Special Finance_ Administration and Economic Development _June by zhouwenjuan

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									                    SPECIAL FINANCE, ADMINISTRATION AND
                 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEETING

                                  June 11, 2002


The Finance, Administration and Economic Development Committee meeting was
called to order at 6:35 p.m. by Mr. Thomas C. “Tim” Owens, Chairman. The following
members were present, constituting a quorum:

      Mrs. Terry Happer Scheier, Vice Chairperson; Mr. Neil S. Sader; and
      Mr. Byron C. Loudon. Mr. Jim Hix sat in for Mr. George Kandt, who was
      absent.

Also present were: Mr. John M. Nachbar, City Manager; Mrs. Kristy Stallings, Director
of Finance, Budget and Administration; Mr. Keith Faddis, Deputy Chief of Police/
Major; and Ms. Nancee Ellis, Recording Secretary. Approximately 13 persons were in
the audience.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

DISCUSSION ITEMS:

OVERLAND PARK CONVENTION CENTER – INTERVIEW FOOD AND BEVERAGE
VENDORS

Deputy Chief of Police/Major Keith Faddis explained that the City of Overland Park
intends to retain a food and beverage company to provide food and beverage services
for the new Overland Park Convention Center (OPCC). He said a Request for Qualifi-
cations (RFQ) was issued to identify interested parties and gauge their interest in and
qualifications to provide food and beverage services at the OPCC. He said the City
received nine responses to the RFQ after which a committee was formed consisting of
George Kandt and Terry Happer Scheier, Councilmembers; John Nachbar, City
Manager; Tom Hazinski, Convention Center Consultant; and Jerry Cook, Convention
and Visitor’s Bureau.

Deputy Chief Faddis advised that the committee reviewed those nine proposals and
eliminated six, based upon a number of factors including experience, where they had
worked/comparable facilities, and financial capability for supporting such an opera-
tion. He stated that the three remaining firms, ARAMARK, Fine Host and Levy
Restaurants, were asked to submit a proposal on how they would provide food and
beverage service to the convention center. Those responses were reviewed by the same
committee, with the addition of Brett Mitchell, OPCC, Global Spectrum; and Jerry
Vincent, Food and Beverage Consultant. Deputy Chief Faddis relayed that Mr.
Vincent was in charge of the culinary program at Johnson County Community College
for several years and was recommended as someone with excellent experience in this
area.

Upon review of the proposals, the short list was narrowed to two firms: ARAMARK
and Fine Host. Deputy Chief Faddis advised that over the past month, members of
the committee have toured two facilities, one operated by each company. It is now
time for the Finance, Administration and Economic Development Committee to hear
presentations from these two companies, digest their proposals and ask questions.
Deputy Chief Faddis relayed that staff intended to come back to this Committee on
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 2

June 19, 2002, with a recommendation and request for approval and authorization to
negotiate a contract with the selected vendor.

Included in agenda packets was an attachment listing strengths, weaknesses and
concerns of each vendor as analyzed by Mr. Tom Hazinski, convention center
consultant, and members of the committee.

Mr. Hazinski relayed that both vendors have the most comparable experience of any of
the proposals submitted, and show they have operated convention centers of similar
size and characteristics as the Overland Park Convention Center.

Regarding ARAMARK, Mr. Hazinski said this is a large organization which operates
many more facilities than Fine Host does. He said Fine Host is a smaller organization,
noting the company emerged from bankruptcy a couple of years ago but is a much
stronger operation today.

Mr. Hazinski said the committee felt that corporately, ARAMARK projected a strong
presence, offering extensive sales and services support to each of its facilities. They
have established and successful methods that they apply in convention centers. On
the flip side of that, Mr. Hazinski said the committee felt their presentation had more
of a “boiler plate” feel to it, with less individualized effort. The overriding concern of
the committee was whether the specific attention would be given that is needed from
ARAMARK, being more of a “smaller fish in their big pond.” Mr. Hazinski said the
committee got a stronger feeling that Fine Host was paying more specific attention to
the needs of Overland Park than ARAMARK.

Regarding Fine Host, Mr. Hazinski said their main weakness originally was that they
did not provide a candidate for the chef position, indicating they would do that if they
were selected. He said the committee requested they select a chef candidate now, and
they have done so.

Mr. Hazinski said Fine Host presented the most thorough marketing plan of the two
vendors.

Both firms were asked to submit draft contracts, which were reviewed by the City’s
legal department. Both contracts were lacking in many ways—one being that neither
company had any provisions for quality standards and for termination for not main-
taining quality standards. He suggested this was an area that should be mentioned to
both firms tonight.

With respect to fees, both vendors were comparable, with the differences being in the
pre-opening fees. Mr. Hazinski advised that ARAMARK indicated that an additional
capital expenditure of $100,000 will be necessary to install the necessary systems to
effectively manage the operation.

Mr. Hazinski said the committee feels it is imperative that the level of service be of very
high quality.

At 6:45 p.m., the presentation team from ARAMARK joined the Committee and began
setting up their presentation equipment.
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 3

Chairman Owens introduced himself as he welcomed the team and asked Committee
members to introduce themselves as well.

Members of ARAMARK’s presentation team introduced themselves as follows: Gary
Wattie, Vice President of Business Development; Zachary Hillberry, Executive Chef
Candidate; David Woodman, General Manager Candidate; Leslie DeVries, Vice
President Sales, National Accounts; Cindy Van Rensburg, Regional Vice President; and
Mark Haley, Executive Vice President.

Mr. Gary Wattie, advised that ARAMARK is a large Philadelphia-based, $9 billion
worldwide corporation. The corporation employs over 200,000 with operations in 19
countries. He said currently, the company has more than 130 employees in Overland
Park, with an economic impact that exceeds $10 million annually. Mr. Wattie stated
that the company’s local partners include Sprint, Black & Veatch, and Johnson
County Detention Center.

