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  • Isabella Jiao
    Isabella JiaoWritter Sep 8, 2019 2 min read
    Isabella Jiao
    Isabella JiaoWritter
    Sep 8, 2019 2 min

    Student Entrepreneurs Founded Company To Support In-Seat Delivery

    How UNC — Chapel Hill students tapped on FanFood to give back to the community

    “I highly doubt anyone will go to the concession stand three times during a game. But one buddy ordered three times at one game on the FanFood app — because it’s just so easy.”

    Mary Laci Motley, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, initially started recruiting concession delivery runners for FanFood as part of her business class project. However, she soon realized there was a greater business opportunity awaiting her as the popularity of the FanFood app grew throughout the season at the University.

     

    Mary Laci Motley (right), Founder and CEO of EATS2SEATS, spoke to FanFood about her entrepreneurial journey with Ryan Totz. Watch their interview here.
    Mary Laci Motley (right), Founder and CEO of EATS2SEATS, spoke to FanFood about her entrepreneurial journey with Ryan Totz. Watch their interview here.

    “With FanFood, the average time is under 2 min. Fans will get their order before they’d even have a chance to walk down to concession stands,” Motley said. “Especially for people at the top of the stands at UNC basketball games, they can now just sit in their seats and wait for the food to arrive.”

     

    Very soon, Motley formed her own LLC, EATS2SEATS, which is a staffing agency for FanFood’s in-seat delivery services. However, the mission of the business goes way beyond providing a better fan experience for the fans by delivering food right to their seats.

     

    “Our business is also a way to raise money for local nonprofits, such as a local nonprofit called PeeWee Homes that build affordable housing,” Motley said. “We’re sponsoring an entire house built in the Orange County in the next couple of years.”

     

    EATS2SEATS recruits runners by tapping into the local YMCA, high school volunteers, fraternities and sororities and other student clubs on the UNC campus. The business operates on a revenue share model: for each concession stand Motley’s company staffs, they get 10%-15% of the revenue.

     

    FanFood runner delivering food to app users in their seats.
    FanFood runner delivering food to app users in their seats.

    “Runners are really enjoying it, and many of them are coming back,” Motley said. “Most runners are able to watch the game, and they get to keep the tips.”

     

    If a runner takes 20 orders, he/she could make $20-$40 in tips. And if they get as many as 60 orders, they can definitely take home a good amount of income. The specific tasks are assigned based on one’s skills and personality.

     

    “Some prefer to work the [concession] stands, others like to be runners,” Motley said. “It depends on the personality type — runners tend to be the outgoing ones.”

     

    EATS2SEATS is also responsible for training its recruited staff how to use the runner app and concessionnaires’ venue dashboard. Typically, the staff will arrive at least half an hour before the gates open. They will then download the app and familiarize themselves with the interface. Since more often than not half of the runners are returning runners (further proof how much they love the gig!), Motley would pair up the new runners with the returning ones to do a couple of mock runs.

     

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    For most venues, concession peak hours would be during halftime or right before the game. That easily leads to congested stands and long lines that deter fans from even trying to get food. Motley said that since implementing FanFood, UNC fans can order concessions whenever they want throughout the game, thus reducing the lines at halftime.

     

    “Concession stands become less congested because of this, and people passing by the stands are more likely to order since the lines are gone,” Motley said. “And that leads to an increase in revenue that many tend to neglect.”

     

    Along with FanFood, EATS2SEATS is also steadily growing.

     

    “[Our runners] are a form of in-your-face gameday advertising,” Motley said. “For one of the last games, we had 105 orders. We’ve definitely seen orders increase over the year.”

     

    Next year, EATS2SEATS has plans to expand to universities in other states including Vanderbuilt University, East Carolina University, and University South Carolina.

     

    Shorter Lines Zero Chaos