Over the last 5 years, one of the top questions that our new venue partners ask us on the Customer Success team at FanFood is “how much additional labor will I need to operate FanFood?”

This question doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer and really depends on a number of factors. That includes your operational budgets, facility size, number of employees, number of point of sales, how you plan to deploy and market mobile ordering, and many more.

Through 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, facilities are re-imagining the customer experience and what will be required of them as we get back to full live events. The reality is there will be a large number of people that will opt out of buying food and drinks unless they feel safe in doing so. So as a facility thinks through their technology from traditional point of sale, to kiosks, and mobile ordering how will the staffing challenge be met?

Based on my experience working hands-on with hundreds of venues of all types and sizes, there are top 3 factors that I help each partner think through when planning out their staffing in response to post COVID-19 challenges. I’d like to break these down for you as well, in case you’re having the same questions.

1. What’s the capacity and crowd size you’re expecting this year?

This will directly impact how many stands you’ll open this year. At 25% or 50% capacity, you might only want to open a portion of the most popular F&B outlets. As a result, you can either scale back your staffing, or repurpose the roles to better execute on a mobile strategy.

Some of FanFood partners are shifting staff from stands that won’t open, to fulfillment of delivery orders to prevent people from gathering around. However, the capacity at which you’re operating at is not as much of a determining factor as your operational model. Regardless of the capacity, if you strategize your staffing well enough, you can be exceptionally efficient with even a smaller team. I’ll elaborate on this in the following 2 points.

2. Are you processing cash or cashless payments this year?

Cash transactions not only come with an added layer of inefficiency and liability, but are also frowned upon for increasing the potential transmission of viruses. The way many of our customers have approached this in 2021 is to remove at least one POS system and turn the cashier into a “mobile POS” – meaning they are managing the mobile orders coming into that concession stand.

At first glance, it looks like you still need the same number of staff, since you need a dedicated person operating the Manager Portal for receiving and communicating order status with the customers. However, the reality is with the mobile ordering system, your foodservice team can drastically increase your order intake efficiency, and fulfill 75 to 100 pickup orders per event with less than 6 minute pickup time.

How impressive is that! You basically eliminated the order taking and transaction time previously needed for a walkup order, and allow many more orders to come in as people check out by themselves on their phone. As we continue to shift to a cashless environment, mobile will continue to grow from making up less than 3% of transactions pre-COVID to now 30%-100% of total F&B revenue post-COVID. On average our partners have been processing about 50% or more of all food and drink orders through the FanFood mobile platform.

3. Do you plan to deliver orders to the customers?

If you are planning to offer delivery services, it’s slightly more challenging to staff appropriately as there’s no blanket solution. It will depend on how far a runner needs to go to make a delivery, and how long it takes to prepare each delivery order. Again, that time would vary from venue to venue, and from stand to stand.

Our recommendation is to limit which sections of your venue or facility can offer delivery services, so that you are not overwhelmed by too many orders and not enough runners to deliver them. You should also strategically pick the sections where delivery orders are allowed, for example perhaps stands near VIP guest sections, or stands with a path of least resistance to the seats. 

In doing so, we’ve typically seen partners being able to have one runner matched to every 5 orders expected out of a single concession stand. This ratio should not be taken as a it is, but serves as a good guide as you think about how many runners you might need for the order volume you anticipate. Also, you don’t want your deliveries to take more than 25 minutes from the time the order is placed, to the time the customer receives the order. We’ve realized that 25 minutes is the threshold which if surpassed, would more likely result in customer complaints and the quality of the premium service you set out to achieve.

In conclusion, technology can help you staff smarter and economize in the long run. The software isn’t a silver bullet; you have to adjust your operational model accordingly to make the most out of the platform. With each partner that we bring on, our Customer Success team works hand-on with every venue to make sure they’re set up for success with our platform, including recommending best practices around how to set up a digital menu, which stands to roll out what services at, and how to staff each stand. 

If you’d like to talk about how FanFood could work at your facility, get in touch or see a demo by submitting the form here. We’d be more than happy to walk you through our system.