The restaurant and entertainment industries have faced market disruption for the last several years as consumer demand created a need to implement digital ordering. Digital ordering in entertainment venues has driven more convenience for the customer and efficiency for operators. These solutions include in-seat food delivery as guests order from their seats via mobile order-ahead apps, which are rapidly gaining notoriety for their contactless, safety-promoting effects.
Imagine this scenario. A person attends a concert at a packed hotel casino. While the hotel works to make sure all people maintain social distancing, there is also the issue of concessions. The hotel cannot have people congregating and spending extra time in such close areas. And that could even lead to additional problems with managing the venue, other guests, and the performers.
Instead of leaving it to chance, an online in-seat delivery ordering system is the best option. It allows customers to have their orders delivered to their seats and avoid the problem with having to stand in a queue. Additionally, people can skip the wait, never miss the show, and avoid a lot of people in the process. And that approach works across many venues, including, theaters, convention centers, and of course stadiums. Now think about delivery. It’s among the biggest foodservice trends of today. And like the carryout industry, in-seat contactless ordering is now an expectation. And venue and stadium foodservice managers and providers need to know why.
1. In-Seat Delivery Is the Natural Evolution of Digital Ordering at Entertainment Venues
Being able to virtually order concessions started to get famous at sports events in early 2010, but the concept was ahead of its time. Connectivity and fulfillment were tricky, and few people chose to order concessions by in-seat delivery options. But much has changed. The year of major disruptions, 2020, has shown how pliable people can be and hinted at even more flexibility when required by state or other government mandates.
A digital, cash-less in-seat food delivery system is great and helps meet guests’ needs. But it could be so much more. Cashless options accommodate guest payment methods, particularly with digital wallets, and according to BizJournals, “The model of using your phone to order concessions at a game, like you would a cup of coffee or an Uber, is now proven. Some do full delivery. Others have express lanes, kiosks, or a combination of those elements. The thing we’re focused on now is building up the ubiquity and frequency.” Think about it. If digital food ordering is readily available, why can’t food be delivered? It doesn’t make sense not to. Plus, it offers these great benefits:
- Faster service and lower overhead through integrated systems.
- Digital inventory tracking to avoid running out of a popular item.
- Predicting orders based on past trends.
- Integrated loyalty points to keep guests happier.
- Tailored marketing to increase average ticket sizes.
- Less stress for guests and workers.
- Capture complete orders and eliminate errors.
The list is endless. Now, let’s look back at our earlier example.
Instead of congregating around communal condiment stands and endless lines, people get to their seats faster. The risk of unknowingly sharing COVID declines, and everyone can enjoy the show. It’s that simple.
2. In-Seat Food Delivery Eases Fears Over Health Concerns and Safety
Ordering is one issue that’s on the mind of many people who visit these places. When going to these venues, they want entertainment and safety. That must extend to concessions and the ability to order items from their personal devices. They want to do it from their seats. It’s true that there has been a bit of a learning curve for everyone involved. Other stages of reopening come and go. But the move to in-seat food delivery is set for the future. For those that still don’t believe that, consider what Sports Business Daily had to say:
“The NAC polled 2,760 U.S. sports facility attendees in June and July. And the results offer a glimpse into their spending habits. The survey found that 77% of fans say they are disappointed when ballparks, stadiums. And arenas don’t offer in-seat ordering.”
These findings mirror reports from many venues across the country, which also echo what many customers have been saying all along. People do indeed want to get things back to normal. And in-seat ordering and food delivery let them do it safely and efficiently. That’s the crux of returning to the entertainment venues we crave and the foodservice venues we patronize.
3. Venues and Stadiums Can Save on Supply Costs by Preparing Exactly What Guests Want and Avoid Communal Stands
Mobile ordering and in-seat food delivery are becoming more common. They are really among all venues now too. It’s a big deal. And it is now up to individual venues to make the necessary adjustments. That includes ditching the condiment stands. That means avoiding unneeded contact. And those venues need to make those changes to accommodate the needs of their customers now. And in-seat food delivery solutions are the future. Yet there is still one problem. That problem is the default mode for ordering. Think about our primary example again.
A person arrives at the concert and is busy chatting with his friends. Without even realizing it, they begin to congregate in the entryway, spend extra time lounging at the concession stand, wait in line, accidentally break social distancing rules, and continue on their way. It’s almost as if a person is on autopilot.
But imagine how that scenario might change if the person’s phone were to alert them of contactless, in-seat ordering for the event upon arrival. That single alert could be integrated with the ticket platform used to purchase the event tickets too. And if done properly, it’s an instantaneous upselling opportunity. Meanwhile, the person orders their food, finds their seat via a map on the smartphone, and waits to have their foods and beverages delivered. It’s still symbolic of the autopilot mention, but it’s guided with the phone itself.
People want comfort and convenience at their entertainment venues. And yes, it’s easy to think that visiting the concession stand is convenient. But, what’s more convenient than a few simple taps on a mobile-app, selecting the items they want, and waiting patiently in their seats? It’s almost as if digital food ordering creates a new autopilot way to approach food ordering at venues and stadiums.
Of course, some may disagree with the whole approach to social distancing and contactless demands. But the fastest way to help people to embrace change is to make it their only option. And this is the approach some businesses have taken. As a Tacit client noted, “our customers already wanted delivery. Now, we are looking to expand into other digital options. We have kiosks. We have a mobile prepay. We have dedicated pickup areas. It’s all changing. And it’s going to save a ton of money despite the fact that COVID triggered a sudden wave of interest from our clients. In the long-run, it’s exactly what we needed.”
Closing Thoughts on In-Seat Food Delivery Solutions
Things are going to have to change for the long-term in the foodservice industry. Communal buffets and condiment areas will vanish. Shared serving spaces will disappear. That will happen as concerns over sanitation remain high among customers. And, the need for options other than long lines will be key for entertainment venues. Things may never be the same as they once were. And that is just fine because whatever happens, Tacit can help. Visit Tacit online to learn more.