Pre-pandemic, one of the most talked about topics in the sports and live event industry was the transition to fully cashless venues. Without a doubt, the transition has been accelerated due to heightened awareness around public health and safety. It’s in the best interest of both venues and guests that people feel safe and comfortable to make purchases when social distancing is enforced.
However, it can’t be overstated that there are tremendous financial benefits, too.
In early 2019, Mercedes Benz Stadium, home to the Atlanta Falcons, was one of the first venues to rollout a fully cashless concept and the initial results they reported were positive:
- $350,000 expense savings by eliminating costs associated with cash liabilities like moving, counting and securing large amounts of cash within the stadium.
- 16% increase in food and beverage sales per capita.
- 50% faster speed of services than traditional cash transactions
This year, we’ve observed similar results at many of our FanFood partner venues that have embraced mobile ordering. In particular, the best performing venue partners are those that steer more towards cashless – sometimes transacting 100% of the orders through mobile ordering — versus those that still accept walk-up cash orders.
This is certainly exciting news for us. Ever since 2014, we’ve been perfecting a mobile-first approach to support venues in their transition to a fully cashless environment. In this article, I want to use the example of the Somerset Patriots to explore how they have been using mobile ordering for revenue maximization.
The Somerset Patriots
MiLB team the Somerset Patriots are a Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, and are based in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. They have been playing their home games at the TD Bank Ballpark since 1999.
For the 2021 season, the Patriots started using FanFood’s mobile ordering platform throughout the TD Bank Park: that includes the premium suites, club level (delivery to table) and general admissions concession stands. This is extremely important to note, since we’ve noticed that the more locations and opportunities guests have to place mobile orders throughout the venue, the more likely venues will see higher adoption rate and larger revenue lift.
Fans can order concessions on the FanFood platform within the Somerset Patriots app.
Here’s what’s interesting about the Patriots’ mobile ordering deployment:
- They’ve digitized all ordering processes at the premium suite level, by using both the online pre-ordering portal and in-suite QR code “scan & pay”.
- They’ve seen the average order value at the suite level increase by 98.57% within the first 2 homestands.
- In-suite additional orders via QR code “scan & pay” contribute to over 60% of total suites F&B revenue. By making it easier to place additional orders while in suite, the Patriots are capturing extra revenue that could have been left on the table.
- The average order value for meal pre-ordering is over $600, and the average order value for gameday in-suite mobile orders is over $56.
- On top of scanning a QR code to order, the Patriots also integrated FanFood within their team app, which was developed by From Now On. This way fans can also receive order push notifications within the app.
How to achieve similar success likes the Patriots:
1. Offer personalized packages for your guests.
Guests come to your venue for the experience, and also for the brand that you’ve built. The more personalization and branded experience you can incorporate into the event experience, the more likely guests will have a good time.
For your digital menu design specifically, have fun with the meal package names and images. Venues can fully showcase their brand and creativity by easily editing their menus on FanFood. The Patriots opted for using their logo, and naming their meal packages “Home Run Personalized Packages”.
It’s extremely easy to book meal packages on FanFood’s suite pre-ordering portal.
You can easily enable suite holders to customize each package by adding / removing items, and adding special instructions upon checkout. All these can be done with a few clicks of a button on the FanFood online pre-ordering portal.
2. Deploy mobile ordering at as many locations as you can, including the club level, the premium suites and general admissions concourse.
If you want to capture the most revenue lift from mobile ordering, we recommend rolling it out throughout the venue. The reasons for this are 1. mobile orders are larger than walk-up orders (meaning more revenue for you per order), 2. mobile ordering users tend to purchase multiple times during one game.
For example, at the Patriots, mobile pickup orders at the concession stands consistently exceed $30 in average order value, which is above what we typically see at ballpark concession stands. At the club level, guests can order on their phone for delivery to the table, and these orders are consistently over $50 in average order value.
Given how easy it is to order on the phone, it’s very common to see the same fan ordering twice or more during a single event. In fact, across the FanFood platform, repeat purchasers account for 41% of total orders.
This means the more chances you give your customers to place mobile orders, the more likely you can reap more additional F&B revenue.
3. People want premium and healthy food options.
At both the concession stand concourse and balcony table service, premium and healthy food options are both the highest grossing items and popular among fans (besides, of course, water).
For general admission concession stands, hot entree foods like Premio Sausage Sandwich, Sabrett Footlong Hot Dog, Brisas Beef Empanadas are the top revenue generators. In addition, beverages — especially alcoholic beverages, are great options for higher profit margins. The Patriots have seen great successes by offering a wide range of both wine and beers at the balcony level for table services.
To take it one step further, we recommend giving creative and branded names and product descriptions to your top-sellers — a marketing tactic that’s proven to have worked well at many of our partner venues. You can also check out our blog on how to design an effective and profitable concession stand menu.
4. Embed FanFood into your team and/or venue app.
FanFood mobile ordering can easily integrate into any website, mobile app or web portal to make your guest’s user experience seamless. The Somerset Patriots’ team app is developed by From Now On, who’s also a strategic partner of FanFood. From Now On and FanFood worked hand-in-hand to make sure there are different access points within the app that offer fans two-way communication. This includes a concessions mobile ordering module in the app, and push notifications to alert fans of their order progress.
If you’re interested in brainstorming ideas to maximize concessions revenue, mobile ordering strategies, please get in touch with our team below, or hit me up at email@example.com
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