There are three distinct portions that are representative of ARAMARK’s portfolio—73
percent consists of food and support services; 21 percent consists of uniform and
career apparel; and 6 percent consists of educational services. Food and support
services include business services, campus services, correctional services, healthcare
support services, refreshment services, school support services and sports and enter-
tainment. Mr. Wattie said the convention group has more than 400 dedicated pro-
fesssionals, with nearly $170 million in total managed volume across 30 businesses.
He stated that Mr. Haley has responsibility for 30 convention centers.

Ms. Cindy Van Rensburg, thanked the Committee for inviting them, noting that she
was personally excited about the potential of working with Overland Park. She
stressed that ARAMARK is committed to quality and service. She stated that over a
year ago the company invested in commissioning a research project with Price
Waterhouse Coopers. The goal for this public study was to learn what their
customers’ needs were so ARAMARK could be successful in exceeding their expecta-
tions. The project included an on-site survey of 2,600 attendees at 8 events at 5
ARAMARK-run facilities. Ms. Van Rensburg said Finding No.1 showed a strong
interest in having access through the internet. As a result, ARAMARK launched a
website for each of their convention centers that link to either a convention and
visitor’s bureau’s website or the facilities website as well as a link to upcoming events.
This allows ARAMARK’s clients quick, accessible information and a convenient way to
plan for their upcoming events. Another successful component is customer feedback.
ARAMARK has a program that helps ensure quality and service by receiving feedback
from its customers. This is done through the internet site, which gives immediate
feedback and has been very successful.

Ms. Leslie DeVries, stated that Finding No. 2 from the Price Waterhouse Coopers
survey is that meeting planners make decisions about banquets approximately 15
months and beyond. She said this translates to ARAMARK’s operation being very
proactive and taking an aggressive approach to its sales and marketing programs.
She said ARAMARK believes it is critically important to be a strategic part of the
hospitality community at large. Ms. DeVries said one of the company’s most
important tools is its menus, which are customized and reflect the regionality of the
cuisine. Where possible, ARAMARK wants a real partnership with the City of Overland
Park and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
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June 11, 2002
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Ms. Van Rensburg relayed that Finding No. 3 indicated that the most important
criteria considered in selecting a venue are the reputation of the facility, past
experience with the facility and the quality of food. Given that, she said ARAMARK’s
role is ensuring that the Overland Park Convention Center is the destination of choice.
One way to accomplish that is that the culinary innovation menu development is very
important. One program that ensures that is ARAMARK’s International Guest Chef
Series, whereby a few chefs are selected each year to go to other sites around the
world and work alongside the international chefs, learning different ethnic foods,
culture, foods indigenous to that area and share those practices.

With regard to culinary innovation and menu-development customizing, Ms. Van
Rensburg stated that ARAMARK views the niche for Overland Park as The Fresh
Choice concept, which would be used in the menu development and all of the
marketing and collateral materials.

Ms. Van Rensburg stated that the awards ARAMARK has received in this industry
speak very well to the company’s success. The Overland Park Convention Center
parallels the Washington State Convention & Trade Center. She said this is a very
similar account, with similar customers, corporate business and size. For their work
at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, they were awarded the National
Association of Catering Executives On-Premise Catered Event of the Year. Not only
was ARAMARK being judged against other convention centers, but more importantly,
they were benchmarked against other hotel and restaurant executive chefs. Ms. Van
Rensburg said ARAMARK was the first in the industry to achieve that award, and they
were very proud of it.

As Vice President of Operations, Ms. Van Rensburg believed that the success of the
Overland Park Convention Center is based on people. It is reflected in the entire
organization as evidenced by ARAMARK’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joe
Neubauer who has been quoted as saying, “Our single, sustainable, competitive
advantage is our people.”

In looking at General Manager candidates, Ms. Van Rensburg relayed there are several
core competencies the company considers that have proven to make individuals very
successful in this service industry. The best candidate must be a leader who can
provide vision, be decisive, be a solid communicator, exercise candor, and demon-
strate integrity. The General Manager candidate ARAMARK has selected is David
Woodman, and Ms. Van Rensburg said he would have her support throughout the
entire transition

Mr. David Woodman, explained that his background comes from fine dining
restaurants, adding that he has worked with several French Master Chefs across the
United States. That experience gave him the firm grasp of what professionalism and
service standards need to be, which he could bring to the catering world. Most
recently, Mr. Woodman said he was responsible for three unique venues in Portland,
Oregon, which resulted in over $1 million in sales per year. Mr. Woodman’s
experience also includes leadership roles in high profile events, a proven track record
in building local sales, and he has demonstrated expertise in developing off-premise
catering events.
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 5

Mr. Woodman said it is important to discuss national resources that ARAMARK has
access to as a company. There are excellent training programs available through
ARAMARK from service staff through management. Food safety is a huge issue, and
ARAMARK’s management system is a program that far exceeds anything offered by the
county’s health department. The system analyzes food from the point it gets in the
door until it reaches the tables. In addition to the national resources available,
ARAMARK has some great regional resources.

Mr. Zachary Hillberry Executive Chef Candidate, advised that he started studying this
profession when he was 15 years old, working in kitchens and learning as much as
possible. He then decided to enter culinary school and graduated from the California
Culinary Academy. He trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and
after graduating from there he worked in multiple restaurants in San Francisco and
New York. He realized he needed to further expand his career and went to the Las
Vegas Convention Center and was Sous Chef. To illustrate how large that facility is,
he said they did 3,000 banquets in 3 days. Mr. Hillberry was also the lead banquet
cook at La Valencia Hotel. His ultimate goal, however, is to be with a smaller facility
where he could enjoy both high volume and fine dining. He advised that he also was
fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with some prominent chefs while at the
International Chef’s Program and gained much experience in doing that.

