Redeveloping the High Line Food Program
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Karen Karp introduces KK&P at Highline Charrette
17 January 2018

Karen Karp & Partners is provided consultation services for the Friends of the High Line to develop a refreshed concept, strategy, and business model for the park’s food program.

Karen Karp introduces the firm to High Line staff and other charrette participants.
Karen Karp introduces the firm to High Line staff and other charrette participants.

Established in 2011, the High Line food program has always strived to offer interesting, sustainable, high quality, and fairly priced food and beverage options. And as with most highly visited parks and cultural venues, their food program is a vital amenity in the guest experience. In considering the next phase of the program and to ensure it is truly representative of the Friends of the High Line’s standards and ideals, KK&P began its engagement by asking the following questions:

How can food offerings on the High Line grow beyond an amenity, with a unique, “values forward” concept and programmatic focus that is both mission-aligned and delicious? How can the High Line deliver greater social and economic impacts to the community? How can the High Line leverage this approach to further its national role as a leading civic organization?
Ben Kerrick of KK&P introduces the charrette activity
Ben Kerrick of KK&P introduces the charrette activity

To answer those questions, KK&P first conducted extensive interviews with park staff, neighborhood businesses, board members, and park vendors to assess the current program as well as identify opportunities for programmatic revitalization. KK&P then designed and facilitated an interactive charrette with internal stakeholders and industry experts to establish the desired characteristics of a new food program and outline a conceptual framework for what that program might look like, how it would be experienced, and what benefits it might deliver to the public and the park. This research resulted in a number of common themes that were later incorporated into our recommendations.

High Line Charrette Components
Interactive charrette components

As a result of that process, Friends of the High Line has engaged KK&P to select new vendors for the 2018 season through a comprehensive RFP process. KK&P identified, evaluated, and recruited food and coffee vendors for next season with a focus on prospective vendors who share in the High Line’s mission, vision, and value, and demonstrate enthusiasm for a more robust approach to food programming.

In this phase of work, KK&P also designed a larger overhaul of the food program for the 2019 season, which entailed a design process as well as an RFEI and RFP for all food and beverage vending locations. Concurrent to this work, KK&P is developed strategies with the High Line to address a number of operational and programming goals, including:

Development of corporate relationships related to mission-driven food and beverage programming.

Improved way-finding, signage, and digital outreach strategies so that visitors know what and where food options are to be found on the High Line.

Commitment to developing ample staff capacity to manage the food program.

Improved back-of-house facilities for vendors and High Line staff.

Environmental stewardship best-practice standards related to packaging, water, and waste.

Christophe Hille of KK&P leading interactive charrette
Christophe Hille of KK&P leading interactive charrette

“With its extensive experience in food systems and food programming, KK&P is uniquely suited for the work of redeveloping the High Line’s food program.” Christophe Hille, Senior Consultant at KK&P, says of the work so far. “Our experience facilitating a charrette with the High Line’s core staff and outside experts was so invigorating. It elicited a level of frank conversation and broad imagination that few non-food organizations commit to developing their food programs. We aim to generate that kind of excitement and creativity in every part of our work with the High Line over the coming years.”