No matter how riveting a game is or legendary a concert might be, there’s one thing that can pull fans out of the experience: waiting in concession lines. You could be stuck waiting for a hot dog when Alex Rodriguez hits a home run or missing out on a Bruce Springsteen song for want of a beer.
Iowa City startup FanFood is hoping to keep audience members from missing their favorite moments with its new app.
How FanFood works
FanFood co-founder Carson Goodale is a lifelong sports fan, so he knows first hand the pain of missing out on a great play.
“At a sporting event, going to get concessions can take 20 or 30 minutes, so you’re missing a lot of what you paid to see,” Goodale said. “No one likes waiting in line, and we’re all used to get a hotel, taxi or food delivered using our phone. I think in four to five years every stadium will have concession delivery apps. We want FanFood to be the first one to do it right.”
FanFood users download the app, select the concessions they want from a participating venue, and choose if they want to pick up their order or have it delivered to their seat. They then get a notification when the food is being delivered or is ready to be picked up.
FanFood’s app launched in September. There are similar apps on the market, but many involve expensive infrastructure upgrades, space and additional costs for the stadiums involved. Goodale believes that FanFood will win out over competition by keeping costs low and utilizing existing wifi at venues.
The big leagues can wait (for now)
Very few athletes jump right into the majors. Similarly, FanFood is starting smaller. This fall its first client was Galesburg High School, with FanFood being used to deliver concessions at football games.
“Our intent is to create a working product that creates value for fans and stadiums,” Goodale said. “If we’re able to increase concessions sales by 10 to 20 percent, that’s value.”
FanFood staffed Galesburg games with its own employees to deliver food. Goodale wants to be able to show the benefits of FanFood without venues having to output much money. If he can prove FanFood is a success at smaller venues, Goodale said it will help to make the app scalable to college and professional events.
Swinging for the fences
Within the next few months, Goodale and his team will be using the info from its beta testing of FanFood to create a 2.0 version of the app. In addition to minor adjustments to the backend, Goodale hopes to use the feedback to make FanFood more user friendly.
After that, FanFood will start scaling out to more venues in Iowa, using data from Galesburg to prove that the app increases concession sales.
Farther down the road, Goodale hopes FanFood will be a major player among concessions apps.
“I’d love for us to be the Uber or Lyft of mobile concessions apps,” Goodale said. “Our intent is to scale quickly and prove that we bring value from concession delivery. In four to five years, I imagine there will be two or three major players in the market, and I’d love to position FanFood as one of them.”
Joe Lawler is a freelance reporter based in Des Moines.