“Not Every Day is the Same”: How Concessions Are Prepared at the UPMC Events Center


Ethan Morrison

Photo Credit: Ethan Morrison

Michael Deemer, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP– The UPMC Events Center has been home to many events on the campus of Robert Morris University since it opened in November 2019. There is a lot of preparation before each event on campus, especially at the concession stands according to catering chef Kevin Pritts.

Pritts has been a chef at Robert Morris since 2004, working at the Charles L. Sewall Center before it was demolished and replaced by the arena that stands in its place today.

“There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, especially of what the managers do,” bartender and RMU student Ashley Staudt (‘23) explained. “Most people may not know this, but there is an entire kitchen and catering center. We have chefs behind the scenes cooking continuously and bringing food out to us [during events].”

Pritts and his team of chefs make their food ‘on the spot’ in their kitchen for special guests.

The arena and the university are both catered by Parkhurst Dining Services. According to their website, Parkhurst is “a leading contract food service provider in the Mid-Atlantic region fueling the success and innovation of our partners in colleges, universities and corporations with made-from-scratch food and genuine hospitality.”

The chefs prepare the food before the gates are open. Pritts said he comes in at around noon and works with his pastry chef getting things prepared and organized. He is also the only one who is on the phone placing orders.

“It depends on the day-to-day,” Pritts said. “I would normally come in at around noon, getting things prepped up and organized. This week is a big week. I just had an order for the cheerleading event coming up with chicken tenders and fries. A bunch of them. Also, I just found out that we were short a bunch of products so I had to call the company and redistribute them back here. So, each week is different. Each day is different. That’s why I like this job because not every day is the same.”

As for drinks, Staudt was initially hired as a bartender at the Events Center, so she explained what drinks are sold to people.

One of the most popular ingredients at the bar is the arena’s new vodka sponsor Real Nutz. Staudt explained that the new partnership would include the Allegheny County-distilled drink in special drinks. She also explained the most popular drinks on the menu.

“Vodka crans, Jack and coke, or rum and cokes are really easy and people seem to enjoy them the most,” she said. “The specialty drinks seem to have more in them just because they’re made with the vodka plus a couple of different mixers. Overall they’re typically pretty simple. We also have beer and other seltzers like that that just ‘pop the top’ and hand them over. We get a lot of people. Usually, the line never ends. So it’s just trying to get people through as quickly as possible.”

Staudt recommends students apply to work at the UPMC Events Center while they are enrolled at RMU.

“I’ve worked probably five or six part-time jobs in my life, and this is by far my favorite. Every month the schedule comes out, I get to pick what days I do and don’t wanna work, so it’s very flexible. A basketball shift is only about four or five hours on a weeknight, which I think is really manageable for students, especially if you want to be involved and see the game and behind the scenes anyway.”

To apply to work at the UPMC Events Center, you can visit their website at upmceventscenter.com.