Delaware North

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Delaware North Companies
Industry Hospitality management
Founded 1915
Founder Louis Jacobs
Headquarters Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Area served
Key people
  • Jeremy Jacobs (Chairman)
  • Jerry, Lou (Co-Chief Executive Officers), and Charlie Jacobs (Chief Executive Officer of Boston Holdings)
  • Gaming Management & Entertainment
  • Sportservices
  • Parks & Resorts
  • Travel Hospitality
Revenue Increase US$ 2.6 billion (2013)
Number of employees
55,000 (2013)

Delaware North is a global food service and hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo, New York[1] in the United States. The company also operates in the lodging, sporting, airport, gaming and entertainment industries. The company employs over 55,000 people worldwide and has over $2.6 billion in annual revenues.[2]

Company history[edit]

Delaware North is headquartered in the 250 Delaware Avenue building in Buffalo, New York

Delaware North began as Jacobs Brothers in 1915 and was founded by brothers Marvin, Charles and Louis Jacobs. The current operating name for the holding company was first used in 1980. Today, the company remains family-owned and operated by Jeremy Jacobs who also owns the Boston Bruins. The arena in which the Bruins play, the TD Garden, is owned by Delaware North. Jacobs is also a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Board.

In 1915, Jacobs Brothers, ultimately to become Delaware North, was founded in Buffalo, New York, to operate theater concessions. When the establishments closed down in the hot summer months, the three men turn their attention to ballparks, the first being Offermann Stadium, and the creation of the sports concession industry. Sportservice was created in 1926 following contracts with minor-league ballparks in Buffalo and Syracuse, New York. Today, Sportservice is Delaware North's largest operating company. In 1930, the company entered into its first major-league deal by signing an agreement with the Detroit Tigers to handle food service at Navin Field. The team is still a Sportservice client today. The Jacobs brothers expanded their business in 1939 by acquiring a racetrack, marking the beginning of Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment. In 1941, the company entered the airport arena with a contract to provide food service in Washington National Airport. Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services today operates in more than 30 major airports worldwide.

Upon the death of his father, founder Louis M. Jacobs in 1968, Jeremy M. Jacobs began leading the company, then called Emprise, at the age of 28. The years that followed were characterized by unprecedented growth and diversification. In 1972, after negative press over alleged connections to organized crime in Sports Illustrated and the Arizona Republic, the Emprise company is convicted of federal racketeering charges over the purchase of the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas with members of the Mob. Later Jacobs dissolves Emprise and starts a new company, Delaware North (named after the intersection of Delaware Avenue and North Street in Buffalo where the company was headquartered at the time), with a public emphasis on operating a clean, separate organization with no connection to Emprise.[3][4][5] Delaware North acquired the Boston Garden in 1975 while Jeremy Jacobs purchased the Boston Bruins, one of the original six franchises of the National Hockey League. In 1987, the company acquired Sky Chefs[citation needed], a move that bolstered its airport business. The company obtained the contract to provide visitor services in Yosemite National Park in 1993.[6] under the terms of the largest concessions contract in the U.S. National Park Service. The award sows the seeds of a new line of business: Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts.

In 1995, Delaware North won the contract to run the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. In the late 1990s, the company worked toward becoming the largest racino operator in North America by adding gaming to some of its racetrack properties. The company moved its World Headquarters from the Main Court Building to the Key Center South Tower in 1999. The company became the first U.S. hospitality company in the world to have its GreenPath environmental management system registered to the guidelines put forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14001) in 1991. In the early 2000s, the company became a hotel owner by purchasing Tenaya Lodge at the entrance to Yosemite and Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa in British Columbia, and by building a hotel at its gaming and racing destination resort in Wheeling, West Virginia. 2004 saw the company beginning GuestPath, its companywide continuous improvement process. The company entered the European market with a contract at Wembley Stadium, followed by one at Emirates Stadium in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, the company signed a 10-year contract at Pride Park Stadium, Derby.

In 2008/2009, Delaware North got a contract to operate a 4,500 slot machine racino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York. It lost the contract in 2009 when it could not make a $370 million upfront payment to the state of New York. The company was hired by Garrison Investments in 2009 to operate the RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach CA. This partnership ended in April 2011. In 2010, the company acquired Jumer's Casino & Hotel located in Rock Island, Illinois. Thereafter, the company entered the European travel hospitality market opening outlets at Gatwick, Heathrow, and Edinburgh Airports, and the Euston Railway Station. It also acquired the Australian Resorts at Lizard Island, Heron Island, and Wilson Island on the Great Barrier Reef and King's Canyon in the Red Centre of Australia.

In 2014, Delaware North issued a letter to the U.S. National Parks System, asserting various intellectual property rights, including such names as Ahwahnee, Curry VIllage, Wawona and other historic names it acquired when it purchased the Yosemite Park & Curry Company in 1993 with NPS approval. The letter estimated the value of those names at $51 million.[7]

On January 6, 2015 Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs relinquished the title of CEO and named Jerry Jacobs Jr. and Louis Jacobs Co-CEO's. He also named Charlie Jacobs CEO of Delaware North's Boston Holdings.[8]

In 2015, Delaware North moved its corporate offices to 250 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, returning the companies headquarters to the namesake avenue after nearly 25 years.

In 2016, Delaware North sued Yosemite National Park for forcing it to change the names of various sites throughout the Park.

