The Caterer

Supplier Opinion – It's time to raise our game for football fans

30 September 2011
Supplier Opinion – It's time to raise our game for football fans

Football fans have changed. Their demands are greater on and off the pitch and they no longer want more of the same drab and uninspiring fare. The football food industry needs a new game plan.

We need to vary our approach with a wider range of innovative, international, nutritious and freshly served products.

We also need to change the way football food is served. In the US, fans are served in their seats and given plenty of opportunity before, during and after the main event to eat.

Here, as the half-time whistle goes, we endure a 20-minute tussle to reach an overcrowded kiosk, before discovering that we've missed a goal and we're now wearing half of the food on our new £50 replica shirt.

For a start, let's try:

â- A simple cardboard container to enable fans to single-handedly carry food without spillage.
â- A ‘food-mobile', which travels around the ground to serve supporters ‘pitch-side'.

Even in the newest grounds, many kiosks are not fit for purpose. We desperately need modern, well designed and ventilated units with food griddled by a professional chef, rather than boiled or fried by a ‘want-away' teenager.

There's never been a better opportunity to interact with fans about their food and refreshments. As well as more conventional initiatives such as taste trials and ‘mystery shoppers', it's time for our food industry to make use of social media.

Let's encourage direct feedback from the fans and act upon it.

Neil Court-Johnston, managing director, Peter's Food Service

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