Anyone who’s ever been to a sporting event at a stadium knows the best part is cheering on your team to a victory. The worst part – aside from your team blowing a lead and losing – is missing part of the action while waiting in a long line at the concession stand.
It's common, though. When a venue hosts thousands of patrons, long lines are inevitable. Fans want to grab food and drinks at the same time, such as before the event or during an intermission. Forty-two percent of fans said this concession line bottleneck was the most frustrating aspect of the stadium’s food and beverage experience. Frustrated fans may also abandon the line, studies say, which impacts potential revenue.
But some stores have found a way to turn around that fan experience. Delaware North, a foodservice and retail operator in busy venues such as TD Garden, UBS Arena and Climate Pledge Arena, uses Just Walk Out technology by Amazon to create a frictionless and convenient fan experience.
Winning fans with Just Walk Out technology
Delaware North stores are located in large sports and entertainment stadiums and arenas that serve thousands of fans. Its stores need to deliver fast and convenient experiences so fans can get their food and drinks and get back to the game or show, says Jamie Obletz, president, Delaware North Sportservice. “Getting food and drinks during events should be easy. It’s our mission to deliver a fast, effortless store experience so that fans don’t waste time standing in line.”
In 2021, Delaware North selected Just Walk Out technology by Amazon to alleviate the bottlenecks and create a convenient alternative – especially for fans looking for on-the-go items such as a snack or beverage. Just Walk Out technology uses a sophisticated blend of computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning to deliver a checkout-free store experience. "It allows fans to come in to our stores, get what they want, and go without the hassle of checking out,” Obletz explained.
With Just Walk Out technology, consumers can use their credit cards at the entry gates or use Amazon One, a palm-based identity solution that helps businesses simplify a range of consumer experiences, from payment to access. With Amazon One, consumers can pay for their concessions without cards or digital wallets. Fans new to Amazon One can sign-up in seconds. Once registered, consumers can use their palm to enter and pay in any location with Amazon One.
Once in the concession store, consumers can grab a drink and snack and leave without stopping to check out. The technology also recognizes group shopping scenarios to accommodate families and friends that want to purchase items together. One member can use their payment method at the entry gates on behalf of the group. Once the group grabs all they need, they leave the store with their items and the technology records the purchase for the entire group and produces an accurate receipt.
Removing checkout lines helps Delaware North get more fans in and out of the store. “Our stores powered by Just Walk Out technology allow fans to get what they want, when they want it, and get back to their seats without missing a thing,” said Obletz. “Fans are happy because they get their drinks and food items faster than ever and can spend more time watching the show or game. That makes the overall stadium experience better,” Obletz said.
Balancing fan experience with business performance
Delivering a convenient fan experience is essential, but so is increasing sales volume and gaining operational efficiencies. With Just Walk Out technology, Delaware North does both. Obletz said the key is finding strategic locations to implement the technology within the venue. "High-traffic locations with long lines are ideal places to introduce the technology. Just Walk Out technology enables our high-volume stores to serve even more fans, with increases of 20 to 30 percent. This uplift gives us a great return on our technology investments,” Obletz said.
Without the worry of checkout line constraints, Delaware North employees can focus on restocking shelves and helping fans get what they need.
Today, Delaware North operates ten Just Walk Out technology-enabled stores across the country with plans for continued expansion, Obletz said. “This technology helps us serve fans better and faster, which strengthens fan engagement and loyalty. We’re thrilled with the results and look forward to expanding our collaboration with Amazon in more stadium stores.”
Learn more about Just Walk Out technology by Amazon and Amazon One.