Operating divisions[edit]

DNC Sportservice[edit]

Delaware North Companies Sportservice provides concessions, premium dining, catering and retail services to sporting and entertainment venues in the United States and Canada. Today the company operates at over 50 venues including the homes of such franchises as the Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Buffalo Bills, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears. Sportservice has been recognized for its culinary advances and PETA friendly menus.[9] Sportservice is the company responsible for the creation of Secret Stadium Sauce, a popular condiment mostly associated with Milwaukee.[dead link][10]

DNC Gaming & Entertainment[edit]

Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment is a gaming and racing operations company that focuses on racing venues that offer video gaming machines, poker rooms, table games, restaurants, retail shops and hotels. The company operates more than 10,000 video gaming machines in such places as New York, Arizona, Florida, Illinois and West Virginia. Venues include:

DNC International[edit]

Delaware North Companies International provides food service and hospitality to international sporting and entertainment venues including Wembley Stadium,[11] Emirates Stadium, Pride Park Stadium[12] and the Australian Open tennis tournament.[13]

DNC Parks & Resorts[edit]

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts was founded in 1992 following the company's winning bid for primary concessions at Yosemite National Park.[14] The company now operates at other venues including Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls State Park, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and Gideon Putnam Resort (among others).

DNC Travel Hospitality Services[edit]

Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services operates food, beverage and retail at airports and toll plazas throughout the United States. The company operates at venues such as Los Angeles International Airport, Nashville International Airport, Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and the Detroit Metro Airport. The company recently opened the first-ever Sports Illustrated retail store[15] at Detroit Metro Airport's new North Terminal.[16] In September 2008, Delaware North also recently unveiled uWink technology which helps make it easier for international travelers at Ft. Lauderdale Airport.[17]

TD Garden[edit]

Main article: TD Garden

Delaware North Companies Boston owns TD Garden, the home arena for the Boston Bruins hockey team and Boston Celtics basketball team. Jeremy Jacobs, Chairman of Delaware North, also owns the Bruins. TD Garden is the site of the annual Beanpot college hockey tournament, and hosts the annual Hockey East Championships. The arena has also hosted many major national sporting events including the 1999 and 2003 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball regional first and second rounds, the 2009 and 2012 Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight, the 1998 Frozen Four, the 2004 Frozen Four, the 2014 United States Figure Skating Championships, the 2006 Women's Final Four, and the 2015 Frozen Four. It hosted games 3, 4, and 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals and the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals for the Bruins, and games 1, 2, and 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals and games 3, 4, and 5 of the 2010 NBA Finals for the Celtics.

National Park Service litigation[edit]

In 2015, Delaware North sued the National Park Service in the United States Court of Claims for breach of contract. The suit was filed after the park service breached its obligation to require Aramark to purchase trademarks and other intangible property related to concessions in Yosemite National Park. Delaware North was required to purchase all relevant tangible and intangible property rights of the Curry Company, the previous vendor, under its contract with the park service when it took over concessions at Yosemite in 1993. Delaware North paid $61.5 million to the Curry Company, about $115 million in 2015 dollars. The same contract with the park service required that any successor to Delaware North would have to buy out its Yosemite-related assets at fair market prices. Indeed, when the government put the concession contract for Yosemite up for bid, the notices it published explicitly stated the winner would be required to purchase furniture, equipment, vehicles, and "other property." The National Park Service, by request of Delaware North, amended the bid notice to explicitly mention intellectual property.[18] In a court filing the Justice Department claimed the property in question Yosemite is worth only $3.5 million.[19]

Delaware North offered the National Park Service and the new concessionaire a free license to use all relevant trademarks until their legal dispute is resolved in order to avoid changing the names of service venues and impacting park visitors.[20]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Five Delaware North chefs competed in the 2008 Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. Delaware North's corporate chef and chief culinary ambassador Roland Henin coached the group. Each chef earned an award for their efforts. Executive sous chef Ambarish Lulay and executive chef Scott Green earned silver medals.[21]

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts won the Space Foundation's Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award[22] in 2008.


  1. ^ "FM's 2008 Top 50 Management Companies". Food Management Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-13. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Delaware North Companies Retrospective; January 2007-June2008" (PDF). Delaware North Companies. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  3. ^ "Companies in court over deal for Rosecroft: Whether they do business might depend on 1972 racketeering conviction". Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  4. ^ "Jeremy Jacobs Looks Like a Saint Compared To His Father". Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  5. ^ "Look What Louie Wrought". Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Picks Concessionaire for Yosemite Park". New York Times. December 18, 1992. Retrieved September 1, 2011. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 25, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Delaware North Companies Sportservice Garners Recognition in PETA List of Top Vegetarian Friendly Ballparks". Archived from the original on April 4, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  10. ^ "Baseball Food Honors Go to Delaware North / Sportservice". Scoreboard Gourmet. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  11. ^ "Delaware North Companies Wins Wembley Stadium Contract.". PR Newswire. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  12. ^ "Derby County | News | Club News | Club News | DELAWARE NORTH LINK WITH RAMS". Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  13. ^ "Delaware North Companies Cuts Costs and Boosts Performance With VMware Virtual Infrastructure Software" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  14. ^ "About Yosemite". Yosemite National Park. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 
  15. ^ "SI Prepares To Launch First Retail Store In Detroit Airport". SportsBusiness Daily. Retrieved 2008-11-13. [dead link]
  16. ^ "New North Terminal brings media shops". Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  17. ^ "Delaware North Companies installs uWink technology in Florida airport". Airport Business. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  18. ^ "Delaware North sues park service over Yosemite dispute: Breach of contract centers on value of assets". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  19. ^ Watson, Stephen (7 January 2016). "Delaware North ‘grossly exaggerated’ value of Yosemite assets, feds say". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 19 January 2016. 
  20. ^ "Yosemite Concessionaire has offered National Park Service free use of Yosemite trademark names during legal dispute". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  21. ^ "Ahwahnee chef gets a taste of victory". Fresno Bee. Archived from the original on January 4, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  22. ^ "Symposium Awards". National Space Symposium. Archived from the original on February 3, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 

External links[edit]