Tables and green umbrellas out on a lawn with convention center building in the nearby background

Cisco Live Makes History and Breaks Their Own Four-Year-Old Record

Our in-house catering partner Centerplate regularly pulls off incredible feats with their food and beverage service. At Cisco Live 2019, the team reached a new level of achievement.

Cisco Live is an annual conference from tech giant Cisco, Inc. with approximately 28,000 attendees at this year's event. Cisco Live skyrocketed past Centerplate's previous food & beverage revenue record, the very same record that Cisco broke the last time they were here in 2015.

"This was the largest catering undertaking in the history of the San Diego Convention Center," said Centerplate General Manager Bobby Ramirez. "From a food & beverage perspective, this event generated more revenue than seven Comic-Cons."

Cisco Live required Centerplate to bring in many additional people from their labor pool, resulting in the highest catering staff numbers we have ever had at our building. On June 10, the day with the most catering activity, our staffing numbers reached over 1,000 employees. This includes:

  • 900+ servers
  • 90 kitchen staff
  • 60 stewards
  • 15 purchasing staff
"This was the largest catering undertaking in the history of the San Diego Convention Center," said Centerplate General Manager Bobby Ramirez.
Food & beverage staff ready to serve attendees boxed lunches

Nineteen managers from Centerplate properties around the country were brought in to assist with this event. Eleven semi-trucks were rented for additional on-site refrigeration. At peak times during the event, the kitchen had three separate shifts so that it could run nonstop for 24-hours.

"With 24 hours of kitchen activity and increased refrigeration space onsite, we were producing food nonstop," said Executive Chef Daryl O'Donnell. "I'd like to thank our kitchen staff, who really pushed themselves and performed admirably."

Our team collaborated with Cisco's to get creative and accommodate the size of these meals. Attendees were able to pick up food and eat at the outdoor terraces, Plaza Park outside of Hall H, the Fifth Avenue Landing Park along the waterfront and even a park by our neighbors at the Hilton Bayfront.

Guests enjoying meal in exhibit hall

There were additional meals that took place inside of the building, such as a reception in the exhibit hall on one evening. Attendees picked up food and drinks from stations and ate together throughout the exhibition area.

Here are some fun facts on the sheer amount of food Centerplate produced for Cisco Live:

Graphic showing stats for how much food was consumed at Cisco Live

To get a glimpse of what our kitchen looks like when making this tremendous amount of food, check out a time-lapse video recorded during the event:

Authored by Alec Church

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  • San Diego Convention Center
    111 W Harbor Drive
    San Diego, CA 92101
  • 619.525.5000