Hear From FanFood Partners: Rolling Out Contactless Ordering at Sports Events

2 of FanFood Partners Share Their Experience Since Re-Opening.

  Is it better to see something for yourself or hear it from others?   Probably the best if you could do both.   That’s why last Thursday we hosted a panelist livestream inviting two of our partners to talk about their experience using contactless ordering after sports returns, and what results they’ve seen.    Birmingham Legion FC, a professional soccer club competing in the USL Championship, and Powell High School, a public high school that’s part of the Knox County Schools, talk about how FanFood fits perfectly into their concessions ordering despite them having very different operational models.    They also answered many of the audience’s questions about their setup, marketing strategies and fan responses during the livestream — no question was out of bounds.    You can get the full recording and the presentation deck that they used during the livestream.  Hear From FanFood Partners: Rolling Out Contactless Ordering at Sports Events In this recap, we collect some of the highlights of the conversations.

“Being able to mitigate the lines is probably the biggest win from a health and safety standpoint.”

Although Birmingham Legion has markers on the floor reminding people to stay six feet apart at lines, people rarely follow those guidelines. As one of the first teams to open up since COVID-19, Jason Coleman, VP of Stadium Operations, said that their biggest concern was supporting social distancing around the chokepoints where people congregate.   FanFood allows fans to order from their seats instead of walking around or waiting in lines, which really helped Birmingham Legion to be the safe stadium that takes care of its fans.  

“From a business side, per cap on FanFood is way higher than walk-up orders. That’s just because people have more time to browse and add more things.”

  Similar to what Jason has seen from his experience in the restaurant space, mobile and online orders are on average always larger than traditional walk-up orders. That’s because people have more time — when they’re in their seats browsing the menus in-app — they’re less pressed to quickly place the order, but rather add more items to the bag as they think through what they want.


“I’m amazed at our delivery times.”

  Birmingham Legion FC set up pre-ordering in the app so that fans can order food and merchandise up to a week ahead of the game for scheduled pickup. For a low attendance scenario (since COVID-19 the attendance has been cut by 70%), they will run concessions out of one central location; whereas if the attendance is higher, they will have different concession stands serving various sections of the stadium   “I’m amazed at our delivery times. Even in our hi-fi scenario the delivery time is way faster than if people stand in lines,” said Jason Coleman, VP of Stadium of Operations at Birmingham Legion FC.  

“It means less inventory management, less labor for us…we can get food and beverage faster to the fans using FanFood than we can with line management.”

    Technology is meant to help people save time, labor, resources and effort. And FanFood is doing exactly that for Birmingham Legion.    “If I can get the time down to five to six minutes max to deliver the food and beverage to anywhere in the stadium — whether with low or high attendance — that’s just where we’re gonna go,” Jason said.  

“There’s no reason not to use it, even if they don’t have a smart phone. I have fans order it every game multiple times.”

    “Even if they don’t have a smart phone, which most everybody does, they can still go online and order,” said Gregg Mahaffey, Concessions Manager of Birmingham Legion.    FanFood comes with both a browser-based app (order.fanfoodapp.com) and a downloadable app, which means anyone with a type of mobile device that’s connected to the Internet can place an order.   “It’s so easy. I have fans place orders every single game. They would pre-order for pickup, then order again during the game for [in-seat] delivery,” Gregg said.   As he puts it — there’s no reason not to use the app.  

“It’s a great year to give this [FanFood] a shot.”

    Powell High School’s attendance has to be capped at 1,700 this year instead of their normal attendance, which was around 5,000 to 5,500. However, they see this as the perfect opportunity to roll out mobile ordering. That’s not just because contactless ordering is the expectation these days (in fact, the state requires concessions to be entirely cashless for high schools to re-open athletic games), but also it gives them a more controlled environment to get used to the new operating system.   Good news is, the Manager Portal for the concession staff is extremely easy to use, and menus can be updated in real time during the game.   “I’ve changed the menu multiple times on the fly [to reflect inventory changes]. It’s super easy.” said Cara Marshburn, Band Booster President of Powell High School.   👉Get full livestream recording the full presentation deck  👉Get started on FanFood (it’s free!) Click me