With over 35 million visitors to the National Mall in 2017, the nine National Mall Kiosks and Retail Outlets are the epicenters of food and hospitality for every visitor to “America’s Front Yard.” Each day, our team serves a variety of visitors from all over the world; many being first-time visitors to our Nation’s capital. The food options range from the classic American meal of a hot dog with French fries to more healthy GoBeFull options like turkey sandwiches and baked chips.
Paulette Lassiter and Addis Worku are both proud District managers of the kiosks and retail outlets on the mall and love to talk about their unique ability to make each interaction a memorable one – even if that means getting up at 5 am for a special event.
“Usually, the kiosks open at 9:30 am,” says Paulette, “however if there is a special event happening on the mall early in the morning, we are there.”
Examples of this impeccable hospitality include when the National Mall hosts special events such as the annual Marine Corps Marathon, the Cherry Blossom festival, and the July 4th celebration. Just this past summer, the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup, and the kiosks celebrated alongside fans.
“We opened up early to celebrate with those Caps fans that stayed on the mall throughout the night,” says Paulette. “They were surprised and thankful for that extra cup of coffee in the morning.”
Paulette is happy that customers were able to see the National Mall in a different light that day.
“The National Mall kiosks have the best views ever. From dawn to dusk, the views are beautifully unique,” says Addis. “I encourage everyone to see the difference between the two.”
While first-time customers visit our operations every day, the products sold within the kiosks and retail outlets change periodically to stay trendy.
“We add new retail products every year and always keep in mind certain special events that happen annually,” says Addis. “We also like to extend our patios and add pop-up tents for major events to create easier access to our food and retail options.”
All the kiosks have a similar menu available, but six out of the nine specializes in a certain food.
- American History Museum Kiosk: Artisan Pizza
- Natural History Museum Kiosk: Pulled Pork BBQ
- Arts and Industries Museum Kiosk: Chicken specialties (tenders, grill chicken, chicken club)
- Air and Space Museum Kiosk: Specialty burgers (hamburgers, cheeseburgers, black bean burgers)
- Lincoln Memorial North Kiosk: Gourmet cheese and healthy protein platters
- Lincoln Memorial South Kiosk: Specialty burgers (hamburgers, cheeseburgers, black bean burgers)
- Constitution Gardens Kiosk, Tidal Basin Kiosk, and Jefferson Memorial Kiosk: classic American-style foods (hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, ice cream)
In addition to their specialty foods, each kiosk has limited-time offers that change each month. Those food options are available on their website.
The all-time, fan-favorite food at the kiosks is the classic hot dog with French fries because it gives that “American feeling” people look for while at the mall. However, there are also options for those who are more health-conscious or have any food restrictions, such as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free.
“In 2012, Guest Services added FitPicks food options, and then in 2018, each kiosk enhanced their menu to include GoBeFull delicacies,” says Paulette. “It is wonderful to see we are adding more healthy food options in addition to our classic items.”
The National Park Service has praised these additions in the past.
The variety of food isn’t the only thing that separates the National Mall Kiosks from their competitors. It’s also the great hospitality mentality embodied in each worker.
“We truly live by the ‘pineapple’ on the National Mall,” says Paulette. “We make sure to train our teams to have the mindset of treating everyone as if they were visiting their homes. We greet everyone that comes to our window, use every resource to answer questions, and smile before they leave.”
Addis chimes in saying, “We usually don’t have repeat customers, but we do have repeated questions. We make sure to treat all of those questions like we did the first time we heard them. Our business thrives on word of mouth, and we want people to have positive, memorable experiences with us. We have had letters come back to us saying how their interaction with Guest Services’ Kiosks enhanced their visit to the Mall.”
Each kiosk unit prides themselves on their teamwork and outstanding work ethic. They provide delicious food, excellent customer service, and work together as one big Guest Services family.
Paulette sums up her 24 years working in the National Mall Kiosks by saying, “Every single day is a new day, and we come with new energy. It shows we love what we do.”
Thank you to all involved in the National Mall Kiosks and Retail Outlets for providing that ‘pineapple’ mentality as well as serving up incredible food and experiences.