Mr. Woodman said it is important to point out that in a facility like the Overland Park
Convention Center, it is ARAMARK’s intent to custom-make menus for the guests,
noting that approximately 70 percent of the menus offered are custom made.

Mr. Mark Haley, Executive Vice President of Aramark’s convention center division,
stressed that this group really has a passion for this business. Everything that is
brought to the table will be with a customized approach. He said there is no “cookie-
cutter” approach for convention centers because they are all unique. What makes
ARAMARK different from its competitors is that it is a $9 billion, U.S. based global
service leader. Mr. Haley said the company has all the resources needed to fulfill its
commitment in Overland Park. Other differences include that the company is very
focused and a leader in generating revenue. Local experience includes over 130
employees in Overland Park, with $10 million of economic impact. Mr. Haley said this
would be beneficial should there be conventions here that require extra staffing levels
that are retained on site by borrowing some employees rather than adding a perman-
ent person or flying people in. Regarding the local commitment, Mr. Haley said
ARAMARK would be involved in the community and with the Convention and Visitor’s
Bureau. The company would look for culinary internship programs and help with the
development of local students. Lastly, he said ARAMARK’s management staff offers a
history of experience and success in facilities similar to Overland Park’s.

Mr. Haley referred the Committee to a newspaper article regarding the Albuquerque
Convention Center that was headlined “Caterer wows the crowd.” He said ARAMARK
was notified on a Wednesday they had been awarded the contract and needed to start
operating the next day. Within the next two weeks, resources were gathered together
from locations across the United States, and 1,450 people were catered at the Mayor’s
Charity Ball sit-down dinner. The Mayor declared that the standard of food service
had been raised in downtown Albuquerque. Mr. Haley stated that whatever the food
standard is in Overland Park, ARAMARK’s goal is to move it up.
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 6

Mr. Haley thanked Committee members for listening to this presentation and said the
team would stand for questions. He said ARAMARK sincerely wants Overland Park’s
business and would appreciate its consideration.

Understanding there were a number of ARAMARK facilities in the Kansas City area,
Mr. Neil S. Sader asked within the company’s structure who Mr. Woodman and
Mr. Hillberry report to and where. Mr. Haley replied that Mr. Hillberry reports to
Ms. Van Rensburg, who is based out of Houston. He relayed that she is very active in
all the accounts that she manages. With regard to Mr. Woodman, Mr. Haley advised
that he is given the parameters of how he needs to operate his business. At the end of
the year, he and Ms. Van Rensburg set the goals, objectives and parameters within
which he will operate. That marketing plan is then shared with the building manage-
ment, which encompasses the facility’s and ARAMARK’s goals. This enables both
entities to have access to the same information. Mr. Haley stated that Mr. Woodman
would be the contact person here, and Ms. Van Rensburg would schedule regular
visits. Also, ARAMARK’s regional controller comes in and does financial reviews.

Mr. Sader stressed it is imperative that from Day 1, the food has to be superior. If
word should travel that for instance, the steak was cold or the food was not up to the
standard that people expect, he said it would be a serious blow to all the work that
went into this project, as well as the reputation the City has built over the years. If
ARAMARK is entrusted with this contract, Mr. Sader asked how the company could
ensure him from Day 1, the food will live up to the City’s expectations. Mr. Haley
replied that ARAMARK is not the reason that people come to Overland Park; however,
they could be a reason why they would not come back. He said the company does a
lot of tastings and goes through the menus with building management to determine
likes and dislikes and what fits in. He said this is also done with customers so they
are exactly clear on what will be presented. ARAMARK will go through that menu
cycle as many times as necessary. There is also the quality assurance program which
focuses on food safety and temperatures.

Ms. Van Rensburg relayed that the Committee previously heard about the
Albuquerque contract in which two weeks later on a Friday evening ARAMARK
successfully served 1,400 people; however, she said not mentioned was that the next
night, there were three weddings and a dinner for 600 people. She explained that on
Friday morning, staff had to determine what events were upcoming, what the
contracts entailed, meet the clients, hire all the employees, learn who the local vendors
were to determine if products were in-house, then prepare and execute the event
Saturday evening. She said Day 1 in Albuquerque began and was completed in less
than 48 hours of operating, and everything was perfect. She understood that there is
only one chance to make a first impression and a right impression. The most critical
aspect to ensure this is to hire the right people, then give them the support and train-
ing they need to be successful.

Ms. DeVries said ARAMARK takes the approach that every single customer who enters
the building and tastes the products is talking about it to the next potential customer.
Therefore, ARAMARK believes it is necessary to capitalize on every single opportunity
that arises.

Mr. Sader asked Ms. Van Rensburg how she would know what is occurring if she is in
Houston, and she replied that beginning on the first day of operation, she would be
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June 11, 2002
Page 7

here as much as necessary to make this a success. Ms. DeVries said a team would be
put in place, with support behind them. She said there are checks and balances in
place.

Given the size of this company, Mr. Sader asked if most of the products they use are
stored in warehouses or do they buy from local vendors. Mr. Haley replied they do a
combination, noting that they have a national contract for staple items but local
vendors are used for perishables. Items are purchased for what is needed for each
event to the extent possible.

Chairman Owens said Kansas City has a reputation for having excellent barbeque,
adding that there are local companies that might want to participate with providing
that, asking how ARAMARK interrelates with local vendors in that situation.
Ms. Van Rensburg replied that in many of ARAMARK’s communities, they have
relationships with local suppliers or they have partnered with local specialty products
to incorporate that special niche item that is indigenous to the area.

Chairman Owens said the contract for a food and beverage vendor would be with the
City of Overland Park; however, due to a structural management-type system,
ARAMARK would be reporting to Brett Mitchell with Global Spectrum, asking if this
would be a problem. Responding, Mr. Wattie said this is not an uncommon arrange-
ment.

