To venue operators and foodservice managers, providing a great guest experience is top of mind. Higher guest satisfaction often leads to loyalty, which in turn drives business results in the form of increased ticket sales, F&B purchase and merchandise sales.
Among the fan experience trends, one in particular stands out — in-seat delivery at venues and events. Not only does it afford greater convenience to fans and attendees, but also it incentivizes people to purchase more. On the FanFood platform, in-seat delivery orders are 30%-50% larger than express pickup orders, since it’s much easier to order more items in their seats with a few taps on the phone. This method of ordering is especially popular among larger families, as seen at Kane County Cougars’ Northwestern Medicine Field, where parents can place one large order for the entire group without having to get their kids out of the seats.
However, building an in-seat delivery system at your venue is often easier said than done. While the technology is already mature today (e.g. FanFood provides all the tools you need to carry out in-seat delivery, including a Runner App and a Manager Portal to coordinate between the kitchen and food runners), staffing remains a tough nut to crack. The pandemic in particular has exacerbated the situation, leaving many venues struggling to staff all existing positions.
Our team believes that there are always solutions around the problem. We have worked hands-on with hundreds of venue partners to help each one creatively utilize our platform and offer better services to their guests without needing additional staff. Below are some examples of how you can offer services similar to in-seat delivery, without having to drastically change your staffing.
1. Start at the suite level
When resources are constrained, strategic prioritization is key. If offering in-seat delivery venue wide proves to be difficult, consider prioritizing your highest value guests and offer on-demand, delivery-to-suite services with your existing suite servers.
Suite-level QR codes at Wrigley Field for the Chicago Cubs’ home games.
By putting suite-specific QR code inside each suite, guests can scan the QR code and request more food and drinks on their phone. The orders will directly reach the kitchen, and once ready, will be delivered by the servers to the suite. This way, you’re even saving labor by removing the step where guests have to place an order with the server in person.
Guests can enter their suite number to request food and drinks directly from their phone.
Many minor league ballparks have already tried this service during this year’s baseball season, and many of them gave the feedback that FanFood’s solution for suites is nothing short of a “life saver.”
For suite operations with multiple fulfillment centers to separately handle cold and hot food, FanFood’s platform has a built-in automatic routing process that only sends relevant items to each fulfillment center. The server, however, will be able to see where to pick up each component of the order, and bring the full order to the suite.
In addition to on-demand ordering, FanFood also allows suite holders to easily book meal packages online ahead of a game or event. This helps suite managers receive the meal orders before the deadline with all the necessary information (event date, suite number, guest number etc.) pre-filled. You can learn more about FanFood’s complete suite ordering platform here.
2. Set up remote drop-off locations
While delivering orders to individual seats may incur huge staffing costs, it’s way more manageable to bulk deliver orders to a remote drop-off location at each section of the venue. This way, fans don’t have to walk all the way up to a concession stand, and venues don’t have to assemble an army of staff to bring orders to individual seats.
For example, for sections farthest away from the concession concourse area, you can set up a pickup/drop-off window for attendees within that section to pick up their order. All you need is one or two runners to bring orders in bulk to that drop-off window on a regular basis. You can also try limiting such services to only the club level or VIP areas, before expanding it venue-wide.
Choosing remote drop-off locations on the phone.
Within the FanFood ordering platform, if you have “delivery” enabled, your fans can select the pick-up location closest to their seat and have their orders delivered there for pickup. This is a low-barrier way for many venues to dip their tones in offering delivery services with minimal upfront investment.
3. Set criteria for orders that qualify for delivery
You can also control the volume of in-seat delivery orders with certain criteria. This way, you can make sure that only people placing the highest value orders can enjoy in-seat delivery services, so that your staff won’t be overwhelmed.
For starters, you can offer in-seat delivery services only at select concession stands and only for a limited menu. Ideally you’d want to only put the most expensive entree items on the mobile ordering platform for in-seat delivery services. On top of that, you can set an order limit for delivery services, or even create combos with a minimum price of say $50. This way you can make sure that for each delivery order, you’re serving the most valuable customers and also maximizing the returns on your labor investment.
4. And of course, offer delivery to seat if you can!
If you’re one of the lucky few that have enough staffing and a well developed technological platform like FanFood, you can offer the ultimate convenient solution of in-seat delivery to individual seats.
For in-seat delivery, fans can enter their seat number easily.
Based on our experience, the most effective way to drive adoption of such services is putting a QR code at every seat for fans to scan and order on the phone. They can input their section, row and seat number for the runner to find them. Then all they need to do is sit back, relax and track their order status in real time on their phone. Fans can also add a tip to the runner after receiving their food as a token of appreciation.
As you can see, there are many ways to offer a more convenient fan experience beyond in-seat delivery, despite staffing difficulties. The good news is, FanFood team helps each venue partner figure out an operational model that best suits their realities, and help each venue customize the digital ordering experience that works best for their customers. If you’re interested in learning more about the FanFood platform, or even just explore the possibilities of offering convenient mobile ordering experiences at your venue, please fill out the form below so our team can reach out!