SBJ/Dec. 6-12, 2010/This Week's Issue

Bypass adding an app


Bypass Lane customers pick up food-and-drink
orders from a line just for them.

The early returns on Bypass Lane, a new smartphone-based plan for ordering food and drink at sports events, have been encouraging, and officials using the system at three big league facilities are confident it will gain traction as more Americans buy those mobile devices.

The Phoenix Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes and Texas Rangers are among the six clients now under contract with Bypass. The Austin, Texas-based company produces a Web-based service that enables fans to order concessions through their mobile device and pick up the order at an express line set up at the food stand.

Today, at baseball’s winter meetings, Bypass is expected to introduce an Apple mobile application to provide more flexibility for teams, arenas and stadiums, said Brandon Lloyd, the company’s president.

Bypass signed its first client, Minor League Baseball’s Round Rock Express, in early July and added the MLB Rangers during the last month of the major league regular season. The University of Georgia’s Stegeman Coliseum and North Carolina State University, which plays college basketball at the Hurricanes’ home, RBC Center in Raleigh, are also Bypass clients.

At those five properties, Bypass data show per caps are 44 percent higher for Bypass users than for fans using credit cards for traditional concessions transactions, according to Lloyd.

To use Bypass, patrons must set up an account on the firm’s website containing a valid credit card number and a password to complete the ordering process. Bypass sends a text message alert when the order is ready. Bypass users pay a 99-cent fee per order.

The Coyotes installed individual Bypass lanes in mid-November at six locations at Arena. The Hurricanes followed soon afterward after talking to the Coyotes about their operation, said Chris Diamond, director of food and beverage for VAB Catering, Carolina’s in-house concessionaire.

Diamond and Jim Foss, the Coyotes’ senior vice president and general manager of Arena, both said that it was too early to gauge the success of Bypass but that they feel it is important to embrace the technology because of the increasing number of consumers using smartphones.

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