Last week, SPN had the chance to speak with Carson Goodale, founder, and CEO of FanFood. FanFood was originally formed in Iowa but the company has since moved to Chicago to pursue their business.

FanFood is a mobile ordering and concessions management platform designed to improve the fan experience while streamlining the concessions management and fulfillment process to increase revenue. The FanFood app gives fans the power to order concession food and beverages from their seats with express pickup or in-seat delivery options. In short, the company enhances the overall fan experience by taking the pressure off long concession lines. This enables fans to never miss a single moment of the game while increasing sales for food and beverages in the stadium.

The company’s revenue strategy consists of a couple of revenue streams. First, the company charges a licensing fee to a venue, which is either annual or monthly. Additionally, convenience fees are added on to the total amount of every order. Carson explained that this was done to avoid cutting into the revenue made by the business utilizing the FanFood services. This incentivizes business owners using FanFood to market the app because they can increase their sales without losing any money in the process.  In fact, FanFood revealed that a significant amount of the desire to download the app was based on attendees’ fear of missing out on something happening at the sporting event or concert.

Recently, FanFood also began working with large national organizations, such as Samsung.  The Samsung relationship evolved over months of communications to ensure that the two brands share vision and culture.

“Samsung expressed their interest in us about two months ago because they were looking for ways to leverage technology to innovate in the sports and live entertainment space and saw us.” Carson said. “They wanted to get their tablets into the hands of concessionaires and saw us as a great opportunity to accomplish this.” 

Carson had nothing but great things to say about Samsung.  

In his own words, Carson said, “the thing that I really liked about Samsung was that they came to us with a start-to-end solution. Every step along the way was thought about and presented to us. As a result, Samsung offered to fulfill the orders for our clients which would allow us to give new customers a fully-integrated fan experience kit that includes hardware, software, and onboarding as well as break/fix support. This made it very easy for us to say yes.”

Simply put, this partnership with Samsung is a method to feasibly enable operators or concessionaires to get started utilizing FanFood all while providing ongoing support from start to finish. 

Earlier this year, FanFood closed a funding round of  $2 million from UCLA Ventures, Phoenix Sports Capital, and HYPE Capital.  The company continues to expand rapidly and foresees the possibility of additional capital raises in the future.

FanFood was founded by Carson Goodale, Dustin Hemesath, Elijah Doetsch, Grant Goodale, and Will Anderson in 2016. The concept for the company came to Carson Goodale during an unsatisfying experience at a bar his sophomore year in college. 

“I was with some buddies at a local bar and I remember it taking such a long time to order drinks. So, I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if I could just order a beer by using my phone?’ And that is where the idea for FanFood was born.” Carson explained. 

FanFood offers its services to venues of all types and sizes, from high school stadiums to professional sporting venues; from concert halls to even drive-in theaters – wherever there are people gathering, there’s a place for FanFood. Currently, the company is also targeting high schools and colleges because large venues have lengthy approval processes. 

As an organization that attempts to tell the authentic entrepreneur’s story, SPN was extremely interested in learning more about Carson’s story and was curious if he had any prior background before starting FanFood.

“I had no prior background in running a business before FanFood. It has been a continuous learning and self-development process. I find that I didn’t always have the answers in the beginning which is why I moved out to Chicago. I met a lot of knowledgeable people and I got really involved in the military community,” he said. 

One element of being a first-time founder that Carson discussed with us was the reality that hindsight is 20/20.  There were a number of things that he would have done differently. For example, Carson told us: “I would have listened to customer feedback more and incorporated only what they wanted. Sometimes I found myself trying too hard to come up with new ideas or features when I should have focused on customer feedback, like we do now.” This idea of constantly learning and listening to customers was a consistent theme that Carson elaborated on throughout the conversation.  In fact, Carson said that it was one of his favorite parts of starting a company.

 “The thing that I enjoy most is helping people. Not only have we found a way to increase sales for our clients, but we are also improving the overall fan experience for so many people. It has also been extremely gratifying to watch the growth of our team. Not only are we bringing in some of the brightest people around, but we have also prepared interns for amazing positions with other successful companies which is an awesome feeling.” 

Iowa born, Chicago based FanFood is delivering food and great experiences for fans around the region.  If you would like to learn more, check out http://www.fanfoodapp.com.

Be sure to check out FanFood’s new podcast featuring guest such as Kevin Millar (host of Intentional Talk and former MLB player who won World Series) and Christian Lau (Head of Technology with LAFC). https://medium.com/fanfood-playbook/tagged/podcast

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