2021 is likely to be a big year for stadiums.

It’s likely the year for the industry to finally leave behind the gloom of the pandemic. It’s the year of hope — especially given the promising news of mass vaccination which, albeit a tremendous undertaking and a very slow process, shows people the light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s also the year still with lots of unanswered questions: When will things return to normal? How full can stadiums be next year? How prepared are fans to return to in-person events? How will the revenue be in lieu of all the challenges?

During 2020, we saw two major shifts in the sports industry: a stronger emphasis on diversifying revenue streams and a renewed definition of the game day experience. In this blog, we will address both shift with practical advice on how your facility can prepare for 2021 — particularly through the lens of concession operations.

1. Explore new ways to generate higher revenue through concessions.

As long as you’re offering concessions next year — even if only at limited number of stands — you should rethink your concessions strategy to identify new ways for revenue generation. After all, purchasing concessions is not only an essential part of a live game experience, but also a crucial touchpoint between you and your fans that you can capitalize on to generate revenue.

Menu re-design to achieve higher margins

If you still think concession food can just be as simple as popcorn and hotdogs, think again.

Let’s take high school concession stands as an example. Traditionally we expect to see pretty low average order value and small basket sizes at high school games, given the relatively low price of individual items. Below is a breakdown of the average order number, order value and cart breakdown of all FanFood high school partners across the country.

Expect These Changes to Stadium Concessions Operation in 2021


However, every school is different. We noticed that for schools that tend to closely monitor their product sales data to identify 1. top sellers and 2. items with the highest margins, and creatively get fans to purchase more of those.


Expect These Changes to Stadium Concessions Operation in 2021

FanFood Manager Portal where you can see all dive deep into your product sales data.

One trick is to offer combo menus and bundle together your top-sellers and items with the highest margins. FanFood conducted a test across several drive-in theater partners in 2020 and uncovered the power of combo offerings on a concessions menu. Simply by bundling the most popular main course together with drinks, snacks and candies, we were able to help our partners achieve 12.75% increase in average order value and 180.25% increase in high-margin product sales!

Combos tend to look as if they’re a better deal than adding up individual items, and when they’re featured as the first tab in the menu, it’s almost a deal too good to turn down for the customers. TheFanFood app also has the capability for people to customize their combos by choosing multiple items from each category, thus making their final checkout amount to be even higher.


Expect These Changes to Stadium Concessions Operation in 2021

You can also be creative with product images and naming conventions to make the items more attractive in the eyes of the customer. Here’s what the FanFood marketing team did for one of our drive-in theater partners during the Halloween season, which received tons of positive feedback from the theater-goers.Expect These Changes to Stadium Concessions Operation in 2021

Take advantage of advertising revenue

Whether or not you currently have advertisers at your stadium or concession stands, it’s the time to re-evaluate the advertising assets you’re offering your sponsors, and expand the types of businesses you’re working with.

We typically encourage our partners to work with two types of brands: the ones whose products are on your concessions menu, and the ones who are advertising inside the stadiums just to reach your fans. We’ve configured our platform to make sure there are spots in the app for you to offer your advertisers.

Our three most popular sponsorship assets are:

Expect These Changes to Stadium Concessions Operation in 2021

Expect These Changes to Stadium Concessions Operation in 2021

Expect These Changes to Stadium Concessions Operation in 2021

2. Re-define the game day experience by adjusting your concession operations.

You’ve heard this one before…

Contactless game day is all the rage right now — even before COVID-19. Talks about cashless stadiums and in-venue mobile ordering have been happening since years ago, but the pandemic has really made this trend a necessity. NFL stadiums are revamping concessions in anticipation of the return of fans, including rolling out contactless payment and mobile concessions ordering. Even during 2020, we’ve had hundreds of venues coming onboard the contactless bandwagon and introduced FanFood to their fans.

If the ultimate game day experience was characterized by convenience, now it’s characterized by convenience plus safety.

Good news is, in-venue mobile ordering kills two birds with one stone. Not only does it make concessions ordering as easy as a few taps on the screen, but also it eliminates the need for in-person transactions and cash handling.

The new game day experience is digital, contactless and efficient. This way fans can focus on what they’re in the stadium for — the game itself.

You can see a quick demonstration of how a digital concessions experience would look like on game day here:

We’re more than happy to help you take a look at your current operations and suggest ways for improvement. Please fill out the form on fanfood.app/demo to:

1. See a customized demo for your venue

2. Discuss whether you need a mobile ordering solution

3. Learn about different pricing plans

4. Ask any questions!