The impact of restaurant technology inside stadiums

With the NFL season in full swing, many stadiums are looking to leverage technology to future-proof their operations.

The sports industry is at a turning point.

HD streaming options, coupled with affordable food and the comfort of their own home, cause many consumers to abandon the stadium experience altogether, yet the cost of attending games has continued to rise.

Despite nearly bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of staffing, sports venues must now work harder to replicate the comfort of the home experience. To compete with this experience, stadiums across the country, including SoFi Stadium, Acrisure Stadium, Citi Field and Empower Field (among many others), are turning to technology and automation such as kiosks, at-seat dining and ordering with QR code, to enhance your on-site experience and simplify dealership orders.

With the NFL season in full swing, many stadiums are looking to leverage technology to future-proof their operations, and organizations like the Jacksonville Jaguars are already reaping the benefits.

The technology integrates multiple concepts into an order process. Simply put, automation makes ordering from multiple food vendors quick and easy. In a stadium, this enables food court ordering like never before. In just a few minutes, a customer can select an appetizer from one restaurant, an entree from a different restaurant, and a dessert from another, all in one transaction.

A stadium with a technologically advanced food court will see reduced waiting times, increased operational efficiency and therefore produce happier patrons.

Kitchen operations are just one of a number of new technologies that have been appearing in sports arenas across the country. Placing an order from your seat or from the box, for example, allows customers to have the experience of never missing a moment.

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At-seat ordering solutions make it easy for fans to order directly from their seat, and the software will then map the order identically to their seat location, including section, row and seat number. To start ordering, fans simply scan a QR code or tap the NFC on the back of the seat in front of them. From there, the menu appears and the customer can start placing their order. Customers will then confirm their location and the order will be delivered to them upon completion.

Fans watching the game from the skybox can also order food and retail merchandise in a similar manner. They can order at a kiosk inside the box or use a QR code/NFC key to order anything from t-shirts and hats to beer and pretzels, all delivered to the comfort of their seat.

This kind of personalized engagement with fans is exactly what sports organizations are looking for to compete with the home gaming experience. As Chad Johnson of the Jaguars, one of the teams that has recently implemented this technology, explains, “Technology has always been on the cutting edge for the Jaguars, so we really had to be innovative here at the TIAA Bank Field experience. Being in a smaller market, we really have to be able to interact differently with our fans.”

Technology integration will soon be what sets successful stadiums apart from their non-digitized competitors, and for good reason. Automation in sports stadiums brings several benefits, such as avoiding long and frustrating lines and keeping guests in their seats so they never miss an important play. This technology also reduces reliance on labor and streamlines operations.

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For fans and operators alike, stadium automation presents a clear win.

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