If you had Fresh Fruit Fresca, Dippin’ Dots, Coke or any other food or beverage at Luna Park Coney Island this summer, you were experiencing the “Quality of Daily Life Solutions” of Sodexo, one of the world’s largest food and facilities management companies. Zamperla’s new Luna Park was one of Sodexo’s “wins” in 2010, though the partnership is certainly news to the public since it wasn’t mentioned at any of the NYCEDC/Luna Park press conferences.
In addition to managing the kiosks in Luna Park, Sodexo’s involvement extends to planning and running the restaurant currently under construction at Surf and 10th Street in the Gregory & Paul’s location which closed two years ago. Luna Park CEO Valerio Ferrari told ATZ that $1.4 million is being invested in the new sit-down restaurant. It will be open year-round and feature waiter service and a variety of food. As for the Boardwalk, Sodexo-run restaurants are set to take over “some but not all” of the Boardwalk locations, Ferrari says, including Paul’s Daughter and Pio Pio Riko, which flank the Boardwalk entrance to Luna Park.
In May, a Sodexo manager posted news of the win on the company’s Facebook career page: “Sodexo is excited to announce the newest addition to our Leisure account portfolio is none other than Coney Island. We look forward to a wonderful partnership!” Luna Park Coney Island is also listed in Sodexo’s third quarter press release. It is Sodexo Operations LLC’s name on the liquor license at 1000 Surf Avenue. And if you look up Dippin’ Dots retail locations for 11224 on their website, you’ll find the listing Sodexo Inc – Luna Park @ Coney Island.
Though Sodexo’s partnership with Luna Park may be news to New Yorkers, the company’s presence was known within Coney Island. The Sodexo rep setting up the food service for Luna was a gregarious fellow who introduced himself to people working in neighboring businesses. It wasn’t till mid-summer, when some Boardwalk business owners who’d never heard of Sodexo received a visit from the rep asking details about their business and leaving his card, that some began to ask who is Sodexo?
Founded in France in 1966 by Pierre Bellon with a single dining room, the company now has more than 350,000 employees on 30,600 sites in 80 countries. According to the company’s official bio: “In North America, Sodexo Inc has 7.7 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees and Sodexo serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government, and remote sites.” Sodexo is an acronym that comes from a French phrase, Societe d’Exploitation Hoteliete, which means a company of service and hospitality. In 2009, “Food and Facilities Management Services” became “On-site Service Solutions.”
According to the Leisure and Entertainment page of the company website….
Sodexo is a global leader in providing guest and facilities services to museums, zoos, aquariums, historic properties, sports venues, and more.
While you focus on your core business and mission, we create and offer a wide array of services specific to your venue that enhance your guests’ experience. A few examples of our services:
Guest Services, Restaurants & Dining
Catering & Special Events
Gift Shops & Retail
Facilities Services, Planning & Assessment
Operations & Maintenance
Landscaping & Grounds
Housekeeping & Custodial
Wherever people come together, Sodexo matches the menu to the venue and creates a truly unique dining experience for your guests. We feature fresh, seasonal cuisine presented in a style appropriate to your venue and to creating a truly memorable dining experience. Our customized services will maximize participation and guest satisfaction.
From fine dining at our museums, aquariums, and historic properties to elegant tea rooms in botanic gardens to family meals or high volume concessions at your zoo or arena, we have the perfect solution.
After the Boardwalk businesses received the November 1st notice to “vacate the premises” from Luna Park/CAI, Cha Cha’s told the blog Grub Street that “a French company that was handling Central Amusement’s food and beverage program asked him to submit a business plan and he did so, promising to spend half a million dollars turning his dive into ‘the lost city of Atlantis, with live music and entertainment and food.’ ” Another Boardwalk owner told us he was promised a multi-year lease by the Sodexo rep and was asked to sell some of their products. The business owners, now known as “The Coney Island 8,” are going to court to try and hold onto their longtime spots on the Boardwalk. A plan has also been floated to relocate the evicted businesses to the north side of Surf Avenue.
UPDATE March 31, 2013:
Surf’s Up for CAI Foods in Coney Island, Sodexo Is Out. Sodexo’s departure had long been rumored and is something to cheer about. According to the partnership agreement, after 3 years either party was free to terminate the lease, with CAI having to reimburse the remaining value of Sodexo’s initial investment, with interest.
Related posts on ATZ…
March 31, 2013: Surf’s Up for CAI Foods in Coney Island, Sodexo Is Out
November 10, 2010: This Week in Coney Island: Party at Paul’s Daughter, Hypocrisy at NYCEDC