No trip to a football game is complete without a trip to the concession stand.
Whether it's a cold drink, a slice of pizza, or an order of fries, The Brickyard's concession stand can supply it.
And your purchase helps support the THS band, the Bulldog Brigade. "It was brought to our attention many years ago that they needed help in the concession stand," said band booster president Dennis "Mac" McAlister before a recent ball game. "So as band boosters, we offered our assistance, and now all the money we make at the concession stand goes to support the Thomson band."
Running the stand involves working closely with many local merchants.
"We have an agreement with Coca-Cola to sell their products, and they help us as far as supplying the coolers we need for running the concession stand," McAlister said. "Bojangles is a new sponsor this year, letting us sell their chicken sandwiches and sweet tea, and Domino's Pizza gives us a good discount on the pizzas we sell." The most popular food item this year is another new addition to the menu - french fries. "We started selling french fries for the fi rst time this year, and so far we've sold out of fries at every game," McAlister said.
"Our most popular items are the fries, nachos and cheese, and boiled peanuts. And of course, lots of soft drinks." Having enough food and beverage on hand each game is part experience and part guesswork. "We have a set amount we buy each week for most products, and we try and estimate each week how much of the other products we'll need," he said.
"Sometimes we run out, and if that happens early enough in a game, we'll send someone to the store to get some more.
But mostly, if we run out, we're just out. It's actually a good thing if we run out, because it means we had more people than we expected." In addition to food and beverages, the stand also sells spirit items, like seat cushions, fl ags and T-shirts. "Most of the spirit items we get on consignment from local businesses," McAlister said. "We get the products and sell them here, and there's an invoice we have to pay later. But it's on consignment, so we don't have to pay for those in advance."
The recent renovations at The Brickyard included a new, centrally located concession stand. McAlister says it's a big improvement over the previous stands. "It actually makes it a lot easier to keep track of what we have on both the home side and the visitor side of the stand," he said. "It makes my job easier, knowing what we have on each side, so I can make a better judgment on what more we need to cook." Running the concession stand is a family operation for McAlister and the other workers at the stand.
"Both my daughters, Georgia and Leah, are in the band," he said. "So my wife likes to come and help out at the stand also. And everybody working here has someone in the band, either a child or a grandchild." The goal for the concession stand is pretty basic and straightforward. "Our goal is to sell the most products that we can, in order to make the most money for the band," McAlister said.