Broadly speaking, supporters expressed great satisfaction with the range of food on offer. There was also appreciation of the effort to meet various dietary requirements. Pricing for food and drink, the portion size for food and speed of food service is also rated highly.
It’s clear that some lessons have been learned from last season.
- The speed of service and availability of drinks around the stadium, especially at half time and specifically Neck Oil running out. – Beer hawkers with back packs will now be walking around some concourses at half-time to alleviate demand on the bars and speed up service, and new beer-only paying queues will be introduced in some areas.
- For context, 62-75,000 pints of beer are sold every game so it is not surprising that some beer tanks need changing at inconvenient times. Neck Oil takes the longest to change and configurations mean that if one tap runs out, several others might be unusable for 5 to 10 minutes while the barrel or tank is replaced. However, Beavertown is working with the Club to speed this up, including redesigning the 900 pint tanks and introducing automatic switches. New vertical tanks should be installed in time for Christmas. We asked for improved communications via display boards showing delay times and the Club is looking into this.
- Availability of hot drinks – we stressed the need for tea and coffee to be available at all Tap Inns. The Club wants this to happen and will be investigating any specific areas where fans say they are unable to buy hot drinks. So please let us know through our regular catering surveys. No hot drinks can be served in the feature bars as there are no facilities to make them there – supporters should go to the nearest Tap Inn.
- Availability and use of free water - the stadium app clearly shows where drinks fountains are located and Rachel was assured that fans can bring small empty plastic bottles into the stadium, minus the lids, to be filled at these fountains. The email sent for the match against Southampton states that supporters cannot bring in plastic bottles of a certain size with lids. Again, please feed back on this in our next survey.
- The Plastics Policy and recent plastics reduction trial – the first week of the trial went well but there is still a lot to learn. Fanbassadors and digital screens will continue to provide information regarding logistics for waste management and the trial will be rolled out to other areas of the stadium during the season. Meanwhile all plastics, in all areas of the stadium, are of course recycled.
- Management of waste – supporters had contacted the Trust expressing concern about the amount of food waste at the end of the game and asked whether it could be passed to foodbanks / hostels or even staff. Cooked food has very strong regulations re storage and consumption times and cannot be passed on. This is the same for all stadia. The Club has smart technology to try and reduce waste through smart stock distribution but it’s not an exact science and it is very difficult to move stock around the stadium once the crowd are in.
- Provision of food and drink for allergies and different dietary requirements – George detailed many dishes that are available around the stadium which meet vegan and other dietary requirements. He asked fans to make sure they look at the electronic scrolling boards above the outlets because they detail which items are, for example, gluten free. The app also lists these but Rachel has asked the Club to see if they can get the app to build in a search element so that we can find out which our nearest kiosk would be for a vegan item, for example, rather than having to open every separate menu. The app is a very useful starting point and we would urge everyone to use it.
- Sandwiches and bagels – we asked which items you would like to see on the menu that are not currently. By far the most popular item was sandwiches, bagels and baps. Apparently these are available in some Tap Inns on first (112 and 118) and fifth floors (509 and 521) – and again can be located on the app.
- Pricing for Inter Milan match – we asked that in future if prices for THFC games are going to be different from the normal prices, that we be notified in advance so that we can warn supporters. The Inter match was ‘owned’ by an outside agency so prices were in line with their policy rather than THFC’s. There was great concern when we saw the prices for this match and of course we are all relieved that this was a one-off.
Thanks again to everyone who responded to the last catering survey and please make sure you complete the October survey so that we can continue to work together with the Club to ensure our world class stadium has the best catering provision in the country.
18 October 2019