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Concessions and Recreation

Top 10 sports/recreation food service stories of 2021

The year’s top sports/recreation foodservice stories include innovations operators are undertaking to meet challenges posed by the emerging concessions and venue catering environment in entertainment facilities.

For a while there in 2020, the entertainment venue market was at a standstill with facilities closed, sports leagues suspending seasons and performers hunkering down. Limitations slowly began to lift toward the latter part of that year and continued to loosen as 2021 progressed. Crowds began returning to pre-pandemic levels, major sports leagues launched full schedules and performers began returning to live concerts.

However, this steady return to “normal” did not mean a return to pre-pandemic business operations for food & beverage service providers at entertainment venues because of a number of factors ranging from changed customer preferences as to how they accessed F&B and continued limitations on some modes of service such as self-serve to—not least—a severe staffing shortage combined with the growth of automation solutions ranging from mobile order to unmanned retail outlets that have ideal application in sports and entertainment venue environments.

FM followed these trends over the course of the year, highlighting innovations, adjusted practices, new menu developments and out-of-the-box initiatives that are changing the way sports/entertainment catering and concessions are offered. Here are 10 stories from the past year focused on these developments…

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