October 3, 2012

Hotel Students Vie to Design Pub for 49ers Stadium Designed by Cornell Alumnus

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Students in four project groups in a Hotel School class presented proposals Monday to a panel of judges who will determine whether some of the teams’ plans could be selected for use in the opening of a pub in the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. The pub, which is set to open in 2014, will incorporate aspects of the students’ designs.The stadium’s chief design officer, John Sergi ’89, helped co-teach the class and served as one of the judges. Other judges included Gideon Yu, president and co-owner of the 49ers; Greg Fender, senior vice president of sports for Centerplate, the company run by Sergi; and Scott Capstack, the architect for the new stadium.Rupert Spies, a senior lecturer in the School of Hotel Administration, said that all four teams focused on key areas for their designs, including environmental sustainability, hospitality and innovative ways to use technology.“With this technology savvy in mind, all 15 students focused their pub concepts around technology and innovation,” Spies said.For instance, team three’s design included automated liquor dispensers to prevent spillage from customers’ drinks. They also found ways to use technology to enhance credit card readers, automatic printers, high-definition television sets and iPad ordering menus.Questions immediately arose concerning the use of technology at the event, which was held in a Statler Hall classroom.“I want hospitality and customer service to be number one. I don’t want customers to feel like [they are] just being processed in a technological machine,” Yu said. “As a fan, I can agree with that. I want to get my food, be left alone and watch the game.”But Sergi noted that it is essential for the pub to offer something new and intriguing.“With so much interaction being removed these days in the name of innovation, technology and efficiency, perhaps people don’t want the same old service and hospitality anymore,” Sergi said.Each team had its own concept for the pub.“All of the teams focused on the three-step process: research, analysis and execution. They had to learn about the 49ers, talk about the team and come up with a shrine that displays imagery representing the fans and attendees from the Bay area,” Spies said. “Our job in this project was to understand what the [fans] want and our students will go well beyond that.”When all four of the presentations were finished, students expressed excitement and anticipation for the new stadium.

Original Author: Lindsay Wershaw