SBJ/Feb. 7-13, 2011/In Depth

Bypass Lane streamlines food orders

Austin, Texas-based Bypass Lane is one of several entities looking toward wireless technology to solve an age-old fan problem: how to get food and beverage from the stadium concession stands quickly, efficiently and without missing any of the action.

Like many of its competitors, Bypass Lane is using smartphones as a solution, allowing customers to input their orders and make payments directly from their iPhone, Android or Palm devices while in their seats. Bypass Lane’s fulfillment system then works conceptually similar to an EZ-Pass lane in which users receive a notification within the company’s mobile application when orders are ready and then pick them up in a dedicated express line.

The Bypass Lane technology carries a surcharge, typically 99 cents, above and beyond normal concession menu prices. In some cases, such as at the University of Texas’ Erwin Center, that surcharge is subsidized by a corporate sponsorship.

Other Bypass Lane clients thus far include the Texas Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes and University of Georgia. The company is also pitching its technology to major stadium and arena concessionaires.

“Mobile ordering is happening, and teams and food vendors are all at different points now of figuring out what their strategies are,” said Brandon Lloyd, Bypass Lane president. “But mobile ordering is definitely here and here to stay. It’s not a question of if, but when and how.”

— Eric Fisher

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