This is the beginning of my 9th year as a portable vendor at Wrigley. Orientations for the 2012 concessions and merchandise vendors are about half over.
For the first time, these orientation meetings were held in the United Club above Captn Morgans. Previously they were held in the building north of the ball park on Clark in a parking garage / warehouse. This set a much nicer tone to start the season. However, this venue change was more out of necessity than kindness. The Cubs are moving the front offices from the ballpark to that building, which was visible passing by the windows.
Where the vendors will gather before games is not determined, and it may impact the location of the bike check. There's speculation that the vendor assignments will be moved behind the Taco Bell.
Food and beverage prices probably won't be set for another month, but if the trend of the last 45 years holds, they'll remain cheaper than the Cell. No word on any new products, though they promoted that the Northside Twist pretzel was an answer to a Double Jeopardy question this off-season.
There's a thorough focus this year is on sanitation, which hasn't always been so. After Wrigley, the Cell, and Soldier Field all were "hit hard" in the last 12 months by city inspectors, compliance persons are going to visit much more frequent and require more attentive documentation. Additionally, stand workers that prepare food are getting two full days of food-prep training. This is really a new way of thinking.