Chief Executive Mark Devlin comments ahead of Reading
- An update on the John Smith’s Stadium catering
- Chief Executive Mark Devlin gives details on new operation
- Improvements are being made across all areas
For the first time in the 27-year history of the John Smith’s Stadium, the match day catering operation inside the concourses has been run in-house from the start of the 2021/22 season.
KSDL and Huddersfield Town have worked in tandem to run the operation of the retail kiosks inside the four stands at the Stadium, as well as the catering for hospitality guests on match days.
Unfortunately, the running of the kiosks did not meet our standards for the Sky Bet Championship opener at home to Fulham on Saturday 14 August 2021, largely due to severe staffing shortages on the day.
Significant improvements have been made at the subsequent two home games, but further improvements will be made, as Chief Executive Mark Devlin explains.
“As a Club, we pushed hard to bring the catering operation in-house as opposed to going down the traditional route of contracting it out to a third party. As our fans know, catering has been a hot topic of conversation for several years, and we believe this new arrangement gives us more control and the ability to improve things for Town fans.
“A lot of time and effort went into the planning of our catering kiosk operation ahead of the return of supporters. On top of the new Deliveree Street Food Zone outside the ground – which has been very well received – we were determined to bring better, locally-sourced products to the ground, such as Magic Rock, and invested in the infrastructure by adding to the contactless payment system around the ground.
“Given this, it was incredibly disappointing that the service was sub-standard when we played Fulham.
“Only a few hours before kick-off, some severe staffing issues became apparent. Our catering team were badly let down by a staffing agency, leaving us almost 30 staff members short. The team still did their best to offer the best possible level of service to supporters, but it was not to the standard we all want, and I apologise to any fans who experienced that.
“The in-house catering team has worked hard to address staffing levels and the quality of product for our last two games. We know we still have work to do, but the situation has improved.
“From speaking to several other clubs, event staffing continues to be a big issue across the industry due to many reasons. That challenge is a real one ahead of our game at home to Reading on Saturday, with several big events in the area such as the Leeds Festival, the test match at Headingley and the Chapletown Carnival. We’re doing all we can to ensure we have the right number of staff to offer good service to supporters this weekend.
“I want to thank our supporters for their feedback, and for their patience and understanding during the first three games. I hope you have seen an improvement already, but I’d like every fan to know that we are taking everything on board and that the operation will continue to improve as the season continues.”