Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Have you noticed the recent blossoming of news stories about stadiums nationwide jumping on the bandwagon called “technology for better fan experience”? From Atlanta Falcons' Mercedes-Benz Stadium going completely cashless, to Sacramento Kings’ predictive gaming app, to even Owasso High School in Oklahoma using none other than FanFood’s mobile concessions ordering app (as seen in this report by Tulsa World).
We understand that adopting a new concessions management system can seem overwhelming, especially when you have dozens of questions racing through your head:
Most importantly, will my game attendees use and love it?
We’ve been using the above questions that our venue partners often have as guiding principles for product design. With data analysis, surveys and in-person interviews, everyday we try to understand a little bit better what concessionaires and fans really need. And we’d like to share with you what we’ve found so far.
1. Who are the fans at your venue?
The graph below on the left shows the average demographics of attendees at sports events across FanFood venues, which consist mostly of high schools, colleges and minor league ballparks. There’s a pretty even split between male and female (and a small percentage of other gender identities), with the most people within the age bucket of 25-44. We typically see this demographic spread at venues heavily attended by families, such as high schools and minor league ballparks.
But what’s really interesting is when you compare this demographics with that of the most active FanFood app users — they coincide with each other perfectly. That means the crowd at your venue is very likely to already be the ideal group for using a mobile ordering app. There’s a slight percentage increase in the 35-44 age bucket, showing that this age group, together with those who are 25-34 years old, are the most active app users. Surprisingly (or not), those who are 45-54 years old are even slightly more into using mobile ordering apps than millennials! Guess we can’t under-estimate how accustomed people are to using mobile ordering apps.
That probably shouldn’t be a huge shocker after all, considering how mobile ordering is pretty much the norm in the restaurant space and nearly everyone is perfectly trained, it not already entirely comfortable, to get their food with the click of a few buttons on the phone. In fact, our venue partner, Jeff Harrington form Owasso High School, said that customers are so trained with picking up their orders just like at a Starbucks, that they “see the bag with their name at the express pickup window, they would just grab it and go.”
2. How do they feel about using a mobile ordering app?
Don’t let us tell you, let the fans speak for themselves.
Or if you want more proof with data, we previously conducted a survey with thousands of attendees at high school games. 76% of all respondents surveyed said they had given up purchasing concessions due to long lines at least once. As a result, the vast majority of them (74%) wants a mobile ordering app for them to be able order concessions whenever and wherever they want during a game.
Of all those attending high school sports events, 87.3% of those indicated that they intend to purchase concessions and merchandise. Just think about it — the convenience of mobile ordering will encourage these people to order more and how much revenue does that translate to the venue?
3. How much are they spending on concessions?
This could vary greatly from venue to venue, since there are many factors at play, including the weather, the menu and the demographics. But we have been able to summarize a few key trends that are applicable across different venues.
First of all, fans tend to place larger orders when they can order on their phones. Just think about it: would you be in the mood of ordering 7 items after being stuck in lines for 30 minutes and with 20 more people impatiently waiting behind you? Or would you rather simply tap a few buttons on the app and effortlessly add items to your bag and check out with one click? In fact, FanFood orders are in general at least 25% larger — or sometimes even 300% larger, as in Durham Bulls Athletic Park — than orders at concession stands.
Secondly, fans are ordering up to 5 times during one game when they have the convenience of doing it from their seats. In fact, every other fan places 2+ orders on the FanFood app and continues to use it throughout the season.
The above two points combined suggests a much higher revenue per capita when concession stands receive orders on FanFood.
In addition, if your venue offers in-seat delivery, that means your fans will likely have an even larger purchase bucket. We've found that in-seat delivery orders are on average 86% larger than an express pickup order. We'd definitely recommend venues offering in-seat delivery if you can.
4. What concessions do they like to buy?
Wondering what the top seller is across the country?
Salted pretzel with a side of cheese.
Here's a list of top 5 concessions items ranked by sales across all FanFood venues. Are you already selling these?
Another trick we've learnt that helps with sales: combos. When you pair up a main course with a drink and/or snacks, not only does this help you clear out the inventory of the smaller items, but it also adds more variety to your menu. Also, combos are just perceived as a better deal.
If you want some inspirations on what combos to include, here's a breakdown of items most commonly purchased together on the FanFood platform:
If you want more insights about concession sales, check out our blog here.