Delaware North’s enormous windfall profits from Niagara Falls State Park accrue to Buffalo Billionaire Jeremy Jacobs’ fortune

Nearly two decades into their state contract to provide food service and other amenities in the Niagara Falls State Park, we have obtained hard numbers as to how much money the multinational fast food conglomerate Delaware North Companies reaps from their operations in the world famous tourist destination.

And to say that they are nothing short of astonishing would be an understatement.

A document obtained this week by the Niagara Falls Reporter under the Freedom of Information Law reveals that Delaware North Companies made more than $4.72 million from concessions operations they ran in the Niagara Falls State Park over the one year period from Aug. 1, 2016 to July 31, 2017.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (“State Parks”) yielded the stunning financial details of Delaware North’s sweetheart deal with the state to the Reporter, pursuant to our FOIL request.

For the month of July, 2017 alone, Delaware North realized $305,579.22 from Top of the Falls restaurant and catering-based activities there, and $919,434.68 from its free-standing snack booths, two gift and souvenir shops and Cave of the Winds food court in the park, for total revenues that month alone of over $1.2 million.

Delaware North makes nearly $5 million from their operations in Niagara Falls State Park every year, paying New York State a little over $500,000 annually for the privilege.

According to “Open Book New York,” a service of the Office of the State Comptroller, Delaware North entered into a $10.2 million agreement with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation commencing on July 1, 2002, to operate food, beverage and gift shop concessions in the Niagara Falls State Park, with a contract end date of Dec. 31, 2121.

Based on that contract, Delaware North tenders to New York State $523,076 a year for its monopoly rights to provide food service in Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the nation, which receives between eight and nine million visitors annually.

Therefore, Delaware North’s revenues from its operations in Niagara Falls State Park, for the past year, were nearly ten times over and above what it paid New York State over the same period.

Tourists prefer the convenience of Top of the Falls restaurant in Niagara Falls State Park to venturing into downtown Niagara Falls for their dining pleasure, benefiting Delaware North’s bottom line to the detriment of the local economy.

The lucrative arrangement Delaware North has with the Albany-based State Parks agency rivals that which previously existed for James Glynn’s Maid of the Mist in the Niagara Falls State Park before investigative reporting by Publisher Frank Parlato blew the lid off that scam back in 2008. Maid leased the Observation Tower in the park as the base of its operations, and amazingly, by the terms of that contract, the taxpayers were paying James Glynn rent instead of the other way around.

Delaware North is a global food service and hospitality company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. The company also operates in the lodging, sporting, airport, gaming and entertainment spaces, employing over 55,000 people worldwide. Its total annual revenue exceeds $3 billion annually.

Delaware North is one of the largest privately-held business concerns in the world. It is solely owned and operated by the Jeremy M. Jacobs, Sr., family of East Aurora, NY.

According to Forbes Magazine, Jeremy Jacobs’ net worth is $4.4 billion, ranking him as the 156th richest man in the country.

Jeremy M. Jacobs, Sr.


  1. Your article title mentions “profits” but all you provide are “revenue” numbers. Revenue and profit are two very different things.
    What are the actual “profits” numbers you are touting as a windfall.
    While I agree this company is most likely making money on this deal a responsible newspaper provides the facts to support their article title.
    Ambiguous article titles that mislead article content tend to hurt your credibility.

  2. James Hufnagel says:

    Would “Filthy Rich Prick rips off Niagara Falls” be less ambiguous for you?
    Delaware North is privately held, so unlike normal corporations that have shareholders, its balance sheet and income statements are unavailable for public scrutiny. Since expenses over and above what Delaware North pays the state aren’t available, we have no way of knowing exactly what the profits are. Even the partial concession on your part, “Pete J.” that the company “is most likely making money,” doesn’t mitigate your post, given that availability of this specific fact is severely limited, our credibility is intact and you’re nitpicking.

  3. You do realize that after paying the state a half million dollars they still have to actually provide the service, i.e pay workers, buy food, electricity, etc. Your “10x” figure is meaningless and somewhat misleading. While they surely make some profit, private concessions operators generally provide superior service at lower cost than the state itself would provide, as it’s their core business and they know what they’re doing, plus benefit from economies of scale. Referring to differentiating revenues from profits as ‘nitpicking’ simply shows you lack any business acumen and you’re a hack who wrote nothing but an empty hit piece.

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  6. James Hufnagel says:

    “KBH” – you have an amazing propensity for stating the obvious. Of course, there’s the minimum wage labor, and the “food,” as you call it, that comes out of revenue. Hmmm… Let’s see… maybe that accounts for another half million? And you know something, I’d rather be a hack, than a cowardly jackass that calls people names from the safety of anonymity. It’s a good bet you sling burgers for Jacobs, right, loser?

  7. Hufnagel, if the “ACTUAL “ENORMOUS windfall profits” numbers are not available then how do you know they are making “ENORMOUS windfall profits”?
    You wrote the article, now support your “ENORMOUS profits” statement with FACTS!

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