A third of Optus Stadium’s workforce will be lured from rival venues for Friday night’s Preliminary Final, to avoid a repeat of last week’s disastrous fan experience.
Fans were left furious after enduring 40-minute waits for food and drink during Friday night’s semi final clash between Geelong and Greater Western Sydney at the $1.6 billion venue.
Stadium boss Mike McKenna conceded the match was “not our best night by a long way” amid a city-wide hospitality worker shortage that forced bars and food outlets to close.
Even Mr McKenna’s media manager was “pulling beers” to help make up the staffing shortfall.
People employed at competing venues, including RAC Arena, and even staff from local governments have been called in to make sure the required 2000 workers are on hand for Friday night’s match between Geelong and Melbourne.
“We’ve had to work pretty hard to ensure that we put on the level of performance and customer service that we would normally expect in an Optus Stadium game,” Mr McKenna said.
Free parking and meal incentives are on offer for people willing to take up shifts for both Friday night’s game and next Saturday’s twilight Grand Final.
As an additional sweetener, workers at the matches will also be entered into a draw which will see one lucky staff member flown to Melbourne and given tickets to next year’s grand final.
“It’s the first chance we’ve had and probably the last chance we’ll have for a Grand Final in Perth, everyone is keen to work,” Mr McKenna said.
“But you don’t actually get to have the same experiences as people sitting in the stands.”
RAC Arena general manager Michael Scott said his team was happy to join other organisations, such as Gage Roads and the City of Perth, helping out their cross-town rival.
“The AFL finals play such an iconic part in the event calendar and cultural landscape for the people of WA and RAC Arena is proud to do their small part in being able to assist,” he said.
“Members of our award winning catering team will be working alongside our industry colleagues to help deliver a high level of service to the stadium’s patrons.
“Large scale events are the bread and butter of our business and the team could not be more excited to put their years of experience to use for this historic WA moment.”