While a University of Iowa business undergrad and ROTC cadet, Carson Goodale grew tired of waiting for service at sporting events—inspiring him to cook up a solution. After college, he served as a U.S. Army Reserve officer, gaining the discipline to start a company. In 2016, he launched FanFood, an online and mobile ordering platform that lets sports fans order concessions during live events.
His idea took off, and by 2019, FanFood was in 75 venues, from high schools to stadiums. Carson used Google Workspace products, including Gmail, Calendar, and Drive to keep his 30-person team in sync, and Google Analytics to keep tabs on his website’s performance. YouTube videos highlighted customers’ success stories, touting the ease of mobile ordering, and more venues jumped on board. By early 2020, FanFood had 10x revenue growth. Then, COVID-19 shut down public events.
“We saw businesses around us dwindling, especially restaurants,” says VP of Marketing Isabella Jiao. “We thought, ‘How can we help?’”
FanFood had begun expanding beyond sports venues into other markets. Adapting to the pandemic’s new reality, they accelerated plans to bring services to restaurants, drive-in theaters, shopping malls, and hotels.
“Searches on ‘contactless ordering’ are way up,” Isabella says. “We are doubling down on our SEO and Google Ads campaigns to reach customers searching with intent.”
FanFood is now in roughly 30 percent of all U.S. drive-in theaters, and in venues including an international mall and luxury hotel chain. When spectator sports return, FanFood will be there, including at the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field. They’re also building a food truck delivery service for residential and corporate buildings in Chicago. FanFood expects double-digit year-over-year growth to continue.
“Consumer mindset has shifted,” says Co-founder and CEO Carson Goodale. “Contactless mobile ordering is now the expectation and as a result, we’ve unlocked many more new opportunities.”