Carlisle United and our catering partners abm catering are working together to improve match day catering ahead of this weekend’s big Emirates FA Cup match with Sheffield Wednesday.
United’s Sales and Marketing Director Phil King said: “We have taken on board the comments raised by some fans of the issues they encountered on Boxing Day and we thank everybody who took the time to get in touch.
“Our aim is to provide a good match day experience in all areas, and catering is obviously a big part of the day. The feedback we have had is that catering has generally been better than previous seasons, but we had some obvious issues for the Accrington Stanley game, and we need consistency.
“It was one of our bigger crowds this season, with catering kiosks in big demand given the 'festive spirit', both of which we expected. In light of the feedback received we have worked together on making sure we have additional staff, additional stock, additional till points and additional supervisory staff to improve organisation.
“Things were better for the home game against Coventry, although there are still improvements we can make.
“We are very aware of the frustration that the decanting of bottles of beer and cider into plastic containers and the removal of bottle tops from soft drinks is causing for our fans.
“It is very much perceived as an inconvenience and slows down service. This is a requirement put in place by the local Safety Advisory Group, for health and safety reasons, and is not something that the club or the caterers can change at this stage.
"We ask for fans to continue to be respectful of the catering staff who are following this instruction.
“We made improvements in the summer to a number of areas including Paddock South kiosk, Warwick Road End kiosk and the Sunset Suite, all of which have had a positive impact and been well received, but facilities in some areas are still a challenge.”
Paul Smith from abm catering said: “Both abm and the club have taken on board the comments made by our supporters following the game on Boxing Day.
“We are working together to improve the match day experience for all supporters, in respect of our catering offer and service.
“abm Catering are committed to ensuring staff are trained to serve as efficiently as possible, and are also committed to ensuring our supporters needs are met.
“During the 2017/18 season, we have been required to decant all alcoholic drinks into disposable containers on request of the local Safety Advisory Group who grant the club’s match day safety certificate. This has reduced speed of service, particularly at peak times."
“Given the short window of time available for service, particularly at half time, we expect there to be queues, as there is at any stadium,” Phil King added. “The key for us is how fast these queues are serviced and that the product they receive is good.
“Senior club and abm management do observe service in bars throughout the stadium, and did so for the Coventry City game, with particular focus on the Pioneer Stand.
“Looking ahead to the Sheffield Wednesday game, there will be additional stock again, queuing lanes will be marked out in the Pioneer Stand to improve flow, and stewards will be more proactive in assisting with the management of queues.
"Other operational changes have also been made to improve service on a matchday.
“For this fixture it is important for our fans to note that due to the away fans being housed in the Waterworks End, as well as in the away section of the Pioneer Stand, the Paddock North catering outlet will be unavailable for home fans.
“Therefore, the 'Lakeland Steaks' catering unit will move from its usual berth outside the Cumberland Building Society ‘A Stand’, and will be open pre-match and at half time outside the EWM Stand next to Foxy’s Restaurant (at the Paddock North turnstiles).
"Additionally, we will be serving bottled beers, soft drinks and snacks from the ‘Foxy’s Public’ kiosk adjacent to this area. Service will begin at 12pm.
“Fans in Paddock North and across the West Stand area will have access to this catering facility at half time, but must have their match tickets in their possession to gain entry back into the ground.”
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