RICHMOND, VA – Big crowds at the Washington Redskins training camp in Richmond failed to translate into big business for a new food truck court.
Angela Delle, director of catering for Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue, said business at the Boulevard location of the restaurant, a few blocks from camp, was down slightly compared with last year.
“But the training camp (food truck area)] was a flop,” Delle said. “As the other camp vendors will tell you, it just wasn’t profitable.”
Richmond officials announced the food truck court — on West Leigh Street, around the corner from the entrance to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center site — in June. Vendors had to pay $2,500 to participate — about $167 per day. They also were asked to commit to staying open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily during the camp, though by the end some vendors gave up altogether.
Delle said that even if Buz and Ned’s hadn’t paid the $2,500, it still would have lost money on the food court. She said its best source of customers was the nearby Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles headquarters.
“The time of the practices and our location were big factors,” she said. “We missed meal periods.”
This year, the team held its main practice at 8:30 a.m. and then a walkthrough shortly after 4 p.m. Last year’s schedule included a short break around lunchtime, meaning fans often stayed on-site or went somewhere close by to eat.
The best day for vendors, Delle said, came when the Redskins held a joint practice with the New England Patriots at 1:30 p.m.
“Things were booming that day,” she said.
The Redskins, who returned to Washington after practicing Tuesday morning, have exclusive contracts with Famous Dave’s, Papa John’s and Johnny Rockets to provide on-site food and drinks, an arrangement that caused grumbling last year from local food vendors who felt they were being shut out of an event pitched as bringing an economic jolt for the city.
Bruce Allen, president of the Redskins, said the team sought to include and involve local restaurants.
“We did include people inside the gates this year, too, some local vendors, and I hope they did well. I haven’t gotten the sales counts on the outside,” Allen said. “But also it’s the traffic flow coming into the gates where I think some of the vendors don’t get all the traffic, and we’ll look at that. We want it to be great for everyone.”
Local vendors King of Pops, Croaker’s Spot and Big Herm’s Kitchen reached agreements this year to set up inside the training camp in return for a portion of their sales.
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