Alamodome management and concessions operator Savor Black Tie got the message from frustrated San Antonio Commanders fans concerned about long lines.
A week after concessions wait times caused fans to miss sizable chunks of the season opener against San Diego waiting for food and beverages, concessions stands seemed to run more efficiently overall Sunday afternoon during Game 2 watched by an announced crowd of 29,176, about 2,000 more fans than last week’s season opener.
San Antonio lost to the Orlando Apollos 37-29 after a late interception returned for a touchdown sealed a nine-point fourth-quarter comeback and handed the Commanders their first loss of the season.
The disappointing result punctuated what was still a challenging fan experience at the Alamodome, which included extended wait times for food and drinks during halftime.
Travis Padgett and his wife left their seats on the east side of the stadium late in the second quarter hoping to beat the crowds. They were successful but Padgett said he ended up waiting anyway for a pretzel. That wait extended throughout halftime and several minutes into the third quarter before getting his full order.
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“I’m a football fanatic,” said Padgett, an Air Force retiree who now works for Homeland Security. “We left our seats early and now I’m missing the game. They’re not prepared.
“I’ve seen people die quicker than my pretzel is being made.”
Padgett also experienced problems parking before the game. He wasn’t allowed to park in lot B or C in spaces normally reserved for veterans where he has parked many times before. He was eventually directed to a different lot.
While the experience could have been better for the Padgetts on Sunday, many were happy with the improvements made from Week 1.
Executives from Savor Black Tie were on hand evaluating how the operation performed.
“We adjusted like we do every game,” said Mike Carson, vice president of Savor Black Tie. “We adjust every game to make sure we can perform to the level that the guest expects.”
Carson said Savor Black Tie communicates with the Alamodome and the Commanders to estimate crowd size and the most heavily trafficked areas ahead of time to prepare. He would not say how many more concessions stands were opened in Week 2 compared to the opener or how many more employees were deployed Sunday.
An hour before the game there were more workers at most concessions stands than customers. Each stand appeared to have fully stocked shelves, coolers, and warmers. Barking men stood at each stairway near the busiest stadium entrances selling their wares.
“Cold beer,” they shouted. “Ice cold beer here.”
The longest wait times pregame were in the Commanders Store locations where eager fans stood holding apparel waiting for an open cash register.
Brian Smith and his wife, April, were not able to attend the season opener but found it easy to get through a concession line on the north end of the stadium just before the game started.
Smith said they spent approximately 3 minutes in line. He said part of that success was being strategic and not choosing to go to a concession stand where they saw long lines.
“At first I thought it was going to be a long wait, but we just walked down a little bit and it was fine,” he said.