USHG fields new contract arm with an assist from Aramark

USHG fields new contract arm with an assist from Aramark

NEW YORK —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

The Hudson Yards Sports & Entertainment division initially will focus on growing USHG’s Blue Smoke [3] casual barbecue concept and Shake Shack [4] retro quick-service brand, but facilities could sport other USHG concepts as well, including some that have yet to be developed, Meyer told Nation’s Restaurant News. Among the company’s Manhattan restaurant are Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern [5], Tabla [6], Eleven Madison Park and The Modern. USHG also recently launched Hudson Yards Catering, a fine-dining catering arm. —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

The rollout of the new sports division began July 10, following the signing of a five-year deal between USHG and contract services company Aramark Corp. [7] to open restaurants in partnership at Citi Field, the stadium being built for the New York Mets baseball team. Meyer indicated that his agreement with Philadelphia-based Aramark was nonexclusive and that USHG likely would seek partnerships with other contract companies as well. —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

In addition to Blue Smoke and Shake Shack outposts, USHG also will operate at Citi Field a yet-to-be-named taqueria and Pop Fries, a stand specializing in Belgian-style fries served with dipping sauces. In addition, USHG will provide food and beverage services at Citi Field’s Sterling Club, the stadium’s premium-seating area for 1,600 guests. The stadium, which will have the capacity to seat 42,000 people, is scheduled to open in 2009. —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

“We think Citi Field is a great opportunity in which to parlay our love of sports and launch a new division, to see if we can raise the bar by trying to walk down a different path,” Meyer said. “Increasingly, forward-looking team owners are saying that while they’re trying to field a winning team every year, they also can field a great culinary product and great hospitality that enhance the fan experience.” —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

Meyer said Blue Smoke and Shake Shack would serve as the company’s growth vehicles in both traditional and nontraditional locations, but he did not elaborate on how quickly the company would expand them nationally. —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

“Those are two of the businesses that now reside within our growth division,” he said. “We made a choice…to grow them, but we’re very flexible about how and when we [do that]. The only thing we’re not flexible about is the quality.… A Shake Shack burger or pulled-pork sandwich from Blue Smoke are fine complements to a ballgame on a hot summer night.” —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

Ron Parker, a USHG veteran, has been named managing director of Hudson Yards Sports & Entertainment and will oversee operations for the division, Meyer said. —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

He will report to David Swinghamer, USHG’s president of growth businesses, who said he also is excited about the company’s opportunity to increase its presence within on-site foodservice. —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

“There is an [increased] awareness of food in these nontraditional settings,” Swinghamer said. —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

“[We hear] more and more about the desire for and importance of that, and when higher quality does occur, what should follow are greater guest or fan or patron counts and higher satisfaction or results at the venues.” —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

Although Meyer’s organization would provide some of the foodservice for Citi Field’s luxury suites and club seating, he emphasized that Aramark would be running the bulk of the foodservice and concessions operations. —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

“We don’t have the experience or competence to take on an entire stadium right now, nor do we have an interest in doing that,” Meyer said. “Hopefully, we’ll build on the experience we get at Citi Field and, where ownership says we can, tap into Union Square’s specialties. This is the first [contract], and we hope we’ll be able to knock this one out of the park and build on this with other opportunities, whether they’re in New York or elsewhere.” —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

Clint Westbrook, regional vice president for Aramark’s stadiums and arenas division, said the deal with Meyer came about after a series of exit surveys conducted over the last year at the company’s sports and entertainment venues determined that fans wanted more culinary options within those venues. —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

“Specifically, what they told us across the board is that they’d like to see the same trends outside of stadiums within stadium operations, and this partnership with USHG will allow us to do just that,” Westbrook said. “Danny is world-renowned not only for his culinary attributes but also for his views on hospitality. He says service is something you have done to you, whereas hospitality is a two-way experience, and we highly believe in that as well.” —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

Meyer said the five-year deal with Aramark is nonexclusive and that his company would not be providing foodservice at all of the firm’s stadium and arena accounts. —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.

“I think our real interest is helping [teams] and prevailing foodservice companies enhance what they already do,” he said. “It was important for us to keep our hands untied so we could apply what we do in many situations. If we ran with this set of skills at 100 percent of Aramark’s stadiums, we’d be busy all of the time. [Our involvement] may apply with Aramark some of the time and with other [companies] at other times. It was important to us to stay as free as we could. That said, we’ve spent a lot of time getting to know and respect the folks at Aramark, and we couldn’t be happier that that’s where we’re starting.” —Restaurateur Danny Meyer has formed a new division of his New York-based Union Square Hospitality Group intended to clone his hometown restaurant concepts at stadiums and sports arenas across the country.