Mr. Jim Hix asked how the company hires its servers, and when there is not full-time
employment for them, he asked if ARAMARK contracted with temporary help services.
Ms. Van Rensburg said one of the advantages the company has is the amount of
business they have in this area. There are large events where the workforce is tripled,
and she said there are other businesses who hire part-time employees and ARAMARK
builds relationships with those businesses in the event those individuals are needed to
work an event. Because the company often is dealing with an unskilled workforce,
they do go out into the community and recruit people who are trainable and can be
developed and provide service and technical training for them. She said they would go
to the culinary program at Johnson County Community College and work out intern-
ships with their students.

Mr. Hix said he was sure that every client ARAMARK has is unique, special and
deserves the best service; however, he stressed that Overland Park is definitely unique
and does deserve and expect excellent service. He said if there is any illusion that
because this is Kansas, a company might be able to “slide by,” that is entirely
incorrect. He wanted ARAMARK to know coming in that “good” will not be good
enough, and Overland Park will expect better than can be found anywhere. He said
ARAMARK may have the opportunity to prove what they say, but he assured them that
this will not be an easy audience to sell to. Mr. Haley said it sounds like Overland
Park’s and ARAMARK’s philosophies are the same.

Mr. Wattie said he was asked by the City Manager how they could back up everything
they say, meaning would they be willing to void the contract if they do not measure up
to the standards that have been mutually agreed upon. Mr. Wattie said they would.
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 8

Mrs. Terry Happer Scheier commented that Overland Park expects to attract a mix of
local banquet events as well as state and regional convention and tradeshow events
and asked Mr. Woodman what his expertise was with theses different spectrums.
Mr. Woodman said he has had expertise with a multitude of events from local to
international.

Mr. Jerry Vincent, Food and Beverage consultant, asked the chef candidate if he was a
member of the Las Vegas Chef Association. Mr. Hillberry replied no, but that he was a
member of the American Culinary Association.

Mr. Hazinski asked who would be part of the opening team for ARAMARK. Ms. Van
Rensburg said the opening team would consist of the on-site managers as well as
mentoring the existing managers from similar facilities during the immediate need,
extending some of the key positions longer as deemed necessary. Also available would
be ARAMARK’s regional Human Resource Director and the regional Finance Director.
Ms. DeVries would be working with the sales and marketing team, and a regional
Information Technology manager would be here to set up all of the technical support,
and Ms. Van Rensburg said she would be here. Mr. Hazinski clarified that the
company has a core of people that do this in any facility that is opening, plus he
clarified that another chef would be on site for the opening. Ms. Van Rensburg said
absolutely. Mr. Haley said they would do whatever is necessary to determine which
people have the skills to complement this location. He said if they need to bring three
chefs in to support that event, they would. The same goes for the other operating
positions. During the first year, he said Ms. Van Rensburg would be monitoring
things and if extra help is needed, that would be addressed.

Mr. Brett Mitchell, Overland Park Convention Center/Global Spectrum, asked how
many of the company’s contracts were structured with management fees and what
challenges were seen with those. In response, Mr. Haley said of the 30 convention
centers ARAMARK has, approximately 10 to 12 are management fee contracts. He
said there were positives and negatives, with the positives being that the company
really partners with the client. The challenges relate to quality and service and what
the client wants to pay for those within the budget.

Chairman Owens thanked the group for their great presentation and wished them an
enjoyable stay while they are here.

At 8 p.m., the presentation team from Fine Host joined the Committee and began
setting up their presentation equipment.

Chairman Owens introduced himself, welcomed the presentation team, and asked
Committee members to introduce themselves.

Mr. John Lamkin, Vice President of Sales & Business Development, introduced the
presentation team as follows: Mr. Jerry Moses, Executive Vice President; Mr. Greg
Fender, Regional Vice President; Mr. Steve Conway, Proposed General Manager; and
Mr. Armando Haros, Executive Chef Candidate.

Mr. Jerry Moses, Executive Vice President, said he felt privileged to have the
opportunity to talk about Fine Host Corporation, which is a multi-national company,
operating in 38 states throughout the United States. This company was founded in
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June 11, 2002
Page 9

1985 by two gentlemen with one objective—To provide high-quality food and beverage
for the recreation and leisure industry. Mr. Moses said one of the prime reasons that
Fine Host has flourished the 17 years it has been in business is that the company
focuses only on food service. He said the company’s reputation has been built on
quality, noting that in the proposals furnished to the City are names, addresses and
phone numbers for every client Fine Host has. He encouraged the Committee to call
and ask them what they think about Fine Host as a company, its service, quality of
food provided and how Fine Host responds to each one. Mr. Moses believed that Fine
Host was large enough to serve but small enough to care, noting that the company’s
annual revenues were in excess of $300 million.

Mr. Moses said Fine Host is a privately-owned company. The company is debt free,
with significant cash reserves. He referred to the 19 convention center clients listed in
the portfolio, adding that most of them were comparable to the Overland Park
convention center. He said the majority of the 19 are on their second and third-year
renewals and the few that are not, are first-year accounts.

Mr. Greg Fender, Regional Vice President, said he would be supervising this account
should Fine Host be fortunate enough to be awarded the contract. Regarding his
background, he said he has worked with hotels, and country clubs, and spent eight
years working at a convention center in Boston, working for Mr. Moses. When he first
started working on that account, it was a $2 million account. When he left, it was a
$16 million account. The facility went from a standard convention center into a new
competitor of the high-end hotels in that city. Mr. Fender knew, however, what
worked in Boston may not work in Overland Park. He said the solutions and people
Fine Host brings to the table will custom build ways to build the business.

Mr. Fender said when the on-site team is delivered, and the people are in place, it is
his job to ensure that Fine Host meets the City’s expectations and goals, which is done
on an on-going basis. This team works with the City to set the goals and objectives
and move forward. Mr. Fender makes sure that the on-site team is supported and
that they understand clearly what the expectations are from both sides. He said Fine
Host is taking advantage of all the resources that the corporation has to offer.

