Atlanta Hawks, State Farm Arena get top marks in NBA for food, beverages

The exterior of State Farm Arena

The exterior of State Farm Arena

The Atlanta Hawks might not be having a stellar season, but they're certainly scoring slam dunks in one area.

In the NBA’s most recent 2018-19 Fan Loyalty Tracker, State Farm Arena and the Atlanta Hawks received the top score of all NBA teams in season ticket member satisfaction for food and beverage. The designation measures member satisfaction across a number of fan experience categories, and State Farm Arena topped all teams with a 60 percent satisfaction rate in the food and beverage space.

The score is a huge jump from last year, when Hawks’ season ticket member satisfaction was 22 percent. The 38 percent improvement is the largest in the league. The average score among NBA teams in food and beverage satisfaction is approximately 38 percent.

Prior to opening in October, State Farm Arena became the first NBA venue to offer “fan-friendly” pricing, offering 11 menu items for less than $5 for every event.

Brett Stefansson, executive vice president and general manager of State Farm Arena, attributed the score to improved food and beverage options produced by a team lead by vice president of hospitality Bobby DiCicco and executive chef Joe Schafer, as well as affordable prices and a variety of restaurants that opened in the arena during the past year.

Schafer, hired prior to the 2017-18 season, previously served as executive chef at Bacchanalia. He worked on the menu for State Farm Arena's Courtside Club before expanding to the entire arena.

As part of State Farm Arena (previously Philips Arena)'s $192.5 million makeover completed in October 2018, several local restaurants were also added to the culinary roster. 

Zac Brown's Social Club, Old Lady Gang from "Real Housewives of Atlanta" stars Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker, Gio's Little Italia, J.R. Crickets, B's Cracklin' BBQ and Rita's Italian Ice all opened in the arena last year.

“We are thrilled to complement the great entertainment at State Farm Arena with a fine dining experience,” Schafer said in a press release. “Our goal is to create an environment where everyone who enters the building can find something authentic, that appeals to both their tastes and wallets and we are happy to see we are moving in the right direction.”

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