This meeting was held after an extraordinary start to the season both for Spurs, and the country as a whole. We all know from visits to supermarkets and a rudimentary glance at the news that there have been huge problems with the transportation and distribution of food. This has caused problems for the Club too, and while they have mitigated most of them, it has been a huge challenge.
Similarly, it is well reported that there have been difficulties for all service industries regarding employing and retaining staff. The double whammy of COVID-19 and the impact of Brexit has created a lot of problems and it is not surprising that this has had a detrimental effect on the catering provision. Food prices are also escalating on a weekly basis because of these factors and, again, this is placing huge pressures on the operation.
Ray is adamant that these are challenges that will be overcome and the team will not rest until they are fully resolved, but that their impact cannot be underestimated.
Main Survey Findings
Successes and Innovations
Generally, people were at least satisfied with the provision, especially the drinks, the pies, sausage rolls and pizzas.
There was dissatisfaction with the price increases this season which felt high and meant that more people would now use high street outlets, particularly for food. Our survey results showed 25% of respondents said they were less likely to eat in the stadium: the main reasons cited were price increases, staff training, queueing and boycotting ENIC / Levy.
There was a very wide welcome for the new reusable beer cups, which are part of THFC’s drive to be environmentally responsible. Disposal of these, as well as rubbish, was generally considered to be easy.
The sale of craft beer has increased enormously, reflected in the fact that the Club now has nearly 70 tanks as opposed to the original 6! In fact, of beers sold on match days, craft beer and keg beer are almost neck and neck. Additional cellar space is planned to further increase storage capacity.
The replacement of the `Bottoms Up’ beer system with ‘Base Flow’ means that cups can be sourced from the UK and also result in less spillage.
Larger pizza ovens have been installed to meet increasing demand.
The outdoor south podium has been open with beer and food stalls. Like-for-like food and beverage items offered will be at the same price as inside the stadium. It is now possible for South Stand ticket holders to use this at half time and regain entry to the stadium for the second half.
While there was general satisfaction with the quality and range of drinks, there have been times (one match particularly) when lager was widely reported as being served flat.
Because of Industry difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff, training is a constant issue. Staff are paid at and above the London Living Wage but many people who would typically work at the stadium are now doing roles at large warehouses and distribution / delivery companies. THFC continue to recruit and to work with other stadia to share staff but the specific systems at Spurs require consistency of staff, and specific training.
It’s taking time for the new staff to understand the systems when beer ‘runs out’. It doesn’t, in fact, ever run out, but it might take up to a minute for the system to refresh. This causes understandable irritation for supporters who having queued, need to know that the beer will soon be ready. They shouldn’t have to buy a relatively expensive can or queue again elsewhere.
Some menu items have had to be replaced due to general distribution issues.
Beer-only queues have been removed as they weren’t alleviating the queue problems. The situation is under review and it is hoped that having more mobile hawkers will help.
What we’ve asked for
We’ve asked for a return of the Pie and Pint Deal. This is a much-missed promotion which encouraged people to come to the ground early and enjoy a very affordable pie with their pint. Ray has promised to look into this and give it serious consideration. So watch this space.
Look out for ‘Getir’ mobile hawkers around the back of the concourses. From here you can purchase beer, crisps, chocolate, and… drum roll.… the great smoked salmon bagel! This is something we have been asking for ever since our move to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
We are disappointed that the stadium app no longer enables us to see what food is available at which outlets. In particular, it is really difficult for those with allergies and dietary intolerances to know where to find appropriate food. Similarly, it is not always easy to identify these at the point of sale. Ray has said that all food outlets should have food items for those who are vegetarian/vegan or have the main allergies. Every outlet also has a handbook with detailed recipes of the dishes, that supporters can see if they have concerns.
If individual supporters have a very specific issue, Ray is very happy to communicate with them and arrange for a particular item to be made available for them at their nearest catering area. You can email Ray directly at Ray.Watson@tottenhamhotspur.com or email us at info@THSTOfficial.com and we will forward.
We’ve also requested a return to Piglets Pantry sausage rolls which were so well received up to the end of last season. Again, Ray will explore whether this is possible.
It has been a challenging time for everyone and some of the national issues are likely to prevail for a while but it is clear that the catering team are really passionate about their work and are very open to feedback. So please keep it coming and let’s see what the next two months look like: on and off the pitch.
10 November 2021