What's so super about the Super Bowl?
For starters, the big game produces some super appetites.
Fans at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium typically eat and drink the most when the National Football League Chargers host the dreaded Los Angeles Raiders, according to Bud Cappello, Service America Corp.'s stadium manager.
Service America typically uses about 1,000 vendors and supervisors to serve food and drink to a sold-out crowd of 61,000 at a Raiders-Chargers tilt. Those fans are fed from the stadium's 50 permanent concession stands.
Service America's industrial-sized kitchen at the stadium typically serves hundreds of more expensive meals at its various restaurants and clubs. Similar upscale fare is offered to occupants of the stadium's 80 luxury boxes. And, Service America typically feeds lunches and snacks to a normal media contingent of 350 reporters and photographers.
Beefing Up Service
But when it comes to appetites, the Super Bowl is anything but typical.
"We figure that we'll prepare for something bigger than a Charger-Raider game and see what happens," Cappello said. "We'll add about 40 to 50 temporary refreshment stands, which means a lot more Coca-Cola, beer and hot dogs."
Cappello will also have between 700 and 1,000 additional vendors on hand. "I've added 30 front-line supervisors just to supervise all those new people," Cappello said.
The Super Bowl's numbers--other than the omnipresent XXII--are impressive:
The stadium has added about 13,500 seats and the larger crowd that is expected to arrive early and stay late will be hungry.
Fans will devour nearly twice the 30,000 hot dogs that are sold during a sold-out Raiders-Chargers game.
The same goes for beer: "We usually do 500-plus kegs but we're going to have 1,200-plus kegs" on Super Sunday, Cappello said.
The media ranks will swell to as many as 3,500 reporters and photographers. And Cappello must provide them all with box lunches.
The NFL, which will take over 40 of the stadium's skyboxes for about 400 guests, has asked Service America to expand its already substantial menu. So Cappello plans to fatten up the menu that already includes everything from fine wines and liquor to chili and shrimp.
An additional 1,600 hungry mouths in the remaining 40 skyboxes also will be fed from that expanded menu.
As an added attraction, Cappello has hired former Charger Paul Lowe to barbecue chicken and ribs near Gate C at the stadium. Lowe, a Chargers running back from 1960 to 1968, will supervise five charcoal pits that will dish up meals to customers who will sit in a 20-by-40-foot tent.
Service America typically opens its various bars and clubs to the public before, during and after the games. But on Super Bowl Sunday, those eating and drinking emporiums will be pressed into service to handle some special parties:
CBS will entertain about 300 special friends in a tent that will be set up at the West end of the stadium.
Sports Illustrated will entertain 400 of its closest friends in a ground-floor restaurant.
Service America also stands ready to wine and dine 400 fans with Super Bowl tickets who don't want to stand in line for hot dogs and beer: They're being invited into the stadium's swank Stadium Club. The $150-a-person entry fee, which does not include game tickets, includes a pre-game buffet, a halftime fruit and cheese display, and an after-the-game buffet that will remain open for two hours after the game ends.