(Pictured above: MCCNO President Michael J. Sawaya and Centerplate CEO Steve Pangburn)
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center hosted an anniversary event with their hospitality solutions partner, Centerplate. The event commemorated the 10-year anniversary of a groundbreaking relationship between a venue and a food and beverage provider, which was constructed to be about the food and experience before any financial terms were negotiated. Commemorating the anniversary, Convention Center leaders also celebrated Centerplate’s commitment to the local hospitality industry in New Orleans, having engaged with local small businesses and the New Orleans community at large.
“Our partnership with our exclusive catering and concessions provider, Centerplate, aligns with our delivering unrivaled results for our customers, and has reached far beyond our mission by supporting our community and local small businesses. Additionally, together we have made significant progress with our numerous sustainability initiatives, which are vital to New Orleans,” says Michael J. Sawaya (pictured left), convention center president. “We look forward to continuing this fundamental relationship and furthering the positive effect we are having on our local community.”
Beginning in 2011, MCCNO selected Centerplate as its hospitality solutions partner based on the company’s ability to create and feature New Orleans cuisine. The contract also offered a unique evergreen component that annually added a year to the agreement based upon Centerplate reaching certain measurable thresholds. Throughout the partnership, Centerplate reimagined the dining experience for visitors to the Center with menus and atmosphere that reflected the culture of local New Orleans culinary experience. The partnership and the collaboration goes far beyond food and beverage; together they built relationships with small businesses to showcase local brands and made significant food donations to local non-profits.
In 2020, Centerplate and the Convention Center were awarded a Food Recovery Certification from the Food Recovery Network, a national nonprofit that works with large event centers across the country to fight hunger by donating excessive food items to those in need. The partnership was recognized for their food donation commitments to local organizations including Bethel Colony and Second Harvest Food Bank. As well, in 2019, with combined efforts between the two organizations, the Convention Center launched a new composting initiative to save thousands of pounds of compostable items with an interactive employee education event.
“The success of our partnership with the Convention Center stems from a mutual goal of providing world class customer service and a drive to deliver locally-inspired menus to give our visitors the full New Orleans experience,” says Steve Pangburn (pictured right), chief executive officer, Centerplate/Sodexo Sports & Leisure. “We look forward to many more years of providing true New Orleans style hospitality and creating exceptional moments for the visitors of the Convention Center.”
With 1.1 million square feet of prime exhibit space, in an entirely contiguous hall, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center provides the largest single exhibit space in the country, features an award-winning staff, first class amenities and is the sixth largest convention center in the nation. A leading contributor to the city’s robust tourism economy, the Convention Center’s event activity has produced $90.1 billion in economic impact since its 1985 opening, including $5.7 billion in new tax revenue for state and local governments. For more info, visit mccno.com.
Each year, the combination of Sodexo and Centerplate enhances the level of services provided to more than 116 million guests across premier venues in North America, such as stadiums, arenas, convention centers, museums, zoos, aquariums and more. Through consumer research, innovations and local personalization, we are positioned to deliver an unrivaled array of services to successfully contribute to offer a memorable experience for the guests in our partner venues. From hosting VIPs at the Super Bowl to superheroes at Comic Con, the company provides hospitality services to North America’s premier events. For more info, visit centerplate.com.