Sports leagues and games large and small were among the first parts of everyday entertainment to be decimated by the COVID-19 outbreak. No sporting events (and no concerts!) means no one is going to arenas or stadiums. This is a problem for FanFood, a startup that enables food delivery directly to your seat from concession stands at large venues.
So FanFood is doing what scrappy companies do in times of crisis: it is pivoting. And like so many other software companies in the food tech space, FanFood is temporarily pivoting to help restaurants get food to customers now that dine-in is no longer an option in many cities and states.
FanFood launched a program this week to help restaurants do curbside delivery of orders. For the next 60 days, FanFood is waiving the set up and subscription fees for its service. Once onboarded on to FanFood’s software platform, restaurants can take orders and instead of delivery, they can rush food out to the curb where customers can pick it up.
For some restaurants, FanFood might be a more economical option as we learn more about some of the shady strings third-party delivery services are still attaching to restaurants during this downturn.
“We’re not like Grubhub,” Carson Goodale, CEO of FanFood told me by phone this week. “We don’t take commissions.”
Instead, FanFood splits the ten percent convenience fee added to each order 40/60 with the restaurant. So on a $20 order, the two dollars get split with 40 percent going to FanFood and 60 percent going to the restaurant. After the 60 day trial, there is a subscription fee to use the service, which is typically around $119/month.
Implementing curbside service could also help mitigate the spread of the virus because restaurants can use their existing staff to expedite food rather than having a steady stream of unknown delivery people from various services coming through the door.
While FanFood is being nimble in the face of a global pandemic, its ability to innovate might be outpaced by the severity of the virus’ spread. California just ordered all of its residents to shelter in place. Yes, they can go out for food, but with more restricted movement, Californians might just rely on delivery to get restaurant meals. Should these type of shelter in place orders expand across the country, there won’t be much need for curbside pickup.
But that hasn’t happened yet, and in the meantime, FanFood may have another ace up its sleeve: Drive-In Movie Theaters. Don’t laugh! With traditional movie theaters shutting for social distance reasons, drive-in theaters are experiencing a bit of a resurgence since everyone stays inside their car. With no end in sight for this crisis, who knows, perhaps drive-ins will become the new “stadiums” in which we experience sporting events.