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Major changes coming to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for Otakon 2019, new food and beverage provider incoming, Aramark will be replacing Centerplate, new furniture and tech coming to public common areas

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The Washington Business Journal is reporting that Aramark is replacing Centerplate as the convention center's food and beverage provider effective April 1, contract is for 10 years: https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2019/01/17/washington-convention-center-picks-new-concessions.html

Jan 17, 2019

We now know who will be providing concessions and catering services at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center for at least the next 10 years: Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp. 

The contract, approved Thursday by the Events D.C. board, covers 10 years with five additional one-year options, and is a revenue-sharing agreement that guarantees the convention center will receive at least $5 million in commission annually.

Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) bested fellow food service and restaurant company Levy Restaurants Inc. in the competition for the contract. The new contract marks a big change at the venue; since it opened in 2003, the food and beverage services at the convention center had been run by Centerplate/NBSE. Centerplate said in October it decided not to bid on a new contract. The new contract begins April 1. 

Aramark was already providing cleaning services at the convention center.

The deal includes a capital investment from Aramark into the the convention center’s food and beverage infrastructure, although the amount of that investment was not disclosed.

The contract is likely to result in new food venues concepts, including tie-ins with local purveyors and restaurants, at the convention center. Stay tuned for more info on that.

Also reported by the Washington Business Journal is there's an ongoing internal renovation occurring that includes new furniture: https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2019/01/23/washington-convention-center-goes-midcentury.html

Jan 23, 2019

The Washington Convention Center just got a midcentury modern makeover. 

Like so many of the hotel lobbies and hip D.C. restaurants around it, the city’s largest meeting venue recently purchased a host of spindly-legged chairs, rounded-edge sofas and other furniture with that signature mid-mod feel as part of a refresh of its common areas. 

It’s part of a multifaceted interior renovation the convention center is undertaking to modernize both the look of the furniture and tech of the venue’s common areas. In addition to the new seating, the center now features open meeting or connectivity booths with USB ports and power outlets, tables with outlets and ports, and cafe-style seating with high stools. 

There are also several tables right near the Mount Vernon Square entrance with iPads installed that will allow conventioneers to surf the web and, eventually, possibly order food from the device for pickup elsewhere in the convention center. 

The design was meant to create an “open but intimate” environment, according to a release from Events D.C., the city’s conventions and sports authority. McKissack & McKissack was the designer and Rand Construction Corp. handled the work. 

There are likely to be more changes to come for the center, which is expected to begin an exterior overhaul this spring.

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Don't get rid of the crepe station!

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Long as it's reasonably priced and they play ball with some of those Asian offerings in the downtown area or whatever that was called, I'm down with it.

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Eh. I have Aramark at my work. They aren't so bad to work with. I have high hopes on the back end!

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I'm hoping Aramark has significantly improved between the time Otakon had experiences with Aramark when Otakon was in Baltimore until now.

I do not have good memories with Aramark food, a while back when Otakon was in Baltimore and Aramark was the concessions and catering contractor for the Baltimore Convention Center, I purchased food from an Aramark food place in the Baltimore Convention Center, minutes later, I was running to restrooms, throwing up, thought "Never again, I will not eat any Aramark food." Then, one year, literally days before Otakon, a health inspection occurred of all Aramark food places in the BCC, I saw Aramark at the BCC listed as being closed by the health inspector due to improper food storage temps, improper food handling, employees not wearing hairnets/gloves, rodent infestation, insect infestation and an expired license. Ever since i saw that closure report until Centerplate took over, I never ate at the BCC.

I had no bad experiences eating Centerplate food, both at the BCC and at the D.C. Convention Center, so hopefully, food quality will be pretty good under Aramark.

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The two are competitors and both have similar history.  Frankly, most of the actual staff is unlikely to change, just the upper management and who pays them.

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