Mr. Steve Conway, General Manager Candidate, stated that he has had very success-
ful experiences in convention center facilities, both large and small. He said he is a
hands-on operator and has a solid understanding of convention business in general—
specifically how food and beverage plays a very important part in the convention
business.

With regard to his experience, Mr. Conway stated that he has held senior manage-
ment positions at convention centers in Nashville, Orlando and Washington, D.C. He
said he has received promotions to and from some of those positions, has been
recruited by previous supervisors and has been recommended by previous clients.
Mr. Conway advised that he works at a high-end catering firm in the southwest,
catering to Phoenix’s social and corporate market. He was also the project manager at
another facility, assisting the district manager, with the important task of pre-opening.
He believed that these experiences in total make him very well qualified to be the
general manager for Fine Host at the Overland Park Convention Center. He said that
this would not only be a new account, but that it would be a new facility, which was
particularly appealing to Mr. Conway. He was also excited about the prospect of
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June 11, 2002
Page 10

working closely with Mr. Fender as they put a team together that will “wow” their
clients from the very first event.

The operating philosophy at the Overland Park Convention Center will start and end
with a simple concept of delivering outstanding customer service which Mr. Conway
said is his operating style. He said it is important to recognize each and every
customer group and to anticipate and satisfy their needs. He said his team will be
applying customer service skills to the following groups: (1) The City officials of
Overland Park because he and his staff will understand that they will merely be guests
in the City’s building; (2) The Global Spectrum client, who Mr. Conway and his staff
will work with on a daily basis from the director to the line-level staff; (3) The show
managers and meeting planners who show confidence in the company’s ability by
booking groups in the convention center; (4) Internal customers, because Fine Host
employees are trained and expected to treat each other with respect at all times. He
said when customer service works in this way, results can be amazing.

While using the tried/tested approach to customer service, Mr. Conway said he would
also use creative methods to “wow” his customers. At this new facility, there will be a
unique opportunity to distinguish themselves whether it is to offer a vast display of
food and beverage in a cash setting, or offering cooking lessons to some of the VIPs
and show masters or organizing creative chef tables that will start clients thinking
about upgraded linen packages, floral arrangements and offering wine with dinner. All
of these things will enhance the facility’s image and revenue.

Mr. Conway stated that his previous clients and many show managers will attest that
under his direction they received outstanding personal attention and responsiveness.
He said he did not feel that a general manager of a convention center will be
successful merely by sitting behind a desk.

Mr. Conway recognized that an important part of the general manager’s job is to
oversee the financial aspect and the returns to the client. At the National Convention
Center, revenues were increased and costs were contained, and he received the
distinction of most improved unit in his first year there. At the Orange County
Convention Center, revenues increased dramatically, primarily due to expansion, but
cost percentages were decreased beyond expectation resulting in an enormous
advantage for his client. Mr. Conway relayed that in his first year in Washington,
D.C., revenues were increased by $700,000, resulting in $160,000 better commissions
than the previous year. Mr. Conway stated that with regard to financial management,
he considered himself a very sound operator, but will always start and end with out-
standing customer service.

Mr. Conway said Overland Park needs a quality-focused food and beverage company.
One way for this Committee to access a competing company is to ask the clients. He
said Fine Host clients categorically go on record to recommend Fine Host as a quality-
oriented company. At the facility in Overland Park, Mr. Conway stressed that his team
will always stay focused on quality. They will work with Overland Park and Global
Spectrum to develop a guest survey form to show a true picture of how they are doing
from food quality, appearance of locations, variety, to transaction accuracy. He said
he would solicit feedback from guests and show managers to be used as an improve-
ment tool.
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 11

Mr. Conway relayed that Fine Host’s proposal contains a very detailed, very compre-
hensive quality-control inspection report, which is a valuable tool that he intends to
use regularly. Additionally, Mr. Fender will use this tool and discuss the results with
him and, when appropriate, the client. The bottom line for Mr. Conway is to get it
right.

Fine Host has a “Moment of Truth Program,” which Mr. Conway said is detailed in
their proposal. The highlights of the program consist of training each employee on the
importance of great first impressions. In this business, first impressions can last;
therefore, Mr. Conway wanted to ensure they are favorable.

Mr. Conway said on-going training is very important. He said all appropriate
employees will be trained and certified relating to alcohol issues and awareness as well
as handling and serving safe food. Beyond that, customer service and customer
satisfaction training will also be stressed. At the company’s frequent training
meetings, either by department or overall staff, Mr. Conway said role playing will be
conducted, showing videos, reviewing guest survey forms and discussing them to learn
all they can to make staff more proficient. He often asks different speakers to parti-
cipate as it gives him and his staff a different, interesting and helpful perspective.

Mr. Conway said the formulation of Fine Host’s sales and marketing plan will be a
joint effort conducted by himself, the catering sales director, Fine Host marketing
department and in conjunction with the building’s management. Only after these
parties have had thorough discussions and done research, can goals and objectives be
set and a plan implemented and coordinated.

Included in the operating expense of Fine Host’s Performa is a dedicated 125 percent
sales and marketing line. This 125 percent will be spent in conjunction with recom-
mendations of building management. The marketing objective is to create a demand
for this facility that will have the community and the region wanting to find out why
everyone is excited about the new convention center. Mr. Conway said this starts long
before the grand opening event.

