Concessions Update

Ok, it's been quite a week of review from last Friday's game and preparation and planning for our Home Opener next week.

Let's start by explaining a bit about the relationship between concessions and the Tiger-Cats.

The Tiger-Cats award the concessions contract to a company that they feel can run it well. After a very extensive process that involves quality, experience and an expected return to the Club amongst other things, the contract was awarded to the Compass Group. Don't forget that when they submitted a proposal for this, it was under a lot of promises by us that things would be improved. They got the contract after the team had been in receivership, the stadium was really beat up and the stands were less than half full. They took the risk and started the first game of 2004.

Compass is by no means a little backwoods operation. They are the 12th largest employer in the world (with over 400,000 employees) and have sales of over 27 billion dollars! They do the concessions at places like Wrigley Field and do the catering for events such as the Academy Awards.

So, why was it so hard to get a coffee and a hot dog at Ivor Wynne Stadium last Friday???

Well, there are a multitude of reasons most of which I'm not going to get into. But, I will say that all items have been addressed and there is an extremely detailed action plan that will be followed to the tee for every game on in, in order to ensure that we don't have the same problems that we had last Friday.

Important parts of this plan include:

  • an extensive increase in the number of managers on site. They have brought in people from a number of their Sports & Leisure venues and increased the management team from 5 to 16. Each has a very specific area that they are in charge of.

  • a substantial increase in the # of staff.

  • all concessions will be staffed, stocked and up and running 1/2 hour before the gates open. There will be no closed concessions when people arrive. When fans arrive, the concessions will be waiting for the customer, not the other way around.

  • all equipment is being inspected this week to ensure that everything is in proper working order.

  • staff are all scheduled for "reorientation" next week. This will be to make sure they know their area and so that they can bring up concerns from the previous week.

  • stock at all locations will be increased a minimum of 25%

  • there has been an increase in the number of draft beer technicians to ensure proper operation.

  • new distribution schedule for all products

  • increase in the number of radios so that staff can inform the proper people regarding supply, staff or equipment issues.

This is kind of a quick synopsis of the 67 page plan that Compass has provided us. Naturally it has a lot more detail.

They have given us this so that we have a clear idea as to how to audit their systems. Our response was that "you will have the Tiger-Cats on you like an alien face-hugger, fat kid on a Smartie etc., but, you will also have 28,000+ "auditors" that will let us know how well you do".

We are also working closely with our partners at Labatt, Pepsi, Pizza Pizza etc. to ensure that things are served properly for the big game on June 24th and beyond.

Ok, I'm a two-finger typist and can't hold out much longer...

I would like to thank all of you that took the time to email or PM me with your thoughts from the last game. I must admit that I was expecting the some very heavy handed rants, but, I was very impressed by the well thought out constructive criticism (and a few accolades) that was received. I tried to personally answer them all, but if I haven't got to yours, please know that your messages have all been read and forwarded out to the appropriate people.

So for the rest of the season, let's remember, keep the hot dogs HOT and the beer COLD. There are 28,000 "auditors" that will be watching.

This isn't Rocket Surgery!


Mark Bowden
Vice President Corporate Partnerships
Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Thanks for the continued updates Mark and Bob! You both have been great responding to this problem and keeping us informed. Hopefully everything goes well, I'm looking forward to shorter lines and better food. I will submit my full audit report at the end of the season! Cheers! :slight_smile:

Thanks Mark, much appreciated.

Sounds like a good plan. Pieces of it, definitely suggested to Compass Management in the past. Glad they are finally implementing them. Best of luck to them.

Go CATS go! :slight_smile:

Good stuff Mark!

Now, any chance of getting some 'hot-buttered' corn on the cob stands? :wink:

(hey, my campaign for submarine sandwiches paid off right?...never hurts to try.) :lol:

unfortunately the fact that the concessions have been so bad now for 2+ years there are many fans such as myself that have given compass 2nd ,3rd...and up to a dozen chances,
I now will no longer eat the stadium until there is a change,not just with the service or with the management but with the company doing the concessions
now if that means that I have to go the whole season without,then thats what I will do
my views may be in the minority but in no means am i alone in this opinion

Thank you, Mark, for the detailed reply.

It sounds very promising, but I'll reserve judgement unitl the 24th.

does this mean there will now be smarties available at the concessions for the fat kids?

why don't you just go all out and ask for cheese fondue?

Once Again...the Ticat Team does what they say they will do! Thank you for keeping us informed!

Let's hope that Compass doesn't let you down and indeed does do better!

Even with the problems last week...this organisation is light-years ahead of how it was run in the past! And to think that somebody actually listens to the fans!!!! :thup: :thup:

If it is good for will be good for all concerned! :smiley:


I base my food cravings around what is popular at our great fall fairs here in Ontario.....the foods offered at fall fairs are tried and tested and I know that 'hot-buttered' corn is a would be a 'hit' at Ivor Wynne for sure! (especially when it's in-season)

Cheese fondue?.....what's that? :roll:

(I do love Blue Cheese though....the more mold on it , the better!) :stuck_out_tongue:

Somehow, I just don’t see the team giving the fans a ready supply of hot, greasy projectiles… Can you imagine how many would get thrown at the blue team? Not a pretty sight! :o

I will, however, 2nd the call for cheese fondue! :smiley:

In response to the"projectile" argument...well, I'd rather get hit with a piece of corn than a "candy apple" with a stick hanging out of it any day.... (yes, they sell candy apples at the games....or they did last year anyhow)

Gotta give fans some credit......they'll eat the corn... :stuck_out_tongue:

I want corn! :lol:

Could you imagine? Someone call a dentist!
What a toothache!

Seriously - Thanx for the Update - looking forward to "dinner" on the 24th.

If Compass is such a large and great company, why can't they get it right at IWS? The concessions have been terrible since they took over in 2004.

It seems to me they are going to say anything to make Mark and Bob happy, this company has been making promises season after season, why would they keep their word this time.

What is 16 managers going to do for them, their problem is they don't have enough staff, the staff they do have are not properly trained, and they obviously can't plan ahead properly. So having 16 managers show up on the day of the game is going to do nothing!

Compass has had enough time to get their acts together, it is obvious they don't belong at IWS. It didn't take Bob and his team this long to re-build and they had a much bigger challenge!!!!

Compass does not get a penny of my money!

I agree that the wait time was a huge problem last game but I've felt that over the few years the variety, quality and availiability of the foods and drinks to be vastly improved.
My opinion is that last week was a hiccup that needed to be addressed immediatly.
(now how do I apply for the BEER TECHNICIAN job? :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: )

I have heard that Compass could begin serving some new items. Here is a test batch:

I agree Compass dropped the ball big time last game (and maybe longer than that) but One thing that hasnt been brought up or discussed is that Ivor Wynne Stadium is old!!!

Yes it was designed to hold roughly 28,000 (maybe, but I dont know my IWS history) but it was not designed for the load the concessions take presently. People didnt need pizza, fries, chips, beer, pop, water, etc, etc, etc -- that they need or want now.

Although that is not an excuse for the service Compass did provide but it does limit a few things.

  1. the size of the concession booths (with only a few lines)
  2. the width of the room available for traffic flows.

Clearly, you can not compare IWS to the SkyDome (or any other place) which is sized for a much larger crowd.

The bottom line is you don't see any other sports franchise that I know of that respects, responds and reacts so quickly to fan/customer feed back.

Great work Mark!

Thanks for updating Ticat fans about the concessions situation, Mark.