More F&B outlets opening at Sports Hub

Long wait before Stefanie Sun concert due to limited dining options

Football fans should not go hungry or thirsty when a Singapore Selection play Italian giants Juventus at the National Stadium next month.

Last Saturday, there were long queues and waiting times of more than half an hour for food and drinks in the nearby Kallang Wave mall before the Stefanie Sun concert when the new arena drew its biggest crowd - of about 20,000 - since its opening last month.

Only six out of its 26 food and beverage (F&B) outlets were open.

However, by the Juventus game on Aug 16, more than half of these should be up and running.

Companies there told The Straits Times that they struggled to cope with demand last Saturday.

Smoothie King, which sells wraps and salads, doubled its kitchen supplies in advance but, due to the manpower crunch, it had only around six staff on duty when it needed 10 to deal with the crowd. "It was quite challenging, but we just did the best we could," said a spokesman. "Some customers got angry at the long wait and demanded refunds. We returned their money to them and also gave them coupons."

Japanese tapas bar Issho Izakaya had around eight service staff on duty last Saturday, compared to around five on non- event weekends. It also stocked its kitchen with about five times the usual amount of ingredients.

Ms Lilian Seah, general manager of Niwa Sushi which runs the bar, said: "The crowd started coming in as early as 5pm last Saturday and we were running a full house by 6pm.

"We managed to move the queue relatively fast. In future, we will engage more part-timers to manage the expected surge in diners."

FairPrice Xtra anticipated an increase in customer traffic of more than 50 per cent before the concert and opened all 16 of its checkout counters, including six self-checkout ones.

Sushi, hot dogs and garlic bread were especially popular with concert-goers.

By the end of this month, a 605-seater Foodfare outlet with 17 stalls will also open in the mall. Most of the other F&B outlets at the new Sports Hub will open by the end of next month.

This will be a relief to the likes of sales and marketing executive Rachel Foo, 25, who was at the National Stadium for the Stefanie Sun concert.

"It will be more convenient as after having dinner, I will be able to go straight into the stadium," she said. "It is definitely good to have more options."

The National Stadium has an in-house central kitchen which supplies food to its 42 concession stands which can cater to a full house of 55,000 people.

About half of them are located on the third floor of the stadium. Three of them will be halal-certified by next month and four others by the end of this year.

The number of concession stands that will be open during events will depend on the audience size.

There will also be 12 different kinds of food stores, including Shiok Shiok Hainanese Chicken Rice, Stack Burger Co, Noodle Shack and Saffron Straits. Prices will range roughly from $1.50 to $8.50.

The food outlets are run by Sports Hub Catering, a joint venture between catering service provider Sats and American food service and hospitality company Delaware North.

Sports Hub's chief operating officer Oon Jin Teik said: "This is a huge venue and we need to ramp things up piece by piece. There will be snags that we need to fix along the way... but we know that the stomach is very important to the spectator's experience."

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