With regard to community involvement, Mr. Conway believed that being a good
community citizen and being active in one’s community is a noble endeavor and
smart. He said he and his management staff intend to become involved in the
community with Chamber of Commerce memberships, active involvement with the
Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, active participation by the catering sales director
with Meeting Professionals International and the National Association of Catering
Executives, working with local schools and universities in educating pupils to the
hospitality and meeting planning business. Mr. Conway said he had taught an
undergraduate course at Tennessee State University in Nashville, which was a
win/win for everyone. He hoped to do something similar to that at Johnson County
Community College. Another idea would be to have preschoolers or elementary school
children do personalized art work that would be displayed in the concession location
or have them transferred onto aprons, which was done at the Washington Convention
Center. He said these public relations and marketing efforts are not just gimmicks,
but are creative ways to build and maintain excitement about the Overland Park
Convention Center.
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 12

Mr. Conway said the local team will conduct a market analysis that asks and answers
some very important questions. Demographics of the area and the region will be
analyzed and target markets will be identified such as medical and health services,
corporate education, and weddings. The team will identify companies, groups and
even brides-to-be and tailor a message to attract them. Fine Host will distinguish
itself from its competition by being attentive to the customers and delivering on their
needs, rather than what is convenient for Fine Host. He said the team would stay
apprised of market trends, which can be very volatile. This is why it is extremely
important that the group, Fine Host, Global Spectrum and City officials work
seamlessly together both proactively and reactively.

Mr. Conway said the team will conduct and make changes as necessary using the
Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis. He said this
assessment is done objectively and thoroughly to help paint a clear picture of what
some of the sales and marketing priorities should be and how to capitalize in this
area. Mr. Conway said his research tells him, for this area, there is no better company
than Fine Host, and he was confident the City’s research will indicate that as well.

Mr. Fender introduced Armando Haros, Executive Chef Candidate, who has been with
Fine Host for ten years. During that time, he has helped Fine Host attain three
renewals, his sales has grown 400 percent, and he has done a great job. Mr. Fender
said as Fine Host searched for a candidate that would fit this facility and help Fine
Host create the on-site team, they wanted someone who had a lot of experience in
building a team, and someone experienced with many different types of cuisine.

Mr. Armando Haros, Executive Chef Candidate, relayed that some major corporate
clients at the Austin Convention Center have been Dell and Motorola, noting that
Austin has a thriving computer industry. Recently, there were 10,000 people at the
convention center over a two-day period which resulted in $1 million in food and
beverage sales. Chef Haros said there are numerous political fund-raising events held
at Austin Convention Center. He advised that he has been with the Austin Convention
Center since the first day it opened, helping plan menus and kitchen equipment
placement. He also talked to purveyors in getting the best products available. He said
training of culinary staff is on-going to keep them apprised of new ideas and ways to
improve the quality and presentation of the food. Staff is also trained in kitchen safety
and sanitation.

Chef Haros said he has worked several grand openings in the past. He said he got
started in this business approximately 20 years ago, working under a United States
Culinary Team member. He prefers to try different ideas incorporating all cuisines
rather than using just one. He looked forward to learning the tastes of this region and
what people like.

Mr. Fender offered to quickly review the financial package, adding that the numbers in
there were obtainable. During the start-up period, he said the City would not be
making any money nor does Fine Host expect to make any money. The company’s
team would be on-site working to get this facility up and running. The management
fees are the fees Fine Host has proposed which start low and grows forward as the
sales grow. Mr. Fender said there is a 5 percent incentive fee on sales over $1 million.
There are 2.5 percentage points tied to the operating expenses. The first allocation
from all sales is for 1.5 percent for the Sales and Marketing fund. Secondly, there is
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 13

the Equipment Reserve Fund which has a 1 percent allocation of all sales for future
needs.

When selecting a company to award the contract to for a food-service partnership at
the Overland Park Convention Center, Mr. Moses indicated that competing companies
have similar corporate support, programs and their own uniqueness. The difference
between Fine Host and the competitors is the people. He said if the Committee liked
the presentation, liked the presenters and saw the human characters that came out
and the way they approach things, then the City will like Fine Host because that is the
way the company operates.

Mr. Moses advised that he owned a company that started in 1986, and he sold it to
Fine Host in 1993, noting that three of the four top operating people with Fine Host
came from that company. He said he was proud of the people with Fine Host and
believes they have a formula that works. He said Fine Host wants the City of Overland
Park and Global Spectrum to be their partners. He ensured that, if chosen, Overland
Park would get the attention it deserves, stressing that this is a wonderful building the
City has put together. Mr. Moses believed that Fine Host would exceed the feasibility
study’s projections in terms of revenue. He said the company has great flexibility,
noting that the decision makers were in this room. Fine Host empowers its local
management to make most decisions on site.

Commenting briefly on the presenters, Mr. Moses said Mr. Fender is on the road 76
percent of his time, noting that he will be present here quite often. He stressed that
he was conscientious and truly cares about what he does.

Referring to Chef Haros, Mr. Moses said the man is the best there is at cooking,
adding that he has worked with him for ten years. He said they were fortunate to do 6
of the last 13 super bowls. He stated that this is a hands-on chef who is trained well,
and people love to work with him.

Mr. Moses said he has not worked with Mr. Conway before; however, Mr. Fender has
worked with him on many occasions and speaks very highly of Mr. Conway .

Mr. Moses said Fine Host has put forth the best team that they thought works for this
facility. He wanted the City to keep in mind the company’s flexibility, noting that if for
some reason this team does not fit what the City wants, the company commits to the
City that they will find the right people to run this account. He offered to answer
questions.

Chairman Owens thanked the team for their excellent presentation.

