Aramark’s Brew2You in-seat ordering program allows some fans at Quicken Loans Arena to get a beer or water by texting. (Courtesy Aramark)

Aramark starts new text-ordering pilot program

The arrival of Aramark’s in-seat text message ordering at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena will give the system the opportunity to serve up a cold one to a larger group of fans.

The technology, known as Brew2You, began as a pilot program in summer 2018 with Major League Baseball’s Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Aramark’s hometown of Philadelphia. That effort, which brought the program to 1,728 seats, won Aramark a VenuesNow Excellence in Concessions Award last fall.

The new pilot program with the Cleveland Cavaliers, announced Monday, is the first use of Brew2You in an NBA arena and will cover 7,250 seats in the lower bowl of the venue. It will run the remainder of the season. After that, the system may be headed to more venues.

“Following the pilot at The Q, we think we’ll be in a position to scale this service and roll it out more broadly across our portfolio,” said Aramark spokesperson David Freireich. “However, it is a little too soon to disclose which teams we’re talking with about introducing this technology and service.”

For fans of  the Cavs and Cleveland’s minor league hockey team, the American Hockey League’s Monsters, the service starts by opening the iPhone camera app — the technology is available only to Apple users — to scan a QR code located on the seatback in front of them, which activates Apple Business Chat in the Message app. From there, fans follow the prompts on the Messages text screen to place an order of beer or water and then complete the transaction with Apple Pay. Their selections are delivered to their seats.

“The intersection of technology, service and convenience continues to motivate us, and we’re pleased to be working with our partners at Aramark on this innovative approach to ordering,” Nic Barlage, Cavs and Quicken Loans Arena president of business operations, said in a statement. “Finding a way to provide an enhanced game experience with much easier and faster ordering capability for our fans adds another convenient feature at The Q.”

The larger test area in Cleveland brings new options for Aramark. Freireich said the wider swath of seats means Aramark will “pay close attention to logistics and the time it takes to deliver the order.” In Philadelphia, Aramark used runners to deliver the order from the vending room, but in Cleveland, staff will experiment with equipping in-seat vendors and hawkers with devices that allow them to directly receive and fulfill orders.

Concessionaires have experimented with in-seat ordering in the past but food vendors say the biggest barrier to mobile ordering centers on the downloading of additional apps. To create a more frictionless transaction, Aramark found that Apple Business Chat offered an entry into using chatbots and eliminating apps.

As the program expands, Aramark may experiment in other locations with food delivery, such as prepackaged snacks. Aramark also hopes to develop a platform that exposes the service to more ticket holders and doesn’t require the use of an Apple iPhone and Apple Pay account.