Eating your food on ‘the floor’: SA testing delivery at Javits – Service America to provide food service at Jacob Javits Center, New York, NY, during trade shows – Brief Article
NEW YORK — The people who man the booths at trade shows at the Jacob Javits Center here soon man, have the luxury of “room” service, courtesy of Service America.
Service America, the food-service contractor at the Javits Center, is testing delivery of meals from its newest restaurant, Panini’s, to booths on the show floors.
Kyle Kandel, Service America’s general manager at the convention center, said he started the test last month at the Fashion Boutique show.
There are two ways that booth workers can place orders for food delivery. They can fill out an order at the restaurant, either in the morning before they report to their booths or during a short break, or they can use a house phone to place an order.
“We started on a small show so we could see what kinks have to be worked out,” Kandel said. `We learned immmediately that we have to do a better job of marketing the service.”
Kandel said a secondary problem is that there are not enough house phones available, and people don’t always know where those phones are located. “We realize we have a learning curve to get over,” he noted.
However, he believes delivery service is a concept long overdue at convention centers. “It is very tough for many booth operators to get away for even a short period of time, and when they can get away they don’t have time to stand in line when a restaurant is busy,” Kandel explained. “We hope we can improve our sales while offering a very needed service to conventioneers.”
Kandel acknowledged that it would take more than a year for Service America to judge whether delivery is financially worthwhile.
“These shows occur only once a year,” he noted. “We have to go through a whole cycle to expose all the conventions to this option. Once they realize it is available, we can judge how popular it really is.”
Kandel said no other Service America convention account offers delivery service.
Panini’s is the newest restaurant to open in the Javits Center’s Crystal Pavilion. An upscale European-style deli, it is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon service.
In the morning the restaurant sells coffee, espresso and cappuccino, as well as muffins and biscotti. At lunch the deli sells a variety of panini sandwich period between $6 and $7.50. In the afternoon, Kandel said, the deli rolls back to coffee and tea service.
The restaurant itself seats between 170 and 220, depending on the size of the convention currently going on. “The larger the show, the less floor space we have for seating,” Kandel noted.
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