The Chairman noted that in the company’s financial overview, it indicated that Fine
Host was debt free; however, he noted there was a bankruptcy in the company’s
history. He asked if Mr. Moses could address how that, if in any way, had an impact
on where they are today. Mr. Moses explained that after Fine Host purchased the
company to which he referred previously, they bought a series of companies. He said
Fine Host grew from a $75 million company to $300 million in a short period of time.
Due to some aggressive accounting procedures, stock went from $12 to approximately
$42 in over 18 months. When the stock market began dropping, this stock dropped to
$10, and it was halted on the stock exchange. He said the Fine Host Board of
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 14

Directors brought in a crisis management team, who stayed for a year. Mr. Moses
stressed that during this time every customer client, vendor and employee were paid,
noting that the people who were negatively impacted were the stockholders. The
following year in January, the company filed bankruptcy, but talked to each of their
clients before doing so, advising them they would be out of it within five months,
which did occur. He said the bond holders bought the business out of bankruptcy
and put enough money in for Fine Host to start its operation and keep it going. He
said the balance sheet is clean, and the company did not lose one account throughout
that time period. Mr. Moses said Fine Host did lose a couple of accounts in re-bids
because competitors decided to make this a big issue with them. What Fine Host told
its potential customers at that time and is telling the City today is that this company
is rid of those who falsified reports. He said he was never told exactly what happened,
but he knew it was due to bookkeeping irregularities or accounting procedures. He
offered to answer any questions and hoped this addressed the issue.

Chairman Owens thanked Mr. Moses, stating that did clarify the situation.

The Chairman asked how Fine Host proposed to work with Global Spectrum.
Mr. Moses understood that Brett Mitchell will be the general manager with Global
Spectrum. This is who Fine Host expects to report to. He understood the company
will be working to serve many masters. For example, if Mr. Conway is selected to be
the general manager, he reports to Mr. Fender and Fine Host, but he will also report to
Mr. Mitchell. Mr. Fender agreed, adding it works best when the food and beverage
director is a part of the senior staff team—one member of the team that makes it a
cohesive product. He believed that when a customer looks at the building, it should
be one unit marching in the same direction.

Mrs. Happer Scheier said occasionally, the City may want to use specialized local
caterers at the Overland Park Convention Center, and asked if Fine Host was
amenable to this. Mr. Conway said absolutely, noting that most convention centers
have their own regional flair. He said Fine Host could develop a menu package that
has a specific, recognized restaurant name, incorporating that logo into the menu
package. He believed this could be a win/win situation.

Mr. Moses stated that Fine Host views themselves as tenants in Overland Park’s home,
and they would act like tenants. He said they intended to work very closely with the
City and satisfy its needs.

Mr. Sader understood that Fine Host used a provider of staple items, but asked how
the company acquired the necessary local items that would assure above-average
standards. Mr. Fender advised that Fine Host uses U.S. Foods as its national grocer
which provides canned goods and paper products. He said Kansas City sits in the
heartland of the country, and Fine Host will want to buy as much fresh foods locally
as possible. In the convention center market, perishables are usually purchased
locally, with hard products coming through the national distributor, which helps
maximize the purchasing dollar.

Mr. Sader asked Chef Haros why he would want to leave Austin to come to Kansas
City. Chef Haros replied that his family has never been out of Texas, and they looked
forward to change. He also viewed this opportunity as a challenge.
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 15

Mr. Hazinski commented that Chef Haros would be moving from a larger account to a
smaller one. Chef Haros commented that his responsibilities would be the same.

Mr. Hazinski asked how the opening team would work. Mr. Fender advised that Fine
Host brings in resources from corporate headquarters to help set up the accounting
systems, information technology to help coordinate the packages used in the business,
and human resources to help with training. The expectation is that the management
team who opens this facility would deliver the general manager and the chef. The
balance of the team would be hired locally, hoping those people could bring contacts
and leads that are here and available. Mr. Fender said Fine Host has many facilities
in the area and many resources in the company that would be accessible to help in
this process.

Mr. Brett Mitchell, Overland Park Convention Center/Global Spectrum, asked Chef
Haros if he would be interested in becoming a local celebrity, and the Chef replied no,
adding that he enjoyed “behind the scene” work the best.

Mr. Hix explained that this endeavor is more than just a business investment for the
City. He stated that the City of Overland Park has extraordinary high standards in
many areas, which has resulted in numerous awards for quality, noting its AAA bond
rating by all the rating services was only one. Mr. Hix wanted to be sure Fine Host
knew that if they are selected, “good” would not be good enough due to these high
standards and high expectations. Mr. Moses stated that Fine Host welcomes the
opportunity to fulfill those high expectations. He said he could relate to the pride the
City had because he had a lot of pride as well, when he started his own business years
ago. He said Fine Host was ready to make a commitment to excellence right now.

Mr. Conway relayed that it is clearly obvious from the moment anyone steps into that
building that the standards are exceptionally high, which Fine Host recognizes.

Mr. Fender said when Fine Host began putting together their marketing program, they
looked at Overland Park’s levels of education, income, and growth, which showed the
City has exploded in all directions. In driving around the area, trying to get a feel for
the community, Mr. Fender said it is a very impressive area, and they were all excited
about becoming a part of it.

Chairman Owens said the presentation and quality of the food is going to say more to
people who refer people back to the facility than anything. He stated that the City
wants a quality presentation to go along with a quality facility and a real landmark in
the metropolitan area.

Mr. Loudon said it is a fact that first impressions are lasting, and City officials want
this facility to start out and continue giving an excellent impression so this business
will succeed.

Mr. John Lamkin, Vice President, Sales & Business Development, understood the
Committee’s remarks completely. He realized the facility is not Fine Host or Global
Spectrum, it is the Overland Park Convention Center and if there are any complaints,
they will go to the City.
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 16

Mr. Loudon appreciated the group coming in and making a fine presentation, adding
that it was obvious they had done their homework. He said the City is very serious
about this endeavor.

After the Fine Host presentation team departed, Chairman Owens said everyone
needed to digest what they heard from the two company’s and be ready to make a
recommendation at the Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee
meeting on June 19, 2002. The Chairman said he thought both presentations were
excellent, adding that decisions like this can be extremely difficult.

