The customer journey of any premium seating experience is heavily curated. From how guests are greeted upon arrival at the event, to the amenities in the reserved areas they interact with, every touch point comes with distinct guest expectations: the speed of service, the quality, the availability, and more. For venues, earning high-value repeat business at the suite level or club level requires delivering on total guest satisfaction.
Central to any premium seating experience is food and beverage. Providing the optimal in-venue F&B service requires close attention to both front-of-house guest experience, and back-of-house operations. One example of this is how fans select their event day meal package, pre-event; what is the process for guests to indicate to us their desired meal package before the event? Another instance can be at the game; how can guests request more food or drinks be brought to their seating location, by our event day service staff?
Fortunately, there are proven technology-driven service models that allow venues to simplify their premium seating operations. On event day, if a suite guest wants to purchase a specific wine or cocktail, that transaction shouldn’t need to require first finding their suite attendant – instead, self-service ordering can speed up the process through a scannable in-suite QR code.
Implemented properly, F&B ordering technology can boost revenue from premium seats, reduce costs by simplifying operations, and further delight valuable guests. Any edge in providing an exceptional guest experience is one for hospitality teams to take, so let’s explore the most popular service models.
Pre-event meal selections with online ordering
Traditionally, experiences that require guests to make F&B selections before the event day (like suites and table seating) have been slowed down by manual processes: PDF menus, email forms, and phone calls. This can be cumbersome for guests, as its one of their first interaction points with a venue. Not only that, but getting all of the guests’ meal orders in by a defined deadline, on top of collecting billing, creates hassle and headaches for operations teams.
To simplify the entire process, teams have started to adopt purpose-built, self-service online ordering portals for pre-event meal package selections. The storefront experiences are team-branded and designed to significantly reduce friction that would be associated with the traditional F&B purchasing model:
The Tennessee Smokies offers suite holders the ability to purchase suite meal
packages from FanFood’s online portal
For instance, after a customer books their rental suite, they simply add their desired F&B packages to their cart and pay through the secure website. Online ordering portals create a single convenient user flow for both ordering and billing.
It’s not just theory, either — it’s a proven process. For 2021, the Tennessee Smokies baseball club adopted online pre-ordering for suite food and drink packages. Not only did the Smokies’ hospitality team significantly reduce headaches associated with handling pre-event F&B, but the platform’s ease of use contributed to measurable revenue growth and tip sizes. Another Minor League team, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, benefited from the technology because it removed the need for banquet event orders and constant follow-ups around invoicing. Now, all orders funnel into a single backend system, enabling kitchen staff to prepare each customer’s paid-for orders.
Event day ordering with “scan, order & pay”
Even pre-2020, optimizing labor for premium area F&B posed challenges for venues: how do teams ensure they don’t over staff a particular event, or are faced with a situation of being understaffed (as many teams were through 2021)? If guests require service to their terrace-level table or suite, it becomes much more challenging to even find a server.
With a mobile ordering model that services designated premium seating locations, hospitality teams can lower – and fix – their costs associated with staffing, Web-based mobile ordering also provides a quicker and easier ordering process for guests that positions teams for substantial revenue growth once executed.
Since 2019, the Lake Erie Crushers have powered table service across concourses boxes and terrace-level seating with FanFood’s mobile ordering platform. Guests simply scan a location-specific QR code, place their order, pay, and track its progress in real-time. The process is fast, efficient, and allows the Crushers to operate with less staff. On an average night, the Crusher only require 50% of the service staff that they would have needed with the traditional model.
“Scan, order & pay” presents teams with incredible flexibility. For hospitality teams, it’s easy to add or change the areas which can accept mobile orders on event day, ensuring the optimal scope of service areas for the venue. Suites, loge and club seats, home plate seats – the possibilities are plentiful, and a customizable platform can make mobile ordering a sound fit for your premium seat holder’s event day experience.
Special services and requests
Technology’s impact on the event experience can go well beyond the core function food and beverage ordering. For instance, requesting additional utensils or a suite attendant. This is the perfect example of how technology and the human touch go together in hospitality: guests can place requests instantly from their device, and they’re greeted by dedicated suite staff less than a moment later.
Also, consider the guest-staff communication enhancements that an online platform can provide; guests can request and customize merchandise while at the game and have it brought up to them. For corporate clients, talk about an exciting way for them to surprise their suite or club guests, if the items are brought up midway through the event. Deploying creativity and personalization throughout a premium areas’ touch points can truly set apart a venue. Technology is more than a communications channel: it’s an element of your premium suite experience that enables you to consistently exceed your guests’ expectations.
Welcoming ordering technology into your premium seating operations this season is a very positive step. As venue hospitality operators discover new ways to apply technologies to enhance their operations and guest experience, even more learnings will be uncovered. FanFood’s platform powers dozens of venues’ premium seating experiences for F&B, and we’d be happy to explore with you how technology can help your operation. To get in touch, feel free to fill out the form below!