Because long lines and wait times tend to erode concessions sales in sports venues, the race to find better and more efficient ways of getting concessions to customers at sports venues has led to a variety of strategies ranging from in-seat ordering to pre-order locker pickup and even biometric checkout.
Delaware North Sportservice, which piloted several of these initiatives, is experimenting with yet another approach, which debuted this summer for Major League Baseball games at Comerica Park in Detroit and which is now in place at Lambeau Field, home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. The approach involves Market kiosk outlets offering a variety of grab-and-go items fans can quickly take and pay for at three separate locations in the stadium.
As part of the experiment, each Market location offers a different checkout platform. One is a traditional register operated by a cashier, one is a self-checkout utilizing bar code scanning (or touch-screen item entry) similar to self-checkout in grocery stores and one is a 3-D video scanner that tabulates up to a dozen items simultaneously.
The product mix is oriented toward beverages, including beer, but also includes snack items like beef jerky, Cracker Jacks, popcorn, caramel corn, candy and other sweets. One location also has a hot food counter dispensing freshly prepared brat and cheesesteak sandwiches off a grill. All three locations are manned to assist customers and to verify ages and open containers for beer sales.
The system debuted at the start of the 2018 regular season and has already been in place for three Packers home games (a fourth was scheduled for Monday, Oct. 15).
“It’s going very well,” reports Tony Perfetti, general manager for Delaware North at Lambeau Field, adding that sales have been increasing and transaction times decreasing as fans learn how to use the Markets.
“There definitely is a learning curve,” he says, “but as people watch the people in front of them they learn what to do when it’s their turn. The more they watch the quicker are the transactions.”
Transaction time is a significant issue in a football venue because of the nature of the game schedule, Perfetti explains. “In football, you only have peak periods before the game and at halftime, so we’re always tweaking things like the signage, the entry and exit lanes and the POS queue lines to get people through as fast as possible.”
Beverages are currently the biggest sellers at the Markets except in the one location with the grill, where the hot food is also very popular. Hot items, including hot beverages, are expected to get even more demand as the season goes on and Lambeau Field’s famous “frozen tundra” reputation starts to become an icy reality.