3 concessions trends still going strong
After an upward trajectory in the past several years, these fads are here to stay.
1. Upscale options
As an upscale alternative to buffet-style eatery Bricks Family Restaurant, Legoland Florida also has Skyline Lounge, a full-service restaurant serving appetizers, entrees such as shrimp or steak and plated desserts. “Guests have responded well to the restaurant, which features a “skyline” with more than 20 humorous scenes [made of Legos],” says Williams.
USF Sun Dome offers fine dining-inspired dishes, in addition to classic stadium fare, in its premium seating areas. “Peanut-crusted chicken with a coconut-curry sauce, grilled flank steak with chimichurri, shrimp-and-mushroom quinoa stir-fry and s’mores parfaits are just some of the offerings we have showcased,” Horowitz says. “Although these menu selections are well received, the traditional, casual options are always a favorite during sporting events.”
2. Healthy choices
Operators agree that while healthy menu items aren’t eclipsing more traditional recreational fare, they’re still in demand by a certain segment of customers. “We are frequently asked by our consumers for healthier items,” says Dennis Schnurbusch II, director of visitor services at Toledo Zoo & Aquarium in Ohio. “However, our sales analysis shows that these items remain a fairly low purchased commodity.” In response, Schnurbusch’s team continues to look for ways to balance customer demand with a variety of options, such as vegetable cups and fruit throughout the zoo, plus children’s combo meals featuring applesauce and carrots served at the zoo’s Wild Dog and Carnivore Cafe facilities.
In South Carolina, the RiverDogs’ Shea proved that eye-popping presentations don’t have to be gut-busting with the introduction of the Summer Harvest Salad, a full head of hydroponic lettuce cored to order and filled with quinoa salad, cucumber and edamame, then topped with alfalfa sprouts and green goddess dressing.
3. Allergen awareness
As is the case across foodservice, gluten-free menu items and general awareness of food allergies continue to be top-of-mind. At Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, home to Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake and United Soccer League’s Real Monarchs SLC, the concessions map is color-coded with symbols such as “GF” to mark gluten-free options. (Also helpful: “DD” indicates non-alcoholic options for designated drivers).
To allow customers with serious food allergies to plan ahead, Cedar Point amusement park dedicates a part of its website to special dietary needs—listing out options for those avoiding gluten, tree nuts, soy, shellfish, eggs and dairy.