O's announce partnership with new food vendor for Oriole Park

After recently parting ways with ARAMARK, the only previous food vendor in OPACY history, the Orioles today announced a new partnership with Delaware North Companies Sportservice, who will begin providing food, beverage and retail merchandise services at the Yard in 2011.

Sportservice will manage all concessions, catering, dining operations and retail stores and kiosks within the ballpark, including Eutaw Street.

According to Orioles Director of Communications Greg Bader, the O's expect the new partnership to bring "expanded food and retail options, quicker transactions and significant facility upgrades," while Sportservice President Rick Abramson says, "Baltimore and the region are known for great food, and we are eager to add more menu items at the ballpark that celebrate local fare."

According to a release sent out by the team, "Abramson plans on touring a number of restaurants and food companies in the greater Baltimore area in the coming months as he works with Sportservice's top culinary executives and chefs, as well as the Orioles, to identify new concepts for the ballpark while preserving fan favorites such as Boog's BBQ and ESSKAY hot dogs on the Oriole Park menu."

But how else will the new food vendor improve on your experience at Oriole Park?

"The Orioles and Sportservice will collaborate on an $11 million project to redesign and enhance the food and beverage stands at the ballpark, the first effort of this magnitude since Camden Yards opened in 1992," the team said in a release sent out earlier today.

The overhaul will include new concessions-related technology, such as a new point-of-sale system for faster transactions, and new grills and equipment, so more food can be prepared fresh in front of fans.

Also in an effort to provide fresher food and ensure that customer service is at its peak at Oriole Park, Sportservice plans to bolster the size of the food and retail staff at Camden Yards.

Finally, going beyond the food and beverage options at the ballpark, Sportservice will also look to improve the retail options at the stadium by enhancing the Orioles Store on the first floor of the Warehouse with redesigned merchandise displays, a broadening of the merchandise available and an emphasis on year-round activity to complement ballpark tours and other nearby museums and attractions.

Sportservice has plenty of experience with the improvements they have planned for Oriole Park, and they have recently developed concessions concepts and entire food and beverage programs for the Minnesota Twins' Target Field and the New Meadowlands Stadium (home of the New York Jets and Giants). They operate in more than 50 professional sporting venues, including eight other MLB parks in addition to the Minnesota Twins: the Detroit Tigers (who they have worked with for the past 80 years); the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers.

Stay tuned for additional details on the ballpark enhancements and culinary options throughout the offseason as the team continues to solidify improvements to one of the most acclaimed ballparks in the big leagues.

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