Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm
The food service provider at Wisconsn State Fair Park’s Exposition Center has added a mobile kitchen that will enable it to expand its food offerings from basic concessions to higher-quality catered meals.
Well Bread Restaurant Services Corp., the premium and catering division of Delaware North Companies-Sportservice, which handles concessions for the Expo Center, recently purchased a custom-built, 48-foot, mobile trailer to serve customers at the Expo Center.
The new kitchen, which can staff up to seven employees, can produce up to 2,000 plated dinners and could produce enough food for buffet service of up to 20,000 people, the maximum capacity of the Expo Center, said James Knop, general manager of Well Bread at the Wisconsin Exposition Center.
Knop declined to specify the cost of the trailer, but said it was a "significant" investment in the six figure range.
A catering and sales manager will also be hired soon, Knop said, to aggressively target business opportunities and to change perceptions about the Expo Center and its culinary options.
"A lot of attention that has been done previously has been associated with shows," Knop said. "We haven’t had that many stand-alone catering functions. And with this kitchen, we’re hoping we can expand our operations and have more of those types of things."
The Expo Center is hoping that the addition of the kitchen and its wider range of dining options help attract more events there, according to Sandra Lange, president of the Expo Center.
"It offers clients more opportunities for food functions like (executive) lounges and things like that," Lange said. "We haven’t had the opportunity to do that, and this kitchen will provide us with that."
The new trailer will be able to serve customers at any location, not just the Expo Center, because it is easily transportable and can be ready to move in about five minutes. The trailer can travel to venues such as Miller Park, Chicago’s Soldier Field, Brown Deer Park or any other site that Well Bread has been contracted to do catering.
The kitchen, including a walk-in cooler, a gas-fired range, ovens, a fryer, a grill and a flat griddle, requires no external service. All of the kitchen’s cooking stations are located along one wall. Opposite to that wall are stations for cleaning and preparing food items and other cleaning areas.
The kitchen has its own propane tanks, which power the grills and ovens, as well as generators that power the trailer’s heating and cooling systems.
"We’re transitioning from a concession brand to fine dining," Knop said. "We want to boost our catering and do more than just catering to consumer shows. This is a new avenue to take care of our guests."
An executive chef and several other chefs will be hired to staff the kitchen, he said. Existing staff where Well Bread currently has contracts for catering at Miller Park, Soldier Field and Comiskey Park also can be called to assist with the kitchen.
August 5, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI