Grabbing an adult beverage has gotten a lot easier for adult fans at four NFL stadiums managed by Aramark Sports + Entertainment, where the company has have ditched their standalone packaged beer portables in exchange for Walk Thru Bru self-serve markets that offer a wider variety of choices and allow fans to pick out their beverages, verify their age, pay and get back to the game faster than ever before.
Starting this season, Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Cleveland Browns Stadium and Soldier Field in Chicago have begun to exclusively offer Aramark’s grab-and-go Walk Thru Bru express beer markets.
“We have been testing and refining the Walk Thru Bru concept for a few years now,” says Alicia Woznicki, Vice President of Design and Innovation, Aramark Sports + Entertainment. “Fan reactions have been extremely positive and the results in terms of speed of service and number of transactions per game have been stellar.”
Aramark Sports + Entertainment, and their NFL partners, felt so confident that Walk Thru Bru was the service option of the future that they entirely replaced the traditional packaged beer portables.
Guests enter the Walk Thru Bru market and verify their age using valid, government-issued identification. Inside, upright glass door or reach-in refrigeration units display beverages in a wider variety than fans typically find in beer portables.
Walk Thru Bru markets offer a variety of checkout options, including traditional point-of-sale with human attendants, self-checkout kiosks like those found in a convenience store, and touchless scanners that employ artificial intelligence (AI) technology, offering service speeds ten times faster than at a traditional stadium beer portable.
While it’s still early in the season, the 2023 kickoff game at Soldier Field saw a 39% increase in halftime food and beverage transactions, compared to the previous year’s home opener. In prior season testing at other locations, Walk Thru Bru markets increased transactions approximately 46% on average, according to the Aramark Sports + Entertainment team.
In Walk Thru Bru pilot testing, Aramark Sports + Entertainment analyzed various point-of-sale options. While AI checkout drove throughput by 40%, both standard POS with an attendant and self-checkout via kiosk boosted throughput approximately 15%.
In addition, since Walk Thru Bru markets are dedicated to beverages, they reduce beverage-only purchases at concession stands, creating space for guests to get their food—and get back to their seats—faster.
Aramark Sports + Entertainment first piloted Walk Thru Bru at a baseball stadium in 2019, and then continued to test and expand the concept.
“Because we were first to pilot it, we were first to scale it, figuring out the right mix of options for each location,” Woznicki explains. “With all of the testing and data, we have been able to continue to improve the experiences for guests and the results for clients.”
The team optimizes the POS technology usage based on beverage transaction volumes by cluster in the venues, and leverages learnings to ensure the right product assortment satisfies fans and maximizes speed of service. They also use product mix data to help onsite teams develop planograms so guest flow is optimized and guest decisions can be made quicker.
Currently, there are nearly 200 Walk Thru Bru markets at more than 25 NFL, MLB, and NCAA football stadiums across the U.S. and Canada, and Aramark Sports + Entertainment is planning to add more.
“Walk Thru Bru markets have been a game-changer,” Woznicki notes. “We believe the concept is poised to revolutionize the way beverages are served to fans.”