Stadium Tech Report has a post up on its excellent site about how food concessions are being handled at the home stadium of baseball’s Texas Rangers, which is a little terrifyingly open to full capacity despite the ongoing pandemic.
From Stadium Tech Report:
While the new stadium did host limited crowds for last fall’s MLB playoffs and World Series, Monday’s 2021 home opener at the 40,300-seat venue — the only MLB stadium without any limited-attendance restrictions — made full use of the infrastructure deployed by Appetize and caterer Delaware North.
According to Appetize, there are 360 self-service ordering kiosks, 120 point-of-sale terminals, 130 kitchen display systems and 140 handheld devices included in the Globe Life Field concessions operations. Appetize, one of the leading providers of concessions and retail operations software, also is supporting mobile ordering at the stadium, with some options for in-seat delivery.
With venues everywhere looking to move concessions operations to contact-free and cash-free as much as possible to promote safety during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, self-ordering systems like kiosks and mobile-device programs are quickly moving to the forefront. At Globe Life Field, Appetize said it has also partnered with Apex Lockers to provide secure places where fans can pick up pre-ordered items, a strategy that helps reduce lines by decoupling time and place.
Appetize did a Contactless Technology Survey last fall and found that most ballpark-goers would be happiest if they could order hot dogs, pretzels, soda and beer at their seat, off a mobile app. The second most popular individual option was selecting items at a self-service kiosk at a concession stand at 18%. The third most popular individual choice was to pay the concession hawker selling beer and hot dogs with a mobile handheld terminal.
Respondents reported that avoiding waiting in concession lines was the biggest driver behind choosing mobile ordering, at 39%, followed by 30% who said convenience of ordering from their seat was most important. The third most important factor was “helping to avoid contact with stadium staff” at 17%.
Most sports and entertainment venues now have concessions running digital menu displays. You have to wonder if that will still be the case when these kinds of venues do technology refreshes, particularly if analytics show more throughput and sales via self-service ordering off phones and kiosk screens.
I could make the argument that the stadium still benefits heavily from digital menu boards, as a tool to get people making order decisions while waiting for a kiosk screen to come available, as opposed to starting from scratch and taking longer, which will directly impact sales volumes.
Print menus could do that, of course, but print can’t deal with out of stocks or underperforming items, or have the flexibility to change menus and promotional priority based on the crowd. What gets ordered will differ between an afternoon with The Wiggles and and evening with the Foo Fighters.