Feature Article - April 2004
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Concession Obsession

Learn to maximize your menu, save money and make even more

By Elisa Kronish

The In-House,
Out-Sourced Controversy

It's a back-and-forth contest. We asked the experts what they thought, and here's what some of them had to say about in-house food service or outsourcing concessions.

Points for in-house:
  • "It's a lot simpler to do it yourself than people think," says Mike Holtzman, president of Profitable Food Facilities in Poway, Calif. "If you manage it poorly, you're still going to make money. I think the biggest problem with municipalities is that many people wear a lot of hats. If they just took the time to focus on [the food concession], it could be really successful."
  • "I'm shocked with the districts that contract out their concessions and don't realize that they could make money off of it," says Paul Artt, president of a Dallas-based food-equipment manufacturer. "It should be viewed as a revenue center."
Points for outsourcing:
  • "Here in Aspen, our golf course is, at best, a five-month season," says Tim Anderson, city of Aspen, Colo., recreation director. "Trying to keep our employees trained for just a few months is very difficult. Having an existing organization come in with their employees is easy."
  • "It's a specialized area that isn't your expertise," says Clay Wilkinson, president of The Wilkinson Group consulting firm in Seattle. "An ice-rink manager knows what temperature to keep the ice, when to get the Zambonis out, how to schedule use of the rink, but he doesn't know food service that well."