16 Highlights, 17 Days and 9,293 Meals Later
“Everyone got fed and everyone was happy,” says Alan Scott, general manager of Erhart’s Catering in Los Angeles. Erharts, a relatively small catering company (about 20 regular employees), won the contract for this year’s X-Games, July 29–August 1 at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The multi-day extreme sports events were the biggest catering operation Scott had experienced with Erhart’s, and a lot was riding on its success—hopes for 15 to 20 percent of the company’s annual income, for one thing. More important, though, the opportunity to show potential clients—and the company’s own staff—that Erhart’s can do the big stuff and do it well.
Was it a success? Of course. Were there challenges? Of course.
One early challenge was the inability to get a full liquor license for the Coliseum, because of a death at the venue earlier during a huge event. “They didn’t want to give us a license at all, but they finally did give us one for beer and wine,” says Scott. “For the VIP suites, it definitely would have been nice to have high-end liquor.”
Scott says the success of the event for Erhardt’s will help the company move ahead with its plans to launch a tailgating catering division, and to try to win other sports events. “Sports is sort of a recession-proof business,” he says.
Overall, Scott says, “It’s all stuff we’ve learned throughout the years, but it was so much validation that this is what we do and we’re doing it right. The payoff was great.”
He still has to do the numbers, but it looks like the X-Games gave Erhardt’s 15-20 percent of its catering revenue for the year—“the shot in the arm that we needed.”
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