When it came time for Washington State Ferries to put its vending, galley-service and other retail-concession contracts out to bid, the organization put the customer experience at the center of its request for proposals. On Monday, March 28, WSF chose hospitality-and-retail company Centerplate following a competitive-proposal process involving eight firms that provide various services.
“Our customers see ferries as more than transit,” said WSF Community Services and Planning Director Kristina Arsenault. “Our system’s vessels and terminals are valued community gathering places, and the food, drink and spaces should reflect that. Centerplate’s proposal offers spaces and products that reflect the unique local character of our region to commuters and tourists alike.”
WSF chose Centerplate for its ability to expand service, offer a variety of local food brands and improve reliability across all 10 of WSF’s ferry routes. The company’s contract is for the system-wide galley service; system-wide vending; the Anacortes Ferry Terminal café; and the Seattle and Anacortes Ferry Terminal news, convenience and book stores. Centerplate’s proposal outlines the following features:
- Consistent hours of service across the system, with additional service in the San Juan Islands.
- Creative, fresh and healthful product offerings, including local brands such as Hempler’s beef and ham, Uli’s sausage, Beecher’s cheese, and Stimson Estate Cellars wine.
- Creative concepts for using existing spaces, such as opening additional coffee and beer kiosks on the Jumbo Mark II class ferries.
- Promotions and incentives, such as commuter-reward programs.
Centerplate brings more than 23 years of experience of providing concessions in a maritime environment for The Steamship Authority in Massachusetts. The company also operates concessions at Safeco Field; Tacoma Dome; and other public venues in Spokane, Yakima, Portland and Vancouver, BC.
WSF expects the transition from existing concessionaires to Centerplate for the selected services to be complete by mid-June. Proposal evaluation for food-and-beverage services at the Seattle Ferry Terminal will be completed soon.