As we come out of Isolation, the new world will provide challenges to our stadium food and beverage and entertainment experiences lets look at some emerging issues for venue operators.
With many individuals facing uncertain employment prospects, there will be a greater focus on value when consumers re-engage. Venues will need to be more considerate in their pricing strategy and seek to ensure they offer a range of food and beverage experiences in dining style and cuisine choice to ensure they maximise their share of spend.
Reduce the Cost
In short, consumers will be less likely to support high costs with increased spending. Operators must review labour inputs and supply agreements to reduce the cost base from day one of any reopening. This will allow for value-driven pricing strategies in addition to being a prudent business practice in the event of a slow return of attendance levels.
Renewed Focus on Selling Strategies
Upselling, loyalty programs and combination deals will need to be embraced to engage with value-driven consumers. Old fashioned menu engineering strategies will need to be dusted off, and operators will need to work hard to achieve pre-COVID spends per head. Technologies that enable pre-sales of food and beverage during the ticketing process, online payment systems and click and collect strategies will be critical enablers of more sophisticated selling strategies.
Some key reasons for outsourcing catering services may not be material any more. Pre COVID, catering companies, could offer sizable capital support and minimum guarantees on catering rights, this may no longer be possible. Also, most of the major catering companies now have little appetite for risk, which will reduce competition in the sector and ultimately impact on commercial arrangements with venues. Continued pressure on profit margins for Venue operators will result in all-encompassing reviews of outsourcing arrangements.
Stadiums often find it hard to evolve hospitality products after the initial build due to high capital costs. Venues will seriously consider embracing emerging technology as operators seek to reduce costs while maintaining a value-driven product. Technology solutions that reduce labour in outlets and payment stations will be found, in conjunction with other systems that allow operators to engage with consumers in multiple ways. Cashless environments will finally be a real possibility as consumer behaviour how catches up with technology.
Pick up Not Delivery
In efforts to improve service, the issue of in-seat delivery is often raised as future service. Several Stadiums in Australia and New Zealand have held trails with in-seat delivery with poor results. The COVID pandemic will further reduce the viability of in-seat delivery for the majority of stadium visitors. Pre-orders and pickup locations are viable and offer more controlled handling of food orders; this process has the potential to reduce waiting times and increase spends if done well.
If you need any further advice or assistance on navigating this challenging period, please get in touch.