From Gator To Gatorade: Backstretch Café Working Overtime To Serve Indiana Grand

The Backstretch Café at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino has long been a staple for horsemen and horsewomen working in the barn area. Earlier this spring, new safety measures were put in place to follow Covid-19 state restrictions, which altered the business model of the restaurant, located at the entrance to the barn area.

Backstretch Café Food and Beverage Supervisor Melissa Ruddick jumped into action and came up with a plan to serve those who work in the barn area. All she needed was a Gator and some Gatorade to get started.

“We wanted to find a way to continue to serve all the people that work both in the barn area and in our track maintenance department because it’s difficult for them to leave and go off property to get food and drinks when they are working,” said Ruddick. “So, we began preparing portable options. We provide service six days a week and now make three rounds on race days to accommodate everyone.”

Ruddick, along with Kayla Dudley, start before morning training hours get underway. Their day begins at 5:30 a.m. and they travel by Gator from barn to barn, offering everything from breakfast sandwiches to cold drinks and hot coffee. Their breakfast service continues until approximately 10 a.m. before they head back to the Café and begin preparing lunch. Pre-packaged sandwiches are put together and the ladies follow the same process through the barns with a flat price of $5, which includes a food item and drink.

“We try to have a few different specials every day for breakfast and lunch,” added Ruddick. “We have even created bags for each order that already includes disposable utensils, condiments, and napkins so it’s easy for them to carry. We are cash only to make the process as quick as possible and to avoid as much contact as possible to follow restrictions.”

Ruddick and Dudley make one final swing through the barn area after racing begins at 2:20 p.m. and wrap up their day around 5 p.m., giving participants during the afternoon racing card the opportunity to grab something before or after a race. Once the delivery day is complete, they go through all safety procedures to ensure everything has been sanitized and is ready to go for the next day’s deliveries.

“Melissa and Kayla have a sincere care for our horsemen and employees and this service has been very well received, “ said Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing. “The pandemic has forced us into thinking differently about a lot of things which includes how we serve food while following strict protocols in the barn area. We’re lucky to have such a wonderful Food and Beverage Team.”

The post From Gator To Gatorade: Backstretch Café Working Overtime To Serve Indiana Grand appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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