Tired of long food lines at Fresno Grizzlies games?
The minor league baseball franchise believes it has a solution, changing the company that will provide food services inside Chukchansi Park.
A food-service agreement has been reached with Professional Sports Catering, a move that promises to improve quality without a bump in price while also shortening wait times.
Our fans will immediately notice greater value for their dollar than in the past.
Fresno Grizzlies General Manager Derek Franks
“PSC has an outstanding track record and reputation nationally,” said Derek Franks, Fresno Grizzlies general manager. “Our fans will immediately notice greater value for their dollar than in the past.”
The five-year deal requires approval by the Fresno City Council, which voted to approve it Thursday morning. The agreement was expected to be more lucrative for the Grizzlies compared with their previous agreement with Ovations Food Services, later known as Spectra.
“The ownership group inherited a below-market contract,” Franks said of the old agreement, in place since 2004. “This one is much more lucrative and more club friendly.”
Franks predicted the Grizzlies, after operating at a loss almost every year since the Triple-A franchise rooted in Fresno in 1998, should be on track to break even by 2018 thanks partly to the new concessions agreement.
With a friendlier food-service agreement, the Grizzlies could be on track to break even by 2018. The Fresno franchise profited little in the latter years from its previous concessions deal that had been in place since 2004.
The Grizzlies considered five companies before going with PSC, turning down a 10-year term in favor of a five-year agreement.
As part of the deal, PSC will invest $500,000 to upgrade food-service facilities and equipment.
Fans can expect to see new signage throughout the park. Faster debit card and credit card systems should help customers move through more quickly.
Many ballpark favorites will remain on the menu, and local taco trucks still will be invited. But the Grizzlies will introduce additional food items closer to opening day April 6.
We want to reinvigorate the menu and hopefully bring a whole new look and feel at the ballpark.
Tom Dickson, CEO of Professional Sports Catering
“We want to reinvigorate the menu and hopefully bring a whole new look and feel at the ballpark,” said Tom Dickson, the CEO of PSC. “We’ll be very conservative on our pricing.
“There won’t be any pre-made food. It’ll all be fresh and sometimes even cooked in front of the customer.”
On the PSC website, the company touts themed concessions offered at other ballparks such as a Philly cheese steak stand, craft beer garden, and soft serve ice cream and yogurt. All stands had catchy themed signage.
The company also will serve luxury suites and the Phoenix Club, and will handle all other events at Chukchansi Park, too, including Fresno Fuego soccer games.
PSC serves 29 minor league teams plus three spring training facilities.
“It’s going to look so different and feel so different,” Franks said. “It’ll be exciting.”
- Opener: April 6 at Chukchansi Park
- Grizzlies’ record last season: 73-70 (third in the Pacific Northern Division)
- Major league affiliation: Houston Astros
- What’s new: New concessions operator, new special uniforms