Shopping for food and drink at the Bills’ new stadium will be different

You’ll have to wait a few years to find out what food and drink will be served at the new Buffalo Bills stadium, which won’t open until 2026. But the lease and construction documents for the $1.54 billion stadium contain details which give Bills fans insight into how and where they can enjoy themselves on game day.

For starters, you can start thinking of food areas as shops or markets, and not just food stalls – although those still exist.

“You won’t find everything comes over a counter,” said Dan Smith, president of Legends Hospitality, which won the catering contract for the stadium last week. (Current operator Delaware North Cos. will continue at Highmark Stadium through the 2025 season.)

Here is an overview of the details contained in the documents:

• You can shop for food, not just order it. The new stadium will have more places to buy food than Highmark, which was built 50 years ago. “It’s not just the quality of service, it’s the quantity,” said Ron Raccuia, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Bills. “There will be many more food and drink outlets throughout the stadium, at all levels.”

People also read…

Details are yet to come. The combination of options “will be determined as the design progresses,” according to the documents. “The current target is 35% food and 65% drinks.”

The documents distinguish between “concessions”, which look like food stalls as we know them today, and “markets”, which are retail areas where you choose your meal “from refrigerators , freezers and self-service warmers and bring them to a checkout station. for check-out, similar to a convenience store operation.

• You should spend less time waiting. These walk-in markets are designed to reduce the wait and the crowds while you line up to pay. While payment methods will be determined by the technology of the day, it could range from cashiers to self-scanning kiosks.

According to the documents: “It relieves the lobby” – another way of saying it reduces crowded hallways – “like the customer queue inside the booth versus outside the booth.”

Fans have been calling on the Bills to address this issue. Raccuia told The News that fan polls indicated “they want to make it easier, with shorter queues, more ability to get in and out of the checkout.”

Many stadiums now offer a no-pay approach where fans scan a credit card or phone app on entry and then are automatically charged when they remove an item from the shelf. Major stadium food and beverage operators, including Legends and Delaware North, already offer some version of this technology. In his interview with The News, however, Smith noted that payment methods will change significantly over the next three years.

“It’s even too early to talk about the technology ‘that will be used in the new stadium,’ he said, ‘because if I told you what it was today, it would be obsolete (from here 2026).”

Sports consultancy Legends has been a major player in the development of the new Buf…

• The higher you go, the more the drinks flow. General food retail areas will only offer packaged beverages. “No draft beer is expected at markets or concessions,” according to the documents. “Draught beer is only provided at the contest bars,” which will also offer wine, cocktails and frozen drinks, as well as bottled drinks. So if you have a regular – or non-premium – ticket, you can have a bar experience, but you might have to walk a bit further.

Fans of club seating, however, will find draft beer, wine, and cocktails accessible in the lounges, which will also offer a la carte, market-style, or buffet options.

Suite guests, meanwhile, can order restaurant-style food. A kitchen located next to the suites (the “premium kitchen west,” to be precise) “lends itself to the inclusion” of ordering food on game day for customers who are hungry for something specific, according to the documents, which also note the suites will include refrigeration, ice, sinks and counter space for food display.

• Your food will travel less far. The main kitchen and stewardship will be “in the footprint of the new stadium”, according to the documents. Placing the food preparation and storage areas inside the stadium seems basic, but it’s a significant differentiation from Highmark, which doesn’t have the space for a commissioner in the physical venue. The Highmark Commissary is located adjacent to the building, making it more difficult to transfer and prepare food efficiently.

In the new stadium, the primary and secondary kitchens are located close to the suites, clubs and concessions they serve, with elevators available to transport food. Highmark’s layout requires the use of forklifts to transport food around the building.

In the new location, having closer kitchens and more kitchens should – in theory – mean the food is fresher.

The idea to strategically stack suites and kitchens arose from a February 2022 trip that Bills officials took to Los Angeles. At BMO Stadium, home of football teams Angel City FC and Los Angeles FC, Bills co-owner Kim Pegula found that the site’s West Stand comprised the majority of its high-end seating as well as its main kitchen and elevators .

“It’s more efficient to bring food and drink to those levels,” said Dave Hatheway, consultant for Legends Projects Development, who took Pegula and team officials on the stadium tour. “I think that resonated with her.”

Not so far a kick: Los Angeles soccer site helps shape Buffalo Bills stadium plans

Leave a Reply