The Smokies use FanFood’s online pre-ordering portal to simplify the meal booking process at the suite level, and as a result boosted pre-order sales and increased suite hostesses’ tips by 10% week over week.

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About the Tennessee Smokies

The luxury suites level at Smokies Stadium is the premier hospitality destination in eastern Tennessee for groups large or small. Home to the Tennessee Smokies (the Double-A affiliate to the Chicago Cubs), “America’s Friendliest Ballpark” includes 15 rental suites, a party patio, and an upper deck terrace, all overlooking their 6,400-seat facility.

The Challenge: Abandoning the Outdated Pre-Ordering Process

Booking meal packages in advance has always been central to Smokies’ premium suites experience. However, between spreadsheet forms and lengthy email correspondence with suite holders, the traditional process for pre-event F&B ordering was short of its fullest potential.

“The old way of pre-ordering had so many problems for us,” said Morgan Messick, Hospitality Manager at the Tennessee Smokies. “Customers would leave missing information in the Excel form, and we couldn’t enforce any deadlines on our pre-orders.”

To create an easier, more efficient experience for their suite holders in pre-ordering meal packages, the Smokies partnered with FanFood to offer their customers a hassle-free, self-service solution.

Morgan tennessee smokies headshot
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“FanFood’s online pre-ordering portal has made our teams’ lives so much easier already. The platform has been a lifesaver for us.”

Morgan Messick, Hospitality Manager

Smokies PreOrder Meal Package Screen on FanFood

Suite holders can access the online ordering portal via a URL link, with pre-selected date and suite number.

Tennessee Smokies Meal Package Pre-ordering on FanFood

They can add items to the cart, adjust quantities, and add special instructions if necessary.

Tennessee Smokies Pre-ordering Checkout on FanFood

Suite holders can directly pay online, and add a tip upon checkout.

Success in a Snapshot

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Higher pre-order revenue and volume.

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Get all pre-orders in before the deadline.

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10% increase in tip size week over week.

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More orders placed per guest.

Boosting Pre-Order Revenue and Frequency

For 2021, the Smokies have implemented FanFood online pre-ordering as the primary way for suite holders to book food and beverage packages. Through a single URL link in an email, suite holders can conveniently browse Smokies meal packages on a visually-driven interface, learn about the specific package offerings, and complete their pre-order purchases right from their browser via secure checkout.

FanFood premium suite online ordering

“FanFood has actually boosted our pre-orders, and it’s so much easier for our customers now. The portal makes it just like online shopping: you go through, pick the packages you want, and check out. We can put in the event dates and the suite number that one customer has access to, so it’s the only thing they see on their end.” Morgan said.

Of all the Tennessee Smokies’ suites pre-orders through FanFood to date, about 46% have been placed by suite holders who’ve booked for two games or more. One loyal Smokies suite holder has pre-ordered ahead of 5 home games within just three homestands, speaking to the user-friendliness of the tool for suite holders.

Growing the Tip Size

Now that suite holders can tip online upon pre-order checkout, suite hostesses have seen their average tip size increase week over week. The average tip value per check increased by 10% throughout the first 3 weeks, consistently exceeding 16% of the order value.

“FanFood has increased the tips for our suite hostesses,” Morgan said. “We originally didn’t have a space for it [in the pre-order], and half the time pre-orders are placed by people that won’t be in the suite. Now, FanFood’s tipping feature has been very beneficial for our suite hostesses.”

Achieving Peak Operational Efficiency

With FanFood pre-ordering, the Smokies’ front office has streamlined the entire workflow for receiving and preparing pre-booked F&B packages. All pre-orders populate in one convenient place within the FanFood Manager Portal, and the Smokies staff can provide order cutoffs for packages that require the most preparation.

“Having our pre-orders in ahead of time is a big deal in making sure we have the product we need. The pre-orders print off from our backend, and those get to our suite hostesses so they know what they’ll be serving on any given game night.” Morgan said.

What’s Next for the Smokies and FanFood?

Coming off over a year of standstill with the cancelation of the 2020 MiLB season, FanFood worked with the Smokies in light of their schedule to get everything prepared for the season.

“Everybody on the FanFood team was super patient with us, given how much we have on our plate,” Morgan said. “They helped us get our site up and running super duper quick once we needed it, and they’ve been excellent at answering any of our questions.”

The Smokies are hoping to use FanFood mobile ordering at all their concession stands at the ballpark, allowing fans to order from their seats and skip the line. A phased rollout isn’t uncommon among FanFood’s venue partners, as operators sometimes prefer to start using FanFood at certain areas before implementing it venue-wide.

Tennessee Smokies Concession Store on FanFoodThe Tennessee Smokies’ Concession Store on FanFood

“When we looked at FanFood, we saw huge potential for this to grow into all of our concession stands. We can use it upstairs, and also our six stands downstairs. I’m super excited to expand our partnership with FanFood soon,” Morgan said.

“Everybody who has a concession stand, even if you are vaguely interested, you need to get hold of FanFood.”

Jeff Harrington, Boster Club President, Owasso Highschool

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“I can't imagine any venue where there are people gathering, not to have FanFood.”

Jon Pickel, Owner + Operator of Tower Drive-In Theater

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“The fans thought this is the greatest thing in the world — that they don't have to get out of their seats and wait in the concession lines.”

Dave Levey, Director of Food & Beverage, Durham Bulls Athletic Park

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“If you don't want big lines or people congregating, mobile ordering is like gold.”

Eddie Mahoney, Manager of Rizzo’s B&I

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“Concession stands are our biggest fundraiser of the year...and FanFood has made it very easy for fans to spend money throughout the game.”

Booster Club Co-Chairs, Vandergrift High School

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“We have a lot of repeat customers...when a fan sees how easy it is to order food on the FanFood app, they will come back and repeat the process.”

Mary Laci Motley, FanFood Runner/Student Entrepreneur UNC Chapel Hill

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