Tailgate Guys Look to Leave Their Mark on the Tradition
This football season, Tailgate Guys, a new private company on Auburn's campus, hopes to change the face of tailgating at Auburn.
The company takes care of all their customers' tailgating needs leaving them free to enjoy game day without the hassle of setup and cleanup.
Tailgate Guys will be operating on the new green facing the east side of Jordan-Hare Stadium and adjacent to the student center. It will provide tents, tables and chairs according to the package the customer chooses. Through Tiger Dining, they also can cater food for customers.
"It's a very broad menu. You can get anything from Chick-fil-A chicken fingers to cajun food for the Louisiana Tech game. You can have a high class meal, or you can have hot dogs," said Parker Duffy, president and co-founder of Tailgate Guys.
Customers can chose from the Varsity Package which caters five to 15 people with a 10 foot by 10 foot tent, five chairs and a six foot table, or the All Auburn Package which can accommodate 15 to 35 people with a 20 foot by 20 foot tent, three six-foot tables and 15 chairs.
"The full season rate is at a 40 percent discount. If you go to more than four games during a season, it's actually cost effective to buy the spot for the full season," Duffy said.
At the full season rate, the Varsity Package is roughly $220 per game, and the All Auburn Package is $535 per game.
July 27 was the first day Tailgate Guys was open for reservations and Duffy said the company is already successful.
"Today was our first day open for public sales and we are about 50 percent filled to capacity," Duffy said. "I thought that we would have more of a specific clientele, mainly out-of-towners, but it has been pretty even. We have gotten business from people in the area as well as people from out of town. The convenience factor and the prime location are selling. You just walk up, and it's there for you."
However, Auburn students are hesitant to see change take place within the tailgating tradition.
"Tailgating is such a great Auburn football tradition, and it shouldn't have a price," said Katie Watson, a senior in Biomedical Sciences. "Of course I want Auburn tailgating to be convenient for people, but I don't want the long standing tradition of going out early on Saturday morning to stake your claim on a spot to be replaced by just buying the best spot."
Duffy said that many students are worried that the company will expand to other tailgating hot spots of Auburn's campus like the Quad and the Library Lawn, but he assures fans that the company has no plans for expansion in those areas.
"We have room to expand on the green, but our focus this first year is getting through," Duffy said. "A lot of people seem to think that we are going to be in the amphitheater, on the library lawn and in the quad. Obviously, two years ago when I was a student I would have felt the same way if something like that was happening, but it's not what people think."
Becca Faulkner, a senior in Nursing is confident that the business will succeed and that students will be more accepting of the company once they see it in action.
"You can't sign onto Facebook without seeing a new group protesting the company, but people are always hesitant of change," Faulkner said. "People will lighten up. I think Tailgate Guys will become a great Auburn tradition for lots of families."
Duffy said the University of Alabama received similar criticism when a similar company launched, but is now well liked and successful.
"Our biggest challenge in getting this thing off the ground will be our game day operations," Duffy said. "We will have more than 2,000 people to work with and we want to make sure we are appropriately staffed to provide the service people are expecting. By the end of the season we are expecting to have a well oiled machine."