How to Effectively Upsell Concessions at Sports Games and Live Events


September 5, 2021

In addition to being an integral part of the guest experience, concessions are also a major source of revenue at games, concerts, shows, movie screenings, and other types of live events. It’s absolutely crucial to maximize the sales of concessions, as the margins on food and drinks can be pretty high, especially given people’s willingness to pay a premium for a really good time.

However, it’s unlikely that you can jack up the price or cut costs at will due to various external factors. That’s why up-selling is a highly effective tactic when it comes to increasing concession sales and profit margins. In this blog, we’ll break down the best strategies for your foodservice teams to maximize revenue from your F&B operations.

Increase the no. of concession locations

The more opportunities for people to purchase, the more likely they will purchase — simple as that.

If you want people to buy more food and drinks, it’s extremely important that these F&B outlets are widely available wherever people are on premise. As much as possible, place those stands at convenient locations throughout your venue so people can easily find them when they need a snack or drink. Choose high-traffic areas where people can easily spot the stand, or areas where people tend to congregate to increase the chances of people purchasing on impulse.

The best way to make sure people are able to purchase whenever and wherever they want (even just on a whim), is to offer mobile ordering throughout your venue. Simply place a QR code and/or integrate the mobile ordering option into your existing app, so that people can submit an order within seconds. The reduced friction has proven to increase the average order size by 23% and double the number of repeat orders per event.

Kane County Cougars uses FanFood at Northwestern Medicine Field

The Kane County Cougars offering FanFood mobile ordering express pickup at one of their highly visible concession stand windows.

Use Combos; Use Combos; Use Combos.

It’s so important that we have to state it three times.

Combo packages that combine multiple single items have proven to drastically increase the average order size and per cap for venues of all types and sizes. Take a theater as an example: you can include popcorn and a drink in a collectible cup related to a popular blockbuster and feature it high on your menu. According to the Hollywood Reporter, these combos typically cost theaters about $1.50 apiece, but are sold for as much as $7.95.

The same rationale applies to any venue. Stadiums can tap on the popularity of players and teams, and concert venues can utilize the brand value of touring bands. Even generic concession combos can reel in sizable revenue: you can easily offer a “Family Pack” with multiple entrees, snacks and drinks, which encourage people to purchase the larger combo for the convenience of it, and end up purchasing more than they typically would.

FanFood offers venues the flexibility to design, edit and test different combo offerings easily in the Manager Portal. Customers can even design their own combos by selecting items from different categories and end up adding more items to cart than they normally would. That’s why the basket size and revenue per cap on a mobile ordering platform like FanFood are consistently higher than traditional walk-up orders.

fanfood combo customization partnership with mars wrigley

Skyline Drive-in Theater designed their own combos on their FanFood storefront by putting the concession stand classics in a single bundle.

Always ask if people want add-ons

And there’s an art to doing so. Instead of simply asking “Is that all for today?”, have you staff make recommendations such as:

“Our fans typically love having B to go with A. Since you have A in your order, would you like to try adding B as well?”

Or: “We just added A to our menu as it’s a seasonal special. Would you like to give it a try?”

Or: “For bigger families we typically recommend the Family Pack combo where you get to try a bit of everything that we offer on the menu. Would you want that instead?”

This kind of personalized recommendations can make your guests feel more special, and also make it harder to turn down. Not only will you get people to spend more, but also you can sneak in higher margin items with the upsell such as drinks and pre-packaged snacks.

fanfood app combo customization

Recommended add-ons on FanFood when users add an item to cart.

The good news is, these days technology platforms can automatically handle this part for you. When you use a mobile ordering platform like FanFood, once someone selects an item, the system will automatically suggest other fan favorites or popular pairs to incentivize bigger orders. Once you have accumulated enough data about people’s preferences and pairings through the platform, you can then optimize your menu offerings and design combos that are more likely to become crowd favorites, and therefore increase your sales.

Who would say no to special offers?

One of the best ways to increase your concession revenue is to get the traffic in via special offers. There are a thousand and one ways to do so: be it offering a discounted food item with the purchase of an admission ticket; or a BOGO offer; or a sponsored promo code; or a holiday-themed discount…the possibilities are endless.

The secret is, when you offer a special discount, people are triggered to purchase something even if they initially didn’t want to. Once they start making a purchase, you can count on many of them buying more than just the discounted item, thereby increasing your overall sales.

What makes a special offer successful is 1. How easily you can test which ones are more popular and lucrative and 2. How effectively you can get the word out to people. Luckily with a mobile ordering platform like FanFood, you can easily create digital promo codes and distribute them to people via push notifications, emails, texts, social media, and any other channel you can think of. You can see the usage of different promo codes and understand what types of promotions work the best for your customers, and iterate from there.

Promo Codes

Adding promo codes in FanFood is as simple as a few clicks.

With the help of technology, these tactics are easier to implement than ever. You can literally start trying some of these strategies today, or get in touch with our team to see how a platform like FanFood can help you reach higher revenue even quicker.

Ready to offer next-level ordering?

Get in touch with our team today!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
HomeBlogWeb OrderingCase StudiesCatering ToolsAbout UsManagement ToolsCustomer Login
FanFood, Inc
540 N Dearborn, #10571
Chicago, IL 60620