Oakland Zoo Partners with Service Systems Associates For Quality Guest Retail and Culinary Experience

Oakland Zoo
February 1, 2017

Oakland Zoo has partnered with Denver-based Service Systems Associates (SSA), a national leader in culinary and retail management in cultural attractions. The company was selected to operate the culinary and retail operations at the soon to be 100-acre zoo; currently undergoing construction with the addition of an expansion, called the California Trail.SSA will introduce fresh local food offerings as well as new and exciting shopping concepts when the contract starts in February.

“We are excited about our partnership with the Oakland Zoo,” said Sean McNicholas, President and CEO of SSA. “We understand the importance of teamwork, conservation, commitment and professionalism.” He added, “Through this partnership, we will deliver the highest level of service for zoo guests while zoo staff focuses on their core competencies of operating the zoo.” Dr. Joel Parrott, President and CEO, Oakland Zoo, elaborated on the partnership. “We’re excited to have SSA manage our retail and culinary operations at Oakland Zoo. Our visitors deserve the highest standard of quality, and I have absolute confidence in SSA's ability to deliver that standard. Their commitment to customer service, exceptional cuisine and their expert operations model were key in our decision to partner with them.”

The partnership with the Oakland Zoo will be a welcome fit as SSA currently manages the culinary and retail operations at several California locations, including the Los Angeles Zoo, San Francisco Zoo, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo, the Autry Center and Sacramento Zoo.

The mission of Oakland Zoo is to inspire respect for and stewardship of the natural world, while providing a quality visitor experience.

McNicholas explained that the company’s experience in California will help the staff handcraft a unique and memorable guest experience. “We will be able to do what we do best, and create a one of a kind guest experience,” he added.

As part of agreement, SSA will be responsible for designing and remodeling the culinary and retail spaces. This challenge is a familiar one to SSA, who in its over forty-year history has been responsible for numerous retail and culinary build-outs within zoos, aquariums and museums.

Oakland Zoo has been serving the community since 1922 in locations all across Oakland, finally settling in Knowland Park in 1939. Some of the exhibits include the African Savannah, Tropical Rainforest, the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children’s Zoo and the upcoming California Trail. More than \$1 million has been raised by Oakland Zoo for conservation programs worldwide and more than 750,000 guests visit each year to see more than 660 native and exotic animal residents.

About Service Systems Associates

Headquartered in Denver, Service Systems Associates manages retail and culinary amenities at more than 50 museums, botanic gardens, zoos and aquariums in the United States. The company is a national leader in guest service operations for cultural attractions, serving over 26 million guests annually. www.kmssa.com

About Oakland Zoo

The Bay Area's award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid's activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and wildlife conservation onsite and worldwide; with 25¢ from each ticket donated to support conservation partners and programs around the world. The California Trail, a transformational project that more than doubles our size, opens in 2018, and will further our commitment to animal care, education, and conservation with a focus on this state's remarkable native wildlife. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks.