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April 5, 2011

Opening Day for Delaware North Companies Sportservice

amandaMy assignment at Camden Yards yesterday was to get reactions to the food from real fans and shoot pictures of them eating the new food. They gave me a point-and-shoot camera.

Now I know why photographers wear those vests with all of those pockets.

Pen, phone, camera, reporter's notebook. That's too many objects for me. You know what I HATE about modern electronics: is this thing ON or is it OFF??

One of the photos I managed to take was of Amanda and Justin Knight. Amanda is on the left.

I got there at Noon. I Tweeted a bit. I I realized pretty quickly that the typical fan buys food at a concession and takes it away.That made it hard, or at least weird, for me to get photos and reactions.

I ate a Natty Boh Brat.  I walked the lower concourse back and forth. I didn't go to the upper concourse.

By the time I left, the lines had gotten very, very long. I made a glancing reference in this story to the sluggish lines I saw. But, I've heard since that sluggish is a major understatement. I received an email this morning describing a two-inning wait for a diet soda and a scarcity of vendors in the stands.

A representative from Delaware North Companies Sportservice admitted that the day was beset by problems with the point-of-sale systems.


Other observations and comments:

Kosher - The Inglewood, N.J.-based Kosher Sports, an Oriole Park vendor since 2005, has returned but in a new location. Kosher dogs are now sold across from the entrance ramp to Section 46-52 on the Lower Concourse.

Attman's - Not back. This was Attman's choice, I was told.

Signage - The major signage is attractive and fresh. It looks like a corporation has managed it. There were problems, though, with ancillary signage, leaving fans confused about products (what exactly was a "Big Boog"), prices, and policies (only two beers for customers at the taverns).

Prices - Well. $7.50 is obviously a steep price for a 20-ounce Natty Boh. $14 is steep for a crab cake that I think is delicious but that looks small. (I'll find out the exact ounce-age for you.). But compared to what? Should the prices be compared to the corner pub, or to the fare at other sports venues in comparable markets? Natty Boh was a big hit yesterday. People were very happy to have a local beer to drink. And before someone writes in to tell me that Natty Boh is not a local beer - Natty Boh is a local beer because we say it's a local beer. You can still bring your own food into the stadium.

Biggest disappointment - Local and micro-brews. On the third base side of the lower concourse, the new Diamond State Tavern has a sad airport-lounge look. The tavern opened with two beers on tap (Blue Moon and Flying Dog Pale Ale) and another three brews in bottles (Magic  Hat #9, Heavy Seas Golden Ale and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.

At one point, I called back into the office and said, "you know, I really should be doing this story at the second home game." Fans have every right to judge Delaware North based on its performance yesterday -- everyone was paying full price. 

Sportservice will be making changes and implementing new features over the next several months. Tweaks will be made, and more changes are coming, including a Food Network Cafe in the warehouse and natural and organic options. I'll be watching, I'm sure you will be, too.

What was Opening Day like for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Posted by Richard Gorelick at 10:23 AM | | Comments (13)
        

Comments

Biggest disappointment of the day yesterday was easily the craft beer. In the entire upper deck I found one stand selling craft beer. It had one tap handle working (though 3 others were seemingly available for hook-up) and a choice of three Flying Dog bottles. Needless to say, the line was really, really long. The $7 price for the bottle wasn't bad, though.

i was in the upper deck in left field and the lines were absolutely ridiculous. I noticed they changed the POS process and instead of having a couple people to get your food/drink then you pay at a separate cashier, they had the registers at the counter with the person taking your order, getting your order, and getting your money, etc.

i know that it was the first day and there was a learning curve, but this really seemed to make the lines go extremely slow (i for one missed roberts' HR and wasn't very happy about that)

i got in line before the 5th inning started and didn't get to the front until just before the 6th started.

also, the fact that every concession stand doesn't take credit card in this modern era is pretty absurd. when i was down at spring training in a stadium that was supposed to have LESS bells and whistles than camden yards, every place took credit card.

overall though we had a great time, although that line pretty much made me miss all of the scoring in the game. *grumble *

As I noted in your ballpark post from yesterday, it was tough to figure out where the new food items were. The lines were so long, I couldn't get to the front to see the price lists. I asked three employees where things were located, and none could answer the question.

I never did figure out where the microbrews were in the lower deck, despite knowing they were on the third-base side. I spotted the familiar green awning of the cart that sold them last year - folded up in a corner.

All in all, the lines and lack of information on food whereabouts were disappointing. But it was a gorgeous day and the O's won, so it was a successful trip.

It will be a lot easier to get things when attendance returns to its normal level!

clarification: when i said POS, i meant Point Of Sale.

Well, LOL to that!

beer vendors in the stands were hard to find...usually Clancy is selling bud products and near my seats every 2 innings max. I saw him once. He's the Bud man not coors light or Miller lite.

They need to have food vendors in the stands. I saw no hot dog or soda vendors. Can you ask the Delaware North people if they are going to have food vendors in the stands. This would cut down on the lines. The Boardwalk fries were bad, They did not taste like Boardwalk fries and were cold. $5.25 for 15 fries. POS and credit card system might have been messed up but what about vendors in the stands.
I know they underbid the contract and hopefully does not equate to poor service.

It's the Free State tavern. Diamond State would be Delaware...

Please let the beer vendors haul around a single brand of beer. This switching around is ridiculous. People have long, long standing relationships with certain vendors.

I had a good time at Opening day, granted we brought food in so we didnt have to stand in line for it, but i did have to stand in line for beer and that was a chore. First to find a place that took a card and second to find Coors Lite, which never happened so i had to settle on Miller Lite, ewwies
But overall i liked the new look and offerings and think it will be great anytime other time than with Opening Day crowds

inexcusable to not have a credit card swipe machine at each register. They should be encouraging people to swipe cards rather than pay in cash.

@anonymous glad Clancy is still there at least. i feel like i grew up watching baseball in one of his sections. i have a july birthday and when i turned 21 i celebrated by buying a beer from Clancy.

What a wonderful employee you have at BNA at Tootsies! Her name is Amal G. She went beyond her job responsibilities as a hostess to ensure that I was fed and not hungry. Thank you for hiring her!!!

What a wonderful employee you have at BNA at Tootsies! Her name is Amal G. She went beyond her job responsibilities as a hostess to ensure that I was fed and not hungry. Thank you for hiring her!!!

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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