Self-service technology gives customers “the power to browse a menu at their own pace,” Appetize co-founder Kevin Anderson said. (ConRobPhoto)

Data from three venues shows increases over traditional concessions ordering

The self-service concessions kiosk is no longer an optional solution in sports venues, said Mike Plutino, founder and CEO of consultancy Food Service Matters. Appetize, a point-of-sale, inventory and analytics platform, agrees, releasing new data from three U.S. sites that shows self-service kiosks create a significant increase in average order size compared with traditional counter interactions.

Using data from AT&T Center in San Antonio; the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at LSU in Baton Rouge, La.; and Service Systems Associates at the Cincinnati Museum Center, Appetize said consumers were 47 percent more likely to add a menu item on a kiosk than when asked to do so by a cashier.

“When you combine embedded upsell functionality and a cashless experience, guests are naturally more inclined to order more items and increase spend,” said Kevin Anderson, Appetize co-founder. “Self-service technology shifts the focus of control to the customer giving guests the power to browse a menu at their own pace and customize their meals. On this alone, we’ve seen an average increase in order size of up to 40 percent compared to traditional point-of-sale.”

At AT&T Center, home of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, the addition of the self-service platform in 2018 and into 2019 offered an 18 percent increase in average order size and at the Cincinnati Museum there was a 40 percent adoption rate in less than six months with a 20 percent increase in average order size. LSU enjoyed 25 percent more items sold per check at kiosks compared with terminals at point-of-sale counters.

“Self-service kiosks definitely have the most momentum of any latest trend or innovation in stadium concessions,” Anderson said. “Right around 50 percent of our stadium concessions deployments today go out with some type of self-service technology and we anticipate that to continue to grow for the next several years.”

Plutino said kiosks have turned into an essential component of every venue’s overall point-of-sale strategy. He says the benefits include reducing labor and higher check averages. “In our industry, labor from an availability and cost standpoint is our single biggest challenge and anything that can be done to reduce front-line headcount that is not an additive to the fan experience is beneficial to the venue,” he said.

While Plutino said the return-on-investment tied specifically to kiosks is still in research, he does think “where we’ve seen them implement the investment, it seems to be well worth it.”

Food Service Matters was involved in a recent kiosk pilot program, and analysis showed that the per cap rose 24 percent. The volume of transactions was up 35 percent compared with a traditional point-of-sale, and fans bought more expensive items. “The increase in per cap can be directly attributed to the add-on and upselling process which a kiosk can do with 100 percent consistency,” Plutino said.

As the presence of kiosks continues to grow in the quick-service restaurant space, it benefits the sports and entertainment industry as fans become more comfortable with mobile and kiosk ordering, Plutino said. “It is something we expect will only continue.”

Anderson said Appetize has already seen a wide variety and combination of self-service options from its customers, some choosing to install kiosks at low-performing stands to save costs and others using them to augment high-performing stands where lines are long.

“It won’t be long,” he said, “until you see the majority of stadium points-of-sale as self-service kiosks.”