporting a captivating atmosphere with an ever-changing array of culinary options, the club can seat up to 310 patrons and features upper- and lower-ledge seating, bar-style seating, dining tables, a private lounge area, multiple chef action stations, grazing and specialty item counters and an outdoor patio.

To create an elevated and modern aesthetic, a range of materials and design features were used to transform the Agave Club. Sleek yet comfortable furniture invites guests to relax and socialize in the entertainment space while hexagon terrazzo pieces and peacock green stacked tile were selected to complement the color palette and spirit of the San Antonio Spurs, and warm lighting was incorporated throughout the club to capture the essence of exclusivity while also maintaining a feeling of accessibility.

“We are honored for Frost Bank Center to be the first venue delivering the Aura experience to guests,” says Joe Loomis, SVP Finance, Technology and Culinary Operations at Spurs Sports & Entertainment. “Aramark’s expertise in delivering the best in culinary and hospitality experiences shines through the Agave Club. We look forward to having guests visit this renovated spot and get a taste of the premium experience.”

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