While stadiums and arenas across the nation can easily satisfy a fan’s craving for typical stadium fare – hot dogs, pizza, french fries – menu offerings are making a radical shift to accommodate more sophisticated taste buds; as today’s fans are demanding more from their experience than ever before.
Steven Brush, a consultant at nontraditional franchise consulting firm iBrandEz says, “Because of the downturn in the economy, people are much more cautious or selective … with how they’re spending their entertainment dollars, so stadiums and arenas definitely need to compete on the foodservice level with what consumers are seeing and getting on the streets. Hot dogs and hamburgers and french fries are king, but there’s a whole subset now that is looking for a better dining experience.”
Hospitality company Centerplate, with food and beverage programs in some 350 locations around the globe, has taken notice of the changes going on inside stadiums and convention centers – segmenting, researching and understanding this “new” consumer.
Des Hague, CEO of Centerplate says, “The family guy going with his wife and two kids needs value, particularly in this disposable income–distressed economy. The socialite wants a splurge event, a Super Bowl experience in every venue they go to, so they want high-end foods, they may want cocktails, they may want specialty drinks.”
While items such as pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers account for some 80 percent of Centerplate’s menu, the other 20 percent now features specialty and signature items they believe will one day be their top-sellers – such as popular ethnic offerings, healthful salads, high-end caffeinated beverages and creative desserts.
But how do you effectively communicate these new items to consumers?
The answer is Digital Menu Boards, which are quickly becoming the marketing tool of choice for concessions.
By creating enticing content – and utilizing elements such as day parting, audience targeting, product imagery, text animation, and message layering to name a few – concessions can attract and control consumer focus while pushing new menu items, and maintaining old favorites.
Digital menu boards also provide infinite marketing real estate because offerings can be changed based on foot traffic patterns, inventory levels and LTOs.
And to really make the most of their budget, concessionaries are pairing digital menu boards with static LED screens to create hybrid menu systems that offer a “recipe” for the best of both worlds – beauty shots of tantalizing food (on Lexan inserts), next to ever-changing menu boards that can feature video, commercials and even live TV feed of the game/event.