Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

January 8, 2010

IMS Restrooms: Can Those Be Outsourced Too?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:04 am

I do not know how much of the following is urban myth, and I am not even certain whether it is something about which to be concerned. IMS, in their effort to outsource all but the core business (racing), is looking for an outside company to provide concessions and catering for all the big events at the big track. The company IMS and the IBJ have mentioned is Levy Restaurants of Chicago. They are no slouches; they are one of the biggest in the country and furnish the grub at stadiums and venues around the planet.

The problem with stadium food in general is twofold: It is expensive and usually sucks. One of the charms of IMS over the years has been consuming greenish, occasionally chilly on one end track dogs or panko-encrusted tenderloins, then having bowel movements for the ages the next morning if you were lucky enough to make it that far. The overpriced vittles really got reactions when Anton offered the in-house catering choice as the only one. That was said to be the primary reason Paul Newman walked out in a huff and did not return for years, wasting far too many of them in a futile alternative.

Something perhaps more troubling admittedly needs verification. If I am not mistaken weren’t many of the concession facilities on big track days manned by local groups who made money for their non-profit concerns? Would that cease with a new outside vendor in town?

From a business standpoint, outsourcing makes sense. Income without much maintenance or expenses.  As always, however, a primary worry is tradition…something that has been getting trampled lately. What will become of track dogs and tenderloins? Does a Chicago stadium caterer get it? How much higher will prices go? Are there no local or Indiana companies capable of doing the job?

It is one thing to blow a cannon hole into the fabric of tradition; e.g., cutting May in half. Outsourcing the food may be more like an unraveling of the fabric from the edges. We will need to watch it carefully.

Is it mid-May yet?

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5 Comments »

  1. Having attended Carb Day in 2009, I was in a suite. Thing is not that food is good or not, but the supporting facilities are crap. No food pantries close to the point of delivery, god knows where the main commissary is, etc. Also, the service vehicles are just blah and for a premium area in this day and age its just inexcusable. I would venture that IMS has been really fleecing visitors for years and they are getting killed by comments and competitive pressures. I am fairly knowledgeable about big foodservice operations and this is going to be a challenge for anybody to take on. By the way, the volunteers are the workers who get a % of the sales for stands that their organization is in charge of.

    As for Levy, they not only do stadium foodservice, but are the exclusive foodservice providers for NASCAR tracks in the IMG circuit (Dallas, Bristol, Atlanta, Las Vegas and more). They know big race day foodservice and also do all food at Conseco Fieldhouse so there is local presence.

    Comment by Track Visitor — January 8, 2010 @ 5:23 am | Reply

  2. I just hope the tenderloins are the same. Those were great for track food. The brats and hot dogs were also very good out at the track. If they had to outsource the tenderloins hopefully they call Mug-N-Bun on 10th street.

    Comment by John — January 8, 2010 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  3. If anything happens that causes the Track Tenderloin to drop off of the concession menu, I will fight every person employed in the Admin building. Like, with actual fists. Is that the appropriate response? Maybe not, but I don’t think that there’s a jury in the land that would convict me (given that the entire jury has attended at least one 500).

    Seriously, I look forward to my one tenderloin per year for weeks leading up to Race Day. The day that I can’t purchase one at the track anymore is the day that the state of Indiana will learn the definition of the phrase “Hissy Fit”.

    Comment by The Speedgeek — January 8, 2010 @ 3:07 pm | Reply

  4. As long as they keep the tenderloins. Because nothing says Hoosier like the miracle of battered and deep-fried pork. Oh–and sweet corn dripping in butter. And–at least for one month out of the year–the only tomatoes in the world that are worth eating. I’m getting homesick…or maybe just hungry.

    Comment by redd — January 8, 2010 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  5. Paul Newman was angry because they weren’t allowed to cook their own food like at other venues. They were FORCED to purchase from Jonathan Byrd’s catering at very inflated prices.

    Editor’s Note: And as we all know they took a decidedly mature approach to express their chagrin, didn’t they? Idiots.

    Comment by TroyM — January 11, 2010 @ 1:52 am | Reply


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