If you want to see some of the coolest innovation in food technology, you need to get in the game. Well, at least get a ticket to the game because stadiums and arenas are fast becoming hotbeds for new ways to sell and get you your food quickly.
Speed is the name of the game and the impetus for most of this disruption happening at large sporting and entertainment venues. The faster attendees can order and get their food, the less time they spend away from the game or concert, and, ideally, the more stuff they buy.
The most recent example is the partnership Postmates announced last week with Yankee Stadium. The partnership, which is similar to one the delivery service has with Dodgers Stadium in LA, and allows attendees to order their food from their seats and pick it up at a designated Postmates Pickup point.
Over at Mile High Stadium in Denver, computer vision-powered checkout scanners have been installed throughout the stadium. Shoppers place their items on a scanner created by Mashgin, which automatically identifies what is being purchased, so individual items don’t need to be rung up one at a time.
But innovation isn’t just happening on the checkout side of the food stand; the way stadium food is being made is undergoing an upheaval as well. Robots in particular will play an increasingly important role in making food at large venues. The Dodgers have used Flippy the robot to fry up chicken tenders and tater tots. And back at Mile High Stadium, the Broncos installed a robo-bartender to pour and serve beer.
The point is that stadiums are perfect venues for a lot of the food technology and automation that we write about. They are large, high-traffic areas that provide a good test case for new, automated workflows and systems. The food being served isn’t highly customized, but rather made in bulk, and meant to be more consistent than artisanal. And really, while it’s fun to eat a hot dog at the ballpark, people are there for the game, so as long as they get their grub in a timely manner, they don’t really care how they get it. Seems like a win for everyone involved.