Large Venue & Theater Concessions

With larger venues and bigger crowds come more business opportunities, as well as unique challenges, for your concession stands. Whether your stands operate in a constrained space as in a theater or open areas like amusement parks, layout, efficiency and safety features are just some of the things you need to keep in mind when making decisions about concessions. Find resources here for choosing appropriate high-volume equipment and supplies, increasing customer satisfaction and sales, marketing your snacks effectively, and more.

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6 Tips for Shortening Your Stadium Concession Stand Lines

Make Stadium Concession Stand Lines Move Faster with These Tips

Long concession stand lines are headaches for fans and concessionaires alike. Longer wait times mean fans miss more of the game and vendors lose out on sales. So what can you do to make the experience quicker and more pleasant for everyone? Try these 6 tips to satisfy customers and shorten lines.

  1. Make sure you’re using the right concession equipment for the job. If machines that are too small are holding you back, it’s time to upgrade to a larger size that can handle the volume of orders you receive. Consider how many servings you sell per hour and what the capacity of your current equipment is. Decide if it makes more sense to have smaller equipment at each stand, or larger commercial equipment in a central location in your stadium. Find more information on choosing the right size popcorn machine, or get help with other concession equipment.
  2. Staff appropriately. While overstaffing your concession stands is not ideal, understaffing can cause serious problems. Not only do customers have to wait longer for their orders to be taken and their food to be prepared, but also employees who are stressed will provide mediocre service at best. For faster lines, happier staff, and satisfied customers, have plenty of people on hand to do the necessary work. Create a backup plan for unexpected absences so your stands aren’t shorthanded.
  3. Consider changing the way your lines work. Several stadiums have experimented with breaking their concessions lines out into separate food and drink queues. This way, fans who just want a soft drink, beer, or quick snack don’t have to wait in line behind those who are ordering more time-consuming meals. When the Miami Heat first tried this strategy at AmericanAirlines Arena, they noted a 50% reduction in wait times. They also designated a “captain” for each concession stand, who directs customers to the appropriate line based on their needs.
  4. Invest in self-serve kiosks. You should certainly always keep some stands traditional for those who are not technologically inclined. But at stadiums that have installed self-serve stations, the results are impressive. In 2016, Dodger Stadium tried this by splitting a barbecue stand in half, with one side offering self-serve ordering on touch screens and the other remaining traditional walkup. The data revealed that “the self-serve section produced a higher volume of transactions per 15-minute increments. Compared with the walkup portion, the average check size was $5 higher for self-serve, driven largely by dinner baskets.”
  5. Increase the availability and visibility of your portable vendors. If people have access to the concessions they want at their seats, they don’t need to come to your stand and add to the line. Make sure that vendors are well stocked with beer and soda and that they are staying in clear view of thirsty fans. Encourage your best sellers to share their strategies with new employees.
  6. Use technology to your advantage. You might want to think about including a budget for apps in your purchasing decisions. Apps now exist for everything from finding the shortest concession stand lines to ordering food to be delivered right to fans’ seats so they don’t have to miss a second of the game. Mobile ordering apps shorten lines while also increasing sales. Fans ordering with MasterCard’s Qkr app spend more than at traditional stands.

These are just a few options you can try depending on your needs and budget. And always remember that customer service is your best offense against long lines. As long as your employees are working hard, doing their best, and being friendly with customers, you’re already ahead of the game.