3 Solutions for Staffing Struggles at Concession Stands

In the world of food & beverage there’s always one pain point that can be agreed on across venues and facilities of all types and sizes: staffing.

Cashiers working at a typical concession stand. 

As we take a look at 2020 & beyond, we find that there are now more creative solutions to the consistent staffing problems seen by food & beverage directors, concessionaires, front office staff and facility managers. The best part is? These solutions circumvent the common-seen headaches around recruiting, background checking, training and heavy labor costs. And all those thanks to that magic word: technology.


Ok, please bear with us — these are not matrix-level technology that sounds menacing or aloof. Rather, it’s technology that we see already being implemented at venues of all levels, from schools all the way to professional stadiums.


Solution #1: Self-Serving Kiosks

We’ve seen them rolled out at fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, Panera, & Taco Bell. And while customers weren’t sure how they’d feel about them at first, they’ve now embraced them and, guess what, expect them. According to Forbes, “more than 65% of customers said they would visit a restaurant more often if self-service kiosks were offered.”


Not only do these kiosks improve the customer experience, but each kiosk eliminates the need for one cashier at your concession stand. This frees up staff to prep food and even offer in-seat delivery services, making it much easier to give your customers the convenience and speed they desire. And for the staff you do have, the technology will empower them to reach even higher potential, such as viewing consolidated sales data at the end of the day and make smarter operational decisions.


This is especially important at live events like concerts & sporting events. Fans want to stock up on concessions, but don’t want to miss out on the action. A shorter concession line will not only encourage fans to come back for more throughout that event, but research shows that it’ll also have them ordering 20-30% more from a screen than from a cashier.


The good news is — this year, FanFood is adding self-service kiosks to our product offerings! They will be fully integrated with our Stand Manager tablet and mobile ordering system, and is built for professional and smaller venues alike. If you represent a venue and are interested in our integrated ordering solutions, please request some time on our calendar and learn more🤗


Solution #2: Mobile Ordering .

If you’ve used a mobile ordering app from the convenience of your home (like UberEats or Postmates), then you know how they work. Most restaurants are now using them not only as a way to make additional revenue, but to do so without having to hire any additional staff members. The mobile-ordering platform FanFood allows live event venues of all types and sizes, to do the same.


When customers order from their phones, it keeps them out of your concession lines, again freeing up staff members who would typically have to work the cash register to prep food. The app also automatically notifies users when their food is ready for express pickup so that your staff won’t have to. There’s greater order accuracy too, which eliminates the need for the staff to repeat and verify a customers’ order details.


Solution #3: Going Cashless

Several stadiums went cashless in 2019 and that will only continue in 2020. Needless to say, cash handling is inefficient and time-consuming (Want to know how much cash-handling is costing you? Check out our cost of cash calculator here).


Okay, let’s not simply throw the buzzword “cashless” around — exactly how can a venue achieve that? Answer: a combination of the first two solutions above. And it’s easier to do than you may think. For example, FanFood’s Stand Manager tablet is an integrated command and control center for both the mobile ordering system and kiosk operating system. That means with just one tablet, a concession stand can receive, track and fulfill orders coming from both mobile ordering and kiosk ordering. If your venue chooses to go with either mobile ordering or kiosk ordering, it actually makes more sense to adopt both at the same time since that opens up more channels for orders to come in, while requiring only one backend to manage everything.


And that’s how venues are going cashless today: replacing POS systems and cashiers with much easier and more convenient ways of ordering — on the phones and at the kiosks. The best part? This full suite of solution works at both stadiums accommodating tens of thousands of people, as well as venues with only hundreds of people in attendance. Don’t believe us? We’d love to learn more about your venue and explain to you how the FanFood system works.


We are not saying that the solution to insufficient staffing is removing your staff altogether. Rather, venues should be freeing up staff from certain positions where technology can do a much better and more effective job, and focus on tasks that require human staff (such as fulfillment, customer service etc.) As we enter another decade, it’s important to realize how we can tap on technology’s potential to perform our tasks better, so that any concession operation can achieve a lower bottom line and higher profitability.