Mr. Hix believed that the ARAMARK chef had more credentials and glamorous back-
ground than the Fine Host chef. He asked Mr. Vincent if he considered that important
or a plus. Mr. Vincent said that is a good question, but commented that he did visit
Austin, where he had the best salad he has ever had, made by Chef Haros. He said
the chef from Las Vegas is a nice young man, and Mr. Vincent had no issues with him
whatsoever. He explained that these were two kinds of chefs—one back-of-the-house
chef and one who could be in the front or back. He said he would recommend that
Overland Park establish a dress code requiring a white chef coat so that there is a
professional appearance. He believed whichever company is chosen would have to be
upgraded to the standards of Overland Park. The question is, would they accept
advice on how to improve. He liked the management and chef candidates with
ARAMARK. He also liked the personal touch that Fine Host displayed, adding that he
believed Overland Park would be a big “fish in the Fine Host pond.” With ARAMARK,
Mr. Vincent did not feel Overland Park would be quite as big a fish, adding that Fine
Host would probably provide more personal attention. The fact that the company
retained clients throughout its bankruptcy proceedings was impressive.

From the presentations, Mr. Sader thought that ARAMARK was classier and more
professional than the other company.

Mr. Nachbar said staff has done major reference checking early on for both companies.
Deputy Chief of Police/Major Keith Faddis added that one of the questions the City
asked of those contacted related to responsiveness to their clients. Both vendors were
said to be very responsive. One client who had a history with both companies
indicated he liked Fine Host better because he thought they paid more attention to
what he wanted. There were no negatives however about either company.

Mr. Mitchell commented that ARAMARK has a very good reputation in this industry.
Fine Host is smaller and can give more personal attention. He said Fine Host is in a
convention facility in Richmond where the general manager is a seasoned hotel man
and is very particular about his food, and he is more than satisfied with the job Fine
Host is doing.

Mr. Vincent recommended that whichever company is selected, that the chef be given
what is known as a “box test.” The chef is given a box of groceries at 8 a.m., from
which he would serve lunch or dinner. He said this is a common way to test whether
a chef can cook or not.

Mr. Hix asked if the management skills of the chef are something to be equally
concerned about. He said a chef could be great at putting a meal on the table, but not
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 17

so great at producing 500 meals. Mr. Vincent did not believe that would be a concern
for either of the chefs who spoke tonight.

With regard to his trip to Austin, Mr. Mitchell said he was very impressed with Fine
Host, noting that he watched closely the relationship among the food and beverage
manager, the general manager and the facility. Many times there is friction about who
is in charge. In Austin, Mr. Mitchell said there was no doubt about who was in charge
in the facility—the building representatives were, and there was no debate. He relayed
that this is a big concern he has because many times there are situations where there
is friction, noting clients can spot that immediately. Another thing he liked that he
heard tonight was that Fine Host mentioned Global Spectrum several times, and
ARAMARK did not. Mr. Mitchell believed that Fine Host had a better understanding of
this relationship, mentioning the seamless operation that is necessary.

Mr. Nachbar agreed with Mr. Vincent in that whichever company is selected will have
to be upgraded. He viewed ARAMARK as the more corporate of the two, noting their
presentation was significantly more polished. He stated that there would be things the
City would be demanding and whatever company is selected would have to be tolerant
of that and due to ARAMARK’s corporate nature, he wondered how well that would
work. He said Overland Park will be more “hands on” than what either company is
probably used to. He said that Fine Host has been “wooing” the City and sending
signals that they want to be in Overland Park and asking what they have to do to be
responsive, unlike ARAMARK.

Mr. Sader asked if the clients would want to pay for the level of quality to which
Mr. Nachbar is referring, noting there would be a difference in cost. Mr. Vincent
believed the difference was in training. He mentioned that a salad he had from
ARMARK was dried out because it had been plated too far in advance. He said the
meal was not bad, but nothing above average.

In response to Mr. Saders’ comment about the level of quality, Mr. Nachbar said it is
critical that the opening impression of the food, service, and quality be absolutely
outstanding, especially in the early years. He believed it was necessary to spend
whatever is necessary to achieve that quality and make this work, noting that this is a
$150 million project. If excellent quality is not achieved in the beginning, he believed
a reputation would be established that will be difficult, if not impossible, to change.

Mr. Hix agreed entirely with Mr. Nachbar’s comments. He asked what organizational
structure existed to upgrade the quality level. Mr. Vincent suggested having a
Culinary Council comprised of the food and beverage provider, Mr. Mitchell, a City
staff member, and three culinary chefs to look at things, offer advice and develop some
signature items. He said they might meet four times a year. This would provide some
fresh, outside input on food quality, preparation and service.

Mr. Mitchell stressed that he did not know everything about the food and beverage
business; however, he knew people who did, noting that he would rely on them. He
said there would be a series of “soft” openings. This means feeding the construction
team who worked on the building, feeding the hospitality partners, the hotel com-
munity and the CVB in order to work out the “bugs,” and receive responses about the
quality of food.
Special Finance, Administration & Economic Development Committee Meeting
June 11, 2002
Page 18

With regard to the presentations, Mr. Loudon agreed that ARAMARK was more
polished, but could possibly be more rigid in their approach to things than Fine Host.
He liked Fine Host’s general manager candidate’s personality and presentation, noting
that his experience seemed impressive. He suggested that whoever is selected go to
the Marriott or Doubletree and have a meal, similar to what they prepared during their
interview process, so they can see the quality of their competition. Mr. Loudon also
believed that the quality of service should be on the same level as the quality of food,
adding that training servers is extremely important. One advantage he noted with
choosing ARAMARK is that they have many people already here in the community that
they could use. He said Fine Host may have similar resources through the community
college. Mr. Loudon said training of the servers is very important regardless of who is
chosen. He stated that both companies have excellent references.

Chairman Owens encouraged members of the Committee to discuss this with one
another before June 19th, when it will be discussed further and a recommendation
made.

Minutes transcribed by Nancee Ellis.



                                               _______________________________________
                                               Thomas C. “Tim” Owens, Chairman

								
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