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Volume 22 No. 38
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Levi’s Stadium numbers don’t lie

Centerplate beat its sales projections tied to the robust technology in place at Levi’s Stadium, generating more than 31,000 mobile transactions of orders of food, beverage and merchandise for all events from August through December.

It’s a solid number to build on for next season, given the new home of the San Francisco 49ers is the first North American sports venue to open with a stadiumwide platform that allows every fan in the seating bowl to order concessions through the Levi’s Stadium mobile application.

The Niners and their concessionaire conservatively projected 15,000 to 20,000 mobile orders for both in-seat

delivery and express pickup at the nearest concession stand, said Al Guido, the team’s chief operating officer.

“We exceeded by more than 10,000 orders by my perspective,” Guido said. “Most thought we were crazy to do in-seat delivery to every single seat in the building. I think our fan base has proven that people like the comfort of sitting in their seat and ordering … and not miss a play of action.”

The results provided a few more surprises. Before the season, officials thought the numbers would skew toward a greater number of express pickup orders, given officials pegged in-seat service as more of a beta test in 2014, Guido said.

In the end, the opposite was true. A total of 56 percent of total mobile transactions, or 17,360 orders, came from in-seat delivery. Forty-four percent, or about 13,650 orders, were targeted for express pickup at the nearest concession stand.

The influx of in-seat orders generated about $87,000 in additional revenue through a $5 fee charged per order. The 49ers would not disclose whether they share that revenue with Centerplate. There were no fees charged for express pickup.

“Going into year two, in-seat delivery is our main focus,” Guido said. “In year one, we let the user define it. Now, we’re actually going to push it because we got tremendous feedback from fans on it.”

In addition, the numbers showed a $2 increase in the average spend for mobile orders over fans placing orders at concession stands. In many cases, fans ordered in groups of three to four people, driving the mobile per cap, said Zach Hensley, Centerplate’s on-site general manager.

Guido said, “We weren’t sure we were going to see that [lift] but we feel like we proved that if we were willing to take the risk we would see the increase. Time is a factor. We talked to our fans a little about it. They felt they had more time to make a decision and were willing to wait a little longer.”

Another factor driving the per cap: Because California laws restrict vendors from “hawking” alcohol in the seating bowl, the only way fans could order beer and wine for in-seat delivery was to place an order through the mobile application, Guido said.

The application enables Centerplate to send color-coded warnings for shutting down alcohol sales after the third quarter. Inside the mobile app, at the five-minute mark, a yellow color appears next to alcohol orders. At the end of the third period, the color turns red, meaning alcohol is no longer sold.

The stadium app allows fans to place express pickup orders or to choose in-seat delivery.
Photo by: San Francisco 49ers
By using real-time data for inventory management, Centerplate cut in-seat delivery times from an average of 12 minutes to fewer than seven minutes by the end of the season, “which we did not dream of hitting,” when the stadium first opened in early August, Hensley said.

The vendor employed 500 runners to deliver food, drink and merchandise. The data compiled by Centerplate can track the speed of those delivering food from the fastest to the slowest individuals tied to their employee identification numbers.

Using Canopy, a food inventory management tool, Centerplate can make adjustments on the fly inside concession stands and through the stadium’s mobile app. For example, if one particular stand runs out of hot dogs, Centerplate management gets an alert to take the item off the digital menu board and wipe it clean from the list of items listed on a fan’s mobile device. The vendor can move items up and down the menu based on their popularity and track orders per location in real time, allowing Centerplate to shift staffing and maintain production levels.

“Everybody knows the peak times in football are pregame and halftime,” Hensley said. “But for the mobile service, we actually saw a good influx of orders in the first quarter leading into the second quarter, which is different for most facilities.”