At the end of 2021, more event-goers than ever actively avoided lines on the venue concourse. Fan adoption of non-traditional ordering methods is skyrocketing, influencing strategy decisions as venues prepare for the spring and summer.
In fact, over 70% FanFood users recently surveyed told us that contactless offerings will be either “important” or “very important” for their overall enjoyment at future events. Furthermore, the National Restaurant Association found that 57% of Americans viewed an online menu in the last year, and nearly half of consumers ordered food for pickup or delivery in 2021.
It’s safe to say mobile ordering has emerged as a more convenient ordering option for fans. To address these shifts in fan behavior, teams need a solid fan adoption strategy behind their in-venue pickup or delivery service. Having worked directly with hundreds of organizations, we know firsthand that a high-impact marketing program for in-venue mobile ordering requires a calculated effort.
Fortunately, implementing an effective marketing launch strategy isn’t actually too major of a lift. While no two venues or team markets are identical, there are common practices that venue operators can follow to achieve the quickest utilization around their new in-venue mobile ordering service. Whether you offer pickup, delivery or both at your venue, these tips are universally applicable.
Get the word out ahead of time
As the season approaches, teams naturally capitalize on fan anticipation for opening day: social media countdowns, season preview content, and weekly email reminders. So, it’s essential for venue operators to strategically include mention of their mobile ordering service through these channels, to build awareness and share more information with their most loyal fans.
A cross-channel approach is effective to ensure your message sticks. Here are a few common tactics venues have deployed with success:
The Winston-Salem Dash recently announced their “Dash N’ Go” service with a dedicated website page.
- Social media: Posting across social channels is imperative to create visibility around your venue’s new mobile ordering pickup or delivery service. To reach your audience, we recommend posting about the service twice: when you’re one week away from launch, and one day before launch:
- Email: Email marketing enables you to personalize how you message and position your mobile ordering service to different segments of your fanbase. For example, these can be to season ticket holders, suite holders, single-game ticket holders, or group sale ticket holders. For season ticket holders, you may want to include a unique, one-time promo code that only they can use on their first order. For suite holders, it would be necessary to make them aware of the new in-suite ordering service before they arrive.
By driving awareness about your mobile ordering service pre-event, you maximize the opportunity to capture mobile orders on event day.
Leverage in-venue QR codes
At an event, there is a lot that pulls your fans’ attention. Making it simple to access your mobile ordering menu for food ordering is crucial to drive purchases, so what’s the best way?
As opposed to manually typing in a weblink, QR codes are rightfully gaining traction among forward-thinking venue marketing teams. With a clear call-to-action (like “order your concessions for pickup!”), QR codes can transform a static piece of signage into an interactive sales channel for game day concessions and merchandise.
Q: Where should I place my QR Codes?
There are many assets which can display QR codes – having the right mix of materials is what creates a strong marketing activation.
A popular and effective placement for QR codes is on seat back stickers. Teams like Memphis 901 FC and the Spotswood Blazers of Virginia leverage such placements to support a significant percentage of game day orders:
Another key placement for QR code signage is at or near where concession lines develop. When customers are actively faced with the potential problem (i.e., a long line), then is the best time to remind them about the alternate option. An a-frame or stanchion can invite the fan to start their pickup or delivery order by scanning a QR code, and they can happily return to their seat.
In addition to promoting the service by the concession stand, placements throughout your facility helps raise general awareness around your team’s mobile ordering offering. Video boards, PA announcements and even a game day program page can help you generate more orders.
We’ll close this section with one rule of thumb: you should not have more than one QR code on any single asset. Two or more QR codes can make it difficult for a fan’s phone to know which one it should register, thus creating confusion and friction for potential customers. If you do have more than one place to be sending fans, consider listing these links under a single QR code that serves as a directory; just check out the Kane County Cougars’ Game Day App:
Q: What page should my QR codes pull up?
Many FanFood partners have their QR codes direct to the main order page, where fans can browse all concession stands and see their menus with approximate ETAs. FanFood helps venues write strong descriptions about their stands, so guests can browse through with ease.
From stand to stand, if your venue’s multiple food outlets serve different things, then it’s only providing your fans the appropriate choices to have that QR code give them options.
This isn’t to say there isn’t a time and place for store-specific codes. As mentioned in the previous section, having store-specific artwork located outside a single concession stand can link directly to that store’s menu, if the call-to-action is clear.
Measure what’s most important
With the above tactics put together, they all should contribute to your goals for your organization’s mobile ordering service. Whether your rollout goal is tied to revenue, fan utilization or just ensuring the service is smooth, associating a north star metric with what success looks like helps keep your marketing and operations teams aligned.
For your specific goals, it’s likely that any combination of the following metric will be the most interest to you and your team:
- Which Stores get the most traffic, and at what point(s) during an event?
- What are the average ticket sizes? (AOV, or Average Order Value)
- What is the average order frequency, for a single customer?
As you operate through your first few events, it will become clearer what activities are specifically working, and which may require some tweaks. Measuring against a set of focused metrics allows you to better gauge the impact of changes as the season progresses.
Ultimately, strong adoption comes from an effective marketing strategy. Mobile ordering isn’t an unfamiliar concept to consumers, and once your fans realize they can skip the lines entirely, that’s when the service starts to gain traction: larger orders, more frequent purchases, and happier guests on event day.