Local caterers are preparing for a major dent in business this fall after LSU banned all on-campus tailgating for the 2020 football season.
Emerging from two rocky quarters impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, some caterers were holding out hope for strong tailgating revenues, which tend to dominate a catering company’s fourth quarter, and were stunned Wednesday morning by LSU’s announcement.
“I pretty much just cursed into the wind whenever I read that,” says Lisa Boudreaux-Lecoq, who owns The Gilded Artichoke. “We were all counting on tailgate season to bring us out of the red, but now it looks like the fourth quarter is going to be a wash.”
Lecoq, who doubles as president of the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s greater Baton Rouge chapter, says the LRA’s corporate office has been busy answering phone calls from members wanting to recoup federal dollars from coronavirus relief programs, which she encourages restaurateurs and caterers to review amid today’s bombshell.
Steep declines in sales and revenues are anticipated across the board. Catering Kegs owner Donald Olinde, who typically generates some $5,500 in gross sales of kegs to tailgaters each home game, plans to miss out on five times that amount during LSU’s 2020 season, which features five home games. He already lost an estimated $15,000 in gross sales on the canceled St. Patrick’s Day parade.
“There’s nothing we can really do,” Olinde says.
Read on for the rest of the story from the Sept. 9 edition of Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.