Enhance Your Concessions!

concessions.jpgTake a walk around your venue on gameday and look for areas of improvement. Consider your initial impressions of the concessions area... Are you pleased? 100% satisfied with the operations and consumer experience? Highly Doubtful. There are many unique ways that properties can enhance their venue's concessions, yet this sector is often largely ignored. Starbucks, one of the most powerful brands in the world, has thrived on enhancing the customer's experience. As a sports marketer, why not adopt some of the principles that has driven Starbucks' success? Get to know your customers, get to know their thoughts. But first, learn from the best.

Starbucks recently created www.mystarbucksidea.com, a virtual environment where consumers post ideas of improvements that they would like to see implemented in the chain's 15,000+ stores across the globe. Being mindful of bottom line ramifications, you may not have the resources available to survey your fans in attendance on their concessions experience. But why not consider suggestions that the Starbucks faithful have made to improve their highly regarded customer experience?  After all, the demographics and financial status of season ticket holders for professional franchises cannot differ too largely from that of a typical Starbucks consumer (I would love to see a cross-comparison).

I have enclosed a rundown of recent, popular suggestions made by consumers on the MyStarbucksIdea.com webpage. Next time you stroll past your venue's concessions area, consider the recommendations listed below and brainstorm potential applications that will add incremental value:

  • Develop a Punch Card/Rewards Card Loyalty Program (for season ticket holders who purchase the same concessions items throughout the season - drive their purchases through a simple rewards card)
  • Localize (display local art, play local music, offer local concessions items)
  • Go Green (recycle, use biodegradeable drink and food containers and napkins) 
  • Be Health-Conscious (Healthy/Whole Grains
  • Incorporate technology (Wi-Fi, offer free music downloads while consumers wait, play featured team music while fans are in line, feature televisions that broadcast select messaging and show the team's corporate partners, offer laptop connections)
  • Offer a Drink/Food Item of the Month (incorporate select QSR partners, etc.)
  • Provide cup sleeves for cold drinks
  • Offer express lines for certain item
  • Print unique team/arena facts on all concessions paper products
  • Offer comfortable seating and adequate table space for dining
  • Ensure that the condiments stands are clean and well stocked
  • Do not enable concessionaires to have tip jars next to cash registers (consumer backlash/annoyance?)
  • Offer specials for Armed Forces (Appreciation Card) and Seniors (Senior Discount) and Birthdays
  • Offer a discount on concessions for fans reloading their concessions card/loaded ticket
  • Ensure that bathrooms are clean and presentable - bathrooms near concessions should have shelves
  • Offer a Happy Hour for fans from 6-7pm (for a 7pm tipoff) to encourage fans to arrive to the venue earlier
  • Offer concessions coupons that you can send electronically to season ticket holders (and help build online database and enhance channels of communication)
  • Enable fans the opportunity to text their orders in five minutes prior to pickup
  • Adopt the Amazon model and provide suggestions to consumers on other concessions items they may like based on their purchase
  • Offer media (cd's, iTunes, downloads) and books for purchase to consumers waiting in line
  • Ensure that there is adequate stadium signage to help guide fans to concessions areas