Looking back over the 16 years of Ovations Food Services existence, President and Founder Ken Young said there isn’t one single moment he is most proud of.
“It’s just looking at how our growth has been,” he said. “We had no accounts … and now we have 115 accounts. That, to me, is what I’m most proud of.”
Ovations, which has its corporate headquarters at 18228 U.S. Highway North in Lutz, is a food and beverage service provider for stadiums, arenas, state fairs, casinos, zoos and other venues across the United States and Canada.
The company’s tagline is “Everything’s Fresh.”
“When you walk into a stadium or arena, you get a lot of pre-wrapped product,” Young said. “When you get things from us, it isn’t pre-wrapped and in a (warming) drawer. … It’s something coming from out of an oven or grill. It looks better and tastes better.”
But the tagline also describes the company’s culture, too.
“We’re very entrepreneurial,” he said. “We will take risks and try some different things. And our clients know that.”
Ovations manages the food and beverage offerings at local venues, including Ruth Eckerd Hall and Capitol Theatre, The Lakeland Center and Lowry Park Zoo.
Young said there have been big changes in the industry since the company’s inception. There was a time, he said, when food offerings at ballgames were limited to beer, soda, popcorn and a few other items. Today, the sky’s the limit.
"Now we might have 150 items we serve,” Young said, noting that's just for the non-premium seating such as club suites. “In some places, we serve bananas foster. In some places we might have sushi. We do a lot of regional things, too.”
Ovations has set a few Guinness World Records, including one for the largest commercially available hamburger. The burger, which clocked in at 777 pounds, was cooked during the Alameda County Fair in 2011.
“It took a forklift to move it,” Young said of the patty, which included all of the trimmings.
The company boasts a nearly 100 percent renewal rate, Young said. Why? Young says it’s because the company does things a little bit differently.
“We have good relationships with our clients,” he said. “We’re able to rectify things quickly. We’ve been excellent on our renewal rate.”
For more information, visit http://ovationsfoodservices.com/ on the Web.